Monthly Archives: December 2010

Introspection Time folks… Dont miss these 10 questions

One sheet of paper and a pen

10 unforgiving questions
15 fleeting minutes


2011 will be different… This is my new year gift to you……

1. Did I have any specific goals for the bygone year? If no, how could I have been so careless about my own life?

2. If I had and if I achieved them all ,what motivated me to stay put till they were realized?

3. If I didn’t achieve them or achieved them partially, what on earth stood in my way? How could I have avoided these roadblocks? What stopped me from trying them then?

4. What does the answers for questions 2 and 3 tell me about myself?

5. What are five things that I did in 2010 that I am proud of ?

6. Did I do something that I regretted later? What are they?

7. List 3 memorable experiences in 2010 that took my breath away…

8. List the names of 3 people that I want to thank and pray for…..

9. List of the names of people that I want to forgive, forget and move on…..

10. How should I be at the end of 2011 to be really happy, proud and contented? (considers all areas: Job, Finances, Health, Relationships, Spiritual)


Filed under A new sunrise

Gift someone Happiness this new year

A close relative of mine called up the other night. He was desperately trying to collect money for an acquaintance who has to undergo a kidney transplant urgently. After months of searching they had found a willing donor- a lady in her thirties. She was getting ready to part with her kidney for money. ….Money to treat her own child of 3 who was suffering from a terminal illness.

Last week, I bumped into a colleague who works as an office boy. He was standing near the elevator , crestfallen and teary. He had just received a call from India with news that his father had passed away suddenly. The young man was standing confused, since he didn’t have enough money to buy an air ticket. So the only son, with a million responsibilities just stood silently wailing…..

I was checking the United Nations website. It says that over 25,000 people die every day of hunger. Roughly put, this is one brother or sister every three and a half seconds. And unfortunately, it is children who die most. By the time you would have read till this line, 2 more angelic lives would have been wasted.

Are we aware that 1.02 billion little ones go to bed hungry every night ? Do we know that there are over 100 million of them homeless worldwide, wandering in search of a roof over their heads?
Without blaming the economic order or the world’s apathetic elite, can we all try to do whatever little we can? Shame on us and our human values if a young mother has to sacrifice herself for the sake of her ill child. Shame on us and all our hypocritical pretensions if we can’t save atleast a few of them from certain helpless deaths.

Let us all take a bold decision right now !!!!. let’s check our bank balances and decide to transfer at least 2.5% of our savings to a worthy charitable organization that is battling poverty. That surprise holiday that we planned, that new gadget for our child, that new accessory for our car and that new branded pin striped suit may have to wait till next year. But our funds will grant precious solace to our little brothers and sisters who simply cannot wait, even for a day.

As the old adage says- Money is what money does. So, let us make at least a part of our valuable savings truly significant, by using it for something worthwhile. Once this is done, I am sure that we can all wish each other “Happy New year” without pangs of guilt jabbing at our consciences. For we would have indeed ushered in the new year with happiness to someone , somewhere … least for a while…..

Let’s do it today. Now……

A list of organizations who can take our funds and convert it into aid can be found by clicking here

You can donate online right now by clicking here: HERE

Hope we can all wish each other HAPPY NEW YEAR with a guilt free heart.

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Filed under A new sunrise

Blow your Trumpet once more

Before I delve into my topic let me thank my friend Sangeetha Thomas for sending me the inspiration for the post. Shukran. May god bless you with many more smashing ideas.

Friends and foes…..Another year is coming to a screeching halt. So do hasten to rummage through the utility box of management tools and unearth that proverbial Trumpet once more. It’s time to blow it loudly and clearly again… to awaken all our bosses and benefactors. Lets shake up the ones who are feigning sleep and Let us bewilder the ones who are pleading helplessness into submission.

Rack your brain, Clear your throat, take a deep breath and BLOW…… You are permitted to use the below lines for lyrics.

2010 and its million untold challenges…. Paltry budgets…. Horrendous targets, vanishing workforce, nonexistent market….. blah blah

The many pitched battles you (the knight in shining armor) waged and the wars you won….blah blah

The RESULTS… How your graph is taller than the one for 2009. How your graph beats the one posed by your mighty competitors floors down.

And now for the chorus… THANK you Boss. For supporting me through this horrendous ordeal. THANK you Boss…. Thank you for the inspiration, the support, the lessons and above all for being there for me..

Now get back to blowing again.

How has your splendid work contributed to the Organization’s goals. How you have singlehandedly pushed the conglomerate towards its utopian Vision and how your two tiny hands almost realized the Organization’s sketchy Mission. What difference you made….How in dispensable you are.

Back to chorus mode

THANK YOU BOSS for helping me to do all these wonderful things. If it was not for your enthralling leadership, I would also have been like any other employee in this organization. THANK you Boss .Thanks for making me so wonderful.. and see what this has done for our Organization….

Finally, after making sure that every ounce of breath from your lungs has been cajoled out… Put a title to the email/letter. Let it be “ A Million Thanks to the best boss in the company”.

Click send and hope and pray that it will fetch you a nomination….at least.


Filed under A new sunrise

When the Heart says “Thanks”

“Thank you”, “Thanks”, “Thanks a lot”. After mumbling these words out in haste, we move on… and very often bury the gesture and the giver forever… never ever to be reminisced. So much for gratitude!!!!

And at times, the gesture would be so overwhelming that these mere words become utterly incompetent and worthless. But we have to articulate our gratitude nevertheless. We may not be able to repay in kind, nor return the gesture. In such situations, only words spoken sincerely from within the heart can convey our true feelings. If they are beautifully crafted though…..

Takes me back to our mid day summer adventure in Khorfakkan. We had stopped at the Friday market to check out some rugs. After menacingly instructing my first born Amaan to remain seated in the car, my wife Sunayna and I ventured out, meandering through the many stalls manned by disinterested uncouth salesmen. As we were arguing about the utility of a clay flower case, Amaan came into the stall. “What did you do with the car?” I interjected rudely. “I locked the doors Uppa,” he replied confidently with a very grown up air. “Locked it?” I screamed! The engine was kept running for the air conditioner and I realized that the little brat had locked us all out- And it was close to 45 degrees at 2.00 P.M at a place, far away from everywhere.

Aided with the familiar feeling of an adrenaline rush, I ran to the car and tried a few silly stunts. Like sliding down the windows and force opening the doors. My heart sank even further when I spotted my phone and overstuffed wallet on the dashboard. When my antics failed, I gave up and with a sheepy grin turned around for help.

The shopkeepers were not even sympathetic. They stood motionless as embodiments of apathy. A couple of them mumbled in some foreign dialect and I even felt that they were laughing at us. Resisting a king size urge to give them a lecture on “Samaritanship”, I turned my attention to the road. By now, my fully pregnant wife was sweating profusely, her face red like beetroot.

A few cars slowed down at my frantic gesturing. They sympathized with me heavily and after offering me a few lines of their wisdom drove on… leaving us to battle ourselves out of our predicament alone.

That’s when I spotted two cars on the other side of the road. I ran across to realize that it was a family of UAE Nationals, presumably travelling long distance, since both the Range Rover and GMC were stuffed with bags. I was slightly reluctant to approach them, since I hadn’t interacted much with Emiratis till then. I however put this feeling aside and explained our plight to the two young guys in the Range Rover.

They came out and approached the car. After trying the antics that I had tried myself, they started consulting someone over phone. By this time, the ladies in the car had approached Sunayna and Amaan and had taken them into the cool confines of their car. I soon found them feasting comfortably on fruit juice and biscuits. We were all dripping with sweat as the sun shone down on us with a vengeance. The guys were trying everything, darting from one attempt to another without complaining a bit. After more than 90 minutes it was done-the door was prized semi open with a metal rod and a stretched coat hanger pressed painstakingly on the window controls doing the trick.

With the door opened, the guys quickly moved to their cars. Sunayna and Amaan were disembarked and without even a gratitude soliciting gesture, they prepared to zoom off. But I, overwhelmed with their hospitality was overflowing with feelings. I ran to the driver’s side and in a mix of English and halting Arabic said……

What they did
“In this scorching heat, you spent almost 2 hours helping us out. Your clothes are soiled and you have been delayed. You even took my wife and kid into your car and quenched their thirst. You didn’t give up even after failing many times. You stood with us till the problem was solved”

What effect it had on us
“Without you, we would have been stuck here for god knows how long. My wife is expecting and this heat would have made her ill. Without the phone and even a dirham on me, we would have been really stranded. You have really saved us from a lot of trouble”

What it says about the helpers
“This speaks volumes about your culture and hospitality. It conveys your concern even for strangers and your drive to help those who are in need. The fact that you didn’t give up till it was solved expresses your sincerity and love for humanity”

Saying Thanks and praying for them
“I can only say thanks. I will also pray to god almighty for your family. May you complete your journey peacefully and achieve your objectives”

Promise to Continue
“I promise you that I will Insha Allah try to do the same if I find someone else caught in the same predicament. By doing that, your noble deed will continue….”

I don’t remember the source. But I am sure that I had read this format somewhere. Luckily, I was able to say it well and from the looks on their faces, I was sure that our hearts connected and spoke with each other.
After wishing us peace, they drove into the sunset, over those endless winding roads.

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Smiling with a Tear Stained Face

Millions of people from every race and creed are fasting today. They have given up food and water since dawn and are spending their time praying to almighty god… to commemorate an event that happened thousands of years ago.

The almighty god sends a messenger to a community downtrodden for centuries by a tyrant ruler. The prophet rallies the beleaguered lot under the banner of faith, truth and justice and they stand up to face the overwhelming might of the tyrant. With the help of divine interventions, the prophet and his band of erstwhile slaves win the battle against evil. God almighty preserved the body of the cruel tyrant- Ramses II, as he promised in the last testament, the holy Quran. The 3000 year old body of the Pharoah was found by the Red Sea, and is now on display in the Royal Mummy Chamber of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

We fast on this day to thank god almighty for blessing prophet Moses (may God be pleased with him) and his disciples with victory over darkness. And as we fast, the world reminds itself that good will ultimately triumph over evil. Truth over Untruth. Light over darkness. And aggression, brute strength and injustice will meet its sorry end one day.

This thought brings a smile to my tear laden face.

The source of the pain also has to be explained. Many years after Moses (may god bless him) came another prophet whose mission was to complete God’s message for his creations. He continued the propagation started by Adam, Noah, David, Joseph, Solomon, Moses, Jesus and many other respected messengers of god. The holy Quran revealed to him is guiding millions of people towards the straight path of success. An arduous but enlightening path that demands untold sacrifices and total submission from its wayfarers. After the death of prophet Muhammed (May peace and blessings of god be upon him), the leadership of the community was passed on from one ardent believer to another, rightly guided followers of the prophet. But at one unfortunate instant of history , this smooth flow was suddenly interrupted….

Leadership of this nation was passed on to a son from his father. This unprecedented succession was not endorsed by all the respected members of the community. Scores of subjects rose in unison against this appointment. The dissidents flocked to the prophets grandson -Hussain (May god be pleased with him) who was revered as an epitome of religious virtue and enlightenment. Hussain took up the mantle on behalf of the believers and raised his objection to the hegemony of the newly appointed ruler.

On the 10th of Muharram, at the plains of Karbala, the army of the ruler accosted the band of believers comprising of Hussain, his family and his supporters. Hussain found to his shock and dismay that most of the people who had invited him and pledged support to him had changed their stands and deserted him. Though Hussain refused to shed blood, he was forced into battle and was martyred along with his family members and followers.

My heart aches and my eyes reverently bleed. Different chapters of history with different climaxes. The avid reader in me is finding it hard to summarize. Is the timeline of history behind me a tragedy for those who stood for truth? What will it be in the years ahead of me?

The confusion notwithstanding, I am sure of one thing. Though individual paragraphs don’t make sense at times, all these characters will emerge once again in the pages of the big book of eternity . The supreme author, that embodiment of justice and fairness would rewrite the plots in a way that all wrongs would be corrected with just one stroke of his pen. And the last lines will tell us that the good ones lived happily ever after and the bad ones otherwise. Then truth shall have its much awaited last laugh.

Though I may have to cover many miles and endure long hours of sleep before I can get my hands on this book………I am happy because it has a happy ending. So let me wipe away the tears and repeat the lines from a famous hindi film-“The movie has not quite ended, my friend”

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Filed under Till sunset and beyond

5 tiny Daffodils……and aren’t you closer?

Check the picture out. Millions of daffodils have bloomed for us. The scene is Lake Arrowhead in California. They extend farther than our weakling line of sight- rivers of daffodils in every shade of vibrant yellow. In the middle of this field is a board that reads “One woman, One at a time, Started in 1958”. By planting one humble daffodil plant at a time for the last 52 years, some unknown lady in California has created this wonder of nature. Giving generations ahead something profound to relish and learn from.

Learn that we can accomplish astounding feats if we simply persist in doing tiny bits. Save 25 dirham’s a day for the next 10 years and end up with a mini fortune. Walk 10 minutes every day and enjoy a life of difference. Speak to 2 of your loved ones each day and relish forever the companionship of people who matter. Utter a few verses of prayer every day and enjoy spiritual bliss and reformation….the list is endless.

Jack Canfield in his best seller “The success principles (Get it here) talks about the Rule of 5. Every single day, do 5 tiny things that would take you towards your goals. Don’t let the sun set on you without having planted these 5 seeds of success. For me they could be… Reading 5 pages of a book every day, making 5 connections on LinkedIn, Preparing 5 slides for my presentation, Sending my blog to 5 contacts, Writing 5 paragraphs/lines for my new post, Learn 5 new verses every day………..These things are simple and they look insignificant. But over the years they would fortify me with substantial stepping stones that would make my goal reachable.

Terry Fox, that inspiring role model who ran Marathons with one leg till he succumbed to cancer was asked about his impossible feat. He humbly told millions of viewers his success secret- “I just run till the next telephone post

So regardless of the time at which you read this post, make sure that you cook your 5 nuggets TODAY. And go to sleep rest assured that your valley of daffodils would be waiting for you at the apt time.


Filed under Till sunset

Let’s stop Mind Reading folks….for god’s sake

I know– I have said this many times before. I admit that this might be one of the most recurring topics on my blog. But Trust me-it’s worth repeating a thousand more times.

Unless we stop mind reading and motive guessing, our relationships will not improve.

• He said that because he is ^*^**^*
• She did that because she is always such a &^%*^*&^*

This goes on… endlessly. We don’t bother to clarify anything. We assume that the antagonist had the worst intentions in mind and we vilify him/her without even an iota of evidence. And this makes our relationships deteriorate till we are off talking terms.

Let me narrate an incident that might inspire all of us to change….

Abubacker Sidique (R.A-May god be pleased with him) and Ali (R.A) crossed paths one morning. Contrary to custom they didn’t greet each other with the Islamic salutation “Peace and blessings of god be upon you”. They just froze for a second (as if they expected something) and then passed by each other.

Both of them were really disturbed by the incident. But without indulging in any mind reading and motive guessing, they took the initiative to clarify. They confronted each other and openly expressed their anguish… and this is how it turned out in the end.

Abubacker (RA) said “I had a dream last night. In the dream I saw a sprawling palace in heaven. When I enquired about its owner, I was told that it belonged to the person who would greet his brother first. So I remained quiet because I wanted you to inherit this palace. But I was surprised when you didn’t greet me.”

Ali (R.A) had tears in his eyes as he spoke. “I swear by my lord that I had the same dream last night. And I didn’t greet you since I wanted you to have this blessing.”

Masha allah!!! These brothers were ready to relinquish a great blessing in order to gift it to another.

So, Next time you feel miffed at someone for doing or not doing something, remember this story. Their actions may be guided by some truly noble intentions for your sake. You never know.

Please refrain from associating hideous motives behind their actions. Stop mind reading and clarify. You might end up becoming closer to one another than ever before.

May god help us to clear all our animosities and bring our hearts closer….


Filed under Till sunset and beyond

Debunking the Work-Life Balance Myth

Till yesterday, I was a Mega advocate of the concept of Work-Life Balance.
Most of my trainings on Success would feature a video on the “Huge Rocks of life”- Click here to watch it . I deliberately conclude the sessions by making my attendees feel dismally guilty for being at work while their loved ones would be craving for their presence. I really enjoyed demonizing those poor souls who stagger through life doing justice to just a few of the many roles that they are expected to play- People who become better employees at the cost of being better fathers and sons…..

I was wrong. Long drawn debates with a few adamant trainees and a book titled “Balancing Acts” by Barbara Glanz have made me change my stubborn mind.

Work Life Balance is a myth. It is impractical and unachievable. Throughout our lives we spend time and resources focused towards the following areas. (Feel free to add more)

• Work
• Family
• Friends
• Health
• Spirit (Self Development and Spirituality)
• Service

It would be impossible to balance all these aspects of our life at any given point of time. At different stages of our lives we tend to focus more on certain areas. These stages vary as we progress ahead in our lives. As teenagers, friends are paramount. Then Work and family takes Centre Stage. As we grow older Health, Spirit and Service becomes more important. This is fine. Trying to balance all aspects together may put lot of pressure on us and we may end up doing none of the roles well.

If Balancing is not possible, what is?

An alternate approach is to try to blend all these areas together. Without losing our focus even for a minute, we can enjoy the best of all worlds by blending these areas together skillfully. I have a few suggestions on Blending Work and Family life together.

1. Take pictures or Videos of your work place and share it with your family. Let them know who is who?
2. Invite family members to join you for lunch.
3. Give your loved ones corporate giveaways from the organization.
4. Ask family members to help with a work project.
5. Explain all your major projects, their risks and schedules with your loved ones.
6. Keep your children’s things- artworks, pictures etc at work.
7. Send emails or messages to your loved ones from work.
8. Celebrate with family when big projects are completed.
9. If you are moving to a new office, get your family to help you during the weekend.
10. If you are travelling, send them pictures every night.
11. Invite colleagues home.
12. Call home at specific time each day.
13. Never miss any family gatherings in the office.
14. Organization to arrange family movie shows at least once a year.
15. Organization to arrange Field trips for children at least once a year.

By doing these, we will be more successful in keeping all the stakeholders happy. Your family is important. And one of the main reasons to work is to provide the family with all that they need. Hence work is also quite important, as it is the provider. As I said before, Balancing might not be possible. We all have to sacrifice family time and interests for work. Don’t feel guilty. You are doing the right thing. But try to blend these two vital ingredients together.

I would love to hear from you. From the 15 points above, which is your favorite? Can you add to the 15?


Filed under Till sunset and beyond