Thursday, November 14, 2019

Quietness

Silence, darkness and quietness,
are the doors to wisdom.
Allow yourself to be pulled towards them.
For in then you will meet yourself.
The self that has been waiting for you,
To talk and to discuss so many things of life.

Usually those long days of no human contact,
Verbal or visual, 
In which you are and only you are,
Open the doors that often remain closed
In the noise of the world.
The doors to our deeper being,
The doors of who we are.
When we enter those doors,
we come closer to self,
Divorced from the noise of the world,
Connected to ourself,
Feeling our presence. 

It's easy to get distracted by entertainment,
In such precious times.
But hold on! It's an opportunity,  please hold on!
Wait a minute! Look at it,
Look at yourself and talk to self. 
Talk of your dreams, talk of your goals,
Talk to yourself, your very soul. 

Cannot emphasize enough,
The value of such times.
For these times of no worldly activity,
Prepare us  better for our worldly duties,
Towards the society we live in,
To our brothers and sisters. 

Look within, 
Clarity is calling for you,
Look within,
Eternal peace awaits you,
Look within,
It prepares you to handle the drama of life,
Look within,
For it helps us to look without. 

Dont be afraid, My Friends!
Fear precedes courage,
Courage precedes greatness. 

Copyright@YB

Saturday, November 9, 2019

A short story

“Once upon a time, there was a wise Zen master. People traveled from far away to seek his help. In return, he would teach them and show them the way to enlightenment.
On this particular day, a scholar came to visit the master for advice. “I have come to ask you to teach me about Zen,” the scholar said.
Soon, it became obvious that the scholar was full of his own opinions and knowledge. He interrupted the master repeatedly with his own stories and failed to listen to what the master had to say. The master calmly suggested that they should have tea.
So the master poured his guest a cup. The cup was filled, yet he kept pouring until the cup overflowed onto the table, onto the floor, and finally onto the scholar’s robes. The scholar cried “Stop! The cup is full already. Can’t you see?”
“Exactly,” the Zen master replied with a smile. “You are like this cup — so full of ideas that nothing more will fit in. Come back to me with an empty cup.”

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Dark clear profound silence

In the darkness of the mornings, 
when the world is still sleeping,
there is a voice in my heart that wonders, 
"Who is it, thats breathing?"

I look outside my window, 
the leaves on tree are dancing, 
its dark and quiet, 
the birds have begun to chirp,
the intelligence in them has sensed, 
that morning is approaching.

In the quiteness of the dark mornings, 
I wonder,
how all the noise and voices, 
no longer exist.
This extended period of pin-drop silence,
makes me focus on my heart thats beating.

I look at the sky, its pitch dark, 
but there is light in my heart,
the light of gratitude for another day of wakefulness. 

I like this quiteness, its a respite from the mania of the wakeful world,
I go within, I can hear the silence, 
I can hear the thin air particles around me, 
its not silence after all, 
there is a sound even in silence,
 I wonder.

Even though its dark, I see things clearly,
more clearly than in the day time.
Its the quiteness that serves as a torch. 

I am reminded of my being, 
I am reminded of my mortality, 
I am reminded of my purpose, 
and I am reminded of the Him,
Whom I talk to not that much,
But Who always takes care of me,
in His Providential Ways.

I close my eyes and focus on my breathing,
halting for an extended moment in the race of life, 
to know what it means to be breathing,
and to be alive. 

It frightens me to see the engine of my body working,
without being able to see the propeller, 
the Invisible One has decided to propel me today, 
and on every day before today.

How ungrateful have I been,
and how mindless, 
of the magic that has unfurled,
for every day that passed by.

This darkness is a mirror,
the quitness its shine,
And I am looking outside of my window,
Wondering,
"He thinks my work is not done yet"
like many other soldiers in His Army,
I am, but one, feeble and weak,
ignorant yet arrogant,
stupid yet proud,
an ingrate,
to My Greatest Ally and Most Faithful Friend.

This is a moment of profound peace and  liberating clarity.
I have been nudged from my sleep.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Other Love Story : Afterthoughts

I recently watched a web-series, "The Other Love Story" (TOLS). I have watched it twice and both the times the innocent yet powerful storyline and the characters' acting has truly delighted me. For those of you wondering what the series is about, allow me to tell you that it is a poignant love story of two college going girls (adults). In this post I will talk about what I liked about the movie and why it touches my heart and always leaves a smile on my face when I think about it.
  1. It is an easy to relate story. Both the main characters are ordinary looking (no disrespect intended), like you and me. This is the first thing that makes the instant connection. Unlike most Bollywood movies which depict love blooming between the most handsome guy and the most attractive girl , TOLS makes a bold move to pay attention to love rather than lovers' aesthetic factors. It's very much like a love story of our lives - simple, nothing fancy and grounded. And yet, in all its simplicity there is something very sophisticated about the movie: the way main characters express their love to each other and express vulnerabilties. I think because we are not so much into how they look, can we look deeper and appreciate something magical that manifests between the two of them : LOVE.
  2. Talking of love, its characterization, in my opinion, is heart-warming and extremely pure in the movie. No drama over the first kiss, no excessive display of "I-am-so-much-in-love-with-you", clothes intact and yet when they look into each others' eyes and hold hands, you cannot help but feel the depth of what they share. The acting appears very natural and organic, and thus succeeds in deepening the connection with the viewers.
  3. I am not sure if any movie has been able to show the surreal beauty of hugs as depicted in this one; everytime the pair hugs its just so intense, passionate and full of longing. According to me, it is a kind of love story from which you take much more than the memories of their physical intimacy. Instead, you carry with yourself the memories of their emotional connection, the sincerity of love they have for each other, the trust they bestow on each other and the efforts they make to stay connected and stay together.
  4. There is no power equation between the two of them and each is comfortable being vulnerable in front of the other. No one is shown as the protector and no one as the "to-be-protected", the relationship appears equal. When one becomes sad and unhappy, the other is always there to pick her up with loads of understanding, grace and empathy. These roles keep reversing throughout the movie. This again challenges the implicit perception of our society towards relationships that one is always the mature-type loving, caring figure while the other one is to be taken care of!
  5. Respect. It is hard to find any moment in the movie, when any show of disrespect in the name of love appears. Both of them understand the dignity of other as human being. When one calls,  the other duly goes and even if the meeting is for few minutes, no resentment crops up in between; committment at its best. 
  6. Lastly, no one is butch, no one is femme, they are WHO THEY ARE and are in LOVE, they are LOVERS !! The movie also breaks the stereotype about the way Indian society imagines women lovers. It pushes us to move out of our own thought-cocoons and see them as people, like you and me. Two simple, plain people in Love.


Simple things in the life are the most beautiful.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Dr. Joseph Goldberger: My Public Health Hero


Since 1940 physicians have not seen cases of deadly disease, pellagra, whose epidemic lasted from 1906 to 1940s ravaging societies and destroying families. The absence of pellagra in our contemporary society can largely be attributed to the persistent investigations of Dr. Joseph Goldberger. What makes his efforts particularly noteworthy is that, in the age when germ theory was popular and largely unchallenged, he displayed extraordinary scientific determination by not succumbing to it. Instead, he toiled hard and dedicated his life in the quest to find the actual reason behind the scourge of pellagra. He designed multiple trials and studies in mental asylums, orphanages, prisons, laboratories and conducted field surveys to identify the real cause behind the disease. His hypothesis was that pellagra was caused due to nutrient-poor diet, especially that consisting of corn.
 
Dr. Joseph Goldberger
During the same time, a commission by the name Thompson-McFadden had ruled out the role of diet and nutrition based on their results of doing house-to-house survey of pellagra cases in the cotton mill district of South Carolina. The results inevitably strengthened the case of pellagra as an infectious disease. Dr. Goldberger, however, was neither convinced nor discouraged. He had observed a striking difference in the prevalence and incidence of pellagra in mental hospitals and orphanages, the places with maximum pellagra patients. Despite the similar living conditions, the inmates displayed particular vulnerability to pellagra than the staff. This made him doubt the infectious disease theory and strengthened his belief in the diet factor. He conducted experiments among pellagrins and those without pellagra and was able to demonstrate recovery due to improved nutrition (consisting of animal protein, milk, vegetables) and relapse when these dietary interventions were removed. The results convinced him that diet had a role to play in pellagra prevention and cure. In fact, he was also able to establish the role of socio-economic factors behind the high pellagra cases in the Southern US. He claimed that poverty led Southerners to eat a diet insufficient in protein increasing their risk for pellagra; this irked the Southerners who did not want a Northerner telling them that their diet was the culprit.

His contemporaries did not believe him and always found lacunae in his research, some justified and some out of disregard for his findings. This frustrated and made him angry, but more often than not, encouraged him to strengthen the evidence. Having done sufficient experiments in real life, he returned to the laboratory to find the chemical in food whose deficiency was responsible for pellagra. He zeroed down on tryptophan, an amino acid. In 1929, he died before he could complete his clinical research. It would take another 8 years after his death to prove what he believed to be true when deficiency in Vitamin B3 (Niacin) was shown to cause pellagra. In 1945, it would be further proven that in human tryptophan gets converted to nicotinic acid (or niacin), adding heft to his scientific arguments.

Dr. Goldberger devoted his life, sacrificed a large part of his domestic life, dragging his wife and himself into the “filth experiment” to prove that pellagra could be cured by diet. In my eyes, Dr. Goldberger was not only a medical doctor, but an admirable scholar, social epidemiologist, activist, public health crusade and an advocate of unbiased scientific research. His single-minded focus to identify the root of the pellagra through epidemiologic studies, clinical experiments and laboratory trials are testimony of his extraordinary breadth of research and makes me call him my Public Health Hero.

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Quietness

Silence, darkness and quietness, are the doors to wisdom. Allow yourself to be pulled towards them. For in then you will meet yours...