15 Minutes to Live: A Blog Post

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Image via Wikipedia

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

I love you.  Thank you.  Those are the words I am going to repeat again and again to the ones that have always been close to me.  Mom, Dad, there isn’t much you have not done for me, yet I feel like I have always let you down.  I could have done so much more yet you never judged, always accepted who I was, and were there when I needed you.

Suman, my oldest and amazing sister.  As much as I always responded to you with irritation I realize now that everything you said to me always came from the same place of love and worry for your little brother.   For you, it did not matter that I fell repeatedly or made the same mistakes, for you all that mattered was that I was ok, and if I needed any help getting back.

Sumita, you are my second mom and as much as I fought that notion all my life, I now realize that there was a reason I needed two moms. I needed one that loved me unconditionally and another who loved me passionately but would not allow me to be the lower person that I managed to be some days.  You never gave up and your passion and creativity are the reason we are, I mean I am the success I am. I have all the material things I could want thanks to you.  And although we always differed on how to use our wealth, you have taught me that money isn’t just a means to an end, it can used as a sword to cut away a lot of the injustices in the world.

Preeti, to the one I have managed to hurt the most even though I have loved you from the moment I got to know you, I realize now how much you have been part of my life when I needed someone the most.  To you, saying I love you and thank you arent enough without adding I am so, so sorry for all the pain that I have caused you in your life.  I wish I could take all the pain away with me now just so finally you could have peace and the knowledge that no matter, I loved you with my entire soul.

Jemal, Vuong, Nik, Vuong, Raj

We meet at different times in our lives, and yet you all have been unwavering in your love and support for me even though I never managed to return the favor at times.  All I can say now is that you were always present in my thoughts even if by my action its appeared I did not.  Time is so short to explain how much I love you guys for making me a better human than I am.


There are so many of you that have been there without complaint and comment in my life and have done so many things that if I had 15,000 minutes, I wouldn’t be able to describe all that you have added to my life.  I only pray I can come back in some form to repay you for all the love you gave me.  I truly am unworthy of such great family.

Rockwell, Noel, Vishal, Mike Fitz

To you, I owe a great thank you for always being around when I needed you even though the time gaps were large, nothing every changed between us except the deepening of our love for each other’s friendships.

The time draws close now, and I know there are dozens I have left out and will never get to them in time because all my life, I have received so much generosity and gifts that I could never pay back.  In these waning moments, I leave you this small words of thanks and love and hope that you can forgive me for my sins and remember that I meant no ill will.  I am who I was.  The rest, as they say is history.  Perhaps I made a mark in your life, but know one thing you definitely made one on me.  Thank you.



There was an important job to be done and
Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when
Nobody did what Anybody could have done. 
My Past, Myself, Preeti, Writing

My Writing Sucks: A Blog Post

Janss Steps, Royce Hall in background, UCLA
Image via Wikipedia

For the first time since I started on my UCLA extension classes, I am wondering what made me think I could actually write.  This is the first time also I took only one class, and yet it feels as if my entire certificate for creative non fiction depends on it.  The class is for personal essays, how to write one and get published.  We have only written 5 essays but it feels as if I have written 50.  The worse part: my writing absolutely, without any doubt in my mind, sucks.  I mean it’s awful.  Instead of showing, I am telling. Instead of describing people, I am using stock characters.  And grammar? Forget about it, it looks like I stopped around 8th grade.

At first, it was easy to blame the class (teacher sucks, essays too general, no lectures, etc) and then I realized that the issue really was me.  My first topic was about my grandfather, the second about my mom and sisters opening up Ziba, the third about my difficult writing, and the fourth and fifth about cancer.  Each topic emotionally loaded for me, but more importantly not really dealt with at the time so as I began writing, I lose myself into that time period so the writing resembles that of a child.

Writing about Ziba and my dad;s drinking is just plain hard mainly because I have such mixed emotions about it.  When Ziba started, I was at UCLA and then Law school and I was 13 when my dad drank and it has had a powerful effect on me.  The main reason its hard because Ziba is in my lifeblood and I love my dad so much now, more so because he is one of the few people I know in my life who did a 180 turn in life to save his family.  I have so much respect, pride and love for him that it’s hard to look at a time when I felt nothing for him.  As for Ziba, it;s just hard to write about it because I have the guilt that I could have done so much more and that perhaps I didn’t have much to do with it for it to be successful.  In a way, maybe I am riding it coattails, but then I see my family and they just don’t see it like that and won’t let me either.

Finally, my love and cancer. This part’s the hardest just because it was so recent but more importantly it involved someone I love so completely that it’s hard to imagine being without her.  So here I am, in a personal essay class where all the essays are so personal that they don’t mean much to others because I havent dealt with my own issues, and thus the writings are full of meandering thoughts and emotions that frankly aren’t very fun to read if I was totally honest with myself.  Let’s hope I figure it out soon before I truly feel like a failure.  I am open to suggestions 🙂


Creative Ways to Say No :)

One day an employee sends a letter to his boss to increase his salary!!!

Dear Bo$$


In thi$ life, we all need $ome thing mo$t de$perately. I think you $hould be under$tanding of the need$ of u$ worker$ who have given $o much $upport including $weat and $ervice to your company.

I am $ure you will gue$$ what I mean and re$pond $oon

Your$ $incerely,

 Norman $oh




The next day, the employee received this letter of reply:

Dear NOrman,

I kNOw you have been working very hard. NOwadays, NOthing much has changed. You must have NOticed that our company is NOt doing NOticeably well as yet.

NOw the newspaper are saying the world`s leading ecoNOmists are NOt sure if the United States may go into aNOther recession. After the NOvember presidential elections things may turn bad.

I have NOthing more to add NOw. You kNOw what I mean.

Yours truly,



[New post] The wolf of Love and the wolf of Fear…extended

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From: Interactivethoughts’s Blog <no-reply@wordpress.com>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2011 05:51:59 +0000
To: Sanjay Sabarwal <sanjay@zibabeauty.com>
Subject: [New post] The wolf of Love and the wolf of Fear…extended

The wolf of Love and the wolf of Fear…extended <http://interactivethoughts.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/the-wolf-of-love-and-the-wolf-of-fear-extended/>
interactivethoughts <http://interactivethoughts.wordpress.com/author/interactivethoughts/>
| May 26, 2011 at 10:51 PM | Categories: Posts <http://interactivethoughts.wordpress.com/?cat=4526> | URL: http://wp.me/pTsBk-4l
Most of us have been made familiar of this Native American story of the two wolves that live in each man’s heart.  I had first heard of this story a few years ago in a movie named "The Pathfinder".  Needless to say it resonated and I tucked it deep into my psyche.  Through time I would hear it here and there.  This year however, I was seeing this story every month from January, via email from different people who were not connected to each other.  I got it from personal mails, blogs, newsletters.  I would have said its a coincidence but I knew the Universe was trying to tell me something, but what?

While in the midst of currently reading a book by Debbie Ford, I stumbled onto this:

There is an old Cherokee story about a chief of a large village.  One day the chief decides that the time has come to teach his favorite grandson about life.  He takes him out into the forest, sits him under and old tree, and explains, "Son, there is a fight going on within the mind and heart of every human being that is alive today.

Even though I am a wise old chief, the leader of out people, this same fight is going on inside me.  If you do not know that the battle is going on, it will drive you crazy.  You will never know what direction to go in.  You will sometimes win in life and then, without understanding why, you will suddenly find yourself lost, confused, and afraid, and may lose all that you word so hard to gain.

You will often think you are doing the right thing and then find out that you were making the wrong choices.  If you do not understand the forces of good and evil, the individual life and the collective life, the true self and the false self, you will live a life always in great turmoil.

"it is as if there are two big wolves living inside me; one is white and one is black.  The white wolf is good, kind, and does no harm.  He lives in harmony with all that is around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended.  The good wolf, grounded and strong in the understanding of who he is and what he is capable of, fights only when it is right to do so and when he must in order to protect himself or his family, and even then he does it in the right way.  He looks out for all the other wolves in his pack and never deviates from his nature.

"But there is a black wolf also that lives inside me, and this wolf is very different.  He is loud, angry, discontent, jealous, and afraid.  The littles thing will set him off into a fit of rage.  He fights with everyone, all the time for no reason.  He cannot think clearly because his greet for more and his anger and hate are so great.  But it is helpless anger, son, for his anger will change nothing.  He looks for trouble wherever he goes, so he easily finds it.  He trusts no one, so he has no real friends."

The old chief sits in silence for a few minutes, letting the story of the two wolves penetrate his young grandson’s mind.  Then he slowly bends down, looks deeply into his grandson’s eyes, and confesses, "Sometimes its hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them fight hard to dominate my spirit."

Riveted by his elder’s account of this great internal battle, the boy tugs on his grandfather’s breechcloth and anxiously asks, "Which one of the wolves winds, Grandfather?"  And with a knowing smile and a strong firm voice, the chief says, "They both do, son.  YOu see, if I choose to feed only the white wolf, the black wolf will be waiting around every corner looking to see when I am off balance or too busy to pay attention to one of my responsibilities, and he will attack the white wolf and cause many problems for me and our tribe.  He will always be angry and fighting to get the attention he craves.

But if I pay a little attention to the black wolf because I understand his nature, if I acknowledge him for the strong force that his is and let him know that I respect him for his character and will use him to help me if we as a tribe are ever in big trouble, he will be happy , the white wolf will be happy, and they both win.  We all win."

Confused, the boy asks, "I don’t understand, Grandfather.  How can both wolves win?"  The chief continues: "You see, son, the black wolf has many important qualities that I might need, depending on what comes out way.  He is fierce, strong-willed, and will not back down for a moment.  He is smart, clever, and is capable of the most devious thoughts and strategies, which are important in a time of war.  He has man sharp and heightened senses that only one who is looking through the eyes of darkness could appreciate.    In the midst of an attack he could be our greatest ally."

The chief then brings out some cold steaks from his pouch and puts them down on the ground, one to his left and one to his right.  He points to the steaks and says, "Over here to my left is food for the white wolf, and here to my right is food for the black wolf.  If I choose to feed them both, they will no longer fight to get my attention, and I can use each of them as needed.  And since there is no war going on between the two of them, I can hear the voice of my deeper knowing and choose which one can help me best in every circumstance.

If your grandmother wants food to cook for a special meal and I haven’t taken care of it like I should have, I can ask the white wolf to lend me his charms to console her black wolf, who is hungry and angry.  The white wolf always knows what to say and will help me be more sensitive to her needs.  You see, son, if you understand that there are two main forces that exist inside you and you give them both equal respect, they will both win and there will be peace.

Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission-the ultimate purpose of life.  A man who has peace inside has everything.  A man who is pulled apart by the war inside him has nothing.  You are a young man who has to choose how you will interact with the opposing forces that live inside you.  What you decide will determine the quality of the rest of your life.  And when one of the wolves needs special attention, which it will sometimes, you don’t have to be ashamed; you can just admit it to your elders and get the help you need.  When it is out in the open, others who have struggled with this same battle can offer you their wisdom."

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Thoughts For The Weekend :)

Why Are Goals Important

On the best sunny day, the most powerful magnifying glass will not light paper if you keep moving the glass. But if you focus and hold it, the paper will light up. That is the power of concentration.

   A man was traveling and stopped at an intersection. He asked an elderly man, "Where does this road take me?" The elderly person asked, "Where do you want to go?" The man replied, "I don’t know." The elderly person said, "Then take any road. What difference does it make?"

   How true. When we don’t know where we are going, any road will take us there.

   Suppose you have all the football eleven players, enthusiastically ready to play the game, all charged up, and then someone took the goal post away. What would happen to the game? There is nothing left. How do you keep score? How do you know you have arrived?

   Enthusiasm without direction is like wildfire and leads to frustration. Goals give a sense of direction. Would you sit in a train or a plane without knowing where it was going? The obvious answer is no. Then why do people go through life without having any goals?

There was a man taking a morning wa lk at or the beach. He saw that along with the morning tide came hundreds of starfish and when the tide receded, they were left behind and with the morning sun rays, they would die. The tide was fresh and the starfish were alive. The man took a few steps, picked one and threw it into the water. He did that repeatedly. Right behind him there was another person who couldn’t understand what this man was doing. He caught up with him and asked, "What are you doing? There are hundreds of starfish. How many can you help? What difference does it make?" This man did not reply, took two more steps, picked up another one, threw it into the water, and said, "It makes a difference to this one."

What difference are we making? Big or small, it does not matter. If everyone made a small difference, we’d end up with a big difference, wouldn’t we?