Aug 28, 2011

My 60 seconds on TV

Here is a clip of my TV interview that was aired about a month away. It was at the TYE feliciation ceremony. TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) is a program that gives us about 8-10 lessons on various aspects of starting a business, and then divides us into groups, as a part of which we come up with business plans. We present our business plans in a competition, first at the local level, after which the winning team presents it at the global level.
My group came second in the local competition. Although we didn't get anything in particular as a prize, we learnt an incredible lot. TYE actually teaches one how to be a leader, which is what makes it so amazing and inspiring.

Link to TiE group on facebook

Aug 26, 2011

Being Happy

Being happy is something that everyone looks for consciously or unconsciously. But happiness is nothing to found in the outside world, it is something that only you can really deal with. Here are a few traits of a human being that influence his/her happiness.

I believe that happy people are always happy. They find a way to be happy. Actually, they have to find a way to be sad. That’s just their nature. No matter how much their life plays around with them, in an effort to make them upset or go through tough times, the optimistic are always happy. They believe that life has something in store for them.
On the other hand, sad people always find a way to be sad. Even if life gives them roses they sit with them and cry over the fact that they didn’t get lilies. They tend to expect more than what they get.  
That’s probably why kids who have been spoilt by their parents in their initial years have such a problem being happy. They are so used to being pleased and pampered by their parents that their demands become unexpectedly high, making it tough for them to be satisfied with what they get.
Research proves that being happy=satisfaction with what you have. It refers to how people who are happy do not obsess themselves with what they COULD HAVE. Rather it’s the unhappy people who do.
A study found that the Scandinavians are the happiest people in the world. Why? They spend a majority of their time in darkness, and freezing temperature. They can sit around thinking about how they could have been living in better weather conditions and end up convincing themselves that all that goes wrong is due to the terrible weather conditions. But yet they are happy. Isn’t that amazing? The reason behind their happiness is that they are satisfied with what they have.

While writing this I figured that if satisfaction leads to happiness, then money must be one of the keys to UNhappiness, for the reason that money makes most people greedy. As they get more, they want even more. No wonder they say “Money cannot buy happiness”!

Happiness is Contagious
When you smile, the world smiles with you. Happiness is contagious.When you are in an atmosphere where people are always laughing and enjoying life to the fullest, you automatically start to live life there way. The same happens when you are surrounded by unhappy people. As Oscar Wilde said "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."That is why it is believed that smiling at a stranger can make not only his day, but also a lot of other people's because chances are that he too will smile at another stranger the very same day!

Being Happy, and not knowing it!
Most people who are happy do not know it. They fail to acknowledge the small instances of happiness that are experienced in day to day life, like smiling at a stranger, making a new friend, going for a movie with your best friends, etc. They expect happiness to come with success or money or what not.
I came across this website called which talks about small pleasures of life such as those which I just mentioned.

Of course there a bunch of other things that influence happiness such as success and relationships, but they really can't mess with you if you are one of an optimistic nature. 
Abraham Lincoln once said "A person will be just about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
So keep the smiles coming all day long!

Aug 23, 2011

Keeping your neurons busy!

Today I tried the most interesting thing. I tried using my left hand in everything I do, instead of my right.  My parent’s yoga teacher told me a few years back that using the right or the left hand doesn’t come from birth. It’s about the practice and the balance of the mind i.e. if you use your left hand more, you automatically become left handed, and if you use your right hand more you become right handed.
But wanting to be a left hander is not the reason I tried this. It turns out that doing things differently ends up sharpening your brain.
During our vacation in Orlando, I learnt that brain power is one source of energy that in inexhaustible. (unlike fuel, etc) The other day my uncle told me about how one uses only 5% of the brain. And the person who used 10% is the one we call a genius. But that turned out to be a myth. (according to sources of the internet.) They claim that going by the myth, injury of certain parts of the brain (i.e. the unused ones) should not affect you in any way since they are not used.
Then a few days later, I came across this website which talked about how to increase your brain power and how to use your brain to the full capacity. It had a couple of ways to do that, like brushing with your left hand, or taking another route to work , or doing a lot of brain puzzles, and using different kind of keypads to type.
Today, I tried brushing with y left hand, and it was harder than I thought it would be. I was telling my aunt who visited today that she should try doing the same. Nodding her head she said “Neurobics”. I had no idea what that was, but she told me. She said it was Neuron’s Aerobics. Exercising the brain.
My theory is that by using your left hand to do certain things, you aren’t actually using the same part of your brain more, but you are using another part of the brain.  You may know that the left part of the brain which is more analytical controls the right part of your body (arms lgs, etc) and the right part of your brain which enhances creativity,  controls the left part of your body. So by using your left hand to do things that you would otherwise use your right hand for, you are sharpening the right side of the brain, which happens to be the creative one.
But then that implies that left handed beings are more creative and less analytical than the right handed ones. That actually may be true. But then what is not true is that all right handed people are analytical. I happen to know barely any left handed people and yet I know people who are extremely creative.
My aunt said that by doing things differently (taking different routes, using your left hand) you are challenging the brain. The brain catches the smallest of change. Even if you start using a ball point pen after having used a pencil for quite some time, you are exercising the brain.
Well in that case by using different kinds of writing material everyday , the brain can get a hell lot of exercise. Another way to exercise the brain is to supposedly take a shower with your eyes closed. I’m guessing this helps exercise the brain since you have to force your brain to remember where things are. Having a shower is such a regular part of everyone’s routine, that people do it mechanically without thinking. So by closing your eyes your eliminating the unconsciousness in the actions of reaching out for the soap or turning the shower knob, and forcing your brain to think and remember where those things are.
Another great way to increase brain power is to continuously write one page on a word document (or any other software for that matter) without stopping to think or correct spelling and grammar errors. This enables you to think fast. I tried this, but it takes a lot of practice to be able to do that. To not stop at all, I mean. It is easy to go half a page without having to put extreme pressure on your brain. But when you get half way through the page, you run out of sane things to write about. So the first time you try that, your second half of the page is just a recurrence of the first half in different words .
I once read a book called “The curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. Randomest book ever.  It was about a troubled boy who decides to investigate the murder of a dog in the neighborhood. While on his little mission, he discovers a bunch of secrets about his own life that was well kept with his divorced mom and dad. Now this book is written from the point of view of the boy. So he writes whatever he is thinking about with a good amount of details. In random parts of the book when he’s bored or he wants to avoid thinking about something that is worrying him, he starts squaring number in his heads. (2X2=4X2=8X2=16 and so on.) Way to keep your brain busy!
Working on your vocabulary is another way. So is picking up a random object and thinking of multiple things it could be used as. For eg, pick up a pencil, and then think of a 100 things that the pencil can be used as.
Your brain is the controller of your body. Spending time on keeping it sharp is one of the most productive things you’ll ever do.
Not using it actually ends up making it blunter and less intelligent than before!
So keep the neurons busy!

Aug 19, 2011

Irony:The Arab Spring

The other day I sat at home, thinking about the Arab Spring. And I realized the kind of irony (and also courage) involved.

I say courage because the Arabs seem to have overcome the fear of bullets. We see a pattern each time. The people revolt. The ruler freaks out. Orders the army to save the day. Army comes and shoots a few. Crowds Disperse. But after one week, they're back. Back and fully alive! Growing bigger and bigger in number.
It seems to me, that they don't care to live if living means being oppressed and having to feel threatened by arms and ammunition everyday

What is surprising is, is that the army doesn't realize what it's doing. It (the army) just doesn't realize that they are among those being oppressed by the rulers and if they decide to side with the people, they become responsible for a free and happier nation! That is one feeling that is hard to bear. Isn't it?

Another thing is, is that the rulers have a huge advantage i.e.. of being rulers of conservative countries where a large part of the country may not want modernization to take place, not that it surely will if a government is formed, it's just that their mindset makes them think so. Guarding their culture is important to them. But yet, we see all kinds of people on our TV screens protesting on the streets.

The rulers on the other hand fail to see the kind of consequences that they will suffer whether they are thrown off or not. If they are thrown off, then their fate rests with the will of the country. If not, then they live a life disturbed by regular uprisings and unstability in the country, which in turn leads to fall of the economy and pressure (which subsequently leads to isolation) from the outside world.
The longer they try to stay in power, the more they are messing with any luck they may have in the future. 

These Arab people have all the moral support of the world, and also the empathy of countries who have gone through struggles against oppression.
Here's hoping to seeing them join emerge from their bad times soon!

Aug 15, 2011

Ellis Island

Two months ago I visited Ellis Island, an Island next to that of the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Island). It was basically an island which welcomed immigrants (and by welcomed, i mean the only way in for them) and was kinda like a gate into America for people from all over the world.
I didn't think it was worth writing about, since I didn't see more to it to be anything more than a port.

But going through some of the pictures I took there, I realized what a big deal it was. I thought of all the people-Europeans, Asians, South Americans, setting assail from there homeland, for the land of opportunity, hoping for a better life. They all had their own reasons for doing the same. The also had their own stories.

A picture among the exhibits at Ellis Island of some newly arrived immigrants of the country.
In 1920, Johann karl Sceinder told his family that he was going to seek "golden opportunities" in America. He packed his belongings in a canvas satchel and journeyed from his village in Switzerland to France, where he set sail for New York. After a stormy two week voyage in steerage, he arrived at Ellis Island, and then went to upstate New York where he worked on a dairy farm. A year later he was able to send for his wife and three children. They eventually settled in Connecticut.
His daughter who was ten years old when she made the journey, saved some of the many things her mother brought with them to their new home.

Another such family, is that of Diab Catoni Thomas, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon in 1892. After working for 9 years peddling dry good in Virginia, Diab returned to Lebanon where he married Ramah and had two children. Mary and the children, Salene and Alene, immigrated to the United States in 1907. The family settle in Virgina where Diab opened a succesful general store. Diab and Mary had 9 more children in America, bringing there family to a total of 5 daughters and 6 sons. By the 1930s the family had moved to Mullens, West Virgina where they operated a grocery store. Diab died in Mullens in 1971 at the age of 103.

A statue of Annie Moore, the first immigrant processed at Ellis Island.

One of the counters where the immigrants were  processed into the country

All these people brought with them their cultures and their traditions, which makes the United States as diverse as it is today.
For us, travelling to the other side of the world is nothing but taking a 24 hour long flight. For them, it meant taking a 2 month long journey. (Remember? No airplanes!) They did not know whether they would have enough money to return, or when they would talk to their family ( Remember? Not many communication services.)

Ellis Island marked the beginning of a new world, one where people lived together, worked together, learned to accept each other. I hope to see many more Ellis Islands in the world soon!

Aug 10, 2011

This too shall pass!

Once a king called upon all of his wise men and asked them, ” Is there a mantra or suggestion which works in every situation, in every circumstances, in every place and in every time. In every joy, every sorrow, every defeat and every victo...ry? One answer for all questions? Something which can help me when none of you is available to advise me?
Tell me is there any mantra?”
 All the wise men were puzzled by the King’s question. They thought and thought. After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested something which appealed to all of them. They went to the king and gave him something written on paper, with a condition that the king was not to see it out of curiosity.
 Only in extreme danger, when the King finds himself alone and there seems to be no way, only then he can see it. The King put the papers under his Diamond ring.
 Some time later, the neighbors attacked the Kingdom. King and his army fought bravely but lost the battle. The King had to flee on his horse. The enemies were following him. getting closer and closer. Suddenly the King found himself standing at the end of the road - that road was not going anywhere. Underneath there was a rocky valley thousand feet deep. If he jumped into it, he would be finished…and he could not return because it was a small road…the sound of enemy’s horses was approaching fast. The King became restless. There seemed to be no way.
 Then suddenly he saw the Diamond in his ring shining in the sun, and he remembered the
message hidden in the ring. He opened the diamond and read the message. The message was -
 The King read it . Again read it. Suddenly something struck him- Yes ! This too will pass. Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my kingdom. I was the mightiest of all the Kings. Yet today, the Kingdom and all his pleasure have gone. I am here trying to escape from enemies. Like those days of luxuries have gone, this day of danger too will pass. A calm came on his face. He kept standing there. The place where he was standing was full of natural beauty. He had never known that such a beautiful place was also a part of his Kingdom.
 The revelation of the message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about those following him. After a few minutes he realized that the noise of the horses and the enemy coming was receding. They moved into some other part of the mountains and were near him.
 The King was very brave. He reorganized his army and fought again. He defeated the enemy and regained his empire. When he returned to his empire after victory, he was received with much fanfare. The whole capital was rejoicing in the victory.
 Everyone was in a festive mood. Flowers were being showered on King from every house, from every corner. People were dancing and singing. For a moment King said to himself,” I am one of the bravest and greatest King. It is not easy to defeat me. With all the reception and celebration he saw an ego emerging in him.
Suddenly the Diamond of his ring flashed in the sunlight and reminded him of the message. He open it and read it again: “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”.
He became silent. His face went through a total change - from the egoist he moved to a state of utter humbleness. If this too is going to pass, it is not yours. The defeat was not yours, the victory is not yours. You are just a watcher. Everything passes by. We are witnesses of all this. We are the perceivers. Life comes and goes. Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes.
 Now as you have read this story, just sit silently and evaluate your own life. This too will pass. Think of the moments of joy and victory in your life. Think of the moment of Sorrow and defeat. Are they permanent ? They all come and pass away.
Life just passes away. There is nothing permanent in this world. Every thing changes except the law of change. Think over it from your own perspective. You have seen all the changes. You have survived all setbacks, all defeats and all sorrows. All have passed away. The problems in the present, they too will pass away. Because nothing remains forever. Joy and sorrow are the two faces of the same coin. They both will pass away. You are just a witness of change. Experience it, understand it, and enjoy the present moment.

Source: (Posted by Aditya)