Monday, 20 February 2017

www.thesmartlad.com

For those among you who love the great , open outdoor life, the following blog might be interesting:

www.thesmartlad.com

This blog has several interesting posts on tents in the shape of vans and SUVs, fishing apparatus, pontoons, hunting jackets and so on.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

HIS HEAVINESS

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His Heaviness climbed onto the platform and looked around in satisfaction. There was a crowd down there to listen to his brilliant campaign speeches on behalf of (AtoZ) party. He had a reputation as a good crowd puller. The crowd was literally pulled there in lorries and bullock carts. The cheap liquor bottles enticed the simple men folk and the lure of currency attracted the women.

“Friends and dear countrymen,” started His Heaviness, “If I win this election, I will enact law to protect all single women” he said with emotion and banged the table so hard that a flying missile took off from the table and hit a single woman in the front row who ran away, terrified.

“I will root out poverty”, he shouted, “ and—er—and weed out corruption”, he added, after an uneasy glance at the currency pile kept in a corner, to be distributed after the meeting.

A farmer from the subbest of suburbs hadn’t heard of these and looked inquiringly at his friend. “Poverty comes in roots and corruption in weeds”, whispered the latter in his neighbor’s ears, who nodded grimly.

His Heaviness was obviously not pleased with the lukewarm response he got for such an important announcement. He decided to announce his noble intention with greater vigor.

“ Yes, I mean it. I will destroy both!”, he declared at the top of his voice and glared so menacingly that a stray dog which was standing nearby yelped loudly and ran away, tail between its legs. The organizers of the meeting were thrilled at their leader’s eloquence. Neither leader nor organizers however noticed that the crowd had started thinning down rapidly.

The crowd pullers, had in spite of their zeal and devotion overlooked something very very important in this part of the country---- A big cine hero’s movie was scheduled for the day in a nearby theatre. Not all the king’s men could retain a crowd under such circumstances!

As the leader, still unaware of his displaced audience went on and on, the stray dog that had been frightened out of his own locality came back with friends and well wishers to settle scores. Hostilities began soon thereafter in the form of group barking and teeth baring and the poor leader of the masses was forced to hop onto a high chair - - - an astounding feat for a man of his circumference!

The masses had already deserted him except for the organizers and the sentry on duty.
His Heaviness appealed to the security guards to save him from the canine fury. The guards looked guardedly at their chief. The chief immediately consulted his rule book to see whether saving from animal attack was part of his assigned duty. On failing to get a clear picture, he moved a note to his superiors asking for special permission to rescue the leader from the misguided canines.

In the meantime, the dogs soon got bored with the whole affair and called a conference. They appointed a watchdog from among themselves to keep an eye on the hapless stool-squatter and soon dozed off.

His Heaviness who never missed an opportunity now tried to get off the stool but was strongly discouraged by the sincere watchdog, which emitted a low deep-throated growl, by way of warning. Thus frustrated and also angered at the turn of events, His Heaviness spat venom on the organizers. Turning on his full eloquence, he abused the poor organizers in the juiciest terms taken from seventeen languages. Even the street-smart dogs (which were wide awake by now) blushed and covering their ears with their forelegs ,left shamefaced. 

Seeing this canine retreat, His Heaviness laughed jubilantly, and forgetting himself in the excitement, jumped onto the platform and went straight through it into the mud below. After they excavated him, he came back to business immediately and ordered his henchmen to produce a crowd immediately—or else!

Luckily for the organizers, a local ‘arranger’ suddenly turned up and assured he would arrange a respectable gathering in twelve winks for a price.

All’s well when crowds swell. The arranger was very efficient and kept his word. Soon a sizable crowd consisting of no-nonsense people who couldn’t be diverted easily by cine heroes gathered to hear His Heaviness who beamed at them happily.

He cleared his throat and started addressing the gathering, “Friends ---
    


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

TOP WAYS TO CALM YOUR MIND


(WHAT WORKS FOR ME)

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Storms raging in your mind can upset your mind equilibrium, leading to distress of both mind and body. As you know, such disturbances may arise due to many reasons like deep anxiety about some matter, jealousies, hatred and so on.

The objective of this article is not to go into such reasons, but to discuss possible ways of restoring some peace of mind every time, before the fury peaks. Of course, it is easier said than done because your mind-your most valued possession- is also the most difficult thing to bring under leash.

In fact, it is well nigh impossible, except by some great yogi or other, to bring the mind under control. All that most of us can hope is to distract the mind temporarily from the fiery emotions by some means. And you know very well that this isn’t a cake walk either!

Now, I would like to share with my readers what works for me. I am an ordinary person like many among you, with no formal training in mind control techniques. But over the years, I found certain simple techniques which help me to maintain focus during times of mental stress and thought I should share with my dear friends.

     Resort to fantasizing.

Everyone, well almost everyone, loves to indulge in fantasy of some sort, be it self-aggrandizement, romantic, sexual or travel fantasy. Though day dreaming is normally frowned upon as a lazy activity, it does come in handy as a diversionary tactic. The reason why this could work is because the mind latches on quickly to favorite pastimes and hence is likely to temporarily deviate from self torture. But even though temporary, it can provide much needed relief, and hopefully sleep.

Each has his own fantasy, so we will leave it at that.

     Start chanting a mantra.

This is extremely beneficial and helps to maintain calm in troubled times. But this cannot be just suddenly taken up when need arises. In order that this helps, you need to make it a constant practice to repeat the mantra, as often as possible, even when you are at peace. Else, you may not be able to focus on the chanting when turbulence strikes.

This has nothing to do with any particular religion and may even have a solid scientific reason why it works. That said, I would suggest that you select a short mantra-from any religion, any text- and start chanting it in your mind silently. You will find that when your mental flight hits a turbulent air pocket, this mantra will come to restore the mind.

Just take deep breaths and start chanting. Over a period of time, stillness will slowly return.

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This is indeed another amazing technique to rein in the mind. Of course, mind scientists alone can explain the rationale behind why it works- something about acting on the sub conscious etc- you can derive its benefits without bothering to know why.

Again, this helps only by regular and frequent repetition of some key phrases relevant to your need. For example, you may keep telling yourself, ‘I am calm’, ‘I am at peace’, ‘I am a bold person’ and so on.

The important thing for this to work is that these phrases have to be repeated and you must believe those words fully, unconditionally. Then the subconscious does its job of etching it deeply into your consciousness at some level.

Good Luck.
----


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

TWO VENERABLES

Gentleman, Gentlemen, Greeting, Hands



Two venerable old professors they were,
Very intelligent and knowledgeable indeed.
But their minds being always among equations and diagrams-
 -Were generally absent from mundane present circumstances.

One day, these two gentlemen at the local railway station,
Were fighting real hard with their respective memories,
And with each other too,
Trying to figure out which among them
Was supposed to board the train,
And which one had come
To see the other off.

Alas, by the time they could agree,
The train chugged in, increasing their worry.
But lo! Soon came their savior, a common friend,
Briefcase in hand, smiling and waving at them.

The two professors rushed to him beaming in joy,
Not just on seeing him but for resolving their dilemma.
But before they could thank him, they saw, to utter dismay,
The train had started chugging off!

“Come, come,” they shouted, and dragged him by the hand,
Without listening to his protestations, they pushed him into a coach.
Last thing they heard from him, to their great surprise was,
“I just got down here, you fools!
You were supposed to receive me here.” 









Sunday, 12 February 2017

TOP SIX WAYS TO KEEP THAT RELATIONSHIP GLOWING.

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HOW NOT TO TREAD ON YOUR PARTNER’S EMOTIONAL TOES

Life and living are all about relationships. You, I, he and she all live and thrive on good relationships. Though the word Relationship covers the entire gamut of human bonds- this post-on the eve of Valentine’s Day is about romantic relationships.

I have read often that one has to work on relationships. I would prefer to say that one has to act with awareness and be always sensitive to the other’s feelings. Put simply, just keep your emotional intelligence always on alert so as not to tread on your partner’s emotional toes.

1.    TELL ‘I LOVE YOU’ AGAIN AND AGAIN.

And then again and again…In the bedroom, in the bath, in the kitchen, out in the streets…wherever.
Sounds tame and old fashioned? Well, there is nothing tame about love. Never be tired of announcing your love to your precious partner. Be generous in your hugs and kisses.

2.    SPLURGE A BIT.

If your partner is in the mood for a little reckless spending, so be it. Loosen your purse strings a bit, and do not, for God’s sake, start that lecture on world economy. Of what use money, if it cannot bring sunshine into your relationships. You can, with your high E.Q, find an appropriate time to discuss and get your finance back on stable ground.

3.    THOU MAY NOT THRUST.

Do not thrust yourself, literally or otherwise on your partner by being too demanding and possessive. Give him or her some free space so that your partner doesn’t gag on the relationship.

4.    DO TRUST.

If there be only one single word for a lasting relationship of any kind, it is TRUST in all matters, not merely physical. Never challenge your partner based on hearsay, even though the matter in question might have come from a reliable source. Always give the benefit of doubt in all matters to him/her and then gently sort it out between yourselves- if you must-with great tact and dignity.

5. PRAISE IN PUBLIC, CRITICIZE (IF YOU MUST) IN PRIVATE.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of this Golden Rule which is self explanatory. On many an occasion, I have seen the shame and embarrassment on some friend’s face, when reprimanded by the spouse in public. Here the issue, however important it may seem at that time, should take a back seat and be swept under the carpet for the time being, to be worked out in private.

6.     BE THERE.

No doubt, there will be demands on your time from your career, and many other responsibilities that you may have to shoulder. But you must reassure your partner that you will always accord due priority in case of any requirements or exigencies.

These are of course not exhaustive, but valuable tips for an evergreen relationship.

HAVE A FANTASTIC VALENTINE’S DAY!




BALL BLOODY


“What’s wrong?” wondered Hari, sitting on a bench in his verandah, as he saw the boys come running like mad from the temple. They seemed to be shit scared and fleeing from something.

Akil, breathless, reached first.

“He is unconscious …is Raju! He said in frenzied excitement.

“The ball…blood…ball” he said incoherently, in shock and out of breath.
***
Just about an hour earlier, some village elders had chided some of the young mothers for allowing their children to play cricket in the temple backyard.

As the women wrung their hands to express helplessness, one of the elders shook his head in strong disapproval, “You ought to know that it is not advisable to be in the backyard after 6pm…spirits might be roaming…you know.”

“We do tell them, but they simply ignore us, saying that the place is quite spacious and ideal for cricket,’ said one.

“Do you still believe this trash?” asked another.

The villager just gave her a contemptuous look and told the ladies, “There have been some disturbing incidents before, don’t wanna scare you with old stories. Just take care.”
***
When Raju finally opened his eyes, he was still sobbing and shivering.

His mom was sobbing, but the villagers were kind, patiently waiting for him to recover.

“I…I…hit the ball, it fell into the old woman’s basket…”

His voice trailed off into sobs again.

“Woman? Who? What woman?”

As the villagers’ anxiety mounted, another lad took over.

“Raju was batting- when he hit the ball, it flew high and right into a basket… a vegetable basket or something carried on the head by a strange woman.”

“Never seen the woman before in this village,” he murmured.

While the elders exchanged meaningful glances, Akil added, “She bent down, reached for the ball and threw it right back. Raju who happened to go for a run, was near to her and hence couldn’t see the thrown ball.”

He shuddered, “The ball was smeared with blood!”

“Okay, but why did  Raju fall unconscious if he didn’t see the ball?” asked his mom, after all the gasping subsided.

As the boys shrugged their ignorance, Raju, now a bit composed, said, “I saw this head in her basket… this bloodied head of a familiar person, can’t say who…when she bent down.”

Before this horror could sink into the consciousness of the terrified villagers, the village postmaster came running.

“A terrible thing has happened. Our postman has been run over by a train…his head is severed.”


 






Thursday, 19 January 2017

COWS AND LADDERS.



Renu woke up in a cold sweat on hearing the alarm. She was thankful that her nightmare had been disrupted by the faithful alarm. She had been dreaming that a snakes and ladders game was going on in which she was the coin moving up the ladder, and sliding down a cow instead of a snake.

Hearing some commotion outside her fourth floor apartment, Renu idly opened the door to have a look. There seemed to be some house warming ceremony in progress in an apartment on the same floor. Loud mantras were being hurled by energetic purohits to discourage bad spirits and drive away ghosts. Suppressing a yawn, Renu was about to close the door to start her daily routine when she saw her in the yet dim sunlight- a healthy well built cow.

It seemed to be Renu’s day for cows. She had been sliding up and down a cow in the nightmare and now here was another one in flesh and blood, brought obviously for the housewarming.

She looked at the cow with trepidation. The cow also glared right back. The poor animal had every reason to be upset, having been rudely awoken and dragged up four flights of stairs in the wee hours, but it was quite unreasonable to hold her responsible for its misery, thought Renu, unaware that the cow was seeing red in her flame colored maxi.  That was the last straw for the much harassed cow.
The cow was now scratching the ground with its forefeet, a cow’s battle-cry equivalent of the conch or trumpet, used by humans. Within seconds, before Renu could bolt back inside, she charged at full speed.

“Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..,” shouted Renu as she took off at jet speed in the corridor, wondering even in this predicament how her flat feet could be so fleet footed. Though she had the initial advantage over the cow in the race, Renu found herself cornered when they reached the end of the corridor. As Renu looked for escape options, she could have sworn that there was a triumphant ‘got ya’ type of grin on the cow’s face. Then she spotted the elevator and pressed the button .But the moment the doors of the elevator opened, in rushed the cow, before Renu could react. As she gasped in horror, the doors slowly closed, with cow inside.

Even before Renu could recover from the shock and collect her wits about her, she saw a fat,silk sari clad woman approaching , obviously to the elevator. The sari was rich red in color.

The silk mami looked haughtily at the Renu. Her nose crinkled in contempt at the maxi clad Renu.This woman, who was probably on the way to a wedding was quite obviously pleased with her own rich appearance.

When Renu,still speechless in shock, tried to block her way, Silk sari asked impatiently, “What do you want?”

“k..kkk…kkkk!” said Renu, helplessly. “What do you mean, “kkkkkkk…. Now move out of my way!” said mami and pushed the button.

“Cow!” roared Renu finally and just had time to see Silk sari’s face which had reddened on being addressed as cow. But Renu, who knew what was coming , didn’t stay back for any more explanations. She fled from the scene, to avoid scenes of blood and gore and having taken shelter in her flat, watched the proceedings from a safe position.

“Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!……..” shouted a now familiar voice as the silk sari lady ran at jet speed, past Renu’s flat, her precious sari now hitched up very unladylike. The cow, which had suffered the additional ignominy of being shut up in a mini chamber, was now in a very bad mood indeed.

But Renu couldn’t help admiring the fat lady. If Renu’s flat feet were fleet footed, so were Mami’s fat feet. She ran up and down the corridor, screaming at the top of her voice. The priests, who had just finished driving away the spirits were appalled that one was probably missed. Silk sari , however was giving the cow a run for its money and would probably have won all the rounds, but alas! She slipped and fell over some cow dung in the corridor. As she got up trying to salvage her pride and her precious sari, the owners of the apartment where the function was going on, came running to her rescue.

All ended well like in Holly and Bolly wood movies. The militant cow was whisked away, after its hurt feelings were assuaged. Silk sari mami,who had missed her wedding feast was invited to lunch by the house warmers ,(after washing and changing, of course). Renu got herself a new friend that day.