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Mouthpiece #24

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Vibha Sharma

June 4 · Issue #24 · View online
Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

Snowball Effect
Though I am still a little far from the stage when I could officially be called senile, I do sense senility knocking at my door already. If not all the time, I am sure it is teasing me through my inconsistent memory these days. While reading a certain passage, sometimes I dare make some mental notes thinking - oh, this is so interesting, I must come back to it later, but how and when those notes disappear from the mental surface, just prove the fragile state of my memory cells. It just doesn’t end here, rather it leaves me frustrated and restless when I want to know what note had I made and my memory just refuses to divulge any cues whatsoever. Anyway, the ruing is perhaps to be left for some other time and for some other place, but why I mentioned the failing faculties here is simply because I read somewhere something about the power of thought and wanted to quote the passage to be shared here, but no reward for guessing why I can’t do it now.
What I carried with me from what I read there is - our thoughts have a much deeper influence and impact than what our mind could ever comprehend. This is because different thoughts tend to attract similar energies that abound us. If I create a positive thought, the same thought gets reinforced by the presence of similar such energy in the environment so the positivity of a single positive thought increases substantially. Same is the case with negative or any evil thought, which attracts negativity in the environment and its magnitude increases manifolds. The author explained it through an example of musical instruments. When a musical instrument in a room is played, it appears that other instruments placed in the vicinity, also start vibrating in harmony. A thought is a form of energy which has affinity for other similarly vibrating energies and in no time it takes exponential proportion. Perhaps this phenomenon in other words is called reinforcement. Once a good deed is done following a good thought, one gets the impetus to do more of it and the same logic applies to the evil thought and evil deed as well. The same is highlighted in simple words as ‘think good and good will happen’ or 'the kind of energy that we emit through our thoughts and actions, comes back to us manifested in different forms.’  
So even if a simple thought begins its journey from having a minuscule identity, it doesn’t remain so for very long. It works as a magnet attracting more of its kind and the net result turns out to be much better or worse depending on which path the thought initiated its journey in the first place. 
Book Review : Incarnations - India in 50 Lives
Title : Incarnations - India in 50 Lives
Author : Sunil Khilnani
The book was recommended by a well respected book aficionado. After having read the book, I am quite intrigued by the lives that the author has picked as representatives of Indian voices on diverse fronts. Some of the lives picked are absolutely pride of the nation who within their lifetimes, managed to gift the world a new or different philosophy while there are some which I felt are quite unworthy of this honour.
I may not agree completely with the choice of individuals that were portrayed to showcase voice of India, but the narrative kept me engaged throughout. Moreover, lives of some would surely leave the readers to know more about them, at least the book managed to make me enthused to read more on Srinivas Ramanujan, Rabindranath Tagore, Buddha, Jyotirao Phule, Visvesvaraya and Dara Shikoh.
These are individuals who had the best combination of some rare human traits - foresight, forthrightness, fearlessness and action-oriented dedication.
Ramanujan with his extraordinary intelligence worked on problems and offered solutions as if ‘he described the alien inhabitants of a distant planet two generations before we knew the planet existed.’ One doesn’t help marveling at the reach of that brain.
Rabindranath Tagore who realised even amidst the favoured trend at the time of independence of India that political freedom is not worth a great deal if one can’t free oneself from mental bondage. He tried to create a space for individual choice that stood apart from imposed collectives of caste, religion etc. Interestingly, he said, 'the Hindu ideal of marriage has no regard for individual taste or inclination’ and he called marriage - 'one of the most fruitless sources of unhappiness and downfall of man.’
Austere, ambitious and a visionary- Visvesvaraya turned an engineering degree into a superhuman world-fashioning prowess. He firmly believed in merit rather than preferential treatment for any particular social segment. He said, 'by ignoring merit and capacity I feared production would be hampered and the efficiency of the administration, for which we had been working so hard, would suffer’. Growth could efface caste handicaps, in his view. He abhorred the approach to correct the problem in short terms as it only leads to waste of state and social energy, and moreover he found it wrong principally.
Since the book accommodates 50 lives, the author has skimmed through the journeys of these individuals. The depth is missing and it leaves one wanting for more especially about certain lives. Perhaps that has been the intent of the author. The narrative has a natural flow to it which is quite enjoyable and keeps one hooked onto the book till the end. Found it an interesting way to look at history and the minds that shaped the identity of the nation through their thinking and approach.  

What's Brewing? Chole (Kabuli chane) with kulche
Kabuli Chana (Chole) - 1 cup
Onion - ½ cup (finely chopped)
Tomatoes - ½ cup (finely chopped)
Ginger - 2 inch piece (grated)
Coriander leaves - 1/3 cup (finely chopped)
Green chillies - 2 (finely chopped)
Lemon juice - 3 tsp
Red chilli powder - ¼ tsp
Chana masala - ½ tsp
Tamarind chutney - 1 tsp
Mint chutney - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Wash the Chole and soak them in sufficient water overnight. Boil them along with salt in the pressure cooker for one whistle and 10 minutes on lower flame. Turn off the gas and let the steam escape on its own. Take the chole (not the water) out from the cooker in a bowl. Add all the ingredients - onion, tomatoes, ginger, coriander leaves, green chillies, lemon juice, red chilli powder, chana masala, tamarind chutney and mint chutney to the chole. Mix well and serve them with Kulche. 
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