The Gold Rush…. What? Where?

Yes, yes, the gold rush!  Is there one?  Where?

Oh, actually I was watching ‘The Gold Rush’ as I was fervently cycling away at the gym yesterday. I did not know then, but later as I checked out its details on the internet, The Gold Rush is a 1925 silent comedy film, written, produced, and directed by Charlie Chaplin himself.

Charlie Chaplin was hilarious as usual.  He is a gold explorer, a brave but weak Lone Prospector, competing with strong men vying for the gold during the Klondike Gold Rush.  It was a scene where Charlie is saved by Big Jim from the clutches of a competitor (Black Larsen, I think). Big Jim and Charlie doze off in this cabin after celebrating their victory over Black Larsen and have a heavy booze night. They sleep so soundly that they do not realize what hits them at night.  A heavy blizzard dislodges the entire cabin off the ground and sweeps it through the snowy and icy plains to the edge of a cliff!  Actually, almost over the cliff.

In the morning, Charlie wakes up from his deepest slumber and oblivious to his surroundings, he gets up to walk to the washroom, I suppose.  Lo and behold, the cabin tilts a bit (it was about half over the cliff, you see) and petrified out of his wits, he wonders if he had eaten too much and drunk too much the night before.  He thinks that he was having a bad hangover!

charlie chap
From: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gold_Rush

He wakes up Jim who also feels weird because of the see-saw effect in the wobbling cabin!  The two stand at either side of the house, inside, causing the log cabin to tilt back and forth, while the jokers remain clueless at what is happening.  Eventually, Jim who was big and sturdy, slides onto the same side as Charlie, and the cabin shifts some more over the cliff precariously hanging by a very tiny bit.  Its door flings open, and out slides Charlie…..!

While all this was going on, what was I doing in the gym on the bike? Going past my normal speed with my heart racing to 128.  I was in splits laughing my head off and thinking of our snowy winter in Canada.  By that time, I realized I had done 1 and half times the distance and speed that I normally do and was time to slow down!

Charlie and The Gold Rush brought back memories!  It was so good to laugh and enjoy the simple yet artful humor in Charlie Chaplin’s movies. This particular film was supposed to be one that Charlie wanted to be best remembered for!

If you can, do watch it with your family and have an evening of laughter and togetherness!

—  Jagjit

Are you a Winner or Victim?

When life throws you a curveball, what do you do?  You duck and rejoice, get hit and moan, or catch it swing it back.  The fourth choice you have is to get hit, save yourself, savor the lessons it teaches, and grow from the experience. 

There is no dearth of difficulties in people’s lives.  There is no one on this planet that hasn’t had at least one googly (to use another term for this fun life experience!) thrown at them.  People can get horrendously sick, some lose their job or/and their home, some experience awful flooding in which their belongings disappear into the sea.  A loved one dies, a loved one cheats on you, an enemy pays you a nasty visit, you fail your exams, friends break up, and your house collapses due to strong earthquake….  You have an accident and total your car, and you end up with a whiplash, etc, etc…. you get what I mean?  Things that happen to us- there is an endless list of possibilities.  All of us have experienced one or the other or more than one!

“We have to be winners, not losers”, I quipped, sitting in my doctor’s office one day.  Funny that he reminded me of that just the other day!  How do we ‘win’ in these circumstances? How do we win after a flood, or when my car is totally damaged and I am injured?  Who wins when friends break up or a marriage breaks up?  Or when you have a shouting spree with your spouse?  There is really no winner in that one!

Nah!  It’s not about winning here – as in winning a gold medal or coming on top of a class. It is really about having a winning attitude and a positive outlook.  If I lose all my belongings in a flood or in an earthquake, I am not going to feel very good for a long time.  So, what can I do?  Or if I lose my job and my salary that comes with it, what then?  Rest assured, first – I will not believe that it happened to me.  I will be angry, terribly angry!  With who? Whoever comes in my way and perhaps, God! Then, I will be absolutely depressed because it seems like the end of the world is upon me.  And you want me to be a winner?  How is that possible?

Seriously speaking, what we may try to do is to pick up the pieces after the initial shock and after-effects have passed.  Whatever happens, a winner accepts responsibility for his/her actions, a winner thinks ahead and plans for success, has a positive attitude and sees situations as challenges to grow and develop from, rather than be a complainer and whiner.  A winner tries to excel and constantly improve and surrounds themselves with optimism and positive people.  A loser or victim has the mentality of “why me?” Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they blame others and expect the worst from people and experiences.

Easier said than done!  How can I feel strong and ready to take positive action after a calamity has befallen me?  From my experiences, I have seen that if I sulk and feel bad about something, those feelings will drag me down further.  I have seen the ‘Poor me’ attitude of many folks and what do they achieve?  Nothing much except negativity, conflict, heightened anxiety, and ill health.  So, why not give the benefit of doubt to life’s curveballs and start to think like there is a wonderful life at the end of tunnel?  That wonderful outcome can come today, tomorrow, or 10 years hence.  But it will come and in the meantime, with positive attitude- an attitude of a winner, one can start looking up and gain strength.  We often heard the saying- ‘No pain, no gain’.  This one makes sense when you are having a hard workout in the gym, by the way!

Using this maxim in our life’s experiences, isn’t it best take any instance of pain as a challenge to learn and grow from?  If we take care of our present, our future and our past will fall in line!  Have a winner’s attitude, think positive, surround yourself with optimistic people, accept the curveballs and googlies with open arms and an open mind, and thank your lucky stars you received a chance to become a better and stronger person!

Toodle-doo!

— Jagjit

Dr. Abdul Kalam Azad- visionary leader, statesman, philosopher, educator

dr kalam2
APJ Abdul Kalam. Reuters

A true educator, Dr. Abdul Kalam Azad, former President of India, breathed his last on July 27 doing what he loved to do- interact with students at IIM, Shillong.

India has lost not only an educator in Dr. Kalam Azad, but also a thinker and an inspiration for all.  Among other adulations, he is called an igniter of young minds, a people’s person, and a people’s President.  He was an unconventional President who would break protocol and mingle with young people and the poor.

He has said “Dreams are not those that we do in our sleep.  They should be the ones that never let us sleep.”  He was known to be a visionary and a doer.  Once an idea was envisioned, it had to be planned out fully and implemented as soon as feasible and appropriate.  One of his biggest concerns was the future of India.

Born to a poor family with meagre beginnings and having gone through hardships, but rising to such heights in his studies and profession and the Presidentship of India, he always wanted to be a beacon of hope for disadvantaged and poor children.

India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narender Modi, in his expose entitled ‘Bharat has lost its Ratna’ in Times of India, July 29, 2015, writes “Dr. Kalam Azad’s vision for the nation was anchored in freedom, development, and strength.”  Emphasizing the criticality of freedom, Dr. Azad espoused a freedom from self-imposed limits, outside pressure and all around close-mindedness by each Indian.  He stressed the importance of development and asked politicians to devote 70% of their time to development of their jurisdictions.  Finally, according to Dr. Azad, strength comes from understanding and it commands respect.  Of note were his most valuable contributions to nuclear and space, and education, science, and technology.  His special affection and concern for students young and old was much appreciated.

According to Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (Speaking tree, Times of India, July 29), Dr. Azad was a man of integrity and intelligence.  He emphasized the importance of mother, father and teacher in the development of beautiful minds in children in a society that should and could be corruption free.  He inspired the young towards excellence in all they do and to be a spiritual force in the world today.

Lots has been written on the late Dr. Abdul Kalam Azad and more will be still written.  Indeed, what a noble and humble man he was.  India mourns the loss of this great Ratna, but it also rejoices in the Marg he has shown for India and its citizens– of freedom, development, and strength.

Picture taken from: http://www.firstpost.com/india/former-president-apj-abdul-kalam-passes-away-after-collapsing-during-lecture-at-iim-shillong-2366030.html