Publisher: Healing Heart
No. of Pages: 114
“Despite my family’s spiritual influence, I wasn’t sure of God until I was in my late-twenties. I thought we Indians are so tradition-bound that people worship God because their parents and ancestors did so. It was just a ritual and a chore. Who was ready to face the social wrath? Since I considered myself a bit of a rebel, I did not feel I would ever concede to the social pressures of worshipping God. I did not disregard God, but I wasn’t sure of Him. I was curious about Him, and yet at the same time, I kept Him at bay until I needed Him every once in a while, like when I needed to be saved from scant preparation during exam seasons. After everything got over, I quickly thanked Him and didn’t bother Him much. What if He started making demands on me? Could I handle that?”
Isn’t the above narrative so very similar to what many people feel about God, the Almighty, the spiritual force, whatever name one may give to the Power Above?
The book, Living Courageously written by Lipa Rath is a self help book which has been recommended by a direct disciple of Sri Paramahansa Yoganandaji, the well known yogi and author of the book, Autobiography of a Yogi. So, it becomes an added qualification for the book also giving due credit to the author for making use of her own experiences in life and writing a book that is simple yet uncomplicatingly spiritual, emotional yet practical and logical.
For a person to undergo suffering and yet, emerge non-cynical, forgiving and loving is extremely difficult in today’s world. That the author Lipa Rath was able to do this and more in her own life and also write a book to inspire other people is indeed a lovely initiative.
The background of the author’s life is this-
A corporate person, she has gone through an unhappy marriage, lost custody of her daughter and finally etched back to survival and success in the real sense of the word. Today, she has the custody of her daughter Ria and is helping people connect with themselves.
The book, Living Courageously is about the spirit that can never be conquered. It is written in three parts under the titles, ‘Challenges’, ‘Understanding and Healing’ and ‘Man’s Greatest Gift and His Highest Potential.’
“Friends had warned me I should always be nice with my boss and be in his good books, “because your immediate boss has the key to your promotion, your increments, your references…”It sounded like he had the key to all the happiness in my life!
“I peered into myself. I saw only faults and mistakes. “Not good enough!” came the verdict. I sought the company of people who could correct me. I was drawn to people who only saw my faults…..
…We sought each other out. I was out with a whip and willingly gave it to others to use on me. In their subtle and sometimes in obvious ways, they told me how miserable I was. And the worst is that I accepted it.”
She talks about moving away from being victimised to the role of a reviewer and finally, to that of a ‘detached observer’ who is less prejudiced and more objective in his/her attitude. This helps in overcoming a difficult or painful experience.
“The batterer cannot touch your core, your spirit….After a while you realize that you can’t be wrong for everything. This is just a tactic to break your self-esteem.”
What stand out in this book are the author’s faith, patience and perseverance. Despite facing all odds, she does not let go even when the kaal chakra (wheel of time) knocks her down again and again. For a person less likely to read a non-fiction book on self-development, ‘Living Courageously’ will be a great beginning as the language is simple, no high-funda stuff mentioned that goes over the head and one can identify with the author’s emotions.
The book is all about falling, hurting and then, dusting oneself and standing up once again. I guess, everyone would wish to read this book then.
Lipa Rath is a certified spiritual counselor, an angel therapist and a writer. She has worked extensively in the area of personal growth, health and well-being, issues of self-esteem and spirituality for over ten years. She has shared Eastern spiritual traditions in America and Europe.
A day observed entirely to celebrate womanhood is great and it can be a rewarding experience if one is able to gift oneself for it!
Yeah! you got it right. A few of my poems are being featured as part of an anthology titled, THE AWAKENING OF SHE and it is being launched on International Women’s Day (yeah! today!) by none other than Mrs. President of India – our very own First Lady!
Some one had once told me many moons ago that I should not INDULGE in writing poetry because poets became famous only after they left the earthly arena for good!! Advised with good intention but, I am glad I did not take that suggestion to heart.
Today, many many years later, I still write poetry, am terribly in love with it like before, people are aware of my creative leanings and surprise of all surprises, I am ALIVE!
Kudos to Poets Corner, Dolly Singh and Yaseen Anwer for coming out with this endeavor and thanks for helping me give a gift to myself on this special day.
Thanks to all my FB friends for appreciating this venture and for my other online and offline friends. It is with your encouragement and good wishes that I am able to do more……
A post for the contest, “Condition Serious Hai’
another delightful venture by IndiBlogger.in
Just the other day, a distant relative descended upon my haven of practical reality.
“I had to attend a wedding reception here. I have heard a lot about your city. Take me around” she said and even before I could mentally make plans about adjusting my daily routine to fit in a week filled with visits to the popular places, she had begun tormenting me about the heat that was troubling her immensely. It was not exactly summer then, but to cool down her rising temperature, I offered her the master bedroom with the air conditioner which she shamelessly accepted.
Next began her commentary about the kind of complicated life I was leading. No amount of diverting the topic helped so, I let her lead the way knowing fully well that she would be eating her words very soon (I imagined her eat a raw egg mixed with grated bitter gourd).
“Beta” she continued. Zindagi aamne-saamne baithkar logon se kee jaathi hai – na ki mukh kitaab se.”
“Mukh Kitaab? What’s that?” I asked her.
“Yeh bhi nahi jaanthi ho aur apne aap ko journalist kehti ho?”
I blinked thrice. Winced twice and clenched my first once!!
“Phes Book. Aur kya!”
Since I couldn’t throw anything at her I got up and moved to the kitchen only to be interrupted by the door bell. I rushed to the door to be greeted by the courier guy. Even as I was signing and receiving the package I was reprimanded for getting a packet from an unknown man – could it not be a hidden bomb?
Looking at my plight the courier guy mumbled, “ Inthe maarie aal vechite yedpi vaalringe?” (How are you living life with such kind of people). My lost-to-the-ravages-of-time relative looked questioningly at me. Could she see the little smile hanging precariously on my lips?
Not wanting to smile, I opened the package before her (that was what she actually wanted). It turned out to be a book to be reviewed with the picture of a pretty woman dressed in modern attire.
What was she expecting me to read – The Ordinance in Parliament?
“Issei achcha tho hamaara serial hai jo hame achchi biwi or ma bannei kee seekh deita hai” she preached.
No wonder you are like this, I mumbled mentally.
Inki condition tho really serious hai. I thought to myself.
P.S. My relative continued to stay with us tormenting me with her tirades, preaching her morals and values everywhere she went – on the beach, to the pujari in the temple, to the waiter in the restaurant……
Of course, the sentiment between us was mutual. We both considered one another to be nut cases, tough to crack and a lost cause of course!!!
Oh ! Mother, sweet Mother Divine
Every time my eyes moisten
from a world drenched
in the dust of pain and worry
You make me remember
that there is still hope,
that a mundane existence
will crawl out of the deadly odour
of spineless, meaningless banter.
Oh! Mother, Sweet Mother Divine,
when the cruel strings of living death
tie me in their wrathful sadistic grasp
and I struggle to let go, to live the life
of inner joy
you remind me of the law of karma -
my dharma to live, work and interact
You hold me tight in your warmth of unconditional love
and shoo away the ever worrying thoughts of a fruitless tomorrow.
Oh! Mother, Sweet Mother Divine.
My Humble Pranams.
“As long as I have life, as long as blood flows through this arm of mine, I shall not leave the cause of freedom…I am only a woman, only a poet. But as a woman, I give to you the weapons of faith and courage and the shield of fortitude. And as a poet, I fling out the banner of song and sound, the bugle call to battle. How shall I kindle the flame which shall waken you men from slavery...”
Today, as we celebrate women everywhere, we need to turn back the pages of our history to celebrate this wonderful woman…. Today, being her 135th birth anniversary, let us salute this wonderful woman…..
Some thoughts expressed in one of my first blog posts!
When the winds of change
threaten to invite anarchy
within its midst
my tri coloured flag flies high
in the sky
putting to shame
all superficial claims to maintain democracy.
When the winds of change
entice a generation too chilled out
to feel the pangs of democratic labour
then, my national flag
rustles quietly in the free breeze
building up a quiet revolution
of self realization and forbearance.
Can we allow a mere changing wind
to ruffle our age old foundation
of love for the soil that enriches
our very being, the soul itself?
When the nation works relentlessly
to live life, to earn, to survive amidst all odds
Can we not silently work to uphold the pride of our national flag?
Jai Hind. Happy Republic Day. God bless You. God bless India.
Firstly, a very happy New Year to you dear friends. Rather later in the day you might say? Well, as they rightfully proclaim, ‘Man proposes and God disposes.’ I had plans for the 2013 year-end like any other person wanting to end the year on high hopes, waiting wishes and longing love and laughter. And although I may have not had a 100% fulfilling 2013 I did want to reflect, re-design and rejuvenate resolutions for the New Year 2014.
But, it was not to be. My husband awoke to very high fever and terrible bone pain one morning. He was nursed back to health only to find his wife (yeah, me) with the same kind of body wrenching symptoms. Agreed that we are still in love with one another after so many years of marriage. Agreed that we do tend to pick up certain random thoughts popping up in each other’s minds. Agreed that we had promised during our wedding rituals to share each other’s joy and sorrow but, to fall seriously ill when the other has only just recovered and for the same illness?
Well, to cut a long story short, we both husband and wife, in thick and thin tested to dengue fever. Yes, dengue which had no medicine. Yes, dengue which could only be borne patiently to recover. Yes, the fever that almost did us down. Only our teenage son’s presence in our home kept us from giving up completely.
I have never had broken bones ever in my life. So, when this bone hammering machine entered into my delicate frame it was something I just could not bear. My mind was no help either as it kind of just blanked out with all that fever and pain. It felt as though I had enough cells in my brain only to command me to undergo the rituals for surviving through each day. Even that pained profusely to an extent that the mind refused to even give orders as the body would not obey.
And to top it all, I had a sulking maid who got pissed off because we would not accept her suggestion of a medication. And the kaadha or herbal decoction that we needed to have every 4 to 5 hours was horrible. The pomegranate part (to increase the blood count) was bearable but the papaya leaf eating was terrible. Added to it was the constant fear that our son might get it too. Fortunately, he escaped and we survived although there were no New Year celebrations exhausted as we were falling sick, recovering, coming to terms with weakness of mind, body and spirit.
The good thing is that both, hubby and I look slimmer now. The joint pains do join together at times to regale me. Sitting or standing for long in one position is difficult at times. I am told this will continue for a while. Thankfully, my husband is spared that pain (the stronger one you see!). But, I am thankful that the main misery is over. And, some of the resolutions for the New Year (which I could not make due to the illness) quite naturally came up on the horizon:
• Learn to be thankful for the little that you have (people suffer much more)
• Take care of your human frame (it does not get stronger with age)
• Realize that you have to bear your share of pain (nobody can do it for you)
• Believe that whatever happens takes place for the best (maybe, a lot of bad karma was burnt during the entire process of suffering)
• The blessings and good wishes of people never go unanswered (thank you dear friends)
P.S. I suppose the Almighty realized that we had suffered enough so He did arrange a surprise for us late in the day. About that, in another post. Bye till then. Have a lovely happy and healthy New Year…
Book Title: Swastik Trilogy-Eka – Baramulla Bomber
Author: Clark Prasad
Publication: Niyogi Books
Genre: Science Fiction Espionage Thriller
Call it plain co-incidence but the moment I completed reading the heavily loaded and powerful Baramulla Bomber and set down to write the review of the book, my computer’s external drive had crashed.
“Quantum Physics meets Bible and Vedas in Background of Kashmir and Cricket!” the cover picture screamed at me. While one part of me was inquisitive about this combination of faith, terrorism, ancient weapon, science and logic the other part was treading slowly, wondering what this book was going to hurl back at me. Was I going to survive it unharmed? Would I complete the journey of reading the book enticed to read more? Or, would the whole concept of this “Scientific Fiction Espionage Thriller” just blow over my head?
The protagonists are many in the novel but the ones that we are made to follow are Mansur, Aahana and Adolf.
Mansur Haider is a man of faith from Kashmir aspiring to become a cricketer. Is it possible for a man from troubled Kashmir to aspire and convert his dream into reality?
“Kashmiris cannot dream; other Indians will not support our rise and we will always be looked at with suspicion. Father thought otherwise – of one does not dream, one cannot achieve, he used to say.”
Unknown to him, intelligence agencies from across the globe are trailing him for their own selfish purposes. His girlfriend Aahana Yajurvedi is working hard to locate her friends from the mountaineering team that vanished mysteriously during an earthquake. The Swedish intelligence officer, Adolf Silfverskiold is investigating the mysterious disappearance and Mansur.
So, what is so thrilling about this espionage novel? Well! For one, it is very realistic and the moment you begin reading it albeit after a few moments of confusion you are thrown into the conspiracy of a novel filled with characters and situations that seem to have jumped straight out of a thriller movie.
General Chan’s spies here too, General Pervez’s maniacal henchmen staying in my adjacent room. At least the ISI has told who they are….every Chinese looks a spy to me. General Chan feels I am using ancient Chinese knowledge and he has every right to the results from my use of it.
Dr Nasir pushed the blue elevator button and waited patiently for the cylindrical glass elevator to arrive. He loosened his scarf and scratched his neck gently, rotating his head in a circular motion.
General Pervez and Chan will never appreciate the power of the Vedas. They don’t understand. It’s not about religion but knowledge. After all, the Vedas were given directly by the Gods.
The manipulation of the chant AUM along with some Sanskrit mantras is used to take control of another matter. So, were Dr. Nasir Raja, a predominant scientist and thinker, the ISI and China getting together to create a weapon based on the combination of the primordial sound and modern contemporary science? Was it possible to kill by using an infrasound?
Writing more would be revealing the plot which will prove to be a spoiler for this unique book. The author, Clark aka Suraj Prasad has done a great deal of research to make this wonderful book as realistic as possible. It is as if he himself is on a mission. That is why I cannot refrain myself from mentioning a few lines which a character in the novel representing India at the UN Assembly says:
“Pervez, there are people like you who feel that by shouting a few threatening words, and then using religion as a tool to manipulate emotions, you can blackmail the world. But I stand here to tell you and people like you that we Indians are an ancient race. A race that not only values its own culture, but also respects every other culture. We do not need lectures on it. If you way of thinking was right, then why aren’t you the most prosperous country on the planet? Why aren’t your people the happiest people on Earth?”
Once you are through the first part of the Swastik Trilogy don’t miss out on the Dvitiya part of the novel titled, The Consultant: Shopno Paradox.
Clark Prasad, alter ego of Suraj Prasad is a pharmacist with a management degree who believes in conspiracy theories. Baramulla Bomber is his first book. His first education on the mysteries of the universe came via Carl Sagans Cosmos, and since then he never looked back on reading, watching and discussing about the universe. He grew up during the cold war days with BBC radio being one of his mysterious companions as a kid, when his father played the news regularly every day. World War II news and documentaries on CIA-KGB tussle kept him engaged that time. At present he is a healthcare management consultant based at Bengaluru.
Something that most women prefer to keep hidden or do not wish to openly discuss about, even though it is a universal phenomenon is menstruation. Or ‘periods,’ as most of us women seem to know it as.
I remember my mother telling me about ‘periods’ just a year before it happened.
So, should our children be prepared for this? I am sure that most of you will reply in the affirmative because it is something that growing children must know. I remember my mother telling me about ‘periods’ just a year before it happened. So, when I suddenly discovered a stain I was not exactly horrified although I do remember shedding a few tears because I had been told that my height might take a beating after that unique phenomenon. Just imagine! At a time when there could be greater dangers lurking for a girl whose body was almost ready for womanhood, I was worried about being short!
Well, coming back to the point of informing our kids, I am sure as parents, we get to let them know about it depending upon the circumstances and anything else that might aid us in gauging the appropriate time in preparing our kids. So, we let our daughters know when we think the time is ripe. Right? But, what if we don’t have daughters and have sons instead? Will you tell? Shouldn’t a boy know?
When my son was using Huggies, he was naturally too small to be aware of anything. When he outgrew his hugging pads he was too busy discovering life with a few lessons of etiquette thrown in here and there. Basically, he was too busy to notice anything. When he did notice a sanitary pad one fine day (he was bound to notice Someday!) he was still in single digits, so I explained that all mummies used it. Not fully convinced why and not too bothered why, he continued with life with the occasional ads on television reminding him that his mother was using a product shown on television!!
After all, he was going to face a menstruating woman some day in his life as his wife.
Book Title: My Journey – Transforming Dreams into Actions
Author: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Publication: Rupa Publications
Genre: Non Fiction/Autobiography
I can hear my father tell me,
‘‘I know you have to go away to grow. Does the seagull not fly across the sun, alone and without a nest? You must forego your longing for the land of your memories to move into the dwelling place of your greater desires; our love will not bind you, nor will our needs hold you.”
When this book came into my hands I knew almost immediately that I held a treasure of knowledge. Now, now. Do not presume that this book is about general knowledge that many amongst us were forced to read as kids. The book is instead a plethora of emotions and thoughts tied together like in a bouquet. It is life described from the layman’s point of view.
The narrative hits you where it should – the heart. And, any presumptions that may have been lurking in the crevices of stereotype thoughts are put to rest once one begins reading the book.
- What stands out about this book is that A.P.J. Abdul Kalam does not permit either his fantastic career as a former scientist or an ex-President to derail him from his track of introspection, realization and sharing.
- What stand out are his beautiful memories that take the readers on a whirlwind tour through time.
- What stands out is his unassuming narrative which makes no attempt whatsoever at disguising poverty, impoverishment, failure, hurt, dejection – all which went a long way in shaping the persona of the man we see before us today.
The book, My Journey – Transforming Dreams into Actions neither gives you the heady feeling that an autobiography does replete with accomplishments and the like nor does it pale into insignificance with its description of life in general. It is divided into 12 chapters , small ones that aid you in remembering the significant moments in your life be it a stroll with your father, your first job, the acknowledgement of the love of parents and siblings in your life, your inspiration, your acceptance of failure and the need to carry on in life whatever the loss.
“Joy is fleeting, whereas true happiness and calm come to us only after intense pain, when we have confronted ourselves in the mirror of our souls and understood the self.”
On the professional front he talks about the value and sacrifice of any great work.
“When grand plans for scientific and defence technologies are made, do the people in power think about the sacrifices the people in the laboratories and fields have to make? Political rhetoric alone does not build a nation unless it is backed by the power of sacrifice, toil and virtue. That is true nation building.”
Tiny incidents in his life make you understand that he is just like all of us – not a dominating personality of goodness out there to make us feel any less for being an ordinary person. In fact, it is his identification with the ordinary things in life that make us bond with him more through this book. I was touched for instance when I read about the part where he writes about his agony of ‘mortgaging’ a book he held close to his heart during his IIT days in Chennai because he did not have enough money to buy a train ticket to go home to Rameshwaram.
On teachers he says:
“That day I learnt two lessons: a teacher who has his or her student’s progress in mind is the best possible friend, because the teacher knows how to make sure that you excel. And second, there is no such thing as an impossible deadline.”
About his dear mother he writes oh! So lovingly:
“Yet, within that, she served everyone and God with utmost devotion, selflessness and piety. It is this lesson that I have carried from her life – that it does not matter how large or small your sphere of activity is, what counts finally is the commitment that you bring to the job that has been ordained for you in this life.”
On work ethics which he learnt at the grand young age of 8 he writes:
“Mostly, I learnt that to be a working man meant you had to be up and ready to face the day, whatever else may happen to you. Homework, tuition, prayers, all carried on, but the Madras-Dhanushkodi Mail would not wait for me – I had to be present at the station at the correct time and at the correct point to catch the bundles as they came flying in.”
The anecdotes in this beautiful book never fail to astonish me in their simplicity and striking messages as well as in the stark philosophical and practical reality that they reflect.
To simply describe the author whom we all already know very well, I quote him from his book:
“This is described in the Bhagwad Gita: ‘See the flower, how generously it distributes perfume and honey. It gives to all, gives freely of its love. When its work is done, it falls away quietly. Try to be like the flower, unassuming despite all its qualities.’”
Do not miss the book whatever your genre of interest may be. The book is simply beautiful in its simplicity and is truly inspiring.