Mar 3, 2012

An American inspiration

"Nil nisi bonum", a famous Latin phrase translates to "Do not speak ill of the dead".  While not talking bad about the deceased is a good act, is it not noble to count on the positives and take time to think of the good moments spent with the deceased?  Especially of the one who is not from the same bloodline but just a co-worker.

I came to know that one of the (American) colleagues of us was battling with cancer for a couple of months and he passed away 2 weeks ago.  His boss sent an email conveying his departure and subsequently he wanted to spend some time to talk about the good nature of the person.  Really moved by this nature of the Western.

We are learning and implementing a variety of western culture - from Spaghetti to Macaroni, from capri to leggings, from free hair to artificial nails, from Metallica to flash mobs, don't we miss the humanity, honesty and integrity that exist in abundance here?  I guess West is not just GMT-5 hrs, it is still in the Thretha Yuga phase; kali is yet to hit this place.  Long live America, just this way!!!


  1. Good, very good in fact, but is it true ?
    notations used in chess .. ! for good; !! for very good; ? for bad move and !? for ambivalent

    please explain.Why did these people of thretha yug wipe out the native americans ? why were africans enslaved ? Why did they use napalm and toxins against vietnamese ? why were afgans bombarded to prehistoric age ? ditto iraq; how is dollar gaining weight while america is the biggest borrower in the world ? Pardon me if I have offended anyone. I hope I am wrong , but it would require some answers..

  2. I agree, from what little that I have seen, as individuals, they are great; very kind, generous, honest etc. one value, I really wish that Indians imbibe from them is 'dignity of labour' .. our youth keep accumulating degrees and diplomas (paid for by parents)
    and avoid manual work at any cost.

  3. Major- that expression was very interesting - I did not have a clue about it. Sorry I could not respond earlier - this week was very busy.

    Well, as an individual I did not think about the issues that you have pointed out. You may be 200% right but what I see in my day-to-day life, the picture is completely different. In the last 5 years, I have so many instances where I am astonished by Americans' humanity and integrity. Some of the qualities of these people certainly have to be learnt by everyone and we Indians in particular.

    - Anything and everything is on first come first served basis - people follow the queue. No chaoes ever at all.

    - They dont yell at each other in an argumentative situation. Particularly the boss - the voice is never raised.

    - When I bought maternity clothes, the person at the counter finished billing, packed my clothes in a bag, came out of the counter and handed the bag over to me saying "Congratulations"

    - Once my hubby slept on the bus and the bus passed our stop. He woke up in a short while and went to the driver and asked him to stop the bus in the next stop and he told him that he slept and missed his stop. The driver promptly stopped the bus and gave him a transfer ticket to take the opposite direction bound bus. Our bus drivers loot 25p to 5 Rs easily.

    When I was taking my son to a mommy-and-me class which want the participants to wear socks during the session, I once forgot the socks in the car; when I said that and wanted to get back to the car, the security personnel at the complex asked me whether she could go and get it as I was having a toddler with me.

    And I had another experience with a bank transaction which I dont want to write about here.

    So I think on the whole, the people are very good and are still having morals. But when someone has a projection of a super power it is very very natural that they go out of the norms sometimes to show off. I am not justifying this but it seems very natural for me.

  4. Lemurian - hmm, I dont agree with you. A country is made up of people only and they are not separate entities. As regards USA, the rulers want to see it as the BOSS and guess that is driving them crazy.

  5. Sh... I have not been to USA, I do keep hearing a lot on the lines of what you have said. I also hear a lot of sermons on why we cannot be like that. personally , I feel once the basic needs are fulfilled , and when one feels secure, then it is easy to be kind and magnanimous.

    just think about the issues I mentioned earlier. please check out this link

    I am not sure if Americans can maintain their 'goodness' in adverse conditions. I am really impressed with Japanese, particularly their behaviour in adversity.

    recently I read a wonderful book "The_Immortals_of_Meluha" . a fantastic book actually set in 'thretha yug' and Ram rajya ..definitely worth reading.

  6. Whoever reads "The Immortals of Mehula" would easily relate Meluha, the land of Suryavanshis to US and Ayodhya, the land of Chandravanshis to India.

    That's Fact or Fiction. But history says the people of ancient India taught civilization to the rest of the world. But that remains just history till date. It's really disheartening that we Indians are forgetting the true human values. All the more our epics and our masters speak about them, we are only on the losing trend. Greed has conquered. People are trying to get spiritual but not humane.

    I dont feel that here in our land, these are due to insecurity/basic needs not being fulfilled.

    I see people who are well off rushing and competing to get their share of relief funds from the Govt., People being well paid claim false bills - all with a claim that its their "share" and "right". More such things can be said on people behaving cheap. Not just monetary. Also things like - A seated person pretending not to notice a person who really needs a seat in a bus., and many more. Even a least amount of charity is done with a label or is done just for it.

    Basically no moral values were/are imparted to children for quite sometime. May be that was because of the insecurity of the previous generation.May be that has been passed to the next as greed and ill-will.

    But I dont want to sound totally pessimistic. Children who are brought up in the right way are good. A considerable % of people are and are willing to be right. Lets hope that the next generation is given the right thing. We'll have to do our best part on those lines.

    Who doesn't want to be part of Rama Rajya? But who is the saviour?

  7. Major - I will read the reference soon. But I too do not think if people's basic needs are fulfilled and if they are secure then comes the humanity/magnanimity etc. They are innate characters and are injected right from the time of birth (at least what I believe them to be). Here the kids are taught to take turns, say thank you, excuse me and sorry when they get into a social ambience at very very young age. And they see their caregivers to behave so and they tend to follow their models. Chinnu started daycare/playschool since Oct. last year and he thanks me whenever I give him his milk/food or water or anything that he asks for.

    As Lakshmi pointed out, where are those moral sessions we used to have during our school days? Do the kids of this generation or the teenagers today, have any idea about Ramayana or Mahabharatha which teach human values? (to an extent even parents in the age group 50-60 also do not know these stories) At least Tirukkural? It is only viewed as a "manappada paguthi" and forgotten after the exams. Nobody has interest to buy these books and preserve them and refer to them for life long. It is because we are heading towards money and luxury - I should have at least 1 Re. more than my kith and kin, more than my neighbour more than any x,yz that I know of. Only goal needs to be achieved - how I achieve I would not bother about it.

    I have no optimism that we will come out of this pit ever. We are so unfortunate to be living in this particular time in this land.

  8. Lakshmi - was it you for sure? the style of the language does not seem to me that it was you.

    I disagree with you on one point - even today's generation is not going to make things right, because I feel that the % of the kids who are brought up in the right way, is way too low. If they continue to be good, they would not be allowed to live so/would have to settle down in one of the Western countries.

  9. Sh... It is a vicious cycle. I have heard people , particularly, from the northern frontier,saying, "you have to fight your way to get what you want, or else you will get nothing" . when everyone goes about with such attitude, life becomes difficult for everyone.

    The simplest example , you see at a traffic crossing; you wait for your turn and it might happen that your turn never comes. As I see it , if everyone is assured that their turn would come, people will follow the traffic rules, and be more particular about their ps and qs. To get that assurance we need proper infrastructure and resources.

    on the lighter side; "A girl growing up among four brothers has to choose between eating fast and starving."

    @Lakshmi..It never struck me that suryavanshis could be pointing to Americans, what with divine laws, varanashrama,karma, dharma, vishnus and rudras

  10. Sh.. What made u think so? What about the style of the language? I dont get you!

    Yes I know. What you say is what is happening now. One of my husband's friends settled in US says "I'll come back to India only when the caste reservation system in uprooted". But many return back thought they know they'll not get the same luxury here. Main reason - they cannot attach themselves to a foreign land for a long time. They come back in search of their roots even after 15 years of their stay there. I'm talking about people around me whom I know. My hope is on such things. May be such people would try to make a difference in future. Just hopes..

    @Murali Iyer..I didnt say Suryavanshis pointed to Americans. Just relate. Not ditto. When I said, Suryavanshis relate to Americans, I didn't mean all about that. Just how people meticulously follow the law, how process for everything is defined and followed(without questions and without individual amendments) uniformity found in city development, integrity of the people and things like that. I hope I made my point clear. That was the first thing that struck me when I was reading through. So I thought that was obvious. Sorry if it's not.

  11. Major - I see your point. but still I am not convinced enough that it is only the infrastructure and resources.

    Lakshmi - Dont you know someone's style of writing or expressing...I was just pointing at it.

    I guess I will be one of those people who go back and live in my motherland after a few years. But we are like garden lizards - we yield to the atmosphere and change ourselves. That is how we are able to live in this country without issues. Same thing happens when we get back.

  12. I believe no body or no people is evil by nature, but it is the circumstances that bring out the base feelings and behaviour.

    I have not seen anyone raising his voice or being discourteous in any way, inside a library, but in a fish market you need to raise your voice just to be heard.

    May be the Americans have created an environment for themselves, full credit for creating such an environment, that the well of kindness perpetually overflows in every being. But when they do operate in a difficult environment, I am not sure how they would behave.

    India is definitely going through a difficult period. There is grinding poverty on one side and rising affluence and aspirations on the other. The occidentals , by nature, try to change their environment while the orientals, traditionally, look inwards for ways to attain equanimity under any kind of environment. Today, we are losing our faith in our methods and are looking to west for solutions. We don't seem to have the will or wherewithal to improve the standard of living for 1.2 billion people. I feel the increase in crime and corruption is directly related to rising materialism. I believe, self flagallation or imitating the west cannot solve our problems.There is no shortcut to development. We may have to settle for a slower but more equitable growth.

    The western model of development based on industrialization, urbanization and consumerism has had its negative fall outs in europe as can be sen from The Dickensian novels highlighting the poverty, distress, and exploitation . The west overcame these problems through colonization and exploitation of Asian and African colonies. Our corporate - govt nexus is colonizing parts of our own country and exploiting own people to feed the process of 'development'. Why should most of the drivers, rikshaw-walahs and servants in Delhi be from Bihar and UP ?

    I have seen enough of goodness in remote areas of our country, to be a die-hard optimist. It is urbanization that is scary. I myself have chosen to settle down in a village since I can neither afford nor get used to the city life-style.

    @ lakshmi Yes, after reading your comment I do see the parellel. But I suppose these are the physical aspects of a civilisation ie the systems and processes. (The communist russia or the Third Reich of Hitler, had also put in place very efficient systems and processes.). May be I was looking at how the Meluhans ensured desirable value systems, like equal opportunity and justice for all. I found the system of 'children belonging to the state' very interesting even while impracticable. It is so similar to Plato's Utopia where children are educated by the state and categorized into guardians, protectors and craftsmen/farmer, a western model varnashramam.