Joseph Mattappally

Sri. Joseph Mattappally, Founder and Director of Indian Thoughts, is a writer and social worker. He is also a Reiki Master (RIRC Mumbai) and licensed Amateur Radio Operator ( VU2JIM). He has authored 'Success Secrets', a book detailing basic life management principles.

Inner Mahabharatha

Indian epics always are subject to multitudes of inner and outer interpretations. This is one touching interpretation for which I owe my unknown friend Krishna. The story goes:“Sanjay, at the end of the war went to the spot where the greatest war took place; Kurukshetra. He looked around and wondered if the war really happened, if the ground beneath him had soaked all that blood, if the great Pandavas and Krishna stood where he stood. “You will never know the truth about that!” said an aging soft voice. Sanjay turned around to find an Old man in saffron robes appearing out of a column of dust. “I know you are here to find out about the Kurukshetra war, but you cannot know about that war till you know what the real war is about.” the Old man said enigmatically.“What do you mean?” “The Mahabharata is an Epic, a ballad, perhaps a reality but definitely a philosophy.” The Old man smiled luring Sanjay into more questions. “Can you tell me what the philosophy is then?” Sanjay requested. “Sure”, began the Old man. “The Pandavas are nothing but your five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch and sound and do you know what the Kauravas are?” He asked narrowing his eyes.  “The Kauravas are the hundred vices that attack your senses everyday but you can fight them and do you know how?”  Sanjay shook his head again. “When Krishna rides your chariot!”  The Old man smiled brighter and Sanjay gasped at that gem of insight. “Krishna is your inner voice, your soul, your guiding light and if you let your life in his hands you have nothing to worry.”Sanjay was stupefied but came around quickly with another question. “Then why are Dronacharya and Bhishma fighting for the Kauravas, if they are vices?” The Old man nodded, sadder for the question.  “It just means that as you grow up your perception of your elders change. The elders who you thought were perfect in your growing up years are not all that perfect. They have faults.  And one day you will have to decide if they are for your good or your bad. Then you may also realize that you may have to fight them for the good. It is the hardest part of growing up and that is why the Geeta is important.” Sanjay slumped down on the ground, not because he was tired but because he could understand and was struck by the enormity of it all.  “What about Karna?” he whispered. “Ah!” said the Old man. “You have saved the best for last. Karna is the brother to your senses, he is desire, he is a part of you but stands with the vices. He feels wronged and makes excuses for being with the vices as your desire does all the time.  Does your desire not give you excuses to embrace vices?” Sanjay nodded silently. He looked at the ground, consumed with a million thoughts, trying to put everything together and then when he looked up the Old man was gone.

By Joseph Mattappally on 21-11-2016

Right Attitude

“They are well off!” said my friend. It was about a family we both knew that he was talking about. Well off according to him simply meant that all those in the family are decently employed, children thriving academically and they have a good sum in custody. They are physically healthy too; no doubt – they are well off! Under somebody paying them, people are generally well off! When shall we find a generation trying to be well off at their own risk? With the right attitude and approach, it is not impossible at all.
Quite recently, when I happened to read the story of a man who had begun preparing his suicide note in 65, this was the thought that stormed inwards. How many of us sell what we have? This story I mentioned is about a man from Kentucky. He lost his father when he was five. He quit the School at 16, married at 18 and got divorced soon. He was a big failure wherever he worked. When he was preparing the suicide note he looked into himself to see what actually he knew in life. He found that he was never cursed for what he did in the kitchen of small restaurant, years back. He remembered that his recipes were appreciated. 
For the little retirement benefit he received from the Government, the same day he bought some chicken, got it fried using his exclusive recipe and went door-to-door selling it. Remember, at 89 Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Empire was a billionaire. He died happily. Yeah, life is all about identifying what one has, using it appropriately and sharing it with the right attitude. 

By Joseph Mattappally on 29-06-2016

Quite Unevolved

The Country of Israel has got two seas in it – Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Galilee is rich in life and the Dead Sea is hell for life. The Dead Sea is famous for its hyper saline water, which makes floating easy. Interestingly, both these are fed by the same river of Jordan. The sea of Galilee, through which river Jordan flows, has a lot of springs in it but the dead sea has got no other inlets or outlets other than the river Jordan which ends in it. The same water demonstrates two distinct features. Nature is so mysterious; so is human mind too, which also is part of Nature. 
From North India we hear a lot of cry and clamor against cow slaughter. As I understood it, basically it was not the idea of any political party but the outcome of an empathetic attitude of the religious Indians in India. Truly, most upper cast Indian communities in India are vegetarians who are broadly against killing of animals of any kind. In North Indian cities, stray dogs fed with biscuits and bathed in milk are common scenes. These people do not like anybody neither killing dogs nor hurting it, though dogs usually create a mess in the crowds. In the cast sensitive and arson popular city of Ahmedabad, tubs filled with water for the birds are common. The city has a million of pigeons in it. Still, a wounded pigeon is taken care of by its inhabitants and the animal helpline agency alike. Amdavadis also are a kind sect of people, just like other citizens of India. But who can forget that it was in the same city that many people were brutally burned or cruelly murdered recently? 
There are Niagaras of love in everybody, so are springs of hatred too. Unlike most other living species on earth, it is strange to see the self hating attitude of human beings. Unlimited love to another being of the same kind is very limited in our realm. There is nothing strange in it; this is what keeps us unevolved.

By Joseph Mattappally on 06-06-2016

The Hair of a President

On the walls of the White house Oval Office, photographs of memorable events are hung. They are always updated with new ones every two weeks. But since three years there remains the picture of a five year old boy touching the head of the first black President of USA – Barack Obama. This picture, as his wife Michelle explains it, was shot from White house itself. In the picture, the President is bend by 90 degrees from his waist and a small boy is touching his head as if a great Guru is blessing his dearest disciple. According to the story behind this picture, a White House staff with his wife and two children one day came to meet President Obama. When the President approached the family, the youngest of the boys, raised his hand as if trying to touch somewhere on the face of the President. A little confused, Obama wanted to know what he meant. The boy said that he wants to know if his hair also is the same as that of him. Obama instantly bent his head well low saying, “Why don’t you touch and know it for yourself?” The boy touched his head and shouted in joy, “Yes it is the same.” This moment was clicked.The White house sees this picture as a signature photo of the times, which shows the change that USA has gone through during the past 150 years. One and a half centuries back, the White House was full of slaves; now it has only Masters. I see this picture from a different perspective. According to me, it is the picture of a small enthusiastic boy, who anxiously yearned to know the differences between an average human being and a real hero. This boy got convinced that he also is built by the same elements. I wish, if this picture would be reminding everyone the fact that we don’t generally use many of the available machineries within.

By Joseph Mattappally on 02-05-2016

Burying your Valuables

Human habits and attitudes are typical. We throw a tip of 500 Rs. in a five star hotel with pleasure but are not comfortable while giving 10 Rs. to a beggar. There are a minimum of two personalities in every person. The world needs smart techniques to educate people. That’s why the Ten Commandments turn just part of an epic only. Nobody learns that adultery or murder is a sin. It is here that I love the Brazilian millionaire Thane Chiquinho Scarpa, who tried a smart technique to teach the public a lesson. He announced in his facebook page that he is going to bury alive his million-dollar Bentley car. His announcement raised many eyebrows all over the world because already he was known for outrageous acts, such as willing his fortunes to his cockatoo. He announced that he will be burying his vehicle in his yard, just as pharaohs did with their precious possessions. On the day of the burial, Count Scarpa's real intentions were revealed. As the press gathered around Mr. Scarpa, the Bentley and a big hole in the ground, it was announced that the event marked the opening of “National Organ Donation Week,” and Scarpa's stunt turned out to be the launching pad of a campaign by Leo Burnett Tailor Made. “I didn't bury my car, but everyone thought it absurd when I said I would,” he said. “What's absurd is burying your organs, which can save many lives. Nothing is more valuable. Be a donor and tell your family.” 

By Joseph Mattappally on 25-04-2016

Congrats Bagarti

It is said that a thousand words equal one picture and a thousand pictures equal one live example. Motivating by live examples had been the modes operandi of great visionaries who shone like bright lamps in darkness. At a time in which positive thinking is replaced by positive attitude and hard work with smart work, right motivation is power. Here, it is a simple guy from a simple background who has set an elite example of successfully chasing one’s goal. 
I don’t know who helped Jothi Ranjan Bagarti (32) from Orissa to reach the impossible, practically for a security guard. IAS had been his goal in life; however, he could not make it in his first attempt ten years back. Even though he seemed to be quite content with his present family life, the fire within was not settled. His intense desire to reach, where he intended, was not extinguished; it kept on kicking from within. For the last two years, he was working hard to get through all the rigid tests. Do you know what happened? Recently he has resigned from Cognizent Technologies and another fellow will occupy his chair at the gates, for this man is now in Mussoorie for the IAS training. 

By Joseph Mattappally on 18-04-2016

Just Three Seconds

Quite recently, the story of a lady who was
miraculously saved, passed through my fading memory. The story was about an old
lady who owned a general store and gas station. Even though the gas station was
slightly away from the city, she could make a good fortune. Where all its’
previous owners lost, she won. One day, the store staff closed the front doors
and left. As usual, she checked and closed the daybook, counted the bills and
left the counter. Before leaving the store through the back door, she got into
the cooler room – just to see all soft drinks racks are properly filled and
have enough stock. It was then that she heard a ‘clink’ sound from behind – the
cooler room door got closed. She neither had the key nor the mobile and it was
impossible for anyone to open that heavy door from inside. Minutes rolled on
and nothing happened. She yelled aloud but nobody heard her. She was sure to
die in it and it was then that she saw a man opening the door from outside, and
peeping his head into it. She was saved.

You will be surprised to hear why a man came into
this store at so critical a time. This is another story. This grocery was
adjacent to a bread shop run by an old Spanish man, to whom she used to give a
very special Good morning and a Good night every day. She did not simply wave
her hands and go, just as others do. She used to look into his eyes quite
affectionately as if a daughter looks at her father and trying to say something
and then give a wide smile along with a ‘Hey, how are you?’ Same was her Good
night in the evening too. And that day, the old man did not see her even after
15 minutes of her usual leaving time. He looked out. Her car was there and the
store was closed. The old man could not resist going into the store to verify
what happened. He called her from out side, but nobody answered. He entered the
store through the back door and checked all the store….. nobody was there.

He grew curious and decided to check the cooler room
too. That was what exactly happened. The old man said, “You are special! It is
your special smile that could fetch a good business for you and also save you
from death.”

“Thank you Dad,” she said, with the same brand smile
on her shivering lips. She continued,

“I knew that just three seconds with anyone could
make a difference. No one has ever left this store without my special three
seconds. In the first second I will look into my customer’s eyes; in the next
second I will tell him that you are dear to me and my business; in the third
second I give a very pretty smile of thanks for being into my life.”  

By Joseph Mattappally on 12-04-2016

Accepting the Truth

Being natural, I think, is a great art. A few days back, I happened to come across a few lines sent to me, which said, “Man O Man! When without money, eats vegetables at home; when has money, eats the same vegetables in a fine restaurant. When without money, rides bicycle; when has money rides the same ‘exercise machine’. When without money walks to earn food; when has money, walks to burn fat. When without money, wishes to get married; when has money, wishes to get divorced. When without money, wife becomes secretary; when has money, secretary becomes wife. When without money, acts like a rich man; when has money acts like a poor man.” Our behaviour generally is unpredictable. When it comes to success, it is mostly the one who has learnt the art of being natural who wins. They develop their inherent ability to use Nature’s techniques to solve their problems. Hear these people.”I failed in 8th standard.” Sachin Tendulkar.”During my secondary school, I was dropped from school basketball team.” Michell Jordan.”I was rejected for the job in All India Radio b’coz of my heavy voice.” Amitabh Bacchan.”I used to work in petrol Bunks.” Dhirubhai Ambani.”I was rejected in the interview of Pilot.” Abdul Kalam.”I didn't even complete my university education.” Bill Gates. “I used to serve tea at a shop to support my football training.” Lionel Messi. “I used to sleep on the floor in friends rooms, returning Coke bottles for food, money, and getting weekly free meals at a local temple.” Steve Jobs.”My teachers used to call me a failure.” Tony Blair. The one who learns to be natural also masters the art of winning over situations. Accepting that there is a problem means that the problem is half solved.

By Joseph Mattappally on 04-04-2016

The Skeptic and the Wizard

Just listen to these conversations. Deep in the state of Georgia an outback farmer, barefoot and ragged, sat on the veranda of his tumbledown shack. Along came a stranger who asked for a drink of water. Trying to be pleasant, the stranger asked, “How is your cotton coming along this year?” “I don’t have any,” replied the farmer.“Didn’t you plant any?” asked the stranger. “Nope,” said the farmer. “I was afraid of the we evils.”“Well, how is your corn then?” “Didn’t plant any of that either. Was afraid there wasn’t going to be any rain.” Still trying to be helpful, the stranger asked, “Well, how about your potatoes?” “I don’t have any. I’m afraid of the potato bugs.” “Well, what did you plant this year?” asked the astonished visitor.“Nothing,” answered the farmer. “I just played it safe.” Truly we pity with this farmer a sure and confirmed candidate for failure! There is still another group that is commonly found these days. In the next scene we find a wizard. Two friends, Ravi and Soma, lived in a town; they were very good friends. Ravi was an intelligent man and Soma always made it a point to take his advice whenever he had to decide on something. It was a time when mobile phones were slowly taking over. One day Soma asked Ravi, “I think of buying a mobile hand phone Ravi.” Ravi replied, “Mobile phone is always a good thing; what that is in the market now are simple analogue kits. If you can wait a little you will be able to buy a phone with a camera. I read that a company has almost launched it.” Soma waited for a year and he saw the ad saying that camera phones are now available in the town outlet. Soma was about to go to the town to buy one. Ravi asked him, “Are you going to buy this 1 MP camera phone? One MP is not enough for a good picture. If you can wait, you will get a 3 MP camera phone for almost the same price.” And when 3 MP camera phones came in, Ravi suggested that investing in an Android phone is better. Ravi keep on advising Soma and as far as I know, everybody in the town except Soma and Ravi have mobile phones. Aren’t they also sure candidates for failure? It is said that our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness. How true!

By Joseph Mattappally on 29-03-2016

LL 281 210316 The Story of Changes

Ours is a habit of getting bored at repetitions – be it the same pleasure or the same mouth watering dish. The thrilling portions of human history are those that talk about revolutions, which changed the daily chorus of humans drastically. The agricultural revolution that swept through almost all ancient cultures some 12,000 years ago was the first of major revolutions that shook us. Thereafter we see people living in small societies and also farming done in organized patterns. 
In our early days, as Yuval Noah Harari puts it in his famous book ‘Sapiens’, “…. our foragers mastered not only the surrounding world of animals, plants and objects, but also the internal world of bodies and their own senses. They listened to the slightest movement in the grass to learn whether a snake might be lurking there. They carefully observed the foliage of tress in order to discover fruits, beehives and birds nests. They moved with a minimum effort and noise, and knew how to sit, walk and run in the most agile and efficient manner …….. They had the physical dexterity that people today are unable to achieve even after years of practicing yoga or t’ai chi.” 
Those revolutionist foragers also would have been looking for more changes, just like us. Whenever I ask myself, which was better – the ancient or the most modern, I’m confused. Though totally agricultural dependent and used to only organic treatments, they were not free from life threats. A surprise draught or a flood or a crop disaster was frequent. Wars also contributed heavily in keeping the Sapien population under check. Today we have medical experts specialized on right thumbs and left thumbs. But the truth is that death and accident possibilities haven’t changed even a little. If it were snowfalls, snakebites, epidemics or wars that cut the life span of those foragers, today the reasons are different but the result is the same. Instead of snakebites we have road accidents; instead of cholera we have AIDS and cancer and wars continue to remain common. Absolute safety is still miles away. Is it not better to be content with what we have, rather than spending our energy on a long chase for more safety and more satisfaction standards?

By Joseph Mattappally on 22-03-2016