Tag Archives: Buddha

The Killer ‘C’.. Are You A Victim?

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande.

“I have no life. I depend upon comedy shows to laugh, I don’t remember when I was truly happy anymore. There’s no connection with anyone. Inspite of working a lot and achieving too much, life seems complicated and meaningless at the same time. I have even started forgetting things now”: the 32 year old man was quite distressed when he spoke:

“Can you take a break?” I asked.

He laughed sarcastically.

“Doc, there’s so much competition in my field, that I cannot afford to take a break. They depend upon me for things to be done well. If something goes wrong, it reflects upon my career. If I am not available, I will be replaced”. He replied.

“What are your work hours?” I asked.

“I start from home at about 9 in the morning” he said. I waited for the remaining part of the reply but he didn’t speak. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“When do you return?” I knew the answer in his silence. I had heard it one too many times.

“There’s no fixed time” his wife replied, “Mostly after 9 at night, sometimes past midnight. But even after coming home his calls and online work continues.”

“That’s because I have to deal with the Western clients, their timezones differ” he snapped.

“May I speak with the doctor?” the wife asked him, a little insistent.

He nodded, looking down.

“Doc, we had a love marriage. He was not like this at all. He was full of life and vigor. He made everyone smile and had hundreds of friends. Now he has no friends, but even with me and our daughter, he gets hardly five minutes every day. On weekends he is so exhausted mentally to interact that the schedule is almost set: visiting mall, watching a movie, eating out and coming home tired again, immediately to sleep. He gets irritated without any reason. He was so attached to our daughter, she was his life, but now even she avoids playing with him. Even enjoyment has become mechanical” both of them became tearful.

Then, lowering her voice, she continued “Dr. Rajas, this is embarrassing, but who else can I tell this to? You are like family to us, so I will say it. We had a great sex life earlier. Now he seems to have lost all interest in me. We have lost our physical bonding just because of lack of time. And now we are losing the mental connection too, as he has started becoming quite forgetful” she completed. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

They were the second couple today with similar problems.

Excessive work hours, traveling long distances, continuous multitasking without resting the brain and body and eating junk have become the lifestyle for not only most software engineers, but almost every doctor, sales and marketing person, and most other careers in India.

The concept of “minimal salary” and “maximum work hours”, so vehemently fought for by the human rights organizations around the world, seem quite unrelatable and impractical in India: not only competition, voluntary overwork, unrealistic financial expectations and unemployment, but a social tendency to “shove this phenomenon under the carpet” has led to a country of human robots who cannot connect with other humans.

India is an exploitation hub since decades. Cheap manpower is our famous boast. And the worst part is that they are thrown away instantly the moment their productivity is less than excess, or when someone cheaper can replace them. Years of loyalty, honesty, hard word had zero meaning in corporate world. You are just another table with an assigned process. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande. Be it secretaries, clerks, employees, students, teachers, or labourers, the message by the employer is loud and clear: work as told or go. We have many others to replace you. Eight hours of work with two hours of travel every day is itself very taxing, add two more hours of work and on is misusing body and brain both. Health is not on the cards here.

5-6 hours of sleep has become a norm with most of the above categories. For a normal brain, 7-8 hours of sleep is essential. Whatever one may hear about geniuses sleeping less, chronic lack of sleep does cause damage in the brain, that manifests as irritability, personality changes, forgetfulness and less mental efficiency.

Years ago, gymming at the Athletic Club in London ON Canada, I met an old man in the locker room. After the initial ‘Hi’, he asked me what I did. I replied that I was a postgraduate doctor, now a specialty fellow at the University. He said “Oh I did my career in health too”.

“Were you a doctor too?” I asked.

“No. I did many jobs, whatever gave me happiness and satisfaction, but I made my career in my own health. For decades now, I have eaten only healthy food, cooked for myself, taken good sleep, read a lot, traveled the world, played with kids and of course gymmed: not to show off my muscles, but to keep fit. I am ninety two now, healthy, and most importantly, happy”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

I told him I envied that lifestyle.

“It’s a choice, doc, and a sacrifice too. If you want health, you must give up anything that is against it. I had great job offers, but they did not go with my choice of a healthy life. Now I think I was right. I don’t have too much money, but I am happy and healthy. I had many friends with millions in their bank accounts, but they are either dead or can barely walk”.

I told that couple this short story. They appeared to understand.

“I will start working upon this, doc” said the husband.

One aspect of human evolution should be good mental and physical health. However we are going backwards. People have developed funny concepts: that muscles and physical stamina alone is health, that less weight is the best health etc. We meet many who diet excessively but piss of everyone they meet as they are continuously irritable due to hunger. Mental and physical health shows upon a person’s face: peace and happiness are its prime components. These are impossible without bonding with your family, ensuring adequate sleep and rest, and opting for stress-free career choices.

As for now, the ‘Killer C’ called career is turning out to be the biggest life- killer at least in India.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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When once I met God

When once I met God
(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Rainy Sunday. My Corolla, still young at 8 years.

I had just finished rounds and was still irritated at the never ending task list. From grocery to Income tax, there always is something pending, and what’s done is never enough. Countless patients with their endless problems, trusting you to solve them, and many suspicious that you have other intentions. Add the cut-throat professional competition where hitting below the belt is a smart move, and frame the picture with the duties towards each relation, closer the costlier. Driving through the city, you cross faceless somebodys flaunting ugly egos. Their middle name is money. Bribe hungry vampires wait at every corner, dressed in official greed. Nothing to be proud of, nowhere to go and nobody to look up to.

Life felt like a carcass with vultures on all sides, tearing me away.

Top gear, I entered the expressway and switched on my mental autopilot: the beautiful sound system that was prepared to play the huge collection of music: seventeen thousand tracks, pieces of history encoded in sound, human creation that separated us from animals.

The system burst alive with “Les Valses de Vienne” by Dmitri Shostakovich / Francois Feldman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6mwqQvv99c ), and my brain lit up at the smiling face of my most favourite actress Sophie Marceau dancing gracefully to the waltz.
Irritability vanished, and a hopeful yearning for good days started whistling to the tune of this eternal piece of music. It hijacks my brain every single time. Born to a shop maid and a truck driver who divorced when she was nine years old, she made to the top in French films and a mark in Hollywood. She must have had her mountains of problems and valleys of a lustful society to overcome before she reached the top, but she indeed made happy memories for the world! It must be so damn difficult to smile and love and dance in front of a camera, knowing inside the reality called world. Then I felt it: that the beauty is your inside, what you can be, what you do good. Nothing outside will ever change, and the mirage of a utopian society will always kick between the legs of most idealists. But at the end of the day, what one will run to, what one will beg for, and what one will regret having lost is this: that all the time one had to do good and feel happy was wasted in feeling bad about what people are and what they do.

The music system, competing with the madness of its owner, shuffled to Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa”.. “A man gets tied up to the ground, He gives the world its saddest sound” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNbltoivskc ) . How tightly we hold on to the ground, never letting go! How religiously we guard the image we like to create of ourselves for others, and how much beauty of life we sacrifice to safeguard that image!

The rain decided to be nice for once, and became torrential. If at all it rains, it should rain like the final war, or it should not rain at all!

“Moonriver” by Henry Mancini started, as Audrey Hepburn sung in a most loving, melodiously romantic voice, what the heart had always craved: “There’s such a lot of world to see… we’re after the same Rainbow’s end” … so many artists have made timeless icons of lovely moments that soak our lives..

God knows how mute love would have been without music, and how dry without the rains!

The uncontrollable desire to get drenched, suppressed for long, took over me. No book said it was unbecoming of a doctor. I parked on the shoulder and got out. Happy raindrops jumped upon my being and got hold of everything I had.

Ironically, the happiest and the saddest moments in life are when you have nowhere to go and nothing to prove. If you hold a hand in the rain, you are the luckiest, richest in the world. If that hand holds your hand too, you have lived life.

Steaming hot poisonously sweet tea, made by a roadside stall, added to the flavour of that moment. Like a loving but stern mother slapping the bum of her naughty child, nature had shooed shut human movement, a reminder to the highest rule: enjoy happiness while alive. . Big and small, rich and poor, all looked at the sky, content with nothing, smiling at the rain, forgetting the desire to earn more in that moment!

Nostalgic, I recalled sitting by my father and watching water-lily buds broken open by raindrops. I remembered my stunningly beautiful friend with curly hair who kissed me on Marine Drive by the roaring sea under the stormy rain, standing on that parapet, forgetting that there were shocked people around. I remembered falling flat upon my back like a hundred idiots while running with my kids, telling them to be careful.

What is it that I am running after now, with so many beautiful things around me: the music, the rain, the friends, my kids, coffee, books, driving, writing… What more will I buy that will make these things more meaningful? Is it worth being unhappy, being irritable with the world, trying to change people, having more money than being able to enjoy peacefully?

Once in a recent radio programme (recorded) Mr. Ameen Sayani, that messiah of voice, played a rare clip of speech by Mr. Raj Kapoor “Sangeet nahin hota toh jaane hum kahan hote, kya karte, kaise jeete (If there were no music, God knows Where we would be, what we’d do or how we’d live)”.

I suddenly realized, that the music, the drive, the road and the rain had conspired to take away my worries. They had reset the method in my madness. The eternal ‘Flute’ so dearly mentioned in “Geetanjali” by Rabindranath Tagore had played in me.

The rain had stopped for now. The music never will.

Thus I met God in my own Happiness.

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Time doesn’t fly!

Time doesn’t fly!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“How time flies!” meeting after a long time, a friend exclaimed. “You have not changed much.” she added.

I am usually dumbstruck when someone from remote past meets enthusiastically and presumes you are the same person. If at all I remember the name and reference from the past, I do ask some “safe” questions, but mostly remain a poor communicator compared to the hyper-dramatic “hug and hold and be ecstatic” types. As she went away apparently amused and with a promise to keep in touch, my mind lifted the curtain upon a full blown orchestra in waiting within it.

Did time fly?
No. It walked very slowly, laboriously, and made me older than I ought to have been. It ate into my youth like a tyrant, laughing aloud, meaning to humiliate openly, as if asking “You wanted this life, so pay for it. You couldn’t choose to do what most do. You had to listen to yourself”.

Time showed me the irony: that nothing good gets rewards in life, unless you learn the language of spiritual satisfaction. It showed me the compromises lurking on every nook and corner leading to success, fame and riches. It taught me that the price of being right is loneliness. It made me look skywards every other day, seeking intervention and justice from the divine, for things not only my own, but those suffering around me too. It also taught me patience.

Patience that must outlast its own being meaningful, patience that must last beyond life itself.

Time took away the innocence, the faith, the trust that I came with to life. It made heavy each bit of each moment when the rolling tears had a reflection of laughing friends in it, they didn’t turn away then, they just denied those tears! The margins between friends, enemies and strangers were blurred by the mysterious paintings of that eternal artist: time.

Time taught me the songs of hurt in the notes of happiness.

Not everyone lives in truth. Most who compromise and tell themselves “I am Happy” never get to know true happiness. There are rare truly happy people, with one common quality: they have less desire, less interaction and acceptance of themselves not being understood or accepted.
Otherwise in most cases true happiness is inversely proportional to the product of intelligence and sensitivity.

It is a sin, now I have started feeling, that we live among so many lies, afraid to fight them, scared to even think about things that are wrong just because of a persistent social phobia. In an attempt to forget the slow onslaught upon our very being by the passing time, we have chosen to find respite in food and entertainment, in words that please and amuse, and in running away from ourselves and home and even reality to distant destinations, only to return and find the old man ticking slowly.

Awareness of the genuine negativity in the world can be labeled depression only by the slow witted, slower by centuries!

Time doesn’t fly. It makes you pay for each moment. These moments are mostly so painful and filthy, so filled with labour and envy of the undeserving having it all, that we choose to only remember the “Good Bits”, hopping over the bad, hoping it will die away before us. It does not.

The quest for enlightenment comes only after one garners the ability to survive the truth. Of all pains in the world, of all difficulties in life, truth is the worst to bear. One starts to understand Lord Buddha only after that courage.

Next time I meet my friend, I will tell her that time didn’t fly. Also that I have changed, become a different person than the one she knew. Just to keep the books clean. One more stranger will be added to our list of acquaintances. She won’t care, nobody does about these things.

One more piece of life will so die.

Time doesn’t fly. Life does, in the opposite direction.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande.

I have to walk my life alone. Always.

I have to walk my life alone. Always.

I can deceive myself and others by pretending to understand.. Hold hands and falsely reassure myself and someone else of things being shared, but then we both choose to close our eyes to the reality: that no pain ever can be shared. No happiness, no personal achievement, no mental evolution, even peace cannot be shared. We cannot divide anything that’s not physical, anything in mind/ heart is not often understood even by ourselves.
The only thing that can be shared is Love.
I can depend upon no one. I can use people, and they can use me for mutual gains. This is growth, but at the cost of either’s freedom to grow alone, and the speed of growth of the faster one among the two. Friends and family can help me in tasks I specify, but then again, I can’t depend upon anyone if I want things done when I want them done. No one is born for the purpose of helping me achieve.
The only person I can depend upon is myself.
I have to pursue my dreams. I have to stand up to my aims. I cannot expect anyone to push or pull me. No one can motivate anyone. Those who need to learn and move ahead do so by their own will power. Those who need help need it all their life. Those who blame others, circumstances, and situations are in fact declaring their own submission to these all. One may fall due to someone else’s fault, but getting up is always a personal choice.
I am the only guardian alive for my dreams.
There are no guarantees of any future. Nobody is expected to follow rules to suit you. Everyone will ultimately choose what suits them most and that too, materialistically. I am, and you too are selfish to the core, that being the human nature. Some of us learn to overcome this for love in different forms. This is a personal choice, not mandatory for others because you chose to be unselfish. No one dances to your tune, and you do not dance to anyone’s.

I can only choose what I do, not people.
Relationships between two where one is superior are fake to the core. That is slavery by definition. Be it between two humans or that between a human and an institute or society: respecting each other equally is the definition of a relationship, all else is financial / legal / professional contract. A relationship where both are not equally happy and satisfied (words may lie) from within is useless and redundant. It is amazing, the length to which we may deceive ourselves before realizing that the other was just using us, and our imagination of them was a mistake all along!
A relationship is only possible with true equality and mutual respect.
There is immense pain in loneliness, but there is cheap compromise in accepting a deceitful relationship. There is no meaning in a bond between two if there is no true love. Complete understanding and acceptance, no deceit, mutual respect of each other’s choices, and also a willing, caring attitude towards solving the differences are an essential part of any mixture of minds. We often deceive ourselves for the people we like, and realize over time that Nature / God / Prudence / Wisdom / Intuition had all warned us again and again about compromising for petty gains. If to avoid looking down upon ourselves in future, we need to be more careful in choosing who we trust. This is the brain put to one of its best uses.
Love is only blind, we should not make it deaf and dumb too.

Rajas Deshpande