Posts

Showing posts from 2011

Passion pulsates, enthu evaporates

We may not keep them but let’s make resolves seems the New Year refrain. Everybody suddenly appears becoming aware of what’s good for one. Theme of the every second article in newspapers is New Year resolutions. What goes on in people’s minds sounds interesting! Some stick to typical and clichéd resolves while others experiment. Most are enthusiastic and a few are passionate. To me, it’s good time to tell passion from enthusiasm. Getting-up early is the common-most New Year resolution. How many are likely to see the sun rise on the very first day of the new calendar year? You’ll have to skip either December 31 celebrations or party so hard that you don’t go to bed at all!  Given the easy-going mood prevalent in our society, it’s very unlikely to keep such a resolve still we make it. Some plan to quit smoking and drinking. It’s anybody’s guess how many actually do! Net-addicts decide to reduce time on surfing and social networking. This apart, many buy diaries and planners to welcome a …

Candid Confession!

It feels nice to return to the blog after a long gap. Ample time, topics aplenty but somehow writing didn’t happen. I have to be honest. I made a couple attempts yet nothing worked and eventually, I gave up. “Writer’s block!” I had heard some making this excuse. I don’t believe in it. Rather than playing this card, I would rather tell the truth.
I was in a different state of mind. I was neither sad nor elated. I found myself unusually neutral. Neutrality is always striking for a strong opinionated individual like me. I couldn’t fathom what was wrong with me… Of course, cough and cold existed but sickness wasn’t the reason. Everything seemed haywire for a couple of days. My ‘ideal’ lifestyle took a backseat. Until last week, I swear, I never skipped my exercise and Pranayama schedules. I love getting up early. However, on eight consecutive days when I didn’t see the sun rise, gym and Pranayama seemed high sounding phrases. For around three years despite hectic schedules, I didn’t have a…

A little BIG concern

Wise head on young shoulders! I exclaimed after hearing a speech from an eight-year-old at a school elocution competition. However, after hearing a couple of speeches, I was convinced it wasn’t spontaneous. It was a mix of innocence and maturity. Kids discussing environment, corruption, competition, success, stress! God!! They were all too young to deal with these subjects. I could make out that many teachers and parents had forced children to parrot speeches. Poor tiny-tots might not be knowing what they were talking. When results were announced, parents of winners appeared happier than kids themselves. Prize bagged, I wondered if they really cared if the child had understood the subject. Most parents live to see their child making it big. In newspaper offices, we see a number of ‘proud parents’ urging us to profile ‘young achievers’. If newspapers decide to do a series on young achievers, I am sure media will have such cases aplenty. Many children participate in the reality shows on…

Traits of the terrains

Monday, November 28, 7.30 pm. I leave no stone unturned to meet deadlines. This time, it was a management institute in Aurangabad where my student interaction programme was arranged. I made it well in time but people seemed taking it easy. The interaction started half an hour late. Half-an-hour here and there is okay; I had realised it after spending some time in the town. “You must have calculated it the ‘Pune-Bombay’ way, but don’t keep looking at your watch,” that was the refrain I heard at least 20 times in two days. I often make sure I reach on time and no special effort is needed to achieve it. It’s so ingrained in many of us that we take it as a routine. Here, I understood making it on time was really a big ‘quality’. Wait, this is not to describe importance of keeping time. Every region has its own peculiarities and my interactive sessions offer me opportunities to know traits of different terrains. They are distinct and it’s nice to observe them from the close quarters. Everyo…

Travel trail

Hushhh… I heaved a sigh of relief when I caught my train at the Nagpur station on way back to Pune. In just two days, I had my hands more than full. As train moved, journey of my thoughts also started. This travel was part of a long journey that had begun… Thanks to the 16-hour travel, I had jolly good time to think. I was glad I didn’t choose to fly to Nagpur. It does save time but train travel does offer relaxing moments. I don’t find train travel exhausting; I feel it refreshes. I often remember words of a political leader who once told me he was happier travelling by train, as on reaching destination, people allowed him to rest thinking the journey must have been tiring. After flight visits, meetings are planned immediately as ‘there’s no question of getting tired.’ “People hardly opt for train travel. Why you?” almost everyone I met asked me this. I knew why I was doing it. I have always loved travelling. As kids, we would often travel to Mumbai from Konkan (where I spend my childh…

From granny, with love…

If a picture can be worth a thousand words, an anecdote can colour your future. A photo gives you an idea of something that you may not be able to explain in many sentences. Similarly, you may come across an anecdote that mirrors uncommon wisdom, which even a fat philosophy book may not. Myriad shades of a tiny tale sometimes make our life vibrant and meaningful. Small incidents have always paved way for major inventions and innovations. Small is beautiful, short is sweet and simplicity is elegant. In anecdotes, lesser is nicer… In childhood, all of us loved short stories, those grandma’s tales. Why us alone, such tales have also enriched the richest man of the world Bill Gates. He says he has grown up listening to wonderful and meaningful stories from his granny and today, he often makes it a point to share his experience with his grandchildren! These tales are treasure troves to cherish forever. Not every child is fortunate enough to get it first-hand from grandma or grandpa, yet, it…

What a Job!

I contemplated on writing the blog on Jobs several times before this but somehow it wasn’t coming from within. Why now? His death brought him in news probably more than his life did. Suddenly, everybody wanted to know what kind of man Steve Jobs was! As a columnist puts it, ‘‘Glowing obituaries appeared moments after his death was announced. He seemed to be eulogised as Silicon Valley’s radiant Sun King.’’ His biography is setting new sales record each passing day. Not being a technology freak myself, it was unlikely of me to pay much attention to the Apple co-founder. I particularly read about him after he stepped down as Apple head and handed over the operations to Tim Cook. A few days later, I happened to read his Stanford address comprising three stories from his life. They were inspiring. Born out of a marriage that never really materialised and adopted by a lower middle class mechanist this college dropout went on to become a towering entrepreneur. I fell in love with the person, …

(S)lightly serious

Finally it’s over. The Festival of Lights began with a bang and ended on a high sounding note! (Cracker-less Diwali is still a distant dream).  It would take a couple of days for our folks to come out of the festive mood and get back to routine.
While most of the people were engrossed in preparing for and celebrating the festival, I was a silent observer. Despite hailing from a family following rituals to the T, I somehow have found it tough to be into them. Diwali means lots of fun to kids and even for housewives and devout minds, it’s such a big occasion! After entering the newspaper world, I handle festive features when the Festival of Light comes calling. It’s a nice opportunity to see what happens when you prepare a little too much in advance! As we have tight printing schedules, we have to close our supplements a bit too ahead of the fest. It’s no different from housewives taking up cleansing work too early. One of my aunts told me she had started clearing the clutter a good month…

No strings attached…

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future! The wise words of Oscar Wilde apply to each of us at some point. Don’t be surprised if one of your classmates, a ‘flirt’, turns out to be a doting husband or father. A backbencher may surge ahead in the professional race and a vagabond may convert oneself into an extremely committed and sincere individual! Someone who appears a person of substance today might not be that way in the past. On the contrary, someone we may label as being ‘shallow and insincere’ could evolve into a mature human being. If you stand out today, what you were yesterday doesn’t matter much. Exhibit the grit to leave baggage behind and a positive transition isn’t far away. The makeover is just a matter of time. And why talk about major transformations? Even small but smart moves we make will bring about a transformation. It has happened to me. Of course not the sinner-to-saint kind, it’s in terms of the thought process. It all began with clearing the mind’s a…

Your take on this?

In a magazine, I read a series of interviews of couples happily married for more than two decades. It featured ordinary as well as celebrity couples. What struck me was none of them looked made-for-each-other. Many husbands and wives were poles apart by their nature; one introvert, other outgoing, husband unassuming, wife flamboyant, the man loved computers and machines while the woman, books and films. In some cases, wives were extremely career-minded while their partners were more homebound. Divergence of attitudes and likes was evident but perhaps what kept them going was respect for others’ opinions. Come on, I am not talking about ‘secretes of happy marriages’ or ‘relationships’. I was wondering many of us can accommodate diverse interests but what happens when someone holds viewpoint exactly opposite to our own? Why can’t we exhibit similar levels tolerance here? For example, many of those who love classic English literature believe that Shakespeare is ‘the’ best writer. Can the…

Oh Firoz, poor chap!

Scars on an innocent mind may cause irreparable and irreversible damage for lifetime.  That’s the reason we need to be extra sensitive and sensible with kids. As society and country, are we doing the needful? Problems of child labour and beggars have always been of importance since times immemorial. Unfortunately, they are only growing...
These sound like high-sounding phrases straight out of social research papers or intellectual debates, which hardly yield anything. I swear they are not lifted from anywhere. I’m absolutely not into plagiarism.  I have paraphrased these words and needless to say, they’re clichéd. Even I could feel futility of the sentences while writing them. It doesn’t mean we don’t recognise enormity of the situation but perhaps, we have learnt to live with the fact. Yet some incidents underline the clichéd sentences again and again. What happened to a 12-year-old boy, a ragpicker named Firoz in Indore, is immensely shocking, to say the least. A constable forced thi…

Amiably Arrogant!

I have always been a team person, as a child and also as a professional. I get along well with people and every time I couldn’t, I would invariably make sure my dislike or discomfort didn’t permeate into a group. I believe that cordial attitude graces every interpersonal relationship. Weirdness on part of an individual weakens the bond. The boding that apparently seems stronger is often fragile. It’s everyone’s responsibility to care for fragility and not stretch it to an extent where it will break. Right from schools and families to workplaces, we have teams and groups. In childhood, innocence binds us no matter what differences. Tiny tots living in a neighbourhood or studying in the same school become good friends in no time. As we grow, our likes and dislikes determine our social relationships. As we get into the profession, we have do deal with people in a team. These are all interpersonal relationships. One has to have a sociable attitude to keep the bonding going and when an ind…

Same, not Separate!

Unconventional thinking has always been my insistence. When it comes to executing some out-of-the-box idea, I feel I would require still more courage to put theory into practice. One of my relatives was once agitated at his son deciding not to pursue college education but set up his business at 16. Though it was an unconventional decision, I couldn’t tell the dad bluntly to let the kid follow heart. Instead I opted for a ‘sober’ ‘‘Do at least your graduation and get into business simultaneously.’’ In my mind, however, I knew if the boy had conviction, ‘at least graduation’ was not required. I told myself “When you know education is not everything, why can’t you dare air a candid opinion? It’s not your responsibility if the son doesn’t prove his mettle…” I was wondering why I couldn’t call a spade a spade. Is education all important? We aren’t ruling out the importance of academics but haven’t we heard of Einstein, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, our own Dhirubhai Ambani and Steve Jobs, n…

‘Super’ Sense

Stories of people hailing from humble backgrounds and making it big aren’t unheard of. At the same time, these tales hint at a huge talent pool toiling amid poverty, illiteracy ignorance and indeed, waywardness. One such story touched my heart. It’s a real life story of the hero in a small budget film ‘Malegaon Ka Superman’. The movie, depicting the Superman combating tobacco menace, has won critical acclaims and awards in international festivals like Los Angeles, Prague, Italy and Pakistan. Shafique Shaikh, 23, who played the Superman, wanted to fulfill his last wish to watch the movie’s release before breathing his last. At 23, age where life doesn’t really begin for many, his days were numbered as he was diagnosed with cancer. Ironically, he had fallen for the addiction he was fighting against in this movie. He tasted tobacco first when he was just 13 and came to a stage where he chewed 40 sachets of gutkha everyday. To make his wish come true, a special screening of the movie was o…

It’s lighthearted, seriously!

His face was blank. How blank? Well, as blank as the white space I was asking him to read! The poor chap was struggling to fathom what I was saying. What reading between the lines and what meaning, he was all at sea. Taking a pause, I looked at him and realised he was too young to understand the point I was trying to make. Here was my 11-year-old cousin taking a discourse from me on futility and hypocrisy behind certain religious rituals. Validity of the topic apart, how is a kid expected to react to it but go blank? Of course, he was a victim of my serious thinking. Each of us victimise someone sometime or the other when we passionately talk about something. And we often get passionate about topics close to our hearts. Little do we understand that are we getting into the preaching mode and also, aggressive at times unmindful of the listeners’ mindset. Do we take a few things little too seriously and think too much? Trust me, I’ve seen people analysing even newspaper cartoons. Instead…

Mathematically correct

Mathematics was a subject I never liked in my schooldays. Thanks to my phobia for calculations, I could never get its basics right. Instead of understanding things, I chose to bank on my memorising skills. Parroting textbook was never my calling but I made it an exception for maths. After Class XII, when I somehow managed to cope with limits, derivatives and integration, I decided to bid adieu to the subject. A refrain I often hear from people makes me look at the subject from a different perspective. It’s the theory negatives they apply to life and relationships. They believe that two negatives make a positive. It’s half-truth. Mathematical equations seem to offer innovative ways to explain intricacies of human relationships. I happened to attend a corporate training session where a trainer was explaining how two negatives add to a negative. I have a different angle and guess what, I go parallel to the subject, dislike for which, I’ve already displayed. I believe human relations are pe…

London Nightmares

Photograph of this 11-year-old boy stealing a wine bottle from a broken shop in recent London riots hugely upset me. He was reportedly the youngest looter among a few thousands charge-sheeted. We all know United Kingdom recently faced one of its worst crises. The rioting and looting is indeed disturbing but what is more worrying is the kid stealing alcohol. It cannot be looked at as a case in isolation but has deeper undercurrents. The boy appears too young and immature to understand implications of his action. However, we, as mature and sensible people, need to dwell on repercussions of this and try to find answers to questions the London riots have thrown up. Gunning down of a 29-year-old jobless black man, reportedly innocent, by the police triggered the chain of occurrences. Protests began and resentment spread like wild fire through social networking. Involvement of young people in the riots stunned the world. Experts have attributed the trouble to unemployment, racial discrimina…

Your space

All of us love to capture nice moments in camera and no wonder, photo and video shoots are integral parts of our family functions and excursions. Now imagine this. While you are out on a picnic or hosting a party, you know you are under ‘watch’ and it would all go into police records for security reasons. That’s not funny, you would say. Consider another case. You are texting a message to someone and the person next to you glances at your cell phone. It does irritate, doesn’t it? Well, the content would often be perfectly okay for anyone to see it but why an uncalled for curiosity, you would wonder. There may be nothing private, fine. It doesn’t mean it should be public! Each of has one’s privacy intruded sometime or the other. Personal space, privacy and freedom are the watchwords in today’s world and interestingly, all of us seem using these terms as per our convenience. More importantly, people across age groups and cross-sections — kids to old and policy-makers to preachers — look…

Power and poise

I am seldom attracted to Western music or keep track of it. Even when she was alive, I didn’t keep count of awards and achievements of celebrated British singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse. Her abrupt end has thrown questions, which, perhaps, remained unanswered in her days of glory. ‘Sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts…’Her tragic death is an example of how the song of life shouldn't be. Look at Amy’s success. It’s phenomenal. She was all of 27. Alas! This is no age to breathe one’s last. After becoming the first British woman to win five Grammys, Amy never looked back. This gifted singer kept adding feathers to her crown and went on to write a never-to-be-forgotten success story. Sadly, success, money and limelight often have a darker side. Though it’s declared that she met natural death, we know that she invited the death angels herself. After battling with drinks and drugs for years, drug overdose might have put the full-stop to her thriving career. In her b…

Real McCoy

Carefully observe the experience of these 50 odd housewives, who have claimed to having found freshness in life recently. Each of them is representative of a typical Indian lot with suppressed emotions and ambitions and who seldom get to voice their opinions. A well-known psychiatrist conducted a workshop of women depressed with ‘taken for granted feeling’. They were advised to listen to their inner voice, speak what they feel, enjoy life, go out often and most importantly, stop making scarifies for others. Speaking at a subsequent get-together, they narrated their ‘strange encounters’ with their family members and ‘shocking reactions’ of the latter. “Oh mom how did you suddenly start liking movies and shopping?” “Why, is going out so urgent?” “What’s the point in moving out when relatives are coming home?”“What made you join music class/gym?” “These days, why are you hell-bent on telling what you feel?” These women were too used to hiding their honest feelings, opinions, likes and disl…

Just like that

I can tell it on oath. It hurts. You show them the way to do things in style but lo! They cling to the oft-beaten roads leaving you to wonder what stuff they are made of. Well, we don’t expect anything in close relationships. At least, all preachers go hoarse trying to convince us that we shouldn’t. Let’s be human. It’s perfectly okay to expect compatible return gestures and it hurts when they don’t come. We aren’t expected to be Gods or saints always and so, let’s be human. Our expectations are justified when they aren’t outlandish. A few of us know the art of giving sweet surprises to close ones. Especially when it’s all been morose, if not sad, surprises offer succor. Doing so, we show how life can be beautiful. Such people hoard happiness and nice things within and bring them out at right moments. I am talking about people gifted with the knack art making everyone happy on special days. Agreed, not everyone could be like this nor would each person know how to unfold surprises. But …

In good faith

It’s no child’s play to keep a tradition going and if one breaks, it comes as a rude shock. Dramatic closure of Britain’s 168-year-old tabloid, News of the World, has stunned the world. It hurts even more knowing the reason. Facing allegations of illegal phone hacking of a murdered girl, rape victims, families of dead soldiers, politicians and celebs, the revered British tabloid will print its last edition on Sunday, July 10, free of advertisements, focusing maximum on content. Media baron and owner Rupert Murdoch maintains that given the enormity of scandals and owing to mounting public pressure, closure is the only way out… How does it look? Is it just another incident? I cannot look at it that way. No, not only because it’s concerned to my fraternity. When I look at it from humanitarian point of view, I can see that the entire chain of events has wider, deeper and vaster implications. A lot is happening behind the curtains and when I say this, I am not limiting myself to the inciden…

Busy or free?

Glance at a busy road and you see everyone rushing, a pedestrian to a cyclist to a motorist. Of course, every second person doesn’t definitely have a flight to catch! We don’t know why we are scampering but no one has patience. Forget the rush on the road, look how busy you are. Try to recollect when you could pursue the thing you like. We love so many things but run short of time for it. ‘Who has the time?’ is a refrain we have got used to hearing in the IT age. What we are doing becomes immaterial. Being busy has become a sort of prerequisite, especially of the urban life. With a fierce competition around, many are engrossed in academics and professions. It’s a demanding life where no one is free. Forget students and professionals, housewives and maids, too, are racing against time. Being engrossed in our activities is fine but think; are we really busy or we pretend to be? Busyness has become a parameter of success. We are not quite at ease saying we are free. In some way, we try ha…

Enriching enterprise

We often hear people saying they have changed with time. Moving on, most of us realise that time hasn’t really changed us but unfolded us more. It’s all within us. Transformation is about giving right expressions to what we have. It happens to everyone some time or the other. Extraordinary people don’t wait for time to change them. Instead, they realise their potentials and try to exploit them to fullest. No matter how intellectual one is, intellect doesn’t come to the fore unless it’s challenged.
Usually, our intellects remain unexploited and inner potentials hidden, as they are not challenged. Researches have shown that commonly, human beings apply only five per cent of their brains while 95 per cent remains unused! We are often unaware as to how much our brains are exploited since most of our energy is wasted in observing others’ brain applications! Our true potential isn’t revealed to us. How would it be when we are looking more at people’s things; their sense, nonsense et al? We h…