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How I retain my sanity on Facebook and beat stress!

There was a discussion in a Whatsapp group on strategies to beat stress and create peace of mind. This post is based on what I wrote there.
1. Reduce time on news and social Media: I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook and Twitter. I like some of the discussions there and love reading the literary stuff posted by friends. But there is too much "spam" too and it is difficult to filter that garbage. And Facebook, by design, encourages us to "consume" a lot without "producing" much. So for a long time, I struggled with Facebook to decide how to use it and interact with it. After lot of experimentation, which included staying away from Facebook entirely for more than a month, I currently follow this "30 minute rule". I only spend 30 minutes per day (I use a timer) on social media and news.  I read the following on my phone in that order (you may have your own list) - US News (Yahoo News Digest App), India News (Eenadu e-paper, an Indian Telug…

Don't use phone while driving!

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Few weeks back our car was rear-ended - a teenage driver crashed into our car at 45 mph while my wife was waiting at the red signal, on her way to pickup our 6 year old daughter from school. Luckily, no one was hurt, though our car had moderate damage and his car was totaled. We were quite glad that the accident did not happen after my wife picked up my daughter. This teenager, who got his driving license only a week back, did not apply brakes at all. It was as if he never noticed the red light or the car before him. He claimed that his brakes failed but we know the real reason for his accident - he was distracted by his mobile phone.

A day after the accident, a friend forwarded a video on Whatsapp which showed a heart rending news item of an entire family (mom & 3 children) being wiped out by a distracted truck driver.



The camera inside the truck captured the driver changing music on his smart phone and he did not notice the traffic halted on the freeway. It all happened in seco…

5 inspiring readings for the New Year

Whether we change or not, we all have a desire to improve ourselves.  New Year offers a logical opportunity to pause and reflect. That is why "new year resolutions" are very popular, though in practice most resolutions do not live long. Yet, I think it is always useful to be "inspired". Inspiration can pull us out of lethargy. So here are 5 articles that I found most inspiring to make a positive change in my life. Hope they help you too!


Managing Oneself: I have great admiration for Peter Drucker, the management guru. My love for him started when I read his article in HBR titled "Managing oneself". It contains wonderful advice for creating a "fruitful life", starting with knowing your strengths, putting yourself in a career that utilizes those strengths and planning for a productive retirement. I read it every 6 months or so to get inspired. Very highly recommended. The HBR article is not freely available on the web, but that article itself is a…

Happy New Year 2017

I never celebrated New Year and till few years back I used to feel it is nothing special. It is just another day and why so much fuss about it, is my thinking! I still do not celebrate New Year, but I realize that it offers a nice opportunity to reflect, reassess and reform. Every step we take should be better than the one before and as we step into a new year, it is useful to think about how our future steps can be better.

So here I wish you all a Happy New Year!

New Year is a time for reflection...
Our triumphs and failures
Our joys and sorrows
Our hopes and disappointments
All inspiring us to move ahead

New Year is a time for aspiration...
To become more joyful
To spread more love
To make life more fruitful

May in this new year
We become more of what we want to be
More of what we need to be

Happy New Year!

O papa lali (Geetanjali) - a profound melody!

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Today (June 2nd) is the birthday of two great film personalities - music director Ilayaraja and director Mani Ratnam. “Geetanjali” is one epic film in their combination, the only straight Telugu film by Mani Ratnam. It is a wonderful love story, beautiful and philosophical. A terminally ill guy and a girl, both in the prime of their youth, find eternal love and solace in an impermanent world through their relationship. Ilayaraja’s magic plays a big role in this movie where he wonderfully creates the mood of the story through his amazing compositions and background score. Lyrics by Veturi are to be specially mentioned too because he captures the soul of the movie in the depth of his poetry. I will attempt to translate/explain here the lyrics of a song in the movie.

The soothing melody “O paapa laali”, sung wonderfully by SPB, is anything but soothing in its content. The girl is hospitalized again and this time doctors do not give much chance to her. The guy, full of despair, sings this …

Book Review: The Battle for Sanskrit

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The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive orLiberating, Dead or Alive? by Rajiv Malhotra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first Rajiv Malhotra's book I read. It concerns itself with criticizing Sheldon Pollock's views on Sanskrit and its social impact on Indian society (I heard his name for the first time in this book). It is indeed a class work of criticism. Malhotra speaks of Pollock respectfully, presents Pollock's views well and gives a dispassionate counter view-point. Rajiv Malhotra mentions that he even met Pollock twice to discuss their disagreements. This is really a very professional and dignified way to approach criticism and I am quite impressed with that!

Coming to the core topic of this book, I am surprised that there are intellectuals like Pollock who think that Sanskrit language itself is a "language of oppression"! Of course the Sankrit Kavyas are blamed by people like Pollock for portraying patriarchy, hatred, soci…

Swami Chinmayananda - Greatness personified!

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“The day you take up the policy of giving love instead of demanding it - that day you will have rewritten your entire future destiny - Swami Chinmayananda”
Today (May 8th) is GurudevSwami Chinmayananda Saraswati's 100th birth anniversary. This beautiful doodle created by Chinmaya Mission as a mark of devotion towards him has the words "Chinmaya Sadgurave Namaha" -





Chinmayananda, widely hailed as the second Vivekananda, has done a tremendous contribution to spread the real essence of Sanatana Dharma among Hindus. He used English as the main language to communicate his message to the English speaking educated class who were increasingly becoming averse to Hinduism due to their misconceptions. He wrote excellent commentaries on several Hindu scriptures including Bhagavadgita and Upanishads. His vision of making the "family" as a member of the mission and not just the individual, is perhaps his master-stroke. Chinmaya Mission is unique in having thoughtfully designed…