Learning “Motherhood” on Mothers’ day

I am not a great fan of “Mothers day”, “Father’s Day” etc, which are celebrated off late around the world. In my view, it is more a marketing gimmick for selling more products and promoting brands. Having said that, the second Sunday of every year is celebrated as “International Mothers’ day”. I would rather learn motherhood from the wonderful mothers around me rather than promote a marketing gimmick.

What can we learn from our mothers ? I would list five qualities, which I have learnt and admired from the mothers I have interacted in my life. There could be many more and these are my significant five. You could share your valuable five and this way we could learn from each other.

The first quality which a mother exudes is “Patience”. I have hardly seen a mother who does not put in extra efforts to display her patience. Right from feeding an infant or dealing with the antics of a child or bracing with the rebellion of an adolescent, a mother teaches us precious lessons on patience.

Perseverance is the second quality I have learnt from mothers. A mother never gives up. They don’t give up on anything. They are willing to convince anyone for getting their things done. They will follow up with anyone and everyone for the sake of their kids at school or otherwise.

The third quality one can adore in mothers is their “Selflessness”. In today’s world, most of us are so self centred that we forget many a time that there is a world around us. A mother on the other hand is serving others all the time and in this process,most of the time, forgets that she has her own world to live in. She lives for others all the time.

Loyalty is best learnt from mothers. They are loyal to their parents, their in laws, their children , sisters, brothers and their friends. While men may also be loyal, the unconditional loyalty of mothers’ is to experienced to be believed. It is to be believed to be learnt from our mothers.

The fifth quality I admire in mothers is their “unconditional love”. We all express our love and expect the same from others as human beings. However, mothers tend to love unconditionally. I cannot visualise a mother loving someone conditionally. This gives them the power of letting go when the love is not reciprocated in equal measure. This is when most of us find it difficult and feel hurt in our lives.

As I said earlier, a mother is an epitome of humanness. She is endowed with limitless qualities but I thought let me share my best five and request you to comment and share yours so that together we learn from one another.

As in the photo above, a mother appreciates her kid as much as she would do to other kids around her.

Our best tribute to mothers would be to imbibe at least one of these attributes from our mothers and live it every day of our life.

S Ramesh Shankar

12th May 2019

I don’t get what I am searching for…

IMG_5701
Yesterday I was searching for sugar in the kitchen and I could not find it. Isn’t many things in life similar. We are in search of something and we never get it. Let us start from our childhood. Most of us may agree that we did not get the toys to play that we desired for. We may not have got selected to the course we wanted to study or the schools/college which we dreamt of.

This trend continues as we grow up in life. We, in our adolescence want the world in our pockets but end up disappointed. We then move to start our career. Many of us start our career in areas which we did not want to. If we are lucky to get the role of our dreams, we end up in a location which we hate. This factor may look like a never ending journey.

Then once in the job, we do not get nominated for projects we want to be part of. On the contrary, we may end up in doing projects which we never wanted to. I sometimes wondered why this happens to us in our lives. We get transferred to roles much against our wishes. We wonder if it happens only to us. We are disappointed to say the least and also get a feeling if we stop learning at such times.

This phenomenon happens in real life too. We search for peace and we end up in chaos. We want to work in a metro and end up with a posting in a remote village or town. We feel frustrated to say the least. We wonder why such a thing happens. In most cases, we end up cursing our luck. We tend to believe that it is our destiny and we cannot do much about it. We accept it and hope that it passes away sooner than later.

I could not sleep yesterday night since I could never find the sugar in the kitchen. I continued the search in the morning and found it in the fridge in a plastic container(photo above). Then I realised that may be I was assuming it to be at a particular place in a particular type of container and it wasn’t to be. Life is no different. This is what happens in our life too. We believe life is like that and we to have to accept it that way.

We have assumptions and mindsets. In our childhood, we take things for granted. We think we deserve everything we desire irrespective of whether we need it or our parents can afford it. ‘Then in adolescence, the psychology of our rebellious behaviour makes us unhappy at everything which does not happen for us the way we want it to happen. In work life, we believe that everyone around us is dutiful to make us happy. We are expected to get what we want to do and not what the organization wants us to do.

So, this is the real learning of my life. We have to believe that we can make the best of everything which happens to us in life, if we want to. If we don’t get the sugar in the kitchen, we can reduce the intake of calories for the day. If we did not get the toys to play in childhood, we could have spent more time in studies or other hobbies. We could learnt a new skill if we had all the time during our adolescence.

At work, every role gives us a opportunity to learn and grow. If we try to be the best in everything we are expected to do, we will excel and grow at all times. Life has its own way of teaching us lessons every day. I realised that my inability to find sugar in the kitchen while I was making coffee for a friend was one of the ways for me to realise that life is all about our mindset and our attitude.

If we are willing to challenge our mindset, then life has a lot to teach us. It is up to us to make the best of what happens to us. It is the way we look at life, which makes all the difference. If we solidify our mindset and are not adaptive to change, then we have nobody else to blame than ourselves. Let us give life a chance and learn every day through whatever happens to us.

S Ramesh Shankar

Why is common sense uncommon ?

IMG_0282
I have never understood as to why common sense is uncommon ? The first incident which taught me this was when I was in college. My college was next to a suburban railway station. There was a subway being constructed at the level crossing near the college. One side of the road to the subway was being dug in a broader way than the other side. Both the sides did not seem aligned. As a student, I was bewildered. However, I thought the civil and design engineers were more knowledgable than me and hence may be I did not understand.

However, after the construction was almost completed on the subway, they realised that this was indeed a grave error. There were two different contractors working on either side of the railway line and may be they never had a joint meeting and hence they designed and constructed subways on either side, which were not aligned. They did not realise it till it was almost completed although to a common man like me it was quite visible.

Such incidents happen almost every day in our lives. There are some things, which are very obvious but we do not realise it until someone points it out to us. It is like standing under a shower and turning on the hot water tap without realising that we need to first mix the hot and cold water to the right temperature before walking under the shower. Isn’t it obvious to us that hot water will burn our skin but still many of us end up doing just that.

Another every day incident which baffles me is our reluctance to wear helmets or safety belts while we ride bikes or drive cars. All of us are aware that the maximum deaths happen on the road due to accidents. We are equally educated that helmets and safety belts can help us prevent fatal accidents. We undergo training and even make written commitments to wear them. But when we take out our bike or car, we end up not wearing them stating that with so much traffic and such slow speeds, nothing can happen to us.

The most common thing I see nowadays is people crossing the road speaking on their mobile phones. I have nothing against people speaking on mobile phones or chatting on apps. But what baffles me is why people do not realise that crossing a road speaking on the mobile phone could be fatal. Isn’t it common sense that while you are speaking on the phone or chatting on it, your attention cannot be on the traffic and you may not hear the horn and hence it may just take a fraction of a second to meet with an accident.

I realise that I cannot blame the world for my uncommon sense. I have to take responsibility for applying my common sense and not make it uncommon. I need to commit to myself that I will question myself every time I realise that I am not exhibiting it. If I promise myself that I will wear a helmet or safety belt every time I drive, I should stick to it whether the world is watching me or I am all alone.

As in the photo above, why we do not use safety devices when we are expected to do so for our own safety.

The only way of making common sense common is self discipline. I cannot blame the world for an accident if I cross the road while I am speaking on a mobile phone. The earlier we realise this basic tenet the better it is for ourselves. It is up to us to use our common sense. If we don’t, we have to blame ourselves and not the world around us.

Let me begin today.

S Ramesh Shankar

Why are we remembered on our birthday ?

I have always wondered as to why people remember you on your birthday. After all your birth day is like any other day of your life. You neither contribute more or less on that day of the year as compared to any other day. In spite of this your friends, relatives and well wishers remember you and wish you on your birthday every year.

Today is my birthday and I decided to reflect on the reasons for the same. You may be blessed to be born in a family with affectionate parents and loving siblings. This may make you a loving person to everyone in your family. This could be one reason why they may remember you.

Then the question to ask is “why do friends remember you on this day ?”. You meet people right through your life. As a kid you have friends and then as you grow up you gather more friends in school, college and at the work place. This may not be a sufficient reason for people to remember you.

Then I realised that people do not remember you because you studied with them or worked them in their life. People remember you because you touched their lives in some positive way some day in their life. A friend mentioned yesterday that she called up a distant friend to express her gratitude for helping her when she needed it the most. This act of kindness touches peoples’ lives.

We are blessed if we have been grateful to others or have been of help or support to them at some stage of their life. They remember you on your birthday because we have made a difference in their lives. Most of us are so busy with our daily routines today that we forget to express our gratitude to people who have helped us in our lives.

If we take a pause and reflect, we may realise that a small act of kindness can greatly impact the life of others. If we can take time out and call a friend or visit one just to say thank you or even just be there and have a cup of tea with them without expecting anything in return, it may do wonders to them and to us.

I may have taken years to realise this simple truth. Today I do try to call up a friend when I realise it is her or his birthday. I try to visit a friend or a relative when I realise that I can touch their lives in some positive way. Even being around unconditionally makes a difference.

I am not sure if you agree with my views. You have a right not to do so. But I appeal to you to try it and feel the difference. The positive vibes of touching people is to be felt to be believed. It is to be experienced to felt.

You could try it and let me know how you felt ?

S Ramesh Shankar

I am the past, you are the future…

IMG_0701
One of the best lessons I have learnt in life is that the more your share, the more you learn. It starts from our childhood. As a elder sibling in the family, we have to learn to share with our younger siblings and be willing to learn from them. Then you grow into an adult and have a lot to share with younger ones around you. You get into a job and work in a team to share and learn.

As you get married, you learn from each other all the time. Then as you have kids, it is time to give back again. This is the time I realised that the best attitude to share and give back to the next generation is to believe that ” I am the past, you are the future..”. If we live our life with this attitude, we will always be willing to share more, learn more and give back more. We have to realise that we create the future of our choice.

I have to believe what happened in my life is history. I may have succeeded or made mistakes. But the future is with the next generation. Hence, if I believe that I am the past and the next generation is the future, I will happily share my knowledge and skills without expecting anything in return. Many of us conserve our knowledge, skills or experience thinking that if you share you erode your value.

I would argue that it is the other way around. The more you share, the more you learn and grow. I have respected all the people who have shared with me in life and career. I have seen them grow and become more knowledgable and respected in society. On the other hand, people who have conserved knowledge or experience are neither respected nor do they blossom in life.

There is a reason for me to believe that our attitude to life and living should be – ” I am the past, you are the future..”. If we believe, we have experiences of the past, we have a responsibility to share with the next generation as they are the future. If we share our failures and successes, the chances are they will not have to go through the same issues in their lives. If we do not believe in this, the next generation will do the same mistakes we did in our life and their learning curve will be longer than ours.

In corporate life, we always believe that the lessons we learn from our failures are much more valuable even than our successes. Life is no different. We should have the courage not only to accept our failures but the willingness to share what we learnt from them so that the future generations benefit from it. If all of us conserve our knowledge, skills and experiences and take them to our graves, we neither benefit from it nor does the future generations.

This is true in every aspect of life. We need to share and learn in a continual way. We need to believe that the more we share, the more we learn in life. We need to believe that we are the past and the next generation is the future. We are responsible for the past but we also have a responsibility to create a brighter future for the next generation.

We have a responsibility of developing the future generation as in the photo above.

Let us live life king size. Let us learn to give back to others more than we have got in life. I can share that this could be a wonderful way to be happy and grateful in life. We have neither inherited knowledge nor can we take it to heaven. It is this realisation, which will make us give back in abundance. Let us learn every day of our life and let go all that we have learnt to others so that they benefit as much as we did.

The day to start is today and the time is now.

S Ramesh Shankar

Violence has no place in a civilised society

Today we heard of the barbaric attack in the churches in Sri Lanka killing hundreds of innocent people and injuring many more. Today is Easter Sunday and how can any human living in a civilised world kill innocent people on a day when Christians around the world are celebrating their Easter Sunday.

I am a Hindu by birth but strongly believe that all religions of the world lead us to the same God. I am not well read in all religions of the world but India being home to all religions has taught us that we need to live harmoniously and support each other to succeed. No religion in the world supports violence in any form. No religion in the world encourages its followers to resort to violence and thereby kill innocent people.

I wonder even if the families of these terrorists will support such a cowardly act. How can one human being kill another human being who has done no harm to you and for no fault of theirs. This is an act of cowardice. It is inhuman and a crime against human kind.

Today we will have no words to console the family members and friends of those who were killed in this dastardly act. No financial compensation can bring back mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers of those who were killed. I cannot even imagine how a normal human being can indulge in such condemnable actions.

I lost my parents at a very young age and understand the impact on family members when they lose their near and dear ones. I am sure every terrorist has a family and realises the impact of his or her act on the family members of those, who have died. It is an act which no words in the world can condemn. The only way to condemn this act is for all countries of the world to unite, fight and eliminate terrorism as one nation. We need to kill the roots of terrorism from across the world.

No civilised society will support violence of any kind. No inequality in society can justify any act of terrorism or violence. All countries have to ensure that all inequities in societies are addressed in all possible ways. However no human being or groups have any right to address any cause by killing innocent people in any part of the world.

We should not wait for the United Nations to address this issue. We as citizens of the world have to collectively resolve that we will not support violence against human beings by anyone anywhere in the world. It is time for countries to resolve that they will not support such acts of barbarism. It is for all religions of the world to unite and condemn such action.

As in the photo above, Gautam Buddha has taught the world that we can win over anything in the world through peace. It is for us to learn to live peacefully always.

Time to stand up and speak in one voice of the world is today.

S Ramesh Shankar

21st April 2019

Never judge anyone..

IMG_0789
It is easy for us to judge others. We end up judging people all around us every day. I am no different and have been guilty of this phenomenon in my life. However, I did realise through some incidents in my life that it is not fair to judge others without knowing the background or the context. What we see may not be the whole. We generally end up seeing only the part of the circumstances and end up judging.

I recently heard of an incident about a doctor, who was late to the operation theatre. The parents of the kid who was seriously injured were waiting outside the intensive care unit waiting for the doctor. As the doctor arrived, the parents were agitated that he was delayed and their son may not survive because of his delay. The doctor apologised for the delay and went ahead with the operation. After completing the operation, the doctor assured the parents that the kid will survive and left the hospital in a hurry.

After the doctor left the hospital in a hurry, when the agitated parents enquired as to why the doctor was in a hurry, the nurse explained that the doctor’s son had died in an accident in the morning. He rushed to the hospital from the grave yard because of the emergency. Now, he is rushing back to the graveyard to complete the cremation of his son. On hearing this, the parents fainted and felt miserable in judging the doctor without knowing the full story.

Life is similar. We end up judging others without knowing the full story. It happens every day in our lives. If our child is late from school, we scold the kid even without enquiring the reasons for the delay. After we have passed the judgement, we neither have the time nor the patience to listen to the child’s true story. When such an incident repeats itself, the child stops telling us the truth because she believes it is of no use as anyway she will be scolded by her parents.

This happens in the work place too. If an employee is regularly late to work, we assume that the person is indisciplined and pass a judgement even without asking or listening to the employee. We tend to brand such employees and then such employees lose their self confidence. They get branded for no fault of theirs. They lose interest in work and sometimes even in life. On listening to them, we may realise that they are going through a very serious crisis in their personal lives and they need our emotional support the most.

We also take our friends and relatives for granted. If a friend does not wish us on our birthday, we end up thinking that he has betrayed us and even forgotten our birthday. We make our judgement on one single incident without taking the pain to find out why it happened. In today’s world the mobile phone and its messaging systems has also led to a lot of misunderstandings and judgements.

We need to wake up and realise that we shape not only our destiny but also those of our near and dear ones. We not only have a responsibility to be happy in life but also contribute to the happiness of others around us. How can we make others happy if we misjudge them every other day ? Can we resolve to ourselves that we will not judge anyone without getting the full picture ?

Let us promise to ourselves that we will put ourselves in the other person’s position and listen them before coming to any conclusions. This will ensure that we are empathetic. This will reduce misunderstanding and help us cement our relationships. It is time to become non-judgemental. Although easier said than done, it is time to realise the perils of judging others.

We generally think all policeman are corrupt. In this case, this person proved otherwise by being honest through his deeds.

May be time to look at the mirror before judging others !

S Ramesh Shankar