ABCs of Ps and Qs

“Mind your manners”, I grew up being taught,
You will be liked, your company sought.
Say “Sorry”, “Pardon” and all your “Thank you”s,
“May I?”, “Excuse Me” … watch those Ps and Qs.

Be courteous, be patient, and always polite,
Don’t ever be loud, be gentle and quiet.
Do hold the door for those walking behind you,
And never, oh never, jump your place in a queue.

I listened, I learned and I did believe
“Manners make the person”… it’s the way to live.

Yes. The world is full of courteous people, I see
Manners are very important, they all agree.
There are the “Sorry”s, the “May I”s and so many “Excuse Me”s,
Out pop the “Thank you”s, as pretty as you please.

But hey! what’s this? what am I missing?
Manners are just words, just a way of speaking?
So often a gap in what people say and they feel,
What they do, and they don’t… a different sentiment reveal.

So hard the gratitude, yet so prompt the “Thank You”.
A polite “excuse me”, even as they trample over you!
No real warmth, beneath many a smile
So many sweet words, underlined by guile.

Manners are nice, but oh let’s not bother
If we can’t find it in us to really care about another.
Words are just words, manners an empty shell
What we think… we feel… we do, does the true story tell.

“Mind your manners” I was taught, and yet now find
What we should’ve been taught was “mind your mind”,
“Mind what you think”, and do “mind your heart”
Lest caring for people become a lost art.

– Madhuri


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In the rearview mirror…

It is strange don’t you think – God seems to have physically designed us to move forward, not look back.

Our eyes face forward, our head doesn’t turn fully around, our legs and feet are hinged to move ahead – we cannot really look back, walk or run backwards without turning our back on what lies ahead. At best we can take a quick look over our shoulders, take a few unbalanced steps backwards.

And yet old times tug at our thoughts from behind. Peripheral vision gives us tantalizing glimpses of what lies at our back, just beyond our sight. Our heart yearns to pause a while, to stay with times that were happy, to hold on to a part of the past that we loved and do not want to walk away from.

The future beckons with promise. Even as the past tugs at emotion and resolution.

Life is such an irony…


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I am just coming back from the July 4th Independence Day break. And it was a lovely day.

A lovely day around a lovely thing… I love the very feel of the word Independence – freedom to do, to be. Surely the foundation of all happiness.

But then, I close my eyes and try to think of all that makes me happy— and the first things which strike me are all those which are vulnerable in dependence… strong in dependence; the first things are connections on which the core of my happiness depends… faith and affection, belief and support I revel in being dependent on.

Have we over extended the concept? … independence for the individual, freedom and space… a wonderful thing for sure — as long as we see where the wonderful stops. Because we don’t seem to be able to so easily…

We move towards smaller and smaller orbits… with our nuclear families, with our increasing comfort in digital relationships. We have a hundred friends on our Facebook wall – and so few that are a part of our day. We form connects and networks… forget how to form friendships. We are comfortable in depending on invisible “clouds”, yet increasingly uncomfortable in depending on, in trusting people.

I live in this culture of the ultimate freedom for the individual. Where you move out out of your parents house because you are an adult and should live alone; and then keep cats and dogs and all kinds of pets because it is so lonely to live alone. Where marrying for love is the norm – arranged marriages so absurd; but the love last just long enough to create a soaring rate of divorce. Where people smile and talk to strangers on the road every day, yet have to create family holidays to meet and talk to their family. Where it is all about the individual, and yet so blind to what makes a complete individual…

Let us be independent enough to enjoy all the great opportunities it offers. Let us be be global and connected and networked… enjoy the diversity of cultures and human beings in an increasingly flat world.

But never too independent… never too adult… to indulge in the sheer joy, the enduring strength of the human connections we are able to create.

May we be blessed always with the vulnerability of dependence.

Celebrate In-dependence!

– Madhuri


“The best thing to hold on to in life is each other” – Audrey Hepburn

(Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, 2012)

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Amber… “alert” adds your mind.

The “amber” of traffic signals or homeland security. Or maybe like me, you too live in a world where amber is used on dashboards and reports… a sign that things are not quite right – watch out!

… and thus like so many other things, we have taken something absolutely beautiful and converted it to the commonplace – to the “to be avoided” in this case :-)

Amber is such an extraordinary thing – a semi precious gem, crafted into beautiful jewelry and artifacts. And yet it is not just a gem or a stone…

It was once living matter, pulsing with life. The resin from trees that even as it hardened and turned into this gilded jewel like substance, still hid light and life in its depths. It often holds within it, perfectly preserved and contained for all time, evidences of life in another time – insects, small animals, bits of plants. And that’s what makes amber so amazing, so splendidly beautiful. It encompasses parts of a story from long ago …. parts which if pieced together help us see and understand much more of that story – a window to the past.

Isn’t that what our relationships are like? Like amber in which a thousand precious and subtle thoughts have been safely embedded and preserved. The most beautiful and precious part of our life; containing so many hidden depths, so much light and brightness. They contain parts of our story — each one encapsulates some facet of our personality, events and incidents, our beliefs and axioms, the things that move us – our deepest thoughts and feeling. No biography could tell our story more faithfully than that contained in our close relationships. We live in the people who know us, love us… our story gets passed on through them to so many others, we become part of their story. Amber? !!

The best of our relationships are electrifying…full of potential and energy… yet warm and comforting. Still another aspect of amber! The Greek word for amber is “electron” — it’s from amber that we derive the word electricity. Ancient Greeks first discovered that amber had another intriguing property — when polished it could attract objects, it could even emit sparks. It was believed to contain energy within it — which is why it attracted objects, felt warm to the touch. In India, amber is worn to pacify the mind and keep you balanced.

Amber – such a fabulous thing… holds a wealth of meaning and stories. It is magical.

A pity that we have reduced it to a level where we link it automatically to alerts… to danger.

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Reflecting on Reflection

It was the evening of a very rainy day. Heavy clouds, left behind from the day’s rains, clustered around the Empire State building, glowed with and reflected the light from it onto the river below — water and sky resplendent in an ethereal milky white light.

All from the absorbed and reflected glory of a single brightly lit building.


I had been in team sessions all week and had been reflecting about the fabric of a team.

Teams cluster around “well lit” up leaders too, don’t they? The culture and behaviors they exhibit, the absorbed and reflected glow of the light from the leader.

The beauty of the picture all about the light…

The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by – Felix Adler

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Har pal, har din
Har saans, har ek palchin.

Har nazar kuch besabar,
Har baat se kuch bekhabar.

Har waqt mann pe sawaar,
Ek khumaar, ek intezaar.

Ek lehar, ek taal,
Madhmast ye chaal.

Ek kashish, ek aahat,
Ek junoon, ek chaahat.

Har pal, har din
Har saans, har ek palchin.

– Madhuri


“Hopes are the dreams of a soul awake”- French Proverb

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One person’s journey…

He steps up to the speaker’s stand, looks out at the crowd…
There – some friends cheering hard; there – family beaming proud,
There – a kindly smile; there – an envious stare…
Closes eyes, stills his heart; under his breath, a silent prayer.
Sounds from now fade away; sights for the moment unseen
Mind winging back – over the years, the journey that has been.

Days of struggle… late into the night
Lists, plans, tasks… a lonely circle of light.
The goal afar, the path so long
Would he get there, would he go wrong?

His mother’s bangles on a jeweler’s counter
Money… sentiment… a moment’s falter.
So much given for each step won,
Some remembered, some forcefully forgotten.

The things he did, the people he met,
The days he laughed and the moments he wept.
Memories of joy, and some of deepest despair,
He had lived through both with a defiant flair.

Now here he was, things turned about
“I did it! I did it!”, his mind cries out.
His heart still full… memories tug
He shakes them off, with a cheerful shrug.
It is time to celebrate all that has been,
Look forward to new paths… dreams yet unseen.

– Madhuri


“There are thousands of lives in one single life.”- Prajnanapada

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We can never purport to completely understand another’s circumstances, his reasons, what drives him, his dreams… not unless we have walked some of his path with him, stood on the island he is on, sat in the boat he is sitting in… and often times, not even then.

We can only make allowances for differences in perspective, in priorities, in views. They don’t have to match our own – they add more to us in their very difference.

The difficulty of course, is in making those very allowances… our own perspective tends to overlay itself so strongly on all we see :-)

We like the people who make room for our perspective, those who are able to accept and respect it.

And then there are those who understand our perspective, maybe even find a match with their own in some of it – the “me too!” moment… yes, our friends.

The truly blessed though – the wise – are those who are able to accept, learn from and assimilate many differing perspectives; and paint a common picture. They are able to craft a path that fits each of these perspectives – suits each, preserves the unique beauty of each perspective – and yet brings them together. They become the guides, the mentors… the leaders of men.

Perspective – what we are, is what we see…
what we see and how much we are willing to see, impacts all that we can be…
our choices, our experiences, all that our life holds.

Just perspective…


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A pause for thought…

What if it was not about the ending, the goal, the achievements?
What if it was not even about the road, the journey?
What if it was just about the moment, the experience…
– about what we feel
– about what we give and receive
– about joy and laughter and tears
– about passion and emotion
– about generosity
– about kindness
– about faith
– about peace
– about love

Read this blog posting today. Loved the perspective it presented What if we put experience ahead of success? ->; “Does every story need a Moral? Is success always relative?”. Sharing. .

What if we made a bench mark only a place to pause, to think, to experience…

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Just SoMe fun

A golden morning, a river bright
Sparkling waters…lovely sight.
The day ahead…much to do
To see, to feel…share some with you.

A laugh, a talk, a silly fight
A pout, a sulk, brood a while,
A ping, a ding, a wicked nudge,
Countless chuckles… a constant smile.

Where’s my phone… say a hi,
We’ll talk some more, as the day goes by.
Oh what’s this? Whatsapp down?
What a day!… an angry frown.

Not to worry, there’s still Facebook
Let me quickly give that a look.
Old friends and new… a thought away,
All are now a part of my day.

It’s a working day… 15 long years its been!
Met so many people… some of that list on LinkedIn.
Connects and friends – so many views…
Some personal messages… some just news.

Messages of varied nature and size
140 characters – Twitter to be precise!
Friends again… and a few out-of-the-way
Amitabh’s tweets can add color to my day!

But my every thought is not quite so concise
I yearn for freedom from space and size.
My blog gives me those, and more beside
My mind connects with the world outside.

My interests not exhausted… there’s still more
Social media has many wonders in store.
Flickr, Google, Foursquare, Pinterest…
So many choices… whichever is the best?!

Which should I use… ignore which one?
Will I be missing some of the fun?
The list grows longer with each passing day,
A new one tomorrow will be coming our way.

Oh there are plenty to warn, to advice and caution
“Social media is a risky option!
Security and danger… you should beware
It’s a jungle out there… think before you share”.

All I can think of is the old adage
“We are all players and the world’s a stage”
We are standing apart and yet connected be,
6 degrees of separation between anybody and me.

And now I find that the degrees need not be six
I can reduce the number… the distances fix.
If life is about people and connections we make
Ignoring social media would be such a mistake!

“The world grows flatter”, says a friend
It is now connected end to end
Limits of distance and time quickly disappear
The time to be social is now and here…


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