Monday, February 24, 2014


It was the 3rd evening of this month. Like every year, this year too, Tata Bearings family extended their invitation to be a part of their annual function where they remember Vivekananda's life and message. I worked in this Bearings Division of Tata Steel, situated about 10 KM from IIT Kharagpur campus, in 1992-1993. One may expect that I was at my unconventional best :-) in those years too! And the love, the affection I still enjoy there even after 20 years, shows the greatness, kindness of people there and people at large which we often underestimate. If I am in station, I do not give this annual function a miss.

We had speakers in this evening from Ramakrishna order who spoke nicely and at length. I spoke for few minutes. However, this post is about what Executive-in-Charge of Tata Bearings told in the occasion. He started by seeking forgiveness from the monk for being little late. It was a weekday and he had certain responsibilities. Talking about responsibilities, he said that he can never forget that as head of the organization he has to look after well-being of families of 500 employees. And though he wanted, he could not give as much time to study Vivekanada's works. That he was speaking from the heart and not for the occasion can be found from this youtube video which I dug out later (Link). Here he was taking Economic Times IMEA award and in his acceptance speech we hear him saying, "The only thing I want to say that my heart goes for my 500 people back in my Kharagpur unit who are my direct employees and another 500 who are indirectly associated with us...and it is all because of them I am here."

But in this 3rd Feb. function he did not stop just at that. He went on saying that what he takes inspiration from is an anecdote on Dharmabyadha which Vivekananda told in explaining Karmayoga. This he studied in Class VIII and preserves within him. He narrated the anecdote at length which I reproduce below from Vivekananda's works (Link).

The other day I was requesting a senior person here who is working tirelessly to take the institute forward, to take care of health and to get adequate sleep. This I tell whenever I find a person is not able to give enough attention to his/her health. As an executive, he/she is key not only for the well-being of the organization but also for contributing to the growth of the nation, its success, fulfilling aspiration of thousands.It is in everybody's interest to see that good people have a good going :-) physically and mentally. In fact, all of us should have a good going so that we can serve to the best of our capacity.
"The only way to rise is by doing the duty next to us, and thus gathering strength go on until we reach the highest state. A young Sannyâsin went to a forest; there he meditated, worshipped, and practiced Yoga for a long time. After years of hard work and practice, he was one day sitting under a tree, when some dry leaves fell upon his head. He looked up and saw a crow and a crane fighting on the top of the tree, which made him very angry. He said, "What! Dare you throw these dry leaves upon my head!" As with these words he angrily glanced at them, a flash of fire went out of his head — such was the Yogi's power — and burnt the birds to ashes. He was very glad, almost overjoyed at this development of power — he could burn the crow and the crane by a look. After a time he had to go to the town to beg his bread. He went, stood at a door, and said, "Mother, give me food." A voice came from inside the house, "Wait a little, my son." The young man thought, "You wretched woman, how dare you make me wait! You do not know my power yet." While he was thinking thus the voice came again: "Boy, don't be thinking too much of yourself. Here is neither crow nor crane." He was astonished; still he had to wait. At last the woman came, and he fell at her feet and said, "Mother, how did you know that?" She said, "My boy, I do not know your Yoga or your practices. I am a common everyday woman. I made you wait because my husband is ill, and I was nursing him. All my life I have struggled to do my duty. When I was unmarried, I did my duty to my parents; now that I am married, I do my duty to my husband; that is all the Yoga I practice. But by doing my duty I have become illumined; thus I could read your thoughts and know what you had done in the forest. If you want to know something higher than this, go to the market of such and such a town where you will find a Vyâdha (The lowest class of people in India who used to live as hunters and butchers.) who will tell you something that you will be very glad to learn." The Sannyasin thought, "Why should I go to that town and to a Vyadha?" But after what he had seen, his mind opened a little, so he went. When he came near the town, he found the market and there saw, at a distance, a big fat Vyadha cutting meat with big knives, talking and bargaining with different people. The young man said, "Lord help me! Is this the man from whom I am going to learn? He is the incarnation of a demon, if he is anything." In the meantime this man looked up and said, "O Swami, did that lady send you here? Take a seat until I have done my business." The Sannyasin thought, "What comes to me here?" He took his seat; the man went on with his work, and after he had finished he took his money and said to the Sannyasin, "Come sir, come to my home." On reaching home the Vyadha gave him a seat, saying, "Wait here," and went into the house. He then washed his old father and mother, fed them, and did all he could to please them, after which he came to the Sannyasin and said, "Now, sir, you have come here to see me; what can I do for you?" The Sannyasin asked him a few questions about soul and about God, and the Vyadha gave him a lecture which forms a part of the Mahâbhârata, called the Vyâdha-Gitâ. It contains one of the highest flights of the Vedanta. When the Vyadha finished his teaching, the Sannyasin felt astonished. He said, "Why are you in that body? With such knowledge as yours why are you in a Vyadha's body, and doing such filthy, ugly work?" "My son," replied the Vyadha, "no duty is ugly, no duty is impure. My birth placed me in these circumstances and environments. In my boyhood I learnt the trade; I am unattached, and I try to do my duty well. I try to do my duty as a householder, and I try to do all I can to make my father and mother happy. I neither know your Yoga, nor have I become a Sannyasin, nor did I go out of the world into a forest; nevertheless, all that you have heard and seen has come to me through the unattached doing of the duty which belongs to my position.""

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Got a phone call this morning from one of the driver of the travel agency who often obliges by his service. He asked about my availability to come to our quarter in the campus. He will be coming with his wife to invite our family for his brother-in-law's marriage reception. We had a tussle. Each of us were asking what would be convenient time for other. I was concerned that he makes a living out of his job where he has less control over situation. Finally, we settled for 8:30 PM. I'll be back from office today half-an-hour early!!

Feel overwhelmed. The travel agency drivers do tell me that they have a friendly fight among themselves on who will be at driver's wheel when I book a car. Also heard that their family members often tease each other on this - that the other person did not get the chance. May be the drivers find a good listener in me to share their life's happiness and sorrows and like the way I try to encourage them.

Yesterday, in the local fish-market, the didi who often sells fish to us was trying to draw my attention to the weighing balance before calculating the payout, as I was occupied with something else. I requested her to go ahead without worrying and told that it is she who would feel bad if I get less than what I deserve. Truly so. Didi appreciated that and was in all smile.

Few weeks back I was giving my evaluation report to a young faculty where he has asked for project funding. I said that it goes beyond the project, it is investment in a person. Didn't we hear from Vivekananda, "Men, men, these are wanted. Everything else will be ready." Investment in people and getting the best out of them in every strata of life, by acknowledging their effort, by making them feel responsible that they are important part of the society, contribute to its well-being and there is no room for feeling alienated - are perhaps what takes us to inclusive growth built upon share and care.

Yesterday evening we had a small triumph! The small team with whom I work in a new admin. responsibility since mid Oct., 2013 has reached an important milestone. We reached 'zero pending' situation yesterday. It was about 8 PM. Together, we went to the official's place where our files land-up and created hallah :-) there that the official should give us treat! He enjoyed that and told that he too is a part of the team. The greatest part in this journey had been the fact that it was fun all the way, we always enjoyed each others' company and never let work pressure get the better of us.

Thank you all in-office and outside-office at IIT Kharagpur for your kind gestures. For you the life is so much enjoyable here. Truly, feel overwhelmed!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Wiki author considers the movie 'Evan Almighty' (Link) an American religious comedy film. Building of an Ark was at the centre of the film for which people in general, failed to see any justification. Came a flood along a fault line built on human greed. The Ark was the savior. The movie ends explaining us another meaning of ARK - Act of Random Kindness.

Felt so good to read this in today's newspaper. Two tribal brothers, Anil Shabar and Ashok Shabar donate 10 cottah of land for building a school in their village (in district Bankura, about 125 KM from IIT Kharagpur campus). They themselves are daily wage earner. Why did they then do it? They say that their entire life went in abject poverty but they want to see their next generation doing better getting proper education. The BDO was surprised and he said that there was difficulty in getting land there for building school as it came under forest area. For this donation, a school and a training centre will be built.

The Shabar brothers consider themselves uneducated! And we look for ARK like this!!