Ever made a mistake in life?

(Photo credit: rocketjim54) We talk about mistakes, and sometimes fear them. They let us down, and reveal our weaknesses in flesh and blood. These are common mistakes that everyone makes, and some that only a few, or even just you. But ever made a mistake that was big and probably changed the course of your life? Sounds dreadful! Those are big decisions, big events. But a guy in the train today put it in a most amazing way. If you have never made a mistake in life, then your life is… not complete, he said. It set me thinking, and so today I learnt a new thought from a stranger. To have never made mistakes is probably as good as to have never lived. For when we strive, mistakes are inevitable. “Sully yourself,” was part of the advice I was given long time ago, in college, by a teacher-friend from another college. We spoke of relationships, norms. But I was too young in those...
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The End of Nana Sahib

It came as a shocker — a book by this name, from none other than Jules Verne!! This is going to be my next read, and the book is on the way. Who was Nana Sahib? More intriguing is — what happened to him? He disappeared in 1857 after playing a prominent role in the battles. Some said he had fled to Nepal, and there were rumours that he had escaped to Constantinople. Many people turned up claiming to be Nana Sahib. As it happens in India, no one knows for sure. And no one knows what happened on that fateful day on the ghat of the Ganga in Kanpur. I went and saw the graves of the soldiers at the All Souls Church. And spent a  harrowing 3 hrs walking around the army camp in search of that ill fated well where the British ladies and children had been dumped. I couldn’t locate it, but then exhausted I walked into...
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Top ranking keywords on 21c Stories

Once in a while it makes sense to see what keywords are attracting people to your site, and especially what keywords bring your site pages to the top in the search engines. Here are the top keywords for this site and my views on these: Chinta chhod chintamani review The play has been performed many times. Though the concept and the name was attractive, it could have been better — where the problem lay is difficult to pinpoint — family dramas involve many members, and it’s difficult to take sides. The play had familiar strands running through it — religion, cricket, exams, grown up kids. I hope it delivered the right message! The flower that smiles today shelley analysis We read the poem in high school, and in those depressing days, it lent more tragedy to life. It ends on an optimistic note, but the tone is very stark and sombre, though very forthright. Still makes for a good light read. Morbe village Often went there,...
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Why India has more temples than toilets

‘There are temples everywhere!’ beamed a visiting professor of history a long time ago. He was referring in particular to his visit to the south of India. That may be the case. For the countryside people across the subcontinent, the whole of nature is a nourishing shade to relax and unload. Morning and evening, alone or in groups. It’s a matter of cultural convenience at work. Nor could the eco-friendly benefits of the practice to the performer and recipient be denied. It is sustainable, to the highest degree imaginable. And they do it behind the bushes, not over the Taj Mahal. What makes it a practice to look down upon, and denigrate the country itself, is the association with poverty. But we know it has nothing to do with lack of money. Since all noble Indian cultural practices have mythological stories associated with them, I wonder what story goes with this practice. Which sage’s wrath, or the wrongdoing of a king, denies two...
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In line with the world

(Photo credit: Wikipedia) It is the basic principle of misbegotten people that they do not lend support to those who don’t follow the ‘line’, which is basically the way ‘everyone’ behaves and lives. So no surprises when those who fall out of line do not get calls or friendly visits. But the day you are ‘back’, is the day when surprise visits and calls inundate you. You then belong to the nasty world. Simple methods govern rules of interaction. Yet, truth is always deeper than we can reach. Look underneath the surface of the world, and see how petty divisions rule lives, and how very happy you are who has left it all behind to live a cleaner life, to follow your own line. ...
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How long would a vow of non-violence last?

If one were to take a vow of peace and non-violence in all its forms – speech, thought and action – chances are it wouldn’t last five minutes in the big world. Every sphere of life is ridden with conflicts that never fail to arouse us, and it is always the passionate animal inside that they ping on. It did not take long for Moses to lose control and break his first commandment. If you get up in the morning and your thoughts are full of hatred, curses, and ridden with reactionary violence, that is the time to remember that what makes us human is that part of the psychological iceberg that rises up above the water, on which shine the bright rays of the sun. Anger is the most stupid thing in the world. How bad it makes us feel long afterwards? Recently in the overcrowded train, a young man argues with an older man over a most silly situation. As is...
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The path of non-violence

We are surrounded by violence today, and the media too is eager to bring it to us.  Our body, mind and soul are being filled with violence. So much so that, for the common man today, violence has become the first and surest means to resolve problems. Little do we realise the immense power of non-violence. That it alone can make us live a real and fulfilling life. That non-violence is also the road to self-discovery. There is an instinct of aggression in all of us — for self preservation.  Children show an affinity for violence early on.  But the real man, a true man, is a product of non-violence. We hurt others, and in doing so, ourselves in many ways through violence – in thought, speech and action. It is no exaggeration but an evident fact that the world today is burning with violence. Whether it is at home, the neighbourhood, or the world affairs at large. We are injuring others...
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Can Gandhi still save us?

Gandhi and Nehru (Photo credit: taruntej) No Indian name in the world today is more familiar than that of Gandhi, besides that of Mother Theresa (who probably owes her popularity to the beauty pageants.) Non-violence and peace are not new concepts in the Indian tradition. Entire creeds are built around these. Making them into the central axis of a political movement was a new phenomenon. There are still undercurrents of dislike for the great man. And everyone has something or the other to testify against his goodness. Some common topics include his sleeping with naked girl attendents, his role in the partition, the Bhagat Singh affair, his kind gestures towards Pakistan at the time of partition, his drinking of fruit juice to break his fast during the partition violence, etc. This last one generated a lot of emotions in the play based on his assassin. Is the dislike due to his ascetic and other-worldly personal ethic? Do we accuse him of hypocrisy? Or are...
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