Going abroad to study or work? Sharing my own experience

GOING ABROAD TO WORK

In Dec.’92 I moved from Mumbai to UAE / Dubai on getting job offer/work visa from a multi-national shipping company. The head of my department also an expat who took my oral phone interview was kind enough to pre-alert me. He advised me to check Company’s Job Offer carefully, especially the salary and entitlements prior to accepting it. Hinting that once Offer was accepted and signed, expect not any raise or increase recommendation from my side on the performance basis.

During my two years stay in Dubai & 7 years in Kuwait, I noticed expats from Indian subcontinent were subject to step-motherly treatment by both locals and expats from Europe & seldom got the promotion or raise in salary.  Employees of small private companies owned by Shaikhs were often treated like a slave. A young  Electrical Engineer hired as Showroom Sales Manager in Deira business hub was overnight shunted to the factory in far off remote place & forced to use Painting Room as his accommodation and made responsible for all the materials held in the factory.  His request to resign, return his passport and allow him to return to India was outrightly rejected. He got back his Indian passport from his employer only through the intervention of Indian Consular Office.

Within one week of reporting for work at my new job in Dubai, I realized that I had landed on the hot seat vacated by another Indian expat who was subject to football kicks by two fighting heads No.1 Pakistani Captain & No.2 Egyptian Engineer. My selection for this job was done by No.1 Pakistani Captain departmental head but was not acceptable to No.2 Egyptian Engineer – my immediate reporting officer. He wanted to kick me out and bring another person of Egyptian nationality. So I was victimized by ongoing internal dirty politics, which luckily for me I was able to overcome but not without suffering and mental torture for at least next six months.

Within two years my entire department was relocated to Kuwait. Those days Kuwait was just recovering from the devastation/damages suffered during invasion & occupation of Kuwait by the Saddam Hussain. Excepting  Star Hotels expensive restaurants, low-cost Eatery House for daily meals was none. Fortunately for me at age fifty and soon after landing in Dubai, I cultivated a hobby of Cooking and learned it with help of my wife and internet.

This, of course, was out of sheer need. Firstly because I was staunch Hindu Vegetarian. 2ndly food is a big issue especially for the non-muslim expats in the Middle East during the holy month of Ramdhan. Restaurants provide food packets to take away home but on condition not to open elsewhere except home.

One more issue one may perhaps face is ‘Home Sickness’. It’s more applicable to senior persons like me suddenly pulled out of a comfort zone of hustle-bustle family life in Mumbai and pushed to isolation. Every day morning 7.30 while walking past Dubai Clock Tower on way to my office, an Air India flight used to take off for Mumbai. For a couple of months that Air India flight tempted me for flying back to homeland instead of stepping into my new workplace office in Dubai.

The Home Sickness issue was resolved when I got the news of the BAPS SATSANG assembly held every Friday evening in a Villa in Al-Saab rented especially for this purpose. Here I found my new friends – aspirants on the path of Spirituality and soon they became part of my new family members. Here they celebrated all the Hindu festivals & at the end of Satsang Assembly participants were served with Maha-Prasadam (hot dinner). Here I met another senior person of my age who held a high position in the bank. He owned Car and since he lived close to my residence he offered me ride and eased my problem of to and fro transport to Villa in Al-Saab.

Based on my own experience, my recommendations are as follows:-

1. Check thoroughly the job offer, especially the salary/entitlements and if they are enough and adequate matching with your expectations. Don’t expect raise or promotion or anything more than what is stated in the Job offer especially when you are moving to any Middle East Country on a job contract.

2.  Check reputation/status of your Sponsor and how he treats the staff hired by him. Even if your sponsor is a multinational company, it would be prudent to get as much info as possible about the environment prevailing in the department you are going to join and attitude of the departmental head towards the Indian expat.

3. Learn Cooking and how to manage your kitchen gadgets no matter which part of the world you are moving into Study or Job. You will save lots of money/time spent on transport to go to Eatery place & enjoy the hot tasty meal of your choice at your time and save your body from intake of Junk food. Advantages are many. When my son aged 24 flew to San Diego/USA in response to TCS job offer, one thing we were not at all bothered was about his daily meal. Because he had already learned how to Cook his favorite dishes by taking a clue of my life in the Middle East.

4. ‘Man is a Social Animal’ and even those who are not subject to Home Sickness, do feel left out alone in the countries of Europe & America especially when faced with even a minor problem. The easiest means to find a  welcoming Indian people group in any part of the world is BAPS (www.baps.org). Spread across all the five continents of the world, there are about 1100 BAPS Centers. The latest addition in the year 2018 is Tokyo/Japan.

Long back in Feb or March 1993 first time I attended the Weekly BAPS Satsang Assembly one Friday evening at the rented Villa in Al-Saab for this purpose. It not only proved a turning point in my life but now it has become part of  Daily Life of all the members of my family. Today myself now living a retired life with my son’s family settled in the USA, my son who works for Amazon and my wife all three are active volunteers at the Redmond BAPS Mandir + Sanskar Dhaam in Seattle.

IN THE JOY OF OTHERS, LIES OUR OWN  is the slogan given to us by our Guru Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj. 

Our Pujya Swayam Prakash Swami (also known as Doctor Swami as he got the MBBS degree from Topiwala College of Mumbai) elaborates and explains – “These BAPS Mandirs across all the five continents are nothing else but the Universities of Spiritual Knowledge”. He considers and encourages the ideology of the BAPS EK PARIVAR means according to him hundreds of thousands of BAPS volunteers and devotees no matter in which part of the world they live is part of a one giant BAPS Family.

Due to the relocation of my department, when I moved to Kuwait in 1995 such Weekly Satsang Assembly activity had not yet started. It started in 1997 soon after Swasmishri’s first Dharm Yaatra of Middle East countries of UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. It started in Kuwait with a group of hardly six small families. Every Friday evening, we used to assemble for Satsang at the residence of one of the preselected member & would disperse after taking Maha-Prasad (dinner prepared for the devotees by the volunteers of the ladies core.)

Today Dubai BAPS center has moved from a small villa in Al-Saab to larger premises in Al-Satwa. And now talk of the town is about UAE prince donating land for building a grand BAPS Shikhar Bandh Mandir (University of the Spiritual Knowledge) in Abudhabi. Construction work has already started under the guidance of Sadhu Pujya Brahm Vihari Das and expected to complete in 2020.

Kuwait Satsang Activity started in 1997 with hardly small six families has now expanded to more than 200 devotees attending every Friday evening assembly at a big hall now hired specially for this purpose.  Recently a team of 12 BAPS Sadhus under the leadership of Pujya Doctor Swami during Dharm Yaatra of the Middle East Countries spent five days in Kuwait to encourage the devotees/aspirants in their spiritual pursuits.

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A team of 12 BAPS Sadhus on Dharm Yaatra of four Middle East Countries (UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman) at the Arrival Hall of Kuwait Airport with Volunteers of the BAPS Sanskar Kendra – Kuwait.

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Pujya Doctor Swami (Sadhu Swayam Prakash Dasji) addressing the gathering at the Kuwait residence of Shri Sureshbhai Choksi.

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Kids at an early age taking interest in the importance of SPIRITUALITY in our daily life are inspired and encouraged with love & affection by the BAPS Sadhus. (One-day Shibir held in a large tent.

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This blog post writer talks to Pu.Brahm Vihari Swami about;

  • how Pramukh Swami’s April 1997 Kuwait visit became a turning point in my life.
  • how much I was impressed by Pu.Brahm Vihari Swami’s instant English translated delivery of Pramukh Swami’s Gujarati speech in April 1997 at the welcome gathering held at the Indian Embassy in Kuwait.
  • how my life was transformed and the family prospered both financially and spiritually ever since my first one to one April 1997 meeting with Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Kuwait.

GOING ABROAD TO STUDY

After completing his graduation in Mechanical Engineering from the Bombay’s reputed Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute of Matunga in the year 1998-99, my son did a thorough homework. Here follows his own opinion/views he brought to my attention.

  1. Usually, engineering students look at the American Universities mainly due to the prospects of settlement abroad after completion of the study.

2.  Cost of study in America is almost ten times as compared to study cost in India.

3.  You can put all the American Universities in 3 groups.
Group I – highly reputed colleges like MIT, Yale, Harward, Stanford etc. located  generally in around the Boston on East Coast. Admission to such  Universities  is as  difficult similar to an entry to the IIT of India & college fees are prohibitive.
Group II – State-run Universities. Most of them are worth trying and tuition fees though high as compared to Indian Universities but reasonable when compared to the US living standard.
Group III – most of the private Universities, tuition fees vary from place to place.  Basically, they are Commercial institutes, their only aim is to earn income from fees  paid by the needy students from foreign countries eager to easily get US Student visa.

My son’s aim/vision was very clear. He wished to legally migrate to the USA and fulfill his American Dream like most of the youngsters of his age group. He skipped Group-I and Group-III Universities for the obvious reasons stated above & tried for admission to only Group II University that too only those falling into the reasonable level of tuition fees.

He got a moderate response from some of those Universities. He examined pros and cons of spending 2 years and tuition fees for higher study in US v/s joining a multi-national company and acquiring practical job experience. He concluded it was waste of time and money for getting an additional degree certificate from US University for a VJTI student like him. He easily got TCS job in Mumbai and within two years on his own merit landed in one of the TCS group company in San Diego/USA. This company was engaged in some research work done under the leadership of Professor Venkat Rao of the University of California. Here he could file with the US Govt. couple of patents for the research work he did under the guidance of Professor Venkat Rao.

Bottom line is, I recommend all youngsters planning to go abroad to study to have their aim/vision very clear. Examine thoroughly what your aim is, what you want to achieve in your life & for their goal of yours, please check thoroughly if time/money you are going to spend is worth.  Many youngsters waste lots of time and money just to put their feet on the American land but not aware of how slippery that land is.

Once I flew with my wife on Air-India non-stop flight from Mumbai to Los Angels. We had purchased another ticket of Delta airlines for our onward journey from Los Angels to Seattle. This was the biggest blunder we had made in booking our air-passage with two different airlines. We arrived Los Angels safely and at the time as per schedule. But it took a couple of hours for us to pick up our baggage from the conveyor belt, put them on a trolly and move to the another far off gate for catching Delta flight from LA to Seattle. Unfortunately for us, there was but only one Delta Check-in Counter for all destinations and queue of the passengers was too long. I made several attempts to contact the duty officer but in vain. By the time I reached to the Counter, I was informed by the lady that boarding for our Delta flight to Seattle had already closed. I was asked to see the officer on Help Desk, who informed me about non-availability of the seat on next Delta flights after two hours and one more flight past midnight. As per Help Desk, we were left with no option but wait indefinitely at the LA airport till the availability of seat on Delta flight from LA to Seattle.

Luckily for me, I had US$ cash in my pocket enough to buy two new tickets of Alaska Airlines departing LA for Seattle within two hours. So we managed to reach our destination Seattle by Alaska Airlines but suffered a loss of money we spent on Delta Air tickets.

So the lesson I learned is never ever book your passage with two different airlines in the temptation of saving money. Ensure automatic transfer of luggage from one aircraft to another if the flight involves the change of aircraft.

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Some logical questions on this latest news item of US media.

 

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1)   Why on earth nobody else but a 32 years old totally innocent highly talented Indian Electronic Engineer Mr Srinivas was killed by the gunshot of 51 years old Mr Purinton at the bar in the Kansas City of America.? The fact is Srinivas & Purinton had never met each other earlier anytime.

2)  What motivated Mr Srinivas to go to that particular bar/place in the evening of Thursday/23rd February 2017? Had he remained at home that evening OR gone to some other place he would have been saved of the bullet shot by Mr Purinton – right? 

3)  Why Mr Srinivas succumbed to bullet of Mr Purinton and did not survive in the hospital similar to his friend Mr Aalok Madnani? Srinivas and his friend Aalok Madnani both got bullets from the gun of Mr Purinton but only one of them i.e. Aalok survived. Why not both? 

Despite so much technological advancement modern Science has absolutely no clue or logical answers to my above questions? Try Google or any search engine? Just no way….

Where Science ends, spirituality begins.

Spirituality has got answers to all such phenomena – especially the Indian scriptures like VEDs and Upanishads.

Answers to above questions could be found in KARM-YOG  of Srimad Bhagvat Gita. In brief, it is called the principle of “Cause & Effect.”

Mr Srinivas died by the bullet of Mr Purinton either because of his earlier life’s Karmik Account with Mr Purinton. Or Mr Purinton will pay for this heinous act of him in his next life to Mr Srinivas.

The principle of Science is ‘we are not able to either create or destroy anything but substance/material keeps changing the form from time to time.”  

Similarly, the principle of Spirituality is “there is a cause for every effect or happenings in our day to day lives.”

Take it or leave it but whatever happens in this world, it happens for a reason. There is but a Creator of this wonderful world we live and it’s well controlled by HIM while all of us human beings are nothing but just puppets on his string!

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A would be Sadhu rules today as Prime Minister of the India

 

         

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Soon after completing his higher secondary education in 1967 a boy named Narendra Damodar Modi leaves his home in Vadnagar – a town of Gujarat State of India. Without prior consent, his engagement was fixed with a local girl Jashodaben by his parents while he was still a child. This family arranged marriage was not acceptable to young Narendra whose life’s role model was Swami Vivekanand. This conflict of views caused tensions in the family and contributed to his decision of quitting the home in 1967.

          The ensuing two years he spent travelling across north and north-eastern India though few details of where he went have emerged. As a child, he was greatly impressed by Swami Vivekananda. In interviews, Modi has described visiting of Hindu Ashrams in those days. He reached Belur Math near Kolkata in early summer of 1968. But he lacked required College education for entry into the Belur Math for eventual acceptance as a monk. Being turned away he wondered through Calcutta, Assam, Siliguri and Guwahati. Then he went to the Ramkrishna Mission Ashram in Almora where his entry was again rejected.

          In late 1969 or early 1970, Modi travelled back to Gujarat via Delhi and Rajasthan. He returned to hometown Vadnagar but after short stay moved to Ahmedabad. There he lived with his uncle and started working for his canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.  Once more he approached Revered Atmasthanandaji – then Secretary of the Ramakrishna mission in Rajkot. He too dissuaded him from becoming a monk advised him to grow a beard and remain committed to completing his pursuit of education as destiny chose him to play a larger role in life.

        In November 2000 Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed the foundation stone laying  (shilanyas) ceremony of the ‘SwaminarayanAkshardhamin New Delhi.

       

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         Big names in the social and political spheres were in attendance to participate. When Mr Modi was a relatively unknown face, that time Pramukh Swami Maharaj insisted for his presence and participation in the holy ritual. While the puja was in progress, Pramukh Swami called a Sadhu and asked him to arrange to provide Mr Modi with some currency/coins saying “He must not be having any money to offer during the ritual”. And it was the reality – Mr Modi’s pockets were indeed empty at that time.Mr Modi marvelled at Pramukh Swami’s oneness with him and also taking care of his empty pockets.

Within ten months Mr Modi gets his big break when Keshubhai Patel steps down as Gujarat chief minister in the wake of the January 2001 earthquake that killed thousands of people. Mr Modi was selected as Patel’s replacement and remained in power ever since, becoming Gujarat’s longest-serving chief minister. 

          Before swearing-in as the Chief Minister, Mr.Modi went to Swaminarayan temple at Shahibaug in Ahmedabad to meet Shri Pramukhswami Maharaj and received his blessings.

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In June 2013 he becomes BJP’s Campaign Committee Chief for 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and in September 2013 BJP declared Narendra Modi as the PM candidate of the Party for 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. 

As per local daily DIVYA BHASKAR, Mr Modi phoned Pramukh Swami Maharaj seeking his blessings prior to filing his nomination as Lok Sabha candidate from the Vadodara constituency. Swamiji not only blessed him but also sent him a gift of a fountain pen to facilitate him filing the nomination papers. In the month of May,  BJP led NDA alliance wins 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and Mr Modi is sworn in as Prime Minister of India.

          On 15 August 2016, soon after presiding over the Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi, Prime Minister of India Hon. Shri Narendra Modi arrived in the village of Sarangpur at 11.55 a.m. to pay homage to HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj. With folded hands and a melancholy face, the PM bowed  before the mortal body of Pramukh Swami and offered flowers in obeisance. 

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Mr Modi addressed the audience of Sadhus and media persons in the Guru Darshan Mandapam while thousands of devotees and well- wishers listened to him. To start with the  Prime Minister remained and emotional for a while before beginning his passionate eulogy.      

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Snippets of Mr Modi’s speech in Gujarati language:-

* “Many of you have lost a Guru but I have lost a father ! I had been associated with Swamishri for so many years. My acquaintance with him goes back to when I was unknown in public life. In fact, I was ranked after the devotees – that was how ordinary I ws – till the fatherly association I had with him, when he cared for me, fostered and moulded me like a father does his own child, I have many reminiscences about him.”

 * “Many of you today may be astonished to know that Pramukh Swami used to ask me to send my Video speeches whenever I spoke earlier as public figure and later as the Chief Minister. I thought that maybe he wanted to know what I spoke about. But then two or three days later he would ring me and say,‘You should not have said these words.You still have a lot of work to do in future.How can you make such mistakes !’ Swamiji thus drew my attention numerous times. This showed how much rapport he had to mould a person’s life.”

* “On another occasion, I was told to tell Pramukh Swami to have his meals because he had abstained from taking food altogether. Since I was out travelling far, I rang up Swamiji and urged him,’ Bapa (Dad), a son is telling you to start having your meals’. Without any argument, he said, ‘Okay then, may you be pleased”. An hour later, I rang to check up and I heard that Bapa had taken a meal. Such close bonds I had experienced with him”.

Credit : pictures/contents sourced from the BAPS/India.

 

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Flash 17

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       In Sanskrit,  Bhaga means supreme/excellence/majesty and vān means possess. So one who possesses Excellent Supreme Majesty is called Bhagavān = God.

       According to the Hindu scriptures Bhagavān = God possesses six divine powers. No. 1 of them is the Knowledge . The most extraordinary, knowledge of knowing everything and every person anytime without any other means or aid what so ever.

        Brahma- Swaroop is a person, who by the grace of God possesses divine powers similar to the God. Due to his modesty and humbleness, however, he rather hides such powers and prefers to behave just like a common human being. 

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       Pramukh Swami Maharaj was one such Brahma-Swaroop is evident from some of the anecdotes of his life described hereunder and in the posts to follow in this blog.

       Once Brahma-Swaroop Shri Yogiji Maharaj (Guru of Pramukh Swami Maharaj) during his foreign tour in the year 1970 was in the east African town Jinja. During this period a gentleman by name Narendrabhai from Bhavnagar/India happened to go there to participate in a marriage function in Jinja. After the function was over, his host took him to B.S. Shri Yogiji Maharaj while he was in Jinja.

       Narendrabhai was born in the family following the faith of Bhagavan Swaminarayan. He was disciple right from his birth. But somehow he was not initiated (hindu tradition similar to baptism in Christianity) by any holy Hindu Sadhu. As such, he requested Shri Yogiji Maharaj to initiate him (by placing a string of round wooden beads around his neck)

       Yogiji Maharaj said I will also not initiate you but instead Pramukh Swami Maharaj will initiate you by placing a string of beads around your neck. This dialogue took place at Jinja between Yogiji Maharaj and Narendrabhai in absence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

       Thereafter not weeks or months but exactly eleven years lapsed. In the year 1981 Pramukh Swami Maharaj came to Amdavad city of India for the bicentanary celebration and stayed at the residence of Jashbhai Patel. Narendrabhai was invited by his friend Jashbhai to his house for darshan (personal visit) of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. 

        Narendrabhai joined the row of visitors to Pramukh Swami Maharaj. As soon as his turn came and he was nearer to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Swamishri held his hand with a gesture to hold on. Then Swamishri requested a nearby standing Sadhu to bring a ‘string of wooden beads’. Swamishri put some water in the right hand of Narendrabhai, string of beads around the neck of Narendrabhai and told him- “as promised by our Guru Yogiji Maharaj, to-day you are initiated by me”  

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Source : Gujarati Audio Clip of the discourses delivered by BAPS Sadhu Adarsh Jivan Das.

 

 

 

 

Hussain-Hasan-Hussain

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “In the joy of others, lies our own”

                            - Pramukh Swami Maharaj                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

HUSSAIN was my father’s friend who could always earn profits out of buying/selling iron scrap and old machinery. Gambling was his passion, where he often lost his hard earned money. When broke, he would collect cash from my father to buy the iron scrap and on completion of the deal he would return money to my father also adding a portion of the profit he made out of that deal. He was honest and a man of his word.

Once he became bankrupt and left his home declaring; “he would not return to his hometown Bhavanagar till he was able to repay each and every penny he owned to others”. At this juncture, Hussain’s maternal uncle decided to go for Mecca-Madina pilgrimage and invited his old elderly sister Fatemabai (Hussain’s mother) to join him for the HAJJ. Fatemabai thought it was best and perhaps last opportunity for her to go for HAJJ but how could she go without clearance of all the debts of her son Hussain. She thought for a while then came to see my father and asked if he could help her clear Hussain’s debts, to which my father readily agreed.

Next day my father managed to borrow Car and driver from his rich cousin sister and drove to the village of UPLETA in search of his friend Hussain as per indication by Fatemabai. But Hussain had already moved from UPLETA to RAJKOT. As such my father went further to Rajkot and traced Hussain there at the address given by Hussain’s relative in Upleta. My father told Hussain “come on friend now sit next to me in the car for going back to Bhavnagar. Don’t worry about your debts, which I will clear on your behalf so that old lady Fatemabai could proceed for the HAJJ with her brother”.

On reaching Bhavnagar both the friends approached all the creditors one after another. My father paid cash 10% token money to all with gentleman promise to collect balance 90% from him event Hussain fails to repay it within one year. All of them accepted this settlement and declared Hussain’s debt was cleared. Thereafter Fatemabai happily left with her younger brother for HAJJ pilgrimage in the year 1950.

HASAN – was head of the Container Management Dept. of the United Arab Shipping Company’s office in Dubai. He was born in Bodhgaya/Bihar/India but during India/Pakistan partitions, his Balochi parents migrated and settled in Karachi/Pakistan.His full name was Capt. Farooq Hasan. He liked India and Indians much more than Pakistan and Pakistanis. One of my friends asked me to contact him by telephone for a suitable job opening, when I decided to quit my SCI job under Voluntary Retirement Scheme in the year 1992.

Accordingly, I talked to him over the telephone, faxed him my resume and within a couple of weeks, I also got the job offer from the UASC head office in Kuwait. On 8 Dec. 1992 I reported for my new job in CMD of the UASC office in Dubai. After six weeks Engg. Supt. Mr Mohamad Saran, who was away in Hongkong for company’s work returned to Dubai. He was number II in CMD next to Manager Capt. Hasan. He was wild and furious about my appointment by the CMD Manager Capt. Hasan in his absence without his prior consent. Mr Saran was Egyptian and his intention was to fill this vacancy by some guy of Egyptian nationality. As such, he made up his mind to kick me out of this job and from day one he started to treat me rudely. After a couple of months he signed my Performance Report by filling just one line stating “Does not know his job, immediate replacement needed” and sent it to UASC head office in Kuwait. In the first week of May 1993, I got a pink slip from our head office terminating my job contract with UASC/Kuwait at the end of 30 days notice period.

HUSSAIN Ramdhan was Kuwaiti national holding key position in United Arab Shipping Company and a very influential person. I started a hunt for another job in Dubai soon after getting the pink slip from my employers UASC/Kuwait. When I failed to receive any positive response from all the friends and acquaintances in Dubai, I decided to place my best foot forward and knock the doors of leading Ship-chandlers in Dubai. It worked when I approached the Parsi Gujarati owner of the Gulf Shipchandlers in his Deira office. After listening to my story of the victimisation by an Egyptian despite my 25 years experience in the field of shipping, he agreed to employ me as Warehouse Incharge for his Company and asked me to meet his Admin Manager. His Admin Manager clarified that local Govt.rules do not permit transfer of my UAE work permit under the sponsorship of UASC/Kuwait to Gulf Shipchandlers/Dubai. Subsequently, the old and very kind Parsi gentleman owner of the Gulf Shipchandlers, who personally knew Mr Hussain Ramdhan requested him to bail me out of this trouble caused by one of the Egyptian guys in UASC.

Next day Mr Ramdhan called both i.e CMD Manager Capt.Hasan and CMD Engg.Supt. Mr Mohamad Saran for a personal hearing. Mr Saran was proved guilty of ignoring my 25 years experience in the field of shipping & asked to review and resubmit my Performance Report, which he did. And just one day before end of the 30 days notice period, a Fax Message arrived from Kuwait Head Office. It was signed by UASC C/E/O Mr Abdulaah Mady. His one line message stated – “With reference to PR number so and so dated so and so, the pink slip issued to Mr Shah is hereby withdrawn and his job contract with UASC/Kuwait continues.

Thereafter, within one month Mr Saran was found guilty of reporting sick for his CMD job at the same time doing part time Supervisor’s job for someone else at Sharjah port.Just by serving 24 hours notice, he was kicked out of UASC job and later his position was taken over by a German national named Andreas Mohr. After several months Capt. Farooq Hasan resigned for starting his own business and his position was taken over by Danish national Mr Henning Thorndhal. Within two years, I was promoted by my European boss from staff category Grade X to officer’s category starting with the Grade XI. After serving the UASC for 9 years, I resigned from this job on 1st Oct. 2001 and returned to homeland India.

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Zero to Hero – a dream of everyone

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Zero to Hero – a dream of everyone.

Swami Vivekanand said – ‘Each Soul is Potentially Divine’.

So anyone can become Hero from Zero. Zero is a gift to the world from India. Zero is not needed for the expression of numbers  ‘1’ to ‘9’. But when it is added to number ‘1’, then only we are able to express the next number ’10’.

To become Hero, one must cultivate ten traits as follows:-

DREAM : A keen desire to achieve something in the life. Someone has rightly said that the greatest invention of the 20th century is; “A man can change his life by changing the attitude of his mind’. There are several cases in the history. American president Lyndon B. Johnson once used to work at Hair Cutting Saloon, president Eisenhower in his earlier life toiled as an iron-smith and president Harry Truman worked in hot summer at his father’s farm. History of early life of one of the best US president Abraham Lincoln is shocking. He lost his mother soon after his birth and he lost his wife soon after his marriage. Twice he failed miserably in his attempt to do business. Attacked by depression, he even thought of ending his life by committing suicide. Then he plunged into politics and despite defeat in 8 elections, finally he became the president of America.

SELF CONFIDENCE:  Without self-confidence, one can’t fulfill his dreams. Indian legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar studied at an ordinary school. Twice he failed to pass his standard X lower secondary exams. But later he was honored with many awards like Arjun , Padmashri, Rajiv Gandhi KhelRatna award etc. by the India Govt. Though he failed in Standard X, to-day the Success Story of Sachin Tendulkar is the first chapter of Hindi language textbook for the Standard X students. If cricket was religion then Sachin is God. Once seeing some batsman hit sixer, Sachin clapped his hands. Ramakant Acharekar – a senior most cricketer and his mentor told him in a scolding tone – ‘ listen Sachin, you are not born to clap your hands, but to hit the four and Sixers at the Cricket Test Matches. Soon he learned the lesson that ‘faith was the force in life’

BRAVERY:  Napolean Bonaparte used to say ” Difficulties are gems to me”. A blind German named Eric managed to conquer the Mount Everest. An Australian by name Neel is without hands and feet but able to swim. An American named Walter who suffered from paralysis attack at the age 9 determined to participate in Olympic. He did regular practice and managed to make record jump of 2.4 meters at the 15th Olympic. Consider failures as stepping stones to success.

CONCENTRATION : US president Woodrow Wilson used to say ” I have single track mind “. The school teacher of the Thomas Alva Edison sent a letter to his mother stating “ your Tommy is dull and not able to grasp anything, so stop sending him to my school”.  His mother deaf but took the responsibility of educating him at home. Later he made many inventions including Phonograph, Light bulb and acquired record number of 1093 patents. Hendry Blondin is a classic example of the concentration anyone can achieve. He not only walked on a 3-inch Dia. x 1100 feet long rope at the height of 110 meters over the Niagara Falls but also performed a single wheel cycle ride on that rope.

INITIATIVE : US billionaire and 2nd richest American Warren Buffet had purchased 3 shares investing just 35 dollars he had at the age of eleven. As Shares price went down to $27, he waited for some time and subsequently sold at $40 making $5 profit. After some time those shares price was lifted to $200 and he learnt a lesson from it. Take initiative and wait longer for much more benefits. Soon he got mastery in the investment of shares and thereafter he started buying/selling the company itself.

CURIOSITY : Apple Company founder Steve Job who gave the world Mac operating system,  I-phones and I-pods was very curious right from his childhood. As a child, he put a small pinch of poisonous powder in his mouth out of curiosity. Once he also put his finger in an electric power socket but luckily he was saved of his both the curiosity attempts. Helen Keller is blind, mute and deaf, yet she has written 54 books and travelled to 33 countries.

COMPANY : A man is known by the company he keeps. It matters a lot with whom you are spending most of your time. Long back a movie was made on the life of Jesus Christ. It took many years to complete the shooting of the film. It was after 20 years, they needed a person   to play the role of a Roman soldier, who nails Jesus’ hands and feet on the wooden cross. To play this role, they selected a cruel-faced inmate from a jail. To everyone’s surprise, he was found later to be the same person, who 20 years ago had earlier played the role of an innocent child Jesus in the same movie.

PATIENCE : The most famous painting of ‘Monalisa’ at the Lura Museum in France. It took 4  years for the artist Leonardo D’vinci to prepare this 2’ x 2’ size of a painting. It took 7 years to prepare another famous painting known as ‘Last Supper’. The first Gujarati dictionary was prepared by Gujarati poet Narmad who worked on it for 12 years. It took 30 years to prepare Webster English dictionary. A lady asked Beethoven – ‘Can I play the piano as good like you ? ‘ . He said, “of course, yes, you just need the daily practice of 8 hours for forty years including Saturday/Sunday weekend holidays’. Remember – Slow and steady wins the race.

HUMBLENESS : Be humble and learn to respect your parents at home, teachers at schools, professors at College, your guide, mentor and Guru.

Prayer : Once Gandhiji felt frustrated during his freedom fights for India. So he wrote two letters, one to Srimad Rajchandra and one more to Leo Tolstoy seeking their guidance. Both gave the same advice. In first response Tolstoy, mentioned; “while making efforts, when you find all the doors shut, there is but one door named ‘prayer’ which always remains open. With firm faith, pray to the God of whichever may be your religion”. Srimad Rajchandra wrote : “your efforts perhaps may fail to bring the desired result but prayer to God always works”

 

 SOURCE : Gujarati Audio file of the lecture delivered by the BAPS Sadhu Pu.Prabhucharanswami at one of the University campus in India.

 

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Flash 16

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During the grand celebration of his 95th Birthday at Sarangpur/India, BAPS  (Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha) announced to continue it for next five years as the Centenary celebrations.

Concluding his series of lectures at the BRAHM-SATRA seminar in Rajkot/India, Sadhu Brahmaviharidas first informed the participants the comments once made by Swami Chinmayanand when he came to see Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the year 1991. Seeing the group of children and some youngsters rushing after and following the Swamishri, he said :-

How long will you run after him ?

and how many can run after him ?

Rather than running after Him, learn to run for Him.

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He further advised the participants of the ‘Brahm-Satr’ seminar as follows:-

  • Now Swamishri is not able to do the vicharan (continuous travel from place to place) as he did in past. So now it’s our duty to take that task i.e. go and meet as many people as we can to spread the ‘satsang’
  • Now at the age 95 when Swamishri is not able to speak much, then it’s duty of we the disciples of the Swamishri to speak and convey the lessons we have learnt from him to others.
  • Now Swamishri is not able to stand up, so it’s time we must stand up for his cause.
  • You need not become BAPS Sadhu and there is no need for all of you to become even active BAPS Karykars. But just become a mobile poster for the Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Let me elaborate how to become a mobile poster for Swamishri.
  • Do rosary and  read scriptures regularly. Strictly follow the basics of ‘satsang’ such as daily Ghar Sabha . Regular and punctual attendance of the Ravi Sabha. We have one Haribhakta by name Roshanbhai in South Africa. He lives in Rustenburg – 130 Kilometres away from Johannesburg. For past 14 years, he regularly attends Sunday assembly at our BAPS Mandir in Johannesburg by commuting to and fro 260 kilometres from his residence in Rustenburg. Till date, he is neither late in his attendance nor he has left early during past 14 years.

In short what I mean by becoming a Mobile Poster for Swamishri is be the best and ideal disciple of Swamishri.

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