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What Do I Need to Be Happy?

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore 


What do we really need right now, to be happy?

A new car, a new house, a new friend…

What do we lack right now?

Does anything need to change in order for us to be happy?

What do we really need? Do we really need anything in order to be happy?

Powerful Questions. Food for thought.

Sharon Salzberg, the author of the book “The Kindness Handbook” ( shares her experience while staying at a monastery in South East Asia. At the monastery, there was generally no charge for staying and the food was donated by “groups or families who come to the center to make the offerings”. Therefore, the food that was provided was varied depending on the circumstances of those donating. Sometimes, bountiful. Sometimes, meager.

Sharon recounts: “Time after time, I went into the dining room for a meal and looked at the faces of the people who had made the offering, since they commonly come to watch you receive it. They would look radiant, so happy that they’d had an opportunity to feed us, to offer something that would help sustain us. They seemed so happy that we were going to be meditating, exploring the truth, and purifying our minds and hearts on the strength of their offering. In that moment, when they were so genuinely grateful for the chance to give, I would ask myself, ‘What do I really need right now in order to be happy?” I realized that I was getting fed a lot more by their joy and delight than I was by the actual food”.

As we journey through our manifold experiences in life, we yearn for happiness and spend time and energy looking for it. I have come to believe that performing acts of kindnesses is what brings me true, genuine and abiding happiness.

I asked some of our colleagues about what truly makes them happy. This is what they had to say:

… spending time with my family especially with my daughter makes me feel happy; when I work hard and do things differently, a bit of appreciation makes me feel happy.

… being truthful and down to earth even in a critical situation & living a simple life makes me happy.

… I feel happy when I can help my fellow people… and see them happy.

… talking to Dad makes me happy – his composed and relaxed voice reflecting patience & satisfaction with his accomplishments  gives me energy and motivation to keep trying until I succeed.

What makes you happy? What do you need to be happy?

The Love Cartridge: The Planned Bullet – Chapter 2

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridge

Day – Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Time – 9:00 PM

Vikrant parks his car as he answers his phone.

“Hello Vikrant, Harsh bol raha hun” Harsh’s tensed voice spoke from the other end.

“Kya hua Harsh pareshan kyun hai”

“Bhaai kal teri gaadi chahiye”

“Hatt saaley, girlfriend ko chamkane ke liye meri gaadi mili tere ko?”

“Chamkana nahin hai bhaai, bhagaana hai”

Kya? Matlab?

Harsh explains his situation to Vikrant. His helpless condition compels Vikrant to help. He pauses for a moment and asks, “Plan kya hai?”

“Kal raat ko kareeb 11 baje, Mai Riya ko Ram Mandir ke saamne se pick karunga. Phir raat ko hi hum Kalkatta nikal lenge. Jahan mera Chachera bhaai rehta hai. Uske yahan teri gaadi rakhwa kar hum subah ki flight pakad kar Bhopal chale jaayenge. Wahan se phir Kareli”

Vikrant thinks for a moment and says “Plan to thik hai, par Riya ke baap ko bhanak bhi lagi to tu kat jaayega”

“Ghabra mat tere aur mere alawa yeh baat sirf Riya aur Neha jaante hai.” Harsh assures him.

तुकबंदी ज़रुरी है, तू-तड़ाक मजबूरी है

modi and manmohan

राकेश कायस्थ की कलम से 

गिरो मगर वैसे नहीं जैसे रुपया गिरता है
चढ़ो तो वैसे जैसे प्याज चढ़ता है

कहो मगर वैसे नहीं जैसे दिग्गी कहता है
चुप रहो तो वैसे जैसे पीएम रहता है

डरो मगर वैसे नहीं जैसे यूपीए डरता है
अड़ो तो वैसे जैसे खेमका अड़ता है

हांको मगर वैसे नहीं जैसे मोदी हांकता है
जागो तो वैसे जैसे एक मुल्क जागता है

A forgotten land – Letter From North East

By Dipayan Datta


Tucked in the farthest corner off the country, lies a region endowed with natural beauty and resources like no other part of the country. Still India’s North East is suffering from a paradox of sorts. Although rich in minerals such as oil, coal and uranium, the region has been plagued by chronic poverty and violence. All this has given a rise to a sense of alienation to the people of the region. Faced with constant neglect from Delhi, a lot of the youth were driven to arms. This resulted in a cycle of violence which the region is still struggling to cope with. Most of the youth born in my generation have lived under a cloud of violence, one that saw the rules of conflicts being blatantly violated by both sides. The region has borne witness to some of the longest and the bloodiest conflicts in post independent India. Instead of looking for ways to solve the problems plaguing the region, the central government resorted to violence to contain the insurgencies, slapping the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) on to most part of the region.

As India steps into its 67th year as a democratic secular republic, for most of us born and raised in NE, Independence Day has always been reminiscent with violence, curfew and an heighten sense of insecurity. Most of the insurgent outfits view Independence Day as a symbol of Delhi’s oppression of the region. I use the term Delhi and not India, because most of the problems plaguing the region is a result of constant apathy, neglect and short-sightedness of our policy makers in Delhi and not that of the idea of India. Successive governments’ have tried to combat violence with more violence and this has resulted into a zero sum game for the local populace. At the same time the local politicians and the public are not above blame. Local state governments in the NE figure among the most corrupt and inefficient in the country.

Although the region has witnessed a period of calm and peace during the latter part of the last decade, the peace is fragile at the most. Although states like Assam and Nagaland might never see a return to the violent days of the 80’s and 90’s, Manipur is still a hotbed of insurgency with nearly 80 militant and guerrilla outfits operating out of the state.


Today as the entire SEA becomes a hub of international business and economic integration, NE is uniquely positioned to benefit from the opportunities arising out of the region. NE, given its proximity to SEA could act as a gate way to other developing countries in the region. The policy makers of today might understand that but they have to ensure that the policies enacted are properly implemented and that there is no dilution of focus. In today’s competitive environment, the government should look to better utilize and leverage the strategic advantages that this region has to offers. It will also give NE an opportunity to integrate into the financial mainstream of the nation.

Confessions of a Commitment Shirker

By Ankit Chandra


This is my dedication to all those ppl who can never get to committing to sumone and then later crib about it 😀 enjoy!!

I think I have never done the romantic thing
A dozen roses and a diamond ring
many times I have been peeled and pricked
but I really couldn’t feel a thing…

So is that a hormonal imbalance or a psychological one?
that I just cannot settle with anyone?

from ‘Boys 2 Men’ to ‘Alanis Morisette’
Their lyrics never really conveyed any sense
Although there were those who ‘waited and waited’ for me to ask them out,
but got no returns for their perseverance..

heh.. so what on earth is wrong with me?
for she ain’t good enuf, whoever she be?
well on second thoughts that isn’t quite true.
coz I usually repent when the moment passes through

I guess I vindicate what my teacher once said,
‘Oh my child u have an empty head’…. 😛

And this is what our fellow commitment shirkers added:

“There was once a time when it was commitment i was afraid of
But now it seems it was actually me the pretty ladies were scared of”

Chennai Express – Is A Full Paisa Wasool Journey

chennai express shwetha

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

All set to board the Chennai express?!? Vaango…ukkarango (read: please come…please sit)!!! Is the journey worth the ride?!? Read on.

Full credits to SRK and the moviemakers to have the name of the female lead displayed over the male counterpart! This drew loud raptures from the crowd and what a way to start the two and half hour odd train journey.

Back again as Rahul (naam toh suna hoga), a planned trip to Goa changes track to Rameshwaram, as he comes across Meenamma, who boards the Chennai Express in typical DDLJ style. As the train chugs along, there are definitely some funny gags which have you in splits. A la Rohit Shetty’s ishtyle, the movie serves comedy and action in equal dosages – flying cars and bikes and colorful sets, for a change, we got to see some action involving steel buckets too!

The movie does have its share of rough patches. Deepika’s twang was lousy, despite being a southern belle. Her Hindi was fluent in certain places, while in most of the other scenes, her dialogues were laced with the southern accent. How’s that even possible?!? Gal, you ought to have gone in for a dub-artist. SRK keeps referring to the power of the common man in the movie. Now, how many common men wear or for that matter can afford a Dolce & Gabbana vest today?

A major portion of the film had Tamil dialogues – for a moment, I was confused if I was watching a Hindi movie or a Tamil flick. The female lead, aptly nicknamed Ms. Subtitle serves as an interpreter whenever the need arises. As much as the important bits were translated, it’s obvious that some portions were lost!

SRK’s screen presence is mind blowing and has you begging for more. He tickles the funny bone, makes you shed a tear and packs in quite a punch in the action scenes. Deepika Paduone was a complete stunner and surrenders to her character completely (albeit her southern accent). The veteran southern star Sathyaraj leaves a desired effect but his role was down played that had me a tad disappointed. The villain Niketan Dheer looked menacing and fit into his role perfectly (but even the villain couldn’t speak good Tamil!). Rohit Shetty travels the full mile to deliver an action packed comedy with all the tried and tested ingredients of the genre he is known for.

Chennai Express is a typical family entertainer – full paisa vasool journey!!

Chennai Express: Finally an SRK film with a story


By Malathy Madathilezham


Are you creative and how? Explain about your creativity? Blah, blah, blah creative skills/creativity? I am stumped by these questions!

Rendered speechless!

I am still looking for a perfect answer that would satisfy both me and the person asking that question…

Do I talk about of my flair for writing/sketching?


Do I talk about my interest in analysing situations/problem (of and for others :P) and coming out with ‘creative’ solutions!


Do I talk about the stupid/intelligent but creative one liners I sometimes pop while conversing/chatting with friends!!

Then again I find these kinds of questions absurd.

First of all, I believe that all of us are creative though not in the most obvious ways. But isn’t it true that all of us dream and other than the artists, musicians, authors there are some of us who can ‘spin’ great stories, cook innovative dishes, dress up in different styles and looks, make houses look like homes in different designs and create different kinds of ambiance and so many other way that we all use our creativity.And not all of these make for convincing answers!! 🙂

There is so much to talk about and share and personally I am not able to sum it up in few sentences which would also spark an interest in the listener… so whenever I am asked that question… I go blank and say something (which am sure is neither impressive nor interesting!) just to go to the next question…

Which may be equally confounded like – Where do you see yourselves five/ten years from now!! 😀 I do not really want to get into the nuances of answering that question right now… I think that would make for another good write up later on! So any suggestions on answering the creativity question is welcome!!

Goan Fish Curry

pomfret in cocnot gravy10

Goa, the land of sun-kissed beaches and pristine blue waters, is India’s tourist haven. It is also a haven for seafood lovers. Those who love seafood, Goa will never let you down. From salmon to bombil, from squids to crabs- the quintessential Goan delicacies will always delight a gourmet. Since, Goa offers a galore of delicacies. Rice and fish curry is one of the most popular dishes of Goa. Here’s the quick and simple recipe.


  • Bhetki or Pomfret. One can also use bombil/ Bombay Duck
  • Cooking Oil 3 table spoons
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • Coconut Milk around 75 ml
  • Red Chilli Paste
  • Garam Masala
  • Salt to Taste


Fry some bhetki fillet or pomfret and keep aside. In a wok add oil, coconut milk, ginger, garlic and red chilli paste and stir for at least five to seven minutes. When broth is thick add the fried fish, salt and a pinch of garam masala. It will be ready in minutes. Enjoy the cooked fish with steamed rice.

Mind Your Business

By Himanshu Mehta


It is no use waiting for the opportunities to come; you need to get up and make them.

The greatest risk of all is not taking risk while one is young and learning from his or her mistakes. Entrepreneurship is something that can improve the standard of living of people and supporting it is very essential for the growth of the country. Small people remain small because they think small, act small, or don’t act at all. When the people get out of our smaller mindsets and try to invent new businesses, only then, it will help in nation building. It is said that the most important factor for the future growth of business is to foster and promote innovations and thus develop entrepreneurship. Till the time entrepreneurship is not developed, innovation will not succeed. Innovation and Entrepreneurship are two sides of the same coin and growth will only   work well if they are given the required support. The biggest failure you can have in life is not   trying at all. If innovations and entrepreneurship are given the required support/boost, they will flourish and will lead to a faster growth trajectory for India. Says the dynamic Mr. Mayur Vora of Mapro Foods, ‘’It is easy to give a job rather than get a job’’


If you want to start your little business, it is just not enough have a will and a way. There have to be enough trigger points to make your ambition work out well. Firstly, creating the right environment for success; entrepreneurs should find it easy to start a business. Second, entrepreneurs have access to the right skills and access to ‘risk’ capital – for a long time to sustain windfalls in case! Lastly, enabling networking and exchange; entrepreneurs always learn from experience—theirs and that of others.


There are various agencies that assist entrepreneurship. One of them, – the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, a part of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) has been set up to assist entrepreneurs to start their businesses. The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) is another such organisation that is helping the young and budding entrepreneurs to succeed.


In our country enterprise is still yet neither a difficult word nor world to obtain – chiefly because

(i) The new market opportunities presented by a liberalizing economy,

(ii) Availability of financial support schemes from both official and private sources,

(iii) The existence of a large number of governmental programmes and public-private partnership   programmes,

(iv) The emergence of a number of private sector initiatives for supporting knowledge-intensive   entrepreneurship by complementing government programmes and by reducing information   asymmetries, and

(v) The increased availability of technically trained manpower due to a phenomenal increase in   the enrolment rate for engineering and technology education at especially the tertiary level in the   country.


But of course there is lots of scope for improvement! Chief of them being –

  • Lack of true seed capital. Venture Capitalists in India are mostly inclined towards later stage of the project
  • Lack of mentors who could inspire – there are very few success stories one can emulate and prove to be an inspiration for potential businessman. The strike-rich, strike-lucky syndrome still persists.
  • Very few good incubator programs
  • Lack of quality talent in India. Mediocrity is available in plenty
  • It is important to have a big addressable market and India lacks it despite its large population
  • Entrepreneurship is generally driven by young people who have the drive and flexibility.
  • In India the distribution of young people coming out of college is heavily skewed towards IT, crowding out other sectors.
  • Socially still not glamorous though increasingly getting more acceptance.
  • No ecosystem for entrepreneurship to succeed
  • People who can be active participants in entrepreneurial ecosystem are comfortable in their decent paying MNC jobs. Someone needs to reach to them and get them out.
  • The education system in India needs to be revamped. The age old systems prevalent in India copied from the British is not used even in Great Britain today!


If you want to get enterprising, the best 10 to bet on are :

  1. Tourism
  2. Automobile
  3. Textiles
  4. Social ventures
  5. Software
  6. Engineering goods
  7. Franchising
  8. Education and Training
  9. Food Processing
  10. Corporate demands

And you can take advice from J. Paul Getty, former oil tycoon and once the richest man in America when he claimed, “There is only one way to make a great deal of money; and that is in a business of your own.”

Mindful – A Short Story

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore


“We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

Please read this real life experience of Kent Nerburn, a cab driver, in which a life transforming experience blurred the line between the receiver and the giver.

When we are mindful of another, we bring happiness and joy…to them and to ourselves.


Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  One night I took a fare at 2:30 am. When I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

So I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80′s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good man,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.  “Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered. “Oh, there are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.  Our hug ended with her remark, “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy.”  After a slight pause, she added, “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?  On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.