Monday, October 26, 2009

Why do we get angry?

This is an excerpt from Naradapurana. It is absolutely lovely and so meaningful.

One possesses a body because of his actions

Body binds him to desires

Desires entrap him into greed

Greed enslaves him to anger

Anger destroys his virtues

Loss of virtues destructs the mind

A destructed mind commits sin.

Gita also preaches the same and it is the truth. I especially found the correlation with anger so easy to understand. If and when you get angry, spend 5 minutes trying to analyze why you got angry and you can trace it to a desire of yours that was not fulfilled. If you didn’t have a desire in the first place, you would never get angry. We get angry with our family because we expect from them. We get angry with drivers on the road because we expect them to be good drivers.

The first step towards reducing anger in your life is to absolve yourself from desires. As a normal human being, it’s hard to completely free yourself from desires but the less you have them, the more peaceful your life is. You would think that when you’ve done your duties you’ve the right to have desires/expectations from this world. Your desires/expectations will give you nothing but pain. My answer to you is – trust in God. He’s right there for you, looking at you. You will get what you deserve. If you’ve done what you were required to do, you will get what is good for you. Many a times, we say “Life is not fair”. It can only be said in jest because God is fair.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A thousand splendid suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini,  in my opinion, is a brilliant writer! This is the second book of his that I read, the first being Kite Runner, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! It was one of the few books that I just couldn’t resist finishing. However, I do have one negative to say about it and that is the excessive  torture portrayed against wives. I just can’t bear to see women being tortured, there’s something unbearable about it – maybe because I share the gender I can feel the pain. Some people would argue that it’s the reality but my argument is: maybe, not always you would like to hear the reality – stark naked! All I can say is that though it upset me at times, it didn’t deter me from reading it fully.

Coming to the story, it’s set in the background of troubled Afghanistan with political unrest and centers around Mariam. Mariam was born an illegitimate child and lived with her mother. Her mother, who had endured a lot, was bitter in life and that was often manifested in her behavior towards her daughter – that is not to underestimate her love for her. Kids being kids, Mariam was more fond of her father who would visit her once a week, never accept her in public and try to get rid of his guilt by sweet-talking her and getting her gifts. When Mariam left her Mother to stay with her father, she neither gained her father nor got her mother back. Forced by circumstances, she was married at the age of 15 to a 40-year old and sent off to Afghanistan from Iran. Her mother’s statement “a woman endures” stuck with her for life and her journey all alone in a new land is complete with crests and troughs.

The characters in this book are very well-sketched and I think that’s what makes a great writer! I felt bad for Mariam that she was sad with her mother and after leaving her too and that got me wondering: would we say she was destined to misfortune? Or is it that the misfortune that befell her was of her own doing – had she not left her mother none of it would’ve happened? Food for thought…

Bottomline: 4.5 stars

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Letter to my daughter

Author: Maya Angelou

As Maya Angelou says, this is a letter to thousands of her daughters all around the world. The book consists of anecdotes from her life each of which taught her something about life. It almost feels like the moral studies class I had in my school, just a little more interesting!

Its a pleasure to read each of the chapters. Her most important lesson “never whine”. Love it! Absolutely love it! I think that sums up the means to a happy life. I also liked her poems that were in the book – though I’m not much of a person who can appreciate poetry – but hers were simple to understand and beautiful!

Here are some sentences that I loved from the book:

  1. I can be a giver by simply bringing a smile to another person.
  2. Was that event an accident, coincident or answered prayers? I believe my prayers were answered. This simply shows that depending on a person’s belief/gratefulness one event can be viewed so differently by different people.
  3. This one is not something close to my heart but something I found good food for thought: Lets tell the truth to people. Sometimes when people ask you “How are you” and things are not well with you, Maya suggests that you tell them the truth. According to her, it’ll probably drive people away and maybe you can use the time you gained to solve what’s troubling you. A very interesting perspective. I’m unable to make up my mind either way: is it good or bad?
  4. Obesity is not funny and vulgarity is not amusing. By far the best statement I’ve read from a celebrity. She scorns those entertainers who use profanity and vulgarity as a means to entertain. I’m right there with her on that! There are so many entertainer out there today who do not care a cent about what language they’re using or what topics are on their tongue but today’s audience seems to lap it up!
  5. If I insist on being pessimistic, there’s always a tomorrow. Today, I’m blessed.
  6. A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.
  7. The epitome of utter sophistication is simplicity.

Bottomline: 5 stars – absolutely fabulous!