Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cloud Computing N Cloud Nine!

Nothing in the world makes parents happier than seeing their children make significant progress in life. When we sent our 17-year son Alok to USA to study computer science after schooling at ST. Xavier in New Delhi, we were more scared of the challenges he would face in a foreign country than being enthusiastic of the success he might achieve there. It was a great relief, therefore, when immediately on graduating from the University of San Francisco, he got a good career break with Sun Microsystems, a computer giant of the 80s and 90s. Then onwards it was a pure pleasure to watch him progress at Sun for 20+ years as Software Engineer, Principal Engineer, Chief Technologist, Director and Patent Holder for his invention of a system and method for a "debugger Run-Time-Checking for valid memory accesses for multi-threaded application programs".

We were overjoyed and overwhelmed when Alok took us to the 7th Commencement & Alumni Reception-Carnegie Mellon University - Silicon Valley Campus, where Ray Bareiss, Director of Educational Programs, presented the Dean’s Return on Education Award to Alok with the citation:

“Having worked for Sun Microsystems for 19 years, this year’s recipient of the Return on Education Award joined the Carnegie Mellon Software Management program, seeking to ‘step out of his comfort zone.’ Shortly after enrolling in the program, he was able to gain the skills and confidence to begin thinking and behaving like a leader. His actions were clearly recognized by his global peer group of 1,500 engineers at Sun, who nominated him to be Principal Engineer. But he didn’t stop there … he left Sun after nearly 21 years to start Yunteq, a software company developing key enabling technology for Cloud computing … By continuing to tell his own story of transformation to his peers, he hopes to inspire others to make similar changes in their own professional lives.”

To provide the audience with flesh and blood testimony to the strengths of the program, Bareiss turned the microphone over to one of campus’ 144 current students Alok Rishi, who would soon be graduating with an M.S. in Software Management.

“I had Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, I wasn’t particularly looking to get an MBA, but I heard about this program, which is to me like an accelerated MBA tailored for Silicon Valley, and more specifically for the software industry. It gives you a complete end to end view of conceiving a software product or technology idea, innovating it, bringing that innovation to the market, building a company out of it, and running and growing that company, with all the people dynamics and technology dynamics around it.

“But the ongoing experience was not, ‘Wait until I graduate and then apply it.’ At work, my colleagues began to see very vivid changes in me almost immediately, I was manifesting what I learned at work, in two forms: I was assuming more of a leadership role, being much more comfortable in a larger people dynamics type of way, and also I had moved away from being sort of being in a silo and spreading out to harness innovation more broadly within Sun and from the industry. So it lead to profound transformative changes within, but it also resulted in my career taking off like a hockey puck. So I progressed from Software Engineer to Senior Engineer in the last year and a half to Principal Engineer, Chief Technologist and Director at Sun. A couple of months ago, I left Sun and started my own company. Yunteq Inc. is founded with the vision of dramatically reducing the cost and complexity of enterprise IT while providing agility, through the use of policy-driven clouds to host business applications as cloud-based services.”

The founding team of Yunteq – (Yun in Chinese means Cloud) - also includes the co-founders Nakul Saraiya and Punkaj Rishi (Alok's first cousin), who are successful entrepreneurs and industry veterans with deep collective experience, and the founding engineers Nicholas Sterling and Larry Matter, who are senior software engineers of long-standing experience in large Silicon Valley computer companies. Yunteq's initial encouragement was from the industry leader Citrix, which instantly approved its orchestration software to include Yunteq amongst its Solution Advisers and Distribution Partners. But the first big order came from Carpathia Hosting, a leading provider of enterprise managed hosting and cloud services. “Carpathia evaluated many cloud solutions before selecting Yunteq,” said Jon Greaves, CTO at Carpathia Hosting. “Our goals were to marry best in breed cloud technologies with our focus on enterprise and federal customers. Yunteq provided the basis for Carpathia’s innovation of compliance and hybrid cloud solutions for commercial and federal customers.”

While enthusiastically busy with presentations to potential buyers including some of the biggest IT enterprises, Alok likes to remain on low key, realistic about his work, rather than over-optimistic - “There are however, significant challenges to overcome, before the potential gains from Cloud Computing can be fully realized. Thus, Enterprises have been slow to adopt these new technologies and paradigms. Our early stage start-up is an attempt to solve many of these technical and business challenges. We envision an IT utopia for the Enterprise – where they will return to focusing on their core business and only use IT as an enabling and efficient service. We are focused on changing the way Enterprises consume and pay for business software,” he said in an interview to an IT analyst.

Cloud Computing is, of-course, all the rage and passion for Alok. While we are anxiously awaiting and wishing rewards for his hard work in the new role as an entrepreneur, we are happy to have a wonderful and caring son and his accomplished wife, Ranjan, a big support to him in all his endeavors. With so much going on in Yunteq, no wonder with all the excitement of Cloud Computing, we feel we are on cloud nine!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Presidential Passage To India!

Will it be chicken tikka in New Delhi, idli-dosa in Bangalore or pav-bhaji in Mumbai for the American president and the first lady? From November 7 to Novrmber 10 this year President Barack Obama will make his maiden visit to the country that he describes as a rising power and a 21st century center of influence.

"I look forward to advancing our partnership and experiencing all that India and its incredible people and its ancient culture have to offer," the President said. "And I intend to create an Obama platter," he said. Asserting that "relationship between India and the US would be a defining partnership of the 21st century", the President said, "That's why a third of my cabinet has visited India."

As India prepares for the visit of President Barack Obama in early November, down my memory lane land the unforgettable moments of the earlier visits to India of five former presidents of Unites States of America:

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The year was 1959. More than a million people greeted President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he landed in New Delhi as part of an 11-nation tour. The enthusiastic crowd chanted “Eisenhower zindabad!” as the motorcade carrying President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru proceeded from Palam Airport to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The entire city was decked with lights and thousands of Indian and American flags to greet the first U.S. president to visit India. As their motorcade arrived near the downtown Connaught Place in the heart of New Delhi, it stopped in front of the flourishing fruit and vegetable market. Both, Prime Minister Nehru and President Eisenhower came out of their cars for the traditional welcome with flowers and garlands by the vegetable and fruit vendors, enthusiastically waiting for them. They got themselves photographed with them and some lucky ones even shook hands with the world's two great leaders. This was the scene whenever a foreign dignitary, a President or a Prime Minister passed that point on their arrival. And this is the world I wish to rediscover, sans the threat of security that separates the peoples' leaders from their own people.

During the four December days he spent in India, President Eisenhower addressed Parliament, attended a state banquet, received a Doctor of Laws degree from Delhi University, was entertained by Indian
singers and musicians, visited the Taj Mahal in Agra and a village nearby. From Indian leaders to common people, the president created a bond that would endure despite differences on major international issues then and in the following decades. Speaking to the largest crowd ever gathered, up to that time, at the Ram Lila Grounds in New Delhi, President Eisenhower said, “I see in the magnificent spectacle before me a soul-stirring testimonial by half a million of India’s people to America, a sister democracy—and to the cause for which both India and America stand: The cause of peace and friendship in freedom.…We who are free—and who prize our freedom above all other gifts of God and nature—must know each other better; trust each other more; support each other.

Richard Nixon

President Nixon’s visit in 1969 came at a politically turbulent period. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was struggling to fight for her place with the old guard Congress leaders like her Deputy Prime Minister Morarji Desai, Home Minister Y. B. Chavan, and Lok Sabha Speaker Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. When the Air Force One carrying the Presidential party landed in New Delhi, the public welcome was none of the overwhelming enthusiasm president Eisenhower received ten years earlier. The visit was too short for discussion on substantive issues with the Indian leaders. ‘Neither Mrs Gandhi nor Nixon displayed much warmth. The substantive discussions, mainly on Vietnam, lacked spark and animation. After landing in New Delhi at noon, Nixon called on Acting President Hidayatullah at Rashtrapati Bhavan and held official talks later with Prime Minister Gandhi. That night he attended a Presidential banquet hosted by Hidayatullah and witnessed a cultural show for half an hour. The next morning, the presidential party left for Lahore after breakfast. The chemistry between Indira Gandhi and Nixon was not at the same level as that of Nixon and Pakistani leaders.

Nixon and Kissinger again visited India in 1971 when the US relationship with India had reached 'a state of exasperatingly strained cordiality like a couple that can neither separate nor get along,' according to Kissinger. Conditions in East Bengal were very serious. Some 3 million people are estimated to have been killed in the genocide unleashed by Pakistan's military government on East Pakistan, leading to a rush of refugees into India. But all along, the Nixon administration sided with the military establishment of Pakistan over democratic India. At that time Nixon and Kissinger were in Delhi and were invited for breakfast by her.

It is stated that on the eve of the breakfast meeting at her residence with Nixon and Kissinger, Mrs Gandhi phoned General Manekshaw, the then Commander-in-Chief of the Army. She just told him to come for the breakfast in the morning, and he should come in uniform. So, General Manekshaw went for breakfast and soon they were joined by Nixon and Kissinger. Mrs Gandhi was persistent in pleading with Nixon that he should try to restrain Pakistan for what was being done in East Pakistan because the conditions there were becoming intolerable and it was almost becoming impossible for India to remain silent at the mass migration from East Pakistan following the atrocities being committed there. Nixon and Kissinger tried to underplay the situation. Rather, Nixon in half annoyance is said to have told her that the US could do nothing about it. Obviously rattled, she made a last minute appeal to Nixon to do something otherwise she might have to do something herself which she was reluctant to do. At this Nixon again expressed his inability to do anything and asked her rather ironically as to what she intended to do. At that time she stood up and, pointing towards the General (who was in full military uniform), told Nixon that if he could not control the situation then she was going to ask him (meaning the General) to do the same. There was stunning silence for a minute and the sharp message was conveyed to Nixon in a very stark manner. Obviously, Nixon and Kissinger had their egos deflated and were not going to forgive Mrs Gandhi for such an attitude, as is apparent from the recently declassified some of the Nixon White House tapes and secret documents that bring to light the way in which the Nixon administration went about the Bangladesh saga, reflecting the potential of mindsets and personal equations taking precedence over ground realities in White House decision making.

Jimmy Carter

President Carter came to India in 1978 and instantly on arrival to tumultuous welcome became the most beloved U.S. President by his signature smile and irresistible charm. The sleepy village of Daulatpur Nasirabad in Gurgaon became the focus of media attention the world over when he chose it for a visit during his tour of India to enliven the memories of his mother's association with Nasirabad.

Carter's mother, Lillian Gordy Carter, who was an active volunteer in the US Peace Corps, came to India in the 1960s. And it was in Nasirabad that she stayed and worked as a nurse. Jimmy Carter wanted to make it a model village. He even promised to extend his support and co-operation to the Indian government for the purpose. Carter's announcement stirred the hopes and aspirations of the villagers and DaulatpurNasirabad was named Carterpuri. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter stayed an hour, presented the village with its first television set, visited the home where Lillian had stayed. Rosalynn was dressed up in the local costume, and they even ate some locally made bread, and 3 January, the day of the presidential visit, became a village holiday. Everything's changed since those days. The village has a high school as well as a primary school, a bank, drainage, electricity, telephone lines. All around is undergoing the radical makeover that accompanies soaring land prices, lifestyle aspirations, and a middle class on the move.

Bill Clinton

When former president, Bill Clinton, went to India on a state visit in the year 2000, he received a tumultuous welcome, never before witnessed during the visit of any world dignitary. People of India, irrespective of their political affiliations, loved him from their hearts and greeted him with the greatest welcome he could have ever imagined to get anywhere in the world.

President Clinton arrived in his limousine at the Fategarh Haveli, a mansion over 100 years old built by a former Prime Minister of Jaipur. He was garlanded and showered flowers by the village women, dressed in traditional attires, who sang a welcome song in the traditional Rajasthani folk style. As Dr Kanchan Mathur, sociologist who acted as the official interlocutor between the President and the villagers, translated the song into English, Clinton burst into laughter. Roughly it meant:

"I get up at four in the morning daily, I clean, mop, wash and cook. Even then they think I am not doing any work. Where do I go and tell my worries? Where do I go and tell my pains?"

Then as stunned officials watched, the women dance with Clinton, a senior official said, "Till a couple of days back, we found so hard to convince them to remove their veil while receiving the President. When he actually came, they broke every tradition, and dances with him!" After the welcome, as the women started narrating their struggles to over come social stigma and gain economic independence, the spoon-fed language gave way to more natural conversation, and the fear of facing the world's most powerful political figure vanished in the general air of informality. Stories were several more, and breaking away from a traditional head of state's formalities, Mr Clinton stretched his stay at the village much beyond the time schedule. When he began to depart, the village, where the women have made such a difference -- suddenly noticed that the limousine of their unforgettable guest was being driven by a woman.

George W Bush

President Bush's visit to India in 2006 can truly be termed as historic. India at large welcomed President Bush to India as a genuine friend. President Bush through the civil nuclear deal and the other agreements arrived at in the fields of defense cooperation, space cooperation and high-technology cooperation indicated through this comprehensive engagement that USA was truly interested in a strategic partnership with India. In his address to the Indian nation on the eve of his departure he publicly asserted that India was the United States natural partner for the 21st Century and praised genuinely India's vibrant democracy and its multi-ethnic and multi-religious free society.

George Bush launched a "historic" charm offensive in New Delhi, lauding India as a "grand democracy" and US partner in a bid to reach out to its people over the heads of tens of thousands of protesters. Standing on the manicured lawns of Hyderabad House, once a symbol of British power in India, the American president and the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh clapped hands and exchanged hugs after concluding a much-heralded nuclear deal and outlining a series of trade pacts.

"History was made today," Mr Singh said. "Our discussion today makes me confident that there are no limits to the Indo-US partnerships."

Looking forward to his visit to India, Obama quoted from an eminent Europe scholar who traveled to India more than a century ago, who said, "Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study, whether it be language or religion or mythology or philosophy, whether it be law or customs, primitive art, or science, you have to go to India, because," he said, "some of the most valuable and instructive material of the history of man are treasured up in India, and India only."

Obama said: "So when it comes to the sphere of our work, building a future of greater prosperity, opportunity and security for our people, there is no doubt; I have to go India. But even more, I am proud to go to India, and I look forward to the history that we will make together, progress that will be treasured not just by this generation but by generations to come."

President Obama has, indeed, eloquently explained in nutshell the need for Presidential Passage To India!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Midlife Enlivens Life!

In younger years one leads a life as good as his parents can give him. In old age one lives as comfortable a life as his children contribute to it. But it is the middle age that one makes or breaks by himself. For most men, midlife is a time of achievement and satisfaction. For many others, however, the passage is not at all smooth - children leaving home, caring for both parents and children. Middle age is that point in our life when we shift from seeing the future in terms of our potential and begin to see it in terms of our limitations. It's a shift that's so slow, so incremental, that we don't even notice it on a day-to-day basis. But we start at one end and end up at the other. It doesn't happen overnight.

Middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. This is usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60. This is a period of dramatic self-doubt that is felt by some individuals as a result of sensing the passing of their own youth and the imminence of their old age. Sometimes, a crisis can be triggered by transitions experienced in these years, such as the death of parents or other causes of grief, realizing that a job or career is hated but not knowing how else to earn an equivalent living, or children leaving home. The result may be a desire to make significant changes in core aspects of day-to-day life or situation, such as in career, work-life balance or physical appearance. Some studies indicate that some cultures may be more sensitive to this phenomenon than others. One study found that there is little evidence that people undergo midlife crises in Japanese and Indian cultures, primarily because of parental or family backing during the period of difficulties. Sincere and strong spousal support makes it much easier to overcome any midlife crisis. Here I must thank God for being one who had it in abundance from my wonderful wife.

Career change is the most common concern that may trigger midlife crisis. Often it's not choosing the specific new career that's the real problem; it's how to approach it when you're middle-aged with limited time and money. No one likes to make an expensive mistake. It could relate to someone who feels "burnt out" or "stuck" in his or her career, isn't interested in starting a business, but wants to find a different career. It can be a very challenging time. What we thought we knew, we no longer know. What we thought was important no longer seems to be. It can be a tumultuous and confusing time! You think back and consider your experiences over the years. Thinking of old skills, I wonder if I can write a memo without a word processor, or do arithmetic without a calculator, or find a location on a map without a mapping program? Can I deliver capabilities ensuring quality results without these gadgets which were not yet invented in our younger years. If you started out doing things the old ways and managed to learn the new ways, you’re equipped to make more changes that will enable you to map your future career path. If you’re middle-aged, you should recognize quality is not a destination but a step along the road. Be prepared for your career to be in transition. Consider moving up or moving out. If your first 15 to 20 years of work provided learning opportunities, it may be time to consider your options. It might be time for you to move into marketing, teaching, accounting, knowledge and asset management, or even executive leadership. Successful quality specialists frequently move to positions running operations and making key decisions. You are in a position to build alternative futures based on knowledge of what works. Assess your current position and career history. Your life experiences stretch your knowledge base beyond current employment. Focus your thinking on yourself and your capabilities, interests and desires.

The attitudes of the middle-aged are important when you consider that the people of this age group are most often found in positions of influence and decision making. The middle generation of adults tends to carry the burden of concern for the policies, programs and progress. In addition, the middle-aged wield a great deal of influence as the norm-bearers who help form the attitudes of the young. Midlife is far more than a handful of experiences and physical changes. It often brings a re-ordering of priorities, a change in values, deep soul-searching about the meaning of life, and facing of our own mortality. Every man, roughly between ages forty and sixty, begins to notice both physical and psychological changes. Some adapt to the changes reasonably well, and accept them as part of aging. Others find the changes very distressing.

"Midway on our life's journey, I found myself
In a dark woods, the right road lost. To tell
About those woods is hard - so tangled and rough..."
- Dante - The Inferno

"Wholly unprepared, we embark upon the second half of life... we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve as before. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life's morning - for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie."
Carl Jung

At midlife, many people try to “make right” what they perceive to be wrong in their lives. It is the time of “correction” before they’re too old to have a choice, too old to care. It is a journey sometimes called a “midlife transition” but more often incorrectly referred to as a “midlife crisis. In a nutshell, a normal development in life span that is essentially positive, midlife enlivens life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stop Slang Kill The Classics

Urban slang is a hot, fresh way of talking which originated in urban America – African Americans in particular. Society is more geared than ever to young people, but their slang - and the speed at which it changes - can be a mystery to many. Any parent or teacher can attest that rap has birthed a whole different language that lives on the tongues of urban youth today. Rather than learning new words that build their vocabulary in a meaningful and academically significant way, students are often focused on learning new words that can only be understood in the contexts of MySpace and text messages. The following offers a glimpse inside the modern day classrooms, as experienced by Elissa Seto, a teacher at an urban middle school in the South Bronx, when she took to task Tiffany, a 12-year old sixth grader who did not do her home-work:

"Yo, Ms. Seto, you're beastin' over homework!"
"What do you mean, Tiffany?"
"You know, you're wiling out on me just for homework."
"So you're saying that you think I'm overreacting because you didn't do your homework?"

Some people may brush this off as just a teenage phase of wanting to use cool words, but her overuse of slang is indicative of something greater. Tiffany is a sixth grader who, like many of her peers, reads and writes on a third-grade level.

Unfortunately for the English language, the slang is not only here to stay with the youth, but going overboard to kick the English classics. As its first victim, Charles Dickens has been translated into urban slang. A book has been released which translates classic texts by Charles Dickens into modern urban slang. For example in Oliver Twist it now reads: "Oi, mate," he said in da littlest voice ever, "gimme some more!" Author Martin Baum says he wrote the book to make the works of Dickens 'fun and accessible' for a younger audience. He also said the book makes the text less intimidating while still retaining the potency and beauty of the stories… like whatever in it. If the book becomes a best seller, there will be no stopping to slang-language virus spreading deep into English literature with many more classic writers re-written by modern day writers like Martin Baum.

Shakespear also is not spared by the writers in urban slang. William Shakespeare’s famous plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth have been translated into contemporary urban slang. According to Tonia Lee, New York City public school teacher, who has given Shakespeare a makeover in street slang, “young, urban, everyday members of the working class were some of Shakespeare’s biggest fans during the Renaissance. Many of the words in Shakespeare’s plays were considered slang for its time. Therefore, a translation of Shakespeare into urban street slang upholds the true spirit of Shakespeare’s plays as it reaches out to the same audience that it did over 500 years ago: the young, the urban, and the hip.” Soon to come are other plays by Shakespeare adapted into urban slang including Hamlet and Julius Caesar.

It is ironical indeed that in London, the land where the biggest names in English literature were born, a group of young actors has reinvented Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, described by its director as the 'ultimate knife crime', as a tale of urban violence by rewriting the script into street slang. Out goes The Bard's nuanced Renaissance language. In its place come chatter and text-talk from the streets of modern-day London. The plot loosely follows the original. Trouble begins when Caesar moves from Harvey Nicks Grove school to nearby Harrods High. He is marked out as a threat for wanting to become head prefect and knifed to death. Instead of adults in the Roman court, it is set in the classroom and all the teenage actors wear uniform. The vast majority of the first half, especially, is embellished with street slang. Director Darren Raymond, 27, said street talk was an important aspect of the play because language formed a large part of young people's identities.

Street Slang, is incomprehensibly poor grammar mixed with the deliberate misuse of words and slang that helps the illiterate feel good about their inability to improve or unwillingness to try to improve their spoken English. It's not slang per se that is the problem. One argument against such out-of-hand dismissal of the colloquial is Shakespeare himself, who spiced his poetry with the modern, using words and phrases that chimed with the ground-ling as much as with Elizabethan courtiers. But there is a difference between idiom and modern slang in literature. Shakespeare's use of slang opened up the world of the theater to all of the audience. Modern slang is different, being cut through with dark knowing humor and packing a linguistic punch. Take a line from the street slang Julius Caesar: "I come to bury Caesar, not big him up."

When well-meaning literary professionals seek to get down with the kids in this way, the world really is turned upside down. Those who should know better abdicate their duty to introduce the next generation to the very best of literature. On the contrary, they are themselves seen carrying Street Talk or any other of the numerous new dictionaries that describe the meaning of the modern urban slang language. Some teachers are even taking classes in urban slang to keep pace with their street smart students. Instead of watching or actively working to kick the classic literature in the name of the kids, the teachers and the writers must make serious effort to stop slang kill the classics.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Stress Free Life Style!

A foreign journalist, a friend of mine, following Eat Pray Love unit in India was curious to know how most people could afford to have ever smiling faces in the countryside where he was covering the shootings of the film. At a get together in honor of the Hollywood super star Julia Roberts and other members of the cast and crew of the film, the journalist got the opportunity to ask a prominent person of Pataudi, the small town where the picture was being shot, the pertinent question that was uppermost in his mind since day one of his arrival there:

Q: “I'm pleasantly surprised to see all the people, young and old, in Pataudi always happy and smiling. Any special reason for them to retain the smile all the time?”

A: “It is their stress-free life style that keeps them quite happy and ever smiling. I give you my own example. When I was growing up, my parents told me that I do not have to worry for anything and I could study up to any level I want to, while enjoying my youth as much as I can. Now when I'm old, my children see to it that I live an absolutely stress-free life by providing all possible comforts to us in our old age. During the in-between period of life, whenever there was a problem, help was always instantly available from other members in our joint family on just a mention of my need. So, with everyone around in the family standing behind you, there was no way but to be always smiling in life, and praying to God to preserve our traditional family values till posterity.”

Wow, what an amazing simple solution to happiness in every home of that community in India's countryside, the journalist thought. That day onwards, alongside covering cast and crew of the extraordinary film, the journalist also kept contact with that person during the rest of his stay there to do some more research on the ever smiling Indians in the countryside. It was, indeed, an eye opener for him on how the traditional family values work to bring about peace and happiness in Indian homes that are still bound by them in their day-to-day life. The traditional family values are the foundation for how children grow, are taught and supported. These values are passed on from one generation to the next, giving families the structure and boundaries in which to function and thrive. The family supports and nourishes the members throughout the span of that family. A strong family unit creates a safe, positive and supportive place for all members to progress. They are able to utilize resources and to live together in a fairly healthy manner. They work together to solve problems, and they pass their skills on to the next generation. The most important element of the strong Indian family system is the feeling of being loved, of belonging to the group and being nurtured by it.

India is remarkable for its strongest family system in the world where people learn the essential themes of cultural life within the bosom of a family. The most widely desired residential unit is the joint family, all living under one roof, working, eating, worshiping, and cooperating together in mutually beneficial social and economic activities. Despite the continuous and growing impact of urbanization, secularization, and Westernization, the traditional joint household, both in ideal and in practice, remains the primary social force in the lives of most Indians. Loyalty to family is a deeply held ideal for almost everyone. The joint family is an ancient Indian institution, but even where the ideal joint family is seldom found, there are often strong networks of kinship ties through which economic assistance and other benefits are obtained. Not infrequently, clusters of relatives live very near each other, easily available to respond to the give and take of kinship obligations. Even when relatives cannot actually live in close proximity, they typically maintain strong bonds of kinship and attempt to provide each other with economic help, emotional support, and other benefits.

Depicting the importance of parents in our life, the finest anthology of verses from Indian scriptures for guiding towards better life, happiness and peace teach to respect and treat parents above everything else. If we keep our parents happy and satisfied then every god will be happy and satisfied with our deeds and acts. There is a mention in the Indian ancient scripture that if you have bad impact of Sun, you pray and seek the blessings of your parents and you will be alright. It is advised in Indian culture that every morning, immediately after waking up, we should touch the feet of our parents and seek their blessings for better day and fulfillment of our wishes and desires. Even today, in traditional Indian family this practice is followed like a ritual. So, to be happy and live life with utmost happiness, we must love, respect and offer our duty to our parents.

Another significant Sanskrit verse equates every member of the family to God - “Oh God! You are my mother and also my father. You are also my brother and sister and you are the supreme god for me.” If we see this verse in the context of our practical life and think of our father, mother, brother, sister as god and start respecting them like god; we will be able to live very happy, conducive and peaceful life on this planet.

Not only my journalist friend came back flabbergasted by the greatness of the Indian culture, the entire cast and crew of Eat Pray Love was visibly impressed and vocal about it. Julia Roberts is even reported to have converted to Hinduism on her return from India so that she can attain a serene and peaceful life in her next incarnation. Talking to the Elle magazine, Julia said, "I am definitely a practicing Hindu. " According to the actress, who was born to a Baptist and catholic couple, she observed Hindu culture and got herself immersed in Eastern philosophy and found the serenity and spirituality that she intends to have in her next incarnation. In the movie "Eat, Pray, Love", Julia plays the role of a woman who tries to decipher her inner self via spirituality and for this reason, she goes to India and studies and practices Hinduism.

The bottom line is that the basis of Indian culture is in the Indian family values and what inspires the ever smiling faces of ordinary Indians is clearly their culturally enshrined stress free life style.