Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review # 18: The Greatness Guide

My rating: ●●●●
Robin Sharma 
The Greatness Guide 
India: Jaico; 2006
240 pp; INR 225
ISBN: 9788179925768

Summary: All the great men who talked, talked philosophy. The best thing about this genre of books is that it comes handy any time in life and one could start reading it from anywhere only to become wiser and more practical. The Greatness Guide not only inspires you to lead a better life, but also gives you salient wisdom to come out with better solutions to the issues. While the real-life examples quoted keep it all easy to relate, the simplicity in writing makes the content easy to grasp. A must read if you love Robin Sharma and, also, if you don't.

What really clicked? The reputation of the author; I had to start from somewhere reading the whole lot of books that he's written.

My take: The first glance at the book and you see an author who believes in establishing himself as a brand; cool, because he has been a very famous author, personal development expert and one of the most influential leadership gurus in the world.

A brief look at the TOC might leave you slightly intimidated for there are over 101 chapters, but you should dive into the content without any fear of not being able to reach the back cover as these chapters all compare to vodka shots – very small but give you instant kick!

What could be better than starting the book with quotes from two legends – Maya Angelou and Bono – you know you have made the right choice by giving your time to this resource which might just become your friend for life. The chapters are brief, to the point and extremely simple to understand and relate. The author might be leading a life way different than his readers but his habit of forming a strong connection with the readers in each chapter leaves them feeling like they are being addressed by a friend. The tone of the author is clear, concise, confident and courteous. While he’s busy narrating stories from his life, he’s also drawing conclusions all leading to a moral and strong one-liners in the end.

This book gives you innumerable pearls of wisdom, making you want to note them down to put up in your room or office later. There are various which I liked a lot, five of them have been quoted below.
  1. Nothing fails like success
  2. Success is all about consistency around the fundamentals. The only thing that’s rocket science is rocket science.
  3. Never talk when you can nod.
  4. There’s no such thing as a normal human being; if you have a normal brain, you are superior.
  5. The only place you’ll reach if you will follow the crowd is exit.
Wise men say you should read more and more philosophy because these books not only lead to self-improvement, but also some serious mental work on the part of the readers discovering well-thought-out answers to a lot of questions which keep occurring in life. Whatever problems we might be facing right now, someone might have already gone through them and their wisdom and advice might just come handy to us through philosophy. So, grab this book if you want some of the brilliance of Robin Sharma to rub off on you.

Final word: Do you know which of the resources could possibly make the world a better place to live in – physiological, like food, water, breathing etc., possessions, love, esteem or self-actualization to put it all into perspective? It has to be self-actualization, which could well be acquired by getting in touch with the people who have proved them well no matter where they have been. The Greatness Guide, by Robin Sharma, speaks very simple language and teaches you the fundamentals, making you feel great about being able to read and, of course, to choose what to read. This is a great book, which can prove to be a worthy counselor and wise guide. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Why Do You No Longer Ask?

This is the question to all the new age women, who love putting themselves into various shoes in an attempt to prove them as independent – why do you no longer ask? There were and there are strong pillars of a house existing right there; yet, why do you no longer register their presence? You have the power and the ability and, then, there comes sharing not only responsibilities but also desires, wishes and dreams; the question is why do you no longer let anyone enter that sphere of your mind?

I recall a conversation that I had with a colleague while on my way back home. She was utterly dissatisfied with the paltry salary she drew every month and thought she won’t ever be able to realize her bigger, expensive dreams. When asked what those bigger, expensive dreams were, ‘travelling, diamonds and clothes’ was all she said with a heavy sigh. I remember her boasting about her well-off family and her husband, who was down-to-earth despite being placed at a very high position in a reputed MNC. I wondered why she doesn’t ask her husband to participate in fulfilling her dreams, why she doesn’t  ask him to contribute. I probably would have done that tad too loud that she came back to add to what she had already said. She remarked, “I am not cheap to ask my husband to fulfill my dreams.” I could not find words to frame a reply then, but this sentence left me awake way past my bed time. ‘Why not?’ was all I wanted to question.

There were days when men would take care of their partners as a responsibility. There was an unsaid, mutually consented procedure of leading life, celebrating festivities, attending to extended family and saving money. Although there was only one person earning, the efforts of the other to nourish the family never went unnoticed. The wife would proudly ask her husband to fulfill all her demands, no matter how big or small. The question is – has earning left us, women, in a bad shape, where we are not able to suffice our expectations of ourselves and not able to extend our hand in order to ask? This egotistical aspect of our personalities has come to light now, when we have some money in our hands, but the responsibilities have nowhere gone down.

The funny thing is that the male counterpart in the house still appears ready to play his role, but alas! he’s being kept in the dark regarding the matters going on in the mind of the wife. He would well be ready to come back with a solution or an answer if only he was given a chance, but he’s being deliberately detached from the inner self of his woman, the self which dreams.

Here’s small message to all those who have stopped asking their partners to dive into their dreams – go and command! Create a common domain which might give way to utmost happiness for the family. Ask your partner for a ring, a suit, a shirt or a holiday. Work towards it in collaboration and enjoy the immense satisfaction your current status of ‘working’ will bless you with. After all, the fact that you ‘earn’ shouldn’t mean you should stop ‘asking’ for things since you now already have the money to fulfill your desires. It should rather mean that the family gets a better lifestyle with all the dreams getting comfortably fulfilled.      

Monday, April 3, 2017

Road Trip Saga: Delhi-Vrindavan-Mathura-Delhi

No matter where you go, there you are!
- Confucius  
Another first this year: a road trip down the Yamuna Expressway to explore a city they all lovingly call God’s birthplace – Mathura/Vrindavan! This was one plan which was made impromptu and, therefore, all the fun it contained came as a pleasant surprise. Having set out at around 7:30 in the morning in our serviced Enfields, we could comfortably grasp the pleasure early morning rides fill you with. Around an hour’s ride from Delhi on the Expressway and all that passes you by are passages of agricultural fields occasionally habited by grazing animals like cows, buffaloes or even camels. The rising sun just adds to the charm rarely encountered in mundane routine. The nip in the air associated with early mornings makes you want to spread your arms wanting to greet the universe a very good morning! I surely have fallen in love with the openness and space riding bikes benefits you with.

Inching closer to the Blissland!

Eyes on the highway!
We stopped at our resort in Vrindavan (Kadamb) at around 10:45 AM, almost three hours after we started moving. Everything about the property – ambience, aura, facilities, décor and service – had a beautiful touch of comfort, sprinkled over with a glimmer of luxury. Our one-day stay here was akin to a much-needed therapy.  Moreover, the food served here at their restaurant was enough in quantity, tasty and totally upscale. The ambience and the view from the top-floor-situated restaurant mesmerizes you, leaving you wanting for more.

Us, at the resort!
Our journey of checking Vrindavan out began with our first stop being Prem Mandir. What an architectural wonder this temple is! Read more about this temple here if you really want to get acquainted with the facts that really are the foundation of the truth we see there. For a spectator, this temple is a treat for the eyes. The intricate work you see on the walls and everywhere else, the etchings on the marble, the extravagant décor, which also included opulent chandeliers, the representations of the scenes from the life of Lord Krishna and the light show in the evening, all add up to the creation of nothing less than a world-class wonder. A must visit if you’re here!
Prem Mandir 
Truly an architectural wonder!
The 'satsang' hall, which is currently under-construction.
Beautiful tableaus depicting scenes from Lord Krishna's life could be seen all around the main temple.
Moving on, we visited Banke Bihari temple and it is this place where I was actually able to connect with the superpower. Relatively old and untouched construction, this temple is surrounded with narrow bylanes which are mostly thronged by vendors, hawkers and beggars. You get great street food here; we had samosa, kachori, rabdi, carambola, but the star of the show was “kulhar wala kada hua doodh” (thickened milk). This place, indeed, demands one cheer for its gastronomic delights.  
The next day, we visited ISKCON, Vrindavan. This place seemed like a tiny foreign land to me, for the sheer number of non-Indians I saw there, all chanting ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’ and dancing in the trance. We also had tasty ‘prasad’ there, which apparently was our first meal of the day. Our last stop here in Vrindavan was Nidhi Van, which is a mysterious place and makes you want to believe in God and his ways. Here on, we also visited an ashram where more than 2000 widows or single women were staying, calling themselves ‘Meerabai’!

ISKCON, Vrindavan
The next stop hereon was Mathura where we visited Yamuna Ghat, Dwarkadheesh temple and, lastly, Shree Kishna Janmabhoomi.  The trip ended with us giving ourselves ample rest before we embarked on our drive back home.

Yamuna Ghat
Once back in Delhi, we could feel the essence of divinity almost everywhere around us, as if we have carried it along. We could see the signs of Radha-Krishna practically everywhere around us or maybe it was easy for us to feel the divinity blending into our aura. Magical, indeed!
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