A self help book unlike any you will find in bookstores. It casts a unique light on the problems, which we face in our day to day life and suggests ingenious timetested and fascinating solutions.
Excerpts from the book for your reading pleasure. Matter copyrighted. (C) Dr L.Prakash. For permission to copy for review, or other uses, please email the author at [email protected]
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1. Snobbery does not help!!
A Crab came of age and her parents wanted her to get married. But this Crab was no ordinary Crab. She was a proud and prim Crab. She was a haughty Crab. She was a Snob. I won’t marry an ordinary Crab – She proclaimed. Suitors came from far and wide. Some were too thick shelled some too thin shelled. Some had bent talons and a few had broken claws. And all of them walked side to side. She rejected them all. And then one fine day the proud and prim lady crab saw a male crab that walked straight! Yes, this one walked back to front rather than side to side like other crabs. The lady was impressed and the two got married and were sent to their own Crab hole. That night from close up, the lady crab realized that this chap stank of booze had two broken claws and a bent talon. But the lady crab consoled herself that she had a unique and a different husband. The next morning she got a surprise when she saw her husband crawl out of the Crab hole. The chap walked from side to side exactly as every other ordinary crab. The lady was devastated. She blurted out – “But you were walking straight last night”. In a slurred voice, the male crab said “Well baby it is not every day that you drink a whole bottle of rum!”
The lady Crab learnt it the hard way. She had to pay too high a price for snob value. A snob value is putting value to irrelevant things, which appear useful but are actually worthless. Take air travel for example. Both the front and rear of the aircraft travel together at the same speed and reach the destination at the same time. What then would impel a sane person to pay double to occupy a seat in front? A skillful marketing has produced a snob value in first class travel. The early check in, better food, and extra space would hardly merit a ten percent extra premium. The airlines are charging a hundred percent premium by exploiting our snob value.
A luxury car is another example. There is a clear difference between genuine comforts and obscene opulence. A simple thought would tell us that luxury cars costing many times premium cars do not offer safety, fuel efficiency or comforts commensurate with the premium charged on them.
Snob value thus is a character that adds a false value to a product or act to tempt snobs who are essentially weak and foolish. To avoid snobbery is a sign of strength and wisdom.
2 Ten Asses Don’t Make a Horse
Mahabharata is a very famous epic in Indian Literature. It has numerous plots sub plots and stories within stories. This is one such story.
Dronacharya was the teacher who taught both Kauravas and Pandavas. The princes would have periodic tests and examinations to test their knowledge and skills. Yudishtra was the eldest among Pandava brother while Duryodhana led the Kaurava team. Once the guru Dronacharya asked the two teams to fill up two identically sized rooms with the lightest material in the quickest time. The Kaurava prince immediately summoned dozens of servants and procured bullock cartloads of straw and hay with which the proceeded to stack his room. But Yudishtra was for too clever. He just took a couple of joss sticks and lit them in the room. He sprinted two drops of the finest perfume too. In a matter of moments, his room was full of pleasant smell and lovely smoke.
In our life, society teaches us that more is better. More marks than your colleague. More color pens than your classmate. More money than you neighbor. Bigger house, more cars, greater comforts, larger television, most modern pc. It has become a mantra of quantity. More and more of everything with a scant regard to quality.
But in the end it is only quality that matters. A drop of scent would cost thousand times a bucket of water. An hour of peace would beat nights of sleepless tossing on the bed. And one delicious pizza would beat a dining table full of unappetizing uneatable foreign food.
In our rapid race in life and a greedy quest for more and more, we don’t realize that with more and more quantity we would get less and less quality. A blissful but short life is any time preferable to hundred years of misery. One year of freedom is worth of century in prison. (You must believe me when I say this because this book is being written in prison)
Quantity is thus something, which has been stuffed into our head and in our obsession for quantity; we seem to forget about quality. It is only logical and wise that we stress more on quality in all aspects of life. That would decidedly make us happier persons.
3. Change or Perish
Three Majestic Arabian camels were standing adjacent to each other. The one to the left was the mother camel. The one to the right standing taller and more majestic than her was the father camel. And between the two was a baby camel. This little camel was a curious chap. He looked up to his father and asked “Dada! Why do we have such hoofs and strangely shaped long legs?”
“So that we could run fast in the deserts without our feet sinking in the sand – sonny” Replied the father. The curious baby camel was not finished.
“Dada why do we have the humps?”
“Well Sonny, beneath them we have the sacs that store water. We can thus live in hot deserts without water for a long long time”
“Dada! Why do we have such long eye lashes?”
“So that we can surge ahead unperturbed by the desert storms blowing sand into our eyes!”
The Baby camel was a little thoughtful but then asked his final question
“But then DADA, what are we doing in the Boston Zoo??”
This tells us the value of appropriate skills. Each skill is valuable only in a particular circumstance. Seal hunting skills would hardly be suitable for a Vietnamese who would be equally unsuitable if dumped in Norway.
Thus, we have either to acquire skills suited to our environment or change our environment to suit our skills. Not all skills are genetic or inborn. Some are acquired. A judicious blend of congenital and acquired skills allows us to progress in the society. But occasionally we find that we are square pegs in round holes. Our skills, thoughts or even ideas do not match that of those around us. Faced with such a situation we have only two options. Either change our attitude, skills or ideas to suit our environment or change our environment more suited to our skills.
Skills are only useful if the situations or circumstances allow it! Else the best skills go wasted!
87 A trick from the Author
Membership to clubs is an activity which is associated with a lot of snob value. The place is exclusive, you get to sign you bills and most importantly the bills are really affordable. Compared to a five star hotel, the bills in a club would be about a quarter. But if you are not a regular club patron, it is not a good economic deal at all. The interest costs on your initial joining fee and non refundable deposit would offset the bill difference.
Once the financial situation is equaled, there is not much of a difference between a five star hotel and your own club except for a snob value. We all encounter a situation in life where we have to entertain folks for lunch or dinner. I have developed my own technique of converting any five star hotel into your own personal club. I have used this technique on numerous occasions with excellent results.
Here is what I do. One day previous to the engagement, I visit the hotel. I meet the Maitre D and explain that I am expecting some special friends and expected excellent service. I not only reserve the table but choose the arrangement as well. I then ask them to swipe my credit card and I sign the charge slip. Five star hotels won’t cheat you and you can leave a blank signed slip without fear.
I then give a lush advance tip and also instruct them to add ten percent tips to the final bill. I check on the menu and locate the favorites. I have a rough rehearsal with the Maitre’D before I leave. The next day when I take my guests, the hotel becomes my special club.
The Maitre’D recognizes me and welcomes me personally. The waiter who would be serving on my table seems to know me personally. The service is excellent. The food is superb. There are no unexpected surprises. And the best part is that I am not presented a bill. They will mail it to me with a copy of my filled in charge slip for my records. Even in a club, you have to sign a charge slip. If this doesn’t impress your guests, tell me what will?
And the good thing about this scheme is that it would work in any town or city, not necessary you home town. Imagine doing this to your friend, or associate in his town! Won’t he be zapped?
100 The Pearl Necklace
Many a times you start with some thing, but with time, events take a different turn altogether, and the end product is no longer what is was intended to be in the beginning.
Somewhat like this has happened with the current book too. And to tell you about it, we need to go back in time to three years. Three years ago, I was a leading Orthopaedic Surgeon in Chennai with a famous hospital, flourishing practice, a palatial house and an ideal family. And then tragedy stuck and I was arrested in an internet pornography change for which I have been an under trial prisoner for the last three years. And the wheels of justice are grinding away at their own pace. As a Surgeon, I worked for 12 to 14 hours a day and suddenly in prison found that I had nothing to do. The first three months were wasted in playing chess, reading books and writing petitions to human right commissions and freedom of expression groups. By the sixth month, I realized that I was wasting my time criminally
I then decided to sit down and start writing. It took me few false starts before I actually found out that I was good in telling stories. I started writing stories. One by one I wrote about seventy short stories averaging seven thousands words each. About five lac words. It took me about a year and when I re-read the collection, some of them looked good. A few of my fellow inmates and people outside who read the stories told me that I had a talent for telling stories. I decided to expand my horizons and started by writing novels. Once I discovered my niche, my old work pattern took over. I was happily engrossed in working thirteen hours a day. But now instead of seeing patients or performing hip replacement operations I was writing. I wrote humor. I wrote satire. I wrote children stories. I wrote about Adultery.
Then about a year and a half back I started on my first novel. And once I got into it, realized that I could narrate big stories as well as short stories. I wrote science fiction, mythology, crime, detective, thrillers. Horror, and even comedy horror and comic thrillers.
I was on my eighteenth novel which was about a multi millionaires daughter being kidnapped by an under world don and the ensuing drama which included a KGB trained assassin, a comedian, cops, underworld dons and a con man. While I was writing furiously, a new entrant arrived in our block. He was an industrialist who had been arrested by the customs for some alleged export irregularity. We became friendly as cell mates usually do and he observed me with curiosity as I exhausted one ball point pen refill a day. His wife came to visit him the next day with a handful of self help books. Shiv Khera, Dale Carnidge, Stephen Cowley, Secrets of Successful People, the works.
That night while I was flipping through those books, the industrialist sat close to me and said “Doctor Sir! Instead of wasting your valuable time writing crime stories and detective fiction, why don’t you write something useful as these?” He pointed to the bunch of self improvement books. I gave him a smile and nodded my head. But he did not see the naughty gleam in my eyes because he did not know what idea he had triggered in me! I decided. I would write a spoof or a satirical story which would be a parody of Shiv Khera or Dale Carnidge. I would tell a dozen funny stories and try to draw entirely unrelated conclusions. I would fill it with complex management Jargons. And in the twelfth chapter I would tell the readers that it was all a spoof!
But then the events I mentioned earlier took over. I kept the under world – kidnap – comedy – drama aside and started this satire. I did about five chapters and then realized that something was not all right. Rather than coming out as a spoof, if was propelling ahead on the path of virtuosity and righteousness on its own. I did not write it at one stretch as I had planned earlier. I wrote a chapter when even I had time. Pearl by pearl I added till I could get all the hundred together to string a necklace for you.
And then I was suddenly seized by a desire to illustrate the book. Though I had no formal training in drawings and art, I started with a notebook and pencil and drew the illustrations too!
Now when I look back at the book, I realize that if I had personally followed even ten percent of these advices, I would have been ten times more purposeful man than I am now.
If this book teaches you even one single thing that helps you to improve your life and make it happier, then I would consider the purpose of this book fulfilled.
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