It’s All About The Attitude

“The one who does not make a mistake is God. The one who makes mistakes and realises the mistake, is human God” meant the shop keeper Kewalbhai, when he said in Hindi “Jo bhool nahin karta wah Bhagawan hai.  Jo Bhool karke maan leta hai bhagwan jaisa insaan hai”.

I was with my best friend Kishore Bhatia and his wife Neelu in Rishikesh on 27 March 2015, a place I love to visit for a peaceful and pollution free break.  We observed that the shop owners in the area around Geeta Bhavan lacked courtesy.

In one of the shops, Kishore asked for a blue shirt.  He did not like the shade that was shown to him and Neelu requested if she could see some other colours.  This supposedly was reason enough for the shopkeeper to be upset.

He argued that he did not show other colours because he was asked for blue. He spoke in a manner that made it seem like Kishore had committed a crime by asking for a colour of his liking.  He then went on to practically throw a few shirts before Neelu whereas he could have politely shown the other shades.  I did not like the shop keeper’s attitude.  I got into an argument with the shop keeper for his behavior, making me lose my peace of mind.

That evening, as we calmed down like the surface of the river in front of us, we analysed the incident. We realised that though the shopkeeper’s attitude was not right, we weren’t right either. By getting into an argument for someone else’s mistake and improper attitude, I created an adverse impact on me.

Next day, I went to the shop-keeper and said “I feel bad that I had an argument with you yesterday.  Let us not discuss who was at fault. Let us forget that incident as I have realised that the arguments could have been easily avoided.”

He got up from his chair as if an electric shock passed through his chair.  He held my hand and apologized for his attitude the previous day.

Jo bhool nahin karta wah Bhagawan hai.  Jo Bhool karke maan leta hai bhagwan jaisa insaan hai” said the shop keeper Kewalbhai.  (The one who does not commit mistakes is God.  The one who does a mistake and realises it, is a human God).  He started praising me as he held my hands firmly for quite a few minutes.

He further said, “You are a good human being. I want to give you something”. I was relieved and happy.  I wondered whether he would extend a gift from his shop!    Instead, he gave me a gift of his sincerity.  He gave me a printed card and said “if you ever have a problem with your teeth, touch the problematic tooth with your finger and chant the mantra written on the card just once.  You will be relieved immediately.  He similarly gave tips for other problems.

He asked me to join my palms together so that he could read my hands.  Two corresponding lines, one  one each palm, formed a curve like a half moon.  Next, he checked the levels two prominent lines on my two little fingers.

The levels didn’t match; there was a difference of about 1 to 2mm.  The shop keeper said, “ just now, you have an upset stomach.  You don’t have proper appetite either.”  Sure enough, he was right. I had a mild stomach ache.

He took out a black cotton thread, chanted a mantra mentally and tied five knots.  He looked at my face and added another two.   This time when I held my palms next to each other, all three lines matched perfectly.  The difference had gone!   Suddenly my stomach ache disappeared too and I felt normal.

I wondered why I argued with such a helpful and talented gentleman.  Had I controlled myself for a minute, I would not have harmed my peace of mind.

This incident taught me once again: “I have a particular attitude towards life, others have their own.  If I understand this, I can protect my peace of mind.”

Author: Badri Baldawa

Editor  : Meeta Kabra

My First Midnight-Sun Venture

 “It must be a fairy tale” I thought, when our Geography teacher in school said “North Pole and South Pole have 6 months day light and are dark for 6 months.  I wanted to experience it before I believed it.

I planned my first overseas vacation with my wife in 1983, when I was in Dubai. First thing which came to mind was to visit the Arctic region in North Pole where the sun shines at midnight.

There was no internet and WWWs at that time.  None of the travel agents, either in Dubai or India, had any clue as to where and how to reach the place.  I decided to plan my trip by myself. I was reasonably sure that the midnight sun could be experienced from one of the locations in the northern part of the Arctic region.

By the time I reached Oslo on 23 July 1983, I was pretty sure that my best shot was from a place called North Cape in Norway.   It was the northern most tip of Norway,  a distance of about 2,000 kms to the North of Oslo.  Out of this, a distance of 1,200 kms up to Narvik was accessible by train.   The rest had to be covered by road.

We hired a car to start our journey from Narvik to North Cape.  I guessed, at the average European highway speed, it would take about 7-8 hours to cover the distance of 800 km.  I was shocked and was not prepared to believe when the rental car agent said it would take us 2-3 days to reach. I was determined to visit North Cape to fulfill my childhood ambition.

The road was very narrow, just about 7-8 feet wide for two way traffic.  If there was even a small car approaching from the opposite side, one of the cars had to back up to a point where overtaking was possible. The winter snow fall made the road rough and worn out.  The drive had to be as slow as 10-20 kms per hour most of the time compared to the average 160 in Europe

There were innumerable large lakes on the way.  Since there were no bridges,  at times, we had to drive around the lake for a long distance of about 20-25 km – a distance which would otherwise have been just half a km if there was an accessible road/bridge.

The drive though had a unique scenic beauty about it.  It ran along the coast of the Norwegian Sea. On one side, just at the edge of the road, the land had suddenly sliced down, at timed as deep as 200ft.  At the bottom of the sliced land, there was frozen seashore and then a vast view of the sea and horizon with a rare view of ice slates at the sea shore.  On the very edge of the top of the sliced land, was the narrow road we were driving on.  On the other side of the road there were a series of high mountains or valleys with unique views at every turn.  A drive of a lifetime, indeed.

To save time, we had pre-packed lunch and dinner in the car itself, instead of taking stops.   A cup of coffee with khakras, chips and similar snacks kept us going.   We had tea/coffee at the gas stations whenever we stopped for gas.

 We finally reached North Cape on the afternoon of 25 July 1983.  That was my life’s longest continuous drive, a non-stop drive of 46 hours without rest or sleep.

We spent watching the sun through the night. The temperature was around freezing point

North Cape was a totally isolated place.  We could see the sun moving from one place to another in a circle, all the time right on our head. It was a slightly hazy day, but we were lucky to have occasional clear sky. It was bright white till the evening.  In the evening it started turning a little yellow.  At midnight, it was bright orange with multi-coloured clouds – a mesmerizing view.

Midnight Sun at North Cape 11 pm to 1 am

Midnight Sun at North Cape 11pm to 1am2015-03-20 11.54.00

At the observation point, there was a post office and 3 telephone booths. We purchased a few post cards from the post office and posted them to the dear ones.  They had a machine which stamped our passport “North Cape – July 26, 1983 00:55”.

We were quite excited and thought of calling dear ones from there. The tariff was very high and there were no cell phones at that time.  We decided to restrict calls to our parents and children to inform them that we have ultimately reached the place where we planned to be.

 We inserted Kroner in the first booth, but the credit failed to appear on the screen.  We realised it was not working.  We tried at the second booth.  This machine also swallowed a Kroner without giving any service.  Unfortunate.

We still tried phone at the third and last of the booths.   As we inserted a Kroner, there was no response.  Disappointed, I banged the box.    Surprise! I saw quite a few Kroners coming out of the machine!  I collected all of them, and dialed our landline in Dubai.  As it was ringing, I inserted a coin, the coin came out but I could here the voice on the other side.  Eureka!

We took complete undue advantage of the free calls.  Hoping for further gain, I banged the first two machines, they were dead.  They did not throw out any coins like the third darling.

Overall, we were richer by a few Kroners by the time we forced ourselves to leave the place! It is true the sun shines at midnight!


Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa

Edited By : Meeta Kabra