Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The most common act of any doctor is to study the pulse of a patient. The pulse offers a fair indicator to the doctor of the general health of the person concerned and is thus an invaluable tool to begin diagnosis of the real illness. In case of life and death situations too the pulse offers the immediate evidence of the state of the patient.  The PULSE therefore Provides Ultimate Life Sustaining Evidence both for the average person as well as the specialist doctor.

The pulse is an intangible yet omnipresent evidence of the physical life that we are blessed with. What makes it special is that it is also a good gauge of not just the physical health but also the moods and mental attributes of a person. Notice how are pulse races when we are anxious and how deep breathing when angry or upset can act as an antidote and immediately the pulse slows down and resumes the even pace when we are calm. A similar reaction could be triggered when watching a horror movie or a suspense movie or an action thriller. Conversely a light hearted comedy or a romantic movie could still make the pulse race but in a more subdued manner. The pulse of the movie as measured by you subconsciously could synchronize ones pulse to the emotion that is triggered.

On the larger canvas of life, gauging the pulse of the people is a common euphemism that plays a critical role for those who depend heavily on using this understanding to influence people’s perceptions and choices. Most political rhetoric is often centered around the understanding of the pulse of the people. The advertising world and the marketing domain are past masters in leveraging their pitch based on their analysis of the pulse of the people. Political upheavals are a good example of how ignoring the pulse of the people or not having a finger on the pulse of the state of affairs brings about catastrophic consequences. For those who ignore the pulse of the people it would be painfully evident that life does not sustain if one ignores the ground realities.

While our pulse rate can be influenced by illness or trauma which could require medication, the stress and travails of life too have a major bearing on our pulse rate. One needs to introspect and understand both the personal metabolism as well as those personal triggers that can send us into panic or rage or anxiety or exasperation which have a negative impact on the pulse rate which shoots up due to stress. However a quickened pulse rate is not always negative. In times of danger the pulse rate is a trigger to take evasive action. Have you noticed the flight or fight instinct that is triggered when you come face to face with a wild animal or a growling dog or a spitting cat? The PULSE thus Provides Ultimate Life Sustaining Evidence be it by being proactive or by being reactive. provided we gauge the pulse right.

Action Points:
  1. Observe people around you and judge for your self if they are relaxed, calm, anxious or stressed. Thereafter if you can, try to feel the pulse of these people and take the count for a minute. 70- 90 pulse beats per minute is considered the norm for an average adult. Do you think your initial assessment was right? Get someone to check your pulse too.
  2. Feedback is good source of getting to know the pulse of the people around you regarding their perceptions about you.  Pay attention to both the positive comments and particularly to the negative comments to find out your strengths and weakness. If some negative comments are bang on even if they are resented by you, work on improving. E.g. if you are constantly told that you need to improve your body language because you slouch most of the time then this painful realization should be taken seriously and efforts must be made to stand more erect.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


An oft ignored human expression of emotion is the element of TOUCH. Be it shaking hands with someone or giving someone a hug or a pat on the back or merely holding hands, the varied emotions that come through touch are under rated because very few have realized that TOUCH is The Original Universal Connection to Heart. Ever consciously noticed how in a spontaneous gesture of affection we ruffle the hair of a kid or kiss a chubby little baby? Imagine the feeling of joy and warmth that envelops us when we extend that touch and an overwhelming emotion gets triggered in our heart.

In everyday life the most commonly used touch between adults is a handshake. It is not just a greeting but an expression of equality, acceptance, welcome and respect. In formal settings or when initial contact is made the handshake may be very ritualistic but when a camaraderie is built up and the relationship is more friendly, the handshake gets transformed into an expression of genuine warmth and delight. The handshake has and equally important role ironically in very tragic circumstances particularly at funerals when the condolences are offered to the bereaved. Baden Powell the founder of Scouts movement gave the handshake a touch with a twist. He introduced the concept of scouts shaking hand with the left hand based on his initial contact with an Indian leader in the wild west. (Check the net to find out more about this). It may also be interpreted that this gesture is special too since the heart is closer to the left hand and a left handed shake hand was both symbolic of the seriousness of intent and an appropriate gesture.

Hugs and kisses are not too far behind as methods demonstrating the power of touch. Hugs accentuate the whole body touch to convey the warmth and the closeness that exists between the parties involved. The meeting of long lost friends, family members or close relatives is a time when the hug becomes the silent but powerful communicator of the emotions. Ironically again, the hug also conveys the deepest emotion of sorrow and empathy that one conveys to someone in pain. Children in particular relish a hug for it also ensconces the security that they desperately seek at that vulnerable age. A kiss is a more overt expression of love whether it be between parents and children, between lovers or newlyweds. A kiss is in many ways is the ultimate expression of love and affection expressed as a touch.

Then there are other favored expressions of touch like walking hand in hand, ruffling the hair and fondling which are common place in daily life. The danger of inappropriate touch is a cause for concern though. What is important however, is the recognition of the reality that TOUCH as a sensation and expression of emotion plays a crucial role in the shaping our life and the lives of others we come in contact with for ultimately it is The Original Universal Connection to Heart.

Action Points:
  1. If you have a domesticated pet or if you can observe a domesticated pet and its owner, pay attention to how the pet seeks the affection of its master and attempts to get its masters touch. Dogs in particular overtly seek the touch of its owners. Imagine how much a human being craves for the power of touch.
  2.  Next time you shake hands with a stranger/ a friend/ a long lost cousin pay attention to the intensity, duration, style and firmness of the handshake. Do you see a correlation between the handshakes and the intimacy you share with the other party?
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Sunday, November 6, 2011


We experience real COURAGE when we Challenge Ourselves Utilize Resources And Get Empowered and this results in the triumph of our self belief over our inhibitions. Of course it is easier said than done partly because any form of courage requires us to overcome our fears but what impedes us most is our lack of self belief that by taking a courageous stand we can have some major bearing on the issues on hand. Another aspect that dampens our courage is our reluctance to commit ourselves and stay the course once we delve into it. Despite these obvious limitations we tend to display courage more often than we give credit to ourselves.

Broadly there are two types of courage we display – physical courage and moral courage. The former is more limited by our inability to confront the possibility of physical pain. The later thought is tougher because it involves making very conscious and possibly riskier choices with more damaging long term consequences. To understand this paradox we need to realize that we could have gone through both types of challenges to our courage when in school. Most times we wouldn’t mind taking on a bully or squaring up to a rough tackling opponent during the football matches but would be terrified of owning up to  the teacher when caught for some aberration like homework not being done or copying in an exam.

How does one become courageous? The answer lies partly in our upbringing, partly on our mental makeup but largely on our sense of fair play and justice. If one is brought up with a lot of freedom and acceptance and also encouraged to be daring without being a stupid risk taker chances are that one would be more forthcoming and decisive in ones thoughts and actions. Past experiences and a bit of genetics have an important bearing on our mental makeup, but it is possible that an independent thinking person will change for the better with time and determination. However it is the sense of fair play and justice that will ultimately have a major influence on the kind of courage we display. Maintaining balance is critical to display courage in the right measure. Being foolhardy and displaying stupid bravado is not courage and that is an important thought to be borne in mind.

So why is that we lack courage? At times we do experience the sharp pain of hurt, rejection, lack of understanding and loneliness when we embark on a courageous path. Often we find ourselves in a hopeless minority when we stand up for our principles or beliefs. The pain of isolation, the fleeting thought that maybe we are wrong, the overwhelming pressures brought on us by well meaning but perhaps misplaced views of the majority and the strain of furrowing a lonely path frighten us and we succumb to our inhibitions. Then there are threats to our limb an life which are too formidable to be ignored and too treacherous to be treated casually and the net result is that we give up our original courageous path.

Does this make us cowards? If we were to list out the times we have displayed our courage it would make for poor reading and the inference could be that we are cowards. The fault though is that we prune our list and do not list the daily acts of courage we display be it in simply being polite to a boorish person, standing up for our rights when palmed off with fault goods or being over charged, taking up for someone denied justice or simply exhibiting good sense when everyone is going berserk. These acts may not add up to much on the larger scale of courage as displayed by soldiers on the battle field or someone willing to face harassment and possibly being jailed for their own personal convictions. The real measure though is in displaying COURAGE continuously, consistently and courageously for then we Challenge Ourselves Utilize Resources And Get Empowered

Action Points:
  1. Outline 3 situations in which you would have a very very tough time displaying personal courage. Also examine the possible reasons why you think you would not be able to exhibit your courage. 
  2. Can you recollect 3 events / occasions in which you displayed personal courage. What was the feeling you experienced before, during and after the even happened?
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Sunday, October 30, 2011


For the average person, the word STROKE immediately conjures up a terrible image of a heart attack that leads to death. For the less panicky, depending on their favorite game the work STROKE can have a much more favorable image being seen vividly. The word instantly brings to mind some exquisite backhand down the line stroke or a forehand cross court stroke for tennis buffs and for the cricket enthusiast the same word could trigger images of an array of strokes executed by batsmen over the years. The golf enthusiast won’t be far behind either with some exciting and vivid imagination of his/her dream stroke. However, today we shall focus attention on a less well known but widely accepted and exceptionally useful concept of a psychological stroke which in effect could be seen as Stimulus Transferred Regularly Often Kindles Encouragement.

Broadly there are two types of stokes that one is generally aware of; the positive stroke and the negative stroke. However in real life a large number of people go around without getting any stroke. These are the unfortunate people who end up getting No Strokes and live a lonely life, walk around like lost sheep, lack self pride, feel insignificant and victimized and perceive the world to be against them. With this background we can attempt to understand how the concept of STROKEs has both relevance and utility to each one of us in our everyday life. In fact a better understanding of the topic would enable us to enrich our own life and positively impact the lives of the many people around us. 

While negative strokes ( like getting slapped, shouted at, insulted, blamed etc.) are seen as the most avoidable type of stroke, the subtle reality is that getting No Strokes is perhaps the worst emotional and psychological trauma for a human being especially since we are the most evolved social animal. To appreciate this it is essential that we need to understand what a no stroke situation is. Imagine a prisoner kept in an isolation cell. This is normally done to the most dangerous and violent criminal and the idea is the break the prisoner down since as a social animal he/ she need the company of other human beings. While none of us may experience this kind of isolation, imagine the plight of a machine operator working an 8 hour shift or a bus driver seated all alone in the driver’s seat without the benefit of frequent human interaction. Some may have had the experiences of forcibly being isolated when suffering from chicken pox and apart from the suffering from the illness, the loneliness and forced rejection by others may have worsened the trauma. 

When subjected to no strokes, the human tendency is to seek some stroke even if it is a negative stroke. An understanding of this reality can perhaps explain why last benchers in class are often disruptive, naughty and mischievous. This also could provide a clue to why bus a driver keeps blowing the horn or revs the engine of the bus whilst at a traffic signal provoking angry stares and possibly shouts and abuses from others around. 

Ideally every one craves  positive strokes. A smile is the simplest, cheapest and most effective positive stroke. A pat on the back, a word of praise and appreciation are other common means of extending a positive stroke. Positive strokes are of two types. When the stroke is freely given without any expectation it could be called a positive unconditional stroke whereas a positive stroke given with an expectation is a positive conditional stroke. An example of the latter would be a parent offering a reward for doing well in exams or a person obliging another in the hope of getting a return favor latter. Obviously the best possible stroke is a POSITIVE UNCONDITIONAL STROKE for that is when Stimulus Transferred Regularly Often Kindles Encouragement.

Action Points:
  1. Over the next 1 week make a list of the different people with whom you had a chance to interact and who gave you strokes and classify the same into negative, positive unconditional , positive conditional and no strokes. For the same list of people and situations outline what kind of strokes you gave or times when you didn’t give any stroke. Examine your emotions for each recording.
  2. What kind of strokes would you normally give to the following people
  • A widower who is considered a crank neighbor by others
  • Your boss or school/ college principal whom you meet on the road suddenly
  • Your former girlfriend/ boy friend who you unexpectedly meet at a party
  • The person at the check out counter who is slow, confused and obviously not well trained in his./ her job
  • A key team member who did not turn up for a match because of an emergency that occurred about which you are not convinced.
  • The person who scored first place by one mark over you.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011


Every single culture is made richer by it is unique bond with music and dance. Dance as an art form is means to express emotions and the grace and movement that is integral to dance also outlines  history, culture and  tradition. Through dance, one can get over one’s inhibitions, give vent to ones expressions, relax and cheer up and surprisingly in the rhythm and vigor of the activity one can also Discover Amazing New Cheerful Energy

What is common to all dance forms are the following facts
-          Every dance form invariably is a celebration
-          There is rhythm, grace, movement and timing that binds the performance
-           Involvement and enjoyment are essential requirements to heighten the quality of the performance
While the sense of rhythm, grace and movement are individual specific, learning the art is a prerequisite if one wants to get fully involved and immersed in the beauty of the dance. Unfortunately many are inhibited by the fear that one has no natural talent or ability to shake a leg.  Equally damning is the reluctance to be patient, the inability to keep rehearsing to attain mastery and getting cocooned and being wary of experimenting to evolve. The beauty of dance lies in its inspiring ability to capture moods, emotions, expressions and interest of both performer and audience. 

The uniqueness of dance lies  in :

Its ability to keep a person grounded. Every dance form has some norms, movements and steps which are by and large predefined. It is therefore essential that anyone attempting dancing be well aware of the movements, the beat and the style if one has to gracefully execute the dance. Whether a person learns the dance form formally or by sheer observation and practice is immaterial but the discipline and rigor of the activity makes the person realize the importance and value of form and structure that holds the movements together and gives it the finesse to make it visually appealing.

The freedom it gives to express one’s creativity. While form and structure ensure that there is uniformity and conformity that makes the dance rhythmic and coordinated, the grace, style and improvisation that an individual brings to the dance floor is completely a function of ones personal style, creative outpouring and personal preference and passion. That is the reason why we tend to appreciate some people as natural dancers while others would be clinical in execution but the soul would be missing.

It allows one the to experience the exhilaration of being liberated. The joy of dancing often usurps the ground rules of form and substance. This is evident in the way little kids exude in the joy of sheer spontaneous movement when listening to catchy tunes and dynamic beats of music. The little child in us also comes out when we too join in the fun and frolic when we cannot resist the lure of the gaiety, the rhythm, the mood and the beat  and spontaneously sway to the exhilarating emotions that overcome us.

In no other art form would many indulge in a public display of their inadequate abilities so spontaneously and that is when they DANCE and Discover Amazing New Cheerful Energy

Action Points:
  1. If you had to learn dancing which form of dancing would you love to learn? What is it that you love about that dance style? Have you made any efforts to learn that dance?  Outline a plan of action to learn that dance form.
  2. Outline the various types of dance forms that you have seen or heard of.  Attempt to see some of those dances that you may never have witnessed, let alone participated in. To help you get going here are a couple of dance forms that are listed for you to focus on and you can add to that list.
-          Indian classical dances – Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi,
-          Western classical dances – Tap dancing, tango,
-          Indian folk dances –  Cheraw Dance, Koli Dance,

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Friday, September 30, 2011


It is ironic that the classic usage of the three R’s that formed the basis of schooling only had the first R being used correctly when we referred to Reading, wRiting and aRithmectic. The other two R’s shot into prominence because of the phonetics, which again was ironic considering that the English language is not based on phonetics. Despite this anomaly, the critical role that is played by knowing how to WRITE can best be understood when we realize that it is a Way to Record Important Thoughts & Emotions. History is testimony to that since we are aware of what happened centuries ago, mainly because we had paintings and writings from those eras to fall back on. A major part of the credit must go to those who took pains to write and record happenings and events of those times.

Today we have so many writing and recording options that we are truly blessed, for we can with relative ease, write on what we fancy.  Yet for the vast majority of people, writing is a taxing chore that is best avoided. There are others who would have loved to write but perceive themselves too inadequate to the task. There is also a motley lot who believe that they have the ability to write and plunge headlong into frenzied writing churning out reams of material but then are aghast that they don’t seem to get sufficient readership.  Having regularly written this blog and  for over a year and a half, let me take the liberty of sharing a few tips to all those who would like to explore their writing talent and share their thoughts, emotions and storytelling skills.

Here are the 4 essentials to any form of writing.

Have a clear objective for writing. It is important that we visualize the audience who we are addressing for only then can we get some clarity as to what we want to write about, work on how we can convey what we want to share and ensure that our writing reaches the audience we target.  Many people write randomly and then feel frustrated that they run into writers block, don’t get sustained reader attention and worse still is that sinking feeling that no one knows that I write.

Develop your own style. The writing style is not merely limited to the content, the manner of presentation or the techniques used to keep reader interest alive. Style also refers to the choice of medium, the frequency of writing, the dynamics of reaching out to newer audiences and making your writing stand out and be noticed. Also pay attention to your own strengths in visualizing and transcribing for one can be a poet at heart, a story teller by inclination, an essayist by skill sets or a philosopher by nature. Each offers an opportunity to explore one’s writing abilities and we can attempt it all and then freeze on what suits our natural style best.

Have self belief. The problem for many beginners who attempt to write is that they give up too quickly. Writing is both a skill and an art. Unless one is exceptionally talented, it takes time to be noticed, needs discipline to prolific, takes courage of conviction to keep going when recognition takes time and one has to be creative and strategic to reach out to the right audience. Not all of us are blessed with all these qualities but those who have self belief will persist with patience and optimism.

Improve the play with words. All writing in any form is ultimately a play of words. There is no substitute for a rich vocabulary, a vivid imagination, a structure and syntax when put in print and a flow that is appealing and engaging. Experiment, experience, explore are the three E’s that will aid one in playing around with language and the fine nuances of it. If required, don’t hesitate to get feedback from people who can be objective, experienced and encouraging.

Hopefully, you will be able to grasp the subtle nuances of the points I have elucidated above and be able to appreciate how to WRITE well. If I have achieved what I set out to do, you too will find a Way to Record Important Thoughts & Emotions that are yearning to be put in print.

Action Points:
  1. Can you recollect 3 of the best articles and 3 of the best poems that you read/ studied in your language text books in school? Can you outline the reasons for still being able to recollect those articles/ poems? 
  2. Attempt to solve Crosswords, play a game called “Pictionary’ and / or   ‘Scrabble’. Also find out other innovative ways to improve your vocabulary.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011


While democracy has many faults, most of them relating to the difficulty of effective and impartial implementation, the one tool that upholds it, is the VOTE that each one in a democracy is entitled too. With this one tool those in power can be swept aside and a new set of people brought into power. By not utilizing this one tool, we can end up suffering the ill effects of a stale democracy for as they say ‘Bad governments are elected by good people who did not vote’. The important lesson for each one of us is that, even as individuals we have the power of one with which we can Voice Opinion Through Elections.

When viewed from a personal perspective a vote is not necessarily your opinion expressed via the ballot. As independent thinkers with the power to visualize, discern, decide and articulate, we are expected to participate in all matters that affect our daily living and express ourselves. Such an expression of our personal preferences, views, sharing of suggestions, even changing our stance based on better understanding are part of the process of us voicing our opinion and an indication of our vote. Thus the whole exercise is a participative process in which each of us has to take an active interest and preferably be proactive participants rather than articulate critics. You have opportunities to exercise your opinion and your vote in your local housing society meetings, the meetings of social service clubs of which you may be a member, write letters to the editors of the local newspapers to share your thoughts on social and civic matters.

The one issue that troubles most people exercising their vote is their inability to reconcile the yawning gap between what might be ideal and what could possibly not in our personal interest. It is possible that to tide over a crisis some rather harsh measures would possibly have to be taken but as an individual it is possible that the measures affect you the most. Increasing taxes is often the best example of such a happening. Similarly we may have to choose between someone who is very efficient and a go getter but has loose morals and / or is vindictive and ruthless and another who is clean as a whistle, a good listener, a man of his word but alas cannot get his way and despite his best intentions only has excuses to offer. This is where the personal judgment has to be exercised with caution and deliberation. It is important then to VOTE with awareness rather than endorsing an opinion that seems convenient under the circumstances.

Whatever the circumstances, be aware that a VOTE is your right and more importantly your duty. When the majority doesn’t vote, the minority gets their way and the majority merely has to play along till the next opportunity comes. To avoid such a situation be an active participant in the process, study the issues well, try to keep personal biases away, consciously give your VOTE and Voice Opinion Through Elections.

Action Points:
  1. The next time you go to vote, ask if you are voting in a particular way because you know the issues well or merely because you have been asked to cast your vote by a friend, a well wisher or a person whom you cannot disregard.
  2. Almost every issue has 2 or more sides to it. Do you pay particular attention to the views of those who do not agree with your views? Do you also appreciate those opposing views that have merit but do not fit into the overall scheme of things that you support? E.g. Inducting women into the infantry regiments of the armed forces.
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Monday, September 19, 2011


Right from our childhood we are taught, disciplined and coaxed into ensuring that we SHARE whatever we have with those who do not have. It is equally true that many of us didn’t really appreciate this lesson for in our view what was ours was ours to enjoy and the idea of parting even with a small bit of it was neither appealing nor fair. Yet if we paused for a moment and asked ourselves how we would feel if we didn’t have something and the person having it did not share it with us, we would realize how hurt, and dismayed we would be. If we pondered over how we would describe the other person who did not share, we would be sure to ascribe words like selfish, stone hearted and wicked to describe them. On the other hand when we recollect memories of times we shared what we had and of those times when we were fortunate to share things that other had we suddenly recall the joy, happiness and thrill that we experienced simply because we could See How All Receive Everything when we SHARE.

It is equally exhilarating to realize the truth in the saying that ‘we double our joys that we share and half our sorrows that we share’. Perhaps as children we didn’t fully realize the implications of it because a piece of cake when shared simply reduced our own portion of pleasure and our sorrows would be eased only if someone else who wronged us was punished. However with maturity and experience, we realized that we wanted a positive, happy and cordial environment around us, the best way was to share our joys and sorrows. Our tradition of celebrating occasions be a it a religious festival, a wedding, the birth of little one or even doing well in exams or buying something substantial like a car or a house simply reinforce this fact. Similarly, the condolence meetings on the death of a loved one, our visit to the sick and the elderly and messages of sympathy and encouragement manifest as part of the process of sharing sorrows.

Real sharing must be spontaneous and genuine. It must not be done ritualistically or due to compulsion. When we congratulate someone and heartily share in their joy, the connect that we make with the people around would transcend and morph into pure ecstasy. Similarly when we reach out to another in pain, empathize with them and do all within our powers to lessen their pain, we hope to lighten their burden by absorbing a part of their sorrows and sufferings by our mere presence and support. When we SHARE in the joys and the pain, we multiply the former when everyone receives a part of the joy being spread and divide the latter by collectively joining hands to lighten the others burden. Ultimately we See How All Receive Everything when we are willing to SHARE.

Action Points:
  1. What is the most prized possession that you would find hard to share ? What are your fears about sharing it? Do you remember something that you desperately wanted but the person possessing it did not share it with you? Would you share anything with the person who never shared his/ her possession with you?
  2. How and What would you SHARE to ensure the following
  • Spread joy around
  • Liven up a dull party
  • Proactively be involved in fund raising for a charity
  • To keep yourself enthused and motivated
  • Make new contacts and relationships

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