Irresoluteness Of Annual Resolutions

Published: 12.01.2009
Updated: 02.07.2015

Deccan Herald

Irresoluteness Of Annual Resolutions

My father was a great one for making New Year resolutions. I inherited the habit from him. His resolutions were earthy, usually connected with food and drink which he relished but did not agree with him. A hardy annual was, "I will not eat achaar (pickles) any more." He loved achaars of mangoes and lime. They gave him a bad throat, which gave him a cold. Every winter he had injections of catarrhal vaccine to get rid of them. His resolutions lasted till the cold was gone and he was back asking for achaar with every meal.

I too like achaar with my meals. My preferences are shalgam (radish) and gaajar (carrot). They do not give me a bad throat or cold. I catch colds anyhow, four to five times a year. I don't have anti-cold injections. I fight them with Vitamin C tablets, aspirin, rum, honey and lime juice. No matter what I take, they last a week.

My New Year's resolutions had higher moral calibre: "I will not say nasty things about people I don't like. I will not tell a lie. I will not lose my temper," etc. They were of shorter duration than my father's, a little more than a week or so. Before going to bed for the night I went over what I had said during the day to find out whether I had maligned anyone or told a blatant lie. I found that my friends found me getting more and more boring by the day. How can you be an interesting conversationalist without bitching about people? How can you be a story-teller without adding mirch-masaala to your narrative? So, after a fortnight or so I return to lying and malicious innuendos about everyone. My friends find me good company.

Now I am past 94 and well beyond redemption. So I have made a final New Year's resolution: "Hereafter I will make no new year resolutions."

Seekers' Path

Eighty eight year old Acharya Mahaprajna is the tenth head of Terapanthi Jains based in Rajasthan. He was only 10 years old when he decided to become a monk and an itinerant teacher walking barefoot from village to village delivering sermons on different topics. Some of them have been translated from Hindi to English by Sudhamani Ragunathan and published under the title The Sun will Rise Again. The translations read very well.

To be honest, I rarely read books on spiritual topics. I read this one because it has an introduction by our ex-Rashtrapati APJ Abdul Kalam whom I respect greatly but don't quite understand. He is an eminent scientist and at the same time deeply religious, respecting religions besides the one he is born into - a man with his legs in two boats and yet manages to keep them on course. Our differences are summed up in one of Acharya's poems:

Scientists have brought
The typhoon of change
So fast
That boats of the old beliefs
Have lost their moorings
In the ocean of the past.
Scientists have brought
The typhoon of change
So fast
That boats of the new faith
Are wandering aimlessly
In the ocean of disbelief.

I do not know if Acharyaji watches Indian films or antics of our political leaders but he gets them right:

Such a waster
Today's actor is one
Who does not know how to laugh or even how to make others laugh.
Such a waster
Today's politician is one
Who does not know how to wake people up
Or even how to let them sleep.

He rounds up the confusion in our minds in a few lines:

Difficult it is to live in the present
Desiring summer in winter
And winter in summer
The name of desire is tension
We do not know how to live in the present
Nor to desire what is
But want only what is not.

Unholy Calling

A Sikh lad standing on the roof of his haveli (towering house) saw a young girl walking down the street below and shouted: Aaja! kothey uttay aaie (Come, come up to the roof.).

The girl was enraged. She took off her slippers and shouted back, Laawaan juttee? (Shall I take off my slippers for you?)

"You don't have to do that," replied the lad cheekily, "This is not a Gurdwara."

Deccan Herarld 10.01.2009
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  1. APJ Abdul Kalam
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharya Mahaprajna
  4. Deccan Herald
  5. Rajasthan
  6. Terapanthi
  7. The Sun Will Rise Again
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