Shaila’s Weblog

Archive for February 2008

As some of you may be aware of our US Prez has announced his stoopid statement that “the US economy is in a slowdown but not headed into a recession”. I thought, the US Prez will announce his stoopid stimulus package part II, so I’ll just wait until Tuesday to see how the markets react, and then I’ll make an informed decision. But eventually, it didn’t turned up the way it has to be. He went on with his remarkable speech which seems to be just a pious phraseology and nothing else.

With the deepening recession in the housing market, facing an all time high 17% fall in residential property investment, cancelled out any positive effects from the fall in energy prices. Consumer spending is still the mainspring of US growth and remained quite strong (3.1% annualized rate). But working families are more dependent than ever on debt.

Stock market with almost a panic attack last Friday has stole most my retirement money and I am so scared now that I have started selling all my mutual funds as well. Even though I’m not retiring anytime soon, I don’t have the stomach to watch my mutual funds turn the clock back on what, till date, have been pretty impressive gains.

Quotes by Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

  • I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
  • Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
  • If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
  • “In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.”
  • “It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”
  • “With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”
  • “Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”

• To have good health throughout the next year, eat an apple on Christmas Eve.
• Eat plum pudding on Christmas and avoid losing a friend before next Christmas.
• On Christmas Eve all animals can speak. However, it is bad luck to test this superstition.

• The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune.
• Wearing new shoes on Christmas Day will bring bad luck.
• In Ireland, it is believed the gates of Heaven open at midnight on Christmas Eve. Those, who die then, go straight to Heaven.
• If you refuse a mince pie at Christmas dinner, you will have bad luck for the coming day.
• If you eat a raw egg before eating anything else on Christmas morning, you will be able to carry heavy weights.
• Good luck will come to the home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season.
• Place shoes by side on Christmas Eve to prevent a quarreling family.
• A clear star-filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good crops in the summer.
• A blowing wind on Christmas Day brings good luck.
• In Greece, some people burn their old shoes during the Christmas season to prevent misfortunes in the coming year.
• You will have as many happy months in the coming year, as the number of houses you eat mince pies in during Christmastime.

Many trace discount retailing’s birth to 1962, the first year of operation for Kmart, Target and Wal-Mart. But by that time, Sam Walton’s tiny chain of variety stores in Arkansas and Kansas was already facing competition from regional discount chains.

Sam traveled the country to study this radical, new retailing concept and was convinced it was the wave of the future. He and his wife, Helen, put up 95 percent of the money for the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas, borrowing heavily on Sam’s vision that the American consumer was shifting to a different type of general store.
Today, Sam’s gamble is a global company with more than 1.9 million associates worldwide and nearly 6,500 stores and wholesale clubs across 13 countries. The “most admired retailer” according to FORTUNE magazine has just completed one of the best years in its history: Wal-Mart generated more than $312.4 billion in global revenue in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2006, establishing a new record and an increase of 9.5 percent. The company earned almost $11.2 billion in net income in fiscal 2005. But it all started with an understanding of what consumers want from a retailer.

“The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want,” Sam wrote in his autobiography. “And really, if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience.

“You love it when you visit a store that somehow exceeds your expectations, and you hate it when a store inconveniences you, or gives you a hard time, or pretends you’re invisible.” While other discounters such as Kmart quickly expanded across the country in the 1960s, Sam was able to raise the funds to build only 15 Wal-Mart stores.

Wal-Mart got the boost it needed in 1970, when its stock was offered for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange. The public offering created the capital infusion that grew the company to 276 stores by the end of the decade. By focusing on customer expectations, Wal-Mart was growing rapidly in 11 states. In the 1980s, Wal-Mart became one of the most successful retailers in America. Sales grew to $26 billion by 1989, compared to $1 billion in 1980. Employment increased tenfold. At the end of the decade, there were nearly 1,400 stores.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. branched out into warehouse clubs with the first Sam’s Club in 1983. The first Supercenter, featuring a complete grocery department along with the 36 departments of general merchandise, opened in 1988. Wal-Mart had become a textbook example of managing rapid growth without losing sight of a company’s basic values.

In Wal-Mart’s case, the basic value was, and is, customer service. Ironically, technology plays an important role in helping Wal-Mart stay customer focused. Wal-Mart invented the practice of sharing sales data via computer with major suppliers, such as Proctor & Gamble.

Every time a box of Tide is rung up at the cash register, Wal-Mart’s data warehouse takes note and knows when it is time to alert P&G to replenish a particular store. As a result, Wal-Mart stores rarely run out of stock of popular items.

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else.

After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge. Washington Roebling

The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to walk or talk or even move.

“We told them so.”

“Crazy men and their crazy dreams.”

“It`s foolish to chase wild visions.”

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built. In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever.

He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task. As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife. He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again. For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed.

Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do. Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal.

Brooklyn Bridge

Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realized with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are. Even the most distant dream can be realized with determination and persistence.

After I have gone through the demise of great spiritual guru – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi… I got curious about yogis and sadhu’s from India.


I came across a book of Dolf Hartsuiker, titled “Sadhus, Holy Men of India”.
Spiritual adventurers, ascetic warriors, devout mystics, occult rebels or philosophic monks,the sadhus are revered by Hindus as representatives of the gods,sometimes even worshipped as gods themselves.

Holiness is still common in India. In most Hindu households, shops and businesses are altars and shrines, and the day is routinely started with the worship of gods and gurus. Many mountains, rivers, stones and trees are sacred. Dozens of cities are holy and, of course, the millions of temples and idols.

Quite a few animals are holy — the cow, of course, but also the bull, the monkey, the elephant, the peacock, the snake, the rat….So it may come as no surprise that people can be holy too, though they have to become holy.

The Indian concept of holiness is quite different from that in the West. It is not necessarily (though often) associated with the “good.”

Sadhus belong to many different sects or orders.These fall broadly speaking into two main groups:

The Shaivas: those who follow Shiva in one way or another;

The Vaishnavas: those who worship Vishnu in one of his incarnations, notably Rama or Krishna.

The allegiance of sadhus can be recognised by differences in the marks on their forehead, and the colour of their clothes. In the past, there have been intense rivalries between the various sects, mirroring the rivalry of Shiva and Vishnu for the supreme position in the Hindu pantheon, which sometimes even lead to battle. But in essence all sadhus have the same roots.

Most sects are rather moderate in their practices, but some can be quite extreme.

Sadhvis: female sadhus, About ten percent of sadhus are female, called sadhvis, and they are to be found in most sadhus sects.

Austerities by Shaivas: The sadhus radically renounce ‘the world’ in order to focus entirely on the Higher Reality beyond. They abstain from se+, cut all family ties, have no possessions, no house, wear little or no clothing and eat little and simple food.

Austerities by Vaishnavas: For an ordinary human being these ‘basic’ self-abnegations are already hard to comprehend. But almost unimaginable are the extreme austerities — even self-mortifications — by which a number of sadhus intend to speed up their enlightenment.

Kumbha Mela: Kumbha Melas are undoubtedly the most important gatherings in the lives of sadhus. They are held in Allahabad, Ujjain, Hardwar and Nasik, in twelve year cycles, alternating in such a way that about every three years a Kumbha Mela takes place.

Ever since the ‘sixties’, with an upsurge of interest in the ‘mystic East’ mirroring a growing discontent with the ‘materialistic West’, scores of young Westerners went to India searching for the meaning of life and often finding a guru.
Many became disciples of famous, international gurus such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Bhagwan Rajneesh, and Saï Baba, but others chose the more individualistic path of the sadhu and committed themselves to the hardships of the ascetic life.

Don’t fight darkness – bring the light, and darkness will disappear”  were the sayings of the Indian Guru – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who is credited with introducing the Beatles and other stars to ancient Hindu meditation methods. The Maharishi, thought to have been 91 years old, died in his sleep on Tuesday evening at his home in the Netherland. 
maharishi yogi with Mia Farrow

Before he died, he had built up a following of six million people…. more than any rock group ever had here in netherland.

The Maharishi, a Hindi title that means “great seer,” had announced last month that he would withdraw from day-to-day administrative duties to complete his commentaries on the Veda, the ancient Indian texts that underpin his movement.  he has shown a way to his followers and has gone for the long journey…. Good bye Maharishi!!!

A warm hello to netizens… from Shaila Smith… I am an elementary school teacher and have just completed my masters in computer engineering.. I have professional interest in new literacies and technology in education. I m a lover of books and am digitally inspired… since my mind is a vulture you will not find posts on anyone topic here… I write ideas as they come in my mind…the Thought Engine!!



February 2008