Friday, September 25, 2015

हम सब बस बेकार ही हैं does playing Bridge get me a personality?

Two individual things caught my eye today in the newspaper. Yes i do read it every morning with my morning coffee. First was the 42nd Bridge Championship in Chennai, and the second was a public awareness advertisement about honking on the road, in traffic.
Who do i have to do with the news about a Bridge championship, i don’t play the game, know very little about it let alone, then why am i so interested in it? For this news sent me away on a little train of thoughts; which when it stopped left me at the station of self realisation, and thus came the idea of penning my resultant learning from that journey down memory lane.
Before i start my train of thoughts journey, as is common with rail journeys, i have to show the conductor who am i? Not the spiritual, purposeful question everybody is asking everyone and themselves, but just a more social status of mine. I am successful or so i like to believe, earned enough money, though there can never be enough, to indulge in most of the frivolities of life, own at least two cars, have changed more mobile phones than i may have changed lightbulbs in my life, and have an excellent credit limit with various banks. I may or may not be married depending on which angle i want to look at it, but i can travel comfortably, stay at hotels on a strata above normal budget hotels when i say i am travelling on budget. But then all of this that i have, and have done, is for me and maybe somethings for my family as well.
But the where did i come from? By that i didn’t mean which city or my place of birth, or that of my forefathers. Where do is come from is indeed a question which asks what is my spiritual or character lineage, who were the people who came before me?
My grandfather was in the irrigation department. He was the first generation of kids to migrate out of our village, study in the city and get a government job. Eventually he even rose to the position of Director in the same department. He helped start and finish more irrigation projects in his areas of posting than the number of books i can ever hope to get published. But behind all that he was a farmer at heart. He would regularly dirty his hands, so to say, at least once in an year, in the fields. Even before i was born, he was a seasoned man, human rather, rich in practical experience, well travelled, had enough knowledge of culture and behaviour of people, which i may need two life times to gain. Some of it i know from my father. About how he was as a person. My father seldom talked about him, in fact he seldom talked much. But when he did, he ended up teaching me a lot about values of hard work, sincerity, truthfulness, and common sense. He taught me all this not by speaking, but by his actions. All of this, which i ultimately chose to forget so that i could become successful quickly. My father was well educated. Being born in the era when our country had just attained independence, he was the youth in the 70’s and 80’s. They had huge responsibilities to fulfil, at home, in society and they took upon themselves to fulfil a few for the nation. This was a generation who never had it easy, they had to get to everything in life the hard way. And that he did. He was a grade one officer in the revenue department. While growing up i learned a lot about how he was as a professional, by the awards and recognitions he garnered, time to time. Some small tokes i too wore at times on my clothes proudly, little understanding their meaning then. I think with all the law that he wrote, the amount of revenue he got for the government, would be enough to sustain the state along with the whole of his department for eons. He was extremely intelligent; brilliant; infact very observant and has astute knowledge of life. But behind all this he too was a farmer at heart. Though i had never seen us visiting our family villages, since i had grown up, or him working in a field, but he know all that there was to it, and practically too not like me who had read about kharif and rabi in the class 3rd or 4th and forgotten all about it since it was of now use after the exams. He could tell a person from a tree, and one tree from another too, unlike me, who thinks humans are humans, come in different shapes and sizes, and anything green is a plant, tree, or shrub or a vegetable.
My maternal grandfather was a national level bridge player. Not as a vocation but as a hobby. Infact he even was a cricket player at the sheeshmahal club, and an umpire as well later in his life. And an officer in the secretariat. He came from a family of intellectuals and lawyers. I think he was the second generation in his house to leave farming and dwell in to the urban lifestyle. On my mother’s side every one was creatively gifted. His youngest brother was a sitar player, in fact he was a principal at a prominent music college. I have recollections of him playing music at home, with many now famous people learning from him.
My mother too is quite a lot many personalities gelled in to one. Infact her capacity and will to learn beats me. She has been a home maker most of her life. She has taken care of everyone in our family, elders and young ones alike. She is also a meditation teacher, a course director of a course to teach people how to teach meditation, infact now her hobbies include practising the alternate healing method of reiki, reading tarrot cards, and most recently, astrology.

All through my bloodline, i have been preceded by individuals who have had a personality, beyond their what was their job and source of income, infact today too who are around from that generation have a higher integrity than any of us from this generation.
But then who am i? And this time it is a very deep question, one which actually forces me to go down deeper in to myself to search for an answer. Do i have a personality? Do i have hobbies? Do i have time in this life away from my source of income? If i were to create a report card of sorts, i believe this is what it may look like,

Knowledge : zero, or close to it, about the practicalities of life
Experience : Only what we write on our resume. Of life, we have none, none that we created of our own. We have childhood memories of good times, but same we cannot offer to our own children.
Learning : Hardly any. Because if we had learnt anything we would be off becoming better people, infact we would start becoming people in the first place.

And this isn’t just me, but the whole generation around me, everyone around me. We are the ones honking on the road, we are the ones who had a glorious past, but we aren't having any present. Future? We don’t even have time for our selves; let alone the future generation. They are growing up with phones and tablets, so what of their future?

May be that jam on the road would clear up and we would get to the correct destination in life.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

एक दिन सब छोड़ के चले जाते हैं....What if you are left all alone?

Life begins for us as infants and toddlers, being taught what is necessary and most of what wasn’t. We move from being dependent on others (read parents and family for the lucky ones) to being rebelliously independent from the very supporting hinges that held us in place.
Hence it won’t be bad to say life starts with imposing relations. Family, close relatives, cousins etc depending on the environment one grew up in.
Once one steps outside this boundary, when they start schooling or knowing the world through experiences, comes the knowledge of friends and acquaintances, people we chose to bring into our lives, based on their similarities and dissimilarities to us.
We decide in this phase who we want to hangout with, our parents and elder siblings keep an eye out for us, whether we are in good company or not. This circle of friends or even their definition keeps changing from time to time, based on our preferences of activities we are involved in.
As time passes some keep coming closer to us, some we have to drift away from. Not everyone can be a part of your life at all times.
All the above changes, processes are gradual, but then sometimes, life skips a few lessons and dumps a huge chapter on you all at once. The changes brought about in these junctures are sudden. Death for example, deceit for other. Here is a simple example of how we perceive relations with time spent together, 

Relations over time
A majority of our time is spent in testing the bond, which holds us together. But what most of us don’t realise is that we waste so much of out time testing each other, that is actually very little left to savour of that beautiful or could have been beautiful time spent together. The worst fear is that the relation is going to turn sour and we would’ve wasted our time in vain. Living under the shadow of this fear, we are left deprived of two things, one - the cherished experience which the relation could have brought along, had we been less judgemental; second - even a bad relation leaves us with a good learning experience and that nascent learning helps us further in our lives.
Over a period of time and experiences each and every relation with every other person undergoes a change. These changes are all inclusive of both physical and mental changes.
Physical changes are much more obvious, whereas on the other hand mental change or unchange is on a more subtle level and hence it is harder to perceive.
If only we are able to see small signs and cracks we can adapt to the new conditions and make amends, but more often that not we stretch situations to a point of no return and that is what comes into our lives as a fatal jerk.

Many a times, the reason for relations going brittle and breaking up is not change but “unchange”. Our adamancy of being inertial. Time and events require us to adapt to every emotion and changing scenario but we keep walking the same path of our behavioural patterns, not heeding to how people in the same relation have grown out of it.
A lot can be attributed to the fact that the basic nature of man/woman never changes. We may deviate slightly for better or worse from how we behave but deep down we remain the same, only a moments distraction and we are back to what we are from inside, from deep within our souls. That is impossible to change.
Hence the deepest connections which we make are to our soulmates. When bonded at that level, some relations become a part of your existence, they change and grow with you as an extension of your life and soul.
A soulmate may not be what is generally perceived in the romantic terms by merchants of tokens of false loving relations (namely diamond jewellers, archies, hallmark etc), but it is a relation beyond every other realm. It could be your best friend, your parents or grand parents. It is any one to whom you forfeit the need to explain your actions, because they know what you are upto, beforehand. Please don’t include psychics and good observers in this category, that’s a different story for some other time.
When i say you don’t have to explain your actions to your soulmates, it is because your thoughts are aligned at some level so deep, that they seem to stem from the same source. It’s these relations which seem to be most fulfilling in life, amongst whom, there is no pretence, no lies and no truth. Everything is unjudged and absolute.

So in the end, what we are we if we were to be left totally alone? Our own best soulmates, or broken incomplete parts of joined souls, trying to justify our existence in this world, without meaning and purpose?

Monday, April 27, 2015

I am so sorry for doing this to you

A statement oft-repeated. One could say this in so many daily situations. Say for example, someone knocked another human being down, and spilled everything they were carrying over them as well. It may be an altercation causing episode, could hurt the parties physically. Supposing in the worst case scenario that it went too far, it may even cause long lasting mental trauma. But then maybe i am getting way ahead on a small accident.
A very unlikely situation could be hearing it from some random business partner of yours, who had ran away taking all the money, left you broke, and paying for some deep fraud charges as well, committed by you know who. This then would be a completely professional situation, one which involves courts, lawyers and lots of time. In some cases, police as well.
A sad and unsettling situation could be listening to it from a loved one. Not so because you don’t expect this to happen, in a relationship, in fact that should be one place or angle, from which you should see this coming from, way before it actually happens. Everywhere else it could be a bad shock at max, but when these words come from someone who has already said in the past that they love you, it feels like someone just punched in your empty stomach, real hard.
Its the people closest to us, who have this power to break us from within, with things as simple as spoken words. So much more so than any stranger in this world. It may be because we hand over to them our feelings on a platter. It could be because they are allowed to twist, turn and play with our emotions. And I am not saying that’s a bad thing. It just seems so much similar to trusting everyone driving on the road, not to run over you, just because they are driving fast and you are crossing it blindfolded. What’s wrong with expecting people will drive nicely and follow traffic rules?
After so many I am sorry’s of this sort, both saying and listening to, more listening than saying but of course, to and from people close to me, there is only one thing that can be boiled down as a lesson by my awfully slow, emotionally overloaded, brain. And that is, matters related to emotions are never simple. There. As soon as i have written this piece of self realisation, i am confused as to how something as common as this cannot be accepted and realised more often.
Why do our actions cause hurt? When we know we have the power to hurt someone, should we then, be more careful and pretend to be who we are not? Is it possible that our hurt is not dependent on any external force or action? Would that make us less emotional or a lesser human, if we knew how to control our hurt and not blame others for whatever happened? There maybe no definitive answers to any of these questions above, save a deeper understanding of what is the actual reason behind getting hurt, and that may make relations eventually a lot more simpler.
Every relation is based on equal or near equal parts of exchanges. Exchanges of care, expectations and values too, hopefully. How are these exchanges made then? They take place with the help of certain medium. Starting with language, vocal or sign, actions, ideas and promises, and finally tokens of affection, or a signed deal if it’s a marriage.
Working in either direction, upwards or downwards, left or right of it, any event can be divided in layers, each one pertaining to medium, and feelings, and that may help us realise what actually causes us to be hurt.
More often than not, it’s not what we say, or don’t say, also it’s not what we do or don’t do to ourselves and to others, with whom we maybe or may not be in a relation, which causes hurt. People, more commonly, humans have expectations, like the ones exchanged in more or less equal parts in any relation, from themselves and from partners in these relations, and it’s fear of unfulfillment of these which cause us to be hurt, angry and eventually unhappy even. In turn making us even more fearful. Depending on who is on what plane of maturity, which side of the action, and whose baggage of exceptions is it, which got shaken, there is eventually a perpetual flow of guilt. Of doing something wrong, or of being wronged.
It is a free world, may not be so much so free, but that’s what everyone seems to be fighting for, freedom from one thing or the other. Hence there has to be an equal number of freedom of choices as well. Choices which we can make on our own, or which are chosen for us by emotional parameters thrust upon us.
“I am so sorry for doing this to you”, doesn’t sound good if you are starting or ending a conversation with these words. It does make a good start for using all the mediums for sorting out our relations, though. 

For if we can keep aside our hurts, expectations, and wishes and listen to what the other person has got to say, maybe these words would only be then required for strangers on whose toes you stepped in the crowded local train, or state transport bus. But then that’s me speaking my mind, and I am not expecting much.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Thriving off Stupidity and other insights....

Man’s progress, and by man, i don’t mean man as in men, i mean the progress of humans as a race, all over, has been in the hands of a few individuals, who have been hailed as game changers, geniuses by others.
Our dependence on them has always been on the rise, with time and with the complexity of changes they keep bringing in the scheme of things. One could guess, that with so many advances in number of schools, universities, everyone getting good education, there would be more people coming out on the top. But that does not seem to be the case, we see so much disparity all around us. What then are these apostles of change fed? What do they see, which by others remains unseen? Is it something in their genes, or the DNA, that makes them different? Or is it their ability to spot a problem and start working on it’s solution before everybody else?

Lets glance back at a few thousand years, lets view early human being, primitive man, cave dwellers, nomads through a different lens on the eye. Imagine the scene when one of them, out of a group, accidentally created fire. There would have been no instruction manuals. There would have been no disclaimers. Just some part of common sense to help him survive. Fire, would have been known already to man in a lot of different shapes and sizes by then, smalls ones which he could probably spit on, or blow some air, to put them out. Some of them would be large ones, which common sense would advise one to run away from, and not try and put them out without external means. If though, anyone was stupid enough to light one up and then try and put it out by jumping in it, or sit in it for that matter, they would naturally perish and hence had the right to remain extinct and cleanse the world of their stupidity too. These days we tend to call these kind of accidents manufacturing defects, and lawyers help us claim millions in damages.
Survival is the main term here. That has what has been constant since the day our species arrived here, on this planet. Infact that is the whole purpose of any species. During early ages when the term “civilization” hadn’t been coined in its modern meaning, one needed a specific skill set to survive. And back then survival meant actual life and death situations. Not just survive education, girl friends and bosses like we do each day. Some of us have to deal with all three, some are lucky enough to be cursed by just one of them. To complete one basic task, say trekking down to some nearby stream to get some fresh water, must have come with a rider - stay alive during the ordeal. Nature and man would have been in a constant fight with each other. Here is where the game changers stepped in. Why not make products, instead of people scurrying around making fires, gathering water, why not provide these as services and charge for it? And then someone went ahead and patented it. Say, rather than everyone creating their own fires, a few of them started going around selling standardised fires. Why let the people take risk of lighting one up and arsoning one whole village with their stupidity? These game changers made life easy for everyone else around. But these are the ones which didn’t let nature take care of the ones which were not meant to be thriving. The game changers brought about a very rapid change in the environment. It meant people could have improved survival chances, lesser heading out in to the wild and hence an extension of chances to spread more stupidity around. Why and how would one buy as simple a product as fire?  Some people may ask. It is simple to create, very easy to control, one of the earliest tool man discovered, which gave him power over most of the other species. For one, there would definitely have been some great marketing strategy behind it. They would have highlighted the chances of reducing mishaps, the dangers of doing it yourself, various accidents that may happen. Then, since people would have been evolving as a colony there would be regulations in place. A personal fire may be only so high, temperature could not be more than so hotness (there were no units by then, so the hotness could be measured by sacrificing something or someone less liked by all). Why wouldn’t then it be better to go for a standardized product, something which could alleviate your chances of survival by manifolds, rather than trying getting killed while creating one by yourself?
Another off shoot of this would be courses being given on how to create the perfect fire. Something, which one could very well teach oneself on his/her own, would not only be taught to them, another aspect that they would drill into everyone would be that they are completely dumb, and if they didn’t teach one how to light a fire, these people would be better off being eaten by a lion, in the confines of their homes. Some of the precautions that one may have had to learn the hard way, through way of experiences, would now be available to you as digests. One could now take courses, take a look at demos, read pamphlets (sorry not pamphlets, writing wasn’t invented by then), thus enabling even the most simpletons of the pride to be as smart as the first man who accidentally created fire by rubbing stones. Somewhere down the line, we are still the same dumb, scared afraid learner, this i could deduce from the numerous warnings and disclaimers mentioned on products of everyday use. Batteries, deodorant cans, electronic items, anything under the sun can start a potential fire, of which we are still afraid the same.
Eventually over the history, what people with ideas and game changers have done is provide great solutions, but a few amongst us were greater marketers and salesman, they were the ones who actually gave meaning to these changes. These were the ones who convinced everyone that they could be lazy, safer and survive better were they to adhere to usage of these products. Soon the products became a necessity and not a fashion statement. Case in point the latest smart phones of a fruity named company.

Civilization, as it seems started, because humans could not survive alone, because each one had a limited skill set. We as a race needed a combination of these skills to get by. We needed each other. With the advent of civilization came progress, use of technology, creation by some and usage by a larger number of people, with that came security and safety in the confines of a culture. Now in a group, hidden amongst the doers, a lot more people without any skills could survive, unchecked. Infact those were the ones who would survive the longest. They could grow in huge numbers thus increasing the count of stupidity manifolds. But then they had to do something, otherwise people would have identified such freeloaders, and thrown them out. Thus came into being, politics, religions and economics. With increase in the size of each generation, came the chaos.

Where once survival meant saving ourselves from predator and nature’s fury, with our original game changer’s brought along progress, survival meant one had to had the skills to survive the most dangerous predator of all times, man himself. And the sheer count of descendants of the firmly safe and secure, lazy and stupid version of the us, roaming around freely, is what is making any and all skills redundant really fast.

Majority of us are the descendants of the one who hadn’t thrown a spear, hadn’t gone out hunting, hadn’t lighted a fire on his own, because he opted those game changing products to keep himself safe. And these descendants are the ones now hunting all over the world, in business suites, in religious places, in political arenas, studying what others have taught them, speaking what other spoke before them. These are the ones driving complex machines on the roads, even the roads too have now been planned by similar counterparts.
The game changers, the inventors, the scientists and everyone contributing towards progress did bring us forward by leaps and bounds. Without them we would all still be sitting in some cave carving stone tools and painting on walls. But that also made sure that we would always have a community of people thriving within us, who could be stupid and survive and later put all humanity at risk, just by being alive.

I see a lot of people around who would have been better off extinct, but then its still illegal to murder someone. Stupidity can thrive like the worst viral epidemic. Despite the fact that we have so much more to be afraid of, so many more things we could die by, exploding phones, road accidents, nuclear warfare, airplane crashes, and yet we are still here does go around to show, stupidity can survive humans. If you do think about it, stupid isn’t it?

Friday, March 20, 2015

तेरी मेरी लाइफ बहुत अलग है.... Are we so different from each other?

What makes us so different from each other? Is it the quality of life? Is the extravagance of one and the deprivation of other? What is the category on basis of which i can say that i am not you? Is it the physical boundaries that can help put one another at an arms length? And one thing that i would’ve guessed right, is thats too many questions for the time being. It’s not about what we ask but what we chose to be the answer to our questions, i guess, makes us what we are.
So if any of the questions above present themselves to you as well, it would be wise enough to think about your answers well in advance.
Whenever i read a new book, or re-read an old one, there is a certain way i react to it. There is a particular essence that i take home from my experience of reading. I guess that’s what makes us what we are. If we look at two people reading the same book at the same time, maybe its a difficult scenario to imagine, you could just think of any engineering college’s hostel and of course i didn’t mean books which are useful in curriculum. Each one takes along with them their own perceptions and fantasies, once they are done with the ‘reading’. The same logic applies to movies we see. For the matter of convenience, lets assume we are talking about a well seen movie, “Sholay”. There aren’t many people who would want to be in “Thakur’s” place in real life. Infact Sholay was never about revenge, be it thakur’s or veeru’s, its always been the hidden story of Ramlal. A character without whom there could not have been anything possible. Try and recollect his invaluable contribution towards making the movie a resounding success.
For those born and fed on hollywood examples, try imagining IronMan without Jarvis, or for that matter, The Dark Knight without the gadgetry of Mr. Fox. Painfull. Takes the fun out of life.
But then coming back to real lives and our differences. Before i come to that, lets see some common mishaps, which we generally encounter in our day to day lives.

Lets start with mishap number 1, Marriage. Irrespective of religion, race, caste, or creed there is not one married man who doesn’t identify with all the wife jokes or even empathise with the husbands in the jokes for that matter. Same applies to wives too. Husband’s are the bane of their life. They too seem to be facing the same domestication issues as faced maybe by Eve with Adam. I hope they were married. Infact most wives or girlfriends or fiancees, all of them, face the same issues as faced by most dog trainers.
Teach shopping (sorry teach enjoying shopping)
Teach behaving in front of guests, read in-laws
Teach table manners, don’t ask for food you will be shown your dish on time
Don’t yelp, when kicked, even if in the balls. Its a way to show affection
The list above is not exhaustive and the order may vary from people to people, which also kind of brings us to the next mishap,
The mother-in-law. This one has been the favorite since time immemorial, and for all ages and stages of any marriage. A mother in law even after being extinct from a marriage, can cause the same pain as she could have when she was around. Nothing brings people together like the pain of been through the clutches of their mother in law. This goes across genders, race, caste, place or religion. Despite there being numerous examples of relations going otherwise, i guess the second biggest reason for divorces after marriage is mother in laws. For reference google Bindu, Aruna Irani, or even in hollywood, there was a not so recent movie called monster in law. I rest my case.

On an individual basis it may be highly improbable to predict events and happenings one goes through in their lives. But when you bring the Theory of Generalization into the picture, a lot of things start making sense. Which brings me to this theory of generalization. It is the habit of socially judicious individuals to generalize the over all effect and cause of happenings. Say if i observe a large number of people visiting a particular place on a particular day, i wouldn’t be wrong in generalizing this and assuming that they would do this again the next occurrence of the same day, or that they are a riot inciting mob coming together with an ulterior motive, time to open fire on them. Its this sort of cause and effect reasoning which forms the backing of this series of blogs. Hence the rider of reading it at your own risk.

Using this theory of generalization, i came to the conclusion that life follows a very predictable pattern, as following,

Birth -> Teenage -> Adulthood -> Middle Age -> Old Age -> Death

Again, like i said, the individual stages may vary from people to people, stage to stage, but when you look at it from the perspective of life as a whole, this pattern does not take into account, what species you are, where you were born, who brought you up, which food you ate, even what you have been drinking for that matter. It makes a lot of sense to view life as combination of linear phases, sometimes the phases, move forward and backwards too, but its the same progression, life follows, without differentiating. Life doesn’t come with plans to mess these stages, unless you are a drunk teenager, high on money and speed on the roads, and you happen to mow down most adults in your path. Then the stages do get mixed up some what. For all.
In order to understand the difference which aren’t there we have to move away from individualities and towards generalities, as thrown starkly towards us in our lives.

By life on the whole, i am now leaving the realm of human race and cutting across multiple species. Each species is on this planet is here to make sure they keep surviving and the most common way to survive is large numbers. No wonder stupidity is thriving and intelligence and common sense aren’t. The numbers game has usually worked for all the species, unless of course the species concerned are the dinosaurs, or the dodos, some got cheated by life so that others could survive, and some got killed by others for the fun of it.

With all the above astounding evidence there is one generalization which comes to the mind, once your remove the narrowing scope of man made differences there isn’t much that differs under the vinear.

Talking about man made differences, lets list a few, down here so that we know how deep down we aren’t different,
Because this is the biggest divider in today’s times. People look upto and look down upon others based on what and how much worth of mineral they have in their pockets and banks. Take that away, i think, humans as a race comes with the same biologically fitted parts, irrespective of what your income is, what your inheritance is.
Religion, people say unites alot. Yes when we look at it from a certain perspective. When we see how religions looks after millions of wanderers, takes them in, there are a lot of our race working towards the very good of all humans, but only if they belong to their own religion. Thats the divider which causes us to fight, spill blood, forego the very soul of our humanity. Religion on its own, in its closed group unites, but when it starts competing for supremacy, it becomes a killer force.

And when we try and apply these to say another species, they fall on their face. Lets for example, assume the same rules for a pride of lions.
Assuming that they divide themselves on the basis of economy and religions. Lets then see what would happen to hunting for food.
Lion goes on a hunting spree, comes back with three dead deers, lioness - what’s gotten into you, don’t you remember today is Tuesday? we don’t eat deer today. Imagine the lion running along back to others to dispose them off. Next week when goes hunting on the same day, he’s going to definitely eat a portion before heading home.
Lets put the economic angle into it. If real estate were to come into play when deciding where to live for a lion family, what would be the scene like?
Lion - Lets chose this one, its closer to where i frequently go for hunting.
Lioness - No, this has no luxury amenities, what will my relatives say when they come to visit, we have just one level den, the other lion has a three level den with an attached mini jungle too. We can’t live here.
The above conversations do sound foolish, when looked out of context of anyone else but human beings. We are so used to these small social and cultural idiosyncrasies that we take them as rules, as norms for granted. Anyone who walks or behaves out of those is different.

There are a lot better ways to be different in this world. We are different when we chose to get affected by the real reasons behind our suffering, behind suffering of our fellow humans, when we want to do something towards better of all and not just filling out petty coffers. We are different when we help people in achieving their purpose in life, and not just preaching about what ways are there to get to god.

Eventually all the difference that there is, lies in what we believe to be true. That stems from an awakened consciousness, that stems from common sense. That’s what makes us different from one another. Rest all are same.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

अब क्या करके आया है.... What do people feel when they see you smiling?

I have always believed smiling is good. Personally i always try and keep smiling. It is an entirely different matter that my smiling face looks at lot like Arnab Goswami in thick debate on News Hour tonight.
Something that i learned very early, way back in my childhood days, was that if you keep a smile pasted on your face, which by practise should make you look like you are a vulture and you just crossed Death Valley, people will get really scared of you. That is the actual truly infectious smile. People should take one look at you and hope to die peacefully of a horrible unknown viral infection, than imagining what you have been upto to look like this.
As per a well known movie dialog, its quite easy to smile, it is a simple three part process. Look normal, widen your lips, open your eyes a big as they can get, and assume you are looking like Dr. Evil.
So much for the perfect smiling face. Lets move on to the purpose and goodness of general smiling. While rummaging through some pages on the internet, for most of good part of yesterday, reading about smiles, all through the morning, then a bit in afternoon and some more in the evening, i did come across lots of useful information about them. To me it seems, that the internet is full of people on one side telling you how to fake a smile if you can’t honestly come up with a real one, and then on the other hand they give you lessons on how to spot fake ones from real ones, effectively.
The time i did not spend reading and in between meals, i spent practising the same in front of the mirror. First trying to come up with a fake smile, stick with it for sometime, and then trying to spot whether its a fake one, in my mirror image. Eventually the mirror had enough of me and cracked up. And no wonder my mom does not now want to look me in the face even, its been contorted into a very hideous combination of a questioning smile.
A lot of my research also went into the domain of benefits of smiling. From what i could boil down from my extensive research, were 4 major points every internet blogger would agree to. I read 3 blogs and 1 article, which i think are more than enough research for any such topic. Mine being the fifth one which i would hopefully be reading on the same topic.
So here are some of the basic benefits, 
  1. Smiling lowers your heart rate, thus reducing stress.
  2. Smiles are contagious, you have one on your face, pretty soon everyone you see would be smiling too.
  3. Smiles make you look attractive. There is some doubt on this one, but i went with the majority. It didn’t work out so well for The Joker did it, speaking of which, do you want to know how i got these scars?
  4. Smiles increase your lifespan. Maybe over the long run. If you can believe that a normal heart rate, a stress free life is good and smiles are the only contagious diseases spreading around, also the theory that attractive people live longer than their uglier counterparts, i can even give you 13 reasons why attractive people live longer, you are on the right track.

There could be a lot more benefits too, though from my research i found that they mostly stem from these 4. Then while we are at it, it would be so much so better to see, into these 4 reasons too, a bit of an in depth analysis.

Lowering your heart rate with a smile
And thus reducing stress. Every activity comes with a disclaimer and a rider. Do it at your own risk. If you are seen grinning at a funeral, all happy about the inheritance, maybe your stress would go down, but what of the people attending in sorrow? Similarly smiling consistently in front of a cop would land you in a lot of trouble. That too when maybe he has just stopped you for standing besides a corpse, gun in hand. You could go for the insanity plea eventually. Worst, you are stopped by the Delhi Police around Independence day and you smiling in their faces. None of the situations may lower your heart rate and reduce stress, neither in the short run nor the long run.
Smiles are contagious
Like i wrote earlier, here is a rider attached too. If you aren’t the one smiling, and everybody you come across on the street is, promptly check if you are wearing you pants. This situation here is bit gender biased, especially in Indian context. Because if you are a female, and you are slightly underdressed,  by which i mean, that people from opposite sex can see you face clearly, you are in for a lot more looks than a simple smile. It could be hungry eyes too.
But once you have checked and rechecked your attire, and still people are looking at you smiling, it will drive you crazy to your core. Your only option would be to smile back and paste a grin on your face as well, hence the contagiousness. There would be another bloke, like you were, without a smile and now its their turn to go through what you just went through and that ought to bring a genuine smile on your face. That is what everyone in the street is thinking smiling.
Smiles make you look attractive
This again is a hugely biased analysis. It applies to boys and girls, males and females differently. Why? Good question. Females do not need smiles to look attractive. They smile to bring boys to knees, make puppies out of perfectly good men, so that they can be turned into an obedient lot.
All it takes is a smiling girls face from behind the steering wheel, to forget that she almost ran over you when she mistook her cars brakes for the accelerator. Once smile and you are ready to go back to crossing the road again to give her another chance at killing you. Everyone needs practise you say. On the other hand, when guys smile so to impress a girl, they tend to forget about their roving eyes, which kind of gives out that the smile is not because they are looking at their faces only. And thus goes the attractiveness part too.
Smiling increases your life span
Yes it does. Infact if you are able to save yourself any day from the above situations, you would but of course live much longer. It is so much like life insurance. You put in all the efforts but its the others in your life which reap the benefit off it. They don’t get to look at the real you, hence you don’t get to see your real self, thus you don’t get killed by any random man on the street just because they hated how you look. Yep smile is your ultimate vitamin for longevity.

Infact even after all the aforementioned pros and cons, i would say keep smiling. Smile and let the world wonder what are you upto now.

Once you actually start doing it, it would bring a genuine smile on your face realising people get so perplexed by such a simple weapon. A smile. Hands up i have a smile on my face.

Monday, February 23, 2015

मैं झूठ नहीं बोलता.... And are you a compulsive liar?

There are two kinds of people in this world. There are many types but mostly when related to different filters, its earlier to calculate with any number divisible by 2.
For lying we will start with two and further drill into the subcategories.
One, who lie and get caught. Two, who lie and get caught and then lie some more. The second category is those of the compulsive liars. The first one is just about everyone else. Then there is a group which does not come into any of the above categories, they form intellectuals. They too lie, but they never get caught lying.
No one in this world as we live in today, can survive on truth alone. Lies can be small, very harmless ones. You are late for an appointment, the person you are supposed to meet is calling repeatedly, and you finally pick the phone once, only to yell “Am stuck in traffic, tu dilli mein challan karwaega, 5 minute mein pahuch raha hun”.
Lets assume, that you for a day you will speak only the truth. We all have seen Jim Carrey’s original and Govinda’s remake. We may not be as hilarious as both of them, mostly because they were mouthing lines given to them by other about previously thought situations. You on the other hand would be in the direct line of fire. Here could be a few plausible conversations,

Your Boss: Ramess, I think the following changes would make the presentation better.
You: Sir, aap to rehne do. saara data bhi picchle saal ka hai, but tujhe kya farak padega. Kaam ka kaam to hota nahin, yeh faltu k changes kara lo bus. Font size change karke 10 kar dun, to sahi rahega?
For the english speaking readers, let me translate what Ramess said - “ Let it be, sir. You have no idea what actual work is. I think, all you learnt in powerpoint was playing with themes and colors. Suits you. Even the data that we are showing is from last year, but why would it concern you, lets change the font size to 10, then probably the figures would add up.”

Another scenario could be closer to home,

Wife: You don’t love me like you used to, you don’t even say I love you to me anymore.
You: Kyun kahun? kya reh kya gaya hai life mein tere kharche uthane k alawa, kamar tuut gayi hai meri, uspe se I love you bhi chahiye? mere gurde nikaal k bech de. le I love you meri maa, keh dia. Ab khush? Chai milegi ab?
Again let me translate for the english speaking reader, “ Yes I don’t, every cell in my body revolts at the thought of being close to you, living with you. Your constant nagging kills me, and your expenditures have left me broke. Mortgage my kidneys maybe then I may be able to afford you. And here’s your I love you, satisfied? Now can I get a cup of tea?”

Mostly probably in the first case, Ramess would die a horrible death. In the second case, death would be the easy way out. Just hope you mother in law does not start living with you to sort you out. But then to avoid these situations in life, you should lie. You have to lie. There is no other way to survive this world. These are the little harmless situations where in you have no other way out. White lies is what we call them. Things you don’t say, so that people around you are happy and not turning in hunter and killers, hungry for your flesh and blood.

We are all taught the same lessons in school mostly. Even in the social circles we aren’t taught specifically to lie and cheat. I don’t deny that there are many places, which teach you exactly that, it could be a management school, and engineering college hostel, even for that matter, a government office. But growing up, there comes out a tendency in some of us, to lie in the face of everything. That the truth just isn’t good enough. It not worth it. Lie and keep lying whatever maybe the reason. This is the habit of lying. Wherever i look, i see habitual liars. And i look in the mirror too often. I am not spared from it as well.
The worst form of habitual lying is lying to ones inner-self. What hurts life most is when people start lying to themselves. For no specific reason. Once you aren’t truthful to yourself, you can’t be truthful to anyone. Sooner or later anything you say would be a lie. You won’t be able to utter a single word which would mean what you feel like. On the face we lie that we are happy, satisfied, inside we are lying to ourselves about everything supposedly good in us. We have to break this streak, else we end up keep walking a path which does not lead to peace in life. And the worst part is we keep lying to everyone, inside and outside that this is the best path for us. Truth no matter how hard, is more relieving than the sweetest lies. We keep masking our inner feelings, we lie to people who are close to us, often because we don’t want to hurt them, but eventually in the long run, you are hurting them more than anyone else. We keep them in a cocoon of doubt, a dark corner, till the time its too much to bear, for anyone, and we simply no longer feel alive from inside.

Of course, there are course of actions which can’t be seen only through the eyes of morality and truthfulness. But its our choice in the end to wake up and smell the coffee.
I don't advise to start being truthful hence forth, its a dangerous plan, for anyone, more so for me. But do be truthful to what you are and what you feel inside, that would be a good place to begin.

Friday, February 13, 2015

यार मैं बड़ा परेशान हुँ.... How important it is to feel unhappy?

unhappy |ʌnˈhapi| adjective (unhappier, unhappiest)
1 not happy: an unhappy marriage.

sad |sad| adjective (sadder, saddest)
1 feeling or showing sorrow; unhappy: I was sad and subdued

The above are how the words are defined as in the dictionary. Which one? That I didn’t care to check. Internet and Mobiles are a good way to skirt a lot of efforts. A lot of effort.
One noticeable point though is the examples for “unhappy and sad”. Both of them seem to be pointing in one direction, the future for many, the present for still more and a past for a lucky few. And these are not what I thought of on my own, googling up these words by ‘meaning’ would show you the same. Apparently, the number one reason associated with the feeling of unhappiness is known to google. Rather known to all, just that google can publicly admit it.
But this post is not about the top ten reasons, its all about why and what of being unhappy.
Unhappy and sad are synonyms for good. A lot many people don’t know when to use which word. Neither do I. In that case I am with the majority. But there seems to be a fundamental difference between the two. What could be it? Order of magnitude? Order of expression? One thing is for sure, unhappy sounds more of a self inflicted situation.
People saying “I am unhappy” aloud are seen as negative emotion explosives.
Somehow saying “I am sad” evokes a more positive reaction. A sad person deserves empathy but somehow an “unhappy” person needs to be avoided. Its almost as if sadness needs to be shared but unhappiness is contagious. I may be the only one assuming this. It could be just me who thinks like this, but since I am one lazy dog and I can’t go out doing referendums, I would go ahead and declare this to be the reaction of majority of people. If I was in majority once, It’s safe to assume the majority is with me too.
Coming back to unhappy and sad. Unhappy is entirely a state of mind. I am unhappy with the way population of Delhi voted. I am unhappy with the weather, its pretty clear sunny and warm, just like being promised good clean politics by a certain group of people and then delivering it.
Don’t take this as a diatribe on Delhi election results. Its just that the latest happening are easier on the mouth as examples.
Sad on the other hand comes from deep within. Sad has an emotional ring to it. I can be unhappy with any trivial happening. Sadness stems from something troubling deep within. Unhappy is I doing something to myself. Sad is me feeling something. That is a very big difference if looked from this angle. I can clearly remember when was the last time I was unhappy and when I was sad, distinctly.
Life gives us innumerable moments. It also gives us the choice to take away experiences from the these moments. Most of the times it is in our own hands to chose how we react to these experiences. Unhappiness is just that, a reaction. We have the power to control it.
Sadness is a feeling. That’s what makes us human. To be able to feel the hurt, pain and emotions of others. This is what makes us appreciate life. If I feel sad when I am away from my loved ones, it gives me a reason to be happy. Happy for the way I will feel when we meet again.
Unhappiness has always a lot of drama attached to it. it stops us from changing ourselves. It makes us blind, and we don’t make efforts to change the state of unhappiness. On the other hand sadness lets our emotions flow. In a way, clearing up our feelings, making us realise importance of certain relations in life.
Eventually the cure of both is to be happy. When unhappy we have to be decide to react otherwise. When sad, we need to look towards the brighter side. Sadness does not mean you have to react unhappily.
Contentment does not come from reactions which fight life. It comes from accepting life and feeling happy. No wonder the dictionary definition of Happy goes somewhat like this,

happy |ˈhapi| adjective (happier, happiest)

1 feeling or showing pleasure or contentment: I am happy.

Monday, January 12, 2015

भाई ये तो जबर हो गया.… मतलब एकदम जबर.… What if everything's awesome?

There is that one scenery, picture, painting, one view with which we can all relate to. For some it’s the sunset, over the ocean, behind the mountains, even behind the lines of towering sky scrappers. All pink and reddish, in the last rays of the day.
It could be a waterfall for some. Foaming and frothing at the mouth, spraying millions of droplets, into the air, which kiss your face and dissolve away into nothingness.
There is that one scene which makes us stop in our paths and say "Man, that was awesome....!".

Now imagine a local native from the same place. From the same area you found mesmerising. Would it hold the same beauty in his eyes? I doubt it. He can see the same view daily and the beauty could be lost on him.
My first flight, it was an experience. I was fascinated by everything. The airport, the security, even the flight announcement. By the way, then I was Flying the good times, Kingfisher. There used to be a lot to be excited about it back then. Later it all became a routine, I could sleep walk my way to catching a flight. It had stopped being an experience. It wasn’t anymore awesome enough that no one knew how the plane flew, it just took me from one place to another. Bernoulli will not be happy right now.

What I do want to say is, that every moment is awesome in itself. By just happening. It’s awesome to be able to see, write and publish such shit, people go to internet to read it, feel a sense of awesomeness piling into themselves. As matter of routine we have forgotten how to collect experiences. Stealing moments from everything happening around us. There is a long chain of events, that can be actually, completely, traced back to the big bang. Right from this moment when you are reading this line and thinking what the crap?
Maybe we have lost oodles of data in between, we may have too many missing links, the theory of evolution is at best a theory, but still we have come a long way from atoms and molecules. Darwin would kill me by now. But then who knows what we were before that?

Even if we just rewind some steps back to today morning, its surprising that some us did not trip over the rug on the bedside and fell face forward just when you thought what a cold beautiful morning it was. That would have happened to someone at-least considering there are 7 billion of us roaming around, all ready to lay their lives at a moments notice.

Our lives are a string of experiences, all good and bad. These are judged for what they are, under the light of our expectations from the outcome of experiences. But each of these experiences are made up of further smaller particles. Small, infinitesimally small, indivisible moments. If we take out some time, from running after experiences, running into the next experience, without appreciating the first one, someday we may slow down enough to observe our lives. In each of its moments, its fun, miraculous, fantastic and awesome. Maybe that is what it mean to be alive then. Rest is just living.

There are a lot experiences etched into our memories, not just because they were awesome at that  moment in time, but they take us back to that same time and feelings.
The moment when you learnt to ride a bicycle, all alone. The first time you said I love you to someone not a part of your family, then repeated to everyone you met for more than a couple of hours. Some people live their lives without ever hearing it even once, ask raj and simran from DDLJ. In their complete running time on then celluloid, they never once heard it from each other.
Have you seen a flower blooming? Unless of course it was from the trending Time-Lapse videos, it takes some time, maybe days, I haven’t seen one, so I am guessing to cover my knowledge here. But it would be one of the awesome moments.

We are always charmed by what we think is a singularity. A one time event. If it were to happen everyday, we would lose interest in it. It would not longer be awesome, spectacular. That is what happens to us in our day to day lives too. But there is a way out. Slow down a bit. The next time you are commuting from work, ride slow, drive slow, look around, you may get to see something that was always there, but you never noticed before.
Similarly slowdown in your lives too. Try and live a moment. You can always keep running later. I never do personally, I am allergic to personal fitness.
But either you can run and reach predetermined goals, milestones in life, look back at them as achievements, or you can enjoy the awesome journey that life is, and bask in its glory.

Whatever that makes you feel awesome, deep down within you.