Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It is the first day of Navratri, today and hence many people were gathered in the revered temple of Chamunda Mata in Jodhpur fort. Stampedes are not very unusual things at the crowded holy places across the world, and had been happening in the past almost regularly. There have been numerous attempts to tighten the system and avoid such incidents but that has not been of much help, till date.

Anyways, the stampede at Jodhpur which took place today is a bit different in nature or as it looks like, from the early media reports and local public opinions. It is believed that everything just started with the fall of a small wall in the fort (which is not so unusual phenomenon in an old fort). The important thing is that the wall didn't injure even a single person though that triggered the rumors of a possible bomb explosion. And this word spread like the fire in a jungle and everybody got nervous, which ultimately resulted in this stampede.

For non-jodhpur people, I want to share an incidence or at least a belief which is widely prevalent in the city. This Chamunda Mata mandir is of immense significance in the life of a common Jodhpur person and almost the whole city instills a lot of faith in it. During the war of '71, there were multiple air strikes over the city of Jodhpur and some 60 odd bombs were been dropped. However, there was not even a single casualty and people attribute it to the grace of Chamunda Mata and the akhand jyoti in the temple which acted as an unintentional deviation for Pakistan bombers.

However, now I see that faith is crumbling, and people have started believing more in terrorists than in Mata. Well, this is pretty obvious (because negative things attract attention more easily) but alarming as this is basically the much-feared-aftermath of the series of blasts which are happening these days, more frequent than ever before. And I consider this as a victory of the terrorists. I think, today's day is of much significance in their mission of terrorism than any other day because today, they have struck their first victory on the psychological ground. The terrorists have succeeded in filling the terror and fear in the minds of a common Indian to an extent that it has over-ruled even the faith and confidence.

I consider this incident to be an important learning milestone for us. If we claim to be the biggest democracy, then it's our duty to first provide everyone with a fear-free environment to live in. To achieve this, I think we need not to work only for instilling the devastated hope in the day-to-day life of our countrymen but also should try to develop the fear and a sense of insecurity among these terrorists. In my opinion, this physical as well as psychological warfare is not going to end the way we are approaching for it. We need to rebuild the fear amongst terrorists that even they can be killed and most importantly, can be hanged for their doing. Incidents like Afzal has somehow made our law and order look helpless in front of dirty politics; and these terrorists are doing nothing but exploiting this weakness and helplessness. We need to show a will, a desire to end this.

If we don't wake up now, it might be too late; one of my friend who called me up to know about the well being asked a good question, "What is happening yaar; everytime I open a news site or news channel, I am finding a new case - be it those blasts in malegaon or riots in Thane or this stampede and so on." We may call it just being a sad co-incidence but the number of these co-incidences is increasing and that's alarming. Some measures needs to be brought-in to counter this; may be POTA or may be something else in case the ruling party doesn't want to lose the "vote advantage". The other party is also not concentrating on the problems and relevant issues; rather they are indulged in self-massaging exercise and blame-game.

To heck with these political parties and their respective political games, we want to see these terrorists hanged by neck till death and we want our minds to be free, free from at least the fear of bombs and terror. That's it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Few people like the idea of fate. Fixed, immutable, implacable, with no option for choice or chance or challenge: just fate, and nothing else. Some people, perhaps, would seem to accept this bleak 'fatalistic' view of the world - perhaps because they see so many others try to combat the fates, and fail in futility instead. But most of us will fight against what we see as the unfairness of fate - whether it works or not - so as to at least have the sense that we're doing something. At first sight it seems we have only three choices about fate: we can abandon ourselves to it - which leaves us with no choice at all, and hence no power either; we can try to fight against it - which we can't, and hence tends to be an interesting waste of energy in support of an illusion; or we can try, very, very hard, to pretend that it doesn't exist really and it's all a load of superstitious hogwash and we don't believe it and we are not going to believe it.

But there is another choice - understand what fate is, and how it works, in order to help it work with us. However, the most loaded question in this context is how to determine the working of fate. This is a bit tricky, because many-a-times, it's not we who are controlling the fate. Look at it this way, few men sat together and played with the LIBOR rates in the wake of the US funds crisis and this has allowed in artificial interest rates into the world economy which could have serious ramifications very soon. LIBOR rates are used as benchmark for over 300 trillion USD worth of transactions worldwide!

Few men sit together at the OPEC and decide how much you and I will pay for our petrol or diesel. They decide the production limits of its constituent countries and this gives them large control over the prices of crude. Regarding the impact of crude on day-to-day life; well this has been discussed more than Shahrukh Khan on the public forums in India. In addition, there is another group of people who meet regularly to discuss global developments (as they put it). I am not talking about 'Freemasons' (or actually, they might belong to Freemasons, who knows!); rather they are "Trilateral Commission" and "Bilderberg Group". The former allegedly controls 60% of world's private wealth and the latter controls 33% of the pie. I know that you won't believe this blog, so better you just google up and search for the same.

Anyways, my point is while most of the 6 billion people in the world assume a world that is run by their combined choices, the reality seems to be otherwise. Things are more shrouded than they appear and ironically much simpler than we all thought.

So, do we have a conclusion for this blog post, obviously not- there can never be. Despite knowing that there is something which is beyond your control, you never ever stop caring about it and you never ever stop trying to gain a control over it. And this is where the biggest irony begins- you are trying to control something which you've assumed to be 'beyond anyone's control'. And so does the history say that whoever has tried to control fate or has possibly appeared to control fate has fallen in a bigger way than what has ever been thought. Ceaser, Hannibel, Xerses, Aurangzeb and recently, Investment Bankers are the examples of "The Great Fall of Apparent Fate-Controllers"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ripples, we need

Recently, I watched "Welcome to Sajjanpur" and found it a worth-watching flick. Curiosity drove me to look at the reviews by critics as well as users. Critics, well they all were unanimous about the performance of the film's cast and crew. They all held positive opinions just like me so I decided to stop reading any more of them. However, in context of user reviews, I found a very strange phenomenon. They all were divided into two groups with very different opinions. According to one viewer-class, this movie is very realistic and almost correctly pointed out the issues in villages. The other viewer-class was however saying that it was an unbearable movie, with obsolete issues (of 70s). The reasons behind the nature of second review, as I see, are rooted in the environment around us. Most of us don't realize that progress of metros has not been replicated in villages to complete extent and this is not just about progress, but also about the lifestyle and beliefs. Issues like widow remarriage, casteism, etc. may appear obsolete to us but they are still relevant in the context of villages.

The big problem with today's youth is that they are not bothered about things which indirectly affect them. It's not about the motive of going to cinema hall (entertainment) rather the real reason is that most of us want to receive only those messages which fit into our thought process. Rang De Basanti struck a chord with us, because modern youth can relate with these issues; however we can't feel similar empathy for other issues which don't concern us directly. Doesn't this indicate about our conditional morality! We ignore things which don't concern us directly bur fail to realize their impact on not only us but also on the whole society, whether in direct or indirect sense. This basic thinking is leading us nowhere but deeper in the well of immorality. This is also the basic reason why the society-divide is increasing day-by-day.

What seems is that if we are not careful, our society will rip itself from the inside out. We are definitely under attack every day as our morals and ways of life are being challenged. The most important reason for this is the lack of good moral leadership.  If the leaders and influencers of the upcoming generation can teach and live a good example, we can provide a good life for future generations. Who are these leaders? Who are these influencers? Who can be the champions? Of course the leaders of nations, the popular icons (music, sports, film etc), parents and teachers, and then last, every individual. Though I would like the highlight and dwell on roles needed to be played by parents, I will talk about the last and most important champion of moral reform, the "individuals" themselves. 

It's important to not to just cultivate our own gardens, and live in a comfortable family life, but also to participate in shaping the courses that govern our collective thought: and to have a say in the 'collective destiny' of humankind.  People need to be good and to be the cause of something that will better society as a whole. To put it this way, it's not just being simply good, it's about being good for something.

To have enough influence to create a moral change, we need the individuals themselves to have the drive.  This drive is something that cannot be forced or impressed upon any individual.  Moral reform of the country is a big movement.  If the individual is not deeply committed to the cause, it will not last, nor will it have to drive to push the much needed moral change. It takes conviction brought upon by the individual's free will.

Possibly these agents of moral change, these champions, maybe a minority when they begin but history testifies about the influence and end results of minority movements. Most freedom struggles, be it Indian or American, were a minority movements, and a minority movement is all it takes to make a nation aware of a problem.  It can be likened to the ripple in the pond.  All it needs is one starting ripple, and it will spread much farther than it started. And as Robert Kennedy once said,

"Each time a man (or woman) stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ideal Match

One big disadvantage of getting a job is that people start following-up with your marriage. This phenomenon increases multi-folds when you've got a job after completing your MBA because an MBA degree indicates that you've completed your education and won't be interested in going for further studies though this argument doesn't hold true as many, sorry a few MBAs also go for research and similar things. Moreover, you would just be hanged if you are an MBA from some IIM because people would then become damn sure about a settled life for you with a decent salary. However, that assumption is now under scrutiny due to the fall of big-salary-packages famed investment banks.

However, I'm not been spared on account of that, due credit to my association with a firm known for retaining employees till death (but believe me, even this gospel truth is getting challenged as Reliance is also on a downsizing spree these days). So, as like any other common Indian boy, all of my relatives including nanad of buaji of bhanji of my taiji have started asking the questions like, "What kind of girl do you want to marry?". Now, there is another technical glitch associated to this problem – I don't have any girl friend so that has basically added to my misery in two ways: one, I can't tell them that I've decided for my life partner and two, I can't jot-down my wish list because I just don't know what traits I want in my life partner.

Today, during the leisure time in my office, I was thinking about this question sincerely. Well, I've not thought about this since ages. When I was in Standard XI, my mantra at for an ideal girl was very simple; she should have had the following characteristics though not in any specific order: good looks, good figure, a fantastic sense of humor, and a really good human being (I could have compromised of last point, though). Now you might have concluded by now, that why I couldn't get a girl friend. I applied Dr. Kalam's vision of "dreaming high" in this context as well and actually took it very seriously – resultantly, I'm still single just like him. However, I presume a person of his calibre must have been single on his own terms, unlike poor me.

Anyways, so I thought about few attributes in this regard and came up with this list:

1. Wavelength – I think by far the biggest element while choosing a partner should be the wavelength between the two - nothing else I feel matters as much. If the wavelength matches then there will never be pregnant pauses between conversations, there will never be statements like 'so what else is happening' a 100 times a day and not even a 'how do we spend time today' kind of feeling.

2. Humor – Strangely, but humor has still found its way in my list, even after 6 long years. I personally believe that humor plays a big part in the success of not only a marriage but also life in general. If a person has a sense of humor and is able to laugh off/at things, it reduces stress to a great extent and makes the marriage happy. It doesn't mean that she has to laugh on all pathetic jokes or non-pathetic-but-jokes by me, rather it's like both of us can take a joke at our expense and laugh off the most horrible situation life throws upon us.

3. Chemistry: After physics of wavelength, it had to be something related to chemistry. And this is not just about oxytocin (scientists claim that this is the hormone responsible) flowing in, after seeing someone. It's more than just looks or initial aura built up by her mere presence. It's about asking yourself whether I would like to spend 365 days a year with her and yeah, 70 years after that.

So that was all what I came up with and actually I realized that it is again abstract and hence, can't be presented as answer to never-ending-questions of never-ending-people-interested-in-my-marriage.

P.S. – Even while writing this, I have started reconsidering my new list and would like to add the first two attributes of the old list (which I prepared in Standard XI).

P.P.S. – Please don't tell my boss that I've some amount of leisure time in office (refer para 3)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summer Placements

There are two times when I felt that most of my gtalk contacts become active – firstly, when CAT or GD/PI dates are approaching; and when Placement Season is approaching. Due credit to my IIM background, I've been a sought-after mentor amongst the b-school fraternity since the days when I was also a student (or rather, participant) of the b-school. And now as the summer-placement season is on in most of the b-schools, I'm been enquired about a lot of related and not-so-related things. I've found that a lot of people unnecessarily get stressed about getting a 'decent profile' (no definition available for this quoted word, not even in Oxford or Webster's) but as this post will illustrate, it's so simple.

Let's begin with résumé. Many people don't know this, but "résumé" is a french word that means "fictional short story". Do I need to say anything more, after this so-relevant translation? Anyways, let me continue for those people who still want to know more. Well, it is usually 2-3 pages long, and details the chronicles of your life in an entertaining fashion. What you write in your resume is very important, and if you are having trouble filling it up with funny anecdotes then try this. Think about what Superman would do if he had Einstein's IQ and could time travel. Write down all his adventures in your resume and put your signature at the end of it.

As you might know, most resumes have a "hobbies" or "interests" section. The key to filling up this section is to write unverifiable claims that show what an interesting person you are. If people decide to be honest (rather, brutally honest) then they might write lazing around, testing various sleep-inducing methods and collecting swear words in different languages and after writing this, they can be well assured of getting placed on day-n (where n is far greater than zero). It could have rather been rephrased as studying abstract impressionism, skydiving, helping impoverished poor people. No need to mention that the abstract impressionism is "TV", skydiving is really throwing paper planes from rooftops and the impoverished poor person you are helping is yourself.

Anyways, after getting a resume shortlist, the most important thing to follow is an interview. This may sound ironic, but the best way to do well in an interview is to have a misplaced sense of very high self-esteem. Most interviewers can immediately detect if you are low on what's called "self-confidence", so you have to go into the interview thinking you are Brad Pitt (or Angelina Jolie for ladies).

Think about it that there are more candidates than there are puzzles, so the interviewer is going to be asking the same questions over and over again. The best strategy is to ask your friends who went to the interview before you, and then act surprised when the interviewer asks you the same question. So, you can either react like "Aahaaa! I know this one. Page 45 of 100 most asked interview questions. Answer is 25" or you can opt to make few faces, humming dialogues like "interesting and challenging indeed", apply few fundae, and in some 5 minutes say like "Well, 25 should be the answer"

After puzzles, you would be grilled with the most difficult question and indeed a popular one – What is your weakness? Now what you can possibly do is to say, chocolate or gossips or communication skills. Well, these type of "real" weaknesses would blunder your chances. So, better try to say something that is really an advantage to the company, and you cannot help doing it. Something which I just suggested one of my friend on the day before. "I tend to work too hard, sometimes late into the night, because I find it unable to give up on a problem without finishing it."

That would be the "brahmastra" for you which would definitely get you in the firm; and if something is left then utilize the last question – "Anything which you would like to ask us". Don't ask if how much incentives are there, or regarding the work pressure and all. This would deplete your chances, so better ask something like, "What are the learning opportunities for me?" "What can possibly be my career path" and so on.

Follow these steps properly, and you will not be disappointed J

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday Night – Unbelievable!!!

People might have the first impression that I am going to scribble something about the night parties at discotheques of mumbai, or at least about some farmhouse party on the weekend. Alas, all of those who thought on these lines have to get disappointed. For me, as it was Saturday yesterday, so I had the enough leeway to watch 2 movies and 1st episode of Smallville Season-8 back-to-back. Coincidentally, both of the movies (despite not being connected to each other even remotely, in terms of cast, language, genre, plot or music) were unbelievable enough to propel me to scribble on them, here.

First movie was "Hancock". It was unbelievable because of the inclusion of things like "God", "Angels" in altogether a new light. It was unbelievable not only because of the stunts but also because of the extent of powers of both super-heroes (yes, for those who have not watched it, it may act as a spoiler) and yeah, it is unbelievable because the concept of Achilles heel and Kryptonite has been revolutionized by the old hindi proverb, "Ek myan me do talwaarein nahi reh sakti".

Second movie was though unbelievable in some other sense. It is unbelievable that how can somebody make such a disaster; its title was "Banaras- A mystic love story" but "Maine baba ko dekha hai" could have been more relevant title. I committed a grave mistake of downloading the movie; however the bigger mistake was that I started watching it. And then the biggest of blunders was to even complete the movie despite forwarding some frames (the whole movie finished in same time as Hancock did, i.e. in 93 minutes) but still I consider it to be blunder. Anyways, about the film- I won't go into the details, it is not worth it anyway, but yeah would like to discuss the hero who is basically an orphan who eventually grows up on the Ghats of Banaras and somehow manages to pick up the knowledge of music in depth. Oh yeah, he has a six pack too. I always wonder how come most of the bollywood heroes are born and brought up on streets and yet manage to have six pack iron pumped bodies. Also, no matter what, all have them manage to hold on to a girl. Sadly, I still belong to the under privileged strata of the society in this regard.

Anyways, I also watched the Season 8 Premiere show of Smallville, which definitely lived up to my expectations and made my comics-lover heart go for a refreshing ride. Amazingly and surprisingly this series, based on a super-hero (possibly, the first popular super hero), is far more believable than the movies which I watched before. It seems like this is getting better-than-ever-before and thus, it is the only series which have compelled me to watch as many as seven seasons (24 being the close second with five seasons). So this was technically not-so-unbelievable Saturday night and yeah, as they say, "All's well that ends well"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Winning - An Engima (contd...)

I don’t know why but I’ve always been fascinated by the winning. That is perhaps the reason why I’m here with another post on this phenomenon. I never planned for a sequel or something but that just did happen because of the quote which ended yesterday’s post. I don’t know if many people have been inspired by that quote in past, but I surely know two individuals getting inspired all the time hearing that. No prize for guesses, first person is Rocky and second one is yours truly. So, finally I get a chance to feature my name alongside Rocky, otherwise we’ve nothing in common be it in terms of grit, determination, focus or even in the number of girl friends.

Anyways, proceeding with the phenomenon of winning, I would like to refer to an anonymous quote (or at least I don’t know who said it) – “Destination is important, but not as important as the journey itself.” It all boils down to the debate of ends v/s means. The end can always justify the means. But each and everything you do may not be focused towards achieving the means. As I see it, this is just like the F1 Season. You may not win every race, you may not even have a podium finish all the time; but in the end, the one who endures and comes out on top collectively is the Winner.

Moreover, I consider winning to be a subjective concept at few times. Apart from those obvious victories, I hold the view that it doesn't matter if you're a winner or not in the world's eyes at the end. It will matter though - to yourself - which you stood up for what you believed in, and kept standing. Again, if I cite an example from a place which is known for both kinds of winning- obvious and not-so-obvious: The Olympics. When Wilma Rudolph’s mother was told by the doctors at the hospital that her daughter would never be able to walk again (due to the polio), she didn’t believe it. It was that disbelief that enabled her child to walk years later. It was that same disbelief that allowed America to enthrone the first woman in history to win 3 Olympic Gold medals in a row.

Winning doesn’t restrict to sports, it has far more meanings across various spheres of life. Life is said to be cruel and unkind, but I believe that life will never be cruel or unkind to that person whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. That person doesn’t derive any meaning of life; rather he is the one who gives meaning to “life” in general, for he is the person who has made the world know the real art of living- living a life of champion.

My last opinion for today’s post is that we are all champions in our own way. That doesn't mean every one of us has to be number 1 or be the best. However, it definitely calls for every one to give his/her best. If you aren't first, then make those people ahead of you break records by pushing them with your personal best. Consider for a moment what we achieve from competition apart from the sheer fun of competing - courage, perseverance, dedication, commitment, selflessness and most importantly, the will to excel. So, let the people remember that there was somebody with the name Peyush or Sandeep or Nishant or XYZ, who competed hard and lived as champion. Mohammed Ali once said,

“Champions aren´t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a dream, a desire, and a self-belief.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talent v/s Temperament

In reply to Pakistan's 223, India was cruising along at 147 for one and looked all set to take a big first innings lead. Pakistan needed a miracle but Rahul Dravid looked all set and Sachin Tendulkar was all fit after the back injury at Chennai/Kotla which was going to hurt his career for quite some time in the future to come.

Bang!!!! A scorching Yorker dismantled the timber behind Rahul Dravid. More than 100,000 people welcomed the little master only to see him getting a golden duck for the first time in his career to a Yorker which was even better than the previous one. A star was born or proved the shine it had shown in his very short career so far was a promising one – Shoaib Akhtar. Indians wondered, like they had done for so many years, on how Pakistan keeps getting timely replacements for their soon to be gone speedsters. Pakistan was proud to see that someone could take the lead once the two W's would go in next few years and by than he would get the traditional training of conventional banana swing, mysterious reverse swing, toe crushing Yorkers and beheading bouncers. For the next couple of ODI series, he was the biggest tormentors for the gentlemen holding willow in their shaking hands.

He used to be a bowler who needed nothing in terms of pitch, weather, exceptional fielding or umpires' help to send batting orders packing. He had the hostility of Walsh but he lacked his honesty towards the game, he had the guile of Akram but he lacked his grit, he had the curving swing of Younis but he lacked his commitment. However, he never needed the poison spitting mouths of Mcgrath or Donald like those three. In his career he just displayed glimpses of his talent but when he did, he looked like a champion and a true crowd puller. You would love to watch him bowl no matter if he is in your side, against you or you are a neutral viewer. However, what followed is not-so-pleasant story. He became a classical case of "would have been" and temperament letting down the talent or an ultimate wastage.

I am writing on him because today an article attracted my attention which had his mention. The article stated that PCB has finally allowed him to play in the domestic 20-20 competition. After the reduction in ban (now it is only for eighteen months) and a splendid performance for Kolkata Knight Riders in his brief stint, this PCB decision must have added to his comfort level.

Anyways, what essentially I wanted to point out here is the role of temperament and talent in somebody's life or say, career at least. Talent can definitely give you a start but temperament and hard work has to be there for the support or else everything just turn out ugly. Already-very-much-discussed Kambli-Tendulkar saga is another example in this context. I believe, sports is just one area, there are a lot more places where this concept apply.

Even in real life, people often lose their bearings once they taste the success. I consider success to be a drug which rather than making people addict of it, turns them away from itself. And the worst part is that there are very less examples in this world, where people have made a comeback after falling into the depth of success-aftermath. Hence, I think that people need to be very cautious while handling the success and if they fail in doing so – they should still feel optimistic with these lines and fight for a winning comeback:


"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that."

Thursday, September 18, 2008


With women I refer to the whole female category which in turn includes all of them who consider themselves girls, ladies, women, or anything but men. They have actually acquired even the 'boy' tag and use it for themselves as 'tom boy'. So, you may decide to call the devil by any name, I would continue using the term 'women'.

Carrying forward this concept of nomenclature, I stumbled across two more terms: Fairer sex (commonly used by those popular guys upon whom girls fall like the all-out infected mosquitoes, and for obvious reasons one of which is the usage of this term) and Weaker sex (primarily used by organizations like Mahila Mukti Morcha or the political parties or the people who have lost their senses in recent past). I never understood as why these terms are been used to devise women.

Regarding the fair thing- well they might be fairer in color but in all of the other contexts, you would find them standing at the opposite end of the fairness spectrum. Moreover, even if a fraternity, after being painfully verbose, common sensically non sensical, with logic as a distant dream and with understanding of word cricket as a game of aliens, has such a decision power in its hands that makes a male wonder if he is going to die virgin, it cannot be weaker sex at least. Just cannot be. So, I seriously doubt on both of these things too.

Anyways, for those who have begun cursing me for what I've written till now; should begin cursing the movie from which I got an inspiration to write. The best thing about movie is not the plot, not even those few good acting performances, not even the fashion statement and not even Anne Hathaway. The best thing was its title which resonates with the common philosophy amongst misogynists (I hate these kind-of people) – The Devil Wears Prada. Actually, this title attracted me a lot and I was not disappointed either, because of some wonderful performances. One more thing (actually the best thing) which I liked about the movie was the ability of a woman to take her own decisions. And these decisions don't pertain to just career decisions by the leading ladies but also really "big" decision by the main character to step aside from something which she didn't want to do and to let go.

I strongly believe in this philosophy of letting go when you begin feeling that few things are not meant to be your priorities. I think that we do not earn-and-then-spend our money on a lot of material possessions - we rather spend money to create memories for the people we love. Those are the only things one can take away. When health is gone or someone dies… or it's a hard year at school, the memories are still there…to open the windows of a child's mind…to make him or her laugh and feel warm and strong inside where it counts. And this is something which I could find more in a woman than in a man. They have thus, indirectly (or sometimes, even directly) acted as an inspiration in evolving me from an anxious and a career-oriented (rather career-blinded) individual to a more optimistic, and a more caring person. For being my silent inspiration, I respect the women, I adore them, and love them, but yeah, I don't stop being afraid of them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Ohk, so it was again a big break from blogging, for me and this time there was no reason as such. Anyways, following the old saying of better late than never, I've decided to scribble something today. I was wondering if what should I begin with and this was not because of dearth of ideas, rather because of so many contemporary things happening in the areas of terrorism, economics, politics, sports these days, all at once. So, I decide to defer my opinion on these issues for some other time and meanwhile, I've my favorite thing to talk about – Smile.

Mother Teresa once said, "Peace starts with a smile." There is no second opinion on the ability of smile to completely change your mood, your outer appearance, and the impact you have on others: possibly even more so than positive words of affirmation and encouragement. Smile is one of the best expressions of emotions while somebody is having pleasure or is in good mood (apart from those regular formal gestures). You know what is the best part of an emotion is? It is that facial expressions are universally almost the same, regardless of what part of the world we are from. This does suggest that we as humans are hard-wired to express and respond to emotions in a particular way, rather which it being brought about through our conventional or cultural wisdom.

The sight of a person smiling triggers the observer's brain area associated with feelings of happiness or pleasure. Remember this old saying: "If you smile, the whole world does indeed smile with you" If ever you're feeling low, or life seems to be handing you just a bit more than you can handle, a very good place to begin feeling better is in your very own bathroom mirror. Practice smiling at yourself early in the day, or before you leave the house, because it can change how you're feeling, and therefore your whole day may change because of it. This does work so for your own sake - try it if ever you need to.

Even if you aren't near a mirror, and you're feeling less than average, learn to become aware of the smile process, and practice smiling and actually feeling the difference in your inner feelings. The difference may only be small at first, but it may be enough to change your day, and more.

Like everything in life: If at first you don't succeed, then fake it 'til you make it!

Regardless of how you're feeling right now, please smile at least once for the sake of this post. And keep smiling as often as you can - because it does suit you; you know - it really does!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Teacher’s Day

Teacher's day during my school-time, used to be a whole lot of fun as we used to put up small skits and other programs to entertain our teachers. I remember we used to take time off from our classes around two weeks before teachers day to practice for the program that was to be held on the main day. Some of us would put up a dance show, while others sang group or solo numbers.

On the final arrival of teachers' day, the atmosphere in the school campus was one of cheerfulness and lots of activity as everybody got ready for the days events. The best part for students of senior class was to enact his/her favorite teacher and take three or four lectures on this day. Apart from this, teachers would come in their beautiful sarees or suits and used to interact informally with the students. There were a lot of games to follow; in which we used to distribute some gifts to both the winners and the non-winners (how can we address our teachers as losers). With the approaching of teacher's day, I remember with much fondness the good old days in school. This year, I decide to celebrate the teacher's day with only paying my gratitude to whole teaching fraternity but also scribbling something, on them here.

After the loving lap of a mother, and safe surroundings of a family, the child goes to his/her second learning world called School. At this vulnerable age when the child is at threshold of a New World, what affects him most is his teacher. After mother, teacher is the most important part of a child's growth, his vision, his dreams and his future. The task of a teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners:  it is in making winners out of ordinary people. If we try to take an in-depth peek in some famous people's life we can see that they were motivated, encouraged and made to dream impossible by their teachers only. After reading Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam's autobiography, Wings of Fire, I was moved to see the influence of his teachers in his life from the early stages of his education. And today he is the dream man for India, who not only successfully ran his tenure but also gave vision to many and made them dream that nothing is impossible.

It is evident that a teacher plays very essential role, more than anyone does in a student's life. A good teacher takes students with him to the regions, which are shut and he is the one who opens them and let them explore on their own and stays with them as a guide. He needs to have a command that stays with a student and fills them with a fear, which is due to respect and not out of stick which he carries. Making a successful man out of every child may be a tough task, but making him humane enough is more challenging. Only a good citizen can serve his family, society and his country. Only a good human can cultivate another better human.

Well, there might be some views that teachers are getting more money-oriented and less caring for their students. I can't buy their views because all the teachers I had in my life were nothing less than great. They weren't mere a transmitter of bookish knowledge rather they were the creator of those conditions which helped me find my own way, allowing me to flower as an unique, integrated and some-what complete individual. My teachers form a part of not only my past but also of my present & future just because they are, in one way or another, a part of my personality.

Lastly, I could never be less thankful to my teachers for inculcating those virtues which transformed me from a living being to a 'human being'. I hope I'll not let you down, dear sirs and ma'ams – a very happy teacher's day to you all. J

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Free Society

Recently, I was going through some news portal when I found an article on free society. It reminded me of Milton Friedman's works on his point of view with regard to relationship between free society and economics. This made me feel like writing what I think about it from a non-economic angle. More than often, if not always, we all cry about India being no longer a free society. Also, people raise processions for certain other kind of freedoms and demand for a free society. However, do we really realize what it exactly takes to make it to a free society?

It is a common habit to get biased on some thing, and free society being no exception either. People forget that there are always two different sides of a coin (barring the famous 'Sholay coin' and also the one recently seen with Harvey Dent) There is no doubt that freedom is good but to what extent. To cope with it, we escape saying, "Freedom of a person should be unlimited as long as it isn't intruding his/her neighbor". Well, I believe that it is a good constraint however not an exhaustive one. For e.g. should we allow people to consume drugs or should we allow people to commit suicide? Well, we can't; actually we should not. Excessive freedom will take its toll, if not been regularized properly.

Forget about just the extent of freedom; I would also like to suggest something on the maintenance of a so-called free society. I want people to take thought about their condition and to recognize that the maintenance of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing and it requires a self-denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to do something about them you not only may make them worse, you will spread your tentacles and get bad results elsewhere.

Talking about the obstacles in attaining free society, the fundamental threat is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated by a system of checks and balances. But is this possible in real world? I seriously doubt because the concentration of power could never have been stopped in the past, not by any form of governance whether democracy or monarchy, not by any form of society whether capitalist or socialist and not even by any form of religion.

Another big hindrance towards attainment of a free society would be on the accountability and responsibility side of life. The inevitable result of the acceptance of determinism, of the belief that no one is responsible for anything, is the kind of whining, blame shifting, and abdication of responsibility we have all around us today. Any advocate of freedom, any advocate of civilization, has to challenge the doctrine of psychological determinism and has to be able to argue rationally and persuasively for the principle of psychological freedom or free will, which is the underpinning of the doctrine of self- responsibility.

So, I think the need of present hour is to revisit the concept of free society and see if how relevant it is; and also, look out for the possible customized version of free society for our society.