Monday, May 31, 2010

Pre-Monsoon Rains...

It was around 5 pm that I was about to go out for a walk when I noticed dark clouds outside and wind started getting momentum.. Suddenly in no time.. I could hear thunder and there it was... drops of rain started hitting on our terrace roof & making loud noise.. to make me not hear the movie that I was watching on Zee Marathi.

Something that I can't share with you on the blog and which is priceless is - the smell of mud when the first few droplets hit the ground.. and the fine droplets of water which was being blown by the wind.. all over me while I stood watching the rain in my terrace... It's just magical.. I missed my son and wife who are in Mumbai right now.. who love the rains.. !!!

In the end of may we all wait for rainfall in India. Rain has a romance to it; it follows the torrid heat of summer, and brings with it cool winds, fleecy clouds that are quickly chased by the heavy, dark water bearing ones that soon cover the sky like a thick quilt has been drawn over it. Rain brings water, While is life. It refreshes, energizes, feeds the soil and cleanses the air, washes the trees and leaves and sets everything right with the first shower. Rain is the subject of poetry and song. Some of cinema’s most romantic scenes are set against the backdrop of rain. Yet, the rain can destroy and harm and we know that the monsoon, even as we wait for it, brings an element of fear and worry. Clogged roads, overflowing drains and water-logged streets are bad enough.
First rain in India generally starts in south region like Keral, Tamil Nadu and moves towards west in Mumbai and gradually with in a month it starts raining in Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and north states of India which includes capital Delhi.
Here is something nice said about Rain: Rain Poem

I Love the Rain

Rain drops falling in my head,
and never knowing when it will end.
Should I run for cover,
or let another rain drop fall in my head again?
I would love to dance in the rain,
and knowing somehow it’ll help erase the pain.
Sometimes when I’m all alone,
and I see rain drops are falling outside again.
There’s happiness that I feel

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World No Tobacco Day 2010

Controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women is an important part of any comprehensive tobacco control strategy. World No Tobacco Day 2010 will be designed to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. It will also highlight the need for the nearly 170 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in accordance with their constitutions or constitutional principles.

Women comprise about 20% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers. However, the epidemic of tobacco use among women is increasing in some countries. Women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace the nearly half of current users who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

Especially troubling is the rising prevalence of tobacco use among girls. The new WHO report, Women and health: today's evidence, tomorrow's agenda, points to evidence that tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls. Data from 151 countries show that about 7% of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12% of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys.

Below is the article which was published in TOI Pune column.. on this day.. 

They have successfully kicked the butt, and now encourage others to do so. These former smokers advocate some straightforward principles to quit cigarettes: a tough mind, self-control and firm faith.

Doing away with the perceived glamour factor attached to smoking is very important, believes Amit G. After being a heavy smoker for 15 years, Amit gave up the habit in 2008. "I used to think the whole world smokes and that there's a certain status symbol attached to it. This naivet? led me to helpless, compulsive, obsessive smoking. I even suffered from frequent bouts of throat infection," says the marketing professional.

The maxim one day at a time' helped him take fledgling steps towards quitting. "I used to smoke two packets a day. Then I began reducing the number of the cigarettes each day. Having discontinued the habit, I now feel disturbed at the mere sight of people smoking," he states.

Amit's friend, who overcame a 15-year-old smoking habit around a decade back, says all it takes is self-control and a tough mind. "Once I decided to quit, I didn't look back. It's not easy, but one has to do it to get out of the rut. Now I enjoy better sleep, a good appetite and a healthier family life," he says, on the condition of anonymity.

Recognising one's addiction is the crucial first step, says Anil P, who gave up smoking ten years ago. A member of Nicotine Anonymous (which is part of Alcoholics Anonymous in Pune), he underwent therapy and counselling to give up his 20-year-old practise of smoking and chewing tobacco. "I always knew the ill-effects of tobacco and smoking, but the ego came in between. It didn't allow me to acknowledge that I was suffering from this addiction. I suffered from fibroids in the mouth and was hospitalised for lack of oxygen due to lung infection. That prompted me to seek help; and once I began my therapy at Nicotine Anonymous, I chose not to look back," he says.

Members of Nicotine Anonymous meet every Saturday at Father Barco Hall, next to St Vincent's School, Pune Camp, between 7 pm and 8 pm.

Constant communication with peers, sharing one's experiences without guilt, accepting other addicts and firm faith helped Anil. "Faith plays a huge role in one's recovery. It's the power of the Almighty that has been protected me from the addiction."

His friend, Padmakar (name changed), helped two of his friends rid themselves of the habit. "I smoked for 20 years and then gave up the nicotine stick eight years ago. What helped me was the belief: I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but today I won't smoke. Now, I often ask smokers to call me up before lighting up. I empathise with people who are tempted to smoke. I ask them to have orange juice or water, which are effective antidotes. Just chatting with smokers at crucial moments also makes all the difference," he stresses.

Just hope people stop smoking for the better of themselves and their loved ones.. 

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I went for a evening walk with my brother yesterday and was able to capture some nice colors from the surroundings.. just felt like sharing the same..

Some things in life which we tend to forget when we get too busy with work and life.. hope to post more such pictures.. till then just an appetizer :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

so close but still so far

One of my very close friends just got married early last week.. I was supposed to be there, but being overseas in KL, Malaysia and the marriage being in India. I knew it was going to be tough.
Nonetheless, I had told my parents to attend the reception which was to happen on 25th May at one of the well know ceremony halls in my home town. And so my parents had been to the reception.. 

I am down to India on 27th June and was hoping to catch with my long time friend LK.. during his short stint in India.. He is leaving today for US... 

I was hoping to meet with him and congratulate him personally for getting married.. but I guess the timing was a little bad.. He was caught up in reaching out to all his closed ones before he left for US again.. and knowing he won't be back home very soon.. and had hardly any time for us both to meet today and so we just bid each other "all the best" & just spoke over the phone for less than 5 minutes..

We have promised to have a voice chat on Skype or Gtalk soon, once his wife joins him in the US.. I think technology is making one feel the world is closer but if you put the technology aside.. our world is still a very large place.. )

Friday, May 28, 2010

Back in India.. for Holiday!!!

After a long time I have managed to get a planned holiday and finally have landed in India yesterday. We ( I & my family) took the Airasia flight to Mumbai.. which is a new service started by Airasia from Malaysia.

Its a pleasure to get flights to India from Malaysia at discounted rates which was next to impossible with the other national airline. We enjoyed a great discount and it is package which is flexible for the consumer to package for himself.. This way one tends to go for the services which he essentially requires & wants to pay for.. Airasia offers basic ticket price at a very discounted rate and then based on one's choice as you go on adding for any items like baggage, food, entertainment, seat preference the price tag differs. But the good part is you are designing the package for yourself based on your need and this way you are aware of what you can expect.

The flights are pretty new and it is good to see clean interiors and the bright colors make you feel welcoming.. I liked the concept of Entertainment - you can take a small 5 inch video screen device which has about 6 hour battery time - good enough to last the flight time. This can be rented at RM 30 (about Rs.400) & 2 people can enjoy AV entertainment..

One can also go for Airasia Sovenir or gift buys and apart from this there is inflight shopping available for buying some branded stuff like perfumes.. cosmetics etc.. again at reasonable rates..

The hospitality was the cabin crew.

And finally the flight was in time.. and we made it for the 1st time in the past few years in the day time to Mumbai and back to our home. Hope to enjoy my holidays.. and have a good time with family and friends..

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Encounter with "Martha Stewart"

It was a lucky day for me and my half to meet with Martha Stewart... 20th May 2010

For those maybe who haven't heard of her or don't know who she is: Martha Stewart has always drawn inspiration from her surroundings. Raised in Nutley, New Jersey, in a family with six children, she developed a passion for cooking, gardening, and homekeeping in her childhood home on Elm Place. 

Martha's creative vision is the blueprint for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the expansive multimedia and merchandising portfolio that includes award-winning magazines such as Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings; the nationally syndicated, Emmy Award-winning television series "The Martha Stewart Show"; Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius XM; the website; best-selling books like "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" and "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook"; the Martha Stewart Collection of products for the home at Macy's; Martha Stewart Everyday mass-market merchandise at Kmart; Martha Stewart Crafts with EK Success; Martha Stewart Furniture with Bernhardt; Martha Stewart-designed homes and communities with KB Home; Martha Stewart Rugs with Safavieh; and more. You can get more information on her website.. 
when you meet people of this calibre at a place where you never imagine.. it is really what some say " It's a small world"
Hope the positive energy flows to me.. :) 
It was one lovely day for me and my wife.. .we are a great fan of her work.... 

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make iPhone Ringtones from MP3 Songs Using iTunes – Video Tutorial

Make iPhone Ringtones from MP3 Songs Using iTunes – Video Tutorial

Posted using ShareThis

This easy-to-follow video tutorial from CNET explains how to create iPhone ringtones using just the iTunes software – the steps stay the same for both Mac and Windows computers.
You may use iTunes to convert any MP3 song into an iPhone ringtone provided the song file is not protected by DRM. This means the technique won’t work with iTunes store music but is perfect for creating ringtones from songs that you purchased from Amazon store or ripped from a CD.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Parents are precious!

This was narrated at a Seminar recently on Human Relations :
Venkatesh Balasubramaniam (who works for IIT) describes how his gesture of booking an air ticket
for his father, his maiden flight, brought forth a rush of emotions and made him (Venkatesh) realize that how much we all
take for granted when it comes to our parents.
My parents left for our native place on Thursday and we went to the airport to see them off. In fact,
my father had never traveled by air before, so I just took this opportunity to make him experience the same. In
spite of being asked to book tickets by train, I got them tickets on  xxx Airways. The moment I handed over the tickets
to him, he was surprised to see that I had booked them by air. The excitement was very apparent on his face, waiting for the time of
travel. Just like a school boy, he was preparing himself on that day and we all went to the airport, right from using the trolley for his luggage, the
baggage check-in and asking for a window seat and waiting restlessly for the security check-in to happen. He
was thoroughly enjoying himself and I, too, was overcome with joy watching him experience all these things.
As they were about to go in for the security check-in, he walked up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me. He became very
emotional and it was not as if I had done something great but the fact that this meant a great deal to him. When he said thanks, I told him
there was no need to thank me. But later, thinking about the entire incident, I looked back at my life. As a child, how many dreams our parents
have made come true. Without understanding the financial situation, we ask for cricket bats, dresses, toys, outings, etc. Irrespective of their
affordability, they have catered to all our needs.
Did we ever think about the sacrifices they had to make to accommodate many of our wishes? Did we ever say thanks for all that they have done for
us? Same way, today when it comes to our children, we always think that we should put them in a good school. Regardless of the amount of
donation, we will ensure that we will have t give the child the best, theme parks, toys, etc. But we tend to forget that our parents have sacrificed a lot
for our sake to see us happy, so it is our responsibility to ensure that their dreams are realized and what they failed to see when they
were young. It is our responsibility to ensure that they experience all those and their life is complete.
Many times, when my parents had asked me some questions, I have actually answered back without patience. When my daughter asks me
something, I have been very polite in answering. Now I realize how they would have felt at those moments. Let us realize that old age is a second
childhood and just as we take care of our children, the same attention and same care needs to be given to our parents and
elders.Quality time and politely answering them with out making them wait is important. Now I realise that I must look at their eyes and answer
them pleasantly and pretend to be reading papers and answer in mono syllables. Rather than my dad saying thank you to me, I would want to say
sorry for making him wait so long for this small dream. I do realize how much he has sacrificed for my sake and I will do my best to give the best
possible attention to all their wishes.
Just because they are old does not mean that they will have to give up everything and keep sacrificing for their grandchildren also. They have
wishes, too.
Take care of your parents!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is there a link between using cell phones and brain cancer?

An interesting article which came yesterday in The Star....thought of sharing it..

GENEVA: Cell phone users worried about getting brain cancer aren't off the hook yet.
A major international study into the link between cell phone use and two types of brain cancer has proved inconclusive, according to a report due to be published in a medical journal Tuesday.
A 10-year survey of almost 13,000 participants found most cell phone use didn't increase the risk of developing meningioma - a common and frequently benign tumor - or glioma - a rarer but deadlier form of cancer.
There were "suggestions" that using cell phones for more than 30 minutes each day could increase the risk of glioma, according to the study by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer.
But the authors added that "biases and error prevent a causal interpretation" that would directly blame radiation for the tumor.
Longer call times appeared to pose a greater risk than the number of calls made, the study found.
Among the factors that weren't examined were the effects of using handsfree devices during calls or the risk of having cell phones close by while not making calls - such as in a pocket, or next to the bed at night.
The authors acknowledged possible inaccuracies in the survey from the fact that participants were asked to remember how much and on which ear they used their mobiles over the past decade.
Results for some groups showed cell phone use actually appeared to lessen the risk of developing cancers, something the researchers described as "implausible."
The authors said further investigation is necessary before they can conclude with certainty that there is no link between cell phone radiation and brain cancer, partly because people's use of the devices has changed considerably since the start of the study in 2000.
Scientists are also planning to examine whether cell phone use increases the risk of tumors in the ear's acoustic nerve and the parotid gland, where saliva is produced.
A separate study will look into the effects of cell phone use on children, who are believed to be more susceptible to the effects of radiation.
The paper, which will be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, was compiled by researchers in 13 countries including Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Japan, but not the U.S. Scientists interviewed 12,848 participants, of which 5,150 had either meningioma or glioma tumors.
Almost a quarter of the euro19.2 million ($24 million) required to fund the study was provided by the cell phone industry, though WHO said measures were taken to ensure the scientists' independence was protected.
Network operators and handset companies had keenly anticipated the results, which could have threatened the rapid development of their business.
There were an estimated 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions at the end of last year, compared with about 1 billion in 2002, according to the International Telecommunication Union.
In a statement Sunday, the Mobile Manufacturers Forum welcomed the study.
"The mobile phone industry takes all questions regarding the safety of mobile phones seriously and has a strong commitment to supporting ongoing scientific research," the industry group said.
The study's lead authors are due to present their findings to the media in Geneva on Monday. - AP
International Journal of Epidemiology:
International Agency for Research on Cancer:

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't be a duck. Be an eagle

No one can make you serve customers well....that's because great service is a choice.

Harvey Mackay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.
He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey .

He handed my friend a laminated card and said: 'I'm Wally, your driver. While I'm loading your bags in the trunk I'd like you to read my mission statement.'
Taken aback, Harvey read the card.. It said: Wally's Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment...

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, 'Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.' My friend said jokingly, 'No, I'd prefer a soft drink.' Wally smiled and said, 'No problem.. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice...' Almost stuttering, Harvey said, 'I'll take a Diet Coke.'

Handing him his drink, Wally said, 'If you'd like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.'

As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card, 'These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you'd like to listen to the radio.'

And as if that weren't enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he'd be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

'Tell me, Wally,' my amazed friend asked the driver, 'have you always served customers like this?'

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. 'No, not always.. In fact, it's only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.

He had just written a book called You'll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, 'Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don't be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.'

'That hit me right between the eyes,' said Wally. 'Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.'

'I take it that has paid off for you,' Harvey said.

'It sure has,' Wally replied. 'My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I'll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don't sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can't pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.'

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. I've probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn't do any of what I was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

India Plans $11 Billion Road Fund to Narrow China Gap

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- India, ranked below war-ravaged Ivory Coast for the quality of its infrastructure, is planning to set up a 500 billion rupee ($11 billion) debt fund to build ports, roads and bridges needed to drive economic growth.
“The modalities are being worked out,” Montek Singh Ahluwalia, a top government adviser said in a telephone interview from New Delhi. “The idea is to refinance lending institutions. We are talking to the World Bank and other multilateral agencies.”
India doubled its target for infrastructure spending to $1 trillion in the five years starting 2012 to narrow the gap with China, the world’s fastest growing major economy. The fund is the latest attempt by the government to raise capital from overseas after a $5 billion fund planned in 2007 with Citigroup Inc. and Blackstone Group LP was shelved.
The fund is a “good start but it won’t be enough,” said Prasanna Ananthasubramaniam, chief economist at ICICI Securities Primary Dealership Ltd. in Mumbai. “One fund cannot take all the risks of infrastructure projects.”
India spent 6.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2009 on infrastructure, compared with about 11 percent by China, according to an Ernst & Young India report. Failure to lift investment may imperil Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s target of boosting economic growth to 10 percent needed to pull 828 million people living on less than $2 per day out of poverty.
Needs $1 Trillion
Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the nation’s Planning Commission, said in a report in March that India may need as much as $1 trillion in such investment between 2012 and 2017.
Global funds including 3i Group Plc have invested in India’s ports and power plants. Macquarie Group Ltd., Australia’s biggest investment bank, and State Bank of India, the nation’s largest lender said last year that they raised $1 billion to invest in the South Asian nation’s infrastructure.
Citigroup, based in New York, said in May 2008 it had raised $500 million to build ports, roads and utilities. The finance ministry in Feb 2007 announced the formation of the $5 billion infrastructure fund with Citigroup and Blackstone.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in February offered tax breaks to individuals and companies to encourage infrastructure investments. The country is ranked 89 out of 133 nations for its infrastructure, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.
Per Capita Spending
India’s per capita spending on city development is $17 each year, just 15 percent of what China spends, according to a report released by McKinsey & Co. last month. India will have 68 cities with a population of more than one million people, 13 cities with more than four million people and 6 mega cities with populations of 10 million or more, at least two of which will be among the five largest cities in the world by 2030.
India produces about 10 percent less electricity than it needs. The roads, which account for 65 percent of India’s cargo, are plagued by single lanes and irregular surfaces, slowing trucks to an average speed of about 20 kilometers per hour, according to a 2009 study by Transport Corp. of India and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.
The average time taken by ships to unload and load at Indian ports is almost 96 hours, about 10 times longer than in Hong Kong, the government said in its latest annual economic survey.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Yoga Vs. Science.....

It is amazing how much Western science has taught us. Today, for example, kids in grammar school learn that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth and that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. Yoga may teach us about our Higher Self, but it can't supply this kind of information about physics or astronomy.

Or can it? Professor Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University recently called my attention to a remarkable statement by Sayana, a fourteenth century Indian scholar. In his commentary on a hymn in the Rig Veda, the oldest and perhaps most mystical text ever composed in India,
Sayana has this to say: "With deep respect, I bow to the sun, who travels 2,202 yojanas in half a nimesha."

A yojana is about nine American miles; a nimesha is 16/75 of a second. Mathematically challenged readers, get out your calculators!

2,202 yojanas x 9 miles x 75/8 nimeshas = 185,794 m. p. s.

Basically, Sayana is saying that sunlight travels at 186,000 miles per second! How could a Vedic scholar who died in 1387 A. D. have known the correct figure for the speed of light? If this was just a wild guess it's the most amazing coincidence in the history of science!

The yoga tradition is full of such coincidences. Take for instance the mala many yoga students wear around their neck. Since these rosaries are used to keep track of the number of mantras a person is repeating, students often ask why they have 108 beads instead of 100. Part of the reason is that the mala represent the ecliptic, the path of the sun and moon across the sky. Yogis divide the ecliptic into 27 equal sections called nakshatras, and each of these into four equal sectors called paadas, or "steps," marking the 108 steps that the sun and moon take through heaven.

Each is associated with a particular blessing force, with which you align yourself as you turn the beads.

Traditionally, yoga students stop at the 109th "guru bead," flip the mala around in their hand, and continue reciting their mantra as they move backward through the beads. The guru bead represents the summer and winter solstices, when the sun appears to stop in its course and reverse directions. In the yoga tradition we learn that we're deeply interconnected with all of nature. Using a mala is a symbolic way of connecting ourselves with the cosmic cycles governing our universe.

But Professor Kak points out yet another coincidence: The distance between the earth and the sun is approximately 108 times the sun's diameter. The diameter of the sun is about 108 times the earth's diameter. And the distance between the earth and the moon is 108 times the moon's diameter.

Could this be the reason the ancient sages considered 108 such a sacred number? If the microcosm (us) mirrors the macrocosm (the solar system), then maybe you could say there are 108 steps between our ordinary human awareness and the divine light at the center of our being. Each time we chant another mantra as our mala beads slip through our fingers, we are taking another step toward our own inner sun.

As we read through ancient Indian texts, we find so much the sages of antiquity could not possibly have known-but did. While our European and Middle Eastern ancestors claimed that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago, the yogis have always maintained that our present cosmos is billions of years old, and that it's just one of many such universes which have arisen and dissolved in the vastness of eternity.

In fact the Puranas, encyclopedias of yogic lore thousands of years old, describe the birth of our solar system out of a "milk ocean," the Milky Way. Through the will of the Creator, they tell us, a vortex shaped like a lotus arose from the navel of eternity. It was called Hiranya Garbha, the shining womb. It gradually coalesced into our world, but will perish some day billions of years hence when the sun expands to many times it present size, swallowing all life on earth. In the end, the Puranas say, the ashes of the earth will be blown into space by the cosmic wind. Today we known this is a scientifically accurate, if poetic, description of the fate of our planet.

The Surya Siddhanta is the oldest surviving astronomical text in the Indian tradition. Some Western scholars date it to perhaps the fifth or sixth centuries A. D., though the next itself claims to represent a tradition much, much older. It explains that the earth is shaped like a ball, and states that at the very opposite side of the planet from India is a great city where the sun is rising at the same time it sets in India. In this city, the Surya Siddhanta claims, lives a race of siddhas, or advanced spiritual adepts. If you trace the globe of the earth around to the exact opposite side of India, you'll find Mexico. Is it possible that the ancient Indians were well aware of the great sages/astronomers of Central America many centuries before Columbus discovered America?- the M! ayans or Inca-s!!!

Knowing the unknowable: To us today it seems impossible that the speed of light or the fate of our solar system could be determined without advanced astronomical instruments. -as Sanjee argues!!

How could the writers of old Sanskrit texts have known the unknowable? In searching for an explanation we first need to understand that these ancient scientists were not just intellectuals, they were practicing yogis. The very first lines of the Surya Siddhanta, for of the Golden Age a great astronomer named Maya desired to learn the secrets of the heavens, so he first performed rigorous yogic practices. Then the answers to his questions appeared in his mind in an intuitive flash.

Does this sound unlikely? Yoga Sutra 3:26-28 states that through, samyama
(concentration, meditation, and unbroken mental absorption) on the sun, moon, and pole star, we can gain knowledge of the planets and stars. Sutra 3:33 clarifies, saying: "Through keenly developed intuition, everything can be known." Highly developed intuition is called pratibha in yoga. It is accessible only to those who have completely stilled their mind, focusing their attention on one object with laser-like intensity. Those who have limited their mind are no longer limited to the fragments of knowledge supplied by the five senses. All knowledge becomes accessible to them.

"There are [those] who would say that consciousness, acting on itself, can find universal knowledge," Professor Kak admits. "In fact this is the traditional Indian view."

Perhaps the ancient sages didn't need advanced astronomical instruments. After all, they had yoga.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Leadership at the top...

This is a very interesting piece of article shared by one of my colleagues and I thought of sharing this on my blog.. Hope to hear from the readers on their comments... 

Sorry I haven't been able to be regular on my blog... work commitment is killing me.. & I am not getting time to do anything outside work front... 

By: Xieli Lee, Singapore
Published: 3 hours 47 sec ago
Singapore - Delaying any part of the work process because a leader is indecisive or prone to procrastination because he or she can't cope during pressurising situations would result into organisation ineffectiveness.
Ken Hudson, author of "Speed Thinking - How to thrive in a time-poor world", says one of the frustrations people face at work is when a leader can't or won't make a decision. "They just procrastinate and overanalyse. It slows everything up," says Hudson. "If you have a competitor moving really quickly and you miss out on the business opportunities in the marketplace, you frustrate all the people internally."
There are a few common types of pressurising situations where business leaders would find themselves in, says Hudson. They include being required to give an immediate response in a meeting or quickly changing strategy to counteract an unexpected move from a competitor. But the key reasons to why people would procrastinate, says Hudson, is because "they don't know where or how to start". He adds, "They end up not making decisions because they keep analysing. They are fearful of making a mistake and being punished or because they haven't been taught the skills to make decisions."
Speed thinking would then resonate with employees, especially managers, because leaders are supposed to make snap business decisions at work. Learning how to speed think would help leaders give their intuition gained from past experiences some structure, explains Hudson. The emphasis is on "getting started", whether on a problem-solving or decision making process.
For example, writing a pros and cons list. Write down nine pros in the next two minutes, followed by listing down nine cons in another two minutes. Place the list side by side and evaluate which are the more beneficial of the two with a point system. Add one point if the pro is stronger than the con or a minus one if the con is outweighs the pro. If the two are equal, no points are added, says Hudson. After tabulating the scores, it's becomes clearer to make a decision.

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