Sunday, December 30, 2018

No attitude tops gratitude

The year that was new not that long back is going to be old soon. Too very fast this one was ... clich├ęd, but yes, it just flew. A lot happened through the year though ... memories (so many of them), family time (or lack of it), holidays (too few of those), business travel (too much of it), career progression (never ending chase), house warming (too hot to handle), house shifting (phew), school change (bigger phew), long drives (can do better), new friendships (and new lessons), prioritization (a lot of it), re-prioritization (a bigger lot of it) - the year had it all. At the end of it all, what mattered is a set of realizations ...

... that ultimately what matters is your family, friends and dear ones ... those who really care for you ... the experiences that you would cherish ... those little (and large) adjustments you make

... that there is no end to any of this ... there will always be more money to be earned, more promotions to yearn for, more material pleasures, more of everything - you can never have enough

... and finally, that no attitude tops gratitude ... be thankful for everything that you have, and perhaps for so many things that you don't have ... you know not what those missing possessions entail

Sunday, May 7, 2017

History, mystery and chemistry

An interesting chemistry, is made by history and mystery
Happy are those, who constructively "react" to this chemistry

Success and prosperity are the by products of this reaction
Acceptance of this helps unravel the marvels, and gets you satisfaction

Many mysteries of present day actions, can be fathomed instantly
If the catalysts of past life's chemistry are studied oh-so intently

Mommy dear always tells, that when in conflict, look at the other's perspective
Tunnel vision doesn't help, trick is to be inclusive and interactive

Two perspectives may be completely opposite, each valid in different ways
Depends on the context and the history, and the game life plays

It is the experiences in one's life, that define one's behavior
Patience shown towards one's own is always a relationship savior

Equal contribution is not necessary to make relations successful
Don't 2 H's react with just 1 O to make H2O, that is so useful?

It may not be because the single O needs more to get satisfied
Just that the H's have the intent to give more to get tied

So is the case with certain relationships, someone gives more, and someone less
For the betterment of everyone around, why not do more to impress?

If investment in a certain relationship, is the only expectation of someone you love
Being steady and compromising in it, is an elixir and a direction to the treasure trove

If the true intent is for a relationship to work,
Come rain, water or sunshine, pick carefully when to smirk

Relationships inert to this phenomenon, would fail to sizzle
Newton's third law of motion is not, in every situation, ideal

While practicality makes perfect catalyst in general equations
Emotions do play a bigger role, in certain critical relations

If you can't acknowledge someone's trials and tribulations
You will have a limited capability to evaluate his life's realizations

For, you laugh at someone's history, and ridicule the resultant chemistry
Reaction becoming explosive, would no longer remain a mystery

Sunday, April 23, 2017

As the signal turned green

With most of my driving time in the city getting spent on waiting for the signal to turn green, or listening to the radio jockey blabbering some inane ramblings, with the cops not allowing me to pick up my phone for even that iota of a second making it worse, I end up becoming a silent observer, and some times an involuntary contributor, to the tribulations of the common man at the signal. Here is a snippet ...

This happened near Sony Center signal in Koramangala, Bangalore. Waiting for the signal to turn green, I noticed a group of small kids trying to extract money from the vehicle owners stranded there. All the tricks of trade were used. Having tasted success with a kind-hearted lady (well, that was the best way for her to avoid getting her white hand-gloves from getting "stained" by their repeated touch), riding high on confidence, their next target was a gentleman in an SUV, with the windows rolled down, lost in his thoughts.

After a few rounds of persuasion and rejection, the gentleman couldn't stop himself, came our of his slumber and gave them a piece of his mind. What happened next left me stunned. One of the kids, perhaps the youngest and shortest of the lot, clearly rattled by the gentleman's gesture, stretched himself on his toes so that he somehow reaches the height of the window. The gentleman stared back at him, without anticipating the consequences. Lo and behold, the kid stretched some more, reached the gentleman's face, slapped him hard, and ran away. The gentleman was caught off-guard, for a second could not fathom what had just happened, and went completely motionless. By the time he regained his composure, the signal turned green, and he managed to vanish in the traffic ahead.

Needless to say, henceforth, my car windows are always rolled up whenever I am at a signal, with suspicious looking characters around. You never know what sound will I suddenly hear near my ear in the midst of one of my ruminations ...

Unfortunately for the gentleman, yours truly witnessed the incident so intently that he could easily identify the vehicle next to the parking lot in his office that day, and in next few days, could identify the owner of the vehicle somewhere on the same floor. Every time he raises his voice sitting in that cubicle, with one of the fresh interns at the receiving end, I realize, what if ...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Of critics and criticism

Among the numerous quotes from Kabir Das that I read in my childhood, there was one whose logic refused to get registered in my mind, only to become the top-of-mind recall in my adulthood. It goes like this ...

"Nindak niyare rakhiye, angan kuti chhawai; bin pani, sabun bina, nirmal kare subhav"

... which literally means "Give your critic a shelter in the courtyard of your house. He will help clean your nature, without using soap and water." In other words, it means that we should keep critics somewhere around us, so that you get to know, and hence a chance to correct, your faults.

In those days, it used to be difficult to fathom the context in which these words were said. After all, how can you let somebody, who always criticizes you, stay so close to you, and let him do what he / she does best - criticize. But then, over years, having gone through such a process myself, what with constantly nagging relatives, always ready to pounce on smallest of mistakes, I realized it makes at least some sense. Mr. Das would not have said what he said without any logic!!

To begin with, it forces you to always be on your toes, and make a genuine attempt not to commit mistakes. More like a false positive ... you are careful not to commit a mistake, or let someone get a chance to call out your name when there is no mistake. In a way, your life is always on a kaizen mode, continuous improvement becoming the mantra.

Yes, it has its negative consequences as well ... you tend to become too cautious, almost risk averse, some times self-critical, some times even unnecessarily critical of others because that is what you have also seen from a close quarter. But, when you compare this with some of the qualities you imbibe when there is no criticism of your behavior from any direction, Mr. Das' suggestion suddenly starts making much more sense and becomes good to follow.

Is it better to be surrounded by yes-men? Or this critic is good ... he at least makes you become a better human being. Otherwise, you simply cannot tolerate criticism. All you know is the good things about you. You can never be wrong. Everyone else is a fool, because as compared to you, everyone does things differently, and hence wrong. And whoever criticizes you becomes your biggest enemy. In short, you are the best ... a miniature version of Aham Brahmasmi!!

A few days back, I read a letter from a famous media person, writing to his daughter on her eighteenth birthday. He was advising her that there is no need to look at oneself through the eyes of others and that one should become one's best critic. While this will encourage her to live life on her own terms, what it fails to consider is that one's own view can be highly restricted in evaluating one's behavior. What you are encouraging is not a confident human being, but a self-centered, over-confident megalomaniac. She will always expect to be loved the way she likes, and be appreciated the way she prefers. All other ways and means of being loved and appreciated will be a hogwash. Don't we have so many of these nincompoops around us?

Well, if we truly follow this advise in financial matters, the very concept of statutory audit goes for a toss!! Or for that matter, so many of us would like to follow this principle in our performance appraisals, right?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Of silent treatment and walking away ...

A common life principle followed by many people now a days goes like this:

No matter how badly people treat you, never drop down to their level, just know you are better and walk away.

Being constantly surrounded by folks who are always ready to pull you down, most of the times to their level of discourse, this principle sounds obvious and practical for any self-respecting individual trying to stay afloat. The fun starts when one decides who is pulling whom. And it gets funnier when the one who is pulling considers himself as the one who is getting pulled. A perfect case of mistaken identity.

My ruminating self believes that often it is the ego that plays a critical role. It may not be the case of dropping down to a certain level. More often than not, it is about failing to see that you are the person who is treating someone badly, not the other way round. It is about mistaking the ego for self-respect, about mistaking megalomania for magnanimity, and about mistaking self-aggrandizement for self-sacrifice. This happens often in case of the modern empowerment brigade, whose ego considers accepting mistakes a sacrilege, who tend to believe that their character is spotless, who have been brought up on a constant diet of chasing one's convenience, even if it comes at the cost of somebody's survival.

When it comes to remaining silent, or for that matter walking away, be it in the context of the life principle or otherwise, you may not always be doing a great service to the humankind. While having the maturity to know that sometimes silence is more powerful than having the last word, it is the ability to decide the "sometimes" which matters. In common family situations, or even in our corporate lives, it is a known fact that silence leads to more misunderstandings, and it is only through communication that issues can be resolved. It is not always the case of dropping down to someone's level ... it can also be the case of getting back to the fundamentals of where you have come from ... or a case of thinking, or not thinking, about the basics, sitting at your high pedestal. How can walking away in such cases be justified?

All of us have examples of people around us who claim that their silence is golden, and once they open their mouth, there are high chances of an apocalypse. Incidentally, this silence is not golden, but made of brass, with not even an iota of semblance with the yellow metal of higher pedigree. These people also are mistaken by the fact that their silence is helping keep matters under control. Matter of the fact, like in many other cases, is that actions speak louder than words. Even if you remain silent, your abominable actions are enough to bring you down from the pedestal of high morality.

By walking away, as espoused in the life principle, you are not showcasing your nobility. You are in fact running away from the reality, and from the fact that you don't have it in you to climb up (or down, depending upon the way you look at it) and solve the matter. The other person may not treat you badly out of choice, but out of compulsion, because every ounce of extra freedom you claim, is a transgression in that person's basic existence. By snatching their right to exist ounce by ounce, inch by inch, you are disrespecting the faith someone has shown in you. Isn't that a typical trait of a narcissist?