Tag Archives: Food for Thought

How to Create Your Very Own Anecdote for APJ Abdul Kalam!


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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I received the following story titled “Funny side of Swami Vivekananda” through WhatsApp.

When Swami Vivekanand was studying law at the University College, London, a white professor, whose last name was Peters, disliked him intensely.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room when Vivekananda came along with his tray and sat next to the professor.

The professor said, “Mr. Vivekanand, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat.”

Vivekanandji looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, “You do not worry professor. I’ll fly away,” and he went and sat at another table.

Mr. Peters, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge.

The next day in class he posed the following question: “Mr. Vivekanand, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with money, which one would you take ?”

Without hesitating, Vivekanandji responded, “The one with the money, of course.”

Mr. Peters , smiling sarcastically said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom.”

Swami Vivekanand shrugged and responded, “Each one takes what he doesn’t have.”

Mr. Peters, by this time, was fit to be tied. So great was his anger that he wrote on Swami Vivekanand’s exam sheet the word “idiot” and gave it to Swami Vivekanand.

Vivekanandji took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk trying very hard to remain calm while he contemplated his next move.

A few minutes later, Swami Vivekanand got up, went to the professor and told him in a dignified polite tone, “Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”

Moral: Don’t mess with intelligent people.

When I read this anecdote I smelled a rat.

Though Swami Vivekananda visited England twice, he never studied in London.

First of all, Narendranath Datta took the name “Swami Vivekananda” on Christmas Eve of 1886, when he and eight other disciples of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa took formal monastic vows and decided to live their lives as their master lived. 

Then I checked the timeline of important events in the life of Swami Vivekananda.

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Swami Vivekananda (Source: patrika.com)
Swami Vivekananda (Source: patrika.com)

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Vivekananda (born Narendranath Datta), after passing the Matriculation Entrance examination in 1879, joined Presidency College in January 1880. He was the only student to receive first-division marks in the Presidency College entrance examination.

In 1881, he passed the FA examination (equivalent to the current Higher Secondary, Class XII) from the General Assembly’s Institution (now known as the Scottish Church College).

One day, Professor William Hastie explaining the word “trance” to his students suggested that they should visit Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Dakshineswar to understand the true meaning of trance. In November 1881, Vivekananda met Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for the first time in Calcutta, at the residences of Surendranath Mitra.

In January 1884, Vivekananda passed Bachelor of Arts examination from the General Assembly’s Institution with philosophy and logic as subjects.

Vivekananda’s father died on February 25, 1884, and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa became his spiritual focus.

So, we find that Narendranath Datta never studied in London.

I remember coming across earlier the same turn of events mentioned above in an anonymous anecdote with M. K. Gandhi as the vanquisher of Professor Peters.

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Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

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Here is the anonymous anecdote using Gandhi as the superstar published under the title “Did Gandhi trump Professor Peters in a number of interactions?” in the Skeptics Stack Exchange, a question and answer site for scientific skepticism.

When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, there was a professor, whose last name was Peters, who felt animosity for Gandhi, and because Gandhi never lowered his head towards him, their “arguments” were very common.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor, in his arrogance, said, “Mr Gandhi: you do not understand… a pig and a bird do not sit together to eat,” to which Gandhi replies, “You do not worry professor, I’ll fly away, ” and he went and sat at another table.

Mr. Peters, green of rage, decides to take revenge on the next test, but Gandhi responds brilliantly to all questions. Then, Mr. Peters asked him the following question, “Mr Gandhi, if you are walking down the street and find a package, and within it there is a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money; which one will you take?”

Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “the one with the money, of course.”

Mr. Peters, smiling, said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don’t you think?”

“Each one takes what one doesn’t have,” responded Gandhi indifferently.

Mr. Peters, already hysteric, writes on the exam sheet the word “idiot” and gives it to Gandhi. Gandhi takes the exam sheet and sits down. A few minutes later, Gandhi goes to the professor and says, “Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”

I came across a comment that said: “Story is about Mr. Jinnah. Someone has switched the mainstay to Gandhi“.

So, if you are computer savvy, you can copy the above anecdote to notepad. Then press Ctrl-H.

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Change Ganhi to Abdul Kalam

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In the resulting dialog box enter against “Find what:” Gandhi and against “Replace with:” Abdul Kalam. Next press button. In the blink of an eye, all instances of “Gandhi” will be transformed into “Abdul Kalam” and you would have created a new anecdote for Abdul Kalam.

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Dr. .APJ.ABDUL KALAM
APJ Abdul Kalam

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Post the anecdote you created about Abdul Kalam on Facebook. Instantly you will get thousands of likes, and hundreds of witless idiots will blindly copy your post and propagate it on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media creating a new episode in the life of APJ Abdul Kalam.

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Taking Care of an Aging Parent


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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A young man lived with his wife, his four-year-old son and his frail elderly father – a widower with blurry eyes,  trembling hands, and faltering steps.

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The family would eat together at the dining table. The elderly person’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult for him. Often, food fell off his spoon and dropped on the floor, and as he clutched his glass of milk with unsteady hands, milk spilled on the tablecloth and his lap.

The daughter-in-law irritated with the mess he created bawled out. “I have had enough of his spilling food and milk on the table and the floor. You must do something about your father,” she told her husband.

So, the son set a small table at the corner of the dining room. Since the elderly man had broken a number of ceramic dishes, the daughter-in-law served his food in wooden bowls.

The four-year-old boy watched his grandfather eat alone silently at the little table while he and his parents ate at the grand dining table. Sometimes he saw tears rolling down his grandfather’s cheeks whenever his parents admonished him for dropping his spoon, spilling food, milk, or water.

One evening, before supper, the father noticed his little son playing with wood scraps and strings.

“What are you making, son?” he asked.

“Oh, Dad, I’m making two little wooden bowls,” the boy replied.

“Bowls?”

“Yes.”

“What for?”

“For you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up.”

The boy’s parents were speechless.

The four-year-old smiled sweetly at his parents and went back to work. He did not see the tears that streamed down their cheeks.

That evening, the boy smiled as his father and mother led the venerable parent back to the grand dining table.

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Add this anywhere

“Marikkar” Ramdas of Komaligal (Clowns)


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Sathyavaageeswara Iyer “Marikkar” Ramdas
Sathyavaageeswara Iyer “Marikkar” RamdasM

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In 1974, Sillaiyoor Selvarajan, a well-known artiste of Radio Ceylon, in charge of producing a radio program sponsored by the People’s Bank, saw a 30-minute comedy play staged by S. Ramdas at D. S. Senanayake College in Colombo.

Enthralled by the play, Sillaiyoor Selvarajan requested Ramdas to lengthen the play for broadcasting as a serial over the radio. Young Ramadas readily agreed and wrote the script and dialogues for the radio comedy “Koamaaligalin Kummaalam” (Hilarious Antics of Clowns) with the message of national unity. Ramdas took hints from the Indian Tamil film “Bharatha Vilas” directed by A. C. Trilokchander starring Sivaji Ganesan and K.R. Vijaya, which emphasised national unity among families hailing from different Indian ethnic groups living in separate portions in a mansion named “Bharatha Vilas“.

Instead of bludgeoning directly into the ethnic amity, and unity in diversity among families belonging to different ethnicities and religions living in separate portions under one roof in a large house, he presented humorously the peaceful coexistence of those people .

Radio Ceylon broadcasted the play continuously for 90 weeks, sponsored by the People’s Bank.

Ramdas, a Brahmin in real life cast himself as “Marikkar”, a Colombo Muslim with the proper enunciation of a Colombo Muslim.

B. H. Abdul Hameed, a Muslim in real life, took on the role a Brahmin named “Iyer”.

K. A. Jawahir (alias Abu Naanaa), another Muslim acted as “Thanikasalam” the villain.

T. Rajagopal took the role of a gentleman of Jaffna origin named “Appukutty”, and S. Selvasekaran took on the role of a Sinhalese named “Upali”.

The play became immensely popular. I too became an enthusiastic fan and listened to the play every Sunday at 4 pm.

In early 1976, Malkar Mohamed, who listened to this weekly radio drama decided to produce it as a film. Ramdas readily agreed when Mohamed expressed his desire.

Ramdas enthusiastically penned the story and dialogues for the film titled “Komaligal” (“The Clowns”).

S. Ramanathan, an experienced personality in the Sinhala film industry consented to direct it under the banner of Amarjothy Movies.

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B. H. Abdul Hameed and S. Ramdas in a still from the film 'Komaligal' (1976)
B. H. Abdul Hameed and S. Ramdas in a still from the film ‘Komaligal’ (1976)

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The original actors of the radio play “Koamaaligalin Kummaalam” – S. Ramdas, B. H. Abdul Hameed, K. A. Jawahir (alias Abu Naanaa), T. Rajagopal and S. Selvasekaran – took on their respective roles in the film. Sillaiyoor Selvarajan and his wife Kamalini Selvarajan acted as lovers in the film.

The film “Komaligal” produced in 45 days and screened on November 22, 1976, at 6 theatres, became a box office hit and ran successfully, better than any other previous Sri Lankan Tamil movie.

Here is a video clip of the song Ennadi Sithi Beebee written and sung by Ramdas in the dialect of Colombo Muslims. This song became an instant hit even though he mimicked “Ennadi Raakkammaa“, a popular song of that period, sung by T. M. Soundararajan in the Indian Tamil film ‘Pattikkaada Pattanamaa’.

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Sathyavaageeswara Iyer Ramdas alias “Marikkar” Ramdas born on May 5, 1947, in Sivagangai, in Tamil Nadu, India passed away on July 13, 2016, at the residence of his daughter Priya in Besant Nagar, Chennai. Though Ramdas is no more with us, the memories of “Marikkar” Ramdas will forever live in the hearts and minds of his numerous fans in Sri Lanka, India, and all over the world.

D. B. S. Jeyaraj, a former journalist of the Tamil daily newspaper “Virakesari” has written an excellent tribute titled ‘“Marikkar” Ramdas: The Brahmin who transformed Into a Muslimwherein he writes about “Marikkar” Ramdas and describes in detail the history and making of the film “Komaligal“.

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Two Years Have Passed since “The Faith” Collapsed in 2014.


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Two years ago, at 5.30 pm on Saturday, June 28, 2014, one of the twin eleven storied apartment blocks under construction situated on Kundrathur road near Porur junction, Moulivakkam in the suburb of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, collapsed due to heavy monsoon rains, killing 61 people including children. The rescuers saved 27 people trapped under the wrecked building. The hospitals admitted more than 50 injured people.

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The 2014 Moulivakkam building collapse (Source: architexturez.net)
The 2014 Moulivakkam building collapse (Source: architexturez.net)

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Most victims were construction workers, who were reportedly in the building to collect their wages.

This incident exemplifies the dark side of the real estate and construction business wherein ambitious entrepreneurs consider amassing money the prime function of their operations and do not care for the safety of the lives of their customers.

Three years before this disaster, M. Manoharan (60), a native of Madurai, worked as a clerk with the Indian Bank in Madurai. He opted for voluntary retirement in 2011 and became a and graduated to a full-time ‘well-known’ real estate dealer within a short time with the support of a DMK panjandrum he launched Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd.

The website of Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd.,  blatantly states:

Head quartered in Madurai Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd’s promoters have nearly two decades of extensive Real Estate Development experience. We at Prime Sristi believe our buildings should stand apart and should reflect engineering marvel . It is our intention that the quality of our products and services should result in complete Customer Trust.

In 2014, the Prime Sristi Housing Ltd., promoted the ‘Trust Heights’, a residential project. It had two 11-storey buildings under construction named ‘The Faith’ and ‘The Belief’ on the Kundrathur Main Road at Moulivakkam, the catchment area for the nearby Porur lake and Adyar river,

According to the initial assessment made by the Public Works Department, the soil does not support heavy construction and permission is not easily granted for the the construction of high-rise buildings in the area. But none of the authorities raised any objection when construction started.

The Faith‘ had four apartments of two BHK on each floor, and ‘The Belief‘ has four apartments of three BHK on each floor, priced at ₹5250 per square foot.

Due to the heavy rains, ‘The Faith’ collapsed on an adjoining building. Though deemed the most serious construction-disaster Chennai has ever witnessed, the builder and the authorities blamed “natural causes”.

On Sunday, June 29, 2014, the city police arrested Manoharan, Managing Director of the Sirsti Housing Private Ltd., his son Muthu Kamatchi, M. Balagurusamy, S. Venkatasubramaniam, structural engineer, R. Duraisingam, K. Karthik, S. Sankar Ramakrishnan, and Vijay Bargotra, consultant architect.

A release signed by the registrar of the Council of Architecture, New Delhi, stated that Vijay Bargotra, the prime architect of the 11-storey buildings, cannot function as an architect in India since he had not registered with them.

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Stop Sharing That Meaningless Copyright Status on Facebook


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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If you have been on Facebook for the last three or four days, you would have probably seen an almost serious looking post or one of its many garbled variations shared as someone’s Facebook status.

Here is a screen grab of one of the versions:

Permission for FB

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Various versions of this status have popped up on since 2012, which are just elaborate hoaxes that have plagued the social-network site for years, and you too might have seen them on your FB pages from time to time.

Do you think copying  and posting such a short note that seems to contain complicated and official legalese will protect the privacy and confidentiality of your Facebook account from that moment onwards and privatize the photos and videos you post?

In reality, posting such status on your Facebook page will not change any privacy rules.

If you think that posting such a status on your Facebook page is the right thing to do, then why are you still posting photos and other items on Facebook under your banner? Would it not be better to deactivate your account?

Remember that social media is not the place for “private and confidential” information. If you do not give permission to use your pictures, etc., how would Facebook show them to your friends?

When you agree to Facebook’s terms of use, you give Facebook a non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any content you post. You do not need to declare anything about copyright issues since the law already protects you. Hence, any privacy declaration on your part is worthless and does not mean anything.

On November 26, 2012, Max Read published an article titled “That Facebook Copyright Thing Is Meaningless and You Should Stop Sharing It” wherein he dissects this status post line by line and counters them with excellent explanations.

Facebook addressed the rumours years ago in a fact-checking blog post about the change related to ownership of users’ information or content they post to the site.

Copyright Meme Spreading on Facebook

Copyright Meme Spreading on Facebook

There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been.

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What Happened to the Three Monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi?


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Almost 68 years have elapsed since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, in New Delhi. By the way, have you ever wondered what happened to his three famous monkeys?

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The 3 Monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi (Source: daililol.com)
The 3 Monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi (Source: daililol.com)

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Well, the three died in due course, but I gleaned more about their posterity:

The offsprings of the monkey that closed its eyes became judges, lawyers, policemen, and priests.

The progeny of the monkey that closed its ears became politicians, heads of governments, government officials and their lackeys.

Finally, the descendants of the third monkey that closed its mouth proliferated beyond expectation and are now the voting public

 

Foolish Questions…


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Today, I received a copy of a clipping of the poem titled “Human Anatomy” from my dear niece Fiona Devotta Vazirani.

I remember having first read this humoristic poem  in the mid-1990s. Since then it had appeared in many newspapers and clippings – sometimes with long titles such as “Let’s call it, unsolved mysteries of anatomy” and at times without any title at all.

The author was William Rossa Cole.

Here is that poem appearing under the title “Foolish Questions” (adapted) from “Oh, Such Foolishness” (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978) as found in Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, edited by Bruce Lansky (Meadowbrook Press, 1991).

Foolish Questions
by William Cole

 

Where can a man buy a cap for his knee?
Or a key for the lock of his hair?

And can his eyes be called a school?
I would think”there are pupils there!

What jewels are found in the crown of his head,
And who walks on the bridge of his nose?

Can he use, in building the roof of his mouth,
the nails on the ends of his toes?

Can the crook of his elbow be sent to jail?
If it can, well, then, what did it do?

And how does he sharpen his shoulder blades?
I’ll be hanged if I know – do you?

Can he sit in the shade of the palm of his hand,
and beat time with the drum in his ear?

Can the calf of his leg eat the corn on his toe?

There’s somethin’ pretty strange around here!

William Rossa Cole, an American editor, anthologist, columnist, author, and writer of light verse was born on November 20, 1919, to William Harrison Cole and Margaret O’Donovan-Rossa of Staten Island, New York. He was the grandson of the Irish national hero, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

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William Rossa Cole during WWII (Source: crooklynrai.org)
William Rossa Cole during WWII (Source: crooklynrai.org)

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William Cole served in the infantry in Europe in World War II, rising to sergeant and receiving the Purple Heart. After military service, he entered the publishing industry. He served as publicity director at Alfred A. Knopf, publicity director and editor at Simon & Schuster, and publisher of William Cole Books at Viking Press. He was a columnist for The Saturday Review, a vice president of PEN American Center and a member of the governing board of the Poetry Society of America and the executive board of Poets and Writers.

William Cole wrote children’s books and light verse. His whimsical poetry appeared often in Light Quarterly and was widely anthologized, He was an author, co-author, editor, and co-editor, of about 75 books of which 50 were anthologies. The American Library Association were honoured three of his books:

  1. In 1958, “I Went to the Animal Fair: A Book of Animal Poems” which was on the List of Notable Children’s Books of 1940–1959.
  2. In 1964, “Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls: Poems“.
  3. In 1965, “The Birds and Beasts Were There: Animal Poems” .

His marriage to Peggy Bennett in 1947 and his marriage to Galen Williams in 1967 both ended in divorce.

William Cole died on August 2, 2000, in his Manhattan home, aged 80.

Seamus Heaney, Member of the Royal Irish Academy and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 memorialized William Cole in a poem.

In Memory of Bill Cole
by Seamus Heaney

As Dante when he entered Purgatory

Was greeted by Casella, and the song

Casella sang sweetened his memory

Of earthly love and music and their long

Afternoons of wine and poetry,

So I, when I heard that William Cole had gone

Among the shades, imagined him and me

Meeting in an earthly paradise

Where we’d never met on earth, in Co. Derry,

On the banks of the Moyola, and his voice

Rising to sing in an Irish tenor brogue

MacCormack might have envied, or James Joyce,

Or Moore in Avoca, by Avonmore and Beg,

River-rhyming, over-brimming, young

At heart again, and younger song by song—

For always Bill belonged in Tir na n-Og.*

*“Tir na n-Og” means “land of youth” in Irish

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The Secret That Makes Us Healthy and Happy as We Go Through Life!


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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If we want to invest in a good life and be happy and healthy as we grow old, how should we direct our time and energy? To answer these questions The Harvard Study of Adult Development at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston started a study of adult life in 1938 and continues it to this day.

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Robert Waldinger, Ted Talk
Robert Waldinger, Ted Talk

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If you think its fame and money that will bring you happiness and good health then you’re mistaken says Robert Waldinger, a Harvard psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and Zen priest. As the fourth director of the 75-year-old study on adult development, he has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. Waldinger says that he had learned some surprising things about what the good life actually looks like.

In this 12-minutes short video of the talk he gave at a TEDx event, he offers the results of 77 years of studying happiness. He shares with us insights and three important lessons learned from the study, as well as some practical age old wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

In these 12 short minutes, he offers the results of 75 years of studying happiness. Yes, life can be summed up in a very short time.

In this video of the talk, he gave at a TEDx event he shares insights and three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

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Here is a transcript of the speech:

If you were going to invest now in your future best self, where would you put your time and your energy? There are lots of answers out there. We are bombarded with images of what’s most important in life. The media are filled with stories of people who are rich and famous and building empires at work. And we believe those stories.

There was a recent survey of millennials asking them what their most important life goals were, and over 80 percent said that a major life goal for them was to get rich. And another 50 percent of those same young adults said that another major life goal was to become famous.

(Laughter)

And we’re constantly told to lean into work, to push harder and achieve more. We’re given the impression that these are the things that we need to go after in order to have a good life.

But is that true? Is that really what keeps people happy as they go through life?

Pictures of entire lives, of the choices that people make and how those choices work out for them, those pictures are almost impossible to get. Most of what we know about human life we know from asking people to remember the past, and as we know, hindsight is anything but 20/20. We forget vast amounts of what happens to us in life, and sometimes memory is downright creative.

Mark Twain understood this. He’s quoted as saying,

“Some of the worst things in my life never happened.”

(Laughter)

And research shows us that we actually remember the past more positively as we get older.

I’m reminded of a bumper sticker that says,

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

(Laughter)

But what if we could watch entire lives as they unfold through time? What if we could study people from the time that they were teenagers all the way into old age to see what really keeps people happy and healthy?

We did that.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development may be the longest study of adult life that’s ever been done. For 75 years, we’ve tracked the lives of 724 men, year after year, asking about their work, their home lives, their health, and of course asking all along the way without knowing how their life stories were going to turn out.

Studies like this are exceedingly rare.

Almost all projects of this kind fall apart within a decade because too many people drop out of the study, or funding for the research dries up, or the researchers get distracted, or they die, and nobody moves the ball further down the field. But through a combination of luck and the persistence of several generations of researchers, this study has survived. About 60 of our original 724 men are still alive, still participating in the study, most of them in their 90s. And we are now beginning to study the more than 2,000 children of these men. And I’m the fourth director of the study.

Since 1938, we’ve tracked the lives of two groups of men. The first group started in the study when they were sophomores at Harvard College. They were from what Tom Brokaw called “the greatest generation.” They all finished college during World War II, and then most went off to serve in the war. And the second group that we’ve followed was a group of boys from Boston’s poorest neighborhoods, boys who were chosen for the study specifically because they were from some of the most troubled and disadvantaged families in the Boston of the 1930s. Most lived in tenements, many without hot and cold running water.

When they entered the study, all of these teenagers were interviewed. They were given medical exams. We went to their homes and we interviewed their parents. And then these teenagers grew up into adults who entered all walks of life. They became factory workers and lawyers and bricklayers and doctors, one President of the United States. Some developed alcoholism. A few developed schizophrenia. Some climbed the social ladder from the bottom all the way to the very top, and some made that journey in the opposite direction.

The founders of this study would never in their wildest dreams have imagined that I would be standing here today, 75 years later, telling you that the study still continues. Every two years, our patient and dedicated research staff calls up our men and asks them if we can send them yet one more set of questions about their lives.

Many of the inner city Boston men ask us, “Why do you keep wanting to study me? My life just isn’t that interesting.” The Harvard men never ask that question.

(Laughter)

To get the clearest picture of these lives, we don’t just send them questionnaires. We interview them in their living rooms. We get their medical records from their doctors. We draw their blood, we scan their brains, we talk to their children. We video tape them talking with their wives about their deepest concerns. And when, about a decade ago, we finally asked the wives if they would join us as members of the study, many of the women said, “You know, it’s about time.”

(Laughter)

So what have we learned? What are the lessons that come from the tens of thousands of pages of information that we’ve generated on these lives?

Well, the lessons aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

We’ve learned three big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to the community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected. And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And the sad fact is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they’re lonely.

And we know that you can be lonely in a crowd and you can be lonely in a marriage, so the second big lesson that we learned is that it’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health. High-conflict marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced. And living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.

Once we had followed our men all the way into their 80s, we wanted to look back at them at midlife and to see if we could predict who was going to grow into a happy, healthy octogenarian and who wasn’t. And when we gathered together everything we knew about them at age 50, it wasn’t their middle age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old. It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. And good, close relationships seem to buffer us from some of the slings and arrows of getting old. Our most happily partnered men and women reported, in their 80s, that on the days when they had more physical pain, their mood stayed just as happy. But the people who were in unhappy relationships, on the days when they reported more physical pain, it was magnified by more emotional pain.

And the third big lesson that we learned about relationships and our health is that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains.

It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who are in relationships where they really feel they can count on the other person in times of need, those people’s memories stay sharper longer. And the people in relationships where they feel they really can’t count on the other one, those are the people who experience earlier memory decline. And those good relationships, they don’t have to be smooth all the time. Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.

So this message, that good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that’s as old as the hills. It’s your grandmother’s advice, and your pastor’s,

Why is this so hard to get?

For example, with respect to wealth, we know that once our basic material needs are met, wealth doesn’t do it. If you go from making 75,000 dollars a year to 75 million, we know that your health and happiness will change very little, if at all.

When it comes to fame, the constant media intrusion and the lack of privacy make most famous people significantly less healthy. It certainly doesn’t keep them happier.

And as for working harder and harder, there is that truism that nobody on their death bed ever wished they had spent more time at the office.

(Laughter)

Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? Well, we’re human.

What we’d really like is a quick fix, something we can get that’ll make our lives good and keep them that way.
Relationships are messy and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.

The people in our 75-year study who were the happiest in retirement were the people who had actively worked to replace workmates with new playmates. Just like the millennials in that recent survey, many of our men when they were starting out as young adults really believed that fame and wealth and high achievement were what they needed to go after to have a good life. But over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with the community.

So what about you? Let’s say you’re 25, or you’re 40, or you’re 60. What might leaning into relationships even look like?

Well, the possibilities are practically endless. It might be something as simple as replacing screen time with people time or livening up a stale relationship by doing something new together, long walks or date nights, or reaching out to that family member who you haven’t spoken to in years, because those all-too-common family feuds take a terrible toll on the people who hold the grudges.

I’d like to close with another quote from Mark Twain. More than a century ago, he was looking back on his life, and he wrote this:

There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.

The good life is built with good relationships. And that’s an idea worth spreading.

Thank you.

(Applause)

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Agent “Max” Smart and the Anonymous Buxom Lady on the Dance Floor


Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Get Smart movie poster (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Get Smart movie poster (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

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Get Smart is a 2008 American adventure and action comedy film directed by Peter Segal starring Steve Carell as an analyst named Maxwell “Max” Smart who dreams of becoming a real field agent and a better spy, and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99.

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Steve Carell (2010)
Steve Carell (2010)

Anne Hathaway (2014)
Anne Hathaway (2014)

David S. Lee
David S. Lee

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In Russia, Agent Max Smart and Agent 99 infiltrate Ladislas Krstic’s (played by David S. Lee) mansion undercover as guests during a lavish party to find evidence against the host.

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Lindsay Hollister
American actress Lindsay Hollister, a native of Columbus and graduate of Pickerington High School and Miami University.

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In this hilarious video clip attached below, when Ladislas Krstic, the villain, leads Agent 99 to the dance floor Max responds by asking an anonymous buxom lady (played by Lindsay Hollister, the 31-year-old American actress, a native of Columbus and graduate of Pickerington High School and Miami University), to dance after bypassing a row of slim , snobby women.

The two couples – Ladislas Krstic and Agent 99, and Smart and the anonymous bulging lady – try to outsmart each other in a series of elaborate ballroom dance moves, such as spins, lifts, and dips.Then, at the end, there is a nice payoff by Lindsay Hollister who shafts the slim pretty girls, which is kind of fun.

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Do Bulls Get Angry When They See Red?


Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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In the above video, was the bull infuriated by the red coloured shawl worn by the Hindu sadhu?

Incidents such as this raise the perennial question “”

We have always been told not to go near a bull while wearing a red dress, or something similar to red that would make a bull angry.  Is it true?

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A matador gets a bull's attention by waving his muleta. (Credit: Bull Fighter via Shutterstock)
A matador gets a bull’s attention by waving his muleta. (Credit: Bull Fighter via Shutterstock)

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Bullfighting (Spanish: corrida de toros or toreo; Portuguese: corrida de touros or tourada) is one of the most popular and controversial traditional spectacular sport prevailing in Spain, Portugal, parts of southern France and in some Latin American countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru.

In some areas, people classify bullfighting as a blood sport, but in other areas, it is not considered a sport but a cultural event, a spectacle and art form with no elements of competition in the proceedings.

Some claim that bullfighting is an art form wherein professional toreros (bullfighters) seek to evoke inspiration and an emotional connection with the audience while attempting to subdue and slaughter the bulls.

The most senior torero who actually kills the bull is called a matador.

The matador executes various formal moves with the muleta (a small red cape) and a sword. A snorting bull charges at the muleta waved by the matador. The angry bull appears to see the red cape and charges angrily towards it.

After hooking the bull multiple times behind the shoulder by the matador, the bullfight concludes usually with the killing of the bull by a single sword thrust, called the Estacada. In Portugal, the finale consists of a tradition called the pega a, where men (forcados) try to grab and hold the bull by its horns when it runs at them.

The use of the muleta by Spanish matadors in bullfighting began at the beginning of the 18th century. From then on the myth that “red makes bulls go wild” perpetuated.

A group of MythBusters set out to find whether bulls really hate the colour red? Test this myth they decided to put makeshift matadors into an arena, each holding a cape or muleta of a different color including a red one.

The red, blue, green, and white capes got equal, mild attacks when they were motionless. Bulls, just like other cattle, do not differentiate between red, blue, green, and white colours. Only when the matador waved the cape, the bulls lose their temper and charge aggressively. Moreover, the bulls used in bullfights are from a very aggressive breed and they’re raised in a way that any sudden movements will make these bulls angry and make them attack.

So , this old myth that “a bull charges at the sight of red” can get tossed right out of our mindset.

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