Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Overstretched Realities

Schedules are more hectic, finances stretched, and family visits and interactions can stir up old emotions and baggage from the past that only add to the stress of the Holiday Season. And this is the time of year when a lot of us seem to revisit neglected issues, which are often long-standing and deep-seated. It is trying being around people we are angry with or who have hurt us in the past.

The best prescription for clearing up issues is finding the road to unfold the truth. Of course, that is often the last thing we want to hear, but I hold with my belief that those issues we haven't been able come to terms with can simmer and hurt us, often far worse than they hurt the other person. You may be surprised to hear me say that it's okay for them to feel their feelings, because solving an issue starts with accepting the truth. Denying it only aids the building up, and they can come out “sideways” onto people who often have nothing to do with our wounds. Finding an appropriate time and place where you can feel all the grief and anger surrounding a hurtful experience is what can help you to heal and forgive.

Life seems to be a collection of overstretched realities – one needs sort his/her baggage and travel light!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seance with my Senses

Over the last few years I have had many emotional moments from the state of being on my own to build the world around me or an increased number of decision disasters and changing social patterns influencing my every move. I've noticed that those who have most successfully weathered such storms and have overcome adversity all seem to share a common belief that something positive can come out of difficult situations.

Finding the positive and building on what's important may not be easy, but it is certainly helpful, when we face serious challenges in our lives. If we only focus on the negative when challenging things happen to us, we make our situations even worse. We've all heard stories about people who have lost everything they own to fire, hurricane or other disaster, but who surprisingly are able to talk about being grateful. That's because they've shifted their focus from what they've lost to what they still have — their lives and that building up is part of living again. As long as there's life, there's hope. Those who are able to move past the worst of times have discovered how to accept the fact of a difficult situation and move past it.

One lesson I learnt, acceptance of something doesn't mean that you are surrendering to it. It just means you are clear about what is happening around you. Once you accept something, you free yourself to look at it from all angles, consider your options and take the best course of action. Even the worst predicaments can be overcome with thought, time and effort. In the end, you may be surprised at how much better things turned out than you would ever have expected.

When things are bad, what you've got to do is to be grateful you're alive, put one foot in front of the other, breathe in, breathe out, and do the next indicated thing. Look for the good things in a bad situation and take advantage of them. If you can do that, then you'll walk right out of the dark tunnel and into the light. I hope you'll take some time to think about my thoughts and be a soldier from within.

-          Abhijith Jayanthi
13 February 2010
Boston MA, USA

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Insomnia of Life

Insomnia of Life is a collection of poems which speak about human emotions and how one should learn from nature and her marvels - bonding between nature and her children; trust equation in a human relation; passion in our expectations from love and beyond. When we are on a high, emotions keep us happy and grounded; and when we are low - emotions provide us with warmth and bring back the smile - that curve which can set any situation straight. It is these emotions which give us a sense of belonging, help us live happily and not feel melancholic - a sleepy existence. Every moment is colorful and joyful, it is we who do not take notice of it, if we can - one can find happiness in tiny gestures and warm emotions. Life has offered me many complex emotions and these poems are few of my prized pearls from my oyster - written during various trysts with my emotions. I hope you will enjoy reading it!

- Abhijith Jayanthi 

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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Omni Displacement Effect

It is often said that “the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer”. As a general characterization of recent trends in India, this statement would be hard to substantiate, but there is a common denominator which is deteriorating faster for both the sections – ethics. There are circumstances when it is a good description of what is happening – former due to irresponsible freedom and unwarranted access to money and latter due to their natural instinct to ape the former set.  The growing affluence of the middle classes creates enormous pressure to afford responsible training of ethics on a large scale, even when their social and familial relations costs are enormous. The scale of displacement rises further (often, much further) when urbanization quotient is on the greater side.

The inequitable and often brutal trait of nature – forced artificiality is now fairly well understood, and the victims’ growing reluctance to be pushed around has even prompted some serious rethinking on this matter. But the “Omni Displacement Effect”, as I wish to call it (the fact that the growing prosperity of the rich often encroaches on the attitude of the poor, resulting in a collective collapse of ethical well being of society) also has other manifestations.

For instance in the past, as well-off families got richer, they shifted their children from government schools to private schools, and this “exit” of influential people from the public schooling system reduced the accountability of government schools. Over time, a vicious circle set in, whereby the decay of government schools and the desertion of well-off families fed on each other. This phenomenon, illuminatingly discussed many years ago by Albert Hirschmann, is still an important aspect of the education scenario in India today. One could, of course, debate to what extent the root of the problem lies in growing economic inequality, or in the absence of accountability in the schooling system. The fact remains that in this particular context, some people’s growing affluence can make this Omni Displacement Effect more prominent.

The Omni Displacement Effect is not a systematic pattern. There are also many cases where the poor benefit in one way or another from the affluence of the privileged – for instance, by getting more jobs, purchasing power or better public services made possible by higher tax revenue. But the Omni Displacement Effect is quite common, and it helps to explain why life is deteriorating evenly for many people leading to unhappiness existence, in spite of rapid economic growth.

The rich and the poor, of course, have a common stake in a well-functioning social setup. But they also compete for space – very limited space, bearing in mind the levels of overcrowding on any platform. Ecological plunder destroys common property resources that have critical livelihood value for the society. The lifestyles of the rich, glamorized by a huge advertisement industry, set burdensome standards and models for the poor. Last but not least, the lives and priorities of the well-off absorb an enormous amount of time and attention from the media, the parliament, the courts, and other institutions that are meant to be geared to the public interest.

The Omni Displacement Effect is an unattended to component by public policy, and especially, in an era where things are planned for the rich or the poor – but never for their influences on the general well being of the social eco-system. Creating “world-class facilities” in every domain has become an absorbing concern of Indian policy-makers, but this endeavour, geared as it inevitably is to the convenience, often ends up undermining the attitude change that is necessary for appropriate use and proper functioning of such facilities. It is time to address this Omni Displacement Effect for a bright tomorrow.

- Abhijith Jayanthi 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Quest for Greatness

I wish to begin by evoking India’s distant past, and indeed, its past greatness, without indulging in the nostalgia of an imaginary golden age. To what extent greatness has been lost or gained in the last few centuries is a matter of perspective. But the sense of loss, frequently evoked in contemporary public discourse, is not difficult to understand. Colonial rule did impoverish India in many ways, not just economically but also in terms of its standing and influence in the world. From a land at par with the more advanced regions of the world, India was transformed into a subjugated colony, and attained independence after a long period of economic stagnation and recurrent famines.

It is, thus, not surprising that many Indians (particularly among the privileged classes) want the country to recover its greatness. The country’s recent economic dynamism is often seen as an opportunity to realise that dream. Indeed, the fixation with economic growth is as much about India becoming a “world power” as it is about improving living standards.

There is nothing wrong in aspiring to greatness, but the real question is – what is greatness? This is where there is some need for introspection and debate. Indeed, these aspirations tend to focus on superficial or exclusive symbols of greatness – Olympic medals, Nobel prizes, bullet trains, expensive wines, long-range missiles, or a seat in the UN Security Council. The priorities of public policy would be quite different if policymakers are well trained, universal health care, freedom from hunger, a clean environment, respect for human rights and social equity were thought to be essential aspects of a country’s greatness.

It may be argued that these are not attributes of greatness, because many other countries have them, and greatness requires distinguishing oneself in some way – being “ahead” of others. This is quite misleading. In historical perspective and even by contemporary standards, ensuring freedom from want for everyone, or eradicating corruption, or protecting the environment are truly great achievements. Exploding a nuclear bomb is a trivial accomplishment in comparison.

These achievements also need to be seen in the light of a country’s history and circumstances. Consider for instance education. India tends to take pride in its institutions of higher education – its universities, technology centres, scientific associations, and so on. These are indeed valuable achievements. But considering the country’s long history of being under the British rule, people working in policy tend to focus on pleasing their superiors rather than acquiring necessary knowledge, if corrected will be an enormously greater achievement – it would represent a more significant breakthrough than many other countries have achieved in their own transition to well informed policy fraternity, starting from a less trained base. Similarly, eliminating merit based inequalities in education, employment, property rights, political representation and related matters would be an outstanding accomplishment for India, given the historical burden of extreme subjugation of meritocracy in South Asia.

Among other examples of misplaced quest for greatness is India’s pursuit of military power (if not “super-power”), including the frantic development of nuclear weapons. India is now the largest weapons importer in the world, aside from producing a fair amount of lethal equipment on its own. It is hard to think of anything more ruinous and dangerous for India than military competition with China, or even Pakistan: there is no precedent in world history of a nuclear arms race between two countries that are so close to each other and also involved in a territorial dispute over which they have already fought several wars.

Having said this, there are also possibilities of real achievements in terms of a more reasoned notion of greatness, even if these achievements have been, so far, quite limited. Recent experience provides many examples of how policy priorities can be substantially changed through public activism and democratic action. The safeguarding of democracy is itself a form of greatness, often overlooked because it is taken for granted.

Dr. Ambedkar, who had both greater fears as well as greater hopes for Indian democracy than anyone else, once defined democracy as “a form and method of Government whereby revolutionary changes in the economic and social life of the people are brought about without bloodshed.” India is yet to live up to this vision, but the democratic vision is far from over. India is still a relatively young country – sixty-five years is not a long time to shed the burden of colonialism and feudalism and to build the institutions and spirit of participatory and transparent democracy.

When South Africa, an even younger country, was liberated from apartheid, Nelson Mandela wrote: “The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free” India has already gone a little beyond “the freedom to be free”, but it can make much better use of this freedom. It is in the future of the democratic roadmap, not in nostalgia of a golden past, that there are real prospects for greatness.

- Abhijith 

Place: Patna - Bihar
Date: 25/7/12

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Humility Sold: Trip to Failure Town

It is history that we find no connect to – we tend to ignore, but it is this subject which gives us stories to reflect upon. We are to learn from the experiences of our predecessors and grow – into better beings.  As an old proverb reads: The tree bearing the most fruits is the one which bends the most and survives the wind – People who stand tall in their false ego and pride, fall flat when the harsh winds of time blow rampantly; and the ones who bear the fruits of wisdom, prosper with their goodness and humility.

It happens so often in our everyday life – we don't realize the worth of anyone else around us or relate to any of their dreams. For a leader to come through, it is a collective dream – dreams of many, evolving together to pave the path for the leader. It is essential that one realizes the importance of every brick in the wall. Today, all of us are so engrossed in our own work and our self that we do not have time to acknowledge this.

I believe that a significant test for understanding one’s leadership potential is his or her humility. Leaders realize – have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. Never too late, let us start to be one – a true leader.

- abhijith 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Positive Narcissist: You & Me


One of the things I notice with people - is their personal magnetism. Personal magnetism is not something only attributed to people like movie stars or politicians. All of us possess our own brand of magnetism. On a very basic level, our bodies have own energy field, and, just like a magnet, we all can attract (or repel) people, situations or things either to or away from us. 

This is because our thoughts and emotions are forms of energy as well, and the thoughts and emotions that we “send out” have a great deal to do with how others perceive us and how we interact in the world.

Changing our thoughts and getting clearer about our emotions has a direct affect on our energy. The key here is for us to become aware of the types of thoughts and emotions that we generally have. Are they positive and open to possibilities, or negative and critical (of yourself or others)? A simple point to remember is that we attract what we focus on. Try to check in throughout the day to see how you are feeling.

For example, if you catch yourself having a negative thought such as, “I'll never get ahead,” you're sending out a negative, or repelling, energy. But if you can turn it into a more positive statement, like “I am tackling the challenges along my chosen path,” you'll be sending out a positive, attracting energy.

So, boost your personal magnetism with positive thoughts, and, let your positive attitude be the guiding torch and show the way!

- abhijith      

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reality Check: India

India is a land of complexities – with more people joining the working age population every month. But this was to be expected - at least to some extent – back in 1947, when India was born – many critics highlighted the issues of population and the widespread poverty. Neither of those revolutionary nationalist policies addressed these issues in the short run, but they permanently altered the landscape of imagined possibilities in which the shape of the future was forged – long run vision was considered supreme. The pioneering effort of then policy makers to convert a theoretical weakness into a structured strength is commendable – advent of clear focus for educational excellence in the form of IITs, non-polarized approach in regard to foreign policy, infrastructure development for basic necessities. 

There are always two sides to a story – India, emerging from bitter experiences of the past followed a socialist model to ensure national interests, up until 1990s when Indian economy hit rock-bottom with reserves enough to cater for 17 days and not beyond. The growth rate up until then was marginal and reflected the lack of short run objectives of then policy makers – few ill informed scholars termed it as Hindu rate of growth. Indian Economy opened up in early 1990s – credit for which is with no sensible reason given to then finance minister alone and the real visionary, then prime minister was suitable forgotten. 

India grew through the last decade of 20th century at an improved pace – policies can be largely termed as confused capitalistic approaches, resulting from emergence of coalition politics. India lost her visionary leaders – few ill informed and loyal servants of high command (not necessarily democratically elected, but assumed to represent Indian interests so far) scaled up through the ranks to drive policy for the country. 

Similarly, social movements which played a leading role earlier to preserve the sanctity of any policy measure have lost their integrity through selfish leaders along with redefined politicking proficiencies of few dynamic national leaders. Early 1990s saw India consciously move from taking a socialistic approach to a pseudo dialectical materialist approach with gradually social movements losing their integrity because of few leaders with political ambitions – race, caste, gender, environment,  women rights have come to be few of the abused topics for personal gains.

Come 2000, India lost most of her intellectual sons/daughters because of brain drain – aided by intellectually retarded leaders who felt selfishness is a prerequisite for any policy decision. Unlike the revolutionaries before them, these leaders lived in a world of ignorance and arrogance. – And citizens were left to hope that things will change. Media with their commercial interests and sold souls supported leaders who did not think twice to hit under the belt – unfortunate Times     

The working class – general citizenry were motivated by promises made and broken - and this is what has mostly dominated the remainder of this century up until now. The policy paralysis and lack of any action aiding development, social movements fanning public anger along with advent of social tools for better communication exposed the usual ways of conducting political business – multiple scams were discovered, few “I am sorry, I have sold my soul” media houses and their up-until-then respected editors/journalists were exposed – few attempting a doctored peer review procedure to get over it. This sowed the seed, in comparison to the past – now Indians want answers. The working class as Karl Marx puts it has started the inter-class struggle. This will lead to a new class order. A more pro-active vision, drawing on a wider range of dreams, will begin to emerge, most distinctly, facebook generation's continuing struggle for democratic self-governance and new forms of organization will lead to ethical capitalism.
 If this nationwide revolutionary wave is to reshape how policy making process is structured in India over the course of decades, it will need to shift much more decisively into nurturing, developing, and working out the implications of a whole new set of dreams and aspirations that simply cannot fit within the confines of the pre-informed world and eliminate such channels which propagate and support any possibility otherwise.

Monday, May 21, 2012


When I was a kid, they told me – there is no oil, if olives are not squeezed...No wine, if grapes are not pressed...No perfume, if flowers are not crushed...I was forced to think if nothing exists on its own. I was always curious to understand if every aspect of our living has a causal relation. 

I always felt we have something that needs no reason for taking shape – it is a gift bestowed on life. It is a gift that brings you comfort - when you are suffering or hurt; It is a celebration in the moments life provides and rears;  It is where love grows unconditionally – no matter what you do; It is  the priceless gift to smile – we all own it and it needs no causal effect. There are things which go beyond human comprehension – the beauty of life lies in the fact that not all actions have or need reasons.

Let us start our day with a smile – and look beyond the usual reasons we need to be happy again?

- Abhijith

Place: Hyderabad

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dreams +ve

I want you to take a few moments to imagine something you really want to happen and then use your imagination to follow it through in your mind's eye. What is it you are dreaming about? Who is involved? How does it play out? Now let's think about the direction your imagination took. Did you focus on the positive aspects of your dream or did you end up thinking about the things that could go wrong?

If your imagination turned your dream into a disaster, let's think about why that happened. First off, I don't want you to be down on yourself. You might be surprised at how many of us are in the habit of imagining the worst as opposed to the best, unless our thoughts are directed differently.

It is my firm belief that the energy flows, where the attention goes and this is the key to getting positive results in any situation. When you can actually visualize exactly what it is that you want, you fuel the energy of your creation by seeing all the wonderful aspects of it coming into reality. You can see yourself experiencing your desire in detail, imagining the events, sights, smells, and feelings around it. And, if a negative thought creeps in, you can simply erase it, replacing it with thoughts of what you want to have happen instead.

By making a point to imagine on a regular basis the positive things you want to bring your way, you will draw wonderful things into your life with surprising frequency. Not only will you experience more success in your life, but you will also feel more confident and in charge of your own destiny!

Let your positive dreams take flight!

-         -  Abhijith Jayanthi

Place: Germany
Date: 27th March 2012

Friday, April 06, 2012

Free Soul or Fair Soul: Choose One


'Present Day Youth' has opened a can of worms -  trying to reconcile free soul with fair soul. Under influence from modern day social pressures, we have adopted practices which in the longer run could shut self learning unless we work to hold onto our inner consciousness. 

Critics, notably the fair-soul (read ethical learning) enthusiasts, say these trends send the wrong signal and would put the future generations on a slippery slope towards fencing off happiness/satisfaction rather than engaging them towards happiness. Like many internal battles, the dispute pits the interests of resource consuming attitudes against those of us who wish to seek self realization and exposes the limits of our ability to spread our own wings over the usual social influences to live by the rules of our own system rather than a crafted social influences based living pattern worldwide. 

In practice, each of us put an artificial appearance on ourselves and seek entry - our passport to social acceptance. If I were to address this issue as a liberal fair soul enthusiast, it is our own fault that we land up in such a situation with our mind battling to choose between being a free soul or a fair soul. I consider being a fair soul holds more promise than being a free soul - in the longer run, you do not tend to lose yourself and stay connected, content and satisfied...Nothing is hard to achieve, impossible to conquer - try it! Find yourself again! 

Place: Mumbai
Date: 6th April 2012

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Let Me Free...

Our inner souls are unbalanced or profligate or careless and cannot stop being so just by wanting to stop. Just as a man who is ill cannot become healthy just by wanting to – but that is a start. The unjust or profligate or careless got that way through situations/actions taken of their free choice.

It is absurd to say that one who acts unjustly does wish to be unjust (or profligate, when it is a case of his doing profligate acts). If a man acts, not in ignorance, that will make him unjust – voluntarily so. For the latter, there is no way out – but for former, everyone deserves to be let free, to connect back with selves.

Let me free…

Place: Munich, Germany
Date: 30 March 2012