Monday, November 28, 2011

Who were you? Who will you be?

Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant. - Wikipedia
Have you ever thought of what/who you were in you past life/lives? Have you ever thought if the concept exists? For most of my life I believed there was only one dimension on Earth. There didn't exist any heaven or hell; there was only now for each of us, no past life or future life. But then I read 'Many Lives, Many Masters' by Dr. Brian Weiss. My uncle introduced me to this book. While he was narrating the gist of the story, there was this crazed look in his eyes & he seemed lost in the narration. And he's a doctor. He's been a general physician for more than 35 yrs now & he was excited by a book on past life & rebirth. Now I was curious. So I borrowed the book & started reading.

Dr. Weiss is a highly educated doctor & like the rest of the medical community was trained to think logically at every point. Existence of past life was not possible. Catherine walked into this office then with over 30 phobias. She had so many phobias that she was leading a miserable life. None of the conventional treatments were helping so Dr. Weiss tried using hypnosis & regression. Phobias that we live with are almost always caused by some trauma we've experienced earlier. Hypnosis & regression techniques are used to go back in memories and address the traumas. Some of her anxiety was cured after she relived some traumas but most still remained. So they went further back in time & in the process they stumbled upon the existence of past lives. Apparently she's lived more than 80 times in the physical form. If she had an unnatural death, the cause of her death became the phobia in her current life. And so on & so forth the book goes. But the most exciting thing I got out of the book was the concept of (what I'd like to call) 'Inner circle'. 

Sometimes some people walk into your life & stay forever. Most leave. Some feel like they've been around & will be around forever. Some feel like a passing cloud. He says that those people who are in your most inner circle will always be in this circle in every lifetime. Your daughter from two lifetimes ago may be that niece you're close to in your current lifetime, or your husband from a past life is your best friend in your current lifetime. The people who impact your life the most are those people who’ve been with you always, through life, death & in between. He also said that the nature of the relationship carries forward. If you’ve been having a rocky relationship with a close person, you will have a rocky relationship with that person even in future lives unless you break that chain. Maybe this explains my relationship with my ex-best friend? Maybe this explains my relationship with some of those people who have a profound effect on my life but aren’t around me. Does it also mean that now since I’m aware of this I should work on all those rocky relationships so that in my future lifetimes I have lesser grief? Intriguing thought.

Have I started believing in rebirth & reincarnation? I’m still unsure. Unless I undergo the same experience as Catherine did, I may never be.    

Pants on fire

Today I became a part of the Emergency Response Team in my office & was trained on the basics of fire safety & safety in general. It feels awesome to be an ERT member & have the responsibility of saving lives! It's also quite scary. Our trainer talked about (and emphasized) how unsafe our environment is & anything can cause a fire. Did you know that anything around you can cause a fire? He showed us & talked about the many cases of fire where people lost their life due to lack of common sense & presence of mind. And jumping from a burning building is a strict no. The Carlton building fire, 9/11 & Tucson Hotel fire are some cases to highlight people's immediate reaction of jumping out of burning buildings. I wanted to talk about what I learned today & hopefully you will learn somethings too.

The first thing on my agenda now is to identify the most hazardous places in my house & office. before that, what is fire? What are the three key things required for a fire? 
Oxygen, Heat, Fuel
Only if all these are present will there be a fire. Absence of any of these can't sustain fire. So this is the basic thing to keep in mind when we're in a fire situation. And fuel isn't just diesel or petrol; it's your carpet, your doors, papers, wires, anything. It's important to be aware of what around you can be fuel. So now, I will identify that area at home that all these three elements in abundance. 

Did you know there are three classes of fire?
  1. A- Solid- fuel is wood, paper, cotton, textiles; anything that burns and gives ash
  2. B- Liquid- fuel is 
    petrol, diesel, kerosene, paint, oils
  3. C- Gas- fuel is 
    LPG, Acetylene, hydrogen, methane
  4. D- Metal- fuel is 
    sodium, potassium, magnesium, lithium
  5. E- Electrical- transformer, welding m/c, generators, panel boards
For each of these classes there are different types of extinguishers too:
  • Water (for solid fire)
  • Foam (for Cooling + blanketing)
  • Dry chemical powder- mono ammonium phosphate powder (for blanketing)
  • Carbon di oxide (for blanketing)

If you notice on fire extinguishers there are alphabets written indicating the class of fire it's for. Usually most of them are A, B & C/B & C. They come in different sizes, weight, nozzles & designs. Buy the one that's easiest to handle for you. Also keep in mind that extinguishers need regular maintenance otherwise they might not serve your purpose. 

F- Find the fire
I- Inform the security/supervisor/fire brigade
R- Respond to the situation & try putting off the fire using the extinguisher
E- Evacuate everybody from the floor

Things to remember in these situations:
  • Who should you evacuate first- Physically challenged & Pregnant women (keep their  Mobile/intercom numbers handy always)
  • After the alarm siren wait for communication 
  • The longest you should wait for communication is 30-40 seconds
  • DO NOT give details of the emergency to people. It will only cause more panic. Just mention there's an emergency & they have to evacuate immediately.
  • If there's media outside, don't let employees go close to them. It will cause unnecessary drama.
  • Divert people to separate exits- evacuation will be faster
  • If anybody catches fire, throw a blanket on them from behind & throw water. Water will stop the heat from reaching the tissues & bones and will prevent 3rd degree burns. Do not remove the blanket immediately; It will cause skin to peel off. But do uncover the head so they can breathe. If there's a pool around, just push them in. 
So yeah, this is what I learnt today. We also practiced using the extinguishers. There were 4 types & I got to try two of them- the most difficult one & the most heaviest one. I did great with the heavy one; don't ask what happened with the other :| 

Be safe!

Here's a video we watched today about seatbelt safety. Really liked it so thought I would share it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maple Leaves

Early in 2011 we got news that my elder cousin sister was to get married in August in North America. So the four of us pulled up our socks, packed our bags & got ready to head to the country of maple leaves & ice hockey- CANADA

Having been to the U.S before, I didn't expect Canada to be anything different. But I was wrong. There are lots of differences between these two sister countries & if I were forced to live in one of them, I would choose Canada. Attitude, ambience, environment, people & governance were some of the big differences for me.
  1. Canada is a lot more laid-back than U.S is which is my favorite difference. U.S seems like it's on this never-ending, single participant race to nowhere, and if they pause for just a second the whole world will come crashing down. To live my life in that environment is a curse. But Canada seems very secure in their position as though being #1 is not everything. 
  2. It's green. It's so green! Apparently, for every burial the family has to plant a tree/seed. Every house has a lawn that if not maintained, you can be evicted. The downtown area also is quite green. The walkways, roads, footpaths, etc., all have plants hanging from the lamp-posts or shop doors and foliages. 
  3. The ambience of the place is so victorian. The fact that Canada was a British & French colony is evident in their cobblestone roads, historic architecture, naming of streets, trams & occasional vintage cars. I love it!    
  4. In Davenport, U.S.A, people are overly-friendly. Now that I think of it, it's kind of nauseating. In Mississauga, Canada, people aren't overly-friendly at all. They go about minding their business with the occasional nod of their head & greetings. In downtown Toronto you're invisible. I quite like that.   
  5. I never thought I'd ever say this of a country's governance, but I'm impressed with the Canadian governance. It's neither as paranoid as Republic of China nor is crazy like Kenya, Nigeria, etc. Did you know that education for kids of Canadian citizens is free until high school? And it takes just ~3 yrs to become a Canadian citizen. Healthcare is free; No conditions applied. You can afford to buy a house in 5 yrs. And not just any random, one BHK; you can buy a proper independent house in the residential areas. But how does the government afford all this? Your tax is 30% of your income. Big amount which leaves a small margin for disposable income. But then everything is taken of by the state. And apparently the people are fearful of the 'Tax-Men' which is why Canada has a low tax default rate. Taxes are really high here. Even shopping's a bitch due to the high taxes. *
Although we had plans to visit Montreal & Quebec City, we only visited Toronto & Niagara Falls. Oh, and since I'm talking about my travels I've got to mention that I didn't find anything particularly glamorous or picturesque about Niagara falls. Sorry, I just didn't.
These were my major travel takeaways from Canada. Beautiful place, rich history, numerous things-to-do. Do visit it once. 

*Facts not researched. Just word-of-mouth from Canadians. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bucket List

Lately I've been thinking about what are those things I want to do/experience before I die and here are what I could think of as of today when I'm 20 yrs and 336 days old. I'm sure this list will be built upon as I keep checking these ones off.
  1. Run off a cliff into the ocean
  2. Sky diving
  3. Scuba diving/snorkeling 
  4. Visit Greece, Pakistan, Cape of Good Hope, Prague, Newzealand, Brazil, Cuba, China, Istanbul, Spain, Germany, Helsinki, Ireland, and a whole lot of other places  
  5. Weigh at least 54 kgs at some point
  6. Make my family act according to what makes them happy instead of what society 'accepts'
  7. Get a tattoo
  8. Own a Dodge Viper

9.  Buy a dilapidated small palace and restore it to be my house

10.  Get some answers about rebirth & what I was in my past life
11. Deeply impact someone's life
12. Save/stop at least one kid from being raped/killed/sold/thrown into human trafficking/married off to someone 50 yrs older
13. A healthy library at home

14. Never let go of sports
15. Have all of this with someone who loves me
16. Have no regrets when I'm on my deathbed

Veni, Vidi, Vici| I came, I saw, I conquered

Sunayana Sen 


So I lied. This is the biggest lie I’ve spun. If the person I lied to ever found out, it would be the end of it. I didn’t tell anybody for a couple of weeks about it for the fear that I would be judged. I think the bigger fear was that I would judge myself. I usually don’t lie so I was paranoid about covering up my loopholes. I usually don’t lie because I don’t need to. I’m self-confident, barely insecure, the 10-yrs-later-it-won’t-matter attitude, and principled. When I hear others lying I believe it comes from lack of the above. So naturally I was scared of what my girls would say about it. Gpta said she doesn’t judge me at all and everyone does it; said I was just testing the waters. Sne said it was a big lie, but done well; didn’t judge me for the lie but concerned for the reason behind it.

But let’s talk about why Sne said it was ‘done well’. Even though I feel horrible about lying & all that jazz, I felt smart about ‘doing it well’! If you spin a lie that’s too good to be true the trick is to question it yourself; Start with the “But I was thinking that there’s something off….” sentence. Having admitting that statement made the lie more real apparently.       

Do I regret it? No & yes. I don’t regret having lied since there were concrete results, clarity & emotional stability; I regret having spun such a huge lie since if it ever unravels, I wouldn’t know where to hang my head. 

One may sometimes tell a lie, but the grimace that accompanies it tells the truth -Friedrich Nietzsche