Thoughts on friendship

“I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”

Pensive, withdrawn, lonely. The life of the world can be teeming around us, the high decibel sounds can be dinning in our ears and still we can be lonely. It is possible to be lonely in a crowd. Loneliness haunts the places where crowds gather. It is not the presence or absence of people that makes the difference because a person need not be lonely even if he/she is alone. Sometimes it is good to be alone. But that does not make us lonely. It is not a matter of being present with someone. It is a matter of being present to someone. This calls for special communication, special human interaction, special acceptance and understanding. If these are lacking, all we have is lonely people, each encased within his/her own impenetrable shell. No one wants to be lonely. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

To dissolve loneliness we need friends. A friend gives warmth, understanding, time, love oneself. A friend stands up to my anger, my selfishness, my short-comings. A faithful friend is a sure shelter. Whoever finds one has found a treasure. In his inimitable way, I suppose Snoopy would cut through the core and say, “Happiness is a friend who lets you be yourself and still loves you.” We need friends because we are social beings, not by choice, but by nature.

“I spent one morning with a friend and wished the day would never end…”

 

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Of happiness and misery

Caressing her, he said: “It is by their own actions, good or bad, that men are happy or miserable. The virtues or vices of others will not affect us in the least.”

Sukracharya tries to console his daughter Devayani after she is insulted and hurt by her companion – Sarmishta – the king’s daughter.

(Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari – p.33)

Attention to detail and user experience

Great works of art and architecture live through ages and are appreciated, and criticized likewise. While their exuberance and extravagance strike us the most, it is the fine attention to detail that grab the appreciation (and/or criticism) of the finer eye. People spend a good portion of their earnings on holidays, visiting places of historical and architectural marvel each year. Visiting such places is not a profitable act (at least, not in terms of monetary gain), however one does gain an experience out of it. And many studies have indicated that spending on experiences builds a richer and happy life than purchasing the latest gadget that’s out in the market.

Visiting a well-built website designed for accessibility is also an experience. Many websites have realized this and there has been a huge improvement in terms of time and resource dedicated to user experience when building a website. One example that I noticed was the recent change in the dashboard of Tumblr where adding a quote would automatically truncate and create a 140-char twitter message (If enabled). Before this update, I had to manually copy the quote and paste it into the twitter box and truncate the message manually. I was impressed by this little feature that reiterates the wonderful things Tumblr has been doing to improve user experience. On the upside, the new feature would save about 15-20 seconds of my time each time I post.

P.S.: The new feature has not been advertised anywhere on their staff blog or the design blog or the engineering blog. A silent, likable update. 🙂 Try tumbling if you haven’t already. You will be bowled over by its simplicity and ease of use.

Fwd: God on IM!

Another email forward, worth the read. 🙂

God: Hello… Did you call me?

Me: Called you? No.. who is this?

God: This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.

Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something..

God: What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.

Me: Don’t know. But I cant find free time. Life has become hectic. It’s rush hour all the time.

God: Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results.

Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.

Me: I understand. But I still cant figure it out.. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.

God: Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.

Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?

God: Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.

Me: why are we then constantly unhappy?

God: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.

Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?

God: Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.

Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty..

God: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?

God: Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer. With that experience their life becomes better not bitter.

Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?

God: Yes. In every terms, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can’t we be free from problems?

God: Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.

Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…

God: If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.

Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do?

God: Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.

Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

God: Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Me: What surprises you about people?

God: when they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me”. Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want

to be on the side of the truth.

Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here.. I can’t get the answer.

God: Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.

Me: How can I get the best out of life?

God: Face your past without regret.. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

God: There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.

Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat. I am so happy to start the New Day with a new sense of inspiration.

God: Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don’t believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve.

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2009!

fireworks

Every new year brings a renewed hope, strength and zeal along with it. Its a time for celebration – celebration of life and prosperity. A time to thank God for a wonderful year that was, and pray for the same ahead. The last year was blotted with unfortunate events – on a personal as well as a global front –  that will remain in etched in our memories for a long time. However, the times ahead give us the chance to learn from our mistakes and become better citizens of the world. May peace and light shine bright, and happiness dwell in each and every heart. May 2009 bring prosperity to all! Happy new year to all! 🙂