ROBOT – I WANT THEM MORE

Satisfaction in the Magnificence of Human Mind

It was a winter evening, I was in Shibuya, Tokyo and I went to Henna Café. I was wondering as I waited for the Manager to come so that I can order for a cup of coffee but I find no one around. Suddenly, Barista turned to me and said, “Good evening Sir, Welcome to Henna Café”

Me: (Yelling…) Manager… Manager…
An unknown man from behind: Yes Sir, I am the owner of this Café. Don’t worry.
Owner: Sir, this is Robot Barista to help you.
Owner: Barista, Sir is our foreign guest, please take good care of him.
Barista: Sir, What do you like to have?
Me: One Café Latte.
Barista: Okay Sir, can you please wait for a minute.
Me: Okay. Here is 320 yen.
(In a few minutes, Barista came with a cup of Café Latte and a Forbes magazine)
Barista: Excuse me, Sir, here is your Café Latte. Have a good time!
Me: (in a fearful tone) Okay… okay.
While having Coffee the Owner from the corner table walked to my table and asked, Excuse me, Sir, How is Coffee?
Me: (in a very comfortable tone) Oh, it’s quite rich and tastes awesome!
Owner: Thank you, Sir. Are you new in the town?
Me: Yes, I’m an Indian and have come here for some work.
Owner: Oh…Indian! Very nice people. I love India.
Me: Thank you. If you don’t mind can I ask you a question?
Owner: Yes Sir, Please feel free.
Me: Why you do not have any human staff? Why Robot?
Owner: Sir, One robot is equal to four human staffs… Moreover, I have Robots to do all our works because I believe this way we can be more productive and can serve better coffee at a reasonable price.
Me: Wow… that’s a great idea! By the way, can I touch your Robot? Oops, I mean Barista…
Owner: (laughingly…) sure, Sir, you can.
Barista: (with a thank you card), Thank you, Sir, Please visit us again.
Me: (grinning), Thank you, Barista.
I touched Barista’s head and found it doesn’t give electric shock like my steam iron. Again I touched his hand…wow, it doesn’t give electric shock at all. Let me shake hand with him and see. 

Blue lights blinked on Barista’s eyes and he said, happy to meet you, Sir.

Wow…what a sophisticated imagination!

It was just my imagination but that is what happens in many Elite Cafés, Hospitals, Homes, Restaurants, Institutions, and majorly the I.T. Offices. Probably, in another couple of decades, we all will have our personal robots in our homes and offices just like we have smartphones today. The world with Robotic technology is wonderful and can lead us to INTELLIGENCE and PRODUCTIVITY.

Isn’t so amazing to see the magnificence of the human mind! A few days back I came to know our scientists have already invented robots which can be used by humans for copulation. That’s so bizarre. Yet, the human doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned in making our lifestyle More Sophisticated – More Enjoyable – More Affluent.

We human are hooked by the ultimatum – “THE MORE”. Satisfaction has become the ultimate pursuit of our life. The finitude of our human strength smells us like rotten eggs.

WHEREAS, The Bible says,

“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.”

God created humanity in His own image but He has also bounded him with finite wisdom and strength. Let’s enjoy life in its finitude instead of trying to fill the bottomless pit – SATISFACTION OF HUMAN HEART.

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HUMAN AID + HUMANOID = GREAT RESULTS

Research is something I rarely do.  When the current topic of  Robots / Humanoids – their intrusion or inclusion in our lives was tossed up I was told this would require me to do some research.  The only humanoid I know is Chitti ( not even 2.0) from the movie Robot (Indian movie).  I was a bit reluctant for you know I am lazy at another level.  But going deep into the description about what we are expected to write about it I found it really interesting, so decided to “Hail Google”.

Well not beating around the bush and coming to the point I was very much interested to see how a robot or humanoid can prove or proving to be helpful for kids with special needs. As I scrolled down different pages available on the internet. It was really interesting to see how the introduction of humanoids is registering their importance in helping kids with special needs. Learning and communication have seen evident levels of improvement. And one thing I noticed is that as I was surfing different pages content of every page was different as in the countries where experiments were done, the robots involved, the figures and so on. Let me share a few examples :

  • International Robotics founder and President Robert Doornick says robots are especially effective at teaching socialization skills to autistic children. When kids interact with robots, he says, they “no longer worry about being criticized or judged by their behaviour or inadequacies, and are free to interact with a robot because it’s just a cool toy.” – This one is from the US.

La Trobe University Professor Rajiv Khosla with Matilda

  • Companion robot Matilda helps Australian teachers create engaging learning environments for special needs students while improving their cognitive skills – an example from Australia. 

 

developmentally disabled nj student getting help with robot
  • Meet “Alphabot,” our very own, interactive, 23-inch-tall humanoid robot who offers many new, exciting possibilities for students at Alpha School. This small, but mighty special education teaching tool is opening doors to the minds of our students.  This is in New Jersey. 
  • Source: Google

So every page I checked into opened up a can of new ideas for me about how can my child get benefitted if at all we introduce a robot to him.  My child is autistic and obviously, socialization and communication are the blocks we are working on to tumble them as effectively as we can.  With school and weekly sessions after schools through things moving in right direction no matter how slowly I am just wondering what could be the impact of having a big talking toy taking charge of effective interaction with my child in the way he likes (don’t think I am a billionaire, I am just toying with the idea)

As far as I know, my child, he does get attracted towards anything mechanical but his interests never sustain for a long time.  For example a few months back we bought him a musical keyboard as I saw him interested in the same. For the first few days, he did play it, experimenting with different keys and kept himself engaged. As the keys no longer seemed to be suspense for him his interest waived off.  On the other hand, he is still interested in the tablet (only watches for about 30-45 minutes in a day) as the visuals and the sounds are more interactive in the sense he sings along, learns along.  There are many things like names of colours, animals & their sounds, numbers, alphabets, rhymes etc that he learned from YouTube apart from what we teach him.  Going by what I saw I believe a fully loaded humanoid with artificial intelligence in the techniques concerning a kid with special needs could be of great help. The peculiar voice (for machine nevertheless it is and I would prefer it that way only) will be the first thing to engage his interest and with a toy interacting with him just the way he likes it communication is something I am expecting to improve.

Another area that slightly lacks my investment is spending time with my son.  Though I try my level best to keep him engaged with me in many ways – cooking or plain talking or activities but I often sense that the amount of time devoted is less than what it takes, thanks to the circle of chores. A humanoid fully functioning for him I can be sure of the time spent interacting.  And with the controls in our hand, his safety is something we can be sure of.  And I also believe a robot can be an immense help in controlling him physically amidst his meltdowns.  And who knows if it could give him a massage which I am unaware of targeting the correct points calming him down effectively.  With my strength obviously on a descending note over the years to come to a helping hand handling him will a big advantage for obvious reasons that the involvement of a machine will surely pause his agitated momentum and he will take notice calmly.

Not just about communication I believe these mechanical replacements to human aid can go a long way in making them independent as in not dependent on any human being for their daily little needs. For instance, my son now daily throws a tantrum to brush his teeth which I feel is a result of his oversensitivity to things, in this case, the feel of brush on his teeth or gums.  It’s a constant fight for me to make him brush his teeth, he really gets upset and tries to use violence (just flapping hands to ward off me) to escape it. Things could be different if it’s his toy friend in place of me. He can hold him more firmly and possibly get it done more smoothly.  Might assist him in things like dressing up, wearing shoes, cooking up his breakfast and so on making him more and more independent.  And that’s all in care for when I am gone.

 

Though an idea but I would say a wonderful one with a possibility of yielding better results when in tune with responsible humans for humanoids at the end of the day need commands/programming, for their processes thoughts are a result of our thought process.  What say? I would love to have such a humongous toy for my son to be with him for life.

PUBG WOES

Arnold Schwarzenegger, did it I spell it right? For once, Yes. So he became my first favourite Hollywood star, why? Because he was The Terminator, the perfect Cyborg from future we all wanted to see, one that would be perfect, that what do things beyond human capabilities, that would answer most complicated questions, follow orders without question and kill without remorse. Yeah, I too cried in the end scene when he goes down the molten lava pit, but before that, he said something unforgettable, “I now know why you cry, but it is something I can never do.” and we knew that even though we love everything about a robot, it can never simulate human emotions and replace humans.

Who doesn’t love Technology? Everything from our phones to our fridge is getting smarter by the day, the brighter, the better. We enjoy the privilege, it eases our workload, our stress but would we tolerate technology replacing us? In schools as teachers, in hospitals as doctors, and kitchens as the chef. Wouldn’t that take out the element of uniqueness and surprise out from the equation. God made billions of us, each one different from the other, can we achieve that diversity? Every two writers have a different set of readers, why, because of their uniqueness. Can bots provide that connectivity, make us root for a character and cry for it? If a bot learns your mothers’ recipes and makes them the same way, would you be satisfied, won’t you be missing the loving touch of a mother?

Today everyday 3 million play PUBG, including myself. What is so addictive about the game? The answer is a human-like simulation, but the keyword here is LIKE, they can only kill, they can’t love unless we programme them to do so. The other day I was playing with my friend, and he was in the opposite team, I wanted to shake hands with his character, but I could only wave, that is how the characters are programmed, I was a bit disappointed but that was not all, he was on the other team, that meant I had to kill him to win the game, but I didn’t want to kill his simulation. I was thrown out of my team for bringing real emotions in a game. It’s fine until it’s all fun and games, but we know that in some part of the world, someone is using this technology to turn a man against man, to create the ultimate weapon and that won’t be fun like PUBG.

I have also played the famous The Sims game, and I know what it does to people. We vicariously try to fulfil our unfulfilled desires through our simulations, exacting revenge by naming our Sims by our foes names. We enjoy being God and what cruel Gods we prove to be. But at some point we realise, that my Sim can’t lie down next to her lover and have pillow talk, they can’t share the same meal from the same plate, they stand for each other through thick and thin.

I have seen movies like AI, Her and Bicentennial Man, each one made me cry. They all portrayed Robots turning an emotional leaf, feeling things like human beings, but the Human-Bot relationship never had a happy ending. AI was woven around a robot who was a child and had child-like traits, but they programmed him to imprint on the human mother like a real child. Later in the movie, when the mother had to abandon him, his search for his mother and the yearning to feel her love was heartbreaking.

Slowly, eventually, we are wrapping our minds around the idea of AI in our daily lives through various means. We like it or not, the coming generation will take to robots like fish takes to water.

All these examples when seen through juxtaposition prove one thing in common, Robots should remain limited to our gadgets, for the good of their development and safety of the human race. Their intervention with the real world can end up in a catastrophe. Phlegmatic like Simulation from PUBG or impassioned like Samantha of Her, they will never be able to know right from wrong like human beings.

You can teach a robot that theft is wrong and thief should be punished, but who will preach them that a child stealing sweets from the kitchen isn’t theft. You can train them to be great doctors but how will they learn that you can’t tell a dying man he is dying to his face.

We are a creation of God; we are a complex species with an amalgamation of good and evil, love and hate, vice and virtue. We have been given immense power, and that power is free will, and like all powers, this power too comes with a responsibility. The responsibility to make the right choice. And no matter how hard we try, our creation can’t beat his’.

Hasta La Vista Baby!

HOW LONG CAN I SUSTAIN INTERACTING WITH MOXI?

A Hospital Scenario – in 2029

I was admitted to the hospital again for the extraction of my thick blood as I was having extreme discomfort for the high viscosity of my blood as usual. My brother arranged everything in his hospital for me as always. And while waiting for a nurse or a medical staff  to make an IV channel on my wrist I fell asleep on the hospital bed.

After some time, as I was still asleep, I heard a conversation between my wife and someone very strange. My subconscious mind was trying to grasp what the conversation all about.

My wife: “Is there no one else to do the procedure?

Robo: “Ma’am, I am assigned to do the procedure.”

My wife: “How can you do that? Who’s there to operate or manage you?”

Robo: “Ma’am, I am automated and there’s no one who can operate me.”

My wife: “Hey, see… wake up… Please call your brother and ask him to come here… I am so worried…

I felt someone trying to wake me up… And I woke up to see my wife with a nur…se… What… I could not believe what I saw. It was quite evident why my wife was so worried. I was scared too. It was a robot, not any female or male human nurse. I searched for my phone and called up my doctor brother and asked him to come to that ward immediately. But he blatantly refused to come as he was busy in a surgery and asked me to stay calm, “Moxi will handle everything“.

Who’s Moxi?” I retorted.

The humanoid robot nurse who’s very efficient and accurate to make IV lines on your wrist and draw the blood out ” He assured before hanging up.

Moxi stared at me and asked, “Are you ready, Sir?” I replied, “I am not, but you can go ahead…” And it started making IV line on my left wrist despite of our worries and anxieties… But to my amazement I didn’t even feel it when it finished making the IV channel. My confidence on Moxi increased and I assured my wife that this Robo is a genius.

Later a female nurse appeared in that ward, patted Moxi as it greeted her and she started speaking to me…

Sir, Dr. Panda sent me to assure you that Moxi is fantastic and very efficient much more than me or any human nurses. Moreover,  as a friendly, sensitive and intuitive robot, Moxi not only alleviates clinical staff of routine tasks but does so in a non-threatening and supportive way that encourages positive relationships between humans and robots.

New Image
Moxi with its colleagues

She spoke again as we both husband and wife curiously listened to her… “Don’t you like how Moxi performed the procedure on you, Sir?” She winked at Moxi and the robo winked back at her.

I nodded to her, gritting my teeth as Moxi finished the procedure of bloodletting with such an ease without even letting me feel a bit of pricking pain of the needle. I agreed to the nurse about Moxi’s efficiency. My fear subsided and I saw my wife had already started interacting with ever friendly Moxi. I was amused seeing how Moxi combated my wife’s arrows of questions by replying all her queries paitiently, intelligently and tactfully.

I was discharged from the hospital that day after the procedure, thanking Moxi for being so caring, friendly and efficient with the procedure I underwent. Guess what? It acknowledged my appreciation politely.

A humanoid companion, Pepper the robot has been first launched and put to work in two hospitals in Belgium, assisting medical staff with daily tasks. It was regarded as the first Robo to recognize human emotions. The basic model of these robots is available for around €1,800 ($2,000) and was launched by Aldebaran Robotics back in 2014 to much fanfare in Japan.

Belgium’s Zora Robotics

There’s an advanced and much more expensive next-generation version of Pepper, installed with software by Belgium’s Zora Robotics to help it function within a medical workspace, has now had its first experience carrying out duties within a hospital.

The advent of humanoid robots like Pepper and Moxi can really bring the efficiency level of services provided by the hospitals to the highest level but I was just wondering how I would have felt if I would have been under the care of robots all around me in the years like 2001 or 2005 or 2017 when I stayed in the hospital for more than a week!!! I understand for a one-day procedure the care managed by Moxi is fine but will I be fine if I had to stay with it for more than a week? 

I remember, on the day of surgery in 2001 when Sarah, the nurse woke me up at 4 AM in the morning asking me to take bath and get ready, my heart was racing and pounding heavily, my face was looking utterly pale. And when I was leaving the ward for the OT she clasped my hand and said, “Chiradeep, see you soon after the surgery… we will be praying for you“. That gave me so much strength that day. When I came back to the ward after surgery there were smiles on everyone’s face, welcoming me back absolutely fine.

Probably, Moxi being such an advanced Robo would have done the same thing as Sarah and other nurses did… But would I have felt that connection with it as I felt with Sarah and others?

Some may think that for an introvert Robot is a better option. I being a super extrovert would find it difficult without other humans around me. But as far as my knowledge about the introverts is concerned they crave for interaction even if they are unable to convey it as better as the extroverts.  

I would definitely struggle with a robot if I have to spend more than a days time in the hospital. 

I remember one Bible verse in connection to this subject: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone”This verse not only implies man’s bonding with a woman in marriage but also talks about the secrets of human survival that is – being with each other. Even we know, social science says, “Human is a social animal”. They really can’t survive without each other. And being with a robot is nothing more than to be alone.

I like what Aastha said in her conclusion, – Robot or Human companionship? then, human companionship. Nothing or Robot? then, Robot. 

If in future I happen to meet Moxi in the hospital and it asks me, “What else I can do for you, Sir?” Then my response would be, “Would you mind bringing a female human nurse to me as soon as possible, Moxi darling?” 😛

THE SURGICAL CONUNDRUM

Chatting with some med students, a good question was raised: how do we, as doctors, deal with the emotional baggage we encounter in our profession? It’s high stress, we see disturbing things, and sometimes we make mistakes that can result in harm to patients. The pressure and responsibility can be very hard to handle.

These stresses, if unmanaged or poorly managed, can carry severe consequences for physicians. Burnout is rampant among docs (and trainees, too). Doctors have high rates of divorce, substance abuse and have the highest suicide rate of any profession.

A normal day at my job is hard: I’m running nonstop for 8 to 12 hours, I’m constantly interrupted, I have patients making demands of my attention and empathy, I’m saturated with information and need to make rapid decision without adequate information, and I know that if I make an error or miss some important piece of information, the human, professional and financial consequences can be disastrous. It’s a pressure cooker.

And that’s a day where things go well. A bad day can be very bad indeed. Sometimes it’s just the emotional strain of dealing with particularly difficult patients. Maybe you go through a run of giving out terrible diagnoses. Maybe you deal with the death of a child. Or a patient who pulls at your heartstrings in some unique and personal way. Maybe someone dies on you unexpectedly. Worse, maybe someone dies on you and you’re not sure if it was your fault or not. Perhaps you know you made an error, and that you’re going to have to face accountability for it.

These are the days that drive physicians over the edge. I’ve had them, and I remember them so vividly even years later. There was the one lady with a gallbladder attack on Thanksgiving, many years ago. She had classic signs and I saw gallstones on my bedside ultrasound. She crashed and died right in front of me from a ruptured thoraco-abdominal aortic aneurysm. Her abdominal aorta had looked normal on my scan; the aneurysm was in the chest and ruptured into the thorax, which is very unusual. That didn’t make it any easier to go home and sleep that night.

So I guess my take on the question is not how do we deal with the psychological stress but how should we? I am not an expert, but here are my thoughts.

The first step, which most practicing professionals have already accomplished, is to learn what is called “professional detachment.” This is an unnatural skill in which you must suppress your innate sympathy for the suffering experienced by a fellow human being, pain which you may be personally inflicting. The first time you stick someone with a needle, it’s probably as traumatic for you as for the patient. More advanced applications involve you ignoring someone’s pain or personal tragedy while trying to figure out the hidden life threat. This is a necessary skill if you are to function in the medical environment.

Another way to think of the same skill is to maintain a sense of distance. Remember, an older teaching physician once told me, the patient is the one with the disease. This helps you remember that the patient’s condition is not your doing (usually) and their outcome, if negative, is the result of their disease and not necessarily a reflection on your care.

While this detachment is useful and necessary, it can be maladaptive if taken to extremes. First of all, as a physician you do need to express empathy and compassion. It’s part of the job. But the emotional demands will be overwhelming if not governed in some fashion; we have limited capacity for caring. My solution is to dole out my compassion and empathy in measured doses, as appropriate to the case and my own mental state. This is not a license to be callous and uncaring in other cases, but rather to be polite, professional and reserved, emotionally.

Furthermore, you need to understand that the professional reserve does not equate to repression of emotion. You suppress it, in the moment, set it aside to get the job done, but that doesn’t mean it never happened. For minor stuff it probably is okay to suppress it & forget it. But the bad things — they won’t go away on their own, but will fester and bubble up at the most inopportune moments. You need to take some time, when appropriate, to unpack the experience and re-live the emotions to deal with them. Maybe it will be just turning the case over in your head the next day. Maybe it needs to be more immediate. We’ve sent docs home after bad pediatric arrests when it was clear they were so upset they needed some time. It’s essential, in any case, to explore the disturbing feelings so you can come to a resolution and move on.

Many institutions will have formal critical incident debriefings for the entire team, for particularly awful events. While this doesn’t need to be performed formally for routine events, it’s a good idea to informally debrief with a trusted partner, superior or mentor. Talk through the case, review the medicine and the science, review your actions and outcomes, and your emotional response to the situation. It is helpful to do this with someone you respect, so he or she can give you valuable feedback. This can be over coffee or a beer or three; possibly better that way.

There can be a lot of shame involved when there was a bad case, even when well-handled, but especially so when you know that you made an error or may have. A lot of docs like to bury these as deep as possible. But these in particular are helpful to talk about, and the more publicly the better. This is not easy, but can be invaluable. We instinctively shy away from openly talking about our mistakes, but when you do you will probably receive a lot of support from your colleagues, many of whom have done the same or understand that “there but for the grace of god go I.” An additional benefit is that your mistakes may have been due to a system error or a cognitive bias and by reframing the discussion in an educational light, by seeking out the root causes, you can improve the quality of your own care and that of your partners.

Keep a sense of perspective, and try to stay positive. When the job is really getting you down, take a break, go out to the ambulance bay, take a few deep breaths and try to remember the big picture. We have a great job. It’s a privilege and an honor to be allowed to care for patients. We can sometimes make a huge difference in people’s lives. We have respect and status in society, and are quite well paid for it. Many people would give their right arm to be where you are. Yes, seeing the 10th drug seeker of your shift is a drag, but damn, it’s still better than sitting at a desk and moving numbers from column A to column B.

Sublimation is a defense technique that is particularly valuable in the ER. It is a form of displacement where the negative feelings are transformed into something positive, or at least more-or-less acceptable. The most common form it takes is “gallows humor.” Tragedy and comedy are deeply linked, and a morbid witticism can provide a lot of relief of the emotional tension that builds up in a clinical setting. Others may channel these feelings into art or literature. To each their own. If this is not your thing, find an outlet. I practice karate, and there’s nothing like pounding the hell out of the heavy bag — or a white belt —after a bad day.

Finally, and possibly most importantly, when you know you screwed up, when you know there was an error that harmed or may have harmed a patient: forgive yourself. You are human, as are we all, and we make mistakes. Take the time to understand it, do your best to learn from it, and forgive yourself. Let go of it, file it away, and move on. If you don’t or can’t, self-doubt and self-hate will paralyze you and in the end it will sink you.

One last thing: if you are really having trouble, get professional help. If you’re self-medicating, or if you are bringing work home to the point it’s affecting your family, be humble and realize that doctors can benefit as much as (or more than) any other patient from psychological counseling and support. Many hospitals have a confidential Physician Assistance Program, staffed by professional counselors trained to deal with the issues doctors struggle with. I’ve seen doctors torpedo their careers with behavior and substance issues, and I’ve seen programs like these successfully rehabilitate physicians who were in a downward spiral. Check with your medical staff office and use the resources that they offer.

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

There was a certain chill in the air, as I walked out of my house, with the clock striking three. The stillness of the night had not yet given way to the open arms of the dawn. The leaves rustled with the slow westerly breeze that was rushing past. I walked with certain quickness, with the tapping sound of the shoe reverberating, as if telling the snakes, “Nay!!…thou shalt not cross mine path”. A patient with a surgical problem had come, and I whistled past to have a look at his problem and find a cure. The hospital was quiet with patients still in slumber. An argument caught my ear. Two patient relatives were telling a hospital staff, to tell the doctor to refer the patient for an MRI scan. I quietly stood in the dark to hear. There was a good incentive involved, Rs.1500/- for the staff and Rs. 5000/- for the doctor. The Hospital staff thought over it for 10 minutes. I liked what the Hospital staff, who gets a meager Rs. 5000/- as salary said. He said, “Out here the decision of a referral definitely lies with the doctor but I wouldn’t even tell him this and he wouldn’t do such a thing. We are a hospital that treats well within the limits of Integrity.” How true I thought. Every day in the Medical Profession I arrive at a decision making crossroad, with one road called Integrity and the other called Money. Robert Frost’s lines still ring very clear

 “I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

(Excerpted from the Poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost)

An Integrity filled life is a daily process that doesn’t end until your life does. My experiments with this truth called Integrity, tells me that there is that initial disappointment associated with Integrity that one has to overcome to actually pursue it. Questions arise about what’s integral in Integrity that it needs to nurtured and followed. We actually fall in that initial disappointment zone. We suddenly argue for the immediate benefits overlooking the eternal honour. At every such dilemma I found these following rules of Integrity to life quite life saving

Decide now, not later:  Many men have not thought through their personal value system. They’re not sure who they are or what they stand for, and they wait until the breaking of a crisis to make their decision. At that point, it’s too late. Faced then with great pressure, you will be more prone to take the route which is easier in that moment. Decide now what you will and will not compromise on. Then, when faced with ethical choices, the decision will have already been made.

Quit the rationalisations: There’s always a million reasons to compromise your integrity. You hear them on the news every day as corporate bigwigs struggle to justify their fat bonus checks. You can always come up with justifications that seemingly make good sense and let you sleep better at night. But at the end of the day, when you place your rationalisations on a scale next to integrity, you’ll realise you sold out something priceless for a measly pittance. There’s nothing more valuable than your good name and the ability to look at yourself in the mirror each day with a clear conscience.

 Don’t take the first step : When a great man falls from grace, we often wonder how he could have ever messed up so royally. The truth is that he didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit an egregious blunder. It started with a little fudging here, a tiny bit of lying there. From there he just kept on sliding down the slippery slope of compromise. Don’t compromise on the little things, and you won’t on the bigger ones.

 Don’t justify the means for the end:  This is probably the most popular rationalisation for breaking with your integrity. In reality, the journey towards an accomplishment or decision is just as important as the destination itself. Even if you are richly rewarded at the end, if you cannot look back on the means used to get there with anything but shame, your victory will be hollow indeed.

 Take personal responsibility for your life: At the heart of integrity is the ability to own up to the fact that you are in control of your life. You are responsible for both your successes and your failures. Nobody else but you.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ME AFTER MY DEATH? WHERE WILL I GO?

woman-441415_1280“What?” “I have only one week in my hand?” “Are you sure doctor?” I was shocked and confused as to what words to choose to express my emotions. The doctor calmly replied patting his hand on my shoulder, “Yes…maximum 7 days.”

I couldn’t sleep that night. But after struggling for a few hours I didn’t remember when I fell asleep and started to dream.

I saw… I am standing in a solitary place and there’s light around me. Suddenly I see a medical scientist walking towards me. The thought of death was in my subconscious so I asked him quickly, “Sir, I am dying… Do you know what will happen to me after death?” He looked at me, smiled and said politely, “Sir, I don’t know… according to medical science there are no such proofs of life after death. Death is the dead end for an individual.” And he walked away leaving me in tears.     

Then as I was weeping I saw a Pandit coming towards me. I asked the same question to him in tears and he took out his book and started explaining what Hindu Shastra (Scripture) talks about life after death…

BrahmasoulsHe said… “Most of the Hindus believe in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, which is called ‘Samsara’.

‘Samsara’ or the doctrine of rebirth is also known as the theory of reincarnation or of transmigration of the soul. This doctrine is considered to be a basic tenet of Hinduism. According to doctrine of rebirth, differences between individuals, even at the time of their birth are due to their past karma i.e. actions done in the past birth. For example if one child is born healthy while another is handicapped or blind, the differences are attributed to their deeds in their previous lives. Those who believe in this theory reason that since all actions may not bear fruit in this life, there has to be another life for facing or reaping the consequences of one’s actions.

It is mentioned in the Bhagvad Gita –

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless.”
(Bhagvad Gita 2:22)

The Doctrine of Re-birth is also described in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

“As a Caterpillar which has wriggled to the top of a blade of grass draws itself over to a new blade, so does the soul, after it has put aside its body draws itself over to a new existence. 
(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4:4:3)

After he finished reading and explaining he went away.

Then after sometime I saw a Maulvi coming towards me. I greeted him and trapped him too with my question.

He too smiled and started describing calmly. He said…

Jahannam“It is mentioned in the Qur’an

How can ye reject the faith in Allah?
Seeing that ye were without life,
And He gave you life; Then will He cause you to die,
and will He again bring you to life; And again to Him will ye return.
(Al Qur’an 2:28)

Islam states that a human being comes into this world only once, and after he dies, he is again resurrected on the day of judgement. Depending on his deeds he will either dwell in heaven i.e. Paradise or he will dwell in hell.”

(Source: http://www.islamandhinduism.com/ih/life%20after%20death.html#link2)

He too went away his ways.

Two different explanation made me think for little more. I waited and waited for somebody else to come and explain it to me little more. Suddenly I saw a Pastor coming towards me. I ran towards him to meet him and asked him the same question.

We both sat down on a rock and he started explaining what he knows about after life.

RaptureHe said, “What exactly does the Bible say happens after death? …the Bible tells us that after death believers’ souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:161836). For believers, death is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8Philippians 1:23). However, passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies. If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation21-22)

(Source: http://www.gotquestions.org/what-happens-death.html)

After explaining the Pastor got up, said good bye and went away leaving me alone there confused.

My dream ended when the nurse woke me up for the medicine. I opened my eyes and saw sun rays streaming inside my room. It was morning already and I didn’t realize it.

The dream was in my mind. There were questions popping up and troubling me. I have to decide and believe in somebody as everybody said differently.

I keep thinking and praying: “Oh True God, the Creator of heaven & earth and the whole universe, reveal yourself to me. Let me see and know who you are so that I can believe you and you only. Oh Almighty, reveal the mystery of life after death and let me know what will happen to me after my death? Where will I go eternally?”

 Author’s Bio: Chiradeep Patra is a finance man who works in a NGO at Kolkata. He is a writer, motivator & counselor. 
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