Monday, December 18, 2017

Measure of Memories

Memories of a friend begin to fill my mind
in spaces where we met, I seek him to find...
But, I cannot find or meet him anymore
as before his time, my friend had to go!

Two are needed to hold a relationship rope
when one lets go, the other seems sans hope!
But we can refuse to let go and find a way
To keep our friend alive by our actions today!

We must move beyond sorrow and pain...
and learn from the measure of grain!
When the measure overflows it is a clue
that someone has made add-ons new!  

The memory measure needs moments anew
It will surely overflow even if add-ons are few...
The things he loved to do, we must do again
Instead of grieving loss, let's add to the gain!

Recreating moments will carry on the show
as we build on a memory of joy not woe
And when the memory measure overflows...
it will make us feel that he did not really go!

May the effort be followed by another one
by doing the things he would have done…
Let’s move beyond the wistful memory rim
And fill them with positives beyond the brim!

May newer memories overflow the measure
as a tribute to the one who was a treasure…
The ‘measure of memories’, it is found to be true
is ‘memories without measure’ in add-ons we do! 

(it is an year since my friend, Ravi Shirsat passed away on 16 December 2016... he (& his wife Poonam) had gifted me an 'overflowing measure of grain' to wish me abundance... this muse is a resolve to make my 'measure of memories of Ravi' overflow)

~ Pravin Sabnis

Monday, December 11, 2017


As a child, I loved most of what my mother cooked. One of the dislikes was the idli. I would immediately gulp down a couple of the rice cakes, since my mother had a stern rule that we had to eat the first offering of all food, even if we disliked it. I would ensure that the unpleasant experience was over at the earliest.

However, this strategy would boomerang at homes of other people. Seeing me consume the idlis in quick time, they would think I loved them and they would drop more idlis in my plate. Hence, I had to change my approach. I would put small pieces of the idli in my mouth and chew slowly to stretch the time. Interestingly, this made me indulge in the taste and eventually I developed a liking for the idli.

My dislike for the idlis was due to wrong perceptions rather than real experience of taste. In fact, our likes as well as dislikes may be inferences born of perceptions or even interpretation of real experiences. People who love chicken or vegetarian Manchurian may enjoy it without really getting the taste of what’s inside.
To truly soak in the experience, we must soak in it. We must give it time to familiarise with facets that unravel only with deeper application of our senses. We need to consider whether our dislikes are mere inferences from erroneous perceptions made in a hurry. We have to find ways to escape hurried perceptions and experience the same with an open mind.

Stop playing hostage to hurried opinion…
Dislikes may be mere errors of perception!

~ Pravin Sabnis

Monday, November 27, 2017


We find in history that the availability of salt has been pivotal to civilization. The word ‘salary’ comes from the Latin word for salt because the Roman Legions were often paid in salt. Salt has been the best-known food preservative, especially for meat, for many thousands of years. Salt is truly an important ingredient in our life.

One of the five basic taste sensations, salt is essential to our health. Salt is kept in the dining plate or leaf to be added as per choice of taste. It is a common to find salt shakers on dining tables. In India the consumption of salt in a meal served by a person leads to an attitude of gratitude and loyalty to the server.

‘Maine Desh Ka Namak Khaya Hai’ has been a successful advertising campaign by Tata Salt. For over a decade, it depicted its branding as aligned to the faith of the citizens as seen in every day acts of honesty, loyalty and integrity born out of gratitude to the country for ‘feeding’ us.

However it is pertinent to note that true integrity cannot be visionless hostage to loyalty. For instance, if someone feeds us is not enough reason to blindly believe and follow him. Values are the litmus test before allegiance. Hence we must introspect as well look around to understand the situation and the stakeholders.

In fact, the real salt of the country is found in the salt pans created by natural evaporation. And loyalty to the country cannot exclude those who harvest salt and their tribe. When we ignore reality, we open ourselves to plastic patriotism that is mere faulty posturing and may well be against our land and its people.

Look within and without to escape fault…
Ensure that you are eating the right salt!

~ Pravin Sabnis

Monday, November 20, 2017


Yesterday, members of Rotary Eye Bank of Goa joined ‘Walk in the Dark’ initiated by India Vision Institute. To raise awareness about avoidable blindness, we walked blindfolded guided by a visually challenged person. An enthusiastic participant spoke about it being akin to the act midbrain activation and I realised he was blindfellen!

‘Midbrain activation’ is a practice that claims to activate the ‘midbrain’ and trigger off super-normal abilities. The promoters insist that once the ‘midbrain’ is activated, a blindfolded person can read as well as do all things normally. Many parents are paying huge amounts of money to activate the ‘midbrain’ of their children.

This pseudoscientific practice has no acceptance in the mainstream science and is certainly a scam. No feats of midbrain activation have been demonstrated under a controlled environment to eliminate the possibilities of trickery. Rationalists have exposed the scam but the gullible continue to be blindfellen.

Helen Keller said, ‘a worse thing than not having sight is to not have vision’. The visually challenged overcome their difficulty by harnessing vision through imagination as well as identification of signals received. But many of us choose to be fooled. It is only thinking that helps vision. For that the brain should not be blindfellen!

Think without being a blindfellen fool…
Open your mind using the vision tool!

~ Pravin Sabnis

Monday, November 13, 2017


Over the years, Rotary Club of Panaji has been making a difference in many ways for the St. Xaviers Academy for special children at Old Goa. The bakery was renovated and refurbished. The performance space was made user friendly. A toilet Block was built. All these have been led by the key efforts of A D Prasad.

Last Saturday, at a simple function to hand over scholarships to the students and inaugurate the toilet block, Prasad was asked to say a few words. Indeed he said a few words. He spelt out in a single sentence his next proposed project for the academy. Nothing more! Nothing less!

It would have been fitting for Prasad to speak about his significant contributions and efforts made by him. His recount would have been very inspiring. Yet he chose to skip the nostalgia of the past. He chose to give a slip to the indulgence in the present. He chose to look forward and commit to the future.

Narrating the nostalgia of a great journey is a good stimulus to learn and be influenced. Looking at the milestone reached can generate gratification and propel greater enthusiasm for the path ahead. However, the greatest motivation comes from the visionary act of forward-looking.

Forward-looking is not just seeing the desired road ahead. It is more about looked-for steps by us to reach the desired destination. It is about the resolve for making all necessary efforts as a personal initiative. The ‘past’ and ‘present’ can be occasion to celebrate the effort but the ‘future’ is the one that beckons on greater journeys.

Never mind milestones of a journey of notable bends…
Forward-looking reminds us that the road is yet to end!

~ Pravin Sabnis

Monday, November 6, 2017


We need to be wary of ones who use friendship for selfish fiendish reasons. Even friendship that survived many years may be discovered to be one of deceit and pretence. In such case it is best to ‘unfriend’ - an option offered on social networking forums to facilitate the defriending of an earlier approved friend.

Of course, virtual ‘friends’ are often just connections that are easy to make or break. But in the real world, friendships involve perception too. There are instances when others in the circle remain unaware of a break up in a friendship and the fiend may continue to misuse the perception of still being a friend.

In various networks (virtual and real) friendship is considered as a corollary to be being part of the same group. We describe ‘distant colleagues’ as ‘close friends’. Being courteous, considerate and sociable are actions of any sensitive human being. These are personal choices that do not always expect reciprocity.

Real friendship is something else. Friends are relations you can depend on. They may be critical of you but with the best of intentions. They may be weak but they will stand up for you. They may carelessly share your secrets but would never spread lies about you. They will not stab you in the back never mind the incentive. Indeed it is all about being a friend in deed!

Pretence of friendship may be a selfish need…
But real friends are seen as true in every deed!

~ Pravin Sabnis

Monday, October 30, 2017


At the installation ceremony of Samraat Club Bori, the Chief Guest, Sharmad Raiturkar shared a valuable experience. He had initiated an activity during a meeting of his team. Members were handed a piece of paper. They were asked to list out what they could contribute to the desired transformation in the country.

The writings were collected and then read out aloud. There were suggestions for bureaucrats, for politicians, for society, for law makers, for law enforcers, for teachers, for students, for the younger generation, so on and so forth. There was no professed commitment by any writer. There were declarations of expectations. There were no declarations of obligation!

Most of us can diagnose and prescribe solutions. There are very few who move on to implement the same remedy as a personal initiative. Even when asked to suggest our personal contribution, we shift onus away from self and avoid the obligation that is to be addressed. We find advice easy to give but find commitments tough to make.

We avoid obligation as we insist on expectations only of others. We too belong to the same circle of expectation. We may or may not be part of the problem but we can always be part of the solution. We are entitled to have expectations of all role-players and stakeholders, but our obligation should rise from the same expectation.

It is in our interest to back the change we seek. Mahatma Gandhi said it so well, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ Expectations to contribute to the change must start with us by making the commitment from a sense of obligation. It is all about taking onus for the situation and contributing to the desired change.

If it is to be… for every expectation
It is up to me to see my obligation!

~ Pravin Sabnis