The Bhagavad Gita talks of the capacity we have to take joy and loss equally. But we find happiness only in one, not the other. Profit, victory, success are pleasure. Loss is not. Loss is deprivation. It is to be looked down on; to be avoided at all costs. It is a sign of failure. It is considered a tragedy. A sportsman losing his gold or a lover losing his beloved is used with great dramatic and emotional effect. Yet there is a satisfaction which can be experienced in loss. Melancholy is not altogether negative. It can be dignified and can demonstrate character. Wordsworth calls it ‘majestic pain’, such that the immortals feel...

You might wonder, how can one experience satisfaction in loss? It seems counter-intuitive to think that in loss there can be peace. But there can be peace in loss. Because in that situation there exists something other than the result: it is the action. Deep satisfaction can arise from having done the best one could possibly do.

Swami Parthasarathy talks of the joy of action well-accomplished. To strive, to struggle, and to not succeed must be your motto, he says. This seems a bit strange. What use is struggle if it doesn’t result in success? Results are not under our control. Just because you did your best doesn’t mean you get the reward. There is no such law. If this is so, why would one work? Because, even though results are
never guaranteed, satisfaction can be! You can be entirely content by doing your action perfectly. The pain of loss will be offset with the bliss of satisfaction with oneself. If you have left no stone unturned, done all you could possibly do and yet failed, there is still a great feeling of satisfaction within. The action itself brings satisfaction. There lies the importance of dedication in work. That you worked hard and gave what you could makes you strong enough to bear the loss, if any. The peace continues despite the loss. The pain will not be accompanied by sleepless nights. Sorrow will not give rise to agitation. That much can be guaranteed in a world of very few guarantees.

Satisfaction in loss can be experienced in yet another way. When one knows, finally, that nothing can be done, craving ends and you experience peace. The result has come in, the suspense is at an end and nothing remains to be done. You have done what you could. The mind is at rest.
This of course is not to be misconstrued as the martyrdom of self-pity usually demanding others’ pity too! It is not about wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve and using one’s misfortunes as a talking point, or enjoying one’s pain. It is not a game to be played to avoid effort. It is not complacency with the less-thanperfect. It is simply finding happiness which is within our control instead of depending on factors over which we have no control. It is a peace that comes, spontaneously, out of a job well done.

There is tremendous power in action. “May you live a hundred years working,” says the Isavasya Upanishad. Action brings about satisfaction, prosperity and purifies the personality. Then losses and gains become insignificant. And happiness becomes consistent. That’s why it is said that to be a loser’ is not all that terrible – in fact it could do you good.

Janaki Santoke

This appeared in The Speaking Tree in TOI
This is the month of Love. Most of my fellow bloggers have written a couple of posts on "Love". My post called What is love? earlier this month, talked about Love in general. I didn't touch upon too much on the details of love. A fellow blogger with whom I share an uncanny resemblance in terms of thought talks a lot about the entire emotion of love in depth in her blog through stories and poems. Yet another fellow blogger blogged about true love in her recent post.

I have never really been able to say what love is really. I know its a beautiful experience and a very strong emotion. I am probably at a stage in life where I cannot really pin-point and say this is love. All through the years I've seen and heard many stories revolving around love. Many people have done many good and bad things when in love. Well it cannot be justified who is right or wrong but as they say all's fair in love and war! One question I often ask myself is does true love really exist? My attempt in this post is to bring together a couple of incidents of how love has changed people in many ways. And these form the basis of my take on Love.

Their's was a love marriage. He was a successful top notch guy in a big firm. She quit her high flying career as an air hostess to give birth to their two beautiful children. Slowly motherhood started taking a priority and she gave it her all to be a good mother, wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, & sister. In the interim, he found solace in a new secretary who joined him. How it happened, why it happened, are questions I will try to answer some other time, however, now the reality was, he was all for this "new woman". The new woman claimed she loved him, he claimed he loved her. Maybe true, maybe she used him just as a stepping stone for her success in life. The wife in the meanwhile after confirming her doubts
confronted her husband. He said, she lacked the "punch" and the "perspective" the "new woman" had. The wife now went on a journey of self doubt, anger, frustration, guilt, devastation. She cried a lot and then decided to transform herself. She now took out some time for herself and groomed herself better. She found herself a good job which brought back her confidence. She joined a gym and lost oodles of weight. Today, she has a 6 digit salary, designer clothes, and an anorexic body. He claims he loves her now. Is this true love? Was the man right, leaving her for another woman because she didn't carry the right attitude to stand next to him? Or was she right, when she decided to transform herself for a man who gave in to another carrot?

She was just out of college and this was her first job. As all girls of her age, she developed a crush on her boss. He was charming, young, dashing, drew a good salary, and he noticed her! She did her work diligently so that she could earn a brownie point from him. He made sure he gave her more work so as to make her come back to him again and again. They fell in love eventually. Things were great for a few months, until one day they got caught by his wife. He was in a fix. He loved the girl and he couldn't leave his wife. He told her that he would get divorced and get married to her but he needed some time. Over the next few months, things started to look different. He was spending less time with her and more time with the family. She understood, thinking that after the divorce he would not be able to spend quality time with the children. She went with the flow only to realize much later that he went back to his wife. She felt cheated and devastated. Wasn't it selfish on his part to leave his wife and go for her in the first place? Or wasn't it selfish on her part to continue the relationship even when she knew he was married?

Another married girl fell in love with a married man. They both were madly and passionately in love with each other. They both prioritized the current relationship as the most important thing for them. Slowly time came to chose between family & kids and the existing relationship. The girl chose to give up everything she built over the years for this one person. The man was in dilemma and decided to take some time to take the decision. He didn't want to rock the boat. To him it was about maintaining the balance of both the boats. She didn't agree. She said if she can make him the priority, why can't he? But he wanted the best of both the worlds. They contemplated on the decision for many months and finally gave up on their relationship. Was she a fool to leave her family for him? Wasn't he too self obsessed or too selfish to demand the best of everything?

This brings me back to my question, does true love really exist? In all the above cases, all the characters were in love. They wanted to move to the next level, however, for some reason, they couldn't. Lets just dwell upon this thought for a little while. In the true sense, everybody was willing to give up the love for something else thinking that the new life would be greener for them. So you see, its about themselves. WIIFM (What's In It For Me)! The moment, I get something better, I'd conveniently move there. Now this looks greener and the other side of the fence looks like a dessert. Its a matter of convenience really. As human beings, our survival instincts tells us to do what is the best for us at any situation, even if we have to lose someone in the bargain. Here I would safely call all of us extremely selfish.

But I thought love was selfless? Wasn't it about giving your all, heart and soul? Wasn't it about going that extra mile in the relationship? Prioritizing that one person, even if it means you have to let go of a Mr or Miss Universe?

In the true love that you shower, there is selfishness because in your giving, lies your taking!!!
Love Her...when she sips on your coffee or drink. She only wants to make sure it tastes just right for U

Love Her...when she is jealous. Out of all the men she can have, she chose U

Love Her...when she has annoying little habits that drives you nuts. U have them too

Love Her...when her cooking is bad. She tries for U

Love Her...when she makes you watch corny love dramas while the sport is on. She wants to share these moments with U

Love Her...when she spends hours to get ready. She only wants to look her best for U

Love Her...when she buys you gifts you don't like. She puts in all her savings for U

Love Her...when often her eyes water suddenly. She actually had a thought of loosing U

Take time to make her feel special in every way you can and even if you don't, SHE'LL LOVE YOU ANYWAY, because its never been about her, its always all about U!!!

This came as a text message from a dear cousin.
Someone has written these beautiful words. Must read and try to understand the deep meaning of it. They are like the ten commandments to follow in life all the time.

1] Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.

2] So a Car's WINDSHIELD is so large & the Rear view Mirror is so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, Look Ahead and Move on.

3] Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

4] All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don't worry, they can't last long either.

5] Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

6] Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!

7] When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: "Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?" He replied: "Yes, losing your vision!"

9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10] WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES, it takes away today's PEACE.
She opened her eyes and saw Ma standing near the door talking to a few people. There was a lot of crowd. She saw some familiar faces, and some unfamiliar ones. She started feeling a kind of ecstasy inside her. She knew she had just 12 minutes with her. Her brain was going through a sudden transformation inducing memory flashes. She felt like she was in a dreamland reliving old memories.
It was my 12th birthday that day. I wore the red polka dotted dress that mom bought for me. I got ready, waiting for my friends to turn up for the party. The dining table was set and my father was going to bring the cake on his way back home. It was 6.30 pm and my friends started coming in. All looking pretty and colorful. Mom had planned for some games and everybody got involved and lost count of time. It was 8.30 pm and dad still didn't turn up. Mom kept on trying on his cellphone, but there was no response. The door bell rang, and mom rushed to open the door. I was shocked to see the police, and a little later I heard mom screaming and crying aloud. I couldn't understand why, but later realized that Baba met with a tragic road accident and died on the spot. I stood there clueless.
Her fathers face stood in front of her eyes. She cried and said, "I miss you Baba". Her eyes were closing. She felt drained out. She looked around the room and saw Piu standing in the corner and crying. With her hands she asked Piu to come sit next to her. She looked at Piu and smiled, hiding her pain.
Piu and me have been friends for 20 years. Time just flies. I remember the first day in KG-I, I sat next to Piu and ever since, we've always been together in times of highs and lows. She is such a strong girl, slightly plump, but very pretty. Her curly hair is her best feature, don't know why she wants to straighten them. She handled her breakup with Arindam so well. I'm proud to have friend like her.
Her head was hurting. She closed
her eyes for a moment.
Ma, will be not be able to bear all this. I was the only one that she lived for. Ma has been my inspiration all through my growing years. How will she manage everything? No she will, she is so strong. I wish I could become like her one day. I'll miss mom's food though, she is a wonderful cook. She has so much patience and eye for detail for everything.
She saw her mother's beautiful face and tears rolled down her eyes. She wanted to capture her face in her heart forever.

I should not have gone to the bank today. I had no clue what was in store for me. All I wanted to do was withdraw some money. I don't know from where that guy came. I thought he just wanted my money, but he was actually running away from the police. He caught me by the neck and pointed a sharp knife on my throat. He said he won't harm me if I cooperated with him. I did. I told the police to let him go. They didn't listen. They started coming towards us. I told the guy, to run away. He said he won't because the police will shoot him. I begged the police to let him go, they didn't listen. They said they would make sure nothing happened to me. I thought they really would. But the guy slit my throat. I didn't realize what happened until I saw a stream of blood flowing down my dress. I collapsed. I don't know what happened after that.
She lay on the bed with her body tilted to the left. She started feeling a sudden loss of sensation in her body. She felt like she was slowly falling into a black hole. Ma was sitting next to her. "How you feeling Shompa?". Shompa just nodded her head with a brave smile.

She gazed at her mother. A part of her wanted to get up and hug her. She tried too, but she felt very weak. She wanted to say so many things she had never said. She wanted to thank her for all that she had done to bring her up. She took Piu's hand and kept in on her mother's hand and pressed it hard with all her strength. Piu will always be there for Ma.

She felt a little dizzy. Her eyes felt very tired as though she hadn't slept for days. Darkness started surrounding her. She felt like she was leaving her body and moving into a peaceful world. She heard her mother crying and she couldn't bear it.

Her mom's cries became fainter and fainter until all she could hear was silence.

Shompa moved on!
"Can I get you a drink" asked a voice. She turned around to see who it was. It was Him, tall, dark and quite handsome. He was 45+ wearing a grey suit. He had salt and pepper hair, which infact, suited him a lot. A cool watch and nice shoes. "Yes, thanks! Some vodka with lime juice and ice would do just fine" she said.

The National Leadership Institute was conducting a Leadership Development Program once a year. Nominations were invited from top MNCs and Banks. Participants belonged to the senior leadership teams and the objective of the training program was to enhance skills and share industry best practices. The 3-day program always ended with a cocktail party at a 5-star hotel. The party was almost midway. She looked around, some nibbled on starters, some had drinks in their hands. "Here. Would you like some starters", he asked handing over the drink to her. "No, I'm fine. Shall we sit here?", she asked. They both settled down on a table near the wall. The view was great. A beautiful lake in front, and the street lights adorning the road.

The 3-day training program had made them quite comfortable with each other. During the training program, they were put in the same team to present their point of view. They shared the same working table, drew, colored, and discussed points. They chatted for a long time over the drink, finished their dinner and then it was time to leave. They exchanged numbers and said they'll stay in touch.

Back in Chennai the next morning, she had thought the 3-day training would be a nice break from the hectic and monotonous lifestyle she led. However, the training turned out more strenuous with very little sleep. The bed in the hotel was too stiff, she thought
. "Ma, you are back! I'm so happy to see you. I missed you...Muah!" said her 5 year old son. "I missed you too" she said, giving him a tight hug and a big kiss on the forehead.

Life was the same. Office-meetings-home-homework. This was her life for the last 5 years. She was a 35+ single mom, managing finances and responsibilities alone. After her divorce, she didn't want to be a burden on her parents. Though they helped her through her pregnancy, and contributed significantly in bringing up her child, she was very clear that she wanted to be financially independent. Divorce had left her lost and confused about what she wanted in life. She was emotionally turmoiled. She lost confidence in herself and her abilities. She had very few friends and she always avoided getting emotionally involved with anyone. It was her parents and some good friends, who gave her immense strength and saw her through those difficult moments.

The phone beeped aloud "New text message received". She checked her inbox to find a message from him, "I'm in your city, can we meet today at 7 pm?" She quickly gathered her thoughts and replied back "Yes".

One meeting after the other, they came close. She gave in to her resistance for him. She had fallen for him. He too had fallen for her. It was very difficult to come out of her insecurities of a broken marriage, but she dared it. She seemed happy and confident. Everything around seemed fresh and alluring. She was getting dragged into his mesmeric personality. She longed for him. His thoughts gave her hope and a feeling she couldn't really understand. She dreamt of him and a future together. Their conversations moved from text messages to late night phone calls. Deep inside she was scared, will her heart break once more? Something inside her was not willing to go all out and make him hers. Everytime she wanted to break free, the thought of her son stopped her.

One day, he popped the question to her. She was startled. She went numb. She couldn't believe her ears. Really? she thought to herself. They discussed at great length of how they could make things work out especially with her son. It almost felt like a dream. Everything was going her way. The stage was set and the date was fixed.

A week before the wedding, she went to his house where his parents lived. They were warm and friendly and had accepted her with her child. The relatives seemed a little pokey. She ignored their glares and remarks hoping that its just a matter of time. One close relative said aloud, "She is a divorcee, she has a kid, she is a socializer, maybe thats why her husband left her. Maybe she doesn't have the character thats expected from an Indian bride". She was appalled by the statement. She looked at him. He looked away. She went up to him and looked straight into his eyes. He looked away. She understood. He didn't have the guts to stand up for what was right. He was just another man who didn't have the balls to shut up people for his girl. He too gave in to the pressure. He was 45+ and still unmarried, did she question that?

Something within her snapped. Her heart broke. Everything came crashing down. It was all over.

She walked out.
Love is in the air...Its the season of love, and spreading love, and everybody in Bollywood is on a patch-up mode. Koffee with Karan endorses that along with the awards seasons where everyone seems to be hugging and pecking on cheeks. Do they mean it really? Well lets just say Bollywood is making an attempt to put all animosities behind and making some smart moves (read quickly encashing friendships with the No.1's). As for us, we are happy with the juicy stuff we get to hear, read and see. I wish we could all be like that in real life..The other day, my FIL refused to go to some function in a relatives house..reason being that relative didn't turn up when there was a function in our house..I was like why do we get into all these issues? Where is the issue anyways? We don't go to so many functions because of time constraints and if were to go by the best traffic standards Bangalore boasts off, then we would reach a function only if we left 2-3 hours prior to the event! Who has the time to deal with such pressures? Don't we have enough at work already??

Coming back to love..(I did digress from what I wanted to say na :)) what is love really? Do I believe in love? Yes and no. I always believed in the fairy tales, how I wished a man would come in a dark horse and sway me off my feet and take me saat samundar paar..but that can happen only in Bollywood. The "perfect guy" list was made umpteen number of times in my life, only to realize much later, there existed none! Not to disown the fact that some were pretty
close to the list, but again the list was more or less incomplete.

Why do you need love anyways? Why do you need that mushy stuff, the coochi-cooing? I mean all that is really melodramatic, and it takes away from you the reality....remember the incomplete list?

So coming back to what is love? Not that I really know, but I think with the experience I've had in my life I can reasonably summarize. Love is about giving your all to that one person. Prioritizing that one person. Everything revolves around that one person. Taking all decisions keeping that person in mind. Caring for just that one person the most, even if it means neglecting the whole world (you'll pay for it later, remember :)). Basically, setting yourself up for doom!!! Hahahaha.....

Honestly, if you can live with that one person with "peace of mind" and retain a "piece of mind", then its worth it! For all those, who have not had either of the two, do not lose hope, you will find our own Bollywood...mere Karan Arjun aayenge....