Epitaph to a Dog

(Sharing a beloved Work I enjoyed tremendously as I read… the harshness of not acknowledging a True Friend and the tragedy of the Friendship not becoming whole, never realising.)

LORD BRYON

Near this Spot are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one — and here he lies.

The Brave Shall Rise Again

We stand poorer now, a hand guiding us is no more.
We stand lost now for the poetry will no longer flow.
Words stop flowing from the pen; it lies broken.
The sparrows weep. The dawn will not bring new promises.

Your light guided the wretched and the impossible.
You soul raged with spirit, compassion and want.
Dreams of new India, weaved into a bright future.
You now leave behind an empty heart.

Dear God's in heaven, you played a nasty trick.
You took maliciously what belonged to us.
The man immortal in spirit he stands.
Spreading light, leaving a mark, he walked ahead.

Wake up sleepy Youth of India,
Choose to follow the brave and the victorious
Their ways are not of the weak and downtrodden.
Let us wage war against hatred and contempt.

The roads are marked with hard work and toil,
Dug clean, weeds pulled out; left clean for us to walk.
His raging words won't go down light into the night.
He will rise in us with passion and pride.

(an obituary written in memory of our former Late Prime Minister and Poet Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee)

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Conscious Corporate Gifting

From the month of October to January, Corporate Gifting is at its peak. Corporate Gifting happens in companies and includes Schools, Colleges, Communities, Families and the likes. A compulsion to show thank you through gifts. A lot of thinking goes into deciding what should be given, budget is allocated and then long painful discussions happen in meetings about what should be done; and of course the Corporate Gift Company suggest ornaments and readymade boxes which they sell on discounts. Budgets allow for only so much and include more waste material than the gift itself.

gift
There have been occasions when I have received Mementos, T-Shirts, Candles, Pen Stands, Pens… etc. They often only occupy space in my wardrobe.
Gifting creates waste. I am appalled with the money spent on this without any constructive outcome except that money allocated was spent; target achieved. Energy wasted, and after a year, all this collected and dumped in garbage or sold at the second hand store. It is quite a useless exercise unless it means more than just a gift.

CONSCIOUS GIFTING” maybe an alternative to the never ending cycle of what to choose. A complete redo in the Gifting Styles adds value to the Employees, Customers and Clients. It lets your people know how much they mean to you instead of how much the gift is worth. Here are some tips on How to add Meaning to your Gifts and Create an Environment of giving without hurting the Environment.

  1. Be Inclusive: When a Client, Customer, Vendor or a Partner Company wants to gift your employees; speak with them before hand and request them for a collective gift for the company; a gift which will make working easier for your employees. Something you had been planning to buy; a PhotoCopy Machine, Air Conditioner (just guessing) a Van to ensure transportation for the safety of employees… If the budget of the Vendor is small then contribute some cash yourself or ask the Vendor to get something useful within the budget. When you inform the employees that the Client they had been catering to was so impressed with their hard work that they decided to gift them something which will make their working easy, and you have decided to contribute to it as well. Imagine the cheer!! Add to your Asset.
  2. Gift a Lesson: Make it a lifetime of learning. Individuals who are stimulated with new experiences and skill based knowledge often do better than others. When people receive a gift that speaks growth it means more than materialistic gifts. It says you are valuable to me and I am willing to invest in you. This gesture is enough for an employee to know you care for their growth. It also contributes to peer Service Industries and their Businesses. Gift Dancing Lessons, Martial Arts lessons, Music, Pottery, Theatre, Origami.. Yoga Courses like Inner Engineering where people come together for community spiritual growth.. create an atmosphere of creative and spiritual learning and make the Office talks more than just the Company, Targets, Vision and Marketing. Watch how interactions become Positive Engagement. We are creating a community here.
  3. Organise Programs: Invest in their performance. I’m not talking about Company Annual Days when they learn choreographies and perform for each other during event based functions. No. Organise a Theatre Program and hire a production company or director from the outside, where they contribute and set up a Professional Production along with the employees for the General Public. Invest in sponsoring the event and watch them shine on stage, donate the proceeds to your people’s favourite cause. This will change the way employees work. It will make them responsible, fun, and creative at work. They will learn more from being directed and working under another production company in a short span of time. What better way to get them to exercise team work, learn how to act and react and find solutions to problems while becoming sensitive and conscious in developing skills.
  4. Plant a Tree: ISHA FOUNDATION organised a campaign called “Cauvery Calling” where each individual can donate Rs. 42 for a tree. Now imagine if a company donated Rs. 42 for each employee it has towards the environment; because we care about our children and their future, we invest in the world for your children. How beautiful it would be and the kind of impact it will have on them. It will empower the employees and inspire them with your act.
  5. Sponsor an Animal or a Forest: Organisations like VOSD – Voice of Stray Dogs , Welfare for Animals in Goa, Animal Lives are Important work tirelessly to take care of our Animals. Taking a day out and commit with your employees to help them build infrastructure, donating in cash or kind, medicines will go a long way in building compassion and empathy in employees. This will create an inclusive environment and build bonds stronger than just living pay check to pay check. Help them become larger than their work. your employees will thank you for it.
  6. Contribute to Music Concert, Theatre, Film: SOLD OUT!! Are nice words to any Creative Artist. What if you bought an entire performance for your employees and their families?? Have them experience a program of Yakshagana, meaningful Film, Socially relevant Play, Entertainment or Live Music Show, Traditional and Indigenous performances. Many Film Screenings are done by Cinemas where they allow companies to buy entire shows, support Independent Films by buying their tickets, Theatre Production Companies by buying their Performances. Surprising employees by taking them out for a show will not only encourage Performing Artists but also expose your employees to Creative Stimulation.
  7. Make it Useful: Don’t be cheap!! Don’t buy something your employee won’t use. Instead, a Fruit basket, Traditional Craft, not only get consumed but says we care about your health. Gift them a Gym Membership or a sticky pad, notebook… think out of the box and Make it useful.
  8. Let your Ego be under your Feet! Have you seen those Corporate Gifts which scream company… the logos are so huge, they could be seen from outer space. Don’t make yourself Stupid. You don’t need to make Festive Occasions an all out Marketing Campaign for your Company. Your people are there because they already know you. Many Individuals and Companies go on a Self- Praise Spree. While its good to be confident and know who you are, campaigning too much can make you look Vulgar, Cheap and Indecent. Everything with your name on it screams I gave it to you and you have it because you work for my Company!!! Make it about Appreciating the employee not You.
  9. Gift a Trip: A Culture Trip, Trekking, Camping…. you name it. It doesn’t have to be to an expensive place. It can be meaningful. Combine learning with patriotism, Have you been to a museum lately??? Your country will thank you for this. Your children will thank you for this. Invest in ecological, traditional and cultural sites by buying that ticket and learning more about the locality you stay in. Instead of a one day trip at the Resort where the MC talks crap, plays meaningless games with disinterested employees and instead want to get wasted with a belly full of beer.

Make Corporate Gifting meaningful and exciting, not a target to be achieved and a budget to be spent. I have seen companies which just want to get it done with, they have a budget allocated and it has to be spent and thats it; its a very heartless way to approach gratefulness to individuals on whose shoulders the company stands. One thing is to being the fake Company which acts like it cares, and another to really care for the people who work for you.

How are you rethinking the value of your family (employees)? We must express gratefulness… Our gift must be more than just a Company Budget. Include your people to become less materialistic and more about contribution. How can we be more than just a Successful Company?

Life is fleeting, and before we know it, we end up with a retirement fund, alone in a retirement home or with children who have seen us working regular jobs… and they learn the same thing from us. How shall we tweak this cycle and how can we let our employee know their lives mattered. Let’s make our employees live Larger than their Lives!! They are valuable and we are grateful for them, aren’t we?

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Black Friday

potenciar-campanas-shopping.jpg

Black Friday,” the darkest day in the 365 days of the year. This is how I imagined it to be when I heard the two words on Radio for the first time and wondered about the Announcer’s excitement. They were offering discounts and providing attractive ways for people to spend money. I researched on the dark almost sinister words and realised, it referred to the day after “Thanksgiving” when the shopping season starts and people are looking forward to Christmas. A reminder that Christmas Eve would be around the corner; so you must BUY, BUY ALL YOU CAN!

Dig deeped and “Black Friday” has several origins…

ONE: The most plausible explanation would be when the words BLACK FRIDAY first found its place in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance , in November 1951 & 1952. It was a terminology used by the workers to call in sick after Thanksgiving Thursday, to use this opportunity as a longer 4 day holiday. (Thursday to Sunday). The people flocked shops to purchase goods. A shopping frenzy resulting in blocked roads, accidents, arguments, parking tickets, and many vigilant Police Officers who had to put in extra time to manage the crazy people grabbing goods.

TWO: The Police Officers officially called it “BLACK FRIDAY” because of the troubles it caused them and the hustling they had to do. Enterprising on this, retailers provided lucrative offers to attract shoppers.

THREE: Companies who hardly made a sale throughout the year were profited during Festival Holidays. They would usually mark their accounts in “red” when they made a loss and “black” when they made a profit; and post Thanksgiving, they made a “profit”. Hence, supposedly called it BLACK FRIDAY.

FOUR: It is rumoured that before Civil War, the Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by selling off their slaves, new children born to slaves as slaves after Thanksgiving on a Friday to celebrate and was called, “Black Friday”. Although this is claimed to be a rumour. The Native Americans Suffered as well. Read: Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving

Regardless, the festivities are catching on in India. Americanisation sinking in and BLACK FRIDAY now becoming the official festival promoted by Radio Channels, TV and Online Media. But do we need to spend so much and create a festival of it? Is consumerism important? What’s the most sensible thing to do on a BLACK FRIDAY??

  1. If this is an excuse after Thanksgiving to take off for a 4 day weekend, I would much rather spend time at home with friends and family. Let’s extend it to Friday, Saturday and Sunday… eat a nice home cooked meal with them and spread love.
  2. Take a trip to an animal shelter, senior home, children’s home, if you are alone… and buy material which will be helpful to them; assist them set things up to get things going.
  3. If the shopping bug is compulsive in the nerves then making a list of all the things, eliminating those which are irrelevant and then picking up important items which would have otherwise been expensive after the discounts are done would be a good idea. Shop wisely. Shop for yourself, not for the market.
  4. Sleeping it out is a good option. I mean who wants to crowd around in a shop and be flustered; come home with something you don’t need? Instead, working on yourself, meditating, reading those books you wouldn’t otherwise pick up due to lack of time, is a good option. Writing, showering, if you haven’t in the last few days.
  5. Making that trip to the gym and buying a ticket to health.
  6. Fixing broken things at home, the stuff your peers, family have been pestering you about for a long time and you have been avoiding.
  7. Catching up with long distance friends… go to a library, the books will be thankful.
  8. Scavenging through your closet and removing all the discounted items you bought previous Black Friday’s and didn’t use. Donating it to someone who might use it.

Remember the kind of impact this spending frenzy will have on the environment and the waste it would create. The lifespan of clothes have been cut by 75% due to influx of new clothes lines every month into the market; with the constant pressures of being in Fashion, people are purchasing unnecessary accessories and clothes which not only burn a hole in the pocket but create garbage. Electronics create another big chunk of waste which cannot be recycled or are not because it takes too much investment to recycle. Products bought online, if returned are immediately trashed; why.. because its cheaper to trash than to repackage and sell. Imagine the waste in the packaging?? So if you have to then make your purchases wisely.

There is so many opportunities a Black Friday can open up if we decide to make it more than a shopping day. Of course, we could save up a lot of money because Discounts don’t Count. Ultimately every purchase you make with or without discount is money spent. Spend wisely. Do you really… really need it?? Or are you buying it because its cheap? Would you really want to be caught up with pulling and fighting with people for cheap stuff on the line, or getting smothered in doggie love at an Animal Shelter, or lounging in your pyjamas at home? Make a choice and Have a great BLACK FRIDAY… 🙂

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Life Rests in Death’s Bed

Why fear Death?
It sleeps with Life;
In warm beds,
Making Love,
Wandering in Time.

In the folds of seconds
Time finds pleasure;
One Part Life begins,
One Part Death consumes it.
Life awakens, Death sleeps.

Why fear Death?
It awakens Life;
In the smells of Coffee,
In the Songs of Birds,
Reaching for Life.

In the folds of Seconds,
Times finds rest;
One Part Death Sleeps,
One Part Life Waits.
Patiently, in Death’s Bed.

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal