Monday, October 23, 2017

Talk at Silver Oaks - The Mindset, How to Learn and Get Better

A talk at Silver Oaks on 31 July, 2017. I forgot to complete the post because things got too hectic around that period. Ms. Seetha Murthy who was with me on the TED Talk at VNR VJIET some years ago invited me to speak in their speaker series and I was only too happy to go. I decided to speak about the Mindset - Dr. Carol Dweck's concept which I thought was the corner stone for every kind of a learning and perhaps dwell some on the concept of Secure and Insecure leaders and people and what makes them so.
On the dais
It was a lovely campus. I just about managed to reach there - thanks to some unexpected traffic snarls. A huge hall was filled with about 500 children. The sound system was perfect.  I started off with a small cricketing anecdote - how my friend Venkatapathy Raju and I, both got the same start but how he went ahead to play for India. The difference I said was our Mindset - Fixed and Growth Mindset. That was the beginning of every speaker's nightmare. All the kids shouted that they knew about Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset. After a moment of being taken aback - I asked them what they knew about it. They shared some view points. Not all of them were bang on - or coincided with my understanding of the Mindset so I decided to share my thoughts on it.
The disciplined audience
I shared my perspective of a fixed mindset and growth mindset. That a fixed mindset has limiting ideas about intelligence or talent, has this overwhelming desire to prove they are smart, that to them smart means achieving things easily, easily means no effort (effort is not cool), effort means not smart. This would lead to a stagnation of skill and would reflect on the performance, finds it difficult to handle setbacks and subsequently takes lower challenges. The fixed mindset blames other factors and takes no responsibility for the failure, not take feedback, be jealous of other people's success and over a period does not do justice to his potential. The mindset is fixed on trying to prove they are smart.
Another view
That growth or learning mindset is one where the student only wants to learn, that any shortfall in performance can be met through greater effort, wants to compete in greater challenges because they give them a scope to learn more and challenge themselves, sees effort as the key to mastery. Setbacks and dealt with greater effort. Feedback is sought to improve oneself, seeks lessons in others successes. Over a period of time, they tend to achieve their potential. The mindset is focused on learning.
Making a point
The idea that one could say - I don't know - as the first step to learning was discussed. Secure people are secure in their knowledge of what they know and what they do not. They find it easy to say they do not know and do not wish to prove that they know everything. The difference between a secure person and an insecure person is just that - one is ok with the truth and not knowing while the other tries to act like he knows everything even when he does not know. It makes them difficult to handle in teams and as managers or subs because they are constantly insecure.
Meeting the cricket team
Tying in with the idea of the learning mindset I urged the children to be comfortable saying I don't know because it gives them a lot of freedom for the burden of knowing. It opens to door to learning. Even if they know - it is but one perspective - and they can still ask many questions. The route to learning is through questions and not by knowing answers. They should have more questions than answers.
Cricket coaches
There were several questions from the children after the talk. One was interesting - when I explained about strengths and weaknesses and how champions focus 80% on strengths and 20% on weaknesses - one child asked me if she should only focus on one subject and not the weak ones. I told her that we normally do try to score maximum in our strong areas first, secure that space, and then work on doing the best we can in areas that are not so strong. The idea that if we were to throw a ball in a competition - would we use the strong hand or the weak hand was presented. So many more questions but this was a tricky one.
The Vice Principal, Director and others 
I met the cricket team members, the coaching staff, the teachers and then we went to eat some fine breakfast in the canteen where we had a long chat. I promised the cricket team that I would be happy to come by for one of their net sessions and they said they would call me before their inter-school games started. It was a fine initiative and Ido wish schools do this a lot more - children learn so much from different perspectives and should be exposed to it more and more.

Nice Lists - Books for the 10-12 Year Olds

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Anjali - Don't Want to be Less of Me

While discussing Baig sir's coaching and his impressions of her, I told Anjali jokingly that Baig sir had told me that she could be the next Mithali Raj. I guess all women cricketers face that line sometime or the other.
More me!
'I don't want to be the next Mithali Raj,' she said solemnly.
'Ah..,' I said. 'Then?"
'If I become Mithali Raj I will be less of Anjali Paruvu. I would like to be more Anjali Paruvu.'

Now, that's a different way of putting it. More of me - like in potential perhaps. I liked the phrase.  Less of me, more of me. How much of whom am I being? Interesting. 

To more Anjali Paruvu then.

Sunday Column in the Hans - A Medical Nightmare

My column in the Sunday Hans - A Medical Nightmare

http://epaper.thehansindia.com/1402085/SUNDAY-HANS/SUNDAY-HANS#page/9/2

Saturday, October 21, 2017

TED Talk - There's More To Life Than Being Happy

Emily Esfahani Smith
More than happiness, seek meaning.
The four pillars of meaning are - A sense of belonging. A sense of purpose. Transcendence (what takes you into the zone). Storytelling - the stories about yourself that you are telling yourself, retell them to bring out the new you, the real you.

Nice.

Weekend Cricket Lessons - Breakfast with Baig Sir

After a long session with the kids - most of them his coachees for a while now - Baig sir turned his attention to Anjali and pulled her out of the junior kids nets and made her practice some bowling and batting drills. Since he was in a relaxed mood and since we needed a bite ourselves I invited him for breakfast at Chutneys and he came graciously. Despite the longish wait he waited with characteristic patience and good humour, ate his upma carefully and completely and drank his 'light' coffee with great relish. It was a breakfast I really enjoyed.
Intense concentration
'After 40 long years of not taking a day's break from coaching, I went on this four month holiday for the first time,' he told me. 'I wondered how crazy I have been, thinking and getting so involved in the game like a madman. You won't believe it but I used to get up at nights thinking of a particular boy whose technique needed to be worked on. That's how crazy I have been for all these years. And for the first time I took a break and enjoyed life other than cricket.'
Young wards - Anjali, Anuradha (already playing for the state), Kapish (prodigy), Aman, Mayank
'The air in Canada is so fresh,' he said. 'I could breathe in fully and feel the freshness, the health. Ever since I came back I have been unwell, the air is so polluted here.'
Terrific balance - Anuradha executing an on drive
'No coach comes on time for more than 3-4 days these days. I have been coming to the ground before anyone else in all these years. (He beats all of us even now - even today he was there before us - fully clad in whites and a  sweater - handsome and dignified as ever - riding his Kinetic Honda despite his advanced years.)
Doing the throw downs as accurately as he would 35 years ago when I first met him as a schoolboy
'Hyderabad owes it to Ibrahim Khan saab and Bhoopathy saab who were excellent and committed coaches. It was after them that I took up the work. I have coached 35 internationals and 20 Ranji trophy players till today.' (I have personally seen him coach Azhar, Shivlal, Arshad, Venkatapathy Raju Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa...and then there was the Under 19 side under Ravi Shastri that included W.V. Raman, L. Sivaramakrishnan etc of which about 11 played for India).
Consummate ease - where do we find such ease these days
I saw some pictures of him that were taken today. He looked so much at ease in his stance, the classical English stance. The way he held his bat like it belonged there, a part of his body, the ease in the drive - there is no stiffness, no resistance anywhere. It is an education just watching the pictures. And you wonder, why is everybody struggling so much when it looks so simple. But that is what great masters do - make thing s look so simple.

It's been a long, long association with Baig sir, from the time I was a 14 year old boy at All Saints and he was my first coach, till today when I still ask him questions about technique and the game. He is one of those people who needs to be seen to believe they really exist - the passion for the game consumes everything. Once he starts, he forgets food, water and goes on from 6 in the morning to past lunch time without a break. 

Secret Superstar - Movie Review

A seemingly simple story of a young girl who wants to pursue her passion for singing against her father's wishes becomes the setting from which the movie explores so many 'secrets' in Indian society effortlessly. Insia is a talented singer but her father doe snot have too much time for her nor his wife for that matter. Thankfully her mother fully supports her - buying her a guitar and then a laptop which makes the burqa clad singer-schoolgirl a YouTube sensation.

A matter of finding a whacky mentor is easily dealt with and she is pretty much set for a life but her father has other plans. Will the mother and daughter find the strength to hold on to their dreams, their freedom against the tradeoff of financial dependence and social stigma?

Zaira Wasim is superb as the secret superstar. Aamir Khan is fabulous as the full-of-himself-on-the-outside-but-fragile-inside Shakti Kumar. Raj Arun is perfect as the abusive husband-father.

While watching the movie there was this thought in the mind - how will all the families that cope with this feeling cope with this now that its out in the open. But that's the least of our problems isn't it? Like Anjali said- it's not just about the secret superstar, the movie is full of secrets in the family. Entertaining and real, honest and unapologetic, it's movies like this that will work because they tell us our stories as they are and make us a better people for that. Advait Chintan- take a bow!

Friday, October 20, 2017

TED Talk - How To Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals

Stephen did a lot of amazing things (including setting a world record) as the talk shows, with his method. Break it down to basic steps, biteable steps, make MARGINAL ADJUSTMENT upon it, remove distractions and just do it.


Of course, he stayed committed to what he decided on - 10 minutes at a time. Which grew into some more. The key word I felt was - marginal improvement. From 5 chapters to one chapter, to one para, to one sentence to one word at a time

Anjali-Khan Academy

Khan academy

One day my dad’s friend Sagar uncle told me about this website called “Khan Academy”. My father created an account for me and showed me videos on Sal Khan (Salman Khan), the founder of Khan Academy. I started off with Math .I continued for some six to seven days and stopped. After almost a year I got back and learnt about world wars and history for a month. Again I lost interest and discontinued. Then one day when I opened my account and started browsing through the subjects I found JavaScript. I enjoyed it so much! With Pamela teaching me to draw nothing could be better. Then I did SQL I loved it too. But the best programming languages will always be HTML and CSS for me. Learning on Khan Academy gave me a new perspective about teaching, creativity, resilience and confidence. I owe everything to Khan Academy.

The link :Khan academy


One video from Sal Khan:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hindi Medium - Movie Review

A story of wannabe parents (Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar) who have the money but not the class, who want to belong to the city's posh circles. They move from their Chandni Chowk residence to the posh Vasant Vihar residence and then, have to get their daughter admitted in a posh school. That's when they find it's not so easy. From hiring a consultant to groom them and the child (who in turn gets them consultants to write, to dress, to say things etc) they do everything and fail. For the last school they decide to do anything that takes.

Including getting the kid into the school through the Right to Education Act where a small quota exists for the poor. But even these seats can be managed. To counter a news report that rich people are stealing the poor seats, the parents actually go to live in a slum for the inspection. The child gets admission but at the cost of the their friend's child (Deepak Dobriyal - fabulous as always) - one person who helps them in their life in the slum. Turns out in the end that the penitent parents do the right thing.

Patchy in parts, it ends well. Has its heart in the right place. I liked it. Worth one watch surely.

Anjali - Visit to the Orphanage at St. Theresa's Hospital

I don;t know where she got the idea from (perhaps from a trip their school had organised) but these days Anjali prefers to give away stuff to the orphanage. Books, games, bats, balls, pens, food, compass boxes, trifles - she collects them all in a big box and off we go to the orphanage. Been there some three or four times so far.
The card that was made - but went missing until later! But it was made for them - and that thought is important
There were a lot of kids there before, but now they moved the younger kids to another place in Miyapur. Now there are eight. We met four of them who helped to carry the box - Anitha, Shivani, Karunya and Joshna - all between seven and ten years old. They were helping to clean out the garden with a couple of older children. They came immediately to help me and carried the box with a smile.

'They are so nice,' whispered Anjali. 'And so polite.' They were.

I offered to carry the box but all four carried it and I let them until the steps. Then I took over.

I opened the box and found that Anjali had put in a couple of her plastic cricket bats and stuff too.
'Does anyone play cricket?' I asked.
The girls smiled.
'No,' they said. 'But we can try.'

I told them I would like to go back. they insisted that I stay back until their 'amma' came. An elderly lady came by shuffling along. I told her that the box had some stuff the children could use. She was very happy to receive it.

'Thank you,' said all the children when I was leaving.

I asked them if they would play with Anjali if she came. They said they would. I asked them when they had time to play. Sunday at 4 in the evening they said. I asked Anjali if she would like to come and play with them. She said 'Yes' enthusiastically.

We agreed to come by next Sunday. That should be a fun outing for Anjali.

Interestingly, she had made a Happy Diwali card for them. We were halfway when we got a call from home telling us that we forgot the card. Anjali was ok with that. But I found it very thoughtful that over and above all that she put together, she also made a card, ribbon and sketch pens and all. More than what she gave, the card that did not make it spoke more about her gesture. 

Anjali - No Cracker Diwali

She likes her crackers and sparklers for sure. In fact the past few years she did make it a point to go with her mother to buy herself sparklers and stuff and certainly enjoyed the idea of lighting diyas followed by the crackers. But this year there seems to be some talk at school about 'No crackers' and 'only lamps' and 'no pollution' so she decided against crackers and instant gratification - and put off her pleasure for the greater good.

Even the fireworks she had from last year, of which she lit a couple of sparklers, she gave away.

Then she made a poster which she wanted to put up in our community hall. I was told to go with her and she would do the talking. Well one thing led to another and we could not make that trip but the poster stared at me grimly.

We got an invite from Naresh to visit his house so we can have dinner and burst a few crackers. He asked - what crackers does Anjali like? I asked her if she would like to go to his house and burst firecrackers. She said - no crackers. We can go for dinner. I told Naresh that and he laughed and said that's wonderful. Join me for dinner,
Enjoying herself - 3 years ago
Half an hour later I get a message. 'Anjali inspired me to give up crackers too. No crackers this evening.' What's more? He put up a post on fb saying that he was inspired by her to give up crackers - and got many people interested in that chain. It certainly moved places from one sincere thought.

I am amazed at how one can make a change by just being the change themselves. Wonderful.

I was speaking to my friend Vardha and told him this story and he said that his two sons Yash and Varun have also stipulated the same rule at home. They do not burst crackers.

Great work by these schools, teachers and the kids. One house at a time, one idea at a time. That's how we change the world. There will be about 5000 bucks worth of crackers less this year from what I know.

It's also the kind of a Diwali I enjoy. Beautifully lit. Serene. Peaceful. Way to go Anjali, Varun and Yash (in alphabetical order).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Heart Huckabees - Movie Review

A young man trying to save Open Spaces and who is the director of the coalition for preserving Open Spaces is fighting a power struggle with another executive in the company Huckabees that is trying to take over some open spaces to build retail stores.  He finds several coincidences in his life and hires an existentialist detective to find meaning in his life. They tell him to believe in universal interconnectivity as a solution to his problems. We meet several others with such problems in this movie - a firefighter, a model, a materialistic man.


Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg - not my kind of a movie though. It's called an existentialist comedy.

Honey I Shrunk the Kids - Movie Review

Revisited the old classic with Anjali and found that she loved the movie. I loved it too. Rick Moranis remains one of my favorites - this and for Space Balls.
The scientist shrinks his kids and their neighbours kids by mistake and the movie is all about how the kids survive the jungle (Their backyard) and are finally rescued - making every one a better person for it. With many laughs of course.

In the Mood for Love - Movie Review

Ranked No 2 in the BBC Top 100 list, 'In the Mood for Love' is a Chinese film that explores the relationship between two married people who are drawn to one another after they find their spouses are having an affair. The cinematography is very interesting as it creeps up behind the action surreptitiously. 
The romance is subtle. The two fight their attraction and find ways to seek gratification while trying not to be like their spouses. When he asks her to come away with him to Singapore, she does not; but she follows him and yet does not meet him. The movie is full of such tension, unfulfilled. A fine twist in the end - this is one story that was not to be.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahamsa Yogananda

Paramahamsa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh in Gorakhpur (1893-1951), spent a lifetime in yogic practices trying to get humanity to express the beauty, nobility and the divinity
He was the founder of the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, . Born to a spiritual man who worked in a high position in Nagpur- Calcutta Railway and a mother who was an embodiment of love and generosity. Both were disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya and initiated young Mukunda into the kriya yoga.
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Rs. 125, 499 p
Paramahamsa Yogananda was deemed to be born to bridge the divide between the East and West by the many gurus who blessed him and guided him - to balance the material and spiritual centres. After his birth in Gorakhpur, young Mukunda showed his early desire to understand the spiritual aspect and even ran away to the Himalayas in search of God. After meeting many saints and yogis such as the Perfume saint, Tiger swami, Levitating saint Nagendranath Bhaduri, the saint with two bodies, Master Mahasaya, Jagadis Chandra Bose, the sleepless saint among others he found his guru in Sri Yukteswar Giri in Serampore near Calcutta. He continued his spiritual journey with his guru and also completed his graduation. Being initiated into the Kriya Yoga by his guru Sri Yukteswar who was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya who was himself initiated into it by the deathless saint Babaji Swami Yogananda established a centre in Ranchi before going to the USA to spread the practice of Kriya Yoga there.

Some of the lines in the book that I'd like to view again.
"To be one with God."

"..never allowed the  ego principle to consider itself a causative force. By the perfection of his surrender to the Prime Healing Power, the master enabled it to flow freely through him." - On healing

"The ego principle is the root cause of dualism, separation between man and creator, brings humans under maya, by which the objects falsely appear as the object and the creatures imagine themselves to be the creator."

"The body is manufactured and sustained by the mind. Habit bound body thwarts the mind. Mind is the master, body the slave."

'By indomitable persistence in thought, of health and strength, I overcame the handicap. I see tigers as pussy cats. What stronger people lacked is the cool confidence and mental strength I had when facing a tiger." - Tiger swami

"Don't mistake the technique for the goal."

"I left a few rupees for a cosmic empire of endless bliss."

"The divine order arranges our future more wisely than any insurance company. The One who gave us air and milk form our first breath knows how to provide day by day for his devotees."

"Plants ave a varied emotional life." - Jagdis Chandra Bose

"The borders of physics and physiology are vanishing."

"Pursuit of truth with infinite patience."- J.C. Bose

"Metals are subject to fatigue...regain efficiency."

"God realisation through a single concept of Cosmic Beloved."

"Absolute is without qualities (nirguna) and inconceivable (acintya)'

'The shastras consist of Shruthi (what can be directly heard), smriti (what must be remembered), purana (ancient allegories) and tantra (rites and rituals)'

"Kriya yoga quickens man's spiritual evolution. Incarnating ego requires a million years to gain liberation from maya, shortened through kriya yoga."

"Is the whole world going to change for you? Change yourself... be rid of the mosquito consciousness." - Sri Yukteswar Giri

"The super consciousness regardless of the multitudinous distractions, never absent from this earth. In the first state of samadhi the devotee shuts off all sensory testimony to the outer world.'

"In the presence of a man perfected in ahimsa, enmity does not arise."

'Wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression against the karmic law.'

"Medicines have limitations, the divine creator's force has none. Believe that and you shall be well."

"It has been your thoughts that have made you feel alternately weak and strong. You have seen how your health has exactly followed your subconscious expectations. Thought is a force, even as electricity or gravitation. The human mind is a spark of almighty consciousness of God. Whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely, would come to pass instantly."

"All creation is governed by law. The principles that operate in the outer universe are called natural laws. Subtle laws rule the hidden spiritual planes and the inner realm of consciousness"

"The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence."

"Every individual in the world has an inalienable right to his free will."

'Wisdom is the greatest cleanser."

"The body is a treacherous friend. Give it its due, no more.. Pain and pleasure are transitory, endure all dualities with calmness, trying at the same time to remove yourself beyond their power. Imagination is the door through which disease as well as healing enters. Disbelieve in the reality of sickness even when you are ill; an unrecognised visitor will flee."

"So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful service."

"Tender inner weakness, revolting at mild touches of censure, are like diseased parts of the body, recoiling before even delicate handling."

'Roam in the world as a lion of self-control, don't let the frogs of sense weakness kick you around."

"Sexual instinct has been implanted by Nature solely for propagation of the species. Conserve your powers. Be like the capacious ocean, absorbing quietly all the tributary rivers of the senses."

"Wisdom is not assimilated with the eyes, but with the atoms.'

"Discovering Lord within, we perceive him without.'

'As soon as the devotee is willing to go even to the ends of the earth for spiritual enlightenment, his guru appears nearby."

"It is the spirit of God that actively sustains every form and force in the universe. Those who attain self-realisaton on earth live a similar two-fold existence - performing their work in the world, they are yet immersed in an inward beautude."

"Ever-new joy is God. In meditation one finds His instant guidance, his adequate response to every difficulty.'

'Intuition is soul guidance, appearing naturally in man during those instants when his mind is calm.'

'By deep concentration, a master is able to detect the thoughts of any man, living or dead.'

'Foundations of Hindu music are rages or fixed melodic scales. The 6 basic ragas branch out into 126 derivative raginis and putras (sons). Each raga has a minimum of 5 notes - a leading note (vadi or king), a secondary note (samavadi or prime minister), helping note (anuvadi or attendant) and a dissonant note (vivadi, the enemy).'

'Each of the basic ragas has a natural correspondence with a certain hour of the day, season of the year and a presiding deity who bestows a particular potency. Hindole raga - dawn in spring - universal love, Deepaka raga - evening in summer - compassion, Megha raga - midday in rainy season - courage, Bhairava raga - morning of August, September and October - tranquility, Sri raga - autumn twilight  - pure love and Malkounsa raga - midnights in winter - valour.'

'The sound alliance between man and nature. Nature is an identification of Aum. The human voice is the most perfect instrument of sound.'

'All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. the balanced rhythm of the universe is rooted in reciprocity.'

'The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasise fate - the result of past good and evil - but to arouse man's will to escape from his universal thralldom. '

'What he (man) has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator of the causes of whatever effects are now prevalent in his life. He can overcome any limitation because he has created it, by his own actions in the first place, and because he possesses spiritual resources that are not subject to planetary pressure."

'The wise man defeats his planets - which is his past - by transferring his allegiance from the creation to the creator. The more he realises his unity with the spirit, the less he can be dominated by matter. The soul is ever free, it cannot be regimented by the stars.'

'By prayer, will power, yoga meditation, consultation with saints, astronomical bangles - adverse effects can be minimised.'

'The deeper the self realisation of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations and the less he himself is affected by phenomenal flux.'

'The starry inscription at once birth is not that man is a puppet of his past. It's message is rather to a prod to pride, the very heavens seek to arouse man's determination to be free from every limitation. Man's freedom is final and immediate if he so wills, it depends not on outer but inner victories.'

'The point between the eyebrows, is the seat of spiritual vision.'

'Ability to enter at will the breathless state (sabakalpa samadhi) and by attainment of immutable bliss (nirbikalpa samadhi).

'Anyone who practices a scientific technique for divine realisation is a yogi.'

'A swami belongs to the monastic order, may conceivably follow only the path of dry reasoning or cold renunciation.'

'Yoga restrains natural imbalances of thoughts.'

'Yoga system  is a 8 fold path. Moral conduct - yama, Religious observance - niyama, Right posture - asana, Control of life's currents - pranayama, Withdrawal of senses from external objects - pratyahara, Concentration (holding the mind to one thought) - dharana, Meditation - dhyana, Superconscious - samadhi : leading to Kaivalya or absoluteness.'

'Those who habitually speak the truth develop the power of manifesting their words.'

'Kriya yoga - Kri - to act,, react, the union with the infinite through a certain action or tite
It decarbonates the blood and oxygenates it. Kriya Yoga consists of body discipline, mental control and meditating on the Aum. It is the process through which human evolution can be quickened.'

'The meditation expert becomes externally free who seeking the supreme goal is able to withdraw from external phenomena by fixing his gaze within the midpoint of his eyebrows, by neutralising the even currens of apana and prana within the nostrils and lungs, and to control his sensory mind and intellect, and to banish desire, fear and anger.'

'To remove the veil of maya is to uncover the seat of creation.'

'The law of miracles is operable by any man who has realised that the essence of creation is light. A master is able to employ his divine knowledge of light phenomena to project instantly into perceptible manifestation the ubiquitous light above. the actual form of projection is determined by the yogi's wish and by his power of will and visualisation.'

'The whole cosmos is a projected thought of the creator. All earth's molecules are held together by the will of God.'

'The secret of improved plant breeding apart from scientific knowledge, is love.'

'Dualities are ever present on earth - disease and health, pain and pleasure, loss and gain.'

'Truth is exact correspondence with reality.'

'God is love. His plans for creation can be rooted only in love.'


In the end, there is a chapter where Sri Yukteswar Giri returns to talk to Swami Yogananda after his death. Resurrected, he tells him that he is now in an astral planet and gives many answers to Swami Yogananda on the human soul's evolution and progression, life and death.

"The human soul has three bodies - the causal body (ideas), the astral body (emotion and feeling) and the gross physical body (senses). On earth a man is equipped with his physical senses. An astral being work with his consciousness and feeling and a body made of lifetrons (prana). A causal body remains in the blissful realm of ideas. My work is with the astral beings who are preparing to enter the causal world.'

'Friends of other lives easily recognise one another in the astral world. Rejoicing at the immortality of friendship, they realise the indestructibility of love, often doubted at the time of sad delusive parting of earthly life.'

'The recurring cycles of astral and physical encasement are the ineluctable destiny of all unenlightened beings. Scriptural definitions of heaven and hell sometimes stir man's deeper than subconscious memories of his long series of experiences in the blithesome astral and disappointing terrestrial worlds.'

'Man as an individualised soul is essentially causal bodied. A matrix of 35 ideas - 19 elements of astral and 16 of gross physical make this 35. The 19 elements are mental, emotional, lifetronic - intelligence, ego, feeling, mind, 5 instruments of knowledge, 5 instruments of action and 5 instruments o life force.'

'The fleshly body is made of the fixed, objectified dreams of the Creator. When man's desire to live is severely shaken by disease or other causes, death arrives. The heavy overcoat of flesh is temporarily shed.'

'The soul is encased in astral and causal bodies. Cohesive force holding these is desire. The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man's slavery.'

'When desirelessness is attained through wisdom its power disintegrates the remaining vessels. The tiny human soul emerges at last it is one with the measureless amplitude.'

'When a soul finally gets out of the 3 jars of bodily delusions, it becomes one with the infinite without any loss of individuality.'

'The karmic debt / desires of men must be worked out before continuous stay in astral worlds.'

'Two kinds of beings live in the astral spheres. Those who still have earthly karma to dispose of and who must therefore reinhabit a gross physical body in order to pay their karmic debts could be classified, after physical death, as temporary visitors to he astral world rather than as established residents.'

'Beings with unredeemed earthly karma are not permitted after astral death to go to the high causal sphere of cosmic ideas, but must shuttle to and from from the physical and astral worlds only, conscious successively of their physical body of 16 gross elements, and of their astral body of nineteen subtle elements. After each loss of his physical body, an undeveloped being from the earth remains for the most part in the deep stupor of the death-sleep and is hardly conscious of the beautiful astral sphere. After the astral rest, such a man returns to the material plane for further lessons, gradually accustoming himself, through repeated journeys, to the worlds of subtle astral texture.'

'Normal or long-established residents of the astral universe, on the other hand, are those who, freed forever from all material longings, need return no more to the gross vibrations of earth. Such beings have only astral and causal karma to work out.'

'The interpretation of man's three bodies is expressed in many ways through his threefold nature. In the wakeful state on earth a human being is conscious more or less of his three vehicles. When he is sensuously intent on tasting, smelling, touching, listening or seeing, he is working principally through his physical body. Visualising or willing, he is working mainly through his astral body. His causal being finds expression when man is thinking or diving deep in introspection or meditation, the cosmical thoughts of genius come to the man who habitually contacts his causal body. In this sense, an individual may be classified broadly as 'a material man', 'an energetic man' or 'an intellectual man.'

'A man identifies himself about sixteen hours daily with his physical vehicle. Then he sleeps, if he dreams he remains in his astral body, effortlessly creating any object even as do astral beings. If man's sleep be deep and dreamless, for several hours he is able to transfer his consciousness, or sense of I-ness, to the causal body; such sleep is revivifying. A dreamer is contacting his astral and not his causal body; his sleep is not fully refreshing.'

On his return from the USA Swami Yogananda meets several personalities - Therese Neumann, Ananda Moi, Giri Bala, Mahatma Gandhi, Ramana Maharshi, Rabindranath Tagore and others.

The book resonates with many ideas. Of human will, discipline, the power of the mind, right routines and practices. It goes far beyond that of course, the small introduction into astral plane and causal life by the resurrected Sri Yukteswar Giri throws light upon many inconceivable aspects. Love, surrender, belief, truth, reality are words used to go past the suffering of duality of life. Many examples of miracles are given through the saintly people he meets including materialising human bodies and other things, predicting futures, healing illnesses and even reviving the dead. To disbelieve something that we cannot see or comprehend is foolish and all one can do is try and start where one can - in the daily practice of life and in conquering inner victories over the mind. It has taken me a long time to start and complete the book. It is certainly a book that will mean different things each time one reads it. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Anjali - The Used Book Sale at Diwali Mela

Daksha school has this annual Diwali mela where children and their parents put up all sorts of stalls - games, products, food, quizzes etc and raise money that is used for a deserving cause. It is an evening of fun for parents, children and visitors alike and the children manage to raise almost a lakh of rupees. It is what I think is a highly creative idea - one that is so efficient that it gets everyone involved and gets everyone having fun.
The three booksellers - Mansi, Anjali and Brahmani with the book shelves behind them
Anjali has been part of this mela for so many years and we all show up every year with her aunts and uncles and have a good time. There are normally some small games where you answer riddles, or play some cricket, or shoot something, or answer some math problems and you make off with a smiley for doing well. If you are tired of the stalls, then you can head to the food stalls that serve everything from pizza to pav bhaji, mirchi bajji to bhel puri, laddus to junnu and on and on. Some nice masala tea is also on sale.
Used Books - Poster
Anjali, Mansi and Brahmani, the usual suspects, came together this time for the Diwali mela stall. Initially they planned to sell newspaper bags. Then for some reason they came up with a novel idea - a used book stall where they sell old story books, comics and novels for half their price. (Another smart idea - efficient - less work, more scope for business.) They quickly went about collecting books from their own collection - Anjali got some 25 from her collection and ten asked her cousin Shaurya and he gave away another 25. Between Mansi and Brahmani and her, they got about 100 books. I told her she could sell 'The Men Within', '50 Not Out' and 'This Way is Easier Dad' for whatever price she wanted.
Art of serious selling
Books were collected and transported to school. Banners and captions made "A house without books is like a body without a soul - Cicero' was the selling point. On Saturday, the 14th of October, I dropped Anjali off at 1 and then joined the mela with Pooja (her cousin) at 330. The moment we entered we met Radhika, the vice Principal and then Anita, who were unanimous in their praise for the book stall idea. 'They already sold 40 books,' they said. Wow!
Getting her cousin Abhi anna interested
We wandered over to the stall and we could see they were doing brisk business. The books were attractively priced and were selling quickly. Radhika had picked up 'The Men Within'. Chandana aunty was made to pick up 'This Way is Easier Dad' and Achi Reddy bought '50 Not Out' so all of my books were sold out. Comics, Goosebumps and several other books. It was easily one of the popular stalls because even after they wound up at 6, children were dragging their parents over to pick up a book or two. Anita introduced me to a couple of parents who had read 'This Way is Easier Dad'. I met another parent who was dragged there by her son who is an avid badminton and cricket fan and we discussed the books and the inspiration behind them. So with several other parents who stopped near the stall.
Rain did not dampen the mela
Pooja and I went around playing games - memory game, reading quiz, KBC (by Harsh, Rishabh, Yaswantt), target shooting - and many more. We ate bhel puri, pav bhaji, pizza, junnu, cut mirchi and drank masala tea. Anjali wanted her own money to spend along with her pals. Nalini and Abhishek joined us and at the very end, Abhinay joined us too. When the final count was the done the books stall had a bumper sale of Rs. 3310 which is three times what they normally make every year. 'It will be a standard item from now on,' said Anita.
An intimate moment with her cousin Pooja at the end
It was a very tired Anjali who came away with us and well she deserved a good meal so off we went to the faithful Zaika and polished off some marag and biryani before heading home. Well done Anjali, Mansi and Brahmani. Well done Daksha. Brilliant job. Love it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Anjali - On Gratitude

So we are doing a fine Whatsapp gratitude course started by Shobhs and all it does is that it reminds us through a message, a quote, a practice, to be grateful. Considering how ungrateful I generally am, I decided to sign up for the course and its been three months since and I have signed up for all three and even sponsored one person each time. One of the things we do is to count three things to be grateful for at the end of the day and since I am telling stories or stuff to Anjali at bedtime, I also carry this exercise and ask her three things she is grateful for that day. She normally starts with the school, her teachers who did something specific, the help, driver uncles etc or the cricket academy, Mallaiah (who she finds fascinating), Ann, Ann's cats, Maya and others.

It looks like the idea is seeping into her more and more. (Not to say that we taught her gratitude since there have been several cases where she has explicitly shown me how to be grateful to maids, the government, electricity etc when she was much younger - without signing up for courses like I am doing now.) The other day our maid bought home some milk pudding made by her sister Manga. Apparently Manga had decided to send us some of it in a box. Anjali was quite taken in by the gesture. 'She works for us and and is giving us this pudding Nanna,' she said amazed. I am glad she noticed that. I asked her is she wanted to give her something in return. 'I have chocolates,' she said. 'We can give her that.' She is on the job now - Manga is not easy to trace.

Yesterday she came to me with this happy look on her face. 'Today I really felt gratitude Nanna,' she said in that tone which said she was not able to fully express what she was feeling. 'I wa sin the school bus when it suddenly stuck me that the watchman uncle at Brahmani's apartments was helping us by keeping her safe, that the driver uncle was doing his best to take us back home safe, the roads, the school...I really felt very full..'.

That's exactly the feeling I get...very full..when I am grateful for what I have in my life. For the people who sustain me, keep me in comfort.

I am glad Anjali is aware and is able to sustain that attitude on her own. I know I have been very ungrateful for the blessings in my life and I am glad I have slowly been nudged by many sources to find this one key that makes my life easier - gratitude. Like Suresh told me yesterday, we cannot go wrong when we have an attitude of gratitude. We are automatically nicer to people, meet them with better vibes and they cannot but be nice to you in return. It's completely win-win - grateful if you win, grateful if you lose. Learning mindset, gratitude, radical forgiveness..they all merge into this feeling. And I believe it leads to the bigger portal - humility and surrender.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Apocalypse Now - Movie Review

The 1979 Francis Ford Coppola's anti-war movie is over 3 hours long and stretches languorously across the time frame. We follow a US captain Willard (Martin Sheen) who has been given the job of terminating renegade Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) of the US Army who is believed to have gone insane and who is running his own private empire. The film travels up the river in a boat and shows the Vietnam war and its horrors and realities as we go upward to Cambodia where Kurtz presides. Along the way we meet all kinds of people and see all sorts of sights.

The boat assigned to the classified mission is commanded by the diligent and rule bound Chief and he has his helpers Mr. Clean and Chef. They are joined by the surfer Lance who is on dope. Clearly every single outpost shows US soldiers at the end of their tether and wanting to go home. They are surprised to find the boat heading the other way - up to Cambodia. A napalm attack, then Clean dies in another attack, then Chief dies and finally the boat with Willard, Chief and Lance arrives at Kurtz's location. It is full of bodies, hung on trees, spaced out young soldiers. Willard meets Kurtz, (who is hidden in shadows and I understood why only after I read that Brando showed up overweight while he was a green beret colonel)  who is clearly insane and in an anti climax kills him pretty easily and walks away through the throng of hundreds of Kurtz's supporters - perhaps as the new king.

Kurtz recalls a memory, of little children who are inoculated, and whose inoculated arms are cut off by the army, which causes a deep horror and perhaps the unhinging of an otherwise intellectual mind. It ends with those words..horror..horror.

Sheen is intense. Brando is a let down. Harrison Ford appears in a short cameo in the beginning. George Lucas was supposed to direct the film but he dropped it to direct Star Wars.

It's the kind of a movie that makes sense to the people in the arena, the pointlessness of the war, the brutality and like Krutz says, the horror. The movie itself was a product of many difficulties - a set being burnt, Sheen almost dying of a heart attack on location and Coppola's editing of the 1.5 million feet that he shot that postponed the release because he had so much material to edit from. Coppola himself invested 30 mn into the movie, used tracks by his pals the Doors in the movie, suffered seizure, breakdown and threatened suicide, and pretty much faced ruin. Something has to be sacrificed while making a masterpiece.     

Newton - Movie Review

A upright and rule-bound election officer tries his best to conduct a fair and proper election in the naxal infected forest area of Chattisgarh. He is protected by police and the military, none of whom want to be around in the godforsaken place any longer they can help it  because there is a threat of an attack. Also the tribals don't seem to care anyway who wins and who loses. But Newton (an improvisation of Nutan) has other ideas.

It is a nice, honest film and it gave an insight on how elections are conducted and how much pressure there is on young officers trying to do their duty despite the many obstacles they face. It's slow, linear and works on expected lines. But then it is honest and entertaining. This is Amit Masurkar's second film (he dropped out of Manipal Engineering College to pursue film making)and it was India's nomination for the Oscar's in the Best Foreign Film.

Raj Kumar Rao is as usual very dependable and the rest of the cast perfect. The highly dependable Sanjay Tripathi plays the cop in charge (his story is equally fascinating - a farmer's son who worked n his farm and who discontinued after the 11th, played the role of girls in festivals, moved to Patna to pursue studies then Delhi and National School of Drama) - he can play the cold blooded butcher in Gangs of Wasseypur and the gentle station master in Masaan.

Nice Link - How Smartphones Hijack Our Mind


  • Less empathy. more anxiety, less knowledge. check smartphones a whopping 80 times a day, 30000 times a year...intellect weakens as brain grows dependent on the gadget...studies conducted
  • Concentration and problem solving, cognitive capacity and fluid intelligence affected by proximity to phone (gets worse as phone is nearer and better as phone is far away and inaccessible, whether phone is in sight or out of sight)
  • When phone rings and people cannot answer their BP increases, pulse quickens, problem solving decreases
  • When phone is in hand low interpersonal closeness and trust, empathy and understanding
  • Delusions of intelligence when actually they know less
  • Give the mind more room to think


https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-smartphones-hijack-our-minds-1507307811

Monday, October 9, 2017

Anjali - Her Blog on the Cricket Workshop

“Cricketing Practices and Life lessons”
Me and my family were enjoying our last day in Mumbai when dad said something about taking a Dussehra camp called “Cricketing practices and life lessons” at the ML Jaisimha Academy, in Bantia estate. I had not had a great experience at the academy by getting up so early to watch dad bowl but I simply inquired. “What age group is it for?”. “Under 15”.” I will join”. My dad looked at me as if not sure” Okay” he said after some time. Now I thought what I needed. Whites, Alarm, and I had to sleep early my whole vacation!
The first day we left at 6:30 to reach at 7:00. Astonishingly there was no one except for the man who does chores Malliah (If I am spelling it correctly) and the older boys. Okay I sat down waiting for the others to arrive. (Not that I knew the others) Soon I got to know everyone Aarav, Anish, Vivek, Jaiwant, Taufiq, Abhishek, Hardik, Dhruv and my friend Smaran who has been coming for a long time. A few joined late. Over the time of eight days we covered topics like resilience, leadership, courage, preparation, basics, Target, team work etc. The before class warm-up included running, stretching, and batting and bowling drills. After warmup we would discuss the topic and then learn how to use it in life. The small things like Ann aunty and her cats etc. made the course special The after-match games taught us all the ten topics. Here are some pics.

Drills with my dad’s coach Beig sir.

The above was Anjali's piece on her experiences at the workshop. I asked her if she could add a bit about her learning from the workshop. Then she added this.

Here is what I learnt in the course:
1.       To be understanding and not underestimate anyone
2.       To learn from your mistakes and get back up
3.       To be kind but firm with fellow teammates
4.       To be ready to face the obstacles that come one’s way
5.       To never think of giving up and depending on that small chance
6.       To learn from everything
7.       To set easy targets and work on them
8.       To play for your team
9.       To be alert and attentive
10.   To be disciplined

My dad told us a few things that I won’t forget. Such as (My father did not say these exact same things. It is just what I remember from the course)
“A man once said that if you’re early you’re on time, and if you’re on time you’re late and if you’re late DON’T EVEN BOTHER COMING” Dad follows this rule and urges me to get ready early every day.
Or
“A marathon runner once decided that he must focus better. So he counts every step he takes but there is a twist. You cannot think of anything else other than the number”
Or
“You have to play for the team not yourself”

This sums up my experience and what I learnt from the course. He plans to take more courses. And if you liked it please join the next time it is held.

Thanks Anjali. I would be thrilled if you would come for the next workshop too. You are a wonderful student to have. :)

Brand building Storytelling

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Kundan Shah - Enough for a Lifetime

The obituaries being written about Kundan Shah somehow make it sound like he began well but then he never really lived up to his initial success. Which to me is a completely wrong assessment of him and his work. For someone who gave us 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron', a movie I would watch any day any number of times, I feel he has done more than enough for a lifetime.

In fact while at a birthday party yesterday we were joking about D'Mello's character talking about how to deal with the cake - aadha kaho and aadha pheko. Or the other line - vilayat mein peene ka paani alag and gutter ka paani alag. Or just naming the characters on all the members of the crew - Vinod (Vidhu Vinod Chopra), Sudhir (Sudhir Mishra)...and the unforgettable Shobha ji, Tarneja, Ahuja and Priya.

Someone who gave us 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa' which still ranks among one of the favorite films to watch. Or a TV series like 'Nukkad', or 'Wagle ki Duniya'. or 'Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi'. All one will be remembered is for one such work. Millions would die to have something like JBDY on their resume. Just for that one creation Kundan Shah will remain up there in the all time greats. But then he had all those others too - equally good - which is fabulous. Stuff you seriously want to own, to show your children, to share with your friends because it touches that nice part of you deeply.

Kundan Shah, thank you for the laughs, for aspiring to a simple, bumbling life you showed in your films, and for elevating comedy to a fine art, a kind and generous space where everyone can laugh together and not a space where everyone is laughing at one person. It is subtle, intelligent and warm. Not the loud, offensive and in-your-face lazy stuff we see these days.

Kundan Shah's body of work is worth tens of the forgettable hit makers. My top 5 film directors of all time.  

Anjali - Cricket Practice And a New Phase

Anjali likes playing games and has a good ball sense and rhythm. She also has her favorite sports - badminton for one. She plays cricket with me, kabaddi with her friends at school, and I remember we played football and whatever else games we could when she was younger. She did ask me to enrol her in badminton classes but never cricket. So it was a pleasant surprise when I heard her pipe up while discussing the 'Cricket Practices and Life Lessons' workshop in Mumbai.
Off we go for the first day
'I also want to come Nanna,' she said.
'Come,' I said with no excitement. 'But you must come for all days. Not start and stop.'
'Yes,' she said.
'You will have to wake up every morning at 6 and get ready for the cricket camp,' I warned.
'Yes,' she said.
'You must wait till the classes get done and not hurry me home,' I said.
'Yes,' she said.
'There might be only boys and you the only girl,' I said.
'No problem,' she said.
 I had no other conditions. After we returned from Mumbai she looked for her white track pant (I insisted that she wears white like the other boys). We searched for a white t shirt and she soon found one. White socks and sports shoes and then her bat from Decathlon and she was all set.
Warming up with the right intent
On the first day she was up and ready.
'Are they big boys Nanna?' she asked apprehensively as we went to the academy. I know how that feels.
'No,' I said. 'Most are small. Maybe a couple of 15 year olds.' I had no clue how many would turn up.

'I will call you sir in the academy,' she said. 'After we step out I will call you Nanna.'
'Ok,' I said.
On the front foot
Anjali was all attention to the lessons. She did all that was required of her without complaining - if I said do 9 rounds she did it - so with stretching and other exercises. And everyday she did more - I was surprised at her stamina or rather drive. That was good. She got along with the boys fine. She made notes in her journal and every evening she did her homework. She participated and asked questions in the session.
Catching practice
When we showed them the drills she learned them quickly and that was something that surprised and pleased Baig sir who was there that day. He started using her to demonstrate the correct grip, stance and backlift, defence and drive. Anjali learned the bowling drills and fielding drills and practiced them diligently. She put up her hand when we asked for volunteers and answered when questions were asked. Good.
Discussing strengths and areas to improve
I wanted to see how she would cope with the discipline of getting up early every day but she was spot on. Except for the 'one minute more Nanna' pleas which lasted exactly one minute she would quickly get ready and be in the car with me. She told me she enjoyed the morning rides to the academy and would tell me what she liked or did not like about the sessions.
Listening with rapt attention
There were times of course when she got the wrong answer or could not demonstrate a particular practice well or just got brushed into the background and her face would just become small. But that is what the game teaches you and she learned to cope with it. She is still the perfectionist and does not want to be wrong and takes a long time to recover. So does Smaran and we covered it in the topic on resilience - that the champion quickly learns from his mistakes and recovers fast from a mistake. That they could do a mistake was itself a huge relief for them. There is still some work to do in that area but the seed has been sown. All of them mentioned it in their list of things they learned.
Demonstrating to the class
A few other that stood out were her quick application of things like target setting. When she went in to bat with Hardik they set themselves a target of 12 for their partnership and they helped their side win. Similarly when told to support the team she was always vocal about supporting her team - high fives and encouraging shouts when they did well.
Bowling in a game
She put up her hand when asked who wanted to lead and it was interesting for me to see how she would deal with older boys and also being the only girl in the group. She did a good job on day one. They won a tough match chasing a target of 40 and she did a great job by running singles and keeping sanity in an otherwise adrenaline packed atmosphere with the boys wanting to belt the cover off the ball and throwing all they learnt to the wind. Smaran was quick to recognise this and he voted her one of the two best captains in the group.
Team like a FIST
In her own way she did a great job with bowling despite her limited speed and skill there. She got the ball in the right areas and stemmed the runs from a whpping 23 in the first over to only four in the second. This encouraged Smaran who was their best bowler (in fact the best in the group) to trust her with the last over with only 11 needed. But she gave only four and they won. Talk of trust.

What was interesting about that last over was that she specifically told Smaran that she would bowl that over and would win the match.  Smaran later told me that he trusted her confidence and gave it to her.

In a later game when she was leading, she found Jaivant and Aarav tough to handle. When she wanted to bowl the second over Aarav took the ball and started to bowl, supported by Jaivant. She turned away and cried, but kept those tears hidden from me. Of course I could see what was happening but she had to learn. Bhupinder was concerned when he saw her upset. Then while batting Jaivant wanted to bat in her place when he had already batted and was really pushing her when I had to step in and tell him that he could bat only once, that he had to listen to the captain and just because he was a good player it does not mean he could bat for everyone else. He was supposed to maintain the dressing room atmosphere and support his team.

That day we had a chat on the way back and she was emotional and upset at how the boys pushed her over and did not listen to her. We first discussed how as players in a team we cannot wish some players away - all kinds of players form the team and we must make the best of what we have. We also discussed how as captain she could not let that affect her because it would affect the team. She had to hold her space and somehow convince the team and take it forward. If she gets affected the team gets affected. She nodded and understood how she needed to lead at that stage. It was a lesson I could not expose her to in any other way but the sport because once the game was over they were all friends again.

On the last day we did the lesson on courage - of facing difficulty head on despite the fear. In cricket, the short ball. They did it with a tennis ball and she held on despite getting hurt and despite the tears in her eyes. She got behind the ball, played and tried to play it right.

Much has been shared and learned and I am sure she is also observing me and my behavior, the other boys and their behaviors, and learning how to or how not to from them. The fact that she wanted a new bat for her birthday over a guitar was sign that she wanted to continue. We bought that and a pair of gloves. She also told me she wanted to come every Saturday and Sunday and I said I would take her. Baig sir is quite happy with her and told me to bring her over for a few weeks and well, long as she can sustain the interest and enthusiasm, and learns from Baig sir and others, I guess the lessons will continue.
On the backfoot
Today they were all there and I could see how much they had all improved as people and with skill - Aarav, Anish, Satwik, Hardik, Dhruv, Daksh and now Anjali. When Daksh wanted to change the captain we spoke about how they were part of teams and it was not for them to question captains and stuff and they either played for their team and captain or sat out.
Feeding me a piece of cake
I am pretty pleased with the way Anjali handled the initial fear and discomfort and is slowly settling down into her groove with the other kids. She has developed a relationship with Ann, Mallaiah, Bhupinder and Santsoh and certainly her bunch. Onwards then onto an interesting phase - one I never expected. But then life is life that isn't it, full of unexpected surprises. Like Nisha mentioned about Akshar 'I hope it makes a stronger person of him' I am convinced that Anjali is already a better person for having taken this step. Like I never tire of saying - cricket taught me more about life than anything else.