All the thinking it takes… to feel ‘Happy’


Sometime back I had posted some of my general thoughts on Happiness and am now sharing a video of Daniel Kahneman, eminent psycologist and Nobel laureate, that shows some serious study on the effect of remembering self and experiencing self on happiness… and well by the end of it, it also breaks the long-sold notion that ‘Money can’t buy happiness’ because the result that came out of a Gallup survey, discussed in the video, proves that money (income) does actually buy happiness and lack of money (income) can possibly make one feel miserable… hmm, most of us will very well agree to that, won’t we? ūüėČ

Daniel Kahneman has a well-acclaimed book, “Choices, Values and Frames” to his credit which he has co-edited with the late Amos Tversky. I haven’t read the book but from the summary and reviews read about it, it seems he shares the example of patients undergoing colonoscopy from his book in this video.

So, enjoy the video… you may find the talk interesting and have your own thoughts on agreeing or disagreeing with his theory

Book review of ‘Nine Lives – In Search of the Sacred in Modern India’


I stumbled upon a book review for this book while generally browsing for some good books to read next. I ain’t a religious person or a staunch believer of any faith but the review and summary about the book made me curious to know about lives of different people following their chosen faiths… ¬†and that’s exactly what the book also helped with – exploring and narrating lives of different followers of different faiths.

Though India is often spoken of as a country emerging into one of the world’s super-powers in future, it still gets reflected with pictures of snake-charmers and ash-smeared sadhus and brahmins bathing in the ganges. India’s rich heritage of encompassing and supporting numerous religious faiths and traditions has somehow become its inherent characteristic that now uniquely delineates this country. I assume this particular characteristic of India might have interested the¬†author-historian-critic-journalist, William Dalrymple, to explore it further and learn lives of different people to an extent that I’m sure, many Indians themselves don’t have good knowledge of… I was born in a Jain family and yet wasn’t aware of the concept of¬†sallekhana, described in the story The Nun’s Tale, leave aside having deeper knowledge or awareness about the rest of the faiths.

The book doesn’t educate us about the different faiths of India but is an attempt to describe nine different lives, what has influenced and keeps influencing them, what holds them in the faith ¬†they believe and follow and how is it for them to lead the life they have chosen to live, in an interesting and a completely non-judgmental approach. On one hand, we learn about a nun whose faith has taught her to follow complete non-violence while on the other hand, we learn about faiths of the Tantrics at Tarapith that, according to them, demand animal sacrifices… we learn how some faiths help individuals reach their Gods by the path of song and dance… and we learn how for one it is renunciation and celibacy that builts the path towards salvation while for another it’s either dedicating oneself as a devadasi or believing that practicing ritual¬†sex will get them closer to their Gods.

In this non-fiction narrative, each of these lives have been dealt and narrated, as much as possible, from first-hand accounts – by allowing the selected nine individuals tell their own story and experiences. The author, at the same time, has remained connected to the readers by describing his journey and experiences while he meets these individuals. The writing of this travel-writer is beautiful, descriptive, detailed and engrossing to the point that it gives immense space to the reader to delve into each of the nine lives and reason, judge or think with his / her own sensibilities, as the author’s writing has remained guileless and non-judgmental through-out.

The nine lives that the book captures are of Р(1.) a jain nun who describes her life with her best friend and how her loss affects her and defines her journey further; (2.) a theyyam dancer who leads a twin life of a dancer and a prison warder; (3.) the tale of Rani bai, a devadasi, who was reluctant to initially become a sex-worker but later dedicates her own daughters to become devadasis; (4.) the Bhopa of Pabusar who makes a living by singing epics of his God Pabu; (5.) a Sufi follower who has immersed herself in the devotion of Lal Shahbaz Qalander; (6.) a Buddhist monk who is ideally a believer of non-violence and love but had to fight and shed blood for the sake of his dharma; (7.) a maker of idols of different Gods who is disturbed by the fact that his centuries-old respectable family profession may soon vanish; (8.) a lady tantric who is a believer of Goddess Tara and (9.) a blind Baul and his friend, also a Baul, both who initially led different lives but attraction towards the same faith bound them together eventually.

All stories are full of passion, religious fervour and experiences, wonderfully put together in such a way that next time if we happen to come across a follower of any religious faith, we perhaps may not immediately judge or misrepresent their appearance or lifestyle or faith but try to analyse what could have led them to lead the life they lead today.

I would rate the book 4/5 and recommend it to all those who consider themselves curious enough to learn about different faiths followed in India and nine lives influenced by them.

List of Toll Free Numbers in India


Airlines

Indian Airlines – 1800 180 1407

Jet Airways – 1800 22 5522

SpiceJet – 1800 180 3333

Air India — 1800 22 7722

KingFisher – 1800 180 0101

Banks

ABN AMRO – 1800 11 2224

Canara Bank – 1800 44 6000

Citibank – 1800 44 2265

Corporatin Bank – 1800 443 555

Development Credit Bank – 1800 22 5769

HDFC Bank – 1800 227 227

ICICI Bank – 1800 333 499

ICICI Bank NRI – 1800 22 4848

IDBI Bank – 1800 11 6999

Indian Bank – 1800 425 1400

ING Vysya – 1800 44 9900

Kotak Mahindra Bank – 1800 22 6022

Lord Krishna Bank – 1800 11 2300

Punjab National Bank – 1800 122 222

State Bank of India – 1800 44 1955

Syndicate Bank – 1800 44 6655

Automobiles

Mahindra Scorpio – 1800 22 6006

Maruti – 1800 111 515

Tata Motors – 1800 22 5552

Windshield Experts – 1800 11 3636

Computers/IT

Adrenalin – 1800 444 445

AMD – 1800 425 6664

Apple Computers – 1800 444 683

Canon – 1800 333 366

Cisco Systems – 1800 221 777

Compaq – HP – 1800 444 999

Data One Broadband – 1800 424 1800

Dell – 1800 444 026

Epson – 1800 44 0011

eSys – 3970 0011

Genesis Tally Academy – 1800 444 888

HCL – 1800 180 8080

IBM – 1800 443 333

Lexmark – 1800 22 4477

Marshal’s Point – 1800 33 4488

Microsoft – 1800 111 100

Microsoft Virus Update – 1901 333 334

Seagate – 1800 180 1104

Symantec – 1800 44 5533

TVS Electronics – 1800 444 566

WeP Peripherals – 1800 44 6446

Wipro – 1800 333 312

Xerox – 1800 180 1225

Zenith – 1800 222 004

Indian Railway General Enquiry       131

Indian Railway Central Enquiry     131

Indian Railway Reservation     131

Indian Railway Railway Reservation Enquiry     1345,1335,1330

Indian Railway Centralised Railway Enquiry     1330/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

Couriers/Packers & Movers

ABT Courier – 1800 44 8585

AFL Wizz – 1800 22 9696

Agarwal Packers & Movers – 1800 11 4321

Associated Packers P Ltd – 1800 21 4560

DHL – 1800 111 345

FedEx – 1800 22 6161

Goel Packers & Movers – 1800 11 3456

UPS – 1800 22 7171

Home Appliances

Aiwa/Sony – 1800 11 1188

Anchor Switches – 1800 22 7979

Blue Star – 1800 22 2200

Bose Audio – 1800 11 2673

Bru Coffee Vending Machines – 1800 44 7171

Daikin Air Conditioners – 1800 444 222

DishTV – 1800 12 3474

Faber Chimneys – 1800 21 4595

Godrej – 1800 22 5511

Grundfos Pumps – 1800 33 4555

LG – 1901 180 9999

Philips – 1800 22 4422

Samsung – 1800 113 444

Sanyo – 1800 11 0101

Voltas – 1800 33 4546

WorldSpace Satellite Radio – 1800 44 5432

Investments/ Finance

CAMS – 1800 44 2267

Chola Mutual Fund – 1800 22 2300

Easy IPO’s – 3030 5757

Fidelity Investments – 1800 180 8000

Franklin Templeton Fund – 1800 425 4255

J M Morgan Stanley – 1800 22 0004

Kotak Mutual Fund – 1800 222 626

LIC Housing Finance – 1800 44 0005

SBI Mutual Fund – 1800 22 3040

Sharekhan – 1800 22 7500

Tata Mutual Fund – 1800 22 0101

Travel

Club Mahindra Holidays – 1800 33 4539

Cox & Kings – 1800 22 1235

God TV Tours – 1800 442 777

Kerala Tourism – 1800 444 747

Kumarakom Lake Resort – 1800 44 5030

Raj Travels & Tours – 1800 22 9900

Sita Tours – 1800 111 911

SOTC Tours – 1800 22 3344

Healthcare

Best on Health – 1800 11 8899

Dr Batras – 1800 11 6767

GlaxoSmithKline – 1800 22 8797

Johnson & Johnson – 1800 22 8111

Kaya Skin Clinic – 1800 209 5292

LifeCell – 1800 44 5323

Manmar Technologies – 1800 33 4420

Pfizer – 1800 442 442

Roche Accu-Chek – 1800 11 45 46

Rudraksha – 1800 21 4708

Varilux Lenses – 1800 44 8383

VLCC – 1800 33 1262

Insurance

AMP Sanmar – 1800 44 2200

Aviva – 1800 33 2244

Bajaj Allianz – 1800 22 5858

Chola MS General Insurance – 1800 44 5544

HDFC Standard Life – 1800 227 227

LIC – 1800 33 4433

Max New York Life – 1800 33 5577

Royal Sundaram – 1800 33 8899

SBI Life Insurance – 1800 22 9090

Hotel Reservations

GRT Grand – 1800 44 5500

InterContinental Hotels Group – 1800 111 000

Marriott – 1800 22 0044

Sarovar Park Plaza – 1800 111 222

Taj Holidays – 1800 111 825

Teleshopping

Asian Sky Shop – 1800 22 1800

Jaipan Teleshoppe – 1800 11 5225

Tele Brands – 1800 11 8000

VMI Teleshopping – 1800 447 777

WWS Teleshopping – 1800 220 777

Others

Domino’s Pizza – 1800 111 123

Cell Phones

BenQ – 1800 22 08 08

Bird CellPhones – 1800 11 7700

Motorola MotoAssist – 1800 11 1211

Nokia – 3030 3838

Sony Ericsson – 3901 1111

Book review of ‘The Immortals of Meluha’


The first among Shiva's Trilogy

Shiva, the Trimurti,… the Neelkanth,… The Auspicious One – has been worshipped in our country and beyond, since ages as the primal creator of life, mainly in the form of the linga. The book, ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ – the first among the trilogy by Amish Tripathi, very cleverly and fascinatingly brings this Lord of Dance to life.

Most Indians, especially Hindus, have come across several stories of Shiva’s life that usually depict him as God, right from the beginning, while with this book Amish Tripathi brings across a concept that presents Shiva as a normal being – a¬†short-tempered yet sensible, pot-smoking yet balanced, skilled warrior, who eventually emerges as an admired legend,… as God, by virtue of his deeds. In his words, “the Shiva Trilogy interprets the rich mythological heritage of ancient India, blending fiction with historical fact”.

The events and situations in the book may have been referred from the long known myths, yet it’s a waste of time to actually start linking this story to the mythologies told, to figure what’s right and what’s wrong. The story is fresh with a well-crafted amalgamation of almost all emotions like love, respect, trust, friendship, hatred, animosity, etc. and to top it all, an easy and thoroughly enjoyable read. What attracts you first is its intriguing book cover and then what hooks you on is an interesting and gripping narration of Shiva’s life and adventures, making the book a quick page-turner.

The book takes you into Shiva’s world and his journey of life that comprises of interesting revelations and turning points that – feature Nandi, the bull in human form, bring across the use and effect of Somras, depict an unpredictable persona of Parvati and tell us – about the invention of Trishul, how Shiva got the title ‘The Nataraja’ ¬†and how the cry “Har Har Mahadev” gets initiated.

At every point of reading the book, you end up living the adventures described and simply want to know more. I suggest this book as a must-read to all and it’s not a bad bet at Rs 295/-

Eagerly waiting for the other two books of the trilogy – ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ and ‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’.

My rating: 5/5