Saturday, May 09, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


Sometimes words aren't capable of expressing things. But then, they are the only means of expression God has given us mortals. 

She was a home maker for 20 years of her life. At the advance age of 42, she became a widowed mother of 2 with no job, little money, limited education, no real skills and no way to make a living. 

And yet she prevailed.

She was broken and scared deep inside but still found her courage and fought all her fears. She joined her first job as an office assistant at 42. Notwithstanding her years and inexperience, she learned to use a computer, to ride a 2-wheeler and to read and write in English. 

In a matter of days, she transformed into this astute professional. And with her discipline and sincerity earned a reputation and fan following both at her work and in her social circles. She saw through her children's education without letting them make any compromises and ensured a worthy life for the both of them. 

Through all of that, she even managed to remarkably exceed expectations in that toughest job descriptions of all - being a mother. 

Her story fills me with the pride that some part of her lives within me. It gives me the belief that if you're really determined, nothing is impossible. That no academic or professional background is necessary to make a real impact. And that nothing can stop you except for your own choices. She took a voluntary retirement by her own choice after 7 years to help us settle down.

I have followed many charismatic leaders in my life and they have influenced me in some way or the other. And there would be still more that I will follow in my life to come. 

But you're the leader I choose to become in my life. 

Salute to you #MeriMaa

#HappyMothersDay!

Khali Khali hathon se, kitna de jaati hai maa...





Monday, March 16, 2015

Hollow Leaders

I have only been to 5 different countries so far. And everywhere I have been to, I have witnessed some great things about the culture. But when I think of India, and our culture, its very tough to say what it is all about. There is no saying - we are the best at X and the worst at Y. Because for every superlative, you'd find something much worse or much more better at play here.

Barring the regional differences, this is not a great thing. This lack of consistency tells us that our country, and its people, have lost the sense of their inherent values. If you, like me, believe in self awareness as the first step to self improvement, you'd know that values are like muscles. The more you practice them, the better they get. And the longer you ignore them, the more you'd feel that they dont exist. India, to my horror, is on the wrong end of the problem. 

Take our roads for example. We might value Human Dignity more than anything else. Except when we are behind the wheels on an Indian road. As a result, more people are killed on Indian roads than anywhere else in the world. Statistics suggest that most of them are pedestrians run over by drivers like you and me. 

Imagine your drive to work today. Does this metric really surprise you? 

We're not killers. On the contrary, some of us might have pledged to making human lives better. With the exception of the time when we are driving. Well, exceptions don't work while building a value system. it is a finite resource that gets depleted every time you do something contrary to your beliefs.

Again, we might value Respect for Individual more than anything else. But when gangs of burly men collectively lech at a female dancer in our movies, we are okay to watch it. Some of us call it artistic liberty. Most intelligent folks know that its in there because millions of Indians find it akin to soft porn. They dont realize that those very millions gradually start believing that its okay to do that in real life as well. Art has always influenced societies. Throughout history. Dont believe me? Watch The Story of India and India's Daughter, both BBC Documentaries.

Its not only these instances. Just about any value is at a great peril in India. If you value Honesty, chances are you might have ended up giving bribes to policemen every time you got caught jumping the signal or not carrying the right paperwork. By the way, is jumping the signal or not carrying the right paperwork being honest in the first place? In the movie, Happy New Year, a disastrous movie of epic proportions which I could not watch beyond 15 mins, the lead actor takes money to fix his boxing match. But he angrily beats the crap out of his opponent because he calls him a thief for some reason. Pray, isnt fixing a match exactly that? 

For most Indians, lying is perfectly normal. They would lie about their experience on their resume, they lie to their boss, parents, spouse even children. Some end up becoming pathological liars. Whats the big deal, its just saying A when actually B is the truth. Why? Well that doesn't matter. 

We live in the middle of thousands of such contradictions. So much so, that we have become oblivious to these challenges to our value system. As a society, our values have become really really feeble. 

We have become less of humans. Less than anywhere else in the world anyway. 

How do you find your values?

Quite like our genetic make up, our value systems are unique to us. Its what makes us who we are. Most values are inherited. But creating a value system takes years of exercise and will. 

Remember the first time you saw someone giving a bribe. Or the first time you saw someone getting beaten or abused in public. Did your heart rate go up. Did you feel rage engulf you. Chances are, you were stopped in your tracks - maybe because you were too little to do anything, or maybe because someone around you stopped you from taking a stand. 

How is your reaction to these things today? Do you feel anything? Anything at all? Chances are you gradually become oblivious to all this. Thats your value system becoming thin and weak.

A good way of finding out what we value is to find what makes us really pissed. Is it lack of accountability? Then accountability is what you value.

Another good way to is think about how you behave with people you know. Or people who influence your life - a boss, a client, your team or you family or an elder. Do you behave similarly to someone you do not know. Why? Your values are always with you, no matter who you deal with. 

Its important to build a value system based on life experiences. There are several self help blogs that can help you with it. 

Action
Like most results, values are created by taking small incremental steps towards a goal. In my earlier examples, if you could not take an action by slapping the perpetrator across his face, you probably did the right thing. At any rate, doing that would be like putting a bandage on Titanic. Even if you think it is a bandage that is. This change requires a lot of action right from the top till you and me. 

In a number of ways, I see PM Modi working on it. Take for instance his Clean India initiative. A positive time bound goal like this has the potential of bringing people together. Or, for that matter, his emphasis on reducing fancy laws and paperwork. More laws only lead to more variety in corruption. Wish to reduce corruption? Build the right incentive structures. There are a number of groups that are also trying to make some change. 

But this is a kind of change that cannot come from lawmakers alone. Neither by societies or groups that are few and far between. You and I have to do something. Starting with understanding what it is truly to be a human being. 

The challenge is that this kind of thinking comes when shit hits the fan. The western world has learnt it the hard way as a result of 2 gruesome world wars. We ourselves were much better people immediately after independence. Remember grandpa talking about caring neighborhoods? It is proven that shared suffering leads to more connected societies.

A Confession
By no means my purpose of writing this is to project that I am much better. 

I have had my own trysts with all these challenges. The contradictions in the Indian society has left me pretty much like everyone else. I too indulge in risky driving behaviours. I too have been held by policemen for not carrying the right paperwork. I too have lied and maintained a poker face. I too have seen and done wrong.

However my humble submission is : I recognise that this is a problem that needs fixing. And I am working on fixing it at the very core of my identity. Are you?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Missing Monarch...


leader
 
 (ˈliːdə)
— noun

a person who rules, guides, or inspires



In 1857, a leaderless India went up in arms against an unruly regime. In a distant land, an unperturbed queen in her high halls took notice a little too late. Till then the company fighting factions of small leaders recklessly spilled blood on the streets. Delhi was razed to ground as the emperor, the last king of India ordained by destiny, watched on - powerless,  defeated and irrelevant.

Three incidents have drifted me to write this after a longish pause of 1 year. First - Clinton's speech in the 2012 primary. Second- the brutal assault of a young girl in Delhi and the ensuing agitation. And third - Sachin Tendulkar's announcement to retire from the ODI
.
"In the defense forces, what do you think it takes for men be always ready to die for a cause?" asked the retired Kargil veteran turned HR Head of a company that visited my college for placements. As the floor went about guessing at reasons like love for the nation, or glory of the job or accountability, the veteran smilingly revealed - its their leader! The leader who makes them understand the value of their sacrifice, the leader who understands their fears and their motivations and their dreams and their frustrations. Who reaches out to them and make them believe that in spite of all their weaknesses and setbacks, they can achieve their goals! Above all the leader who really communicates with them.

A leader must communicate. Leave his followers with misty eyes, make them stand and ask for change. Clinton' s 50 mins monologue reminds us how whats true for a leader in the army is just as true for the people they defend. I am not an American patriot, nor am I a hardcore democrat, but if you want to see how a leader can move his people, touch the proverbial cord, and how badly we, in India, need someone who can speak for us, you've got to watch this clip.



Opportunities have presented themselves for those applying for India's leadership job. Agitation against corruption. The latest protests against assaults on women. On all of these occasions hordes of people - confused on what they want, clueless about how their demands will be achieved, have gathered on the streets only to be greeted with lathis, tear shells and disappointments. Mostly, undeserving men have tried to take quick advantage of the situation. Don't take me wrong. I don't call them undeserving men because they are any lesser. But because most of them have simply lacked the vision to understand how society would evolve. Their shallow hopes are too conspicuous for an honest educated middle class Indian to follow them. And on all occasions none except a handful of people have taken their lead.

For 6 days now, the streets of Delhi are filled with mobs - none of them looking beyond the here and now. All of them demanding death penalty for the perpetrators of this crime as if that would solve their problems. And not a single applicant for the high job has come out to guide them. Tell them that everything is relative in the society and that one ordinance can have several other repercussions  That it has to be a slow guided process towards a better world. And it would take years and years of efforts one step at a time. Probably starting with a harsh punishment. Rome wasn't built in a day.

The analogies are remarkable. The high queen is still in her abode giving audience only when she deems fit. Her ordained king is a great man himself- but clearly a misfit as a leader of men. And the country is slowly but steadily passing on to a confused bedlam.

The frustration on the streets is not a worthless hooligan energy. much can be achieved by channelizing this force into usable action. What we lack is a direction to this confused mass. And that, before it turns into a bloody game it became in 1857.

In the midst of all this, the legendary Sachin R Tendulkar has declared his retirement from the ODI. Not that its related. But I still haven't been able to completely absorb this news. Probably more on that a bit later.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Its inexplicable how sometimes life makes us see the deeper meaning of things in ways we would rather not appreciate. Like a cruel master, life wants us to slog before we get the reward. So we value them much thoroughly.

It was mid November, 2010. I was sitting all alone in a Hospital waiting for my turn to be checked by the Neurologist. Scared to death if the headache I was having for the past 5 days was just a neck sprain or something worse. I had obviously not talked about the headache to anyone at home. I wanted to know what it was first before telling my mom, or anyone else. This meant I had to go to the hospital alone. Not a very pleasant idea for a doctor-fearing soul like me.

Not helping the headache was the constant push from my family for marriage. I had just turned 26 three months back. Why should I get married? What happens to all my plans? My guitar lessons, my gym – which may have given me the neck sprain, my second MBA! Everything goes out of the window if I get married. I really failed to see why in the world do people marry? When would my mom stop doing that to me? Exactly why is she in such a hurry?

While my mind wandered from one reason to another for why a bachelor guy with his minds in the right place stay bachelor for as long as he can, I saw an octogenarian couple sitting across from me in the hospital lobby. They both looked quite well off, educated, decent couple. The man was a calm, pleasant looking oldie but he might have been slightly worried. I can’t blame him; he was sitting in a hospital after all. Even I must’ve looked a little worried, because we exchanged the I-know-you’re-also-shit-scared-of-docs-just-like-me look several times in that long waiting period. His wife was sitting next to him wearing a saree. She was frail, slightly slouched and looked at least a thousand times more worried than her husband. She bore the look that you’d rather avoid seeing while you’re in the hospital, as if the doctor was going to prescribe her the bitterest of pills. One could easily say that she hated going to doctor’s much more than me or her husband. In face she almost wore a mawkish look on her face – as if she will burst out crying any moment.

She must be scared that the doctor was going to give her an injection – was my explanation for her worried face. Her husband was trying very hard to cheer her up. Every once in a while he would utter some sweet nothings into her ear and she would give a very obviously half-hearted smile that said “you won’t find it funny if you were in my place!! I am in so much trouble right now, you can’t even imagine” In fact at one point it seemed as if she was scolding the poor man for his constant jokes - so much for his efforts to cheer her up! I felt so bad for the old man. I imagined him remembering his good old bachelor days… And that, so to say, reinforced my belief that marriages are a bad idea – at any stage of the institution.

At that point uncle might have given me a look – noticing that I just saw him getting upbraided by his wife in the hospital lobby. Men don’t like that – getting upbraided in public, I can tell you that. So I decided I would look elsewhere for the rest of the waiting period. There were plenty of options in the pretty Junior Doctors that were doing the rounds… suited me just fine.

The hour went by and their name was called. The old man remained calmly fixed in his place, while his wife made an effort to get up. And that drew my attention back to where they were sitting. She took a while in adjusting her purse to her shoulder and then started walking around her husband to go behind the wheelchair on which he was seated. It took her some effort to push the wheelchair ahead, which was when I saw that her husband had a painful plaster in his leg. And the appointment was with an orthopedic who was going to remove that plaster today.
Paradigms shifted. I still found the husband to be a very sweet and pleasant old man. He was smiling at me as he was being taken to the doctor – as if he knew what I’d been thinking all this while. And I smiled back.

The image of his lady took a sharp turn though. She was a physically weak lady with a formidable will power to have brought her husband for as big a procedure as this all alone at that age. She had a hard time sitting there waiting for the worst to get over. She might have been praying all this while and her husband was disturbing her, because I saw a lace of beads in her hand. There was so much love in her eyes, so much care and so much of affection for her husband that she did a poor job in fighting her worried face there. She must not have been a great company at the hospital waiting room. But she was certainly a great better half. The wrinkles on her face as she smiled talked volumes of the loving story of a life spent more better than worse.

Marriages, I reckon, are truly made in heaven. And if there’s one for me, we’ll see... ;)

My Preciousss!

A simple man sets out on his quest to save the world – and succeeds. In doing so he makes lifelong friends with the Greatest of the Greats. Not to mention the highest king of his time who bows to him in respect before the strength of his own assembly. And yet, the simple man comes back just the same to his simple home in his own little town, amongst his own people.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien is easily the best work of fiction you’d get to read – provided you have the patience of going through its 1600 or so pages between the three paperbacks. It’s a tale of sheer nerve in desperate situations, about human capacity to persevere beyond hope and despair in order to preserve whatever little he thinks is innocent and beautiful in the world – even if it means that he’d never get to see that beauty again. It’s a tale of undying friendship and love, of loyalty and not the least – of Hope! And what it can make us do…

The most adorable character in the book is that of Samwise Gamgee, the protagonist’s gardener who gets caught in the quest only to pay the price of his harmless inquisitiveness to know what serious matter was being discussed between his master and the old wizard, Gandalf. And yet, he remains with his master, as the last man standing, even as everything else either falls or fails.

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam!
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.



Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?


Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

For the non readers – the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson is highly recommended. But while it’s a masterpiece in its own rights, it does not quite meet the perfection with which emotions are depicted in the books. In all fairness to the movie, it’s just impossible to achieve that. Yet it comes quite close.

A word of caution though – the story and its characters, even the treacherous Gollum, might get on to you. As they have to me. And it might take a while for you to come out of the effect. But eventually you will.

For now, my bike is called Shadowfax ;)

Friday, August 06, 2010

“Generations to come would scarce believe that such a one as this, ever in flesh and blood, walked upon this earth.”

- Albert Einstein on Mahatma Gandhi’s Funeral

Mohandas Gandhi was a great man.

Period

And I am not discussing this any further.

Too many lunch time discussions have been dedicated to harping about these poor souls of India whose only fault was to have it in them to be considered a worthy life the world over. What baffles me is when the entire human race is willing to see these men for what they stood for, why do some of us find it so difficult to appreciate their existence amongst us.

If we were to judge the greatness of a person on the basis of how indulgent a life they lived, or, how much they gave in to material pleasures, then we would have to strike off half our list of great people. And we would probably lose out on the most important ones when we do that! I don’t really think that should even be one of the criteria. You don’t have to be an ascetic to be great.

Besides, every great man has after all been constrained by the time that he lived in. Aristotle could have probably changed the face of this world and the entire course of human history from what he taught, had it not been for the time he existed in. Alexander could have been a master strategist for making the world a much better place for humans, but his time taught him only to win battles. All great men ended up submitting to the era in which they walked this planet. We cannot blame one person for an incidence of history that was the result of a host factors that were playing in that time.

Mahatma Gandhi gave to this world the amazing concept of passive resistance. And his life influenced many more great people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. , Nelson Mandela and Suu Kyi. Probably that should be the only litmus test for judging greatness of a human being. And going by that, I feel that he more than deserves the place in history that he has been accorded. Only we have to open our minds before we pass our judgments.

And while at it, let’s be fair to Nehru as well. Everything that makes us proud of being Indian today is in a way gifted to us by his great vision. But I guess most of our folks will take a while before they appreciate this. Till then, I choose to give these discussions nothing more than a passing smile.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stepping into the dark

Devoid of my sight

I ask myself yet again

Wrong... Or am I right?


The magic of my words

Fail me tonight.

I am hurt, I am scared

Still I want to fight


For someone told me all along

That there‘s love in this world... that it’s nice

That even if I do it all wrong,

It’s good to be me. Its alright


There are thousands to put the blame

Not one to make it right.

And may my epitaph read aloud

“This guy spoke the truth, before he closed his eyes.”

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It is a great feeling to be around people who value you. Who appreciate and accept you for what you are and not for what you ought to be. Who, you know, won’t judge you for your shortcomings. They would rather let you be as you are, considering all your tantrums an occupational hazard of being around you.

When I was growing up my mom used to tell me that there are people who are destined to come close to us. There is no rhyme or reason why, of the thousand people we interact with in our lives, a few become so special that we have difficulty imagining our lives without them. When I used to listen to her, I used to wonder if I would ever get close enough to anyone. But as it happens, I do have a set of people I have grown really fond of. And now, when I think of them, it seems wierd to note that all of them are extremely different as individuals. Yet all of them are so much like me. In fact, I can see a little bit of me in all of them. And that’s probably why I love them. Coz after all, in the whole wide world, the one person all of us love unconditionally, is our self.

It is when we see oursleves in others, in the way they were brought up, in the way they approach a problem or even in the way they like or dislike things, it is when we are able to see our reflections in them in the smallest of ways that we start developing fondness for them. For example, I have this very special friend who can actually complete my sentences when we are together solving a problem or discussing a situation. Sometimes it seems wierd how we think exactly alike. Then there is this one guy who was brought up in the same circumstances in his late childhood as me and so he developed his beliefs on the basics of life that are exact replica of mine. Then there is this very special friend, who just happened to become an aquaintance and then over the past 9 years we have almost grown together as individuals. We have common experiences, common tastes in books, common likes and dislikes of things and, most importantly a common outlook towards life. There are ways in which I differ from each one of them, but then they are all willing to either ignore or appreciate those differences, which works for me!

While preparing for an interview, a guide said to me that if you want to introspect and find out about yourself, the best thing to do is to observe the people closest to you. I think that is because all of us are the least common denominator of our friends. Over time I have used this method extensively to not only read myself, but also others around me. And it works!

I have also learnt that aside from all the similarities we share with our friends, there are always some idiosyncracies in each one of us that make us all human. The best way to deal with them is to accept the person as they are. After all, the best way to grow is to learn to recieve. For instance, the first person I talked about earlier has a temper of a volcano. The second one eats like there no tomorrow. Not only eating, he is extremely passionate about just everything, which puts him in interesting situations at times. And the third guy up there is just a little eccentric. You will figure out how if you meet him.

In fact, coming to think of it, all of them are a little eccentric. Just the way I am. And that’s one of the reasons why I love them J

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To Delhi, With Love


I might never bring myself to stop regretting my decision to leave Delhi.

I would miss this place - every bit of it. The heat, the chill, the wide roads jammed with wider cars, the rude, in-your-face, obnoxious people... everything. I will miss the paranthas, the parties - the absolute drunken stupor in all of them. And, above all, I’ll miss my friends.

I still remember the day I first looked at the city, down from the window of my flight from Pune. Like a huge carpet of scintillating diamonds spread across the earth till eternity, the magnificence of Delhi just left me spellbound for a few seconds. For all the mush in me, it was love at first sight. Somebody said to me that I will miss the 18 months of my MBA for the coming 18 years of my life. Well, that’s true. But these 18 months couldn’t have been the same in any other place. Delhi changed me, in more ways than I might approve of.

For starters, I am no longer the care-about-everyone-around-you homeboy anymore. The devil may care recklessness of Delhi is very much in the bloodstream now. I dont know if it was the people around me or the effect of the city that made me start believing that the ultimate aim of human life is to keep oneself happy, the rest has to take care of itself. I learned being ruthlessly honest to myself. I can’t pretend any more – about anything. To make matters worse, I can’t stand pretentious behaviour of others as well. Even with the best of intentions of the best of them, it just freaks me out. Which is good in a way, I think.

The good thing is that probably for the first time in 25 years, I feel like living for myself. Standing up for what I believe is right and doing what I feel like doing irrespective of others opinion about me. For the first time, I dont want to do things to make people happy or proud of me, but for making myself proud of the life that I live and the results that I achieve out of it – good or bad. I know that sounds selfish. But in a crooked way, trust me I am having a lot of fun...

That’s the key... Probably I’ve just learnt to have fun... with chutzpah... this is what Delhi does to people.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Secrets...

So dark the con of man...

Well, we all have secrets... dont we?

For as far along as I can remember, I have lived with one or the other. And it has not been easy. So now, with a lot of courage, I am finally warming up to the fact that it’s ok to have a few uncharted territories... for the larger good of mankind...

I just have a strong super-ego... In other words, I am just not too adventurous...


Sometimes I want to close my eyes

Let my heart decide where I go

But then I think of the times long gone

When I just wouldn’t know


Sometimes I want to walk that mile

And see how it would go

See what I would do when the moment comes

Of which, I am so unsure...


Perhaps it too shall pass my being

If I just go with the flow

Perhaps it will sweep my feet away

To a place, dreaded and unknown


Or perhaps, I would never go that way

Where my heart wants me to go

Will I survive, will I drown

Perhaps I would never know...


Some things are better left untouched

Some truths too hard to swallow

For as long as I shall be here

I shall wait for you to follow...


Friday, November 27, 2009

For you, a thousand times over...

“If the world seems to be turning their back on you, it’s time for you to turn around.”

I read this somewhere when I was in school... At the time, this phrase didn’t make much of a sense. But I kind of liked the sound of it... so somehow memorized it. And today, as I am standing at a point where I never foresaw myself, I feel like going back in time. And find those rare words of wisdom that were carrying me the way I am until now. Those words were from people who meant a lot to me... they still do... whether or not I am in touch with them. They helped in shaping me the way I am today. For which I will be ever so grateful to them. This blog is dedicated to all of them, my closest friends, philosophers and guides... People I am proud of having in my life... and I will always be.

“There is no parallel to Mother’s love in the world. Even if the son goes bankrupt, the wife can leave him, but a mother will never”

Vishal N. Dhingwani, Raipur, 1996

The first time we met, we fought - so much so that the Vice Principal of the School had to intervene. Parents were about to be called when we called a truce and decided to compromise on the object we both were laying claim to: the school desk. So was born a friendship which I still am so proud of. This guy is in some way responsible for giving me my dedication towards my parents. A Hansraj College B Com (Hons.) Convert, dropped the admission and joined a local institute just so he can be around his parents because they needed him to run the family business. We all thought he was wrong. That Hansraj could have changed his life. 13 years gone, I do not know whether he was right or wrong. But surely he is a winner and a great businessman today. And now, as I retrospect, thinking of who should I go to and ask for guidance, his name is amongst the first to come on my mind.

“It’s not the destination that matters the most, but it’s the journey, and the person you become while travelling it.”

Sudhanshu Sinha, Bhopal, 2006

Blessed as my brother is with various gifts from the Almighty, literary genius is definitely not his forte. But then, he sometimes ends up giving out these tiny bits of wisdom that leaves you speechless and makes you really think. It does not take literary genius to make a remark as great as that. It takes clarity of thought, the right attitude and an openness of mind. And he is great when it comes to that. What's with someone else, I have seen him transforming into an altogether different individual in the amazing journey that he has had in the past 8 years. His words were one of the few pillars I had when I regained some strength and caught up in the race of my MBA Admissions in 2008.

“There are always two ways of doing anything you do, even tucking your bed. One is, doing it just for the sake of doing it. And the other is doing it to your own satisfaction. So you feel proud of doing a quality job.

Never compromise on quality of what you deliver; even if it is small and insignificant.”

Mrs. Anita Sinha (My Mommy dearest), all my childhood J

Mommy dearest is a constant source of support and courage in my life. So much so that whenever I feel even slightly confused or distressed about things, I come rushing to her for strength. I never need to tell her what I am going through, but just looking at her face makes the world seem alright. I won’t go into details of how she has shaped me and my life. The contribution is just too huge to capture in a blog. But yes, this is one of the things she believes in that I will always keep by my side. Another thing that my Mom has given me is my unwavering faith that there is just NO task in the world that a woman CANNOT do – if only she makes a determination towards that.

“Manhood is not in keeping a hundred wives or thrashing someone in the middle of the road. Manhood is in making those 4 people who depend on you feel that they have nothing to worry about, as long as you are around.”

Mr. Alok Shrivastava, Raipur, 1999

Nishchhal, Nirbhay and Nishpaap: three words that come closest to describe my favourite uncle. He is again a source of great inspiration in my life. Narayan Moorthy has famously said that the softest pillow is a clear conscience. I think all great men think alike. More than anything else, the integrity and plain hard work with which Alok mama has built his business is remarkable. I remember him saying once that a man should always walk on his straight path. Everything else takes care of itself. He has taught me courage, being nice and an amazing outlook towards life.

“A man’s mind is in two places: one in the head and the second in the heart. The more you use one, the more it dominates the other... It’s upon you to choose”

Ankit Gupta, Pune, 2008

My favourite roommate will probably think a thousand times before moving in with me again. This cleanliness freak had a hard time living with me in Pune for a year. But all was well that ended well – we both are finally doing what we had set out for. I cannot forget what he told me during that roughest phase of my life, and how much it really helped me. If you take some time to ponder over what Ankit said, you will find the profoundness of these words... We went about extending this theory to 3 places where a man’s mind is. Those interested in learning details are requested to contact us separately. Trademark rules apply J.

“Be nice to people. If someone is not doing good now, they will eventually improve. It’s not your job to change them. Just give them some space to cover themselves up for the time being.”

Vikram Singh Chauhan, Bhopal, 2005

One of my closest friends till date taught me tolerance towards people’s weaknesses. For a perfectionist, egoistic, selfish guy like me, this was a great awakening. I never told him that this sentence really moved me, and, for starters, I started looking at him with a lot more respect. For as much as we love pulling his leg, Vikram is the nicest friend you can have. Trust me, no one else can go to any extent for their friends. I can only try to be as good as him... and that will make me a lot better. He taught me unconditional friendship, being enthusiastic and a great way of looking at things and people.

All these people are no sages. They are people from this world whom the Universe brought into my life and made it change its course, and in the process made me learn some of the most important lessons of my life.

There are more people without whom this picture couldn’t have been complete. People who made me love, hate, laugh, cry and shaped me in the person I have turned out to be in the last two years. People who showed me the mirror of my own darknesses and made me learn about honesty and simple truths. Not for the rest of the world, but for my own self and for those who are dear to me. People who made live in the moment by making me realize that this is really the best time of my life... and it will not come back, however much I long for it. People who taught me to open up to the world, take risks, enjoy, express and to be ruthlessly truthful to myself. In short, people who made me the man I have grown to become...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fatum

The Chinese movie that I saw the other day brought to fore what has been my most coveted dream for the past 7 years. A little kid loses his dad, and this godsend alien uses all his powers to bring him back to life. The next day the kid wakes up to find his dad lying next to him. And then, they live happily ever after.

The bad part – as one of my close friends has recently noted in her blog – is that life is not a movie. It takes its tax from any and everyone who walks by its lanes. To some the tax is high, to the other it’s a smooth sail... but it’s there all the same. Life has its own ways of beating the metal plain, of shaping the wire straight by twisting and twirling it. Only sometimes, those twists and twirls turn out to be quite painful.

When I was growing up, my mom used to tell me about this famous song by Tagore, “Jodi tyor dak sunay keo na asay”. And that pretty much shaped my adult life. To walk alone on my convictions when nobody else believed in me has been my definition of strength. And I stand by that in the darkest of hours in my life.

It’s not as if I have always been right. I have paid the price – sometimes unusually high. But eventually the wins and losses have evened out. Lost all my friends to find them come back one day and tell me that I was right. Walked past an opportunity to later find it was a trap. In the end, so to say, I have lived on. I do not know by the end of my life what I would think of all these decisions that I have taken. But whatever I would do, I would know that I took my decisions on my own, based on the situation that was given to me - for better or for worse.

The Greeks did not write obituaries. They just asked one question when someone died – “did he have passion?” If we have to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith on what the ancients used to call fatum. And what we currently refer to as “destiny”.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There are more benefits to going for a dental treatment than meets the untrained eye. To name a few:

1. You tend to get closer to your family your mother, brother and your sister-in-law because it scares the hell out of you,

2. You tend to get more devoted to God because it scares the hell out of you, and,
3. You learn to handle stress because basically, it scares the hell out of you.

It all started on a Tuesday afternoon while having my lunch when I suddenly realized that half of my tooth was missing. And in its place there is a mushy ugly sensation that feels like my gum. Blessed as I am with an unfaltering instinct, I immediately came to know that its time to hit the dentists for the first time in my life.

As such, bravery is the second nature of a Sinha. But as they say when it comes to dental emergencies, the bravest of the braves give way to their natural instincts. Something of the sort happened to me that evening as I was going for the initial checkup with a dentist of decent fame in the circles of IT Companies (he was suggested by a colleague).

Dr. Gupte turned out to be an ok looking man in his 30s and this, so to say, sent shivers down my spine. I'll tell you why it sent shivers down my spine. There is something about these ok looking men in their 30s that makes them jealous of handsome looking men in their 20s, such as me. And this made me a little skeptic in trusting him with my dental insides. But it is what it is and I let him go ahead with the checkup.

Dr Gupte:Looks like a big cavity

Me (trying to look intelligent):ahem

Dr Gupte:might go for a root canal

Me:ahem

Dr Gupte:There is another very small cavity in the front tooth. But its very small

Me (hating myself for eating chocolates):ahem

Silence

Me (hating myself again for sounding stupid):Does it hurt?

Dr Gupte (like a smiley sadist):It might hurt a little. Might

There is something about the way doctors sayit might hurt a little. It makes you feel as if its going to hurt big time. They cannot be trusted these doctors - especially of the dental variety. And so I decided that I will confirm the details with all my family members who have gone through it. I made some 20 odd phone calls that night.

Cousin of a friend:Root canal is a piece of cake. No pain at all. Tooth extraction, on the other hand, is very painful

Friend:they inject an anesthetic in your mouth, it doesn’t hurt at all.

Me: “WHAT?? they put a needle into your mouth? And you say it doesn’t hurt? What do I look like? porcupine eater?

The conversation in the other 20 calls went almost on similar lines. Except the ones that I dialed to my mom to tell her how much I missed her and if the tooth got bad and I don’t get to see her again, she can keep all my wealth which consists of a ball point pen and a notebook.

The next day was when I had the dooms appointment. I found myself biting my nails in the waiting lounge listening to the moans of an old lady in there for her tooth extraction. Every time I heard her cries, I thought of taking my money back. But before I could muster up the courage to do that, it was my turn already. I suddenly wanted to send some one else before me, but there was no one there and the Sinha pride was at stake. So there I was, sitting in the time machine type chair, waiting for the monster to slay me.

This is for the record: he did pierce a needle into my mouth. And yes porcupines taste better.

The next 45 minutes were almost eventless except for the 26th minute when Dr Gupte, while running a driller of sorts into my mouth, suddenly shoutedOH SHIT!!

Me:WHAT HAPPENED??

Dr Gupte:The band took off

Me:What does that mean? You will extract my tooth now?

Dr Gupte:No stupid, I will just put another rubber band. Its to keep the joining intact

Me (Sighing):Whatever. You scared the hell out of me

And so the ordeal was over in 45 minutes. Dr Gupte gave me another appointment for the front tooth cavity the next day but that experience was much better and easier for various reasons. We got along well as he told me that I was much braver than many others who create a scene at his clinic by holding his hand and kicking him at all the wrong places whenever it hurts them bad. And he also mentioned, in passing, that I was good looking. (I am a Leo so cant help some bragging.) Yould like Dr Gupte if you get a chance of meeting him although its something you should wish against!