Sunday, September 30, 2007

One Love?

When you’d talk of love, we have been drawing distinction between real love and some sort of infatuation/attraction. They say real love begins when nothing is expected in return. Our theory fits it into the context:

Love can either be a binding force, when it’s driven by the deficit drive, of the lower self. Or instead, it could very well be a liberating force when it’s driven by inner affluence.

I’m trying to see convergence of multiple ideas if they could explain my own behavior. The polyamorous philosophies and a perpetual quest of seeking human bonds could also be construed as a constant pursuit of baser needs. Does love necessarily have to be limited to one person? Or does all love have to be romantic love and loyalty with one person is necessarily violated if someone is affectionate to multiple people. Why should someone be so bothered about ‘sharing affections’ as if there’s a limited quota which would reduce if shared? Is human capacity to love limited? Isn’t that a deficit driven lower self which wants to put a restriction or a curb on the free flow of a strongly positive emotion- to be construed as affection, adoration, or mild love? Can’t love possibly be an infinite resource which wouldn’t diminish if shared. Demand exclusive attention, agreed, it’s limited. But why the need for exclusivity in affection? Why is it a breach of loyalty? Why is it infidelity? Is it necessary that I have to take away some of my love from you to give it to someone else?


Saturday, September 29, 2007

What do you Value?

A question of ‘what do you really value?’ could become all the more interesting a question when posed to oneself. Amidst multiple answers voiced by classmates, I was trying to converse with myself, trying to figure out what my answer really was. Normally describing myself as given to indulgences, under the garb of enjoying the one life that I have, I was looking for something that would give me lasting satisfaction and happiness. The pursuit of temptations, is nothing but a fad and with time, it would pass. What I do really value is a combination of a few things :

Everyone has the right to be happy. They could very well break out of the shackles posed by the surrounding circumstances to redeem their own lives for themselves and no one should make a value judgment about how someone chooses to live their life.

At the same time, one should be brutally honest with oneself. Sometimes it’s difficult to do that, and in those cases, one should perhaps entrust the mirror to someone else, who would show the picture as it is, without coloring with opinion and judgments. Delusions and pretense might serve for a while but deluding oneself is worthy of being called a sin, not just foolishness.

And then? I value human bonds! The way two people can connect. It doesn’t have to be romance, doesn’t have to be anything defined in the society. It’s just a strong emotion that may or may not last beyond a few moments. But in those moments, it overwhelms you. And it takes your breath away. I live for such moments!


Friday, September 28, 2007

Going High!

There are so many lenses to view oneself through. Each seems fascinating and each throws a new light upon myself and helps me understand in a different way. It’s fun, if nothing else. Once again, each of us holds within himself a ‘Lower Self’ and a ‘Higher Self’. Don’t immediately start associating the low and high with moral/value judgments.

The lower self is more like the functional or apparent one, which, in behavior is manifested as pettiness, meanness, unwillingness to share. Small. It’s driven by a sense of deficit, and a constant need to seek more of everything.

The Higher self, is the real or intrinsic self, surplus inspired and based on inner affluence. It reflects in behavior as dignity, nobility and magnanimity.

The dominance of one of the two selves is reflected in the elegance or grace with which one handles his life. Smitten by the dynamics of the world around and overwhelmed to no end, we often confine ourselves within the ambit of the lower self, considering it to be a natural human tendency. Take a few moments to look within and something starkly different, perhaps much more beautiful will come out – the higher self. Nourish it and it would in turn nourish your body, mind and soul.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wise or Clever?

It’s perhaps a wise thing to do to draw a distinction between wise decisions and clever decisions.

It’s interesting to note that the simple differentiation between the two can be drawn on the simple bases of their vision, scope and impact. A clever decision is more for the moment/space(read, concerned only about you and now) and the wiser ones are to be long term and wide(everyone’s good, forever). There’s nothing right or wrong about the two decision mechanisms but one needs to think about it every time he’s taking a decision. Both of them require the application of the intellect. My guess is, given our impatient nature and the fast paced life, we commend ourselves and get too happy to take clever decisions because they’re great in pulling us out of any complicated situation and always look rather smart because of their easiness.

On the contrary, the ‘wise decision’ stands the chance of being ridiculed. One, coz it’s difficult to implement and two, it might not find favor with your immediate neighborhood and three, it might have some not too great repercussions in the immediate time and space.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas

Every human is supposed to be composed of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas.

Sattwa (christened Illumination) is composed of compassion, patience, poise, serenity, forgiveness, transparency, simplicity, purity, selflessness, humility, gratitude etc.

Rajas (Dynamism) would encompass anger, fluctuating moods, vindictiveness, arrogance, pride, vanity, greed, jealousy, envy, conceit etc.

Tamas (Intertia or darkness) is about confusion, delusion, procrastination, laziness, indolence, lethargy.

Now, I’d say if it were to be put in a linear function

Me = A(s) + B(r) + C(t)

What varies across time and space is the value of the coefficients of each of these components. ‘Me’ is a dependent variable, on the values of the s,r,t and the varying coefficients in the functions. It’s not difficult to understand the variation across people and the evolution of the same person over time. However, it is also claimed that elements of all three characteristics must be present, for a healthy living. Think you could really do without all the lethargy and procrastination? Maybe not. It might lead you into insomnia!

About the Rajas which seems to be a whole lot of supposedly negative emotions, there is a further classification – you could be the illumined dynamite (sattwa guiding rajas) or the blind rajas which would be a mad race to nowhere. Rajas, without the headlight given by sattwa, can’t look at the big picture by it’s very nature and is liable to cause damage by speed of action.

Where do I see myself? For me, perhaps the equation is rather balanced. I can’t claim to have a dominant ‘illumination’ given my lazy habits in general. And I needn’t elaborate about the attitude anyway. Moving towards idealism, I think I could do with a bit less of lethargy and the sattwa taking a slight bit more control of the dynamism to illuminate it and light the bulb of sense in my head!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Desire could be taken as the essence of ‘life’. A being without any desires is as good as dead. But then, in our society we have developed conventions that doesn’t quite treat desire as a positive trait. Often, it’s treated as a euphemistic equivalent of lust. I would say it is a mild form of lust indeed, but it would be unfair to associate a default negative connotation with ‘desire’. If it weren’t for desire, the world would be a different place. What world would have been there anyway, had Adam not given in to ‘desire’.

Inventions, pursuits of wealth creation, desires to make a difference- desires have been at the root of all things material. That would also make desires the root of all evil, as evil is nothing but a subset of all things. But to forego desire would make someone dead. It’s desire that breathes life into an otherwise dead body. A combination of desire with strong mental power has done wonders unexplained by common logic. The austere would perhaps emphasize the role of desire in pushing human mind to the vices. I’d say, one’s fair in pursuing his desires, but not in a blind pursuit.

Man’s slavery to desire has led to a lot of degradation in the present day society. But it’s going to be another man’s desire to make a change, or to not conform, accompanied by his will, that would again rid the world of its vices.


Monday, September 24, 2007


Managing oneself in myriad situations could give him a lot of insights into his own biases, colored thought processes and prejudices. It could throw interesting light on your own evolution in terms of the different life experiences having impacted your personality. If we go by the Freudian way of thinking, there’s so much that happens in our childhood and has a strong impact in the way we come to be, as a person. To some extent, that could help us understand and explain our behavior in light of the past experiences, but sometimes it seems we’re using the past as an excuse to justify some undue liberties that we give to ourselves. The past describes an individual, but it cannot and should not be allowed to confine him. One can break away from the shackles of the past if he really desires thus.

I’m not a slave of my past.


Sunday, September 23, 2007


Mismatches of expectations in relationships have caused a lot of grief to just about everyone. Much as you try for the highest levels of communication, gaps as big as valleys come by now and then and cause a few miserable moments. Perhaps that’s where the virtues of keeping your calm and balance become all the more important so you don’t, in a fit of rage or the heat of the moment end up saying or doing something that’s not the most pleasant and with it, ruin someone’s night and your own morning. It doesn’t feel the best to have hurt someone.

One life!

To live it to perfection and without regrets, you HAVE to achieve a lot of balance in a lot of things- most importantly personal life and professional life.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Entrepreneurs Anyone?

We owe it to our society that we become entrepreneurs. Studying at the prestigious IIMs, we dare not, who will? Reasons for not going on the entrepreneurial journey right after college- financial security, networking, experience and exposure are nothing but hogwash, a way of deluding yourself and running away from an invisible ghost of fear. It’s just plain fear and nothing else. Phat ti hai. For the rebellious reasons and others, it becomes all the more imperative for a hot blooded 23 year old that he attempts what others say can’t be done. Might seem stupid and mindless for a start, but well who wants to live a sane life anyway. At least make sure you enjoy the journey while you’re still at it. To feel good, to have fun and to feel satisfied at the end of the day are my key criteria for choosing what I want to do.


Friday, September 21, 2007


Does god exist? Is he fair? Is there proof? Myriad questions continue to puzzle anyone who doesn’t consider it blasphemous to think about these issues or pay attention to the calls of sensibility from within himself.

Generally Accepted Social Principles cause me to GASP. Our own literature has elaborately established the need for our individuality, the personal dharma and the quest of oneself. Each one is a rational being to act on his own behalf, to take his decisions based on his own judgment. And yet, ironically, the religion is one force that binds so many people together in a mob or a herd. As ironically- MBA education, that’s supposed to bring the out many colors within one self, seems to be doing the anti-prism by churning out clones and herds mad after some usual pursuits.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

One Life? mehv III

There’s a funny paradox, or so it seems between the ideas of living your ‘one life’ and the proposed austerity and detachment from the indulgences. To try and see a convergence, I’d say all those qualities spoken of, by the Geeta are actually steps that would make your ‘one life’ more meaningful and enjoyable. According to me, Geeta is misinterpreted and misused to say that ‘karma kiye jaa, fal ki iccha mat kar’. To look for consequences is not the issue, but being obsessed with the results to the extent of going up and down with it is the problem.

And then, someone would say that to begin with, have faith and give it your best, the result shall take care of itself. So is it in contradiction in the result-orientation or focus on results? I’m not sure. I would however say that in your obsession with reaching the destination, if you end up losing the pleasure of the journey, it’s nothing but a waste. Obsession with the result might again cause some myopic decisions, which you would end up regretting later, or maybe not. Perhaps you’ll just go on, achieving a milestone after another, winning a battle after another. Lets hope you don’t lose sight of the beautiful woods that you pass by while you’re counting the milestones.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Writing Diary... mehv II

To write a diary everyday as a reflective note sounds intimidating for a start. You start writing, without a clue as to what you want to talk about. But with time, you get ideas and the thoughts run wildly far and wide for you to be able to build on them. To look inwards and understand your own value systems and ethics could be an interesting thing to do. More so, perhaps it would be useful to see my own evolution as we go along in this course on human values. To me, anything that doesn’t in present or future cause a pang of guilt or a prick in my conscience is ethical. Ethics are individual, parts of a personality, so this is a general statement that would apply to each individual that believes that way. The problem is that people often make social norms and unwritten codes of conduct and the defiance to any of these, how much ever non sensible they are, becomes a difficult step to take.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mangerial Effectiveness and Human Values - I

A course in ’Managerial Effectiveness and Human Values’ requires us to write a diary everyday for the next few weeks. Some sort of reflective note on what’s going through my head and how I’m perceiving the world around, with a view of human values. Yesterday was spent in writing the tale of a messy episode that might land me an F grade in my summer internship, thanks to a professor’s obstinacy. Keeping the story part out of it, human values would seem essential in a civil society. The question arises when you are dealing with uncivil people. How long can you go on being stuck to your principles and allow them to be your shortcoming in the battle field when they go all out to cause you trouble. To the extent that it doesn’t inflict damage upon you, perhaps you could let them indulge in all the foolery. But then, to defend yourself, to protect your honor, if you have to tweak a thing or two here and there, there’s no harm done, as long as the tweaking doesn’t become a part of your nature and you don’t start using it all the time.

The concepts given by Krishna or Chanakya’s philosophy of Saam, Daam, Dand and Bhed seems to have a slight clash with contemporary conventional morality. I don’t feel inclined to go the Gandhian way much, perhaps because it’s the tougher way. But then it might just be worth a shot. It would be useful to have a Gandhian Munnabhai around, who could tell what would be the Gandhian solution to the situation at any time.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Greetings on Teachers' Day

One of the profs. from my UG times, we'd shared fondness of each other. It didnt' matter what he taught in the classroom, but there was a connect, stronger than a lot of other teachers.

He responded thus to my teachers' day greeting :

Dear Ankur

Thank you so much for remembering me on this day. A class well satisfied
after a lecture, is the best tribute you can pay to a teacher. Your class
paid that tribute many times over...

May the lord almighty bless you all. I still remember and miss yours and
your classmates smiling faces, the tea sessions, the midnight seminars
and the associated samosas... Time they say "Marches on". Those
memories to borrow  the words from a famous english poet, by the name
of William Wordsworth (as I am not so original) are

Though absent long,
These memories have not been to me,
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration:- feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure; such, perhaps,
As may have had no trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life;

.... the poem goes on.. I would not like to bore you as I did with my
lectures a few years back. Just keep writing, whenever you have time. Your
letters mean a lot to an old man like me. They keep me young at heart.

I hope you make yourself, your parents, your family, your teachers, your
school and your Institute and your country proud in the years to come.

raghava varma

On Wed, 5 Sep 2007, Ankur Gattani wrote:

> Dear Prof. Varma,
> Hope you're well.
> Thought of conveying my best wishes and warm regards on the occasion of
> Teachers' Day.
> Taking this day to thank my teachers who've taught me what I know today and
> contributed to shaping my personality the way it is today.
> Warm Regards,
> Ankur Gattani
> Class of 2006
> B.Tech Engg. Physics
> IIT Bombay

Raghava Varma
Department of Physics
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Powai Mumbai 400076
Mobile 09869075722
Phone 02225764548