Friday, December 28, 2007

Justice for killing

Today I was discussing what type of punishment should be meted out to people who kill other people.

Basically people think of two types of punishments for killers. Either life imprisonment or death.

My view is that if the death is due to an accident or any unavoidable and unfortunate event then the punishment should not amount to death. But people who kill for money, mental imbalance or any other reason purely to satisfy their needs should be given death. No other punishment will do justice to the killed than death to the killer.

Some people are proponents of life imprisonment hoping that the killer gets reformed. Jail will just harden a criminal in most cases. Such beings cannot be called as human. They are worse than animals. People who think that life imprisonment is justice should consider if they would think the same way if it happened to them or someone close to them.

Bottom line: Death to remorseless, cold hearted killers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Prayer: A connection to God

I must inform you that I pray very few times and I need to increase my prayer time. Just wanted to post my thoughts on what prayer is about. We take any religion, there is prayer. Whether it is Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc. All religions provide prayer as a means of communicating with God. Prayer is supposed to be the divine link between mortals and God.

But then start some problems. One is that people perceive prayer synonymous with granting of our wishes. So most prayers are made asking for this or for that. Mainly materialistic things. And when not obtained, there is discouragement which shows how hollow our praying was. Even I would shamefully suffer from the same situation. Also once we pray too often, especially prayers provided by so called priests, pundits, maulvis and so on, we forget the real meaning of prayer. Prayer just turns out to be a recitation of some memorized words which don't come from the heart but only from the mouth.

But prayer is much more than that. It is the path to our peace of mind. Prayer has been provided to us to relieve us from the stress that life throws at us. After a stressful day, just closing our eyes and talking to God (which is prayer), just mentioning our troubles to Him seems to bring extreme peace to our minds. That is what prayer is supposed to do.

So the next time you are stressed and go to a temple, mosque or church and by habit just tend to recite your prayers like a parrot, just pause for a minute and talk to God like to a friend. You will feel much, much better.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Contentment - happiness with one's situation in life

I was in the discussion with friends after lunch today and this topics seems to just come and go once too often. So I thought to write about it. The thought about being content with our life.

The first job that I had i.e when I could be considered an SET payed very little money, the work hours were 12 hours compulsory and life was tough. But the work helped me to learn a lot about being an actual programmer. Never in my later jobs have I learned as much and as fast as I had back then. But people who join large organizations with a hefty pay packet do not seem to be content with their job always comparing it with others. Something my mother says is quite true. Only when we grow from the ground level do we realize what we have achieved in life.

This discontentment branches out into all aspects of our life. We crib about our job, about our finances, about our love life. We complain about our looks, about not being smart enough and this and that. We always try to compare ourselves against other people and are never satisfied. Now I don't intend to tell that we should not have ambition. Of course we should always strive to improve ourselves. That is what life is about. But then we should also spend the time to appreciate the things we have in our life and avoid taking them for granted. True happiness can be found not on the outside but inside ourselves and that is when we are content with what we have.

The next time we feel dissatisfied with ourselves let us try and remember the things we have that many people can only dream to have in their lives.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I, me and myself

It's amazing how much we humans tend to thing about ourselves. It's something called ego or our self.

From the moment we wake up, till the time we go to bed, we are constantly thinking about ourselves. Studies suggest we concentrate on ourselves more than 95% the time. And the remaining time we concentrate on things like relationships which indirectly is again concentrating on our own selves.

That is what makes us humans selfish. If we would spend just a few minutes everyday getting interested in other people, we would know how beautiful and interesting the lives of people can be. We would find many interesting things about people. If we would just try to find out what makes a person as he/she is instead of judging a person, it would be much more beneficial for us.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Religion = Blind Faith?

I am one of those guys who was very religious at one time but am a moderate now. By religious, I mean accepting whatever is mentioned whether in the holy books or by a religious leader or by any authority on religion. But they realization struck one day that today's religion equals blind faith.

Blindly following what is mentioned in the books by mortal beings like us is an insult to God and his wisdom. God created us with intelligence. He didn't want us to be like animals guided by a stick. He gave us intelligence to think on our own. To use our intelligence and quest for knowledge to find the true meaning of God.

It was extremism in religion that puts me off about it. The world seems to suffer everyday because of religion: either directly or indirectly. It is when people take religion to extreme heights. Consider the terrorists who can kill others and themselves just to justify their religious misinterpretations. Consider the religions in India which cause more trouble with the minority status and stuff which instead of making a person a citizen of the country just ends up alienating people into various communities. Consider the destruction of temples, mosques and the mayhem that follows it whether it is for a good cause like development or a bad one like the Babri masjid demolition. Consider the Ram Sethu stuff which was used as a tool by the politicians.

My view is that a human cannot exist without God's guidance. But being spiritual and understanding one's purpose and meaning in this world is much better than indulging in blind adherence to practices, most of which harm others. God has given us a beautiful mind to understand him. Let's use it to learn how God works his magic through this beautiful world.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Money, money, more money

I was disgusted reading about dowry deaths in the newspaper . Recently there have been several cases of dowry related harassment or death. The disgusting part is that the people who are involved in this act are not rustic but well educated middle class people (one is an employee with Infosys and in the US, another has a family with a Indian navy background).

It shows that even though progress has been achieved on the economic front, our values still reflect a greed for money, power and status. Values are what define a human being. Not money, not looks, nor power, but the core of the human being.

What is most appalling is that many Indian families still find dowry acceptable, whether it is in giving or receiving it. It is difficult to understand how a family can send their daughter into a greedy, money minded family. People who base their lives on greed for money can never be happy, nor can they make others happy. Quite the contrary, money does seem to be the cause of all their problems.

This evil can only be stopped if society changes it's outlook towards dowry. Frankly, much changes should not be expected as the dowry trend is seen as increasing even as education increases. It is the women who should oppose handing their lives over to life-ruining jerks.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Unfairness in fairness

We Indians tend to have a morbid obsession of people with good looks and a fair skin. I was discussing this topic with friends and this always kind of feels like one of life's unjust moments.

One of my friends put a good example: Consider two chicks approaching. One with a dark complexion and one fair (assuming both are decent looking). The tendency with most of the people is to always give more importance to the fair looking person. The dark person almost always gets ignored.

What it means is that the dark people are always at a disadvantage when it comes to matters of attraction. The reason being a natural tendency of people to judge a person by his/her looks and skin color. Fairness cream companies laugh all the way to the bank after finding gullible people like us.

When there is a search for a marriage proposal, what do people first look at? Always the looks, always the skin. Then there is money, status, family background, etc. I have always heard this from old people whenever there is a marriage, "chedu kashe asaa? sobit asaa gi? gore asaa gi?" (konkani, translated to english, How is the girl? Is she beautiful? Is she fair?).

This surely causes some blood boiling situations for me but I have accepted the inevitable. People say that God has gifted some people beauty so we should appreciate it. Sure, beauty is to be appreciated. But restricting our views on beauty to good looks and skin color just shows how shallow human nature can be. Beauty appears in several forms, not just skin color and looks. But it is much easier to do that than appreciate the real beauty of a person because that takes a little more work.

Now if someone admires a girl because of her beauty, fairness, even I do it (artificially though) because I guess that's the way the world rotates.

Monday, November 26, 2007

So how fair and lovely are you?

Recently, I watched some part of the movie Traffic Signal. In one scene, there is a beggar kid who goes to the chemist to purchase a fairness cream. While I don't remember the conversation perfectly, it somewhat goes like this:
Chemist: "Chal nikal barah rupaye".
Kid (giving the money in coins): "Yeh cream kaam karega na".
Chemist: "Kiske liye le raha hai".
Kid: "Apne liye".
Chemist (looking at the extremely dark complexion of the kid): "He he he he".

Now, I didn't want to bore you with that dialogue but here is my point. I'm very annoyed with Sharukh Khan. Yesterday I saw an advertisment on television featuring Sharukh Khan endorse a fairness cream for men. Not we all know the obsession we Indians have with a fair skin and a pretty face. But when role models like Sharukh endorse such products which all educated people know is a sham, it just pisses me off.

I guess beauty is skin deep but our views are even more shallow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Money isn't everthing... or is it?

This thought about money creeps up several times in the mind. Should life be based on money? I mean if we have money we can have many things in life, isn't it? But then the thought comes to the mind, is getting a lot of money at the cost of our lives really worth it. A quote from the bible says, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?"

Earning money is not at all bad because money is what enables us to live our lives and help other people as well. But greed is what is bad. Not knowing how much money is enough is a problem. Once people get on to the path of making money most of us don't seem to know when to stop. Consider the richest people in the world, the people who's names figure in the top list of millionaires in the world. These people own so much money that they can sustain the economy of several under developed countries many times over. Why be satisfied with 1 million when we can try for 100 seems to be the thought of people.

The important thing is to have a balance somewhere. There seem to be some inspirational people who have achieved a balance and money is just a means for them to achieve their potential of leading a good life. People like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Shahrukh Khan, are the ones who even though they are rich they know the true values of life. They seem to be leading a good life especially considering their family life, their honesty and hard work.

Personally, while I would not mind earning millions :P, I would be satisfied if I could provide for my family, pay my bills, and save a little for my geriatic years.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time is Relative

Now I am not going to explain some theory of Einstein called The Theory of Relativity. No. Frankly I don't even know what it means. But there is one quote which Einstein had stated in one of his speeches which often comes in my mind. It goes like this,

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity.”

That is so true isn't it. Now I have burnt my hand while cooking food so I can pretty much imagine what putting a hand on a hot stove for a minute will feel like. Seldom had the opportunity to sit with a pretty girl for an hour but I think I can pretty much get what wise old Einstein was trying to say through that quote.

The same principle is true in case of our work. When we have work and we are interested in doing that work then no matter how much time we spend working, time just seems to run short and then we don't even mind the late stays because time becomes relatively "less" for us when doing an interesting job. But if we don't have work or we find our work boring or dull, then every passing hour looks and feels like eternity.

So Einstein's quote can really help us in our life. We should always try to do the work which we enjoy the most because then work becomes fun. Even if we don't get to do the job we are interested in, we can do another thing. As they say, "we are what our thoughts make us". So what ever our job, we can try and make it interesting. Say we have a job of issuing tickets at a railway station and we feel bored to do it. We just have to make it interesting. Maybe one way would be to compete with the other ticket issuers as to who can issue the most tickets in a particular time. That will make the job somewhat interesting.

Time is relative. We spend a large part of our time at work. So let's use this theory and make our work time not as our hand on the stove but as sitting with a pretty girl.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Life is cricket

A thought came into my mind today how life seems so much like cricket whether we consider it from the viewpoint of a batsman, bowler or a fielder.

The batsman has to face every delivery just as we have to face every day in our lives. Every delivery has to be played on its merit. The bowler has to deliver his quota of overs. Every ball may be different. Some may be poor balls, some good. Just as we have to live every day on it's merit, not worrying about the past or the future.

Also the batsman has a lot of protection: helmet, shin guards, gloves, etc. The bowler has the fielders as his protection. He has the wicketkeeper who enables him to bowl to full potential. Those are like the people who help us in our difficulties in life. Also like our spiritual side which acts as a protection for the troubles that we face in life. They encourage us to do our best and trust us to live to our full potential.

And then there are the spectators. They are like our friends who encourage us to keep on achieving our best. They are ones who empathize with us, grow angry or sad with us.

What we can learn from this analogy of life and cricket is that no matter what happens or how tense the situation is, the only way to get the best out of a match or out of life is to do one thing:
Enjoy the game. Love every moment of it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Be concerned about life but not worried

We worry a lot in life about many things like family, friends, relationships, work, health, wealth, etc. Oh, our lives are full of worries aren't they :)

learned that we should be concerned about life but not worried about it. I know it's easy to say but hard to do when the time comes. But it can and should be done for our peace of mind and happiness.

I pray to God to have the wisdom to do the following whenever I get worried with a problem:
1) Calmly understand what the problem is and accept the worst case.
2) Analyze what caused the problem so that next time I don't repeat it.
3) Try to find out all the possible solutions to the problem.
4) Then see which solution is the best answer for me.
5) Once I get the solution, put it in practice without bothering about the consequences.

So let's work out the difference between concern and worry with an example:

Say I have just written one of the tough engineering exam paper. In case I was worried as I usually was I would do the following:
I would keep worrying about what would happen. What would happen if I failed? What would I tell my parents? What about my reputation?
That is what being worried means. We constantly think about a thing going in a loop in our head.

Being concerned means I would follow the above steps:
1) Understand that I did my best but the paper was tough and I might fail.
2) See where I made mistakes and improve my technique of studying for more efficiency.
3) The solutions to the problem would be: to reappear for paper the next time or to use illegal means.
4) The best solution for me would be to reappear for the paper the next time.
5) So I would put the worries out of my mind and calmly wait for the results without selling my text books to my juniors :)

So the next time life throws us one of those curve balls, let us not keep on swirling our eyes with the ball. But calmly wait for the ball to reach within our grasp and hammer the hell out of it as best as we can.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cleanliness drive starts in Mumbai

So from today a cleanliness drive has started in Mumbai. Now this has happened many times before also and then after a few days the enthusiasm has fizzled out. So what new can we expect this time around. Well, looks like this time marshals have been appointed to fine people and make people do community service. This could be excellent if done with proper considerations.

First of all spitting should be seriously dealt with. I don't know what is the fascination of people to spit on the streets. It is really very disgusting. Then there is the problem of garbage dumping. Before fining people with garbage dumping, better garbage dumping facilities should be provided by the authorities. Part of it is providing lots of garbage cans in public places like bus stops, train stations, etc. Also in case of urinating in public, better toilets should be provided before the fining starts.

It's not that Mumbai is not clean. South Mumbai is one of the cleanest places around. Dadar and surrounding areas as pretty clean as well. It's the areas which house most of lower middle class and poor people that lack basic amenities where filthiness is widespread. Those areas ought to be tackled on a large scale. For that the people who are enforcers should do their work diligently and without corruption. While this seems like too much hope, if at least 10% of success can be achieved, Mumbai will be much cleaner as a whole than as it is today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Flouting traffic laws comes naturally to us

An article in the Times today stating motorcyclists riding without helmets. Frankly, the flouting of traffic rules comes right from the acquisition of the driving license. It's so easy to get a driving license. Just join any of the driving schools, pay the amount, learn some basic driving and voila you have a driving license for yourself. No testing of your driving skills, vision, etc by the traffic authorities. Compare this to the stringent methods followed by developed nations to provide a driving license.
Nowadays even minors seem to drive motorbikes. Even though the driving skills of the majority is pathetic. Not to mention, the movies like Dhoom just seem to provide a very bad impression on these jerks and they seem the road as a racing track. Helmet wearing is considered a joke. I mean who wants to take the pain of wearing a helmet. And the pillion rider wearing a helmet is supposedly considered blasphemy.
And no one wants to wait for traffic signals to change to green. The one near my house seems like a joke with no cars waiting for the signal to turn green. Autorickshaws and bikers are the major culprits. Also the zebra crossings were supposedly for people to cross the road on but cars seem to park right onto it.
Only by having strict norms laid and actually implemented can this problem be solved. The traffic police seems to be doing a great job recently of catching offenders of drunk driving and using mobiles while driving. I hope they continue their good work and make Mumbai as accident free as possible.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Can we expect more benefits from the GSM providers?

Well, the latest news is that the government has initiated a plan to allow mobile service subscribers to switch from any service provider to another and keep his existing mobile number. Also if the subscriber moves from one city to another he can still keep the same number. This plan is about to be implemented in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai soon. It will surely increase the competition among the GSM providers as now subscribers will readily switch providers depending on the schemes and services provided by them. This plan seems to have upset the GSM providers for this reason and they are putting the blame on Reliance which seems to be entering into the GSM arena.
I think if this plan is implemented it will be provide a great choice for the people to try out various service providers and use the one best for them. And if Reliance is entering the GSM market, they will surely bring some innovative changes at least in the pricing and user services like broadband, web browsing, etc. Right now the GSM providers seem to kind of have a monopoly as far as setting standards for services and quality goes. That ought to change once Reliance enters and hopefully brings some changes in the existing GSM arena.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Learn to be positive

"Two people looked out of the prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw the stars."

Many times in life we encounter what seems to us as good or bad events. The situation is actually neutral but it is what we think of it that makes it good or bad. The positive or negative thinking is something which people call a positive or a negative attitude. And I am lucky since my blood group is B+ve, so I at least have a positive attitude in my blood :D

When we face a bad situation, we often blame the entire world. We try to change the world which is an impossible task. Instead we just have to change our view of the world and we can convert our disadvantages into advantages. Take for example the situation where my computer got trashed. I was feeling pretty bad about it. Blaming the computer, blaming lack of good repair people and even blaming myself. But then when I thought about it I felt that it wasn't that bad. It gave me an opportunity to know what all things go into a computer. What problems can occur and how to know about them. By courtesy of this event, I was able to meet nice repair people. Also I had been neglecting using the laptop which I had. It allowed my to be more considerate to my laptop.
While my computer and internet were not working, I managed to read more than usual. Also reflect more upon life and the things which hold value in life.

So we need to remember that the next time some event happens in our life and we start feeling like we are down in the dumps, let us not get upset by the situation.
1) Remember that the event is past and we cannot change it.
2) Think about the event. But instead of worrying, try and see how we can learn from the event.

Tribute to the Nice Guys

I was using StumbleUpon and stumbled upon this article. I found so many things matching that I could not resist posting it. Once again it's not my original but many of the things written in it do match with my thoughts about that topic cause I too am one of the "nice guys".

The link at

Ode to the Nice Guys
This rant was written for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

Fu-zu Jen, SEAS/WH, 2003

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Isn't criticism easy for us? We criticize a lot of things everyday. From people to things. It's true that the value of things gets degraded when it is close to us. Only when we lose things that we come to know how valuable they are. Take for instance a simple example as the food that we eat.

There is a story about it: Once there was a lady and her daughter who were farmers. They were poor and could only afford some soup. So one morning as the lady gave her daughter soup, she criticized that the soup was bland and it did not have taste and she did not eat it. Then the mother and daughter worked hard in the fields and returned at night. The mother gave the daughter some soup. The daughter ate it with taste and said that it was the tastiest soup ever tasted. The mother exclaimed that it was the same soup that she had given in the morning.

That is a lesson for us. We don't stop criticizing anything. The salt is more, the oil is more and this and that. But when we were in China, we missed such food and I am sure if the same food were offered to us there, we would find it one of the most tasty meals. Sure sometimes food will not be up to the mark (and other things in life also). We will not get the things as we expect them. But let us try and be more patient to accept them instead of worrying about it. Enjoying what we have right now is the surest way to contentment.

Same goes in the case of people as well. We tend to criticize people not trying to consider their point of view as well. There is a very good quote stating that we should never judge a person till we have walked two weeks in their shoes. Means if we have the urge to criticize a person, let us think as to why that person is as he/she is. Maybe if we were in a similar environment, we would be the same. We should never try and judge people as per our point of view. Trying to sympathize with the person will broaden our views of life and make us more patient to accept life even in difficult situations.

So next time we feel like criticizing anything, let us not be hasty. Let us use our brains a little and be forgiving and patient enough.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thank You

Thank you for my parents, they are most loving and caring
Thank you for my sister, she is like none other
Thank you for my family and friends, they help me through life
Thank you for my eyes, they help me see beautiful things
Thank you for my body and mind, helping me to live my life
Thank you for my pets, they help me respect and love life
Thank you for the job that I have, lucky to work for something I enjoy
And lastly, thank you God for my life,
for it is the most wonderful gift you have given me.

Sermon: Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector

Sermon time again as it's Sunday today. Today was told the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector.

Now during those days, the tax collecter dudes worked for the Romans and collected tax from the people. They would get a profit on the amount of tax they collected from them. So the tax collectors were rich people but they were despised by the public because they became rich by fleecing money from the public. Zacchaeus was such a tax collector. He was hated by the people because he collected lots of tax from them and grew rich on other people's money.

One day Jesus visited the town where Zacchaeus lived. There was a lot of crowd to see Jesus and invite him to their houses. Zacchaeus too wanted to see Jesus. So he went out in the crowd. But since he was of short stature he could not see Jesus. And he did not want to go ahead of the crowd because he knew people did not like him because he was a tax collector. So he climbs a tree so that he can get a view of Jesus. Now in those days only children or slaves climbed trees. But Zacchaeus inspite of being a rich man decided to climb the tree to get to see Jesus. That was the sign of faith he had in God. Jesus managed to see him on the tree and even though he saw him for the first time, Jesus called out to Zacchaeus by his name and told him that he will be staying at his house that day. The other people were upset because they considered Zacchaeus a sinner and did not want Jesus to stay in his house. But Jesus had a view that a healthy man does not need medicine, it is the sick person who needs it. So Jesus goes to stay in Zacchaeus' house. There he does not mention to Zacchaeus to become a good person or to do good deeds or anything. He just stays with him. Zacchaeus himself says that he will give half of his wealth to the poor and if he has cheated anyone he will pay him four times of that. Jesus says to Zacchaeus that his faith has healed him.

Well, the moral of the story is that God is very patient when people do any wrong things. He does not order people to do as He wants but waits so that they understand and become good. And that it is never too late for a person to change or improve into a good human being.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

IT Industry sins

Yeah, so the Indian IT industry is doing well. Most of them provide services to clients especially overseas clients. What they call outsourcing. Someday, the cost factor in which India has an advantage will be lost. Then the same thing will happen that happened after the dotcom bubble burst. Companies will have to cut costs and definitely employment will get hit. Indian IT companies have to start moving towards end to end solutions rather than just providing services.

Companies, especially the larger ones are recruiting fresh engineers from all parts of the country regardless of whether they can provide work or not. These recruits if lucky manage to get in projects or the company doesn't mind keeping people on bench. This is the trend for most of the companies which is a very sick trend. Personally, if I owned a company, I'd rather have 100 experts and 25 freshers than 1000 freshers and 50 experts. But that is what is happening. People who lack experience are not guided by mentoring which is a must to produce quality engineers. Imagine a fresher civil engineer being asked to build a bridge. Would anyone do that? But in the software field, that is what is being done. Instead freshers should be placed in an assistance mode till they become mature enough. Best solution: mentoring but whose listening?

Then there is the issue of services. Well, will we only be a service oriented industry. Depending for much of our revenue on foreign clients who see us nothing more than cost saving machines. The key is to balance it with providing end to end solutions. We need to be independent at least so that we don't land in trouble because of our dependence.

And finally the issue of employee health. Most of the companies have set a trend which encourages people who work late and spoil their and others health. While working overtime is an individuals choice, it seems that companies encourage it for their benefit. Atrocious project estimates seem to have become the key in getting projects. That's why the current generation is facing all types of illnesses like stress, hypertension, back problems, etc at such an age when their fathers and mothers are healthier than them. Sure work is important and IT work is a lot challenging but somewhere we need to draw the line. Right now there seems to be no chalk.

People don't believe me

Today I get one more reason to tell people don't believe things I tell them. It's raining like hell today. And it's November with just a week to go for Diwali. But still people don't believe me when I tell them that the seasons have changed. I could never imagine rainfall on my birthday about 10-15 years back. But now it happens. And I am sure I remember my birthdays well. But people don't listen.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Having a mission statement in life

We should all have a mission statement in life. Because when we write down a mission statement, we know what we want from life, we know our purpose and we can try and achieve happiness by getting what we want out of life.

Actually we all have a mission statement but it remains in a fuzzy part of our mind. Bringing it out in the open clears what are the things that we want from life. So that at the end of our life we can be happy of doing the things we wanted to do.

We are confused most of the times what we want from life. We trudge along everyday with uncertain what to do in the future. Best way to know what we want to do is to think that if we were to die in say 6 months, what would be the things we would want to do so that when we die we go with happiness and contentment in our heart. The things that we want to do would be our mission statement.

I found this excellent site which makes it easy to find what our mission statement in life is. I urge you to please try it because your goals of life will get clear by this. It just takes around 4 minutes of your time.
Just click on create your mission
Then in the flash window that opens go to Kickstart and follow the instructions.

Also don't forget to read

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why only cricket?

This question has been asked and the issue has been a debate for a long time now. Why only cricket? Why do people in India ignore most of the other sports. Why does cricket enjoy such a large fan base? Why do people make cricket stars their gods? Lots of questions these and the answers if any stem from some valid facts. Consider what P. T Usha has to say at
Well, she shares what I think and most of us Indians feel. Cricket seems to be the only sport which manages a consistency of some sort in holding our interests. We won the 1983 world cup which was enough to stir people's interest in cricket. The recent twenty20 world cup win has again somewhat revived people's interest in cricket. The other sports be it hockey, football, or any other sport does not interest people because they lack consistent performance. I am sure if some level of achievement happens in the other sports, then people will start taking interest in them too.

The two dragons

The search for the dragon of the blue
Seeking rest is the tired soul

Two dragons we are, the red and the blue
Red symbolizes love and blue the spirit

The exhausting world is set as a labyrinth
Too many paths, too many hurdles to overcome

But the heart is strong and keeps on searching
Fighting to get the rest it longs for

Rest in the bosom of long lost love
Like a drink from the everlasting spring

To meet is our destiny, written on our foreheads
When, where and how is a romantic mystery

The stage is set, the universe awaits
Not far now says the rejuvenating spirit

So till we meet, we carry hopes and dreams
They will be fulfilled and cruel separation no more.

Written from the depths of my heart - The Red Dragon

Friday, October 26, 2007

The green grass

We all have heard it "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence". Well there is a comical continuation to it "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence cause maybe they used better fertilizer over there".

The fact remains that most of us try to live another person's life. We tend to worry about the gardens far away when there are roses blooming right outside our window. Life has become a comparison and nothing else.

We see people and start envying them. We say maybe we could or should be like them. They are smart or beautiful or ambitious or successful. So we should be like them too. While having an aim in life is good but isn't that living another person's life. We want to be successful by comparing ourselves with the other person. We want to be like them or maybe even better than them.

That is what ruins many people. Consider the movie stars, the cricketers or other famous personalities. Many people consider them gods and want to be like them. They will run away from home, lose everything, risk their lives just to try and become like them. As I said having an aim in life is good but then throwing away your life for it is sheer madness.

It doesn't matter how much better we are than other people. What matters is how much we improve over ourselves. Every instant we need to grow better than our past selves. That seems to me like a path to success. We should constantly challenge ourselves, break our own barriers. Attempt things which will get us out of our comfort zone and go that extra distance. That is what creates success in our lives.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Friends: Attachment and separation

This topic is very touchy for me. And frankly speaking in terms of remaining in contact, I don't think I have been very good at friendship.

For me friends are divided into three categories:

1)Normal friends are those who we meet whether in college, home or at work. They are with us when we work, when we play or at any events.
2)Good friends are those who care for each other, who seek each others company not just for work, play but also to share their joys, sorrows and things from their personal life.
3)Best friends are those who are more so like brothers or sisters. They will be with each other whenever possible. They do not even need to ask about problems as they know all about the other person who he is, how he thinks, his likes, dislikes and troubles.

Now most of us have a lot of friends of the first type. Many of them are people where we work or when we went to college or school. Getting friends of the second and third type is difficult atleast for me. But once we get such friends, life completely changes. We feel someone cares for us. Someone ready to share life with our own. That is a very beautiful feeling.

Frankly, I have just recently been attached so much to friends. Previously, I had many normal friends and whenever separation has occurred, it pained a bit but then life continued and since the bonds were not that strong, the pain of separation eased out over a period of time.

Recently, I don't really know the reasons but I have become attached to a few people. Maybe because we worked together, actually stayed together for such a long period of time. Maybe because they were the ones who cared for me even if a little bit. Maybe this attachment is stronger from my side than the other. So now when there is a lot of separation going on with friends, a really painful feeling is felt inside.

Just thinking that we won't be seeing the other person too often causes a feeling of nausea every passing day. A sick feeling occurs in the stomach just thinking about how that person will get separated from us. And I don't think there is any solution to avoid this pain. It will have to be endured and we have to make peace with our hearts and hope to remain in touch with the person as much as possible.

This post is for one of my good friends who might be separating in some time.

Stage Fright: What I did (or understood about it)

We know that there are two kinds of people. One is the type who love to get on to a stage and talk their heads off. The other type (which includes me) are the ones who are happy standing at the bottom of the stage and listening. Now mind you it does not mean that we don't speak. We could be giving those stage guys a run for their money when talking with friends and family. But when it comes to climbing those few steps of a podium and speaking, we get tongue-tied. Our hearts start beating faster, the pulse races, we have butterflies in our stomach and even fainting is a possibility.

I've always had this stage fright thing since childhood. Getting on to a stage and speaking was a no no with me. So I would avoid any debates, elocution or other such competitions although I was at a different level of thinking. I once managed to get myself registered for a Marathi elocution competition but chickened out at the last minute. Because during rehearsal when I went and stood on the stage, I got the worst case of the stage fright and could not speak a word. So I made excuses and managed to escape from there.

This trend continued even in college and engineering. I never tried for any competition in college like drama or elocution because of my stage fright. It's just recently that I have managed to improve myself. Now I still get stage fright and am scared when it comes to going on stage. But thanks to some books and philosophy I manage to overcome my fear.

Following are the things that guide me whenever I get stage fright:

1) I was lucky that I had to give presentations to people I know and had worked with a for a long time. So I would get the courage because I would tell myself that these are my friends and I am just explaining things to my friends, so there is no need to be afraid because they know me and I know them. And since the presentations were a little informal, I would try to use some humor in the presentations because humor always manages to reduce the tension.

2) Dale Carnegie's book helped me. One statement that helped was that if you are afraid of doing something then you should keep on doing it as much as possible and soon you will gain confidence in that. That is what I tried to do when I was giving presentations to people. Every presentation helped me gain more confidence in myself.

3) We get stage fright because we are afraid that we may do or say something wrong and embarrass ourselves. Important thing is to prepare ourselves well in advance and go for it. We should rehearse the presentation or speech as much as possible. Even the actors in movies do not get the shot in the first take. They have to rehearse again and again. So we should prepare and concentrate on giving the speech and throw out all the negative thoughts when we are preparing for it.

This does not mean that I have got rid of my stage fright. I still feel afraid to go on a stage and speak to many people or even while giving an interview to a client. But what has changed is that I think of it as an opportunity to face my fears, show courage and increase my confidence.

I still have terrible stage fright in cases of dancing or singing. I just cannot bring myself to do it. Reason is because I have never learned to do them. So I lack the confidence required to start doing them.

But if we need to remember anything when we get a stage fright is
"Courage is not about not being afraid. It means that although we are afraid we will face our fears"

So if you are a person who has stage fright and you want to improve, the next time you get a chance, just grab it. Go on the stage, face your fears and see the level by which your confidence will improve.

This post is for a request from a friend.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A visit to the Prince of Wales Museum

Today I took the time to visit the Prince of Wales museum at Fort, Mumbai. I wanted to visit it for a long time and decided that today I will go for sure. My mom was apprehensive cause today was Eid and there was a possibility of something nasty happening. That could also be seen by the number of police patrolling several of the places. But I had made up my mind that I had to go there to set my mind at peace.

So my journey started at around 10:30am. I caught a rickshaw, literally as it was a four person sharing rickshaw and I was sitting in the front seat with the driver. Then I reached Kurla station and went to buy a ticket. But today being Eid and Kurla being notorious for long queues, there was a really long line for the ticket. Somehow, I managed to stay patient and get a ticket. Then I headed for the platform for the fast train. Unfortunately, the fast trains were running very late for who knows what reason. So I changed to the platform for the slow train. Unfortunately again, the slow trains also were running late for who knows what reason. Somehow, I managed to hang on to a slow train which luckily made me hang only till Dadar where one could see a magic trick. Like a magician pulls out a rabbit from his hat, so also a large number of people pour out of the trains at Dadar.

The journey after that was pretty comfortable till CST. The I had to walk in the 12pm energy sapping sun. But I enjoy walking, especially when there is a challenge to it. The last time I had gone to the museum was in my college days and I was unclear about the directions. Now I know we can ask for directions, but to (real)men it seems like accepting defeat when it comes to asking directions, so we generally don't do that.

To be continued...

The Story of Jesus and the ten lepers

Today was church time again. So I headed to Holy Cross Church at 7am. Today there was a sermon on the story of Jesus and the ten lepers.

The story is that there were ten lepers who came to Jesus to get healed. Jesus being the good dude completely healed the ten people and told them to go and show themselves to the temple priest to be officially declared as healed cause at that time people with leprosy were not allowed to stay with other people. But after healing them only one of the ten came back to thank God and Jesus. So Jesus asked if all ten were healed why only this person a foreigner has come to thank God but others have not.

The priest giving the sermon told that maybe one person thought that lets see if the healing is permanent, another thought that any great man could have healed him, other thought that maybe there was no leprosy, etc.

The moral of the story was that when we get blessings in our life we forget to thank God. We get good parents, good friends, a good life. But we take things for granted and we forget to thank God for all the beautiful things that are present in our life. So we should not be like that and be thankful to God.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Life means Learning

Learning is such a beautiful thing. But somehow most of us stop learning after a certain age. We just don't seem interested in it. Maybe one of the reasons for it is whatever learning we did previously was just for achieving a career and not much more than that.

Personally, I feel it is important to learn. And by learning I don't mean earning hundreds of degrees by going to college. Sure, if you are interested then by all means do so. But if there is no interest and learning is just for improving your career then the motivation will decrease after some time.

So when we learn, it should be about things that interest us. You like fashion, learn about fashion. You like gardening, learn more about plants. Interested in programming, learn a programming language. But we should learn something because that is what makes us human beings. Constantly challenging and improving ourselves is what makes life interesting.

When we learn stuff which interests us, even though it might not make us rich in money but it will surely make us rich in satisfaction.

My goals of learning right now are divided into the following:
Improving my English vocabulary
Sharpening my basics in C/C++ programming and data structures
Improving my understanding of philosophy
Improving my physical fitness through exercise

Monday, October 8, 2007

Be True

I had an appointment with the dentist today. As I was waiting for my turn, I noticed a magazine related to education. I picked it up and as I flipped through the pages, I found a couple of interesting articles. One of them was this poem called "Be True"

Be True

Thou must be true thyself,
If thou the truth wouldst teach;
Thy soul must overflow, if thou
Another's soul would'st reach!
It needs the overflow of heart
To give the lips full speech.

Think truly, and thy thoughts
Shall the world's famine feed;
Speak truly, and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed;
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.

by Horatius Bonar

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Why are humans so biased?

Do you remember the stories of prince and princess, of kings and queens that we read in our childhood in books like "Chandamama" or "Tinkle" or any other. It would always be that the prince would be handsome and the princess would be beautiful. And they would meet and live happily ever after.

This shows how biased we are and how we inculcate these values right from childhood. The hero is always rich and handsome. The heroine is always beautiful and attractive.

Most men are always attracted to the beautiful chicks. And most women always admire the smart and handsome men. Whether it is for a date or a proposal, the first thing that is seen is how beautiful the person looks.

This mindset has been prevalent from our grandparents and parents time who I am sorry to say really have closed minds when it comes to things like these.

So the truth seems that the rich, the smart and the beautiful always seem to have an advantage in this world.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Facing a Job Crisis

One of my friends mentioned that she doesn't like what she is doing right now. She said something called "job satisfaction" seems to be missing from her present job. Now I must admit that I too sometimes get this feeling and I am sure a lot of people must be facing the same situation.

Now this might mean different to different people. One person might feel that he should be getting dirty into device driver programming and kernel stuff instead of creating sissy GUI apps. Another might feel that it's okay to get a 9 to 5 job and have a happy balanced life instead of slogging 12-14 hours a day over something stated as highly challenging.

Then there are those who are even more diverse. One of these guys might feel what the hell is he/she doing in a cubicle, staring at a screen and ordering the hardware around when they could be out in the world enjoying the glory of travel and nature, doing things that directly help other people, enjoy their role in this world.

That is what means a Job Crisis for me. I too tend to get into a mini job crisis sometimes. For me, I'd more enjoy a 9 to 5 job if it were possible and enjoy time with my family, friends and nature. But then I also love some really technical stuff. So I get caught between the two, trying to balance both.

Well, coming to the solutions. I am no expert in such stuff but the first thing to do is to really find out what you want to do. It doesn't matter what. Anything that you want to spend your precious life doing. Once that is decided things become easy because you get a priority of what you want to do. Like if you want to create GUI applications, take courses on GUI tools, read books on creating cool GUIs, etc. If you want to balance your work and life, decide how much time you will spend on both, cut down on your work, get involved at home, etc.

And when you are satisfied with your efforts go and get that job which you want and I can almost guarantee that you will get it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why we dislike estimation?

Well, haven't we all(by all I mean the software engineers and programmers and testers and anyone involved in the task of creating and selling software) suffered the effects of the nightmare called Project Estimation.

Don't we feel upset that we end up getting the short end of the stick. All is well and fine with the world, until a project is to be brought forth into this world. Then start all the procedures of requirement analysis, design, test cases, etc, etc. But not before the estimation both in terms of time as well as money is sent to the client.

Now we all should know that estimation is one of the most important tasks of not just software engineering but any project be it mechanical or civil or electrical. It is estimation that enables one to know how much resources (time, money, manpower) they will require to satisfy the customer with a quality product.

But that is the exact point which makes the software industry so different than others. With dynamically changing skill requirements and an attrition rate higher than any other industry, the software industry begins to differ from the others. The estimation procedures seem extremely flawed since most of the projects have never been previously executed. So an estimation ends up being more of a guess work than anything else.

The sad part is that the time frame seems highly improbable in most cases and is merely something as minimal as possible to bag the project. Later, when the schedule naturally starts slipping, the late stays and the software patches and the heated arguments start to flow. More people are added to the project completely ignoring the wise teachings of "The Mythical Man Month". I would recommend this book to all software professionals who are serious about creating quality software.

To be fair to the guys who do it, they have to do it to get the project as that is where they can compete with their competitors. Because the entire industry does it and now we have come to expect that a project will always have extremely tough deadlines and we need to deliver within that time frame.

Now the average programmer(which includes me) has nothing to do with this. His world consists of completing the task as needed. He take it as a challenge to dive into the difficult if not impossible tasks of building software castles in the air. But because of this he suffers not only physically but also mentally when the realization of the position he is in dawns upon him.

There are times when the impossible is achieved and the ecstasy that follows is immeasurable. But such situations and far and few. And while we muddle through nightmares to satisfy our conscience, we begin to feel that are we really software professionals or slaves of our own enthusiasm.

Guess this post is starting to get a bit long so I estimate to write some more in another post.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Does BPO staff have health problems?

The Health and IT Ministry wants to create a health policy for the IT workplace.

I am a little confused as what does the IT workplace constitute. But before that a question. Is the health of an average BPO employee suffering too much? I really don't know the answer. But logic seems to tell that night shifts and stressful situations along with irregular eating habits surely aren't going to create the healthiest of people. So I am sure there is some truth to the concerns that the ministry has stated and NASSCOM should have a healthy discussion with the ministry on the topic with an open mind because if the IT industry suffers the entire country will suffer.

And what does the IT workplace constitute? I think the health policy should extend to outsourcing companies as well where employees have to work in shifts and for a longer stressful period of time.

Since today is World Heart Day, it should not be missed that Indians are genetically prone to heart disease and the number of youngsters who are falling prey to it is alarming. The stress and irregular eating habits with a sedentary lifestyle are just speeding up the process of a hearty disaster.

The youth of our country is progressing but at what cost. One wonders.

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Hattrick for Indian sports (Asia Cup, Twenty20 and now World Chess Champion)

First we had the Indian hockey team win the Asia Cup Hockey tournament in Chennai.
Then Indian cricket had one of it's finest moments in recent times when it won the Twenty20 world cup in South Africa.
And now another great news that Vishwanathan Anand has become the world chess champion replacing Vladimir Kramnik.

Now I must admit that like most Indians I have always been biased towards cricket than any other sport. Several factors came into play for my bias but the most important of them was that cricket is the only sport in which India seems to provide consistency in victories if considered over a longer span of time. Now I know many people will object to this remark. But as I said it comes naturally for an Indian to be brought up with a bias towards cricket.

But I am willing to share my interests with the other sports especially hockey as I had promised that I would be willing to do so if there are any positive developments in the other games that India plays. I just hope there can be more consistency achieved by our teams so that the enthusiasm does not just die away.

India is struggling to find heroes that have just got lost in time. Inspirational heroes have been missing be it in sports or politics or social reforms. So it's good that there are some potential role models on the rise.

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Review: How to live on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

I listened to the audio book "How to live on 24 hours a day" by Arnold Bennett. You can get it in text or audio form at

It is a short and sweet book about how we can make better use of our time in living our lives instead of just existing. The author indicates a lot of suggestions to help us use just a little bit of our time to actually create the lives that we would be happy with and enjoy living it. He makes it clear that there is no magic way to improve our lives but through proper use of our time which is given in the same amount i.e 24 hours whether to the king or to the beggar or to the cat by the fire.

The book consists of the following 12 chapters:

1. Preface
Here the author mentions how people value money more than time though money can be earned in more quantities but time cannot. So time is more precious than money. Also every being gets the same amount of time. No one gets it more or less. There are just 24 hours everyday and it is up to us to use them. Time does not give loans, not does it give credit. People are not punished for wasting time and their purse of time gets full everyday. They have all the time they want starting from now.

2. Precautions Before Beginning
This chapter warns that the things to be done for better utilization of time is nothing magical but sensible. There is no shortcut way and the way to improve ourself will cause us to change our regular habits for which we get uncomfortable and will have to work hard.

3. The Desire to Exceed One's Programme
This chapter states that there are people who already live their lives well whether at home or at work or both. And there are others who are suffering boredom and dissatisfaction with their time at work and due to that they also suffer in their time at home. This book intends to help people improve the quality of their lives no matter in what position they are right now.

4. The Cause of the Troubles
The author takes the case of an average working person to see how he/she spends one day of his/her life starting from morning, going to work, coming back home and sleeping.

5. Tennis and the Immortal Soul
Here is mentioned that we need to spend time not only on the activities that we enjoy like meeting friends, movies, etc but we should also spend some time on gaining knowledge to improve our lives over what it is right now.

6. Remember Human Nature
But the author also tells to keep our options open and allow for human nature. We should have strictness in our studying of our lives but we should also be open for dynamism in our lives as and where they occur for we are human.

7. Controlling the Human Mind
The starting step is to achieve mastery over concentration. For this, the author mentions that we can use our time while travelling to improve our concentration. This can be done by choosing a subject that interests us and thinking about it as much time as possible. When the mind gets distracted, bring it back on track to the subject. This will improve concentration.

8. The Reflective Mood
After improving concentration, we should spend some time on the most important part which is reflection. It means introspection about how we are living our lives as per our principles, how we can improve our lives from our current situation.

9. Interest in the Arts
This chapter mentions about people who are interested in arts like music, painting, etc. How they can improve their quality of understanding the arts.

10. Nothing in Life is Humdrum
This chapter mentions about people who believe in cause and effect. Who don't care about arts or literature but about scientific study and how they can improve their understanding.

11. Serious Reading
This chapter is for people who enjoy reading. It mentions that it is better to read more of literature than novels as novels just provide the pace but don't improve our understanding. Also mentioned is that poetry though a difficult form of literature, the understanding it gives creates a tremendous satisfaction.

12. Dangers to Avoid
Finally the author mentions that our improvement should not make us feel superior to others, that we should be concerned with our share of time and that we should not get chained to our discipline but use it to improve ourselves.

So I am trying to put some of the suggestions of this book into practice. I always have wanted to improve my concentration. Also I am interested in learning more about music, poetry and science. So I will be getting more involved in understanding those topics.

The main point that the author stresses on is that when we go about putting things into practice we should avoid over eagerness because that may result in failure for trying to do too much and discourage us. Instead we should start following those steps for a little time every week and the improvements will be there to see.

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The Parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man

I went to church today morning at 7 am. Yes, I manage to get up early even on weekends thanks to a childhood habit.

Now generally the sermons at church get pretty boring. So I usually tend to think about something else. But today's sermon was a bit interesting. It was about the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man Lazarus taken from the Bible.

Now it states there was a rich man who had lots of wealth, money, servants, etc. You name it he had it. And just outside the gate of his mansion there was a poor man who was very sick. He had wounds all over his body and the dogs licked his wounds. His name was Lazarus. Now one day both of these dudes died. The rich man found himself in hell getting tortured in fire while Lazarus was enjoying his stay in Heaven. So the rich man calls out to Abraham to tell Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in cold water and place it on his tongue as he was dying from heat. But Abraham says that there is a great divide between the two places and a person cannot go from one to another. So the rich dude begs that at least he send Lazarus to his house where he has 5 brothers so that he can warn them and they too don't land in hell like the rich man did. But Abraham refuses saying if they did not listen to wise people like Moses, how will they listen to someone who is dead.

So this is basically how the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man is stated in the Bible.

Fine, I said. This is how the parable has been mentioned in many sermons. Well, what made today's sermon interesting was the point put forth by the priest that there is no mention in the Bible that the rich man was a sinner or that he was the cause of Lazarus' misfortune. Neither did Lazarus ever ask him for help. But he went to hell. Also it's not mentioned that Lazarus was a good man or a saintly man. Still he managed to go to heaven. Why?

So the moral of the parable was that it is not just enough to not do bad deeds. We should also try and help people who are in trouble. The rich man did not do bad deeds but failed to use his blessings to help Lazarus. So by doing nothing of his talents he went to hell.

Why did Lazarus go to heaven? Well, it seems that the name Lazarus signifies "trusting in God's help" in Hebrew. So Lazarus had faith in God even when he was suffering. That is why he managed to reach heaven.

So this sermon interested me as it was different from the usual historical stuff. It related to our present lives and not just something to be heard of as a part of history. That is what separates good sermons from the average, when it shows how the sayings of the Bible relate to our present day lives and how we can use that wisdom to seek meaning in our present lives. That is the essence of what a sermon is supposed to be.

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