Monday, 14 December 2020

Spirituality - a mantra for success!

Thean Hou temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! 

A peaceful abode for the hopeless souls who seek solace when their life gets churned with chaos, stress, bumfuzzle and uncertainties! Spirituality in its true sense with wisdom is very much essential for leading a successful life. These pictures were taken in 2019 when we visited Malaysia.

This is the statue of Guan Yin (Buddhist bodhisattva, Avalokitasvara), the goddess of Mercy and compassion, one who listens to the prayers of the devotees! This statue is situated outside the main temple where there is a small pond full of fishes. A man was feeding those fishes and I had a chat with this person who told me that he comes there most of the days to feed the fishes. A kindly gesture indeed! May God bless him! The fishes were rippling the water enjoying the scrumptious feed!

I could spot a disparate bunch of fishes in the pond and this spectacle gave a wonderful opportunity for me to click some beautiful pictures. 

Some places instantly instill peace in us which is a perplexing phenomenon to explain as most of you would agree. This was one of such spots that invigorated our tired bodies, minds, and perhaps souls after a hectic overnight journey and walking outside with Sun blazing fiercely that day in KL. The evidence of divinity in such places, I believe, is the peace and tranquillity we feel even when we memorise about these visits which means the feelings we experienced were not ephemeral but everlasting. 

A dragon! The temple premises have statues of Chinese Zodiac animals. 

It would be great if we spend some time reading about spirituality trying to understand the ancient knowledge about life, its complexities, challenges and mantras for success our ancestors depicted in their texts. They have deciphered their experiences dealing with every aspect of human life and we still have only limited knowledge about these things. It will never be a wasteful effort if we spend a little time daily to dwell deeper into their thoughts and inferences about human life!

  • History is something to be considered very seriously to understand the foundations of past, present and future. Ancient, old and outdated were once upon a time contemporary, new and modern that denotes their relevance during that particular period. We must not forget that inaccuracies shaped the present relevant and accurate realities! There is a lot to learn from such 'old books'!   

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Friday, 8 March 2019

Celebrate and enjoy - International Women's Day 2019

Today, March 8th is International Women’s day.

The campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter

Celebrating designated days for a specific cause reminds the world of the pressing issues connected with it which gives more momentum for all the activities associated and today we make ourselves more aware of the ongoing activities about women empowerment.

Some of the highlights of this campaign are:
  • Gender balance
  • Equality
  • Non-biased attitude
  • Celebrate success
There is no denying the fact much more needs to be done in all the above aspects for a better tomorrow.

All the best for all the women all over the world…!
  • Equality is something humankind has ignored from time immemorial stemmed from the attitude of supremacy, selfishness, and authoritarianism. This has resulted in gender imbalance, inequalities, suppression, and oppression. Change is happening, but more needs to be done to increase its momentum and getting involved ups self-esteem, a sense of belonging in a wider community, and this is the opportunity for all round self-improvement! Celebrate and enjoy!
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Saturday, 26 January 2019

Be positive...

Be positive!

Modern lifestyle with its wonderful blessings like technological advances, economic prosperity, and improved medical care has made our lives better but as an accompaniment, we became more stressful. It is difficult to understand how and why stress has made its sneak peek in a very alarming manner into the modern-day living despite all the progress humankind had made when compared to the olden days. Ask our grandparents, they will tell you how less stressful they were during their younger days when there were no mobile phones, TV, and Internet, and how they also are trying to cope up with the stress which has affected them as well. How to remain positive in this jungle of stress, uncertainties, and the ever-growing social unrest, natural calamities, and the deteriorating interpersonal relationships is undoubtedly a difficult task!

Here comes the undisputable solution; do something to address this issue. Being negative, feeling less secure, and loss of optimism ultimately spoils our attitude to stay positive. The environmental pressures are increasing day-by-day and even the newborns are not immune to such problems that undermine the state of positive attitude. So, we must do something to make ourselves positive. The moment we understand our mental state is going into a downward spiral as a result of some event, some other people, or without any reason, try to do something to remain positive. This may include talking to a friend, reading a self-help book, listening to an uplifting talk, watching a good movie, playing with kids, taking a stroll in the park or garden, praying, or watching the huge collection of YouTube videos ranging from self-help talks, self-hypnosis, hypnotic music, meditation etc. The important thing is to do something as soon as possible to bring the mind back to the state of positivity. The problem that might have triggered the negativity might be still present making us scared but if we are going to approach this gigantic monster with a negative mindset we are bound to fail. An improved mood and a balanced state of mind are very much essential to tackle any problem that we face.

An important thing to remember here is to avoid the use of alcohol and other unhealthy ways to boost the mood. Resorting to such methods are dangerous and it can be stated that they act as a double-edged sword.

Engaging in a creative pursuit is a wonderful activity which anyone can try. This is the reason people often take up hobbies. Having such activities bring happiness even if such pursuits may not result in any financial gains. But the pleasure they give cannot be equated with money and money may not bring happiness most of the times.

So always try to remain positive even if nothing is there to feel positive. It is a fact that facing life’s challenges all alone is not always easy and we all must have some type of social support. Luckily there is no dearth of such solutions in the present-day world. Online and offline there is help available in one way or the other. And the options are plenty; there is no need to remain stuck with someone or something whose support and help is of no use.

The picture you see above is of the Thalassery (Tellicherry) pier known as ‘Kadalpalam’ in the Malayalam language which is a popular tourist spot. In the days of the British rule, the East India Company built the bridge for trade and this pier facilitated the transport of goods to and from the ships anchored far away in the ocean. They could not be anchored near the shore because of the huge rocks along the seashore. Thalassery (Tellicherry) was the headquarters of the British rule being an important trade-hub and the proximity to Mysore and the neighboring regions. It was a strategically important region during the British rule in Kerala. Still, this place remains as an important trade centre. It has been almost a century this pier is making its presence felt here battling the waves and the rough weather. How much it has endured remaining stable would better be judged by our own imagination! Despite all odds, it stands there feeling positive helping people get a glimpse of the sea far from the seashore! Some portions have been destroyed, so walking along this pier has become dangerous. No vehicles are allowed here. When the trade transport through the roads flourished and also partly due to the development of the Mangalore seaport this pier had lost its past glory. People still flock to this area to view this magnificent structure majestically extending to the sea enjoying the cool breeze and the positive aura it emanates is great!
  • A positive attitude is not something that comes to people naturally; it has to be cultivated by regular practice. Those who master their minds are the real winners!
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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Art is a powerful medium for personal development

Humankind has not still recovered fully from the tentacles of shock, bitterness, and dejection associated with slavery and the slave trade that happened in some parts of the world in the past centuries. When we speak about slavery, the focus suddenly shifts to the African continents; the cruelty, oppression, and suppression encountered by the people over there were unimaginable. However, it is a well-known fact that slavery and slave trade flourished in the shadows of colonization, invasion, and trade deals carried out by the British, Dutch, and others in other parts of the world as well. The horrifying and the most unfortunate aspect of such atrocities was the lack of proper records about this shady trade, the people who controlled it, and the profile of the most unfortunate souls who suddenly found their voices unheard of by anyone.

Human beings were captured, treated cruelly and sold like cheap commodities. Just like animals for slaughter they were chained and carried away to other continents for sale. No one cared for their names, nationality, or ethnicity. They were assigned names by their handlers and, they were supposed to obey their masters whatever the orders might be. They must stop behaving like a fellow human being, instead become an obedient slave following their master unconditionally observing silence.
Just do it!
 Just obey! 
Don't utter a word! 
Ironically, in case they get sold to someone, they must obey the new master. 

Sue Williamson, a very talented and famous artist based at Cape Town in South Africa, through this huge installation is telling us the sad story of such poor souls and the acts of cruelty these humans suffered at the hands of their own fellow men. If you go through the unspeakable acts of savagery and brutality during the period of the slave trade it will make you horrified. The installation is made using wood, fishnets, glass bottles, metal, and water. She has inscribed the names of the slaves obtained from the archives from Cape Town on these soil infused bottles trapped inside fishnets through which water gets circulated throughout. The whole bunch is hung from the ceiling and the water flows into the tank built in the ground. These tanks are lined with wooden panels on which the details of the slave trade ships’ itinerary are inscribed. 

This wonderful artwork is titled 'message from the Atlantic passages'. You can view this work at the Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, which is the primary venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 - 2019. Much has been written about this amazing installation that explains the popularity of this artwork and the unique theme it conveys. Oppression, suppression, and slavery in any form are evil which drains the life out of humans making people barbarians. This work subtly radiates the fact that slavery in all forms is bad and it includes modern-day slavery as well.
  • The important aspects of a successful personality are free will, free thinking, and an independent state of existence. Modern-day slavery that is prevalent in many forms will restrict personal development and one must be vigilant not to succumb to it.

She has exhibited one more art here. Please check this post - 

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Friday, 11 January 2019

Art has power: A beautiful video installation in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2019

Indian soldiers fought fiercely for the British empire during World War II against the Axis powers. World War II resulted in the loss of lives of more than 85,000 Indian soldiers which included those who went missing as well, about 35,000 were wounded and around 80000 were held as prisoners of war. Have we acknowledged the services of these brave men adequately who fought fiercely the bitter wars that the world had fought is a very thought-provoking question. When viewed in a post-colonial, global perspective we cannot ignore the contributions of these brave men who had sacrificed their lives in different parts of the world. Moreover, such historical events should also be kept alive in our memories and must make us feel proud for the contributions of our ancestors without which the Allies would not have won the war against the Axis powers.

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew in her video installation has brought the events of the past into limelight once again. Modern life is progressing at a very fast pace with commercialization, self-centeredness, and narrowed focus being given more importance, and there is a total lack of acknowledgment of some of the events like these that have taken place in the past. But it is the history that shaped the present, which all the more highlights the fact that we cannot simply move forward by completely forgetting the past.

This video installation brings the sacrifice of the Indian soldiers during the Italian campaign of World War II to our attention. This work surely will prompt people to re-visit the history of the British rule in India to find out more about such events that did not get sufficient exposure. This is a beautiful installation that has become very popular among visitors. 

Thank you Annu Palakunnathu Matthew for this wonderful installation😊
  • Art is a powerful medium capable of creating vibes in ourselves. It is thought-provoking, has power, and it is beautiful! Use it for personal development!

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