Archive for June, 2005|Monthly archive page

Number perfect – The Agony and Ecstasy of Seven

This blog is dedicated to one of the favorite articles I had read in recent times in the ET. It talks about the fascination for the number seven that the author has and the expanse of knowledge about a particular number. I similarity I can relate here is my fascination for all the words beginning with the letter ‘M’. Will blog about it in the near future. I actually put this in the electronic form rather than save it as a paper draft…the impact was such. Enjoy the article!!

The seven rishis, the seven circles of marriage, seven generations and seven reincarnations. The Egyptians had seven gods, the Persians had seven sacred horses, the Japanese have seven gods of happiness and luck, the Greeks had the Pleiades star cluster – also known as the Seven Sisters, Rome was built on seven hills and the Sun God Surya’s chariot is believed to have seven horses. Seven days make up the week, there are seven ancient wonders, seven colors in the spectrum, seven seas formed part of ancient lore, seven continents constitute our planet and seven musical notes make up a raaga. Strangely enough, even the Companies Act in India requires a minimum of seven people to form a public limited company and behavioral scientists believe that seven is the optimal number for group dynamics. Few numbers have found as much mention or captured the imagination of mankind like the way number seven has. Management best sellers have been written – Stephen Covey not too long ago made a small fortune writing the ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ – and movies have been made – AKiro Kurosawa a long time ago made the classic ‘Seven Samurai’ – around No. 7.

It’s not hard to see, therefore, why stockbrokers and investors across the nation had been itching for the sensex to scale 7,000. The wait is finally over no that 7,000 is here. Dalal Street is getting ready to uncork the champagne and all set to party. While currently everyone associated with the markets is in (where else but) seventh heaven, they would do well to remember that Ms. Sensex can take you to heaven quickly and bring you back to earth even quicker. And while it is unlikely that in this euphoria we think of anything but the largely pleasant association with the number seven, market men in particular would do well to remember that mankind’s woes are largely brought upon itself by none other than the seven deadly sins.

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Recently I read this poem by Betty Midlers and it struck me as a poem written for the present times that we are in. I will quote one of the paragraphs here…

From a distance, we all have enough
And noone is in need
There’re no guns, bombs nor disease
No hungry mouths to feed
From a distance, we’re instruments marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope
Playing songs of peace
They’re songs of every man.

Quite profound are the thoughts, but how many people would actually sit back and think about them. We are at war perenially, whether it is a proxy one or real. The whole world is in turmoil, millions of people die everyday due to war and yet we have the guts to say that the Tsunami was an international disaster when just over a million had passed away.

I shudder to think of people who do not have access to a square meal, of people who are perenially worried of an explosion, of people who suffer from diseases and yet do not have access to medicines due to their poor economic condition. Yet, what gets publicized in the media are the gangster wars, expansive coverage of lavish weddings, the frequent change in political conditions and coverage on some stupid case going against some individual.

And we have people who are the very cause of destruction being named Person of the year, getting a Nobel Peace prize and we have people who are not recognized just because they are from a Third World country. Here, I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain who said”It is better to deserve an honour and not recieve it, than to recieve one and not deserve it”.

Oliver Holmes had said “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving” and I sincerely feel that it will not be long before people begin to find their direction and go back to the fundamentals which are beyond money, power and evaluate as to what gives them happiness.

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