Monday, February 26, 2007

Sheer Determination

In 1870, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.

The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to walk or talk or even move.

"We told them so."
"Crazy men and their crazy dreams."
"It's foolish to chase wild visions."

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built. In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever.

He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task. As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

He touched his wife's arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife's arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man's indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.

A never-say-die attitude overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves a challenging goal. Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realized with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are. Even the most distant dream can be realized with determination and persistence.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Of Weddings

Weddings in India are a public spectacle. Period. Of all that has been written about The Grand Indian Wedding, I think this one line sums up beautifully all that I have felt about the subject.

It is one thing to have a big wedding, it is completely another to manage it on one's own. In the olden days, when people had more time on hand, and weddings were month long affairs, grand preparations made sense. One had many things to do, but had much less to do per person, since the work got divided among many people.

With distances increasing and time reducing, the family affair of the weddings is missing. My closest relatives have arrived 3 days before the wedding, and other close relatives will arrive a day before the wedding.

This means that I have had to do most, if not all the tasks of the local variety. Expectations have probably not gone down as much as time available to fulfill them has. This means there is a serious crisis in terms of meeting everyone's whims and fancies.

If you want a big wedding, please come and organise one. That has been my fair cry so far. I am completely justified in saying that, I think. Inspite of that, I am still organising most of the wedding. Lagta hai, shaadi karne ki jagah, main shaadi karwata reh jaaonga :D

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Pencil's Parable

The Pencil's Parable ...

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. There are 5 things you need to know, he told the pencil, before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be guided by Someone's hand.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you'll need it to become a better pencil.

Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what's inside.

And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark.

No matter what the condition is, you must continue to write. The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart. Now, put yourself in the place of the pencil. Always remember these five things and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.

The Mindset

As I was passing the elephants, I suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not.

I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

"Well," he said, "when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free."

I was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn't, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before? We need to change our Mindset, and then we can definitely do, what we want!

Bullish or Bearish

The stockbroker's secretary answered his phone one morning. "I'm sorry," she said, "Mr. Blanton is on another line."
"This is Mr. Wellington's office," the caller said. "We'd like to know if he's bullish or bearish right now."
"Well," the secretary replied, "He's talking to his wife,so I'd say he's mostly sheepish at the moment."

Kuch Idhar Se Kuch Udhar Se

I'm all for gun control. Sometimes I shake a little; I've got to use two hands.
-Tom Kearney

Of course we need firearms. You never know when some nut is going to come up to you and say something like, 'You're fired.'You gotta be ready.
-Dave Attell

Smith & Wesson: The original point and click interface.

According to an article in USA Today, children from single-parent homes have much better verbal skills than children from two-parent homes. However, children from two-parent homes are far superior at bitterly sarcastic repartee.
-Dennis Miller

It's not whether you win or lose. It's how you place the blame.

Education is what you get from reading the fine print. Experience is what you get from not reading it.

Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true.
-Lech Walesa

One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.
-Antonio Porchia

May all your troubles in the coming year be as short as your New Year's resolutions.
-Irish Proverb

Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.
-African Proverb

If you stand straight, do not fear a crooked shadow.
-Chinese Proverb

Better to ask twice than to lose your way once.
-Danish proverb