Thursday, December 15, 2011

The twilight that spoke...

We have read, heard and listened to a lot of things/people that speak about being 'Free as a Bird'. Somewhere in our minds, we all want to be a free bird, or, simply put, a bird- free, independent, can fly, etc etc. Just as a bird represents the FREE end of the spectrum, a kite (not the bird kite)- a flying Kite, represents the other CONTROLLED end of the spectrum. Just like a bird, a kite flies high in the sky, but differs from the bird because a kite is controlled by someone else. I then thought that if someone wants to be a bird, chances are they would not like to be a kite.And probably vice versa.

Until today, that is. As I was returning home in the twilight of the day, I saw in the sky something rolling, swaying aggressively end to end in its own orbit, as if losing control. I thought it must have been a bird flying around, but on a closer look (it was evening so my eyes can be forgiven here), I realized it was a kite- a kite that got cut from its strings and was set free in the sky, ready to land somewhere in the unknown. Basically, it was a kati patang.

And then, as usual, my crazy mind started thinking about something. I started to evaluate if this controlled and guided kite was indeed all that different from the free independent bird than we usually think.

Lets see.. What are the advantages of being a bird?? A bird is, well, independent, free, and on its own. No control, no restrictions, the lead-your-life-your-own-way types. Fly high into the sky!

On the flip side, when a bird is lost, it has pretty much no one to guide it. It is bound to meet obstacles all alone. And finally, and most importantly, since it flies high in the sky, it always looks DOWN at the earth! It is always downward looking.

What then, are the advantages of being a kite? for one, you always have someone to guide you. If a problem arises, a helping HAND is always around. Lets say, you are always I-am-safe-and-secure kinds. Most importantly, a kite always looks UP in order to rise high in the sky! Always upward looking.

On the wrong side of things, well, it is not independent.No much freedom of your own, limited choice and the likes.

Given this analysis, would you still want to be a free independent bird, or a controlled and guided kite? Well, lets put it this way- When the weather is nice, skies clear, and you are listening to most soothing title track from the movie Forrest Gump, and you are gazing at the sky with a drink in your hand; when things are the best they ever can be, both the kite and bird have a good joy ride, and life seems equally beautiful.

But on the day the weather turns rough and stormy, rainy; when times are really bad, both, the kite and the bird are likely to have a torrid time. Neither the independence of the bird, nor the helping hand of the kite, are going to be able to do too much.

Well then?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Whats with this term- BODY SHOP ????

What is this thing with branding IT companies as Body shops? It is probably coincidental that Chetan Bhagat targets none other than Mr. Narayana Murthy, and Infosys, 2 of the biggest names in corporate India, just a week before the release of his latest book. I certainly do not intend to questions his intentions or give him any disrespect; he is an acclaimed author and is doing well in his space. But I certainly do object to his expression, language and his constant use of the word BODY SHOP, in a definitely negative connotation.

What does the word body shop mean anyway? And why is it being used only to Embarrass someone? If I use common grammatical analogy, then, just as a Cosmetic shop means a shop that sells cosmetics, just as a sport shop means a shop that sells sport items, just as a book shop means a shop that sells books, shouldn’t the word BODY shop mean a ‘shop that sells bodies’???? I had to use this seemingly trivial stupid and CRUEL analogy, because I could not find the meaning word BODY SHOP anywhere on the internet.

Now tell me, does Infosys SELL BODIES??? Does any other IT company sell bodies? Then why this usage? The IT industry in India, of which Infosys is a pioneer and a big name, employs almost a million people, and feeds around 4 million families! This industry has been responsible for giving India a USP and brining some kind of glamour to its corporate image, not to mention how much it has contributed to the economy.
What does Infosys do? What do similar IT companies do? They sell services, IT services , which help other business do better. Just as a cosmetic shop has its customers, just as a book shop has readers who buy books, just as a sports shop has young people or sportsmen who buy sports goods, IT cos too have their own clients. Then what is so WRONG in that? Come on Mr. Bhagat, simply because you aren’t from this industry, doesn’t make this a bad deal!

On a final note, when it comes to Mr. Murthy, he is a person everyone looks up to. He, along with his colleagues, has created what is truly a phenomenon. His leadership, entrepreneurial abilities and his persona are admired around the world. I do not think anyone should score such public , brownie points against him.

Mr. Bhagat, you are a very successful man yourself, and I admire your work, and respect you for that. But please, this is not done.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Ironic

The kind of assoles we are, its ironic how we react to the same thing very differently in different situations. Check the reactions in the HOWEVER situations:

1) You are working in a company and your friend gets a job in your company, you say “Its going to be fun. I now have company over lunch.”
However, if you have moved out of your company and the same friend joins that company,, you’d say “That sonova bitch, He is going to earn much more, and grow to positions I could have, had I stayed”

2) You have resigned and are waiting to be relieved from your current company. When your company tells you to leave tomorrow instead of after a month of notice period, you go “Cool!! I will be on board my new job soon!! Awesome!!”
However, if your company fires you, and tells you to leave tomorrow, you are like “ Screw it man!! My life is fucked! How do I get a new job now!!!!”

3) You get a mid year appraisal as a result of which, your salary increases by 8%. You go gaga and say “Shitty cool!! I got a hike in the middle of the year! I love my company!!!”
However, when you don’t get the year end main appraisal because of this mid year hike, you curse them and say “Damn them!! They didn’t increase my salary this time! Time to get a new job”

Some general non-work, real life situations:

4) A player plays badly in a test match. You be a good critic and say “Even champions have their bad times.”
However, when he plays badly in a test and then follows it up with a good performance in a T20, you accuse him by saying “Assole. All he cares about is the cash rich T20 matches!!”

5) You get good marks in an exam, so does a friend. You obviously are happy “wow!! That’s nice,,phew”
However, when you fail and he scores good marks, your reaction is a tad different “Bastard!!! How the hell did he score so much!! We studied the same notes!!!!”

6) You and your neighbor, both have water running down your taps. All is well in life and you say “our area almost never has water problems. Everyone should be happy and should have water”
However, the one time you do not have water (and most probably due to a faulty pipeline), and if your neighbor continues to have water, you rant him with “Dam him!! He hasn’t paid his bills in a while and he still gets water!! Piece of shit”

7) You are playing cricket and there is this guy who is in your team. He scores a six of the last ball and wins it for your team. You appreciate him by saying “whadda playa!!! We won because of him!!”
But when he is in the opposite team and scores for the other team and wins the match for them, you go “SON OF A BITCH.”

8) You are married and then, your best friend gets married. You are ecstatic because “ its so great!! We are a couple of couples!!! (as says Chandler in friends)!!!!
However, if you are not yet married, even worse, still single, and your best friend gets married, what do you say?? “FILL IN THE BLANK”

9) Your WIFE tells you she is pregnant. You thank all Gods and say “That is so good sweetie!!! I cant even express how happy I am. I love you so much. Thanks for that!! MMuuaahh”
However, when your GIRLFRIEND tells you she is pregnant, you swear to her “Are you sure that was me?”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why I support Anna Hazaare and this movement.

Let me come straight to what the critics point out about Anna Hazaare’s agitation, and what I call, the PEOPLE’s MOVEMENT:

1) Critics say: This is blackmail of the government and things don’t work like this

I say: Anna Hazaare started out ALONE in this fight by sitting at the RamLeela maidan. It was the people who joined him gradually, and joined him in big numbers. Anna did not go to people’s houses with a gun in his hands to FORCE them to join him!! What does that mean? That means people support him and this is what they want. In order to BLACKMAIL someone, you need to have a bad motive and need to know a secret about someone. Anna is doing neither of the two. No one can simply blackmail someone else just like that.

2)Critics Say: Laws are not formulated like this. They need to be formulated in the legislature, by the people who are ELECTED.

I say: Why did all of this happen at the first place? It happened because the same ELECTED people were corrupt!! Scam after scam after scam!! They have frustrated the common man to no end! How do I trust them then? This movement has given hope to billions of people EXHAUSTED by the burden of the scams, and who see their tax money swindled out! If they want laws to be formulated like this, then the laws BETTER BE FORMULATED LIKE THIS!!

3) Critics Say: People don’t know the Lokpal enough to support it so strongly

I say: Do you know the minimum age limit requirement to be the PM of this country? Do you know the qualifications of the local MLA/MP of your area? Leave that, do you even know his name?? Despite not being aware of these things, you still voted anyway right? This is because you placed some amount of trust in them.. it could be any parameter but you still voted without knowing too much. Why can the Lokpal not be trusted similarly? It has atleast resulted in a movement which the people finally RELATE with! I say, if you want, consider it the LESSER OF TWO EVILS..But fight for what it represents: HOPE

4) Critics say: This will result in a trend and people will want to use such methods in a future

I say: The last time someone fasted like this to get a result was Mahatma Gandhi, 64 years ago! It doesn’t take 64 years for something to become a trend!! And for it to become a trend, remember that PEOPLE SUPPORT is needed for it to result into something big! Anna is succeeding because he is a true man with a vision for great India, a selfless soul who is not fighting for himself alone! This is why he has struck such a massive chord with the people! He is simply being supported that’s all, because he is standing for the truth! Tomorrow, if I stand on the streets and fast, even a dog will not care. Hence, it will not become a trend. And even if it does, SO WHAT? If that is what it takes to make this country great, then that is what will happen!

I say: Support Anna, support the movement, and go ALL OUT on the streets. Let your voice be heard! I know you are frustrated and so am I !!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

When my pants got wet

It has just started raining in Mumbai and I was on my way to office in Thane. The rickshaw I was travelling in, had the rain cover at the side, but the cover was not pulled down, it was rolled up. Essentially, the rickshaw was as good as one without cover, and that is exactly what happened. SWOOSH!! ran a car past from the left, and there went my pants for a toss. The water splashed all over my pants. DIRTY water :( I then rolled the covers down for the rest of the journey.

Strangely, and I am sure this happens with most of us, I kept looking outside the cover, trying to see how effectively it was protecting me. I was looking to evaluate weather now, other vehicles were running past and the cover managed to protect me. What was even more strange was that I was SAD that now, in fact, NO car really raced past, and therefore the cover, even thought pulled down, was useless because it never got the CHANCE to protect me!! Shitty strange!! I actually said to myself “Damn!! Why are no vehicles racing past now, when the covers are down!! And why did that one vehicle pass me and spoil my pants?”

I realized I was looking for some sort of negativity to justify positivity!! And then I thought of a few more very common examples in life where we hope for some bad things to happen, just so our GOOD DECESIONS are justified. We hardly realize that it is eventually much better that the bad thing didn’t happen despite the decision. Check these out:
1) We buy rainy shoes AFTER the first rains spoil our good leather shoes. Then, it stops raining and we have no use of the rainy shoes. We say “Why the hell does it not rain now? My new rainy shoes are going waste!!” Damn it, we don’t realize we are much better off without those heavy rains because greater damage would have happened!! (your PANTS for example)
2) We sell a stock and the company’s stock value rises after that. We say “Why the hell did the stock have to rise now?? I have already sold it!!” What we don’t realize is that in any given situation, it is only good that company stock prices are rising! Our selfishness blurts away the fact that had the stock fallen instead of risen, things would have gotten bad for the so many employees and shareholders of that company!
3) We give up our Reliance electricity connection in favour of the lower cost TATA connection, and then, reliance slashes its prices. We are like “F***, why the hell did I switch!!” What we fail to note is that TATA will probably lower its price further, and this will lead to what we famously call in macroeconomics “PRICE WAR”. Never good, never good.
4) The moment you get commited in a relationship, and see a better looking person of the opposite sex, you sigh to youself “Did I hurry in getting commited? Arent there better looking birds out there?” Crap, because that means you don’t remember how shittyly messed up you were when you were single!!

It is strange that in most hindi movies too, the CHAAND (moon) is always beautiful despite the DAAG (the black thing). Why the hell do we need the bloody daag to beautify the chaand!!!???
I sure don’t know the reason for this. Do you?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The glass that never was

There are 2 very famous ways to look at the 200 ml capacity glass that has 100 ml of water in it. People of both ways have their own crap to brag about. The OPTIMISTS, who look at the glass as half FULL, are so busy in their obsession about positivity and happiness, that they do not realize that the glass is only half as good. The glass will quench only 50% of their thirst. The PESSIMISTS, who look at the glass as half EMPTY, are so depressed and given up, that they do not realize that 50% of their thirst can still be satisfied, and that half the world is better than they think.

The problem with either way of thinking is that in either case, the glass is viewed as a BAD event in life. Therefore, how you VIEW or REACT to that bad thing, determines if you are optimist or pessimist.

What they forget, though, is that one can never really SEE, or LOOK AT, glass or water. Both glass and water are transparent, and therefore, truly speaking, you are only looking at the outside of the glass, on the other side. This is where I jump in, as the 3rd idiot.

I say, why view the glass as a bad event only? I say, the glass represents JUST ABOUT ANY event in life. And, instead of RISING or FALLING due to that event, I should simply IGNORE the glass, and look straight ahead in life. 2 years ago, when I had graduated out of my MBA, I had to sit home for 6 months, depressed, due to the recession. With no job coming, and a broken heart, I would never have imagined then, that 2 years hence (which is today), I would have a decent job, and I would be writing a blog from my laptop on a relaxed Saturday afternoon. The mistake I did at that time was that I tried to be too much of an optimist, trying to find meaning in that depression. I never looked at the bigger picture by IGNORING the glass. Had I looked straight up right and ignored the glass, I would clearly have seen this life of today, and may be I would have reacted differently.

For those still confused about the crap above, my point is simple. The glass represents any event/thing in life. Do not read too much into that event. Do not look at things THROUGH the glass. Regardless of whether you see it half full or empty, what you finally see is a very diluted and unclear vision of the future. Instead, I say, IGNORE that EVENT in life as a one off and keep looking straight ahead. Do not always try to rise or fall from that event , because every new moment becomes a new event. Ignore the glass, and look at life directly. That’s a much better picture of the future.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why I can never be Sachin Tendulkar

Only Rajni knows the number of articles written on Sachin…On his 38th bday today, Sachin holds the orange cap for the IPL season-4. That means he is the highest run scorer so far, in a tourney, that is conventionally considered fitting only for the YOUNGSTERS, not for 38 year olds. But defying the odds EVERY TIME is what Sachin is all about, isn’t it?

To summarize his achievements in one line, he has just about everything and every record. More than the cumulative number of mortals can ever imagine.

But his most important achievement, for me, is also one of his very few controversial ones. His century against Zimbabwe in the 1999 WC, a day after his father’s death. Controversial, because critics point out to the fact that it came against Zimbabwe. But, most important, because he achieved this very big professional feat a day after his father’s death. How many of us can bounce back after small incidents or setbacks, leave alone the death of someone so close. What happens when we have a little fever or we meet a small accident. Let’s face it, we want the world to know. We call our colleagues, our boss and friends. A 99 fever inevitably becomes 101 when we speak to them. A small wound on the leg turns into a ligament tear, to say the least. A slight brush with a car turns into an accident. Lets face it. We make a mountain out of a mole, to get some sentiment value, and to get a day off work. That it turns into 2 days off is a no-brainer.

But did Sachin do that? Did he call a press conference to mourn the death of his father, and to take time off the WC? Leave that aside, he did not even skip the very next match, which happened on the very next day! He could have easily gotten away without scoring, no questions asked. Instead, he scored a century and won it for India- the highest you can do at work on a day! The opposition was not difficult, but the match was. For him, the situation was.

This is the dreaded month of April, when appraisals happen. Most of the very few who are reading this, already have their appraisals done, and are pretty dissatisfied with them. What are the few common things we say these days? “ Waise bhi company itna kam de rahi hai, to fir itna kaam kyun karnekaa?” ….or…. “Yaar I am gonna be leaving early now on. Only 8 hours and that’s it. What’s the point of slogging so much when the company does not respect my work, or when it does not reward me?” …ironically, even if you get a very GOOD appraisal, what do you say? “Aah,,,I am happy the company finally realized my worth and reawarded me well..I have worked so hard for so long, I can finally stabilize,,I can finally leave early, spend only 8 hours, and lead a more relaxed life now.”

Either way, we are giving up. Either way, we look for reasons to work less, do less and not raise our performance. There is no incentive, good or bad, to motivate us to raise our performance. We just remain content at being discontended.

And this is why I say I can never be Sachin Tendulkar. Because, that man does not know the meaning of GIVE UP. He does not know what it is to not perform. He has been doing great for a very long time, but he continues to excel. He has also done badly at times, but he has only bounced back strongly. It is not his profession that gives him these opportunities. It is his character that does.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It takes 2 to tango

I don’t quite understand the meaning of this phrase “It takes two to tango”. The closest thing I know about it is that there was a film “Three to tango” that starred Chandler in it. Some people call him Mathew, but I don’t really know why.

Anyway, while not quite obsessed about the meaning, I set out on a Monday morning to office. Mondays are bad I tell you, because they really are. The difference between this Monday and the last 51 Mondays though, was that this one came after the Holi, which was on the Sunday.

Needless to say, it was a literal painting exhibition in the train that day. People had colors all over themselves. Face, hands, neck et al. Some people were smeared with oil paint, and I guess they were not planning to have any presentations or client meetings soon.

Such Mondays are also different because I managed to get a seat to sit. The Holi hangover was clearly lurking, and fewer people ventured out that Monday. As the journey progressed, I heard a very interesting conversation between 2 MARRIED men sitting right across. MARRIED will be clarified soon. It was a nice conversation between 2 typical office going, working , married men in their mid thirties. The tie wearing, suit case bearing, lunch box carrying, married guys. They talk about all sorts of typical things- electricity bills corruption, investment schemes, bad bosses, children, the schooling woes, and ofcourse, their wives. They read the entire Mumbai Mirror and Mid-day, but remember only the middle pages that talk about sexpert and movies. They speak about Anna Hazaare, but don’t quite know what the great man is exactly fighting for. Lokpal to them is a parliamentary term and that’s about it. They are on FB, but are hardly ever active. They have all bought LIC policies but are hardly satisfied. They do not even know how much returns they will get. But they do believe theirs are the best investment policies.

As these 2 guys were speaking about all above things, one of them asked the other-“ aur batao, kal Holi kaisi thi? Kahin baahar vaahar gaye the?”

The other one promptly replied “ Nahin yaar. Bas ghar pe hi tha. Beta toh school gaya tha. Main aur Sunita (his wife apparently) ghar par hi the. Aise hi ek doosre ko rang lagay, thoda sweet khaaya aur TV dekha din bhar”

The first one asked “Yaar you didn’t go out anywhere? How did you enjoy at home? Arent people supposed to enjoy Holi outside with family and friends? Shouldn’t it be a LOUD affair?”

The second one then replied “ It is not like that yaar. I had fun with my wife at home. Family is not in town and friends were busy doing their own thing. My wife and I played some basic holi, did the Pooja and enjoyed. I guess that is all that is needed to enjoy Holi. You do not need PEOPLE. You need someone you truly enjoy being with on that day”

And then I realized the meaning of the phrase “2 to tango”. Sometimes, in fact many a times, we need just one more person to enjoy doing something in life. To enjoy an even, an occasion, a reward, or to even sail through a difficult period. Sometimes, it is important to have just that one person that matters, and not a crowd that has everyone but the one who is actually relevant. Sometimes, you do not need a fanfare, or pomp and galore, just a slight celebration, and realization. Sometimes, it takes just “2 to tango”.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Few annoying things we repeatedly repeat!!

1) Tell the rickshaw walaa to Drive faster, even though he is driving at a pretty decent pace

2) Give him or anyone else a Rs. 50 or 100 note every time, even though you have plenty of change.

3) Whenever a colleague opens the office intranet, you stop to sneak into his PC to see what he or she is updating. This, although , you have done everything we need to.

4) In college, when someone is studying something, you open your own notes of that same subject and ensure you have studied it well, which you indeed have.

5) When in office, log into net banking to check your bank account, even though you did it half hour ago, and there are probably no transactions. Just an indication of not having any work.

6) When stuck in traffic, you curse the whole world around, without realizing that this cursing is not going to resolve this traffic situation one bit.

7) When you go out for a simple walk, or to buy something quick, you always carry your mobile with you, in the assumption that the world will crash if you do not attend to any calls in that time. And oh, no one really ever calls in that time anyway.

8) Blame all the realty shows for spoiling culture, affecting kids this that, or in the sheer name of cheap entertainment, and yet, secretly watch Roadies or split villa. And then, when in office a discussion happens with people who too watch these shows, you participate nicely. If on the other hand, a discussion happens with those who hate and detest such shows, you too hate these shows. So convenient it is.

9) When in the process of arranged marriage, you are constantly cribbing about the fact that you are single and nothing is working out. Yet, when a potential proposal says yes to you, the world breaks lose. You freak out at the name of commitment and palpitations occur. Hypocrisy to its core.

10) When you have no work in office, you try to project somehow that you are very busy. And you dont like people reminding you abt that,,,however, when u see someone else without work, you immediately have a comment to make abt the fact that they do not have too much work and are sitting idle while u r working...

11) Procrastination--I had thought about this blog abt 2 weeks ago, but am writing it only now...

12) Spit-- Why do you do that?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Aadmi jaanwar se badtar hota hai (?)

Went to my cousin yesterday for a quick Friday dinner of us cousins. The usual Friday gathering u know, of cousins,,chatting, dinner, tp etc.. On the stairway to his home, there was this female pigeon, who was laying an egg…ON THE STAIRWAY!!!! At 8 PM!!! Where and when people frequently go!!!

I almost missed it and when I saw it, I was obviously taken aback . Seeing me nerved, even the pigeon hesitated a little. You can picture the scene right. Anyway, all went well. I passed it, and had a good party. When returning, we climbed down the same staircase, and there it was. The egg and the pigeon, warming it..or incubating it? Sorry for the grammar here.

But I realized something here. The female pigeon was all alone!! She had to take care of her PIGEONLETS all by herself. Feed them, take care of them keep them safe in a human locality! Basically, her life for the next whatever number of days or weeks or months is going to be all about this! All about her KIDS!! And where is the male Pigeon who, well, had his share of fun in all this? He continues to have fun! He continues to be free of any responsibility in all of this! He just F***s and WALKS OFF!!Or rather, FLIES OFF!! Hahaha….and my experience with cats (the literal ones I mean!!) suggests a similar ordeal for the mother cat. The male guy just humps her and walks off! And the mother cat in all of this has to take care of her kittens, for almost 3 months! Feed them, teach them how to hunt, protect them from the crows, protect them from being stamped on, protect them from anything! Man, these males in the animal kingdom are assoles!!

Havent we seen such idiots in human beings as well? Fathers who just walkoff and leave their wives to single handedly take care of their children? Men are such A-Holes really sometimes. But the only difference between humans and animals in this regard is that this is an exception in humans, more as it is a rule in case of animals.

And thus I turn the popular myth upside down and say- “Aadmi jaanwar se badtar NAHI hota”. Well, HAMESHA!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chai sahi hai!

Twas a nice relaxed Sunday today. Mom and I had gone out in the morning for the basics and came back really late. We came in by about 4 and I dropped almost immediately. Woke up by 5.30. Mom wasn’t hungry anyway and said she was planning to have an early dinner. Not me though. And I was hungry!! Went down again to the local laundry to collect my office clothes. That’s where there is a tea vendor, or the CHAI WALA as we refer to them.

A typical 1 feet by 3.5 feet wide, 4 feet tall table, with the basics, this one was slightly bigger than the usual. He had a nice roof and a slight stand where other things were kept. One of his customers finished tea and asked “Kuch khaane ko hai?” The tea vendor promptly pointed out to a few things he had—Samosas, fafda, chivda, bhajiya etc!! and that reminded me of how hungry I was, remember?

I too promptly ate a samosa, and stayed satisfied happily ever after- well, till dinner atleast. You see, the area where I live, there is not a SMALL restaurant in sight—like for a quick snack..The nearest one is candies where you cant have an affordable samosa. The next- a high end udipi restaurant- is abt 7 minits walk. The time and cost do not justify a quick evening munch. Hence, the chai wala rocks!!
How many times has the tea vendor come to your rescue in the rainy season, at odd times? You are drenched in the rain, the traffic is messed up, and you see a chai walaa on the street. Isnt that simply the best thing at that time?

As Jug Suraiya (if I correctly recollect) mentioned in one of his TOI columns, the walmarts and tescos of the world will never manage to replace or significantly affect the local kirana store. The chai wala too has been around for quite some time, and will continue to rule!! A very small concept, but equally effective and impacting!! Jai Ho!!