Sep 23, 2008
My 1st poem in life which came out from me on the Janmashtami night dis is for u my beloved guruji " Without You"
I have lost my identity after meeting u guruji
If u were not to be there
Then where would i be without you.
Where would the fragrance be, without the flower
How could the brightness be without the star
What would the beauty be if one could not see
And how could a devotee be if u were not there guruji.
If u were not to be there
Then where would i be without you.
They say everything has a beginning & an end
But when i look into your eyes
I still stand wondering
Whether i am starting from you or ending in you.
Like the young river flowing longingly
Along it's path to merge with the sea
I am flowing on this path to merge with you guruji.
If you were not to be there
Then where would i be without you.
Over the days & nights have i followed you
Over the lifetimes i have followed you
Finally stopped have you
And i have caught up with you.
Now whether you wish to come downeverytime with me or
Want me to comedown only with you
Choose whichever is convinient for you.
B'coz one thing is for sure
That not even for a moment in eternity
Am i gonna exist without you.
Sep 21, 2008
Setting at dust, for stars and moon it must make way.
Trees blooming in spring ,like a thousand danseuses ,to the music of winds they sway;
Come autumn, the celebration stops for the same winds flit all away.
So let us live and just celebrate all the way;
For like everything else, we too will turn to ashes and dust some day.
The rivers move fiercely, colliding with rocks, falling sometimes a hundred feet people say;
All this although it will be lost forever in vast oceans and bays.
Birds chirp, quarrel, nibbling at grains in merry and fun filled ways;
Soon these little things will fly across endless skies, for road to home is never long as they say.
We are mere mortals, for unlike god we will turn to ashes and dust one day;
But that is the beauty, the boon , that it all ends for us one day.
Sep 15, 2008
Gathering courage, I took my bags and started walking, suddenly a man came running to me and asked if I needed help. I frantically explained that I had to reach the airport asap. He quickly led me to a nearby bus stop and stopped an official airport bus and helped me board it. After settling down, I slowly started digesting all that had just happened. I couldnt stop the tears of gratitude after realising that there was not even a scratch on my body!! I always wanted to experience some miracles in life, but here Guruji had actually gifted me my life back.. Its impossible to express what I was feeling then, I had never ever felt soo lucky! !
This lady started running with my bags. We were immediately joined by one more officer who was giving orders on his walkie-talkie to send a van. It was so funny :) .. I was being escorted like a VIP!! The van took me quickly to the flight and I was immediately rushed inside and in next 2 mins the plane took off. I just couldnt believe, the whole damn flight was just waiting for 'ME' to board!! Wow !! I just wanted to shout out loud and tell Guruji how much I loved him.. and, it didn't end here.. He didnt leave any stone unturned. A girl sitting few seats behind me came up to me saying that she had seen me before as she was also from the advance course, going to mumbai. And it so happened that she was staying very close to my house.. so i was home dropped, lavishly in an air conditioned taxi :))
Sep 12, 2008
We created the vnvyesplusteam blog (Hope you all like the name, Please doooo, as it was suggested by MEEE and “approved by Virat”) (Its very rare that Me and Virat approve of something together ,for those of you who have been around may know what I am saying). Don’t take this wrongly as we have healthy discussions, which may look like fights but we both have a great laugh at the end.
I see this blog as an interactive place where we (the team participants) can express themselves with write ups ,poems ,snaps ,recipes ,games ,thoughts ,etc.. All team volunteers are invited to write on this blog and make it more fun for the readers .
Will leave you with some snapshots of the team . We started the VnV yes plus team around 6 months back and have had some great moments together.Here is a glimpse
Sep 11, 2008
It was a Friday. The one on the Bakra`Eid day. A very special day for the Muslims.
They looked surprised, both Basha and Malik. Although they hid it well, I caught an under-pulse of surprise on their faces. Their surprise was on my request. My request (a very casual one) went like this, "Hey Guys, today being such a special festival for you, I was wondering if I should come along with you to the mosque to offer Namaz". I thought they will be thrilled and happy. They were plain surprised.
Anyways they took me along. Basha had to stay back to finish some urgent work in office, so I went with Malik. Malik is an Indian Muslim, born in Bihar and raised in States. The mosque was in Bellevue downtown, and hundreds of Muslims, from India, Pakistan, Middle East and some American Muslims too, had gathered for the afternoon Namaz. I got reminded of my school days in Delhi when I used to go to Jamma Masjid to play with some of my Muslim classmates.
The mosques (and even temples for that matter) in the US do not quite look like the mosques and temples here. Many times you find regular buildings converted into mosques and temples, and hence you miss all the lovely religious architecture we enjoy in India. Yet you feel a sense of purity and sacredness as soon as you enter such a place, for the prayers of devotees can turn a ‘Khandar’ into a ‘Mahal’!!
As we entered the mosque I sensed an uneasy feeling drawing over Malik. The reason, I learned was that non-Muslims were not always welcome to enter mosques. Its different with Dargas. Anyone is welcome at the hundreds of Dargas around the world. Sufism in that sense comes very close to Hunduism! I was born in Ajmer and have been to the famous Darga of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, and have loved it. But this was different. I caught on to the uneasiness and was soon wondering if I did the right thing by coming along.
Then suddenly, this thought came over me, 'Hey! Wait a minute! What we do say on the course!?! 'I belong to you'! Every human is One. God is One!'. The next second i was flashing my 1000 watt Art Of Living smile and walking like I was entering the Vishalakshi Mantap in the Ashram!!
As we entered the mosque, Malik whispered in my ear, "Do exactly what I do". "Ok" I said. And so I watched him closely and copied him move to move, word to word. We first went to wash-up. And it was quite a wash-up. Folded our pants to the knees, folded our shirt-sleeves to the elbows - washed our faces, hands and legs. I was impressed with the diligence with which each person was cleaning the physical body before we entered the holy mosque.
Then we went inside and the namaz started. Many times we bent down and stood up again, many times we looked to the left and then to the right, and many times Malik looked at me to make sure I was not goofing up! I noticed that just like in temples or churches, no one was smiling! They had a serious appointment with God and were busy prioritizing their demands from the Almighty. I sat down and meditated for a few minutes. I remembered the stories Michael Fishmann had told us about Guruji meditating in Mecca and some of the oldest Jewish synagogues in His trips to Palestine.
The old noble Maulavi explained to us the essence of Islam, and encouraged all to do kind things to others. In my head, lines from the Indian Ocean song popped up.
"Vo hi baat madina mein hain, Jo hain baat Shivalay mein". So true. All faiths preach the same old ragged truth, and yet humans cleverly succeed in misunderstanding and manipulating the truth!
We got ready to leave. I was disappointed to realize that there wasnt any "prasad"! I was hoping to find some hot sevaiyas!! I bowed to Allah once again and exited.
Looking back, it was quite an experience. I recommend that we have one day in India, where all Hindus go to the mosque and offer a Namaz, and all Muslims go to a temple and chant Om Namah Shivaya! It is so difficult to be intolerant to another faith once you have participated in it!
And today, being Ganesh Chathurthi and the commencement of Ramzan, is a day which marks the beautiful blend of two oldest faiths in the world. India alone is a nation on the planet which can boast of a cultural heritage that peacefully allows all traditions to express their beliefs without any conflict (unless provoked politically)!!
Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim!
Ganbatti Bappa Moriya!
Sep 10, 2008
Its a very simple and yummy comaprision of knowledge with Ferrero Rocher(FR) (to those who do not know what Ferrero Rocher is, Please read-'1001 ways to Suicide').
Like we say in our intro talks, no gyan, no pravachan but sheer fun. And when we say that, we mean, no knowledge that sounds impractical and impossible for us to implement. Each and every one of us makes it a point that before we preach, we ourselves live that knowledge to avoid sounding it like 'pravachan'. So if someone is giving you a so called profound knowledge without him/her implementing it, that person is basically giving you a pack of Ferrero Rocher(FR). And when you open it and offer him/her the same, the reply is 'No sorry, I don't like choclates'. Now apply the 5th level of existence i.e. your intelligence. You are left with a sceptic thought about that knowledge and its your decision, whether to implement it because it is profound or drop it because it's preacher is not practising it. In chocolaty terms- whether to enjoy and relish the Italian chocolate, or to say No thanks. With due respect to the lipsmacking, crunchy bits of hazelnut wrapped in crispy thin layers of chocolate with roasted hazelnut in the core, will you ever, ever want to say NO THANKS. How do you care if the other person doesn't enjoy having it.
We are even more grateful to them who only preach knowledge, because they spare that bite of delicacy for us. So do not bother if someone doesn't like FR and is offering you. Just have it and thank that person for offering it to you.
The entire idea of this personification was to let you guys know that the knowledge points in AOL are as delicious as this chocolate, in fact even more delicious. And you can enjoy it only when you implement it. So go out and open yourself for as many FRs as you can and relish each one of them.
Sep 5, 2008
From: Annelies Richmond <email@example.com>
Date: Sep 2, 2008 11:50 PM
Subject: First YES!+ Course for credit at Cornell University
Tonight we finished our very first official YES!+ course for credit (P.E.credit) at Cornell University. Yeaayyy!! It went great!! We had a lot offreshmen since we only had three days to advertise during orientation for thisfirst one. The P.E. director was pleased and told us that as long as thestudents liked the teachers, then the word will spread and it will get more andmore popular.
We ran it more like Denise Marcus runs the Kaiser hospital courses, and how wedo the YES! Courses in schools: we did not have a picture of Guruji or tablewith flowers/candle, we avoided saying "God" or even "divine" much on thecourse, we did not do the bowing down process, and we kept it very interactive. Of course they asked about Guruji, and we showed a Knowledge video of him thatthey were GLUED to!!
The students are all super-excited about doing Part 2's!
This is how we listed YES!+ in the course catalog (and people actuallyregistered from this brief description, even with other meditation and yogaclasses listed!):
"YES!+ is an innovative and dynamic life skills program which empowers you withtools to eliminate stress, increase energy, handle negative emotions, increasemental focus, heighten awareness and develop strong social and leadershipskills."
Here are some of the responses!……
"This course has taught me a lot about how to look at life and work withwhatever comes my way. It has proven how the good comes with the bad but howpositive will always outweigh the negative. It has given me techniques tofocus and ways to slow down worrying. It helped put everything intoperspective about the big picture (accepting people, situations, the present)and so far has really changed my attitude about negative people/situations.Thank you sooooo much!!!" ~Cornell University freshman, 2008
"After YES!+ I feel much more relaxed, happy, and less stressed. This was avery life-changing experience that everyone should have the opportunity to try. I will carry these lessons and this experience with me throughout my future."~Cornell University freshman, 2008
"YES!+ is a course of self-discovery and liberation from the world. I feeltransformed. It was a discourse into a way of life that leads to astress-free, happier society. It's a very intense course that not only helpsyou to calm down but also to look at life with a different perspective."~Cornell University senior, 2008
Lots of Love and Jai Gurudev,Annelies and Asma
Sep 2, 2008
When the British parliamentary system was launched in India, everyone thought that alike the former rulers we might have the sophisticated ‘House of commons’ and ‘House of lords’. But since India is famous for its great elephant walk i.e. doing every thing in its own style. We not only had loud-chirpy rajya sabhas and lokh sabhas but also had the political saga written in its own Rajneetik style.
India is said to be diverse in every aspect; be it its dignified foreign policies or our very own cultures and religions. A unique example of this historical diversity is the revolutionary freedom fight in which some preferred literally attacking the antagonists of the story, whereas others were led by non-violence. With such historical and geographical diversity, India had to be strategically and politically diverse as well.
Sep 1, 2008
Warning: Long sentimental Write-Up!
4th August, 2003. It's about 1am in the morning…….the scene is abuzz at the airport. Mom n Dad, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, friends, cousins, neighbors, ex-girl friends, more friends – all there to wish me good luck. Amidst the never ending lines of advice from elders, and the continuous reminders to keep in touch from friends, I steal the last glance of my motherland as I bid farewell to my family and friends. I leave a part of me behind in India. I make a promise to myself – I will return one day. Come what may!!
Within a few hours, I enter another planet. The US of A. I am living the American dream!
Time goes by….I learn new things….and forget few old ones……I train myself to roll my tongue when I say "r", I learn to call it the 'skedule' and not the 'schedule' (who cares what the Queen said), I change my DNA to throw in as many 'thankyous' and 'pleases' as I possibly can in every sentence. I am amazed by the roads, and by the sizes of things……
We create a mini India where we live. I return every evening to old bollywood songs and chai….we discuss cricket and Indian politics over tortillas replaced for rotis, we spend hours chatting with family and friends online…we graduate from school….join the IT army in the US.
There are times I cry and times I laugh….times I regret I left India and times I feel glad that I am not in India……..but there never is a time when I feel shaky about my decision to return – never. I know I will go.
And one fine Jan morning, the day comes for me to implement the plan……..to bid farewell again…..I buy, for the first time, a One Way ticket to Bombay!
I come back with dreams and apprehensions……there is a shine of hope, mixed with a cloud of uncertainty, there are fears (some real, others unfounded), and there is excitement and happiness. Mostly, there is contentment. I am keeping the promise I made to myself. I come back to contribute to my country, for it needs good sons. I went as a boy and I come back as a man! I come back with skills to blend the Orient and the Occident, I decide to take the best of both the cultures and make my own. From the quick NY head nod of 'wassup, to the authentic folded namashkar, from pesto salads to bhel-puris, from Starbucks mochas to Nukkad Cuttings, from Minus 20 degrees to + 40, from bald eagles to peacocks………..I can do it all!!!
28th August 2008: Today, its been 6 months that I came back……I now live in Bombay.
As I sit by my balcony on this rainy wet night, I see the city wrapping up for the day. Although it never sleeps, Bombay does quieten up a little towards the night you know!
Tonight, there are approximately two thousand one hundred and fifty seven thoughts in my head!!! I take a stroll back to the Orange streets of Syracuse on a cold October evening, and I can still smell the hot coffee as I walk past the big old tree in the quad!
I catch glimpses of my life in the US while I do my mundane bits in the routine day. It’s just the same feeling that we get when we move to the US for the first time and keep seeing flashes of India now and then!! There are times I feel like running back to Seattle – and there are times I want to just be here. There are times when I feel like walking to the middle of nowhere and just vanishing into thin air!!
As I said, it’s been 6 months now. India has successfully swallowed me, just the way it does to anyone who comes to its shores. Some people pat me on the back and proudly call me a ‘True Indian’, others think I made a wrong decision in moving back to the rut of the Indian life. I take both and make nothing of them.
I have learnt that it’s not the place where you live – it’s how you live!!
"Mitti ki jo hain khushboo, tu kaise bhoolaayega
Tu chaahe kahin jaaye, tu laut ke aayega"
"The greatest journeys are the ones that bring you home"!!
Jai Hind – In God We Trust!