Sunday, June 26, 2011

THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE: PART 2

After the pompous ceremonies ended and life returned to normal, the villager who used to be just ‘a villager’ but now ‘the’ villager realized that nothing much had changed in his home and his surroundings every since he left. Despite his fate being altered, the fate of the village remained stagnant. His neighbors left and right, were still fighting with members of his family. There were treacherous plots and tricks played against each other. There was a constant tacit and ostentatious competition of outdoing one another. To make matters worse, he saw how his nephews and nieces were encouraged to throw stones and sticks at the neighbors’ house in retaliation for their efforts of the same nature. Some rich bigots in another remote yet much advanced village were also adding to internal problems at his home. They were interested in the land his gardens and home sat upon. So even they would raise hue and cry accusing his entire household of muddying their waters. The aim was to annoy and have each household busy in these dirty games while they devised ways to take the land.
The villager was now an experienced man, a man that spent a life learning valuable practical lessons which he wanted to exhibit in these strenuous situations. So he built a tall wall around his home that made it impossible for the neighbors to eavesdrop, watch and even throw stones at them. Life became peaceful for a few days till the villager’s elder brother came home and saw the newly built wall. He immediately ordered the wall to be demolished. His second brother had a different opinion. He suggested the wall should remain half-way so that the neighbors heard and saw things going around and would burn in envious flames over their prosperity. The argument soon became a heated debate which turned into an ugly quagmire. His older brother was a bully and by default won every argument in the home. In matter of hours, the wall was taken down to much dismay of the villager who had spent a good portion of his hard earned money on the finances of the wall. With the wall gone, the arguments inside and outside his home continued and escalated to violence at times.
Time was passing by and each day seemed worse than the previous. Despite the valuable lessons and rich experience, the villager could not fix the problems at home and in the neighborhood. He remained in a state of confusion and disappointment. In his despair, he would curse ‘Every man’s friend’ for having such a nice peaceful, neat and orderly house with manicured gardens. He cursed everybody in that house for following the book of rules and living peacefully there. He compared the two freedoms; at his home and at ‘Every man’s friend’s house. The inhabitants of ‘Every man’s friend’s house obeyed the book of rules, worked hard and were paid accordingly; to them THAT was life, THAT was freedom. They never cared what ‘Every man’s friend’ himself did. While the inhabitants in his home had a different kind of freedom; no regard for any book of rules. Every person was fighting for himself. He became depressed and turned to religion for he believed in God’s Mercy.

He prayed day and night for a miracle to happen. He didn’t know how and what could fix the problems at home but he prayed; first for one miracle and then for more miracles as one wasn’t enough. God had other plans for him and with time he developed an ailment that led to a heart attack and eventually his death.
The villager was buried and people went back to their homes. His soul enters a line where other souls are awaiting their one-on-one meeting with God to account for their deeds. The villager hears shrieks of agony and sees most of the souls are sent through the left door instead of the right. Very few are sent through the right door. The villager is worried and as his turn nears, he wishes he could have done something useful while he was alive.

Finally it is his turn to meet God. God asks him what he did that was most remarkable. He replies that he prayed; he looked after his parents; and he never lied. God says that these acts were commendable indeed but that they were compulsory, mandatory acts. The man is puzzled and wonders if all that he did were mandatory acts. God asks him about charity; if he ever gave some of his time, money, a good deed, a good word, an advice?

The villager remembers how he spent all his youth in pursuit of making tons of money; how he never had time for charitable acts as he tried to rush his chores and prepare for the next day. As he shakes his head in the negative, he remembers how he tried fixing the problems back home; maybe that could be regarded as charity he thought. God again says that it was his duty. God asks him for one last time if he has done anything commendable that hasn’t been mandatory. The villager humbly replies, “I have always believed. I am a believer in Your Mercy…” God smiles and lets him pass through.

Friday, June 24, 2011

THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE: a story

Once a man decided to change his fate. So he packed up his bag and left to visit a renowned man named ‘Every man’s friend’ who lived on the very top of the highest mountain. With dreams galore, the man bid farewell to his family and friends and went off on his expedition. He had prayed for a smooth journey, which God blessed him with.

After a few days he reached at ‘Every man’s friend’s house. He was greeted and welcomed without pomp compared to the ceremony given to just about anybody back home upon an arrival. ‘Every man’s friend’ handed him a book of rules that he was to abide by and then he left. ‘Every man’s friend’ had told him that if he followed these rules, he could live a trouble free life. The villager took the book graciously and immediately his eyes started to wander about in all directions studying the order and neatness of the place. The house was impeccably clean; things in neat order. Just then another member of the house nudged the villager and quietly reminded him to pick up his bag that he had thrown in a corner of the house. He obliged and immediately picked up his bag. The villager stood for a while hoping someone would show him his room or any other accommodation but no one helped him. He wasn’t offered any food or drink either. He started to think about his family in the village down on the plains far away. Tears swelled in his eyes as he remembered how his mother refused to eat without him. He reminisced how he dismissed his meals for being plain and not great; how he would get up and leave in anger while his hungry mother would rush the plate after him begging him to eat. He now started to see miniscule things he had otherwise overlooked back home. He missed his family more than ever.

Time passed and he had become accustomed to sleeping on the floor and working hard for his food. His food was not great but good enough to fill his stomach. His bed was not soft but good enough for him to rest at night. The book he was given upon his arrival was like a sacred book which he followed dutifully. Every now or then when he failed to follow a rule of the house, he would be reprimanded. In moods of despair he would start comparing his freedom back home to the slavery at ‘Every man’s friend’s house. He hated toiling so hard. Yet he managed to pull himself through these challenges. Soon his hardships started to ease with time. He moved from the corridor to a room; and purchased things for himself. He started to explore with leisure the surroundings in and about the house. He took lots of pictures of flowers, trees, the manicured lawns, the birds, the crockery of the house, the other inhabitants of the house and so on. He wanted to cherish his memories.

A couple of years passed. The man had become accustomed to eating a stomach-full. Every now and then he chanced to see other villagers that had come with the hopes of changing their fate. He would join them and spend some time in their company. They would lament on the present day affairs and how things could have been better. And like him in the beginning, they would curse this new house for its inhospitality and cold yet solid rules. Soon the villager too started talking about ‘this’ house; he never considered it his own despite living in it for so long. He would recall his hardships. He too would rant about the house, its rules and how things were unfair. Despite these rants, he continued living in the house and hoped that his loved ones would join him there soon……
Some time passed and the villager then decided it was time to go back home. So he packed up his bags and returned home.
.....to be continued......
(photo from google.com)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Buying Organic Foods vs Conventional Foods

If possible try to buy the following fruits and vegetables organic in order to avoid the residue of pesticides on and inside the fruits and vegetables.

The dirty dozen list:

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Imported nectarines
7. Imported grapes
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Domestic blueberries
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/collard greens

The Enviromental Working Group also lists the "Clean 15," or that rank lowest in pesticide residues. These are:
1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Domestic cantaloupe
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet Potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

Would you like a mouthful of pesticides with your peach? If you’re eating non-organic peaches, that’s what you may well be getting. According to the 2011 edition of Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, the majority of conventional peaches contain two or more pesticide residues; in fact, peaches as a group rack up a combination of up to 57 separate pesticides. Pesticides can be extremely toxic to human health and the environment. Both U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system disruption and IQ deficits among children.
Each year Environmental Working Group analyzes nearly 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the USDA and the FDA to determine what fruits and vegetables contain the highest (the “Dirty Dozen”) and lowest (the “Clean 15″) amounts of chemical residue. The information is presented in a handy shopper’s guide. I love this list, it is so practical and puts the ability to eat safely in everybody’s hands. It’s a brilliant workaround.
Shoppers can use the list in two ways:
• If you are unable to buy organic produce, for whatever reason, avoid the Dirty Dozen and instead opt for the Clean 15.
• If you can buy limited organic produce, purchase organically-grown items from the Dirty Dozen, and continue buying non-organic selections from the Clean 15.
Of course, in a perfect place we wouldn’t be contending with pesticides at all – but given this wonky world, at least we have some tools to help navigate around the n-methyl carbamates and organophosphate pesticides. (Did you know that some of the most commonly used pesticides today were originally derived from nerve gasses developed during World War II? Fun fact. Ugh.)
Anyway, by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, you can lower your pesticide consumption by nearly 92 percent.

Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/top-12-toxic-fruits-and-vegetables-2.html#ixzz1PhGbFw97

Monday, June 13, 2011

Little Secrets



We all by nature are curious beings; monsters feeding on information. The hunger for gossip and tales to pass the time is kneaded in our clay. We all chew on the bits of information we get from the media, neighbor or stranger we meet somewhere.
Every person tries to be discrete when it comes to oneself. Secrets are our necklaces that adorn our being and are rarely shared with all. But at times, the burden of these numerous necklaces strain our mental capacities. Thus varying degrees of secrets exists with everyone; not necessarily are they “skeletons in the closet” but some are just little and harmless secrets….all are used for our benefits.
The amount of secrecy one holds depends on ones sagacity and need; Secrets cease to be secrets once they are disclosed to someone. Yet again the few trusted people may continue to shield the secret; your secret. But honestly, where can you find such people? I am yet to see a person safeguard another’s secret. The best I see in people is the disclosure of a secret without assigning a name to it or making a disclaimer. Again a tactic of gossip….
As mentioned, all people with disregard to demographics, have secrets; some ugly, some harmless yet precious that remain a protective entity within ourselves. All secrets stem from certain insecurities we have. We experience something sour ourselves or witness a humiliating episode of another which exaggerates the need of more secrecy and privacy. Yet in the advances made in life towards modernism, secrecy and privacy have become extinct and the need of it has become a luxury not everyone can afford.
While we chat with friends and relatives who start divulging in the facts of a recent disclosure of events we wear a semblance of good nature and empathy while at the same time, avoid using ourselves as an example in a particular yet similar situation. So even though an experience within the same situation exists, we choose not to bring it up for fear that we may appear equally stupid or worthless or a failure as the person currently being discussed. Some wise people have found a way around it by using a third person approach, a detached view or indirect encounter to the core of the matter and it has worked.
Keeping secrets for a long time or for most of the time can drive one insane. Therefore a catharsis is necessary. But do it wisely. Choose your audience carefully. Only time tested people ranging from your parents, siblings to certain friends or people whom are trusted sources that are armor-tough against temptations to disclose your secrets or discuss you.
It has always been wise to discuss some things with someone you don’t come across often. Discuss something with ones that do not stand in your way in any regard or with someone not competing against you or with someone that is a perfect stranger and doesn’t know any of the characters you discuss but you. Such conversation will naturally go in your favor, which will make you feel good as you empty your load of secrets. Feeling good afterwards is important. After all your machinery needs the necessary amount of cooling to function normally till the next urgent episode of unloading secrets……
Photo by google.com

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mother Teresa's Pearls of Wisdom

YOU AND GOD


People are often unreasonable
irrational and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse
you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere
people may deceive you;
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating
others could destroy overnight;
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
some may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

he good you do today,
will often be forgotten;
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.


OTHER QUOTES BY MOTHER TERESA:

  • "Peace begins with a smile.."
  • "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much."
  • "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
  •  "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."
  •  "Live simply so others may simply live."
  •  "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
  • "God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try" .
  • "What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."
  • "The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved."
  •  "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
  • "We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something."
  • "May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." 
  • "The person who gives with a smile is the best giver because God loves a cheerful giver." 
  • "If you can't feed a hundred people, feed just one." 
  • "Work without love is slavery."
Photo from google.com