14 July 2013

posted 12 Jul 2013, 07:29 by C S Paul   [ updated 12 Jul 2013, 07:39 ]

14 July 2013

Quotes to Inspire

  • We forgive to the extent that we love. -- Francois de La Rochefoucauld
  • He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would reach heaven: for every one has need to be forgiven. -- Thomas Fuller
  • Life to me appears too short to be nursing animosity or registering wrongs. -- Charlotte Bronte
  • They who forgive most shall be most forgiven. -- Josiah Bailey
  • Good to forgive--Best to forget.-- Robert Browning
  • Life is an adventure in forgiveness. -- Norman Cousins
  • We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies --Voltaire. -- Voltaire from Tentmakers 
  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.-Oscar Wilde
  • Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow - Albert Einstein 
  • In all things it is better to hope than to despair.- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Hope is the dream of a soul awake.-French Proverb
  • He who has never hoped can never despair.-George Bernard Shaw
  • Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.-George Weinberg
  • No man is beaten until his hope is annihilated, his confidence gone. As long as a man faces life hopefully, confidently, triumphantly, he is not a failure; he is not beaten until he turns his back on life. - Orison Swett Marden
  • The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.- Allan K. Chalmers

From "Bombay to Bangalore" by Sudha Murthy

Sudha Murty, chairperson, Infosys Foundation and author, is known for her ability to glean interesting stories from the lives of ordinary people and weave these narratives into a unique blend of anecdote and fable.

Her latest collection of stories, ‘The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk’, features a fascinating cast of characters, each of whom made an indelible impression on the author. Extracted here is a nugget from ‘Bombay (Now, Mumbai) to Bangalore (Now, Bengaluru)’, one of the most heartwarming stories in this collection:


It was the beginning of summer. I was boarding Udyan Express at Gulbarga railway station. My destination was Bangalore. As I boarded the train, I saw that the second-class reserved compartment was jam-packed with people. I sat down and was pushed to the corner of the berth. Though it was meant for three people, there were already six of us sitting on it…
The ticket collector came in and started checking people’s tickets and reservations.. Suddenly, he looked in my direction and asked, ‘What about your ticket?’ ‘I have already shown my ticket to you,’ I said.

‘Not you, madam, the girl hiding below your berth. Hey, come out, where is your ticket?’ I realized that someone was sitting below my berth. When the collector yelled at her, the girl came out of hiding.

She was thin, dark, scared and looked like she had been crying profusely. She must have been about thirteen or fourteen years old.She had uncombed hair and was dressed in a torn skirt and blouse. She was trembling and folded both her hands.. The collector started forcibly pulling her out from the compartment. Suddenly, I had a strange feeling. I stood up and called out to the collector. ‘Sir, I will pay for her ticket,’ I said. Then he looked at me and said, ‘Madam, if you give her ten rupees, she will be much happier with that than with the ticket.’

I did not listen to him. I told the collector to give me a ticket to the last destination, Bangalore, so that the girl could get down wherever she wanted.

Slowly, she started talking. She told me that her name was Chitra. She lived in a village near Bidar. Her father was a coolie and she had lost her mother at birth. Her father had remarried and had two sons with her stepmother. But a few months ago, her father had died. Her stepmother started beating her often and did not give her food. She was tired of that life. She did not have anybody to support her so she left home in search of something better.

By this time, the train had reached Bangalore. I said goodbye to Chitra and got down from the train. My driver came and picked up my bags. I felt someone watching me. When I turned back, Chitra was standing there and looking at me with sad eyes. But there was nothing more that I could do. I had paid her ticket out of compassion but I had never thought that she was going to be my responsibility!… One day, when I was in Delhi, I got a call from Chitra. She was very happy. ‘Akka, my company is sending me to USA! I wanted to meet you and take your blessings but you are not here in Bangalore.’.

Years passed. Occasionally, I received an e-mail from Chitra. She was doing very well in her career. She was posted across several cities in USA and was enjoying life. I silently prayed that she should always be happy wherever she was.

Years later, I was invited to deliver a lecture in San Francisco for Kannada Koota, an organization where families who speak Kannada meet and organize events. The lecture was in a convention hall of a hotel and I decided to stay at the same hotel. After the lecture, I was planning to leave for the airport. When I checked out of the hotel room and went to the reception counter to pay the bill, the receptionist said, ‘Ma’am, you don’t need to pay us anything. The lady over there has already settled your bill. She must know you pretty well.’ I turned around and found Chitra there.

I told her to get into my car. My driver looked at the girl curiously. I told him to take us to my friend Ram’s place. Ram ran separate shelter homes for boys and girls. We at the Infosys Foundation supported him financially. I thought Chitra could stay there for some time and we could talk about her future after I came back from my tours.

I was not sure if Chitra would even be there. But to my surprise, I saw Chitra looking much happier than before. Ram suggested that Chitra could go to a high school nearby. I immediately agreed and said that I would sponsor her expenses as long as she continued to study. I left the shelter knowing that Chitra had found a home and a new direction in her life.

I got busier and my visits to the shelter reduced to once a year. But I always enquired about Chitra’s well-being over the phone. I knew that she was studying well and that her progress was good.. I offered to sponsor her college studies if she wanted to continue studying. But she said, ‘No, Akka. I have talked to my friends and made up my mind. I would like to do my diploma in computer science so that I can immediately get a job after three years.’ She wanted to become economically independent as soon as possible.. Chitra obtained her diploma with flying colours. She also got a job in a software company as an assistant testing engineer. When she got her first salary, she came to my office with a sari and a box of sweets.

She was standing with a young white man and wore a beautiful sari. She was looking very pretty with short hair. Her dark eyes were beaming with happiness and pride. As soon as she saw me, she gave me a brilliant smile, hugged me and touched my feet. I was overwhelmed with joy and did not know what to say. I was very happy to see the way things had turned out for Chitra. But I came back to my original question. ‘Chitra, why did you pay my hotel bill? That is not right.’ Suddenly sobbing, she hugged me and said, ‘Because you paid for my ticket from Bombay to Bangalore!’


God and the Geese!

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to   let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Eve, his wife was taking their children to service in the farm   community in which they lived.    They were to talk about Jesus’ birth.  She asked him to come, but he refused that story is nonsense!” he said.

“Why would God lower Himself to come to  Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” So she and the children left, and he stayed home.    A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a  blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding  snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.

Then he   heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn’t go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly.

A  couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed. The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It’s warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a  bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on. Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them  toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in ever  direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm  and safe.

“Why don’t they follow me?!” he exclaimed “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?” He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild  geese. He then released it.

His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn and one-by-one, the other geese followed it to safety. He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes  earlier replayed in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!” Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. “Why   would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese-blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.

Suddenly he understood why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: “Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm.”


Become a Lake

The old Master instructed the unhappy young lady to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the Master asked. “Very bad” Said the lady.
The Master then asked the young lady to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and when the apprentice swirled his handful of salt into the lake, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young lady’s chin, the Master asked, “How does it taste?” “Good!” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the Master. “No,” said the young lady.

The Master said, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount we taste the ‘pain’ depends on the container we put it into.

So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things…..
Stop being a glass. Become a lake!”

Love, Wealth & Success

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men were sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.”

“Is the man of the house home?”, they asked.

“No”, she replied. “He’s out.”

“Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.”Go tell them I am home and invite them in!”

The woman went out and invited the men in” We do not go into a House together,” they replied. ”Why is that?” she asked.

One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added,”Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How n ice!!”, he said. ” Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?”
Their daughter was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

“Let us heed our daughter’s advice,” said the husband to his wife.”Go out and invite Love to be our guest .”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.”

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, t he lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”

The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him.
Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success !”


Did you know ?

  • A hippopotamus can run faster than a man can.  
  • A Holstein's spots are like a fingerprint or snowflake. No two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots. 
  • A honey bee must tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey 
  • A honey bee travels an estimated 43,000 miles to gather one pound of honey. A pound of honey consists of 29,184 drops. 
  • A honeybee can fly at fifteen miles per hour.  
  • A horse can sleep standing up.  
  • A male emperor moth can smell a female emperor moth up to 7 miles away.  
  • A male moth can smell a female moth from 100 yards away. 
  • A man and woman in Mexico city were engaged for 67 yrs and finally married at the age of 82 yrs. 
  • A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years 
  • A Manatee (Dugong) has very slow-clotting blood, and important in finding out about haemophilia. 
  • A Michigan law states that a wife's hair legally belongs to her husband. 
  • A millipede has 4 legs on each segment of its body.

Just for laughs

Heavenly Rewards

An 85 year old couple, having been married almost 60 years, died in a car crash. They had been in good health the last ten years mainly due to her interest in health food, and exercise. 

When they reached the pearly gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion, which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi. As they "oohed and aahed" the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. "It's free," St. Peter replied, "this is Heaven." 

Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges everyday and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on earth. The old man asked, "what are the green fees?". 
St. Peter said, "This is heaven, you play for free." 

Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out. 

"How much is it to eat?" asked the old man. 

"Don't you understand yet? This is heaven, it is free!" St. Peter replied with some exasperation. 

"Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?" the old man asked timidly. 

St. Peter lectured, "That's the best part...you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is Heaven." 

After hearing that the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, and shrieking wildly. St. Peter and the wife both tried to calm him down, asking what was wrong. 

The old man looked at his wife and said, "This is all your fault. If it weren't for your bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!" 


Shhhhhh!

A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, "Denomination?" The man says, "Methodist." St. Peter looks down his list, and says, "Go to room 24, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." 

Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. "Denomination?" 

"Lutheran." 

"Go to room 18, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." 

A third man arrives at the gates. "Denomination?" 

"Presbyterian." 

"Go to room 11, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." 

The man says, "I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass room 8?" 

St. Peter tells him, "Well the Baptists are in room 8, and they think they're the only ones here. 

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Five 

Messala sends a letter to Valerius Gratus about his discovery that Judah is alive and well, however Sheik Ilderim intercepts the letter and shares its contents with Judah. He discovers that his mother and sister were imprisoned in a cell at the Antonia Fortress and Messala has been spying on him.

Ilderim is deeply impressed with Judah's skills with his racing horses and is pleased to choose him as charioteer.

Simonides the merchant comes to Judah and offers him the accumulated fortune of the Hur family business, of which Simonides has been steward. Judah Ben-Hur accepts only the money, leaving property and the rest to the loyal merchant. They each agree to do their part to fight for the Christ, whom they believe to be a political savior from Roman authority.

A day before the race Ilderim prepared his horses and Judah appoints Malluch to organize his support campaign for him. Meanwhile, Messala organizes his own huge campaign, revealing Judah Ben-Hur's real identity to the world as an outcast and convict. Malluch challenges Messala and his cronies to a vast wager, which, if the Roman loses, would bankrupt him.

The day of the race comes. During the race Messala and Judah become the clear leaders. Judah deliberately scrapes his chariot wheel against Messala's and Messala's chariot breaks apart. Judah is crowned winner and showered with prizes, claiming his first strike against Rome.

After the race, Judah Ben-Hur receives a letter from Iras asking him to go to the Roman palace of Idernee. When he arrives there, he sees that he has been tricked. Thord, a Saxon, hired by Messala, comes to kill Judah. They duel, but before it is over Ben-Hur offers Thord four thousand sestercii to let him live. Thord returns to Messala claiming he has killed Judah - so collecting money from both Messala and Judah, returning to Rome to open a wine shop. Being supposedly dead, Judah Ben-Hur goes to the desert with Ilderim to plan a secret campaign.


PART V - CHAPTER XI 

Evening was hardly come upon Antioch, when the Omphalus, nearly in the centre of the city, became a troubled fountain from which in every direction, but chiefly down to the Nymphaeum and east and west along the Colonnade of Herod, flowed currents of people,
for the time given up to Bacchus and Apollo.

For such indulgence anything more fitting cannot be imagined than the great roofed streets, which were literally miles on miles of porticos wrought of marble, polished to the last degree of finish, and all gifts to the voluptuous city by princes careless of expenditure where, as in this instance, they thought they were eternizing themselves. Darkness was not permitted anywhere; and the singing, the laughter, the shouting, were incessant, and in compound like the roar of waters dashing through hollow grots, confused by a multitude of echoes.

The many nationalities represented, though they might have amazed a stranger, were not peculiar to Antioch. Of the various missions of the great empire, one seems to have been the fusion of men and the introduction of strangers to each other; accordingly, whole peoples rose up and went at pleasure, taking with them their costumes, customs, speech, and gods; and where they chose, they stopped, engaged in business, built houses, erected altars, and were what they had been at home.

There was a peculiarity, however, which could not have failed the notice of a looker-on this night in Antioch. Nearly everybody wore the colors of one or other of the charioteers announced for the morrow's race. Sometimes it was in form of a scarf, sometimes a badge; often a ribbon or a feather. Whatever the form, it signified merely the wearer's partiality; thus, green published a friend of Cleanthes the Athenian, and black an adherent of the Byzantine.

This was according to a custom, old probably as the day of the race of Orestes--a custom, by the way, worthy of study as a marvel of history, illustrative of the absurd yet appalling
extremities to which men frequently suffer their follies to drag them.

The observer abroad on this occasion, once attracted to the wearing of colors, would have very shortly decided that there were three in predominance--green, white, and the mixed scarlet and gold.

But let us from the streets to the palace on the island.

The five great chandeliers in the saloon are freshly lighted. The assemblage is much the same as that already noticed in connection with the place. The divan has its corps of sleepers and burden of garments, and the tables yet resound with the rattle and clash of
dice. Yet the greater part of the company are not doing anything.

They walk about, or yawn tremendously, or pause as they pass each other to exchange idle nothings. Will the weather be fair to-morrow? Are the preparations for the games complete? Do the laws of the Circus in Antioch differ from the laws of the Circus in Rome? Truth is, the young fellows are suffering from ennui.

Their heavy work is done; that is, we would find their tablets, could we look at them, covered with memoranda of wagers--wagers on every contest; on the running, the wrestling, the boxing; on everything but the chariot-race.

And why not on that?

Good reader, they cannot find anybody who will hazard so much as a denarius with them against Messala.

There are no colors in the saloon but his.

No one thinks of his defeat.

Why, they say, is he not perfect in his training? Did he not graduate from an imperial lanista? Were not his horses winners at the Circensian in the Circus Maximus? And then--ah, yes! he is a Roman!

In a corner, at ease on the divan, Messala himself may be seen. Around him, sitting or standing, are his courtierly admirers, plying him with questions. There is, of course, but one topic.

Enter Drusus and Cecilius.

"Ah!" cries the young prince, throwing himself on the divan at Messala's feet, "Ah, by Bacchus, I am tired!"

"Whither away?" asks Messala.

"Up the street; up to the Omphalus, and beyond--who shall say how far? Rivers of people; never so many in the city before. They say we will see the whole world at the Circus to-morrow."

Messala laughed scornfully.

"The idiots! Perpol! They never beheld a Circensian with Caesar for editor. But, my Drusus, what found you?"

"Nothing."

"O--ah! You forget," said Cecilius.

"What?" asked Drusus.

"The procession of whites."

"Mirabile!" cried Drusus, half rising. "We met a faction of whites, and they had a banner. But--ha, ha, ha!"

He fell back indolently.

"Cruel Drusus--not to go on," said Messala.

"Scum of the desert were they, my Messala, and garbage-eaters from the Jacob's Temple in Jerusalem. What had I to do with them!"

"Nay," said Cecilius, "Drusus is afraid of a laugh, but I am not, my Messala."

"Speak thou, then."

"Well, we stopped the faction, and--"

"Offered them a wager," said Drusus, relenting, and taking the word from the shadow's mouth. "And--ha, ha, ha!--one fellow with not enough skin on his face to make a worm for a carp stepped forth, and--ha, ha, ha!--said yes. I drew my tablets. 'Who is your man?'
I asked. 'Ben-Hur, the Jew,' said he. Then I: 'What shall it be? How much?' He answered, 'A--a--' Excuse me, Messala. By Jove's thunder, I cannot go on for laughter! Ha, ha, ha!"

The listeners leaned forward.

Messala looked to Cecilius.

"A shekel," said the latter.

"A shekel! A shekel!"

A burst of scornful laughter ran fast upon the repetition.

"And what did Drusus?" asked Messala.

An outcry over about the door just then occasioned a rush to that quarter; and, as the noise there continued, and grew louder, even Cecilius betook himself off, pausing only to say, "The noble Drusus, my Messala, put up his tablets and--lost the shekel."

"A white! A white!"

"Let him come!"

"This way, this way!"

These and like exclamations filled the saloon, to the stoppage of other speech. The dice-players quit their games; the sleepers awoke, rubbed their eyes, drew their tablets, and hurried to the common centre.

"I offer you--"

"And I--"

"I--"

The person so warmly received was the respectable Jew, Ben-Hur's fellow-voyager from Cyprus. He entered grave, quiet, observant. His robe was spotlessly white; so was the cloth of his turban.

Bowing and smiling at the welcome, he moved slowly towards the central table. Arrived there, he drew his robe about him in a stately manner, took seat, and waved his hand. The gleam of a jewel on a finger helped him not a little to the silence which ensued.

"Romans--most noble Romans--I salute you!" he said.

"Easy, by Jupiter! Who is he?" asked Drusus.

"A dog of Israel--Sanballat by name--purveyor for the army; residence, Rome; vastly rich; grown so as a contractor of furnishments which he never furnishes. He spins mischiefs, nevertheless, finer than spiders spin their webs. Come--by the girdle of Venus! let us
catch him!"

Messala arose as he spoke, and, with Drusus, joined the mass crowded about the purveyor.

"It came to me on the street," said that person, producing his tablets, and opening them on the table with an impressive air of business, "that there was great discomfort in the palace because offers on Messala were going without takers. The gods, you know, must have sacrifices; and here am I. You see my color; let us to the matter. Odds first, amounts next. What will you give me?"

to be continued

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