Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Akshara Finishes her First 5K run

July 23, 2017 will be a memorable day for all of us as Akshara finished her first 5K run. She ran strong for 1.5 km, jogged for a km and walked for a km to the finish line of The San Francisco Half Marathon

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

An incident to remember

This is an incident that can be termed as 'Don't trust the Doctors' or 'Conviction of Mother's intuition', 'About medical tests and their accuracy'.

This happened a week ago. Our daughter Akshara fell ill and she was having high fever for 2 days. Anitha did her online research and was suspicious that it could be viral fever or it sometimes could be due to UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) . We reached out to the doctor and she asked us to come in to do a urine test so that UTI could be ruled out. If not detected, UTI could be pretty serious damaging the kidney's. We took Akshara for the urine test and the doctor did a visual check and she felt chances of UTI are low. But we should wait for 2 days for the culture in the urine to be tested. She also said that it looked more like a viral fever and would go away in 72 hours from when it started. We were a little relieved and headed home. The fever went down after a day and Akshara was normal. But then we got a call from the nurse saying that the test for UTI came out positive and prescribed some antibiotics. We were really concerned now. Armed with her online research and her own analysis of the circumstances, Anitha wasn't convinced that it could be UTI. If the fever was related to UTI then it shouldn't have gone and the likelihood of both UTI and an unrelated fever was quite low. So she decided to take a re-test. We went in again and gave the sample again for retest. And her hypothesis turned out to be true. The test's came negative now. Apparently the bacteria is present on the skin, and unless we don't wipe the skin clean, the traces would be found in the sample.

If not for Anitha's online research we would have followed the nurse's advice and would have unnecessarily given the antibiotics to Akshara for 10 days, which would have killed some of the good bacteria too. So the bottom-line is to not to blindly follow the doctor's/nurse's advice. Considering Doing online research has both sides. You could read some scary incidents of how worse the problem could become. But you would also gain more knowledge about the symptoms, causes, likely treatments/precautions. It's better to be aware and prepared than to be ignorant and happy.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

We are all different and yet we are all the same

The thought in the title of this post stems from my understanding that we humans are only as significant as any other creature (that inhabits the earth) from the point of view of the earth. If that is the case, then why do we seek a position of privilege from other creatures and even from other humans. Yes, each of us might have different strengths and different qualities but deep with-in we are all same. We yearn for the same love. respect and identity. Maybe this is the reason why Hinduism says that there is god in every being and so everyone should try to understand this and treat every being with respect and worship each other.

We might be holding different positions in our society (the value of which might depend on the significance the society places on that position), but that doesn't mean that we treat people with lower positions with disrespect. One might be a CEO of a company while the other might be a cleaner, but both of these should treat themselves with respect irrespective of their roles in the society/organization.

Purpose of Life : Yet Another Thought

The significance and purpose of our life can be different at different planes/spheres. I have started to believe that at the higher plane of universe (i.e at the cosmic level), an individual's life is purpose-less and hence does not impact anything irrespective of the outcome of his/her life. We are like just any other insect/animal/creature from the higher point of view.

When coming down a lower plane i.e from the point of view of the earth the purpose of an individual's life is only to sustain life on it (i.e. planet). As humans we are part of the big ecology and the complex food chain that exists on earth. All that matters is that we consume some of the creatures and some other creatures consume us. Fortunately or Unfortunately due to our scientific advances we have been able to protect ourselves from being prey to other creatures. But we are still not entirely protected because of the various viral, bacterial and other diseases (like cancer) which consume us.

When we come to an even lower plane i.e the plane of our society, the one which is entirely artificial created by the humans themselves, an individual's life becomes significant depending on the role that he/she plays in the society. At this level there is some purpose to his/her life. According to the norms of the society the individual gets rewarded according to the significance of his role. But the 'significance' is entirely subjective to the rules of each society. In capitalistic societies the significance is only attached to monetary importance. The market decides which has higher significance. For that reason, a teacher who although adds a higher value (by a humane/social yardstick) gets rewarded comparatively less than a software engineer who adds little value (in terms of the same yardstick).

So if you are thinking of a role which will help you in fulfilling your spiritual desires, do not go by the significance attached to the roles by the society. But the question is, whether there really is something called 'Spirituality' because at all higher planes it does not matter what we do in our daily lives, it does not matter what profession we are in, it does not matter how we achieve our physical/emotional needs. There is no morality, there are no values of 'REAL' significance. It is the individual who tends to attach significance to his/her life, differentiating (him/her)self from other individuals. He/she wants to feel that he/she is better than the individual next to him. Is it the insecurity or the ego that drives this feeling.

Seeking Knowledge vs Seeking Designations

In the long run seeking Knowledge is what is going to pay off than seeking Designations. The sooner we learn in the profession the better it will be.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Values to instill in my daughter

Just like any other parent I have some expectations from my daughter. Although it is too early to have some expectations from an infant. Some want their kids to grow up and become famous, others want them to gain positions of power/status in the society, while others want them to own big businesses. But these expectations are more from ourselves (as parents).

We as parents want to raise her in such a way that :-
  • She has 'empathy' for others. I believe empathy is a cornerstone for humanity. We live in a society where people are at different levels (socially/economically). If we cannot feel for the person next to us (in-spite of all the differences), then we cannot call ourselves human.
  • She 'respects' everyone around her. I want her to treat every person as a human first. I want her to understand that beneath all the covers everyone is just another human being like her. So everyone deserves the same respect that she expects from others.
  • She is 'humble'. Because no matter how good you are, there are umpteen others who are better than you. Be confident about yourself, but don't let it create ego in you.
  • She is 'inquisitive'. I want her to question everything before believing anything. Sure, it'll be a tough job explaining  her everything, but this is one quality very much essential to know yourself and the world around you. If you don't question, you don't progress. If you don't question then you will live a life guided by the norms and customs of the society. If you don't question then you'll live by the definition of the 'success' the society has created rather than defining yourself what your success is.
  • She is 'confident' : Of expressing her views, Of traveling the untraveled road if that is where here passion is, Of taking her own decisions.
This is a tough ask from ourselves and from her, but we can call ourselves successful parents only if we we can instill these values in her.  These values are important because they are needed to make this world a better place to live.

I don't really place high importance on what profession she chooses or whether she is 'successful' (as per the regular definition of the society). For me those are secondary. Because the happiness gained by it is materialistic happiness and is very shallow and temporary.

It sure will take a lot of our time, but we are prepared for it.

Our daughter Akshara Kranti is born

It is with great pleasure I announce the arrival of our beloved daughter Akshara Kranti. She was born on 29 Sept 2014. It was a very delightful moment when I had to announce the gender of our baby. Anitha's joy knew no bounds, as she had been waiting with bated breath for this moment, when she could hold the baby to her body. We had intentionally decided not to know the gender until she was born and it was good surprise. Seeing her enter this world was a wonderful experience and made me wonder in amazement about the whole process of birth.

The name in literal sense means 'Imperishable Revolution'. We had made a conscious decision to not have my last name as her last name because we believe the practice of carrying the fathers' last name symbolizes a subtle patriarchy in our culture.

Welcome to this world Akshara !!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Success : Jiddu Krishnamurti

Questioner: I want to do a certain thing, and though I have tried many times I have not been successful in doing it. Should I give up striving, or should I persist in this effort?

Krishnamurti: To be successful is to arrive, to get somewhere; and we worship success, do we not? When a poor boy grows up and becomes a multimillionaire, or an ordinary student becomes the prime minister, he is applauded, made much of; so every boy and girl wants in one way or another to succeed. Now, is there such a thing as success, or is it only an idea which man pursues? Because the moment you arrive there is always a point further ahead at which you have yet to arrive. As long as you pursue success in any direction you are bound to be in strife, in conflict, are you not? Even when you have arrived, there is no rest for you, because you want to go still higher, you want to have more. Do you understand?The pursuit of success is the desire for the `more', and a mind that is constantly demanding the `more' is not an intelligent mind; on the contrary, it is a mediocre, stupid mind, because its demand for the `more' implies a constant struggle in terms of the pattern which society has set for it.

After all, what is contentment, and what is discontent? Discontent is the striving after the `more', and contentment is the cessation of that struggle; but you cannot come to contentment without understanding the whole process of the `more', and why the mind demands it.

If you fail in an examination, for example, you have to take it again, do you not? Examinations in any case are most unfortunate, because they don't indicate anything significant, they don't reveal the true worth of your intelligence. Passing an examination is largely a trick of memory, or it may be a matter of chance; but you strive to pass your examinations, and if you don't succeed you keep at it. With most of us it is the same process in everyday life. We are struggling after something, and we have newer paused to inquire if the thing we are after is worth struggling for. We have never asked ourselves if it's worth the effort, so we haven't yet discovered that it's not and withstood the opinion of our parents, of society, of all the Masters and gurus. It is only when we have understood the whole significance of the `more' that we cease to think in terms of failure and success.

You see, we are so afraid to fail, to make mistakes, not only in examinations but in life. To make a mistake is considered terrible because we will be criticized for it, somebody will scold us. But, after all, why should you not make a mistake? Are not all the people in the world making mistakes? And would the world cease to be in this horrible mess if you were never to make a mistake? If you are afraid of making mistakes you will never learn. The older people are making mistakes all the time, but they don't want you to make mistakes, and thereby they smother your initiative. Why? Because they are afraid that by observing and questioning everything, by experimenting and making mistakes you may find out something for yourself and break away from the authority of your parents, of society, of tradition. That is why the ideal of success is held up for you to follow; and success, you will notice, is always in terms of respectability. Even the saint in his so-called spiritual achievements must become respectable, otherwise he has no recognition, no following.

So we are always thinking in terms of success, in terms of the `more' and the `more' is evaluated by the respectable society. In other words, society has very carefully established a certain pattern according to which it pronounces you a success or a failure. But if you love to do something with all your being you are then not concerned with success and failure. No intelligent person is. But unfortunately there are very few intelligent people, and nobody tells you about all this. The whole concern of an intelligent person is to see the facts and understand the problem - which is not to think in terms of succeeding or failing. It is only when we don't really love what we are doing that we think in those terms.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finally completed a 1 mile swim in the Pool

Swam for 1700 yards continuously for 1 hour. This is a personal achievement for me. Never did I think that I would be able to swim that long. This didn't happen in a day or a week. Took months of efforts to reach this stage. Thanks to registering for the Alcatraz Sharkfest, I had to make myself do all this practice, which I wouldn't have done if not for this.

I am very thankful to Anitha for supporting me in this endeavor. She pushed me to go for the swim on the days I became lazy to go. Thanks to the availability of the swimming pool at Oracle headquarters, close to my home. There was no excuse left for me.

Apparently a swim mile is 1650 yards and not 1750 yards.