Here’s to you, Mrs.Nayan Sreesanth…

Where there is compassion, there can be no separateness.
All of us believe we love people that are close to us. But there’s a higher quality than love. It is compassion. Compassion has its roots in Latin and simply means ‘co-suffering’ or ‘to suffer together’. But a more relevant meaning is that compassion is about ‘having a deep awareness of another’s suffering and wanting to relieve it.’  Love, on the other hand, is about possessing someone. It has, over time, acquired a conditionality. ‘I will love you if you love me’ or ‘I will love you if you are truthful or this or that…’ The moment a condition specific to the relationship is not met or fulfilled, the love ‘deal’ is off! But compassion is unconditional. Which is why it is beyond love.
Pic: Nirmal Harindran, The Indian Express
Yesterday, S.Sreesanth, 30, the ‘enfant terrible’ of Indian cricket, married his girlfriend of six years, Bhuwaneshwari Shekawat, 28, a.k.a Nayan, who is from one of the royal families of Rajasthan and is a jewellery designer. Sreesanth has been in the eye of the spot-fixing scandal that broke in the Indian Premier League in May this year. He has since been banned from all forms of the game by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He spent a few weeks in Tihar jail earlier this year and has been booked under the stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 (a law that was enacted to combat crime and terrorism). The whole country, led by the media whipping up a frenzy over the scandal, the social media and almost anyone who voiced an opinion – went against Sreesanth. Most believed he was guilty beyond doubt, several opined that he deserved what he was faced with and many, many others felt his whole Life was over. Perhaps, he too must have thought it was all over. But Nayan did not think so. Nor did she believe what the world was saying. She stood by him as he was taken from one court to another, one investigation to another, one lock-up to another, to finally a longish term at the Tihar jail, before being granted bail. And at a time, when most others would have broken off the relationship, Nayan agreed to go ahead with her marriage to Sreesanth! A friend of mine, on facebook, marvelled at the young lady’s conviction in her beau. I too admire that quality. I am not here to comment on what Sreesanth did or what course the law will take on his case(s). That’s for the legal system to decide. But I want to celebrate the compassion that this young lady has displayed. In a world, where everything is conditional, to standby someone – who has already been tried by the media, pronounced guilty by popular perception and ostracized by society – is really, truly remarkable.
You don’t have compassion for another. You arecompassion. The Buddha has described compassion as the feeling, the quality that transcends love. When you love someone you are desirous of that someone, you need that someone to complete you, but when you are compassionate, that same love becomes a sharing. You not only relate better to the other person, you actually feel for that person better – sometimes even better than the way the person feels for herself or himself. Compassion heals – definitely the person who is compassionate, but also the one who receives compassion. It is the highest form of energy – one that dissolves all separateness and makes way for our souls to be in unison, in harmony!
It was compassion that made Gandhi and Mother Teresa do what they did. We don’t even have to rise in love to those heights. If we can just stop asking ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ in each interaction in Life and give others our unconditional support and understanding, without judging them, we would have walked the path of compassion. And for this learning, this morning, with due respect to Simon and Garfunkel (ref. ‘Mrs.Robinson, written by Paul Simon, performed first as a single in 1968; Grammy 1969), ‘Here’s to you, Mrs.Nayan Sreesanth…More power to you…Mrs.Nayan Sreesanth…’!

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Dear Parent, Trust, Lead, Inspire…

The primary role of parents is to instil good values in their children and give them the freedom to choose a Life they want to live. And then let them just be. More often than not, children will, with their sense of adventure, make mistakes with their choices, stumble and fall, then they will wake up and smell the coffee, find their way in Life and learn their lessons, even while licking their wounds. After all, isn’t this how we have all grown up? Even so, irrespective of what your child ends up doing with her or his Life, at whatever age, it is your duty as a parent to reiterate to your child that you still trust her or him and that she or he is always welcome to come back home!
Mother and Sreesanth: That hug matters a lot
In the latest Bollywood hit, Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani, the relationship between the main protagonist Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) and his dad (Farooq Sheikh) is under some stress owing to the father’s second marriage. But when Bunny is leaving home for studying in Chicago, his dad tells him, while giving him a tight hug: “No matter what happens, I will trust you. And this will always be your home.” This is not filmi alone. This morning’s papers in India carry pictures of cricketer Sreesanth’s mother hugging and kissing him when he got back home to Kochi after 27 days in jail. Sreesanth’s fall from grace has been in the headlines the last few weeks. No one would touch him professionally (or personally too) with a barge pole. But to his parents’, despite the seriousness of his alleged offences, he is still their child who has come back home after a tumultuous season in Life.
No matter how old you are, to your parents, you will still be a child. And what one needs, especially in the face of a crisis, whether self-inflicted or per Life’s plan, or in a way both, is a warm hug that says ‘Everything’s gonna be okay. We love you and trust you.’ People make mistakes. To err is human. Who hasn’t made a mistake? Sometimes, the mistake may affect only the person who has committed it. Or her or his immediate family. At other times, a whole lot of people may be affected. Making mistakes is a part of Life, integral to growing up. Analyzing, dissecting, learning from a mistake is the key. But far more significant is the role of parents who must continue to reassure their child, even if that child now is grown up and has children, and should not have done what she or he did, that whatever’s happening all part of Life’s ways to test you and teach you.
To be sure, there are no guarantees that children who have been taught the right values by their parents will live by them all their lives. Normally they do. And logically they must. But people do go astray. They are adventurous. Or they are simply seduced and blinded by the circumstances that Life places them in. There’s an old saying in Hindi: “jab subah ka bhula hua sham ko ghar laut aata hai, usse bhula nahin kehte”. It means: When the one who went astray comes back home pining, embrace him. Don’t ostracize him.
Good parenting is perhaps a responsibility that never ends. Obviously, what appears to children to be a generation gap, is actually years of experience of having lived and faced Life, stumbled, fallen, gathered and stood up to walk again, coming into play to counsel, to suggest, to guide, to lead. Of course, an integral part of that responsibility, is to teach children who have ended up creating or getting into serious situations, to face the consequences of their actions. Or if they haven’t done wrong, but have been victims of circumstance, to teach them to fight to clear their name. A parent is any child’s first hero (or heroine). And no matter what happens, a reassuring parent stands a better chance of counselling and guiding a person in distress. I write this from experience. In the face of inscrutable circumstances, with no way out in sight, when it seemed like all was over, and the whole world (including my immediate family) had written me and my wife off, my dad, held my shoulders, and told me and my wife: “You both will come out of this. Keep the faith. You are winners!” Those were compassionate words. But more than that they were trusting. And that trust mattered, when in every material sense, we were losers!
Hopefully, your children will not lead you to situations like the one Sreesanth led his parents to, or I led my parents to, but if they do, remember, you have a bigger role to play than just grieve over your children’s fate. And that role is to be a true parent – a hero, an inspiration, a friend who continues to trust despite the evidence, the circumstances and the odds, and the one sage counsel who guides the person in the dock to do, from hereon, what’s right than what appears to be right!

Learn from your mistakes, don’t brood over them!


It is perfectly fine to make a few mistakes in Life. So don’t ever waste time regretting or brooding over what’s happened. When you make a mistake, and you realize it, get up, dust yourself, look for the learning(s) from the experience, and move on!

Sreesanth : Not guilty until proven

India was shocked yesterday as news broke, yet again, of spot-fixing in cricket matches and a well-known player Sreesanth was arrested with a few others. It was also yesterday that Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt surrendered in court to complete his 42-month jail term for a crime he inadvertently committed in 1993. Both events, naturally, led to mixed reactions from people. Many were quick to write Sreesanth’s epithet and to conclude that Dutt perhaps deserved this. I would, however, humbly urge that we look at the learnings here rather than judge, criticize and opine.

Each of us, at some point or the other, has erred. Sometimes wantonly, sometimes knowingly, and at other times, simply, unknowingly. To not make mistakes is inhuman. What’s important__and intelligent__ however is to learn from mistakes and not repeat the same mistake twice. Clinging on to regrets in Life is a sure recipe for disaster. More disastrous, at times, than even the mistake and its repercussions!

To that extent there’s a big learning from Dutt’s surrender. People are free to argue that he was left with no other choice. But did he not display enormous courage and personal leadership while surrendering in the face of such intense public scrutiny? True courage is not really physical! Courage is always about facing the harsh realities in Life. It is all the more difficult to face them when those realities are an outcome of a mistake you have made. It surely takes great courage to stand up and say that “I messed up” and to “own the outcome” of one’s actions __ whatever they may be. That’s really what Dutt’s surrender teaches us.

Let’s stop thinking of Life as having to be clinically perfect. We are not robots. We will make mistakes. And it’s fine. No matter what we do. What is crucial is to learn from our actions, our decisions and their outcomes. And the learning will be complete and the awakening brilliant when we don’t grieve and regret over what we have done. Another principle worth following is, since none of us is perfect, and we have all made mistakes, it is best not to opine, not to judge when we see others having to pay for their mistakes. It is a simple courtesy we can extend to fellow human beings who are going through their own learning curves in Life!

Simply, to make a mistake is not a terrible thing to happen in Life. To brood over it definitely is!