Are you my Mentor?

Who is a mentor?                                                                                                

A quick answer to that question, is someone who solves your problems or provides advice. A better perspective to answer this is to consider the long-term effect of mentoring. A mentor is one who successfully develops a mentee (the person she or he is mentoring). The interactions may be frequent or few and far between, but mentoring is a lasting relationship.

Oprah Winfrey explained, “I mentor when I see something and say, ‘I want to see that grow’”

It is a mutual relationship that leaves no doubt in either’s mind.  In most cases if you find yourself asking the question, “Are you, my mentor?”, then the answer is probably no.

It is not surprising that the benefits of mentoring are mutual because it comes from a positive aspect of human quality.

Benefits to the menteeBenefits to the mentor
Develops a supportive relationshipImprove inter-personal skills
Helps in problem solvingGrowth through new perspectives
Encouraged to question and learnValidation of practices
Build self-confidence           Job satisfaction

What are the qualities of a good mentor?

Subject matter expert – A mentor has in-depth knowledge and experience in the area that the mentee is developing in.

Mentee is encouraged to lead – A mentor promotes the mentee to lead and pace his /her own development.

Long term focus – The purpose of the mentorship relation is growth and development. This allows for short term mistakes and setbacks.

Challenge and re-evaluation – Mentor may appropriately set challenge goals for the mentee. He/she will periodically re-evaluate previously set targets/ goals for relevance and capability.

Patience – A good mentor allows mentees to develop at their own pace.

Integrity – Trust is a key component to a successful mentoring relationship.

Discipline – Mentor emphasizes the importance of discipline in developing successful life-long habits.

Foresight – Due their prior experience a mentor may be able to provide guidance to a mentee in similar situations.

Openness to learn – A good mentor should be willing to learn from the mentee also.

Value Foundation – Mentors provide guidance to grow and develop the mentee’s own values. Generally, mentorship relations are not meant to achieve a specific goal.

Thoughts on rules

  1. To judge right and wrong we need to know that we “are” what we measure. What is not measured is not judged. But still, those factors may have a huge impact (over time) on the quality of “what is being measured”. How can that be accounted for? The criteria put together to qualify for a position should not undermine the basic expectations. Isn’t a teacher/guide just like a mother or father to little kids? Do they help build self-confidence and decision-making power?
  2. How do we inculcate tolerance for differences, for example, a difference in gender? How do we promote mutual respect? What are the pillars of human behavior?Do we believe that there is something good in every human-being, irrespective of how different they seem? Are we giving respect to others and ourselves?
  3. In a relationship, shouldn’t the person with the greater power take greater responsibility? How can we stop looking for quick fixes/ band-aids and go for the real cure? How do we promote humans who understand what is right for themselves?  How do we create a society, where people are compassionate rather than judging each other?
  4. When a person is overpowered by animal instincts do they think about right or wrong? Do they think about punishment? Does the current judiciary system work? How do we reform those who have gone astray? Are we going to give up on them and treat them how we never want to be treated? Aren’t we all humans capable of love?
  5. Are we focussing on moving forward, the right way? How are we (the human race) going to be saved if men and women cannot co-exist peacefully? What are the things that need to be highlighted? How do we connect it to each individual’s emotions ?

Remembering Mashi

Last night, I was in surprised and overjoyed when I looked at the pencil sketch that bore a striking resemblance to my mother’s eldest sister, my one, and only Mashi. Mashi had passed away when I was just a pre-teenager. It was a long time ago. I am now a middle-aged lady and a mother of a pre-teenager and a teenager. Whenever I think of her, I remember her loving and giving ways and her single-minded devotion to Goddess, Ma Kali.

Mashi, along with her husband had gone to visit Mathura-Vrindavan, the birthplace of Krishna and where most of Krishna’s childhood days were spent. Unfortunately, she got infected with meningitis during her trip and breathed her last in Delhi, where she was rushed to, for treatment.

Last year I had made a sketch of a nice lady who is celebrating her 75th birthday later this year. I had taken a photograph from her youthful days and sketched a portrait, as best as I could possibly do at that time. Needless to mention, It had a bunch of mistakes. With practice I may have learned a few things, I thought. So my plan was to make the sketch better and probably closer to the photograph and give it to her as a present for her birthday.

Yesterday, when I worked on the old sketch for some time, I realized that I could not make it look like the photograph. But all was not in waste. Staring back from the sketchbook at me, I saw a strong resemblance of my Mashi. I felt blessed and loved. If Mashi still lived, she would probably have celebrated her 81st birthday on December 25th.

Mashi wherever you are, you are certainly in my heart. Pranamas.

Picking me up

When loneliness surrounds me like a dark envelope of smoke, I feel suffocated, scared and lost. You are nowhere around and not even the trust that you care. I feel I am not important to you or to anyone. My vision gets blurred. The ground I walk on turns into quicksand sinking me as I struggle . Why am I trying so hard when nobody cares ?
Why do I sense hatred and rejection ?
Why is my protest nothing but mute tears ?
Do I have any strength and trust ?
All my hopes have crumbled to dust.
How did I build them ? Was it a strong foundation ?
All I have left is a PRAYER. You will come to me one day, showering knowledge and love. The magical balm will heal my wounds and make me whole again. I pray for your company and blessing. Give me the strength and protection. Make it all happen.

Silence and words

This is a big generalization on my part! However, I can’t help feeling that the root of all my troubles lie in my own perception and communication.
When there is a problem, exchange of information is critical. However, it is essential to convey in a manner that is easily received by others.
A brief period of silence helps rationalize with our perceptions. We can also internally organize our thoughts.
It is counter productive to only relate our displeasure or fear. We need to focus on the next actions. Brevity makes the words more effective.

The Story of Fools

In the latter part of 16th century, India was ruled by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Akbar used to consult his worthy advisors in taking administrative and financial decisions. Birbal was one of his most famous advisors known for his wit and wisdom. There are several folk tales about Birbal that we still find very interesting. Here is one such story.

One day, Akbar when addressing his court, observed that his kingdom was blessed with many talented people. He wondered if there were any fools in his kingdom. So he summoned Birbal to take a month’s leave and find the four biggest fools in the city….

On his way home, Birbal saw two friends quarreling near a Kali temple.  He asked them the reason for the dispute. The friends explained that they were going to the temple to pray to Goddess Kali to grant them their wishes. The first guy told his friend that he wished for an ox so that he could plough his field. The second friend said that he would wish for a tiger. He had added that he will let it loose on his friend’s ox. Right after this a fight started between them. Birbal upon hearing everything asked them to come to the Emperor Akbar’s court the following morning.

Akbar was surprised to see Birbal come back so quickly with two men. After hearing their story the Emperor had no doubt that they were the biggest fools in the kingdom. “But ,” he observed, “where are the other two fools?” Birbal smirked. “One of them is you, Jnahapana for asking me to look for fools! And the other is me for finding fools in the kingdom.”

This made all of the people in the court have a good hearty laugh!!

Misht Doi Recipe

mishtidoiRecipe for a delicious Bengali sweet — Mishti Doi

I will admit that I am not an expert at this but the final product came out really delicious.  I used the link below as the starting point but made my own adjustments the next time around so that the yogurt sets well and is less sweet.


  1. 3tbsp – strained plain Greek yogurt – full fat version
  2. 6 oz – sweetened condensed milk
  3. 7 floz – evaporated milk

Follow the directions in the video (below)

Anger analysis

Fists, curses and bad blood are common in a scene of anger. It’s an intense and overwhelming feeling that many of us have experienced.  As with extremely powerful forces there is associated uncontrollable damage.  Before we get caught up in the whirlwind of its influence, how do we trace the trigger ?

Why do we get angry? On the surface there are tons on reasons that could fill and overflow any amount of writing material or use up hours of discussion. The basic cause may be an apparently  innocuous perception.  We may assume a threat and see ourselves as a victim. When this idea crystallizes, it bring in feelings of unfairness, unease and incapacity to cope.  We then set the stage for a powerful recovery to restore propriety.

We may find, later on, that the threat was largely in our mind. But what the mind once spawns off, now takes it own course. Unfortunately, the tremendous energy is not under the control of our rational mind.  It goes beyond setting things right and makes us do wrong things. Regret is a normal aftermath of unleashed anger.

Suppressed anger causes health issues and depression. 

Are there ways to stop anger from growing in the first place ?

The first step is preventative: cultivating an inner contentment and calmer state of mind as recommended by Dalai Lama  -“The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler”

Observe, Accept and be thankful..

Space rules

The force of gravity attracts two bodies anywhere in the universe. The plant Mercury , which is closest to the Sun is also the fastest orbiting planet so that it does not fall on the Sun. It spins around the Sun once every 88 days.

Rule # 1: If something attracts you too much, run away from it to keep things in balance. 

The plants of the solar system have one or more natural satellites or moons orbiting around them.  The Earth has a single well-rounded satellite called the Moon. Mars has two potato shaped satellites Phobos and Deimos. The biggest planet Jupiter has about 67 moons, the largest four of which was discovered by Galileo in 1610.  The second most massive planet Saturn has 63 moons . The largest of them, Titan, is bigger than the planet Mercury.  Neptune has 13 moons and Uranus has 27 moons. The planets Mercury and Venus the two inner planets closest to the Sun, have no natural satellites.

Rule # 2: The bigger you are the more followers you have , unless you have someone way bigger in your vicinity. 

The stars in the solar system go through cycles of birth and death. Medium sized stars turn into red giants and then finally into white dwarfs. Larger stars turn into neutron stars from red giants. Even bigger stars turn into black holes from red giants.

Rule # 3 : No matter how bright you shine, your light will be extinguished one day. All that is born will die.