Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013


POTD: Stands for "Puzzle of the Day". Fashioned on TOTD.

POTD: Why does one feel contempt for someone who loves one unconditionally?

If anything, one must feel grateful for such love, as it is so rare. Yet, I have seen it often. We hurt people who love us the most.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Moving on...

Was reading a movie review of "Ranjhaana", a love story set in Varanasi. I haven't seen the movie yet, probably will this week.

This note is however inspired by the movie review I read here. I quote a line from the review which caught my attention,

"Lesson#8 : “Nobody really moves on in life: This is because of the simple reason that a person molds you into a new being when you are with them. So when they move out of your world, they take away that part of you with them and it never comes back leaving you void from within and too exhausted to walk on the same path again."

I agree in parts - yes, we change with every relationship. We become something which is us plus something when we are in a relationship. This is true for all relationships, in my view. We are different with a parent, different with a son, different with a friend, different with a sibling and so on. I would go so far as to say that we have different selves that manifest themselves, depending upon whom we are with. And in a love relationship, we are completely transformed. We may sometimes not even recognize the self that we become when we fall in love.

However, this post is not about love, but about moving on, having been in love. I disagree that one does not move on. Yes, we never become that person that we were when we were in love. But we do fall in love again, and though we don't become the previous-person-who-was-in-love-with-the-previous-love-interest, we morph into a different human with the person we now have fallen in love with. Yes, every death of selves that we face hurts, hurts really really bad. But we can and are capable of creating new selves even out of the debris that is left behind. For many of us, the debris is small, so some of us can rebuild from it with some help from the discarded self. For some of us, the debris is large, but if we love ourselves well enough to piece together the debris and the smaller self, we can even glue together a bigger self from the experience.

Notwithstanding the moving on, I do think there is always this "what if" question that plays out in in the minds of the "Mover" and the "Movee" - for want of better words. I think both of them, the Mover and the Movee, wrestle with the "what-if" in their post breakup times. Several times. Regardless of who initiated the break up. The mover will wonder what if she hadn't moved on to look for something better, could she have been happier? Was she is the reason, or was it that the movee did not love enough and hence gave up the pursuit so soon. The movee on the other hand, may wonder if the mover was indeed the best, and whether maybe the movee is better off without her. He may also wonder on the reasons why he gave up pursuit when he did. Was it because she really wasn't quite "the" person? Was his pursuit an exercise of being in love for the sake of being in love? Invariably, after several years after the love episode, the mover and the movee will wonder what they saw in the other that caused the affair. Was the other person even worthy of the love? Was it because the person was ready for love at that particular point and the other person happened to be there, and hence love occurred, much like the bards Midsummer Nights Dream. It may happen that they want to fall in love all over again with the same person! (And that what I guess the Reviewer of Ranjhaana was talking about)

However, such what-if reveries would also largely depend upon the manner of the breakup itself, from the time event when the breakup begins, and then the event itself, followed by the process of moving-on. Ah, but thats perhaps for another post!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Whom Not to Befriend

Some may call me prejudiced, but these words come from experience. Been-there-done-that-was-hurt-never-repaired.

Never to befriend ones tailor/seamstress/neighbourhood boutique's owner
Never to befriend ones beautician/hairdresser/masseuse
Never to befriend ones personal trainer/personal coach/yoga teacher

For all the above, you are a customer/client first, and a friend later. Also, they make themselves interesting to others by telling stories about their customers/clients and boasting about their confidence in them. Your confidences may well become the next most interesting story they share with others. Beware.

Never befriend your banker/lawyer
Never befriend a insecure jealous woman's husband
Never befriend your childs best friend

For all the above, your right place in their life is not as a friend. You are best where you are - at a arms length.

Never befriend your boss's boss
Never befriend your boss's wife/husband
Never befriend your boss's other subordinates

For all the above, your relationship with your boss will be the primary link, and any of these relationships will cause undue stress /impact on the boss relationship.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Goddess or Slut

Sometimes I wish I could be a wild slut than be your goddess.

Placing me on a pedestal binds me strong. Your look of adoration eats into my heart. How can you expect me to be perfect? I am not a goddess. but a woman, wild and wanton. I have my desires, and just like everyone else, I would like to attain them, means be damned.

But you....... You stop me. With your steadfast belief in my integrity and my sense of fair play. Your eyes are guileless, open and honest, with all your faults bared to me. You place your secrets on my feet, and burden me with your innocence and trust. I am your goddess, you tell me, and add that you, your secrets, your ambitions, your insecurities are safe with me. You add, I will never hurt you. You say, I will take care of you. You say, you trust me of being incapable of doing wrong. You ask favours of me and I give. You ask for help and I provide. Because I am your goddess and your goddess will always take care of you. Your goddess always puts you first, and can never do wrong.

You move away, your eyes still full with that worshipful look. Oh, if only you knew how that look makes me grit my teeth...

What if I told you that there are wicked thoughts in my head at times? What if I told you that I am tired of harbouring your needs and putting them before mine? What if I told you that when I see your secrets, they remind me of my own - pathetic, both. What if I told you that I am sick of helping you, because I would rather help myself first. What if I spilled my guts, your secrets, my sins, your ambitions and shred my robes and ran naked down on the street, dropping my beatific smile? What if I devoured children and bedded strangers in throes of lust?

Would you love me still? Would you worship me still? Would you want to hold me still?

Would you? Would you?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Measure of Things

Despite my rant about money, I cannot but acknowledge that money is the most convenient and the most obvious measure for worldly success.

Just like marks (read grades) are the measure for intelligence. Just like the duration of a marriage is a measure for the love between the couple. Just like the beauty of a woman is measured by the number of men who desire her. Just like the worth of a painter is measured by the price his work commands.

If there were no readymade measures to assess the chaotic world that we live in, how would simple minded folks ever get by?

Measures are a necessary evil alright. But there are things beyond measure, where the human capacity to measure becomes subjective, and depends upon the viewers perspective. And often times, the measure that the world provides, such as money, grades etc falls short, woefully short. Thats just me, I guess. For most others, what the world provides as measures is good enough.

It is not the worlds fault that I have a wacky perspective of things. I am a dork. And I shall continue being so. And will continue paying a price for being so.

Dork. Dork. Dork.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Entitled to a Woman

(Image from the Internet)

Over the past weeks, I have met several young people of both genders, none of them married. I met some of them with their parents, who worry incessantly about finding the right life partner for their offspring. This is so typically Indian. Education, marriage and sometimes even a home, Indian parents want to do it all for their children, sometimes even at the cost of their own well-being and material pleasure.

I understand where these parents come from, though I do not like it. Afterall, I am one of them too. However, this note is not from the viewpoint of the parents, but from the young people's.

Young girls really really chafe about the fact that the men they would marry, as arranged by their parents, would be on the basis of the young man's education, the economic status of their home, the status in the society and so on. Not on the basis of whether they find these men attractive, like minded-ness etc, and sometimes even without these two qualities. The way the girl feels about the boy she would sleep with, and spend the rest of her life with, is expected to evolve - positively - post marriage.

On the other hand, young men feel no such trepidation. Young men, if they have been lucky enough to be born to affluent parents who have managed to give them good education and a good home, feel almost entitled to any girl their parents line up for them. It does not even OCCUR to them that the young girl, who is trading in her life, may not like him. And he does not care. He assumes that she would like him, and in most cases, love him. However, he would make no effort whatsoever to be worthy of her love. The reason for this is the fact that young boys in India have no clue how to behave with a girl. Also, this mechanism of parents arranging for the girls, makes it very convenient to ignore this touchy feelie territory. So, he sits back, and either chooses/rejects the girls his parents line up for him. He is entitled to his wife. Afterall, he is a male.

The arranged marriage relationship, no wonder, seems so awful to most young girls. The girls of the current generation - and truth be told, even the previous ones - do not like men who feel "entitled" to them. They would like to be woo-ed, won over, charmed and all the romantic things that their sensuous nature demands.

The Indian society, however, is not equipped to create such boys/men. And indian women have no alternative other than indian men in their geographies. No wonder, the indian marriage events are so huge, with parents creating a big smoke cover, to hide the inconvenient truth from the bride. Once married, the great indian system also provides no real exits for the girl. She is the one who will carry the burden of making the marriage work, ensuring all the needs of her husband are taken care of, his relationships are in place, and so is his house and children. The indian male focusses on being the provider, and nothing else. In case she fails to make the marriage work, she would be ostracized forever by the society. It really does not matter that her husband is a drunkard, or a insensitive lout, or simply someone who she cannot get along with, she is expected to carry the yoke without a murmur, as divorce is a ugly ugly word. The man, on the other hand, stands effortlessly on his impregnable citadel of patriarchy, and enjoys his entitlement of this woman he has married. Without making any effort to be the man of his bride would like him to be, and to treat her the way she would like to be treated. In most cases, the man would not have spared a single brain cycle on thinking about what his wife wants.

This entitlement system sucks.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Sixth Sense

It seems to me that I lack one of the essential senses that is needed in the modern world to survive and thrive - a sixth sense of sorts. Of Money.

I am unable to sense how much does something costs, in terms of money. Unable to sense the value of something, in terms of money. I can only sense the pleasure/loss/pain from my five sensory senses and my emotions, which was probably adequate in some antiquated time, when money was not currency for every worldly thing.

Money by itself gives me no pleasure. Nor does losing it give me a sense of pain. What matters to me is the way I get pleasure when I buy an experience through money, or face pain by an emotional hurt when either a experience is denied to me since I did not have money, or the distress I feel when I am cheated out of it by someone I loved and trusted. When I cause someone else's money to be lost or used, either due to my bad advice or judgement, I feel an enormous amount of guilt though. None of that happens when I am blow up or gamble away my own money. It is as if I excuse myself with impunity of the bad decisions/judgement I make on money which is my own. I don't give myself the same immunity of excuse when dealing with others money. It is almost the other way around with people.

I do know what money means, but in abstract terms, not in visceral ones. Coming as I do from a "marwadi" family, my non-visceral understanding of money is a severe disadvantage. Everyone I meet professionally, expects me to be well versed with money matters. Specially my own, and also specifically so since I am an entrepreneur, supposedly someone who only credo is making money. I am an entrepreneur alright, but my credo is my work, my vision of what I am trying to create, my art if one can call it that - and I wish to make money through that. Not by any other means, but in the only way I respect of making money, by creating an artistic value, by creating something that is beautiful and functional both. I am idealistic enough (foolish enough, I call that in moments of sanity) to believe that money will come, if I create some experience that appeals to at least one of the senses for my potential customers and clients. Money by itself is not the end, the enhanced experience that I create for my customers and clients is. The only reward that I crave for.

I have often been cheated by fellow professionals and so called business partners, who assume that I must have taken care of my money first and foremost. They assume a certain money sense in me, and with impunity cheat me out of money that I trust with them. They assume that I would have gotten value out of them before I give money to them. Not so. I normally give money for value that I expect in the future. I have no other protection against thievery, other than a child like faith that the person I trust will abide by the emotion of trust I have placed with him. Consequently, I lose not only my money, but my trust and emotions as well. Its happened to me several times, this brazen misappropriation of my trust. Unfortunately, despite trying, I am not able to have a adequate perspective about money.

When others give me money for whatever reason, it weighs me down, and binds my soul. I am wary about accepting dinner invites, gifts from people, and even taking money for work rendered. I feel indebted to people who give me money - earned, reciprocated, bestowed, inherited - the reason for my having taken the money does not matter. In most cases, I have earned it. But still, if someone has given me money, I feel indebted to him/her for life. I then work my darndest to repay the debt, but though the money is perhaps paid back in full measure, I can't get over the feeling of being indebted. I can try gifting stuff back, inviting people over and over again to pay back their food debt, give stuff to them that I love and cannot bear to part with in desperation of the debt I feel, sometimes even money that I cannot afford to give - but there is no escaping from the feeling. I feel weighed down. Forever.

On the other hand, I hold no such expectations when I give money. That is given in love, with hope and with trust. In fact, I have issues in making people do things for tasks I have given money for. I find my employees cheating me, my maids cheating me, my partners pilfering money from customer accounts, and though all of this makes me really mad, I do not find that morally reprehensible, which it is.

I am just plain weird about money.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nation of Pretenders

India is a nation of pretenders. Make Belief folks. Who go through life playing a role. Showing themselves to be something to the world which they are not. Focusing on the showing, rather than the doing.

Leaders who pretend to govern - but in reality, only interested in stuffing their own pockets with public money.

Students who pretend to learn - but in reality, only interested in passing the exam and getting a certificate which says they have learnt.

Workers pretending to work - but in reality, only marking time till the time-to-go-home bell chimes

Musicians pretending to make music - but in reality, only repeating their pitiful horde of 10 tunes

Fathers pretending to be caregivers - but in reality, only controlling their wife and children like chattels

Software developers pretending to be skilled - but in reality, only building their CV and not their skill set

Entrepreneurs pretending to run businesses - but in reality, only using their connections and greasing palms to get business

Women pretending to be equal partners - but in reality, refusing to part with a single penny to run the household

Actors pretending to be artists - but in reality, being just pretty faces with no capability to emote

As it is said in Hindi - Haathi ke danth, khane ke aur, aur dikhane ke aur. Pretenders - so many of them! Yes, there are a few genuine folks, but they are so so few, lamentably so.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Panch Kanya's

Reading about the Panch Kanya's. Five Young Wondrous Girls. Kunti, Draupadi, Mandodari, Tara and Ahiyla.

Kanya's are not virgins, as popular interpretation of the word Kanya would have us believe. These are women, rather maidens, who have earned the right to desire.

Strange right. Doesn't everyone have a right to desire, you ask. Yes, everyone can desire. But for women, typically their desires are circumcised by the patriarchy.

Not for the Panch Kanyas. For them, the universe is a supplicant, forced to give them whatever it is that they desire. Uncircumcised. They do not take "No" for an answer. Fate, time or Karma cannot deny their desire. They have been bestowed this right by the dint of their actions and their conduct in their lives, and yes, their persistence of getting their due, no matter what the world says.

It is said that worshiping them, or by simply remembering them, makes a devotee achieve Nirvana. Actually, beyond Nirvana. Nirvana is expected to be this place where a being has no desire at all. For the Panch Kanya's, they are beings with only desire. Because, what must have come before this world? The makers desire to make this world. Desire comes even before time. Kanya's are beings in that realm.

None of these women are worshiped in temples. Unlike the numerous women goddesses or Shaktis - Durga Ma, Kali Ma, Parvati, Sita, Radha, the list is large - almost every household has its own goddess, its own Shakti. Sometimes the Shakti's are worshiped by themselves, or with their consorts, Shiva, Ram, Krishna, manifestations of the masculine.

But the Panch Kanya's have no male consorts. They are just themselves, just women who are pure desire. Who need to be worshiped for just themselves, without any reference to the men in their lives, without any male consort. Women who stand alone. Only the sacred fierce feminine.

They revel in their desire, nothing being out of bounds for them. Opulence, beauty, glory, their place in the sun, pleasure - including sexual pleasure. These are free women who desire, and get it. Contrast this with the Sati-Savitri women, who desire nothing other than the happiness and glory for their husbands, fathers or brothers. These maidens want it for themselves, for their own pleasure, following their own rules. They go beyond the rules of world, the demands of motherhood, and their familial duties. They affirm themselves, needing no affirmations that is external to them.

They are the ones who have given everything to men in their lives, and have found them falling short. They have then decided to take what is due to them by their own hands. They are women who are survivors and winners in the world of men. They have, at some time, loved a man, got him, given their heart, soul, counsel, nurturing everything their feminine nature could do - and have been disappointed by him. Men have not been enough for them. They have relied on themselves and their God, and have got what they wanted. They have not forgiven the world of men, for falling short, and are always constantly reminding them of it.

Such women are what constitute the Panch Kanya's. And the universe ultimately bends in face of such persistence, and gives their desires to them, acknowledging that the world of men is not good enough for such women.

Who are these women?

Draupadi, the wife of the mighty Pandavas. The one who could not be protected by her mighty husbands, or the wise elders.

Kunti, the mother of the three Pandavas, wife of Pandu. The one who slept with other men to give her husband the sons he needed, but found him to be wanting in love, desire and regard for her.

Tara, the wife of the Monkey Kings, Bali and Sugriv. The one married the other to keep the peace when one disappeared, and then on his reappearance, had to once again be won by one by the brothers, while ensuring her son got his due.

Ahilya, the wife of the Gautam Rishi, a steadfast woman. The one who was cursed by a abusive jealous husband, for no fault of hers. Deceived by the cunning and disguise of a deva, and let down by a husband, who was wise, but not in the matters of the heart or even his wife.

Mandodari, the wise wife of the mighty demon king, Ravana. The one who could look beyond the current strength and might of her husband, and recognize the wrong actions of her husband, and tries very hard to protect him from himself. The one who had wisdom and righteousness to call out a deed a wrong one, even when the one who is doing is wrong is not only mighty, but a dearly loved one too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Point of No Return

There are times in ones life when one reaches a point of no return. When the emotional, financial and time investment is so much that one cannot walk away. Even when the risks of moving ahead are staring at ones face. Even when the chances of success are mind-bogglingly slim. But one is too involved, and has no choice but to keep moving ahead.

On the other hand, at the point of no return, the cost of walking away is more than the cost of staying. And when the risk of staying is less than the risk of walking away.

It is terrifying, paralyzing, agonizing. This point of no return.

But strangely liberating. To know that one needs to do what one has to do regardless of the results. If one wants to live with oneself in the other breaths that follow this one.

I grit my teeth, take a deep breath and square my shoulders, and I tell myself to take the next step. And I do. And the next step. And the next one. And the next. And I just keep walking. Walking on and on and on.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Being Worthy

Today, I rededicate my life to being worthy of life.

To be able to live life the way it is right. For me, and my loved ones.

To be able to justify the expenses in ecological and economic terms - of living on this earth.

To be worthy of my parents love and their nurturing.

At the end of it all, it should be worth it - not just for myself, but for my parents, first and foremost, for my family,for my friends, for my professional team mates, for this Earth - that I lived and breathed for a few years and was a part of their life.

May I have the resolve (my Achilles heel) and inner strength to stay the course I chart out for myself.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Radha.....The Eternal Love

I watched Pandita Uma Dogra dance as Radha yesterday. On TV though, at the Khajuraho Dance Festival. She was beautiful. Innocence, playfulness, proprietary attitude towards Krishna, overwhelming unbounded love for Krishna and her sense of jealousy and longing for Krishna's bansuri - it was beautifully enacted in the poem - "Shyam tori bansi bajaoo nek" (Maybe I have got a word wrong here.)

Umaji got Radha alive on the stage. Her Kathak moves were exquisite and the abhinaya superb. I found myself crying as I saw it. I was transported to Vrindavan, near the Kadamb tree, where the two lovers laughed, played, teased and immersed themselves in each other.

I have had this longing to dance on Jaidev's Geet Govindam for years now. I know I would never be able to do it now - my dancing days are over. My desire to dance came from my deep rooted urge to express my wonder at the love of Radha Krishna, rather than dance itself, or the composition of Jaidev, beautiful as it is. Now, of course, I can only watch others perform, and it is so so beautiful and uplifting to watch a dance purist like Uma Dogra dance it.

What is it about Radha Krishna that completely mesmerizes me?

Sell Art Online

Thinking of them melts things inside, and I swoon, hearing the description of their love and longing. I wonder, what it must have been like to have been Radha. To love someone so beautiful and captivating as Krishna, and to be loved back, with the same abandon and surrender, as she was loved. What it must have been to have had no name to the relationship other than sheer love, erotic and worshipful, in equal measure.

And then, how it must have been to have been separated young, to carry the memory of such love all of their lives, when nothing would have come close to oneness than the way they felt for each other. A memory which had such an imprint that nothing of the stupendous life of Krishna, of him being a warrior, the creator of a race, the husband of many wives, the adviser to sages and kings, the Geeta-creating philosopher of the world, even came close to the way he felt about Radha. Krishna led his life immersed in Radha's love, even though he never met her after he left Vrindavan. Krishna was forever Radhe's Krishna, never just Krishna.

But what about Radha? How did she live after Krishna? Was she like a wraith all her life, living in his memory? Did she exult in the way she held this king of men in her heart?

Note to self:
a. Must write a story on this someday, Bucket list.
b. Must watch Khajuraho Dance Festival live some day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What it means to be a Liar

"People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person's view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of the lie - the price one pays is the destruction of what the gain was intended to serve. The man who lies to the world is the world's slave from then on."

- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Blindfold of Pride

There are times when our pride blindfolds us to our own pain, and refuses to have it shared with others, who could help.

Pride over the ability to take pain can turn toxic and cause self-destruction.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Relentless March of Time

Time is relentless. It marches on, with nary a thought about the debris it leaves behind. Just goes on and on and on.

There was a time when I loved to dance. And then there was a time when I could not dance anymore as I needed to train myself for earning money. I thought I would not be able to do anything if I could not dance. But I did do things - not perfect, not soul stirring, but marketable. I did not dance again. Time marched on. Unrelenting.

There was a time when I built the castle of my life on someone's shoulder. And then, there was a time when the shoulder collapsed and died. I thought I would never be able to build again. But I did. First a shanty, then a hovel, and now a house. Not the perfect abode, but a shelter nevertheless. Time marched on. Unstopping.

There was a time when I loved someone. And then, there was a time when he walked away. I thought I would not be able to breathe without him. But I breathed. And made eyes at other men, lusted for them - not lovers but wayfarers and companions. I did not love again. Time marched on. Uncaring.

There was a time when I birthed someone and fed the blood of my womb to her. And then, there was a time when the womb turned back on her and killed her. I thought I would never eat again if it was not to feed her. But I did. I ate, nourished my guilty womb. Not to fill up my breasts with milk - but to fill the bowels with excrement and piss, and give energy to body to survive. Time marched on. Unseeing.

There was a time when I befriended someone and laughed, dreamed and worked together. And then there was a time when the friend betrayed to save some money, and then turned into a foe. I thought I would never share a dream and joke again. But I did. I laughed and joked and broke bread together with people. Not with a friend, but with acquaintances, neighbors and relatives. Not that they got half the jokes, but we laughed together. Time marched on. Unfazed.

There was a time when I wanted to create something of beauty. And then there was a time when I broke my knuckles, hurt my eyes, and I could create no more. I thought I would never want to work again. But I did. I worked to build things which could sell, be branded and be useful. Not beautiful, not pretty - but they were things people wanted and paid money for. Time marched on. Unmindful.

There was a time when I wanted to be a soulmate to someone. And then there was a time when I realized that he did not need a soulmate, but a flatmate. I thought I would never do soul-talk again. But I did. I bared my soul to him in the hope he would someday listen to my soul. He did not listen, nor care. I settled to being a flat mate. Time marched on. Inexorable.

And there will be time when I will cease to exist. when this compromised life, such as it is, will be snuffed out. And then, there will be no more time to build the glorious life I knew I could have had. I will dissolve into nothingness, with my dreams and thoughts and stories and loves and betrayals still in my bones. The bones will be burnt and cast away into the streams and rivers and fields. Time will continue to march on. For others. Unaffected.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Building Trust

How do you make yourself trust-worthy?

Here is my recipe for it:

1. Accept people the way they are, with their faults and kinks.
2. Let them know that you accept them the way they are. By means of affirmative words and caring actions.
3. Be there for them when they are in trouble or need help. Help them the way you can. If no help is possible from you, listen to them. Heartfelt listening.
4. When they need help, help them in the way they want to be helped.

Remember, if you want that the people you love, accept your help when they need it the most, then you have to first invest in being trust-worthy for them.

It is very hard for people to be trust worthy. It is not easy to accept, to keep your judgement at bay, to put the person you love before yourself. It is hard to be so un-mindful of your own ego, your opinions and your judgement. If a person trusts you, you can then help that person come out of a possible toxic situation or behavior. Real change only comes from within, so be mindful that you do not try and force the change.

If it is so hard to be trust-worthy, why do it?

Of all the human situations, not having anyone close to you whom you can trust, is absolutely the worst. You cannot guarantee that you will be able to find someone you can trust, but you can certainly try and be the person who someone can trust. By being trust-worthy, you can be sure that you have eased the pain of human existence for some people on this earth. Do it because you are a compassionate person or aspire to be one.

Secondly, do it for love. In most cases, people have been hurt the most by people whom they have loved the most. In most cases, unknowingly. Most suicides occur as people become lonely, and find that they cannot relate to anyone. This may happen to your loved one, without your realizing that you are the one who is not showing up, not giving acceptance, and hence contributing to your loved ones loneliness and desperation. Your loved ones need to know that you are there for them. And that you love them and accept them. And that you will do whatever you can for them. In short, you must be trusted by them.

Neglect the building trust part of a relationship, and you stand the risk of your loved one some day falling apart as he/she did not know he/she could lean on you. Think about it. You may lose a loved one if the loved one does not trust in you.

Build trust.

PS: Amazingly, today a story appeared on on building trust. But of course, for work relationship, and for leaders. Just for reference

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Good of Wanting

"Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one." - Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald is a writer I love much and admire. His "The Great Gatsby" is a story I have read again and again, and every time I have been filled with wonder at the exact, appropriate usage of words as he tells the story. Every word is perfect. Every conversation is vital. Every bit of story line is useful. Every character is carved exactly as it needs to be. I run out of adjectives. It is just perfect. I cannot imagine how he got to this level of perfection in his craft.

To the perfection he brings, I look at stuff that I have written, some begun, some done, and some still in the head - and I completely despair at putting my stories on paper. I feel so so inadequate. I want to tell stories. There are so many of them jostling in my head. There are times I can barely hear myself because the characters in them talk to much. I know I will die unhappy if I don't tell them.

I wish I had studied literature rather then engineering. I wish I had started writing when I was 10 or 12. I wish I knew I loved words and stories so much. If I had started then, maybe I could have learnt to write the way I now want to write. With exact precision of words and emotions.

I remember a writer friend of mine telling me that in his view, technique comes later, with the content coming first. He had egged me on to write the story first, and not worry about the style of telling. I shared some of my story ideas, which he thought were capital. I know I want to tell them - and I don't really care whether they are endorsed as being capital or not - as long as I get them off my head. But the style of offloading them is beginning to intimidate me. I don't want to write a story that I would not like to read.

Yes, I can never become a story teller till the time I begin to tell my stories. Wanting to be one is simply not going to make me one. I know. But the skill requirement of writing a story that I would like to read scares the shit out of me. I have begun so many stories, and have abandoned them, not due to the plot, but as I could not but cringe on what I had written.

People have spoken to me about creative writing courses. Perhaps thats the answer. Other people have told me to just write - even if I hate the way I write. Other people tell me to do it when I can completely devote my full energy and passion to it, without any distractions. Perhaps the right time is the answer. My own heart tells me to just begin - but my head scorns at the way I write and forces me to stop.

Whats the good of wanting to be a writer if I have no clue of how to go about building the tooling required for it? Just how do I hone my craft? How can I hone my craft when I have not even begun learning it? I don't know how to learn it. Even if I found out, where to learn, am I not old to begin?

Perhaps if I had taken my wanting more seriously earlier on, I would not have despaired of achieving what I want. I would have then had time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On Valentines Day


There are two loves that you should never abandon quest of:
1. Find a person to love unconditionally, without ego, with full abandon. In the rare case of having found someone, make EVERY effort to keep her/him. And if you do happen to be with the person you love, rejoice every minute!
2. Find work that you love doing. Again, in the rare case of having found what you love doing, do it - without thinking of reward, its social payoff, its monetary reward, its acceptance in the world. Just do it.

But first, be the person who can love. By choosing to love, you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Fulfillment only comes to the vulnerable and the needy. It may take a while to come, but every effort spent in seeking fulfillment is worth it. It can be terrifying, giving yourself permission to love. Be of courage.

Love is the only thing that makes life worthwhile.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Single Point of Failure

"Ishikawa Diagram" - A "Cause - Effect" theory that I have known and heard about being practiced in one of the companies I worked for. For the record, I have never formally worked on it, nor have I been trained on its usage.

The idea of the Ishikawa diagram is to take a desired Effect (read expected result), work backwards and think of all the causes that can potentially contribute to it, and document them. Focus on making sure the effecting causes execute well, and the effect will automatically happen. It identifies the possible points of failures, and makes the executor aware of it, so that no point of failure can derail the expected outcome. Very elegant. It works.

Being aware of what the causes are, can and will, influence what finally happens. So far so good.

But how much of a weight does each of the causes has on the effect, is the one question that takes certainty out of the process. Finding out the weight of each cause is subjective, messy and ambiguous.

As I look back in my life, and look ahead, I find that in most cases, a single point/action defined the success or failure of a desired outcome. The weight of the action was not obvious when it happened. It was just one of those things in the action-stream. In most cases, I could not have impacted that particular causatory action. I could not have foreseen its impact. But it is true that the impact of that one action changed everything moving forward, from that point forward. Like a cascading wall of effects. If that one action at that precise time went well, everything went well. If not, then rapidly downhill. In hindsight, there are single points of failures in endeavors.

I focus these days on identifying those actions, the ones that can make/break to cause the outcome that I want out of any situation. The rest, I ignore.

No Ishikawa diagrams for me. One single point is all that I am looking for.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Who will continue to cry....

There is this book called "Who will cry when you die" by Robin Sharma. It is one of those books that exhort you to live your life in such a way that others are impacted by it, and that you are missed when you are gone.

There will be some people who will cry when I die.

There are always some people who cry when a person dies. Of course, barring the very poor, the lonelies and the sick. When some of these people die, there are in fact people who are relieved. It is profoundly sad that this is so.

The key question to ponder is about who will continue to cry after you have been dead. For a week, month, year. Think hard. Picture to yourself the day of your funeral. And then the next. The next week. The next month. The next year. Maybe three years after your death. And ask yourself this question - who will continue to cry after you have died. Picture the people doing their daily routines. Imagine the thoughts they would have, while they eat, drink, make a living, party etc. Ask yourself honestly - be brutally honest - will they spare one thought to you? Two? Several in a day? Once in a month? Once in a year? Will it be a happy thought? Grateful thought? Revengeful thought? Loving thought? These are questions you ask yourself of the people in your life today.

Life goes on. That is the tragedy and beauty of life. Everything passes. Even you.

Think about what your imagination is telling you about life after your death. About which people will continue to feel your absence, in a good, bad or indifferent way. The ones to focus on first is the indifferent ones. For the ones whose lives would continue with nary a thought for you, eliminate doing things for them in your current time. Eliminate estimating your lifes worth on what they think of you today. Or what you think they think of you. They don't really matter - in the short and long run. You do not really impact them. Maybe you never did. Purge them from your life.

Now examine the people who will miss you in a good way. Even weeks after you have gone, or even years. Nurture them, love them and try and maximise your impact in a good way in their life. You really are a part of their lives. Choose to work hard on them. It is important to you, and to them.

And now, the ones who curse you when you are gone. Look hard - if there anything you have done to have earned that blame or curse? Fix it if you can. If not, then accept their curses, eliminate thoughts about them from your head and let them cease existing for you today. These could be people who you can do nothing about. Cultivate the wisdom to accept their prickly existence in your life, and stop trying to please them.

Now, besides the people who would cry when you die, think of the people who won't cry when you die, but whose life would be impacted by what you did in life. Maybe these people have never met you. Could you have impacted some people in your life even though you did not know them? Picture the impact. Maybe your work has made them spend one hour less doing repetitive boring stuff in their lives. Maybe you helped them reach their goals with less barriers. Maybe science and thought progressed in a different way because you lived and worked. It does not matter that they were not in your funeral. They could not have been there even if they wanted to - they don't even know you exist!

If you can picture such people, your life would have lived beyond your death in some measure.

Can't think of anyone like that? Maybe you need to look at your lifes work to know if there is some work you need to start so that someone is impacted due to your death. Someone you don't know. Someone who you still nevertheless love. Invest in that love. Invest in a ever lasting life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The distorted popular

My daughter asked me about the interpretation of these lines from the very popular poem, "The Road Less Taken" by Robert Frost -

"Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;"

She wanted to know the exact meaning of the words 'just as fair'. As I explained it to her, I read the following two lines -

"Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same."

Wait wait... this means that the poet is saying that both the roads were pretty much the same. And I freaked out.

Not on the poem itself, because the meaning of the poet was clear. But on my own understanding of what the poem said. Or rather what I thought the poem said. Truth be told, I had never really read the poem properly, though it forms a integral part of my subconscious, and there have been several times that I have referred to it in conversations, with myself and with others. Stored as it is in my mind, the poet celebrates the doggedness of pursuing ones own unique vision, the risks involved in doing so, and passionately advocates following ones path - even though there have not been too many people who had earlier walked that path.

But the poet does not do that at all! The poet is saying that as the years go by, he probably would justify the path that he had taken by wistfully called it the "road not traveled", though in reality he had no means of knowing if the path indeed was not traveled - but the need to somehow see oneself as a hero, a lone traveler will make the poet deceive himself by calling the path so, in the future.

My appreciation of what the poet has written has jumped up several levels. My own estimation of how I think has taken two steps down. Two large steps down.

I, who snacks on words - how could I allow myself to subscribe to a popular opinion - without reading the poem itself? It did not take me even 2 minutes to know that the popular opinion and take away from the poem is very different from the way the poet intended it to be - and yet, yet, I took it to be true. I believed the popular opinion to be true, though I could have easily assessed for myself on whether it was true or not (which I did today).

Popular has the propensity to distort. Beware of the popular! And beware of your own propensity to blindly follow the popular.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I am not what I used to be. You are not what you used to be. Constantly changing life has changed us, and will continue doing so.

Let us be aware of what each of us has come to be. If we can still love each others changed self with our changed self, it would be rare. And beautiful beyond measure.

Let's constantly create a new "Us". Shall we?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blind Spot

TOTD: Everyone has been incredibly stupid at one time. Some at a few times, some several times and yet others, multitude of time, and of course, some see just a few moments of intelligence in their lifetime.

The propensity of mankind, myself included, to do stupid things amazes me..

Friday, January 18, 2013

The burden of guilt

Going through a Gurudutt phase. Something about his insights into the feminine psyche, specially the indian feminine.

Watched Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam yesterday. Saw it for the first time, though I had watched the songs several times on TV, specially my favorite ones - "Bhanwara bada nadaan he" and "Na jaaon saiyaa chura ke bainya".

The movie is a story of a bygone era, of jamindars and havelis and eccentric men. The movie tells the story of Chotti Bahu, played by Meena Kumari, with her quest of being a ideal wife and soul mate, seeking fulfillment in a marital relationship - and the observation of a impressionable young man, who gets acquainted with the feminine for the first time. Beautifully enacted, sensitively told story.

As I watched Chotti bahu, I realized that like Chotti bahu, indian women invariably carry a burden of guilt around their shoulders. An indian woman feels guilty if her husband is a philanderer. She is the one who feels guilty if she can't bear a child, she is one who feels guilty if her husband is a drunkard, she is the one who is demented by guilt if she touches a bottle of "sharab". Sometimes, she is also the one who is considers herself guilty if her husband dies!

She is the one who carries the onus of being pure as drivel snow. She is expected to be a goddess, no less. If she chooses not to be a goddess or the revered mother, she has only one option open to her, of being a slut.

She is not allowed to be human. She is not allowed to seek things for herself, but for the family, the husband, the children. She is defined by her relationship to them, and there she carves out an identity. And if any of these externalities of hers - her husband, her child, her family, her family's health, her family's wealth, her family's honour - is not pristine, it is all her fault. She reminds herself of her responsibilities every passing second, tormented in guilt at the deficiencies, specifically more so when they are not her own.

 Why do Indian Women accept guilt unconditionally this way?

Guilt is handed down to us from our mothers, our aunts, our friends. It is dinned into our ears, and given to us as an ornament, as a sacred robe we dare not sully. We all wear it, like a badge of honor. Refusing to see that the husband's, child's, family's guilt, in most cases, does not belong to us. Correction - it does not belong to us. Ever.

Amazing that it took a 70s movie for me to see that.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Long shadows

TOTD: Some people have long shadows. There are no warning signs of their arrival in your life. When they go, they leave long shadows. Some dark ones and some light ones. Some may even impact your life by changing its route forever.

You can only see the dark shadowy ones when you peer back into your periods of darkness, and recognize them for who they were, and what they did to you. Amazingly, you continue to feel for the dark shadowy ones in the same way as you did when you let them into your life and allowed them to impact you. Even now when you know they were dark for you, you continue to ache for them, rationalizing what they did to you with reasons that you find easy to accept.

Ah, the deceptions that a human mind practices on itself!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Memory vs. knowing

TOTD: Our memories define us. Make us what we are. Often it prevails over what we know.

For example, if we played with a pet lion when we were kids, we will continue to think that lions are friendly beings, even though the combined knowledge of the world will tell us that lions are unpredictable wild beings. Memories trump rational thinking.  Memories are also selective. More on that later.


TOTD: And now there is this new place to display affection - Facebook! I am seeing immediate family members, who are under the same roof,  having saccharine conversations on facebook.

When a husband and wife hug each other too often publicly, one can safely assume that they sleep with their backs to each other more often than not.

Is this the typical Indian way of doing things - Haathi ke daant: Khane ke aur, aur Dikhane ke aur?

Friday, January 4, 2013

To be Someones World

TOTD: It is hard to be Someones World. Someone can get very anxious about the state of his/her world - which is you - and force you to be the kind of world he/she wants you to be.

I am in my world, and you are in yours. Let our two worlds bump each other playfully, hold hands, and walk merrily besides each other, and still, be within themselves.  Must one become the other?