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Brijesh Eshpuniyani
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35 followers
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Brijesh Eshpuniyani's posts

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"As someone I have deeply respected over the years said once: In a relationship one expects that half and half will make one but it seems like today half and half makes one fourth! I would take that one step further. I think often half and half simply cancel out and arrive at a zero.

Isn't this what we are seeing around us? I think one significant reason for this is that people have not paid attention to and spent their younger years in growing in wisdom and maturity themselves."

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"As someone I have deeply respected over the years said once: In a relationship one expects that half and half will make one but it seems like today half and half makes one fourth! I would take that one step further. I think often half and half simply cancel out and arrive at a zero.

Isn't this what we are seeing around us? I think one significant reason for this is that people have not paid attention to and spent their younger years in growing in wisdom and maturity themselves."

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"True to form, he chirped a question at me with a grin and a glint in the eye: "Say Brij, Don't you have a meeting with your advisor in the afternoon?" The punk!"

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"Yes, for this to happen in a sustainable manner, which in turn requires that it be economically feasible for the artists, we have to be willing to spend money to buy tickets for these performances and exhibitions. For most of us this requires but a small mindset shift. It has been my observation that many of us are fairly comfortable shelling out cash for material goods: expensive hotel and restaurant food, designer clothes, cars and jewellery but are very very hesitant to spend money towards appreciating the finer things life has to offer. I may be wrong but I think this in turn starts reflecting in our personalities and the overall quality of life we live. A shallowness of thought, emotion and spirit creeps in and one lives a relatively coarse life instead of living with grace and sensitivity. It is my feeling that engaging regularly with art and finer aspects of life can start restoring us to a more balanced mindset and life. So in a sense the money we spend will not just ensure that artists and musicians are able to earn a livelihood while practising their art but will also feed back into increasing the quality of our lives and minds as well."

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"Jim (laughing): It doesn’t work like that Brij, at least not for me. Don’t you know that Schrodinger himself drew inspiration from the Upanishads during his work in the area of quantum mechanics? It’s all knowledge Brij. My way is this: I am curious about nature, about the universe I live in, about myself, my mind and my relation with my surroundings. And I keep myself open to pursuits of knowledge from different points of view. I read, I understand, I think, I practice Yoga and meditation. If there are connections between different schools of thoughts and viewpoints, I will see them for myself. If there aren’t and I need to choose one over the other at some stage then I will make that choice. No problem. But as of now I am a seeker. I am seeking truth. Why should I look through only some windows and not through others? In any case my ideal and goal is to be able to hold all of it together in my mind consciously and with awareness. Yes I am pursuing a degree in Physics right now, and I am enjoying the subject thoroughly. After that I might choose to get an advanced degree in Physics itself. Or I might move into mathematics and try and get a clearer grasp of the math that underlies a whole lot of theoretical physics. Or I might decide to move into Philosophy. You do know that science itself used to be called natural philosophy once, right? Or maybe I'll take up applied science and engineering. Applying knowledge to the benefit of humanity and the environment is something I deeply respect. So I’ll make the choice of what I want to study deeper when the time comes and based on my understanding and awareness then."

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"Each finger may not be able to push aside poverty, helplessness and destitution from our society - but if the fingers curl together into a fist then I reckon we can pack quite a punch."

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"Yes, that’s true. It is a part and parcel of our value system. And I think it’s a great thing. Parents make tremendous sacrifices to bring us up and I don't think it’s even something to be said explicitly that we need to take care of them in their old age. It’s an implicit and obvious responsibility and is certainly not a burden. It’s just a manifestation of love for one’s parents as it was a manifestation of their love for us when we grew up and they had to put up with many an inconvenience to bring us up well. I’m so glad to hear that your parents stay with you and Jim. Feels nice to hear that.

But I must also admit that not everything is always hunky dory in Indian homes. Many a time people don’t treat their parents well at all. Instead of living in comfort and peace parents end up becoming servile to their children and their spouses. They are made to carry out menial household tasks and shoulder responsibilities that their children should be shouldering as adults. In such situations I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if these elderly people had the choice of saying enough is enough and moving themselves into an old age home. Many parents in India make the mistake of bequeathing their wealth to their children too soon. It’s an act of trust from their side but not everyone respects it. I firmly believe that while bringing up children well and ensuring a good education for them is every parent’s responsibility, they should retain control of their own wealth too so that they never find themselves dependent on their children to an extent that they have no option but to put up with second rate treatment in their old age. Push come to shove they should also be able to take a decision to live independently or in an old age home instead and there need to be good provisions for this. I don’t think there are enough such provisions in India today.

Then there is the reverse scenario too. While a lot is good in terms of family values in India, I think it is also a fact that many parents exert excessive control on their children, I am not denying that parents have a disciplining role to play with their children but sometimes control can be and is excessive. This can start right from childhood resulting in stunted growth of children, frustrated youth and can persist even after adulthood. Many times they exert unwarranted control on their children’s spouses which can result in a lot of unhappiness for everyone involved but particularly the spouse. In such situations I honestly think that sometimes it might be better for the children to live on their own and parents to stay independently as far as possible and then live in an old age home. Once again, I do not think there are enough provisions for this today.

India is a great country and we have a great tradition of sound human values being passed from generation to generation. But I think it’s also a fact that not everything is perfect. As I see it, there is a need for honest introspection in many a family and a restoring of balance between generations."

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"There are indeed foster homes (usually called orphanages in India – I do not like that title) that are run by the government or NGOs. But this state of affairs falls way short of how good it can be for many reasons. For one there is usually a paucity of funds at such establishments. Sometimes it can be because contributions are limited and at other times it may be due to corruption that leads to money being siphoned off. I have contributed significantly to one such orphanage, so I’m talking from first hand experience. Then there can be issues of management: whoever is deputed to run any such establishment at a given time may just not be keen about his or her job and end up making a half hearted effort. And it’s the kids staying there who suffer. Sometimes one may find criminal elements engaging in exploitation or abuse of children at such places. This can completely destroy children and scar their psychologies for life.

What we need to do is to get involved ourselves. Here’s what I propose:

We have housing societies and neighbourhoods. Let clusters of such housing societies and neighbourhoods take it upon themselves to collectively set up and manage foster homes that provide good living conditions, nutritious food, quality healthcare and education till a stage when the child becomes a responsible intelligent adult with a sound sense of self-worth and self-esteem and can integrate with the society at large and make it through life on his or her own. And during an individual’s years at such a foster home let the members of the community managing it befriend them, spend time with them, connect with them as human beings, counsel them in a manner that brings stability and clarity to their minds and hearts and inculcates a sense of confidence and self-respect in them. Even if some people can’t bring a child to their own homes, they can certainly love them and care for them at such community run foster homes to the extent they are able to. And each act of love and humanity matters. It brings hope. It gives strength. It lights up the way forward bit by bit.

Can this not be done? Am I suggesting an investment of time, money and effort that is out of proportion? Not at all. Just do the math. How many people would be present in a cluster of housing societies and neighbourhoods? And how many children would they collectively be taking responsibility for? It is nothing. As I have been emphasizing time and again: intent and heart, that’s all it requires, intent and heart. Once these are in place, everything else can follow."

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"A big distance has set in now between most people and nature Brij. And this is a very unfortunate thing to happen. It’s like getting disconnected from a part of yourself. Many people don’t even notice nature around them. They don’t notice the trees they walk by, don’t appreciate the shade and freshness they provide. Many see flowers only after they have been plucked and arranged in bouquets to sell and buy at flower shops. They almost never see them blossoming in gardens or in the wild and just absorb their beauty and fragrance. Many buy frozen and canned vegetables instead of fresh vegetables coming in from farms, not to talk about growing a few themselves in their own gardens. So many people don’t spend quiet time just walking silently and being with nature now. And that’s so precious. Being with nature consolidates you, nourishes you, refreshes and rejuvenates you, makes you feel new and pristine yourself. On the contrary we are cutting trees recklessly and reducing the green cover on the planet at an alarming rate. Gardens are becoming dumping grounds in many places. They are not tended to regularly and have become dirty and unfit to spend time in. All this isn’t intelligent behaviour but we continue doing it despite knowing the pitfalls."

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"This is one thing about life that I can tell you Brij: never underestimate the power of true relationships. Love and goodwill are very powerful things, very powerful. They can save others from despair, give them hope and strength to carry on. There’s a whole lot of stuff people take for granted. Where I’m coming from, one learns to value everything. And by everything I mean everything. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the roofs above our head, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the education we get, opportunities to contribute and make ourselves useful. Absolutely everything is a blessing and nothing is to be taken for granted. And the biggest blessing of them all is the goodness in people and the love we receive.”
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