The Power of Empathy

Embed from Getty Images

Empathy is not just another obscure human virtue. Empathy is one of the most powerful yet underrated qualities that can truly change the face of the world. It promises world peace, brotherhood and true happiness. In truth, empathic people not only build a better life, but also build a more stable future and more enduring relationships for themselves. It is one of those qualities that mean win-win for everyone.

History proves that while humans are capable of great acts of kindness, love and sacrifice they are also capable of unfathomable acts of cruelty and barbarism. Heinous crimes have been committed over the centuries against the downtrodden, poor and weak. These crimes may well have been set off by a few select demagogues around the world, yet the reason these crimes took the shape of wars and genocides is because thousands of people were brainwashed into joining the war against humanity. Sometimes, the only thing standing in between a human and a human capable of committing monstrous acts is Empathy.

Empathy is the power to place oneself in another man’s shoes, and to view the world from his perspective. Empathy is the realization of the presence of good in oneself as in another. It puts the “me” on an equal plane level with “you” so that now we are on the same ground level to breed love, respect and friendship.
In this respect, Empathy is markedly different from pity. Pity is a negative emotion; it immediately puts “me” on a higher pedestal than “you” being the object of pity. Pity can only breed hatred and contempt in the long run. Any help given out of pity may help the recipient in the short run, but in the longer run will impede his growth as it will be a blow to his self-confidence. Furthermore, it will cause derision in the heart of the recipient and erode your relationship. Never do an act of kindness out of Pity. For Pity does not equate to kindness.

But we live in a materialistic world and have become accustomed see everything from the point of view of “What’s in it for me?” A fair question.

There is more to be gained for the individual practicing empathy than the altruistic ideal of becoming a beacon of light to the world. Empathy and Emotional Quotient have a deeply symbiotic relationship; one breeds on the other. And while a person’s intellect and success in academia may get you your dream job, believe it or not, it is Empathy that will win your alliances with influential people, and increase your chances of success at work.

No matter how intelligent and capable you are, the truth is your capacities alone will amount to little. To do big things, you need a strong support from your colleagues. Empathizing with your associates improves your relationships and builds mutual trust and alliance. Any workplace where people do not trust or respect one another cannot be conducive to growing mentally or nurture ideas. The more respect you give the more you will see it coming back, something that can only be attested by those who practice it.
So how do you become more empathic? Nothing describes Empathy better than, this line from the Bible:

“Do to others, as you would have them do to you.”
When faced with making difficult situations or passing judgment on others, take a moment to step back and place yourself in the other person’s shoes. If we have the capacity to place ourselves in the shoes of the very people we ridicule or deride, we will slowly lose our hatred towards them. If you like to be appreciated for a job well done, then appreciate others. Take a moment to appreciate the friend who opens the door for you at your office, or the person at Starbucks who hands you the coffee. If someone honks at you rudely on your drive to work, force yourself to give them a mental hug. Even if it does not change your relationship with that person, it will give your mind a shot of feel-good hormones.

But here is another important aspect of empathy. While it is important to respect the good in others, never underestimate the good in yourself. For you can only project outside what you feel inside!

Also remember that being empathetic does not mean putting your own needs of self-respect secondary to others. Again, empathy puts two people on the same ground level, not one higher than the higher. Committing or accepting any act of injustice towards anybody including yourself is wrong. While it is wrong to hurt others, it is equally wrong to accept any abomination, indignity and unjust behavior, no matter who the source of the injustice is. Stand up for yourself, irrespective of the consequences, and if that does not work, remove yourself from the source of injustice. There is plenty of good and kindness in this world, position yourself in places and midst people you can channel it.

Empathizing is an invisible ladder into someone’s heart. If we are truly all made in the form of God, then empathy allows us to see Godliness in ourselves and others.

Princess Diana
This picture was taken from an article that showcases the philanthropic works done by Princess Diana.

Inspired by Daily Post


Embed from Getty Images


7 o’ clock, Good Morning!

Get ready for the crazy day ahead but first,

Coffee with extra sugar, “let’s start blogging”,

Dash out to work, “hello”, some warm, some curt.

12o’ clock, good afternoon,

Run to the gym for lunch, get much needed exercise

My imagination runs dry, I need monsoon,

By 2Pm I have had a review, my accomplishments trivialized

Its 6o’ clock, I am still at work

Emails to answer, Reports to churn,

Outside smog is thickening dusk,

Humdrum day gathers dust.

‘Tis 8’ o clock, aah my feet hurt

Switch on the tube to drown the day, scour the fridge for victuals

Submerge in couch, no more energy to exert,

Another day, year, life; same ole same: a Trivial Ritual.

Embed from Getty Images




It’s been twenty long years
since I last was here,
Today I return to warm embraces and tears,
And this humble abode that I so revere.

Draped across these four walls
my childhood joys and fears,
our innocent games, countless brawls,
those plays, the music bands; oh we were such racketeers!

Everything here reminds me of days passed
bedtime stories, midnight feasts, picnics and parties,
Hopes, dreams, drive, enthusiasm unsurpassed,
playful fights, feisty reprieves, teddies and barbies.

Twenty long years have I traveled & strayed, life’s such a masquerade,
Stranger have I been, to the zillion memories that still live inside this effusive dome,
But Providence and good sense in the end did prevail,
As I found my way back to unveil, the cobwebbed gates to what was once; my childhood home.

Daily Post: Home

Not working out…

Its over

Not working out!

Another day, another month, a new year; its all the same,
Washing away wasted years, nothing but daily humdrum to blame,
Empty promises, false hypothesis, umpteen losses,
I have seen it all. In war and love, nobody wins; what a shame!

Wedding rings, breakfast at Tiffany’s, ended with a sticky note,
No calls nor apologies, a human voice no matter how remote,
Just a sticky note; “Not working out” that’s all you wrote?
Shaking hands, teary eyes, painful lump in my throat.

Wasted time, lost possibilities; all washed away with dirt and slime,
Between these gnarled socks and jeans, washed away are my dreams,
Your beautiful face and your long tresses; memories that hurt like a crime,
And above it all, you ended with a note, no apologies no matter how sublime;

Just a sticky note,”Not working out”!

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Tainted Love

Do you have a vice?

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”

By Winston Churchill


Truth is we all have vices. Can you name one person who has no vice, no matter how big or small?

We all know of human vices such as: drinking, smoking, gambling, overeating, hurting oneself or others etc. But overlook vices that are never physically expressed but only experienced within the constraints of one’s mind. Feelings of anger, hatred, jealousy, self pity, neglect can be equally malignant as any of the vices listed above. Over a period of time such negative emotions can and often do become toxic. They not only weaken our own moral character but also break down our physical and mental well being.

Yet as humans we have all experienced these negative emotions and or behaviors from time to time. The key is to first realize and accept our vice or weakness and then resolve to improve it. I would not be concerned if a person told me they had a vice. I would however be concerned if a person told me he had no vice. According to me such a person is either an angel or completely lacks an insight into his own soul. Such a person is probably so self-righteous that he has lost the ability to see any fault in himself.

If you know you have made a mistake, you can resolve to fix it, but if you truly believe you never ever made a mistake you have nothing to resolve.

You then continue existing in the throes of your vice, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, eventually hurting yourself and those around you. Unfortunately vices only give momentary pleasure, but in the longer run lead to feelings of guilt, lack of control, self pity, self loathing and so forth.

The idea is not to be devoid of all vices completely. Some smaller vices such as an infrequent indulgence in chocolate once in a while may be perfectly acceptable for example. The idea is to simply keep our vices controlled. For instance, if you smoke a packet of cigarette a day, then reduce it to half. If you smoke half a packet then endeavor to reduce it to two or three cigarettes, eventually eliminating the dependency.

If you are frequently caught in the web of negative emotions, then persevere to at least become acutely aware of it. Controlling negative emotions takes time and practice but becoming aware of them is the first step to change.

According to Joel Osteen,

“When the negative thoughts come – and they will; they come to all of us – it’s not enough to just not dwell on it… You’ve got to replace it with a positive thought.”

(quoted from

Negative energies in the long run lead to harmful negative behaviors which in turn cause us to harm ourselves and our loved ones. There is no easy way out. But realization of one’s faults, weaknesses, vices is the beginning to the end.

Having a vice is human, having the ability to forgive somebody’s vice is divine, but the inability to accept ones vice or overlook it completely is simply moronic.

Inspired by Daily Post:

Never Gonna Give You Up


Time 333

Daily Prompt: Don’t you forget about me!

Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us LEGACY.


Instead of falling in love, let me rise

Instead of craving riches, let me share mine,

If I lose my way and stray, take me back to whence I started,

For to trace back one’s way, is not time lost, as long as it is a lesson learned in time.

If I fall far and deep, then let me have the courage to believe,

Climbing back up may be hard, but it’s a journey worthwhile,

Every fall that hurts, hurts more only because you survive,

May I never leave sight of those and that which is dear,

May I have the fortitude for truth and reality to endure,

And when a countless stars are breaking in the summer skies,

Let me bask in their divine glory, coy but demure.

Above all I pray to be carefree and happy;

To give more than I receive, to love more than be loved,

So when my time is up, let upon my tombstone be writ,

Here lies the girl who once truly lived.

Karmic wine glass

Shattered glass and blood was splattered all over the kitchen floor. A body was lying face down with a knife still stuck in the back, dripping a thick pool of red.

Zoey was shaking convulsively, as she tried supporting herself against the wall. Rivulets of sweat mixed with tears and streamed down her cheeks as she let herself drop to the floor in a heave.

Could she really have done it? True, she had imagined it for years. She had wanted it, dreamed it and rehearsed it in her head over and over. But could she have actually gone through with it tonight? “Oh My God, Oh My God, what have I done?” she said looking at her hands. She had taken the kitchen knife and stabbed him repeatedly at the back until his legs could not hold the weight of his body. He thumped down on his knees first, and then fell on his face, bloodying the white kitchen floor.

Her heart beat so loud it would burst out of her chest, her head hurt and she could barely see. He had mixed something in her drink. Yes, he had to have. Surely he had dropped something in the wine before he handed it to her. She recoiled as she remembered his hand touching hers as he passed her the wine glass. How she hated him.

Now he was lying face down, dead and harmless. She had finally put the years of abuse behind her. It was going to be ok. He was far away from her now and could never hurt her again.

But she had to find her keys, she had to run, follow through with her plans. She remembered the plan clearly in her head, even though it pounded uncontrollably. Why could she not pull herself up? Someone or something was pulling her down. Her legs had become gummy, and her stomach seethed with pain. She instinctively put her hand on her stomach, to press the pain away. Her body felt sticky. In an instant she put her hands to her eyes, and looked at them disbelievingly, they were blood red.

Zoey had stabbed Charles several times in the back, but not before he had stabbed her in the gut with the broken wine glass.

“Cut” Shouted the Director. “Excellent shot. Pack Up”.

Inspired by Daily Post : Flash Fiction

Secret Ingredient


Being a vegetarian, I am all about sauces, curries and chutneys. I think they can “up” the taste of any salad, and add a dash of color and flavor to any meal.

Here is a recipe I used for the salad dressing you see on my shredded cucumber and beet salad above:

1 small garlic clove

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 small carrot

1 small yellow pepper

1/2 cup of sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of Love

Daily Prompt: Ingredients


Love Thy Neighbor

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 10:27

Sometimes you don’t realize how much time has passed, until you turn back and look at the serpentine tunnel of time behind you. I cannot believe twenty long years have passed since I met her last. It might well have been yesterday.

She was well into her seventies when I first met her. I remember her vividly, since I never met a more sophisticated or classier woman. Something about her memory reminds me of a beautiful Hindu temple, with large brass bells ringing outside, as they often do in temples.

I had just finished my Board exams and was off for the summer. We had recently moved into a new neighborhood. “Nani-Maa” (grandma in Hindi) as we would grow to call her was our next door neighbor. When I first met her, she was wearing a beautiful white sari (a garment consisting of a length of cotton or silk elaborately draped around the body) with a dark temple border neatly draped and pinned around her petite figure. Her hair pulled back into a high bun so tightly that not a  tendril of hair would ever fall out of place. Her skin was thin and translucent and her face reflected the wisdom that comes only with age.

She talked very softly, so you had to listen intently, and I instinctively wondered what stories this lovely creature had to share of her life. As it would turn out she had many.

Nani-Maa was the oldest in a family of four children and came from a  wealthy family of Nawabs. The year was 1947 and Nani-Maa was a young woman of 27 already a mother of three kids, when India was caught in a wave of celebration and turmoil. While the country celebrated its Independence on one side, riots were breaking out along the western and eastern borders causing massive population exchanges and sectarian clashes that the young administration of the countries could not support. Nani-Maa and her family, like millions of others in the day, found themselves caught in this political tornado. The riots that broke out had forced them to  leave their palatial quarters in Lahore (Pakistan) and leave for India overnight. Much of what their fathers and forefathers had built was lost overnight.  And yet she had many heart wrenching tales to share about the victory of love and humanity in the midst of these darkest of hours.

Nani-maa and her husband were young doctors and soon their practice flourished in India. They became well known and came to lead a comfortable if not a princely life  raising their beautiful kids the best way that parents can; with love and fortitude.

Disaster struck again, when Nani-Ma’s husband died leaving her a single mother with three children to raise. The kids were now well into their teens. She practiced medicine for another 20 years before she renounced Allopathy completely in favor of Homeopathy.

She believed that while modern medicine had the same prescription for all people based on their ailment, homeopathy offered a much more tailored approach; suited to the patient not only by the ailment but by the patient’s age, gender, weight and other biological factors.

I still remember how many people visited her at all hours of the day to get Homeopathic treatment. She would sit and talk patiently with all, offering free consultation and drugs. I would often warn her against offering people free medicine as the huge influx of patients was causing a toll on her own fragile health.

2 Years later, I left for my studies to the US. I would call my parents on a regular basis  and frequently enquire about “Nani – Maa”.  One day I got a call early in the morning. Nani-Maa had passed away peacefully in her sleep. She had left behind a wealth of family consisting of her children and many of theirs.

It is very unfortunate that I never could meet Nani-Maa again. I console myself with the belief that being sad for the passing of awakened souls diminishes their greatness. I remember her till this day as a classic beauty who served more that her fair share as a mother, wife, doctor, philanthropist and a great neighbor that I only wish I could ever measure up to.

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Good Fences

World’s Best Teleportation Device

Plane travel is overrated. In today’s world where time is the only exhaustible, non-renewable resource, plane travel offers an archaic sub-standard mode of transportation.

For one thing, you are subjected to a long and painful journey sitting in a cramped up space, eating unwholesome food and breathing the same recycled air for hours on a stretch. Not to mention, the absolute drudgery one has to endure before you even embark the plane; beating crowds at the airport, standing at the check-in line, going through a tooth cavity security check. I prefer getting my teeth drilled over traveling in a plane. It really takes something away from the joy of your vacation, won’t you agree?

Given magical Engineering skills, I would invest my time in building a teleportation device that allows one to teleport anywhere in the world within a matter seconds.

J.K. Rowling offers a second-rate “apparition” and “disapparation” method in the Harry Potter book series, allowing wizards to appear and disappear as needed. But why should wizards have all the fun? Yes I know, she clearly favors the Wizards.

Douglas Adam’s solution to teleportation in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” may be a bit less partial, but it is below average as well. The idea of having to rip one’s atoms in one place, only to put them back together somewhere else, does not excite me.

Christopher Priest in his Novel, “The Prestige”, is getting closer to my idea, with the teleportation machine Tesla builds. But it is too darn dramatic for my style.

Remember that Aladdin’s lamp that allowed Aladdin to transport himself from China to Morocco and back, with the entire Royal Palace? Now that’s what I am talking about! Traveling in style!

My solution in comparison would be cutting edge without requiring you to splinch, deatomize or suck your breath inside a weird teleportation machine. You program this widget identifying the exact location of your choice (like you would on a GPS) and it takes you there, complete with your family and your home, if you so choose. Eureka.

Clearly, the modern day airlines will be out of business as soon as my device is out. But it will allow millions of people around the world to be able to reunite with their loved ones within a fraction of seconds. Giving millions of busy professionals a chance to rekindle their love life. Imagine if you could travel from LA to Australia within a fraction of a second, spend a dreamy weekend with your partner and be back in time to go to work on Monday. Would you not want to do it?

No more jet lag, no more cramped seats or eating bad plane food. Come to think of it, who would need cars? Just teleport yourself to work and back.  This device would resolve modern day issues such as lack of time, bad traffic and pollution by the click of a button.

Maybe the next sequel would include a teleportation device that can teleport you to a different space in time, or a different galaxy? Meanwhile don’t forget to sign up in the comments section below, for a free ride. Remember it’s a limited time offer.

Happy Teleporting!


Daily Prompt: BFFs

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FRIENDS.



About 3 years ago a tiny, little person joined my family. Unfortunately, we started off on a wrong foot, or shall we say four wrong feet? To start with, he had a bad attitude. He came into my home behaving like he owned it! He was running about my house, knocking things down, chewing furniture and worst of all leaving behind tiny, little brown packages that stink! You get the drift?

What’s more, our personalities could not be more mismatched. I am cautious, responsible and down to earth (yes, some call that insipid, but I think “I have my bright moments”). He on the other hand is; wild, crazy, reckless and completely insolent and one strongly suspects devious?  Yes devious, why else would he chew off my favorite Jeans, or drop his stinky packages and then cleverly conceal them with pillows, or attack the living daylights out of my poor sandals? Note: The sandals are since in rehabilitation, while the Jeans never made it! May their soul rest in peace!

Buddy? Naaaaw this little guy is a pest and a mooch. His insolence only exaggerated by his indolence, and were it not for the fact that he is absolutely adorable, he would have been completely intolerable.

Yet slowly but surely things changed between us. Not sure if it was his soft furry coat, wagging tail, or big saucer eyes, but before I knew it, Ziggy had sneaked his way into my heart. He became my shadow; following me everywhere (psst Ziggy has no concept of “personal space” or “too much”). I mean he is practically a nose length away from me, at all time (and not by my choice).

I will say though, Ziggy has trained me to be a better person more than I may have trained him to be a better dog. For instance he taught me the concept of sacrifice. Since he has come into my life I have sacrificed both tranquility and privacy. While at home, he barks incessantly. While outside, he attracts way too much attention. For instance, when Ziggy pulls me out for one of our walks, I notice random cars slowing down as they drive past (ladies literally hanging out of their cars swooning over him), strangers stopping by to pet him… Pre-Ziggy era I could have dropped dead without a kind soul bothering to pass a glance. But at least I had my privacy! Now I can barely walk a 100 feet without getting ambushed by one his fans. I now understand how the entourage of a celebrity feels. Attention whore!

Ziggy has also taught me to be patient. I patiently wait for him to sniff half a football field before he finds himself the perfect little spot to do his business. Once finished, he gallantly chooses to stride off, while I am left, patiently picking his droppings.

Ziggy has also taught me to more selfless. This little guy has mastered many tricks. He will “sit down”, “roll over”, “heel”, “beg” all for a treat. Yet the one trick he shall not learn, is to “fetch”. No Sir, he shall not fetch. I so envy other humans who will throw a stick in the air, for their obedient dogs to fetch while they smugly watch. My dog however shall not let me have this satisfaction. My dog will fly in the air fetch the stick, get his treat, but will not let go off of the stick. You see he can eat my food, live for free in my house but he will not share a lousy stick with me. Indeed he has taught me a thing or two about selfless love, it’s called “I have no choice, my dog won’t fetch the goddam stick!”

Ziggy may not be a perfect dog much as I am not a perfect human, but what would I do without the constant pitter patter of his feet on my cement floors, or his unconcealed excitement to see me after work, his constant curiosity and his many little mischief’s? Truth is my world is a much brighter place because of this little fur ball I call Ziggy.


Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course

ImageThe world is full and free. It abounds with oceans and seas, limitless skies, and a rich bounty of natural resources. Yet we divvy it up like slices of a pie and create fences and put up “Do Not Enter” signs. But perhaps the most insurmountable obstacles are the ones we create in our mind. They limit our perspective like the filters on a camera; they color our vision and set boundaries on our limitless possibilities.  

Daily Prompt: BYOB(ookworm)

Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BOOKS.




Mayuri is a small town girl who travels a long and arduous road making huge sacrifices along the way, in order to achieve her dreams. It is not until her dreams have been fulfilled that she realizes all she won is a life of smoke and mirrors. Too late does she realize that what she has been looking for all along  is exactly what she willingly let go long ago…

 A gripping tale about life and the choices it forces us to make. This is a novel that will make you laugh and cry and above all keep you spellbound until the end. This debut novel by UbeCute will dazzle and delight all that are willing to open their mind to things that are “out of sight”.

The Faces of beauty

The Faces of beauty

What words in literature inspire greater visions of beauty than Christopher Marlowe’s description of Helen of Troy, “the face that launched a thousand ships”? These words embrace a concept of beauty that is both irrefutably desirable yet undeniably destructive. History abounds with the stories of beautiful women many of whom have been cautiously portrayed as dubious and guileful.  

Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Aphrodite (to name a few) all occupy a controversial if nebulous place in history. To this date legends of their beauty abound and enthrall human mind. If these women represent the concept of ancient beauty what does the archetypal face of beauty look like?

ImageThe most telling archeological evidence of ancient beauty would have to be the bust of Nefertiti the wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti is depicted as a woman with a long face, chiseled features and most notably; a swan like long neck. The subtle wrinkles under her eyes may be indicative of her vision and maturity. So famous was Nefertiti during the reign of her husband Akhenaten that she appears twice as much as the Pharaoh himself in works of art. In fact her status over the years of Akhenaten’s rule becomes parallel to that of the king himself.

In sharp contrast to the depiction of Nefertiti is that of Cleopatra (who by the way was a Macedonian Greek not Egyptian). Although she is depicted in literature as woman of unsurpassable beauty, images of Cleopatra in ancient coins present a different picture altogether. Some coins depict her as a woman of average beauty while others show her with a hooked nose and almost man like features all complete with an Adam’s apple.

How then does she attract two of the greatest men, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony? Although the depiction of Cleopatra in coins may have been politically inspired to present the picture of a powerful queen, Plutarch the Greek historian credits Cleopatra’s secret to be her vivacious personality and wit rather than physical beauty. Cleopatra is one of the most celebrated figures of history yet so much of her story is subject to speculation; from her seduction of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony to her death.

In complete departure from Cleopatra and Nefertiti are the legendary characters; Helen of Troy and Aphrodite the Greek goddess of beauty. While the former two are flesh and blood women of power and ambition the latter two are a figment of human imagination and one wonders; if an active male one at that?

 Helen of Troy was said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world, whose adulterous affair with Paris, caused the 10 year long Trojan War. According to some accounts she willingly leaves with Paris for Troy leaving behind her faithful husband, daughter and parents. Sadly, Homer talks little of her and merely describes her as the “white armed, long robed and richly tressed” woman. She is cloaked in a shroud of mystery and never really vindicated as she never repents or repays for her sin of causing a war and countless deaths. She survives the wrath of Menelaus her estranged husband solely on account of her beauty and guile. I wonder if her character is a realistic portrayal of a woman or deliberately left dubious and incredible?

Aphrodite the Goddess of love also renowned for her long, golden hair and voluptuous body, plays the unyielding role of a seductress in the Greek mythology having many affairs outside her marriage. She uses her godly powers to cause the love affair between Helen and Paris. Aphrodite is depicted as the archetype of beauty, love and fertility and above all a temptress.

One thing that stands out in common between these women beside their beauty and wit is that somehow time and history has favored their character to be sewn in the very fabric of mystery and intrigue. These are the beautiful yet imperfect faces of women that above all shall not be ignored.