Pain versus Joy


The pain of one should not become the joy for another.  This is what exactly happened when a CEO of a respectable industrial group lost his job.  While most of us may not be aware of  why the CEO was sacked and whether it was a fair step or not, we took the liberty of commenting on it and also shared jokes on the social media.  I was a bit hurt and thought I should reflect on it.

All of us go through ups and downs in life.  Should the sorrow of one individual give joy to another.  I do not believe so.  Lets examine it from a sports perspective.  If we play a game and lose the match, we do not end up attacking our opponents.  On the other hand, we shake hands and congratulate our opponents for winning the game.  That is true sportman's spirit and that is the way all the games are played in the world.

Why should life be different ?  Today someone may lose his job.  Tomorrow, it could be us.  Why should we laugh at someone losing his job and share jokes on the social media.  What joy can it give us ?  If someone is in pain, we may need to empathise.  We cannot be happy and making fun of it.  We have to remember that it could happen to us and we may not be amused if someone laughs when we lose our job.

We may need to reflect on our day to day behaviour.  Do we rejoice at the pain of others ?  We could share jokes and have fun if someone shares a good news with us.  A  promotion at work or a medal in a game is worth sharing joy.  But, if someone is in a crisis, we need to put ourselves in their position.  We need to reflect and pray for them to get out of their crisis.  It does not matter whether it is because of them or inspite of them.  The fact that they are going through a pain must make us empathise with them rather than rejoicing.

We can look back at life.  We may have topped our class in school or college but do we ever rejoice at our classmates, who failed.  We don't and we should not.  It is quite possible that while we have topped in school, we may end up failing in a subject in college and our ill behaviour may haunt us when others laugh at us at our failure.  It is in moments of crisis, we need to be humane.

In the photo above on the border of south and north Korea, the people of both countries hope to unite some day again. The separation of the two countries could have meant sorrow for some and joy for others.

The situation is no different at the workplace.  While we may succeed in a project and a colleague may fail, we cannot afford to rejoice at the failure of our colleagues.  Our success today is because of the contribution of many of our team members.  Tomorrow if we laugh at the failure of others, the same team members may lose their trust in us and may not be happy to support us to succeed.

The joy of others can be a source of happiness for us.  We can celebrate joy and share pain.  This is the way life will teach us to balance the good and the bad and share our joy and pain in life.

Let us celebrate joy and share pain with others.

S Ramesh Shankar

Language is not a barrier for kids


Language bridges people from across the world. It helps us to communicate with each other.  We can share ideas, solve problems and help each other succeed because of language.  But sometimes we believe language becomes a barrier between people and even communities and states.  Why does this happen ?  There is no logic to explain this nor reasons to justify it.

Let us look at children.  Have you ever seen children not mingling with each other because they cannot speak a common language.  I have never seen that.  On the contrary, I have even recently experienced my grandson and my nephew’s son play with each although they do not speak any language in common.  Children have a way to communicate with each other without any language.  Language is never a barrier for kids to share and enjoy together.  Why should it be for the elders ?

We have an opportunity to learn from children.  As elders, we make language a barrier between us. We feel it breaks down communication and will easily blame communication as a barrier.  How do children overcome this barrier ?  How do they communicate even without knowing the language of each other ?  I am reminded of a story, which happened in India a few decades back.  A french anthropoligist was visiting India to study in some part of rural India.  He neither knew english nor Hindi.  He was also not familiar with the local regional languages of that part of India.  When asked how he would do his research without knowing the local language, he responded that he would visit the villages and behave like children and then the villagers would respond.  This will help him study their behaviour.

Thus we need to realise that language can be an enabler for better communication.  It should not be a barrier to deal with each other.  It is also interesting to note that more than 70% of our communication is done non verbally.  Hence, how can we blame language as a barrier, which in any case only accounts to that balance 30% of communication between human beings.

It is fascinating to see children talk to each other without knowing each others’ language.  They are not only able to communicate with each other but even able to coordinate with each other seamlessly.  If you see them play a game together, you will see this in action.  What prevents the elders to not do the same? As we grow older in life, our ego becomes the barrrier between human beings and not the language.

We tend in live in own world and refuse to adapt ourselves to others as the situation demands.  Children are adaptive by nature.  They are always willing to give more than they take from others.  They listen more attentively.  This makes them communicate with each other bettter without blaming language or other factors as barriers.

It is time to reflect, un learn and re-learn this adaptive nature from kids.  Their ability to adapt is admirable.

It is time for change.  What do you say ?

S Ramesh Shankar

Sights and Insights https://www.amazon.in/dp/B072MGWCYR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_XMMxzbH5PSM3E

The gregarious neighbour


In life, one is blessed to have a wonderful neighbour.  I have had this privilege on a few occasions as I have cris-crossed the nation as part of my career.  In life, you neither can choose your parents nor your colleagues at work.  Similarly, you do not have the privilege of choosing your neighbour.  It was by chance that I bought a flat and moved in.  The neighbour moved in as a tenant. 

We hardly knew each other and generally met only in the lift while going up or down to work or on an outing.  We exchanged smiles and greetings and that was the only introduction.  My wife, me and my kids were very touched by their warmth and helpfulness.  They were a young couple with three kids.  Both husband and wife were always welcoming and greeted you with smiles.

In my less than two years of being their neighbour, I have never seen them in conflict with anyone in our society nor create any ruckus.  They were a sporting couple and always willing to help others.  I always used to silently admire them.  One day they invited us home for a cup of tea.  We realised that we were from different states and different age groups but there was something in common between us.

I admired their friendliness and we shared our feelings with them when we met them.  Interestingly enough they reciprocated our feelings.  I realised that in life, if you need good neighbours, you have to be good.  If you expect others to smile, you need to smile.  If you are helpful, others are more than keen to help you.  Age, caste, creed, religion or nationality does not matter at all.

I moved out of that flat to move to my newly built home in another part of the city.  But, we continued to be friends exchanging calls, messages and greetings through phone and social media.  Occasionally we met for lunch or dinner.  But, even if we did not meet, we had great rapport and respect for each other.  We evolved as friends for life and nurtured our relationship.

Today, if I look back, we stay in two different cities and lead our own busy lives.  But, we still are in touch with each other. We still look for opportunities to talk to each other and wish each other.  We celebrate the successes of each other and are more than willing to share any sorrow between us.  Once a friend, always a friend. I think one is blessed in life to have such neighbours.

I recently was chatting with her and it occurred to me that this family is a great source of inspiration for us.  They taught us to live life happily and share your joy with others.  Both husband and wife partnered to nurture our friendship and sustain it.  They enabled each other to pursue their passion in life and always sported a smile all the time.

I wish and pray to God to bless all of us with such neighbour in life.  

What do you say ?

S Ramesh Shankar