Maturing or Prospering..perspectives


Gozo Citadel-August 2016

Pulitzer Prize– winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in prison during the Soviet era for criticizing Joseph Stalin. He went into prison an atheist and came out a person of faith . The experience didn’t leave him bitter. It left him grateful for the development of his faith and the strengthening of his character. Looking back on the experience, he said, “I bless you, prison— I bless you for being in my life— for there lying on rotting prison straw, I learned the object of life is not prospering as I had grown up believing , but the maturing of the soul.”

John Maxwell, in his book , The15 invaluable laws of growth.
In the growth journal, one of the themes I built upon is how when two or more persons come together, they create a unified separate force, which different writers have described..something like a Joint personality of the group.





A few days back, I sat with my uncle in my family home, and he talked with great emotion of the time when he cremated his father at around 12 years of age. He is Sagittarian like me, 20 years elder, and taught me to make notes, ( a habit which I have used in many different ways) . He knows me from my primary school days. I told him of the processes involved with the practice – Write a letter to a loved one who has passed away – a practice I have been doing regularly for around two years. The initial flow was a bit awkward, but then slowly, we went into many places , each family having it’ s spoken and unspoken truths, or as the writer James Ellroy writes…My Dark Places.

How does a letter change the dynamics?

If life is seen, not as a means of prospering, but of maturing of the soul, the monthly letters,start giving a picture of span of decades. starts watching the tone of one’ s voice, which sometimes becomes irritated, in the day to day frustrations. If one keeps a soan if fifty,hundred years, some day to day limitations will just melt away.


Port credit Readings

Port Credit-Mississauga, October 2014 : MERCHANT OF VENICE Many lovely hours spent at Port Credit- Discussing Nuances of Literature How Shakespeare created characters such as Shylock and Falstaff, who outgrew the confines of their play, and talk to people through the centuries. …………revenge! I’ll treat you as badly as you Christians taught me to— and you’ll be lucky if I don’t outdo my teachers.


Does the joint personality evolve similarly for all persons concerned?

A fourteen year old will.look at the Qutub with a different eye . Recently,I took my sister there, and we told our young fourteen year old, how our parents had brought us here. Maybe, some day, he will also.bring his children here and remember us.


In.the chapter Law of the Ladder,John.Maxwell writes that character growth.determines your personal growth. Using the tools of
Writing letters, joint discussions on.shape of different facets of family life, and walks with joint journals with persons of different age groups in.the family, I.saw these as opportunities to.grow one’ s perspectives.

Do you remember any such relation?

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joint Journal 21.11.16

Your family’ s collective personality ,a bundle of all the personalities, subsysytems, roles and rules that exist,values embraced, togetherness ( or lack of) in which you live,standards and expectations and the thoughts and beliefs you share. The collective personality of the family can affirm and build on what you have to start with or it can countermand and erode the family unit.

Dr Phil McGraw,


Every journey has its surprises.

Using travelogue to generate conversations,joint journals, experiences, I took my sister Shailu and nephew Mayank to some monuments,institutions in Delhi, and later drove to Palam ,saw some family albums, momentoes, and prayed together



Aurobindo Ashram-Delhi-21.11.16

As we went around the campus of Sri Aurobindo ashram,Mayank remembered how he had been.a bit afraid of exploring the Kutir, next to the Samadhi memorial of the founder of Aurobindo ashram,Delhi,S N Jauhar. He said he wants to explore what is inside the Kutir.
I asked him what he would do if it was closed. He smiled and said he would force it open. ( but he did not)
He saw a ladder and told that he wants to climb the roof. When I told it is for cleaning, he said he will volunteer to clean the roof. A peacock is there in the campus now.

These titbits of our talks,walks in the ashram made a good start of the day.

These were of a different dynamic and focus than the Sunday. Satsang where the speaker had spoken on the relevance
of Vedas in 21 st century India.



Qutub Minar-21.11.16

Saw a beautiful book on 150 years of Archeology Survey of India ( ASI). But the shop was not accepting credit/ debit cards and the present economic emergency in India makes one wary of spending too much cash. From 9 th November, 500/1000 notes have ceased to be legal tenders,in PM Modi’ s campaign against Black money.

Memories…Told Mayank how our father had brought us here, around 35 years ago, and we had stood beside the Iron Pillar and looked at Qutub Minar.
Now we took pictures with Mayank at the same spot. The Qutub group of monuments have been a place of visit,picnic for four generations of our family. My elder cousins tell how my paternal grandfather ( of whom I have no living memory,as he passed away when I was one year old) used to bring them to Qutub,tell them to take rounds,while he rested on the grass.
Shailu remembered coming here in 2011 with Sagar,Sahil,Mamta,along with Divya,Mayank.

REFLECTION…on the shape of family,directions…now with children in high school, they are concentrating more on getting entrance to college,good professional courses. Maybe at a later date, they will rejoin me in this joint journey of exploring and sitting in monuments,to read and reflect.


Trees at Palam

WORDS OF DR PHIL..On the joint personality of family….The writer psychologist Dr Phil always tells in his books, not to read them passively, but take out a pen and put your own inputs on the different exercises he tells about on paper. Once you put them on paper,you can study your thoughts,like you study your face in a mirror.

I have read and applied many of Dr Phil’ s books, and they are a great help. The above mentioned lines of Dr Phil on the joint personality of a Family or Group,if applied consciously, are a great way to generate perspective
Through walks and meditations , reflecting in silence at monuments like the Relics of Sri Aurobindo, the Qutub Minar, remembering our previous visits there,recalling some conversations, one gets an idea of the values,togetherness and roles- rules different persons play

PALAM….and then we went to Palam, and prayed ,saw some photo albums, and momentoes.

Posted in life | 2 Comments

Collections make Connections


Collections make Connections- Palam Vihar

We spent a few days in my house in Palam Vihar (Nov 2016)

Did a lot of cleaning and review of collections. This is an emblem from my father’s days in Nagaland -1979. Behind it is a painting in wood, which he had collected in Khadki days of Pune-around 1972. In the foreground is an earthen pot gifted by a dear one, to my mother. The Sphinx I got from Cairo-2004 is in the foreground

Posted in Diary | 2 Comments

Walks in Fall.2016


Riverwood-Mississauga-Oct 2016

Last June, we went saw an exhibition of Churches of China, located in Mississauga, when we visited Bradley historic house and museum.

Following this concept, I went to visit the St.Sava-All Serbian saints church near Dundas-Dixie. Told the people there, of how I met people from Slav countries in Tripoli.


St Sava-Serbian Church-Mississauga


Walks in Fall-Mississauga-Nov 2016




Interiors of St.Sava-Mississauga

Posted in life, Spirituality, Walks | Leave a comment

Whispers at Leptis



Evolving the concept of Reading places and friendship societies, in September 2016, we went for a ride to the East of Tripoli towards Khoms. Met an archeologist who made the city of Leptis Magna come alive again. The birth place of Roman emperor Septimus Severus-Emperor from 193 to 211

We then went to the Colosseum built by Nero-AD 65, and listened to some whispers of times gone by.

Posted in life | Leave a comment

Remembering Kader Mia


SNOWY OWL- TORONTO ZOO..The Zoo is a nice Reading place, where we made friends with many with whom we share our Planet

And how was it that Kader Mia would be seen as having only one identity — that of being Muslim — by Hindus who were, like him, out in the unprotected open because they too were starving? “For a bewildered child,” Sen remembers, “the violence of identity was extraordinarily hard to grasp.” And, he confesses, “it is not particularly easy even for a still bewildered elderly adult.”

Amartya Sen


Over many long walks through Riverwood, Port Credit, Toronto Zoo, Central Don region parks  followed by a review of the Great courses, we did some attempt at Summary and Synthesis.


FRANK SCHOFIELD MEMORIAL PARK- A WONDERFUL READING PLACE –Toronto Zoo.       A park modeled on Confucian parks, with symmetry of lines and rectangles, it is a peaceful reading place, in the Eurasian section of the zoo

We tried to discuss some lectures of Art of Reading, Art of Public Speaking and the Magic of Mathematics and what is their application in our work.


Sitting in Frank Schofield Memorial park of Toronto zoo, we read Amartya Sen’s (Nobel Prize-Economics-1998) writings  on Multiculturalism.


How we relate to different systems in this multicultural world. Watching the Zoo mobile pass towards it’s last stop, before it crosses the Giant Panda enclosure. It was in these lawns, around a fortnight ago (June 24) that we had gone through some pictures of Art works of different civilizations. Today (6.7) we sat and saw how Amartya Sen traces the work of Multiculturalism done in British society over the past 25 years. There are many different voices which are coming forward after the 2005 attacks.

In 2016- as our family shifted from Mumbai, through Malta to Mississauga, we faced these currents in different ways.

READING GROUP PERSPECTIVE- I have read this book-Identity and Violence- in different phases, from the Manori Arabian sea beaches of Mumbai area, to the Tripoli region Mediterranean beaches (where now-2016-7 there are warnings to not go swimming as bodies of illegal migrants are being washed ashore) to the Lake Ontario-Credit River-Rouge Valley regions with my sons.

In an attempt to synthesize and apply the lessons learnt in Art of Reading – by Tim Spurgin, on a Non-Fiction work, we came across the characters like Kader Mia (a worker who was killed in the violence that followed the partition of British India ) whom Amartya Sen mentioned in his book and also in his acceptance speech  for the Nobel Prize.

In trying to apply those lessons of Reading to a Non-Fiction work, we found ourselves navigating through the multiple layers of society, education, immigration.



  • Vindaloo is an Indian origin dish
  • Trignometry came from India to west
  • The weakness of Sen’s argument is in its failure to explain why, at critical junctures, we disown that knowledge of our multiple identities as we see ourselves part of various groups



2-Read the following Biographical speech of Amartya Sen (1998-Economics Nobel Laureate)


And answer in true or false


2-1-The Bengal Famine of 1943 in which around 2 to 3 million people died mainly affected the landless rural laborers


2-2- Sen tells about the tradition of political tolerance by quoting 3rd century BC Emperor Ashoka

“For he who does reverence to his own sect while disparaging the sects of others wholly from attachment to his own, with intent to enhance the splendour of his own sect, in reality by such conduct inflicts the severest injury on his own sect.”


2-3- In Trinity-  Robertson  accepted the Marxist Maurice Dobb    as faculty by writing this one line answer


“ Dear Dobb, so long as you give us a fortnight’s notice before blowing up the Chapel, it will be all right.”


2-4- Amartya Sen is happy that his feet are not planted on the ground


Robert Goheen has remarked, “if you feel that you have both feet planted on level ground, then the university has failed you.”


Identity and Violence

SNOWY OWL- TORONTO ZOO..The Zoo is a nice Reading place, where we made friends with many with whom we share our Planet

Posted in Everyday History, Learning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Journeys together

Today was the birthday of my father. In the morning, I explained in my own way, the journeys from Garhwal, to Shimla to Delhi,which one of our forefathers-Rama Bhatt undertook in later part of the 19th century. His son Brahmi Dutt Bhatt , had three sons and a daughter. The middle son, Bhawani, was my grandfather.



Yesterday, after taking some pictures of the West Caucasian Tur, Bactrian camels and exploring the Frank Schofield Memorial Confucian park, we went through a cultural album I have been building. Toronto Zoo is a sister zoo of Seoul Zoo





Then we went through some Albums of Yesteryears..walks in Ghadames-on the ancient caravan routes of Sahara, Egypt- Masr-the mother of civilizations, Chicago,Turkey-walks on Bosphorus, Istanbul and Konya.



Earlier perspectives

Evening walk in Rome-2011


Walks in Turkey-2014

Ganga Aarti-Rishikesh-2014


My father instilled in me a love of gardens, museums and culture (see blog- Museums with the children..

While Meditating on the Ontario Waterfront, remembered some of those journeys together and felt his spiritual presence.


Posted in Diary, Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments