March 2010

The man was constantly on phone, rambling about his millions. From his talk, one could sense he must be a pretty busy guy running a pretty important business. I was not eavesdropping out of curiosity, nor must be anybody else sitting in the lobby outside a private business enterprise. We were a bunch of tormented visitors waiting in the lobby for our turns to see the person in charge. Each one of us was patiently putting up with his non sense in our own ways. I was trying to focus on the magazine I had picked up as recourse to avoid the bizarre situation and was increasing curbing the impulse to ask the person to shut up. Literally SHUT UP! On a number of occasions I have encountered this menace of public talk in high pitch, in hospitals, restaurants, schools, even in libraries.

Leave alone the etiquettes; we have the nerve to publicly discuss about private matters such as our financial issues, domestic scuffles and major & minor affairs of life. We seem hell bent to roll our sorry state of lives down the throats of others. But why leave etiquettes? What happened to this increasingly dwindling, and almost non-existent today, set of good old values? What happened to the motto of Live & Let Live? The space we need to breathe has been made to shrink to the point of suffocation. The respect for one’s privacy is ridiculed and denied repeatedly.

We are a bunch of rogues on roads, liars & thugs in private & public enterprises and criminals in hospitals; last but not the least, highly incompetent & mediocre professionals; and oh not to mention, shamelessly cruel while dealing with animals.



A while ago I had argued about some people being less fortunate than others. I had insisted that the poorest of the poor and destitute are the most unfortunate of all. This is the stratum of the civil society which stands at the greatest disadvantage and lay exposed to the most misfortunes of life on daily basis, by the hour, by the minute. However today, I retract my words. I resent my myopic vision.

The poorest of the poor is not someone without money; he is the one who is devoid of love & compassion and the one who has lost his love forever and the one who has a life spent in an incurable disease. Today I met a mother who had lost her only child. All her wealth & wherewithal notwithstanding, she seemed worse off than my penniless maid with a polio-stricken & bed ridden child. I resent to have restricted my perception of misfortune to the lack of money. Money, the magical five lettered word, the only powerful catalyst (according to many of us) to achieve a comfortable life and to make dreams come true. I was so wrong!

God has his own incomprehensible & mysterious ways to fend for his people. He has his own cosmic designs for each one of us and no human strategy works in the face of the Divine Design.

That I was born a Muslim was a Divine Design; that I don’t have any chronic disease is a Divine Design; that I am going to live life to the fullest or otherwise is a Divine Design and that I would die on the day I am destined to is a Divine Design. There is nothing much left in my life if I take out all the aforementioned occurrences. My whole life has been predestined for me by the supreme entity. I may set out to put my whole wherewithal at work in the pursuit of a dream, however if the fulfillment of my dream is not chalked out in my fate, all my wherewithal & paraphernalia notwithstanding, it will not come true! Such is the persistent of the Divine Will! We humans are so helpless it makes me wonder where the human endeavor fits in, among such powerful forces as fate & Divine Design.

Only recently I heard this adage from a friend

“Socho mat janay do” which, interestingly, can be interpreted in two quite opposite ways.

“Socho! Mat janay do” and “Socho Mat! Janay do”.The adage serves to make a point against negativity and pessimism. The placement of exclamation mark plays a world of difference in the meaning of the phrase. It practically transforms the negative into positive or positive into negative, depending on the mindset of the interpreter (Think! Don’t let go) or (Don’t think! Let go) Whoever coined this phrase wanted to show the duplicity of words and pose a challenge to cognitive instincts of humans and their ability to interpret words. Sometimes actions can be as deceiving as words; more so in recent times.

So the question is how to read between the lines; how to see the glass as half full instead of half empty and last but not the least how to counter the negativity & pessimism and replace all this insanity with optimism.

Quite recently, if a friend would renege on her promise or a colleague would be found trying to stab me in the back, my first reaction would have been one of shock and disbelief. I would cringe with disgust and try not to have to do much with such a crafty person and even if I had to, I would be at guard but experience have proved this strategy a failure.

First of all recognizing that someone is trying to play the word game or acting nice is important. Becoming cynical is not what I am suggesting; however watch out for people whose vested interests might overlap with yours. Watch out for those on whom you are unduly dependant on. Avoid the fragility of circumstances and situations as much as you can, however I believe most of the times its just fate that brings you in the middle of something unpleasant. Sometimes all the planning and caution proves in vain.

After overcoming your subsequent reaction of shock and disbelief, patience is the virtue you would need in abundance in handling the malice. Smile a Bring-It-On smile and focus on the damage done. “Socho mat! Janay do (Don’t waste yourself writhing in rage over the perpetrator, focus on the damage done and think of ways to repair)

So the wrong-doer should be left alone to continue the persecution and work on his malicious agenda?

No if he doesn’t stop at this and if he can pose further threat to you.

And yes if the circumference of his malicious actions and words doesn’t converge on the boundaries encompassing your being.

Faith is another virtue you should call forth. I believe whoever does harm comes to harm sooner or later. There is a divine entity at work who is the best arbiter. Don’t dwell on negativity! Run away from it as fast as you can.

Feel gratitude for what you have and aspire not for what you don’t. Nature makes it own course for you. Persist on what you believe in with faith and positive mindset. And most importantly, nourish and uphold the nobility of thoughts, words and deeds. Odds are you’ll be an odd one out. That notwithstanding, more power to nobility!