Posted in Learn How to be Great

Two and Two

Dear Child,

I have a question. What is two and two? I’m sure you know the answer. The answer is not important. What is important is that you know how to put two and two together. What you decide to do with the answer that you have is up to you. It is only as important as you might make of it.

Learning to see behind the veils is an art. Few are born with it. The rest of us, like everything else, we have to acquire it over time. People say things, and they don’t say a lot more. Can you decipher what they want? What they are thinking? What is it they are toiling towards? What are their heart’s desires? So many things. So many veils. So many secrets. So many motives. We don’t know much. But what little we know. The twos and the ones, learn to put them together.

Learn to see the meaning behind the dab of the eyelash, the twitch behind the smile, the laughter behind the tear, the agony behind the happiness, and the hate behind the much shrouded love.

We are no Sherlock Holmes, but behind the creases of the bed linens try to see the sleeplessness which is quite obvious. Behind the melodious light step learn to see a man tied down in chains. Behind the humming, see the despair of the men-folk. There is plenty to see. Much more to observe.

See. Watch. Observe. Learn. So that before the bells toll you know that there is good news.



Posted in Learn How to be Great

There is Always Something to Give Away

You know how we sometimes think that that we do not have much to give away to someone? Like when someone needs a word of advice, we can be miserly and think what can I possibly tell her what to do? Or when someone is looking for sympathy or just a sly shoulder to cry on, we might say to ourselves, damn with self-pity! Why bother consoling? Life is hard enough. So my friend here needs to toughen up for that big bad world out there. No word of consolation is going away from me today, no sir, uh-uh.

Then the best people to practice empathy in routine day are the ones who, un-abashed come to us; crawling, open-palmed, with misery as a mask. I know what we have been taught. These people are ragged, shameless and they have cable TV at home. Their façade is all a scam, a theatrical show, if you please. Excuse me for saying so, but at least I do not possess an X-ray vision that tells me what a person had for breakfast or if he has X-box at home which he bought by being quite a successful beggar on the busy market streets.

So, since I do not have that X-ray vision, and I am certainly not psychic, nor a detective; my job is not to judge either. What I choose to do goes only as far as to what I decide to do. What I decide to do impacts me first and much more than the out-stretched hand that goes with a tear stained face, all deliberately messy with dirt and perhaps even soot. I am my judge and jury. I am the convict and the innocent. My jurisdiction and my realm extends as far as my material body occupies the space in this physical plane.

There is always plenty to give away. Shove your hand deep into that pocket or your bright, ketchup-coloured, red handbag. You are bound to find a hanky, or a word, perhaps even a shoulder or a five rupees coin if you look deep enough. There is always more to give away. You just need an eye that can find what to give and a hand that is willing to part with something of your own.

Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 12: Owning Emotions

Dear Child,

At times we have a hard time nailing down what is bothering us. Is it the weather? Is it that new pair of shoes? Is it an annoying neighbor? Putting a finger on a certain emotion can be difficult especially when so many other emotions hover over the root cause of distress. I’ve learnt a simple crash course in helping you to deal with your emotions.


    Scrap away the debris of emotions; peel away the coatings of camouflage. Look beneath all the mist and the smoke to see what is it that is really bothering you.


    Acknowledge what you feel. After you have successfully dug out the dirt to find the feeling you have, you need to acknowledge it. It is not important that you might like it. But if it was such a trouble to feel what you could not name, therefore it is all the more reason to acknowledge that there is an emotion that you’re feeling.

  3. NAME IT

    Once the root cause of your particular anguish is acknowledged, it is about time that you give a name to it. Name that emotion; resentment, hurt, pain, love, jealousy, complexes, etc. Whatever it is, name that particular emotion. Naming the feeling helps to know what is bothering you and then you can go on to the next step in order to own it.


    In management they teach you that the best way to troubleshoot a problem is to think out of the box. The box, here meaning your mind. So the case is not very different when it comes to feelings. Strip yourself off of all emotions and then watch yourself examine your feelings from two feet away. Like is meditation you let the thoughts drift over you as clouds till the time the mind is empty of thought, similarly, separating your emotions from yourself would help you realize, that on this side is you and two feet away are the emotions you happen to feel.

  5. ANSWER THE 5 W’s

    Two feet away from your emotions will give you perspective. You will see that what bothered you within is now away and out. You have successfully named it, and now you can examine it. Why do you feel like this? What is causing this pother? When did it start? Where does it drive its energy from? Once you can answer all these questions, you will be ready for the next step: to learn to own it.


    There is a difference between acknowledging a feeling and owning it. While acknowledging means that you understand that there is a problem, owning it means that you have learnt that is yours to begin with and yours to deal with.

Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 11: Point of no Return

Dear child,
People talk about the ‘point of no return’. It has become a common if not a relative phrase in the English language. I’d like to negate the person whoever coined the phrase. There is always a point of return. Be that from the top of the ladder to the end or from the bottom of the ladder to the very top.
Lucifer was on the top of the angelic food chain. The aucpicious leader of all the servants of God. For eons he served God. Who would have thought that he’d take a fall? But he did. His wings clipped he was sent down to earth to sway mankind into sin till the end of days.
There are stories of pious men falling off the wagon, going astray, being negligent of their duties and ignoring their services. To the point where they became defedent, abhorred, a stigma to the society.
Then there are still other stories,where felons, alcoholics, drug addcicts, people who were evil to the core and had sinned to their flesh, but they found their way back, from the point of no return.
There is always a point of return. Man can always repent. He can redeem, so as he can corrupt himself. Point of no return, therefore, is exactly the point where man can return from. Provided he his willing to take the first step.

Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 10: When in Doubt Use an Ounce of Dignity

Dear Child,
Decisions in life are a consequence of living. Sometimes we make the right ones, and as a result we are proud of ourselves to make the decision we made. However, there are other times, when we tend to go left instead of going right, and then we have to pull up the courage to live with the choices we have made.
In an ideal world, man ought to be allowed to ‘grow’ decisions. Especially when aye or nay is not readily decided. However, time ticks quicker than it did before, and man in left to take a decision at the nick of time. And that is how events unfold around him, while he practically ‘stumbles’ through the course of his life.
Sometimes, the decision taken at a particular moment in time is always the best decision to be made, as someone once told me. However, one can not expect to make the best decision while keeping their fingers crossed. So I have, over some time learnt to use a thumb rule and so far this ingredient has not failed me. ‘When in doubt, use an ounce of dignity’.
‘Dignity’ like many things is hard to describe. Simply put, dignity is self-respect, self-esteem, or self-worth. Having too much dignity to the point of pride is, I beleive, not such an acceptable notion. However, when confused which highway to take in life, or whether to speak the truth or walk the fine line of falsehood, when in doubt to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or when imagining to taste vengeance, just remember, use an ounce of dignity, and you will never regret whatever decision you make. Love,

Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 9: Learn to Dream

Dear Child,

Many of us stop dreaming as we grow up. When we are young we want to be a fireman, an astronaut, or a princess. When we grow up we forget these dreams and so we also forget the habit of dreaming. Dream is a wish of the heart. As adults we sometimes see ourselves in the shoes of people we admire. The people we see living great lives or doing great things. Let me tell, when we do this, we are dreaming. The thing we do after we consider living someone else’s life is that we snap out of it, just like that!

Learn to dream, child. Even when you grow up. Your dreams and aspirations will change. Let them. For they tell how you are evolving. But, do not quit the habit of dreaming. Dream, and then chase your dreams.

Today, I see people around me talk down those who have chased their dreams. The people who spend their lives chasing their dreams, and perhaps could not reach them or could not realize them, are called impulsive, crazy, even losers. I have something to tell you. It is better to have chased your dreams and maybe have failed than never to have at least tried to realize them. I know they say this about love, but love and dreams are not two different things. You love what you dream, then how could they be separate?

Dream. Chase your dreams. Never mind if you failed. Dream again. And start over.



Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 8: Learn Never to Quit

I have gone over this conversation with you in my mind so many times, that now when I am finally writing about it, I wonder if I will be able to get it right.

As you grow up, you will learn about so many things. About the abstract things, I told you about before. Although each one of these qualities is unique and pivotal for your maturity, one thing alone you need to know from day one. Learn never to quit in life.

As a child I’ll watch you take your first step, stumble and fall. Your little head might get its first bumps and bruises. But it won’t matter, then. You will push yourself up from the leather sofa or the coffee table, and you will go back doing it all over again. You will toddle, you will falter, you will fall. Again, as if the fall never meant anything, you will again find my knee to stand yourself up to go back on your mission of walking.

Life is not different from the time you first learnt to walk. The only thing that changes over time, is the growing will to give up. To quit. To run. To head for the hills. To hide. To be anywhere, but here. I might not be there to witness those times. I might not be able to tell you then what I want to tell you now. So, read and understand what I want to teach you.

People have all sorts of ways to describe life. You might have already picked out your favorite quote, but how you describe it is not important. How you choose to live it, is only up to you. But, the whole purpose of life, as I understand it, is to walk past that finishing line. How you do that, perhaps is not also important.

You may walk your life crying, complaining, crawling, or you may run through it. You or I can not dictate life. It has been written, and so shall it be. So understand this, none of us can control what happens to us. Good things happen, and bad things too. The only thing that really matters is that no matter how defeated you are, no matter if life played you and stands over your shoulder smirking while you shrink to the ground, you are required to do just one, and only one thing.

Never give up on yourself. Never quit on life. Never quit.



Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 7: ‘Learn to Love’

Dear child,

I write to you in love. May you read this with love. May you find love and become love.

Child, life is hard. Very hard. To live in it is perhaps the most difficult thing you will ever do.  Life is a lifelong of hardships, tests and struggles. But the best part of living in this world is love.

There is no one definition of love. Jane Austen said it best. “There are as many forms of love, as there are moments in time.” She was right since no one since then has challenged this statement.

Understand this child that you may not find all those forms of love that Austen has dared to describe. It is most likely that you will not find more than three. But there are other forms too. Passion is love. Purpose is love. Kindness is love. Creation is love. Praying is love too. Man has been made out of love, to only love.

Finding love is like an epiphany. It just tends to happen, anywhere or anytime. Maintaining love as it first started out to be is courage. Standing by it is steadfastness. Embracing love is like embracing yourself. Consuming love is madness. But it is the highest form of love.

Understanding love means you have become love. Becoming love is like knowing yourself. Knowing yourself means knowing the Higher Power within. Knowing this Higher Power is like being everything at once. Like passion, purpose, creativity and everything that comes in between.

I pray that God blesses you with love.




Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 6: Learn to Live in the Now

Dear Child,

We don’t realize this, but most of our idle time is spent doing two things. One: reflecting the past. Second: anticipating the future.

But since we have been doing this our whole lives, and as everyone around us does it too all the time, we never pause to think what is it that we are doing? And so that you know, whatever this that we are doing, we are only doing it to ourselves.

Think about the times you thought about the bad things that happened to you in the past. When your friend told you that you were a useless meat of nothingness, or when your parents shouted at you, or when you were embarrassed at work for saying something totally inappropriate.  Do you know what you are doing here? You are living in the past. And what is worst that every time you think about the past, of what was, you are actually re-living the whole thing. That means; you are going though the pain over and over again. Why do that to yourself?

Anticipating about the future is much more creative. It requires a good deal of imagination. But unfortunately, that imagination is negative, big time. You want to get back at your friend for saying all those nasty things she said before, so you imagine a whole new scene where there is a dialogue. In the dialogue you are the hero. You give her what she deserves, so you relegate her, and emerge all triumphant as a hero!

Imagination, creativity; all these are great traits, as long as you are creating something new. Like painting on a canvas, or musing a ditty, or composing a verse, or anything that you could possibly do. Instead, you waste all the time and effort using the recesses of your brain to come up with a fanciful play that will never exist. And that is what you need to learn about the future; it does not exist, yet.

So, my child, learn to live in the now. For it is the only thing that is real. Now. Today. Live not from the bygone past to a future that never exists by skipping the beauty of today. Live from sunrise till dusk, after which death takes you. The Lord in his mercifulness restores you with your life once more the next day. Understand the beauty of this miracle. Accept it. Live it. Live today.   



Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 5: “Learn to honour”

Dear Child,

Honour is a heroic trait. But unlike the heroes of movies, to be able to fight off monsters and demons does not necessarily mean that the character is honourable. Honour, like forgives, is an abstract quality. It is about time that you learn what abstract attributes are. Abstract qualities are such that they are not corporeal, that means they do not have a solid form. Yet you will notice that some of the principle emotions and behaviours are abstract in nature.

Pain, love, hate, envy, mercy; all are abstract characteristics. Honour is one of these too. You can not touch it, or see it per se, for it is not tangible. But my dear child, you should know that you can actually see honour, not floating in thin air, but as part of some people. It radiates through them and into everything that surrounds them.

In my simple dictionary, honour has been described as such: ‘Your honour is your good reputation, which you take pride in earning and maintaining by behaving morally or justly and by performing as well as you can in any activity that you undertake’.  The second definition is: ‘you call someone man or woman of honour if they are well known for their honesty or integrity’.

So simply put, a man of honour is he who is honest, owns good morals, is just, has integrity and performs at his best. You will notice however, that according to the first definition, honour is a person’s good reputation. This is not achieved in a week or even a couple of months. Honour is built, brick by brick throughout your lifetime. Consider it this way, if honour was to be calculated against a person’s progressing age, a linear steady graph would mean an honourable man, but a wonky graph that pelts down or takes a half-wishful plunge is likely to own a bad reputation.

You will not find a book titled; ‘An honourable life for Dummies’. No. That is because a book can not possibly teach the true essence of this characteristic quality. But I’ll give you a sneak peak of the best way to go about it. And that is; “keep to the path you’ve chosen (a path of goodness), do not linger or meander towards the sidelined darkness, do your best in everything and you will have lived an honourable life.