Thursday, November 27, 2008

Test of truth

In my previous post I said that we should not be too quick to judge. However, there is also something to be said about being too fair and this story (yes, another one) illustrates the point beautifully.

One day the great Greek philosopher Socrates (469 - 399 BC) came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"
"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."
"Three?", exclaimed the student.
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"Oh no," the man said, "actually I just heard about it."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates interrupted, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued. "You may still pass though, because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"
"Well it....no, not really..."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"
The man was defeated and ashamed. This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.
It also explains why he never found out that Plato was having an affair with his wife.

So, maybe the middle ground is the best thing . What do you say??

Judge now, repent later

We are all so quick to judge, and more often than not inaccurately!We judge on the basis of colour, creed, caste, community, riches, poverty..... you name it.This was a story I recieved as a forward and it really appealed to me. Hope it makes anyone who reads it, think and slow down a bit before they judge.

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judgethings too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and lookat a pear tree that was a great distance away. The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in
summer, and the youngest son in the fall.When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen. The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise.The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment. The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree's life.He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.

Moral:Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don't judge life by one difficult season.. Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come some time or later

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dinner gong syndrome

Want a room cleared in zero to 15 seconds?
Just announce to your family that it is time to eat and they all remember urgent chores. It works every time! At first I thought it was my cooking, but on exploring the issue, I realize that this is a common thing at a lot of urban homes. At least that is what my friends, mostly harried moms, tell me. I just have to say the'F' word (FOOD) and my son who would be rummaging through the fridge for some thing to munch on ( He periodically opens a full refrigerator, stares at all the food in it, and wistfully, in the voice of Oliver twist, announces that there is nothing to eat) suddenly remembers that he needs to ask a friend a homework assignment, my husband who is sitting on the balcony staring into space, has an urgent mail to send and the tween realizes he needs to have a shower before dinner.

Then each one will appear separately at regular intervals and ask me why I called only him(as if I am conspiring to waste his time), when the others have not appeared yet. Before I can offer any explanation or coax him to sit and wait while I gather the others, he will walk away saying 'Just a minute, I'll be right back'. We are back to square one with me screaming that the food is getting cold . (Of course, the one day the meal is not ready at the usual, you can be sure they are all waiting at the table like the hungry hordes from some starving nation.) So what do I do? Well, I have just taken to announcing meals when ever I want time to myself. I am waiting for them to catch on. Till then I am enjoying being left to myself (and the refrigerator door stays shut too).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

marketing your wares

Ever have someone try and sell you stuff that you do not need, do not want and had not even thought of? Who hasn't! We are all consumers in this world and have been the target market for products we did not know about...... till some savvy, smooth talking, marketer told us how much we needed it in our lives and how incomplete and unfulfilled our lives have been till the day we got the said product.

Now-a- days, with cell phones and the Internet, you can be reached anywhere (even the Loo, if you carry the cell phone) and there are calls asking you to invest your money (the news of the recession has not reached them yet) and there are calls for more add on services/ cards when you are pulling your hair out over terrible state of even the basic services.

Recently I was at the receiving end of an onslaught for taking on some MLM (multi level marketing) Products. Despite my repeated requests, that I was not really the right person, she refused to take no for an answer. Seeking to divert her attention, I called out to my husband to join in the conversation. After the usual pleasantries, my husband asked her about her line of work ( just what I was hoping to avoid!) and she launched into a description of how wonderful her work was, how she was excited about the products and how she was making so much money while meeting so many interesting people...."just the person i want, interjected my husband,You see, we have the place we are hoping to get rid of and I am sure with your contacts, it will be a cake walk for you". Stumped mid flow, she had no option but to ask for the details and promise to look into it. When she tried to start again, my husband gently told her that we were not really her target audience ( she should have realised that seeing our uncoloured hair and sloppy clothes). She asked us if we could give five names she could contact and he continued that our near and dear ones were somewhat uninspiring, just like us. With this she had to be content and with promises to look for a buyer for our property, she left. With that I learnt a big lesson... when someone tries to sell you stuff, you sell them something instead.

So the next time someone calls you and offers you the best thing since sliced bread... you counter the offer with one of your own and see what happens next!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

pet peeves

"The day we brought Dustin home, his feet did not touch the ground. He was hand fed every meal with everyone competing to feed him every hour, though the doctor had recommended four-hourly meals. No one seemed to mind that he burped stuff all over them and he was set down just to pee, that too, at my urgent hollering. In fact i had more children in my home than any other time, as the neighborhood kids were also at our place to meet him. Dustin was a bitter(a bit of this and a bit of that) puppy that had come home despite my reluctance. The second day, his popularity had dimmed a bit and like the matinee star on his way down, the favours (the food, in this case) was doled out more grudgingly and after i reminded them about it.The third day there were active complaints about the fact that one was missing his turn and leaving it to the other . The fourth day, each one flatly denied it was his turn and by the fifth day he was wholly my responsibility. Since i had bonded with the helpless creature by then, we did OK." This was a story narrated by a friend, who was brave enough to take on a pet on her children's' wish recently. While she went on to fall in love with the dog and it has a "happily -ever- after" ending, this is not always the case.

Many times pets are just abandoned somewhere. The more conscientious, try and place them with someone more 'pet-friendly' while some just turn them out on the streets. Why do people get pets without any thought and then abandon them or neglect them? Many times the enthusiasm to get the pet home is at an all time high, but a few days later the pet is just sitting in a corner and looking lost.

Who or what gives us the right to condemn another creature to such a loveless and pathetic existence? Human beings are proud to call themselves the most intelligent and advanced species on earth. How can we the most advanced, if we are not able to put the needs of other creatures on par with ours, if not above ours?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

every dog has his day

Mission accomplished!
Being an animal lover, I want to help instead of watching from the sidelines and sometimes it is not so easy. Recently I came across a dog (mentioned in my previous post on how looks matter) that had bleeding ears and very bad skin. Not sure about what to do ( i was scared about diseases... being human) I called my vet. (well, he is a vet who helps me with my dogs, two of them). At first, he told me that it was as easy as administering a simple injection, but the question was who would bell the cat..er... inject the dog... and how!


Making sure that a stray stays in one place long enough to take an injection is not an easy task, to say the very least. So the vet came up with the suggestion that we should administer an oral medicine, two doses one week apart. Sounded easy enough.... a starving stray should just wolf down the stuff mixed with some food, right? Wrong! Looks like in these days of instant gratification and demanding kids, strays have their own 'will and will not' lists. We (my kids age16 and11 who also get involved in such endeavours of mine) tried offering him some bread. He came happily enough, but refused to touch it. Then we offered biscuits,and after a brief perusal,(while we all stood with bated breath), he walked away. I ran home to get some milk to mix with the medicine,while my older son followed him to an empty plot where he lived in a pipe (the dog lived in a pipe, not my son).

Not being used to people making a fuss of him, the dog watched all our efforts to coax him into coming out and having the bowl of milk, with amused disbelief. Eventually we had to leave so he could come out and have the milk(which he seems to have done, in peace on his own time). The medicine seemed to be working, as he had improved the next i saw him. But now to administer the second dose... well, suffice to say, from finding him (strays never stay in exactly same place) to making sure he took the second dose, it was yet another adventure, but we did it. For that I am happy and feel good. Sometimes the things that make you happy are not big milestones, just small accomplishments. What I realized is that sometimes we just need to ask others (in this case, the vet) and you do get the power to help.
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