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Archive for September, 2008

Aargh..Just the same

Aristotle was right – absolutely right
All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind
And so was whoever who said that nothing changes – life just goes round and round.

Again the same thing(Huh even my normally sweet and reticent friend today agreed once she went to US – that yeah all jobs are the same)
Again a flashy fiery email about what else but workplace attitude.
Again some funny cause – being unavailable for a remotely broadcast training arranged way too late i.e for a product  you’ve already finished a project on .
Only difference – this time the cause is not a single person ( I like to give the benefit of doubt to some people some times ) but simply a comedy of errors or miscommunication (unless I think up a conspiracy theory here which frankly in workplace scenarios  cannot be ruled out.Now I didnt mean outside the workplaces such scenarios are ruled out – they actually are the norm, Ask Ekta Kapoor. )
Ah that line of Karla from Shantaram and how many times do i quote it – “If fate does not make you laugh you just don’t get the joke
I’ve been getting the joke more than ever these days.
And to think just in my previous post I was sort of complaining about feeling less passionate about venting or raging about anything .Think before you wish dear – Think before you wish.
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P.S: Read up the blog of a chap I knew (Blogging’s become so very fashionable these days since Amitabh and Aamir started it that I feel like stopping writing here – feels as though I ‘m trying to do some in thing).
But neverthless quite a  revelation some stuff – though sometimes I wonder if a lot of it is fact – especially stuff about some gals. Reminded me of the boasting done by the character Raj in “Bachna Ae Haseeno” after meeting the first heroine in the story played by Minnisha Lamba.

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Time just surreptitiously takes away your life – a day at a time and before you know you have nothing left.

Did want to write something from quite some time but its just that have been unable to zero upon anything.
Books I tried to speed read – a few non fiction,
movies – well a few but need some discipline in my head to write anything
the world around you crashing in different ways and means – floods ,stock markets, terror attacks and yet I seem to have become sort of lost in my very cocoon , once again.

Work when its open ended makes you feel busier than when say its target oriented. Work centered around evaluation / exploration of stuff seems a cool thing but in the end it strains you a hell lot more than when you work towards getting done with stuff to acheive a target thats set.
Handling such things then becomes more of an attitude thing i.e how you as a person want to take it based of course on your position in life and workplace and universe too i guess.

You don’t have the pressure of targets – so if you have a take it easy and anyway we can cook up a story and such get away kind of attitude life is pretty cool in such work scenario.

Problem starts if you take it as though you want to put across something substantial for the exploration/stuff you have been working on and you hit roadblocks at everything, and you never know where to stop , what is enough or is it good enough.
Being at a new workplace in such a job sort of makes you more intent on the second option and thus I’ve been feeling a bit like a workalholic.Not that many will believe at my office since I walk in pretty cool at 11 .

Sometime last month again I went through living my usual yearly stress – of avoiding people forced to wish me happy birthday and asking for treats and cake and all that drama. Not that I dont do it for others , but they seem happy about it. I pretty much may be mistaken about them.Who knows.
For me I never since childhood enjoyed it and with time I tried my best making people miss it which kind of had a strange effect.
They missed it that one time and after that never really. So the best way out was join the exuberance and say oh people would like me to be at home and avoid all and then give some treat just any other day to make them feel I was normal enough.

People who somehow crowded my life with their affection, though I never looked or hoped to get it all have dissappeared with time and its cruel ways and it is now you feel the vaccum.

I’ve never minded being alone and loved solitude since childhood somehow but as they say

How sweet, how passing sweet is solitude.
But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper–Solitude is sweet.

When I was a child I never had the friends – so may be it never meant that much
but now after these years of cribbing complaining and sometimes escaping a set of people I miss their presence.

But oh I’m older – did not some Ted Koppel say
It becomes increasingly easy, as you get older, to drown in nostalgia.

Or May be I’ve been born old – an old soul – hmm cause I seem to have been drowning in nostalgia since forever. Over 3 years of nostalgia on this blog seems a testimony to that fact.

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Had a real bad day yesterday capping a bad week.Nothing new , just scraping up of old wounds, but Ive lost it and just blew it up.
I just cannot put it up any longer and its these jokes and the “Just Kidding” people who frankly inspire violence in me.
In the workplace you have to be cordial to one and all ,in the name of collaboration, and at home too you get hammered on the virtues of settling down with whatever and wherever so you find some more people to be cordial to. After all we wont last forever is the lament.
And gosh what is it that I earn given all my insecurities (even freshers get paid almost the same
these days for their freshness value, its so  low brow),  but I live among the great new Indian middle class and hence seems almost everyone is after me – only person right now living the high brow IT dream(though deep down they have their doubts , how come she’s still never gone abroad.All companies send s/w engg abroad).
Of course they are just KIDDING.
What is money , after all did they not spend so much on me – i.e buying their favorite things for me .
When i proclaim that  let me live my life in peace for the few years I may live, I aks nothing from anyone – my very own who are the epitome of optimism ,and still beleive in doing or in fact planning everything in the next decade rather than now – question me ,
 “If you have no such belief in tommorow what is it that you do with your money, where and why are you stashing it “.
This from a set of people who never know or care where they blew up all they earned in three decades – to me who’s earning since just last five years.
I used to walk 3 km to save Rs 5 on my Internet expenses because the way I was handed out pennies I hated asking(now the story is we gave what you asked),
I was shut up on one occasion too many saying that I could not earn a penny so I better behave and now I am told ,
you take every little thing to heart, it was just SMALL things.
If we take what you say seriously what will it be like ? is what i am told.
Hmm well yeah – WHY DO YOU NOT TAKE IT SERIOUSLY IS ALL I SAY AND THINK.

Someone in the family buys a car and the whole gang and their well wishers who visit believes since I earn enough and have a plan anyways I should buy a car – take a loan.
I blow up about taking loans and I am advised and rebuked – come on its not like you were paying it off immediately or buying it,
 just smile and say OK and forget it. Its just their way of joking and talking.
“It is your mistake surely – you are being touchy , they just expressed their know how and opinion”(uncalled for is what i can say)
Oh yeah I am being touchy.I am bloody hell am.
At the workplace people who happily had all the fun – onsite jobs , parties and a lavish lifestyle now say well we don’t own a house.
 Look at you- you are single have a house and what the hell do you do with your money ,
you even stay with your parents so hardly any expenditure.Come on give a treat…he he its ok JUST KIDDING.
Oh yeah I am being touchy and stupid and have lost all my patience with people.
Point is why associate with such a hopeless touchy person, more so when she wilfully stands out of your way.
The kind of violent emotion the whole drama inspired in me , makes me realize all said and done English is never the first language.
I cannot express that well enough just wish I could as easily blog in hindi/native language.
Then there’s grossness in people. R made such a cheap remark about S being no good, just because he hasn’t been helpful for her
 in her career plans,such gross spite made me re-evaluate my whole association with her.
I cant handle the raw gross cheap language used. Its nothing bad may be just raw emotion on her part,pure frustration like me
 but getting so badly personal about a person for a few career issues made me feel so very uneasy. And its not like they
stop at that – she expects you to either support her or the opposite person and giving reasons.
After such stress on diplomacy you get home and what awaits you is more of the same, this time more where it hurts.
All my loving ones and caring and always well wishing for me dearies all over my home and in the world 
can you please stop KIDDING with me.
I just was not born with the mood.
You just wish humanity be damned and then say Oh was JUST KIDDING

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Reading India Unbound

Last fortnight had so much work that I never managed to write about this book which I really liked reading, and as always with time its never quite the same for me. My thoughts as I say on my blog , with moments- flit by.
When i finished off reading the Introduction chapter of India Unbound which ends with “Although slower India is more likely to preserve its way of life and its civilization of diversity, tolerance, and spirituality against the onslaught of the global culture. If it does , then it is perhaps a wise elephant.” I simply felt like  ha ha Wise Elephant eh – how hindsight can leave you so cynical.

These lines must have been penned less than a five years ago and yet here we are in a India where things seem to be going quite the opposite with hatred and seperatism and religion seeming to be leading the onslaught against peace.

But the book does reflect how the pace of change itself has changed. Change might have always been a way of life , but its become so very fast paced that it becomes tough to keep up with the next happening or risk predictions of any kind.

Coming back to the book as a whole, its splendid simply because its one those few books that manages to talk about economics of India for over a century as a whole with perceptions of individuals especially of different generations as example.It never feels like a heavy
statistic oriented or overtly economic theory oriented and the best part for me is it explores both ends of a equation. The leftists and the Rightists, individualism capitalism socialism and there is no taking sides or solutions of any kind.
Proven solution offering books that irritate the living daylights out of you and one the foremost reasons why i hugely prefer fiction over non – fiction.

Like he says at one point
It is important not to direct people too much and to let them find their way. It might bring out their creative urges. This is not to say one abdicates responsibility to train employees…..but he or she must refrain from controlling them

Something I found quite interesting for example was his description of the impression made on him by a  ‘A Theory of Justice’ by Rawls wherein he felt ” moral justification based on consent seemed to me superior than the greatest good for the greatest number“. As he says further “Most of  us
became Socialists because we were repelled by the inequality of capitalism.Having said that it is important to remember that Rawls model works only in a genuinely open society. In the end no society even America is completely open.The key is to ensure that everyone has a equal
start in life and hope to raise to the Top.

The books starts off with how rich India was but the good part is it does not keep harping on it. It shows why it was that and how it was us who lost it rather than someone really looting it all from us and why we better concentrate on creating it all over again rather than mulling over who took it , and blaming them for what we are now.

It potrays quite vividly about the leftist and socialist feelings of the 60-70’s especially in young people and why exactly once those rose colored glasses were gone the world had actually moved on far ahead.

Somehow as I read this book the movie ‘Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi” somehow played on subconsciously in the mind.
Like when the author says “As I look back on my four years at college , I am shocked that we were so concerned with the distribution of wealth in those days that we ignored the whole subject of wealth creation……..All of us wanted to be scholars and dedicate our lives to the dispassionate pursuit of ‘truth beauty and justice’ like Socrates

Then he comes back to today’s scenario
Today’s undergraduates both in US and India don’t seem to suffer from our hang ups and our Idealism.They have the opposite problem…today’s youth I think need to be reminded, I think that there is a great world out there beyond money.

His anecdotes from corporate life too make a nice read.
A Swiss manager of a MNC told me that a sure way to inaction is to put two talented Indians on a Global task force. They will never agree and brilliantly  argue the proposal to death.
His account of how he was treated by his first managers in India once he came to India after graduating in US makes quite a read.
Another beautiful and for me commonplace incident was his description was of meeting with few young people in Bandra whom he asks “Would you take arts in college” and gets a the true reply.

Arts subjects aren’t high scoring” …….”in Science you just have to memorize a bunch of facts and luckily I have a good memory

The author then ponders over that our education wherein no one had told him that science was about learning to  think more exactly …..”experimental habit of mind“.

Nevertheless he concludes that the young are no less virtuous today – chief difference is there is less hypocrisy and more self confidence.
I somehow am not very sure – I must say I see a very different hypocrisy and a tendency to the very old religious extremism right now which makes one feel like we almost want to go back.

As always there might be a simple point wherein you feel strong empathy in any book and for me it was in that one line “For one Dhirubhai who succeeded there were hundreds who failed“.
I’ve been surrounded quite a lot by ever green dreamers of being someone or something like him if not exactly in that sense but getting to the simple point – making  millions soon enough . What none of these wonderful people know ,and if the theory of positive thinking is to be
followed must know is – of those hundreds who failed.

Thing is I feel deeply uncomfortable about is the discounting of the possibility of those hundred and relying on the success of one.
Like a friend recently asked after over a year of niceties , so when did you pass out – oh 1998 – it was a good year only nah(he must have joined college then )and you did not go to US. All your friends in  US must be millionaries by now. What do i say as much as I try. That i know of people who’ve scraped through there, of people who are living well enough there but millionaires, nah I know none.

The book states stuff in a matter of fact style and that is what made it appealing to me

In the competitive market some will gain and others will lose.Even if the winners greatly outnumber losers, In a country like India, The losers will be considerable.But it has to be that way in a society with a young population that needs to absorb an increasing labor force.One should be aware of the downside of capitalism, but one cannot morally stop the yearning o fthe underprivileged and the poor to rise to a better standard of living…..Nobody knows the ideal social mix.the West certainly does not offer a model ….for its excessive individualism has a corrosive effect on family and society.Individualism is certainly vital in the economy of information and innovation but the west has also learnt that Individuals need a supportive society as well…………………..

…..It is no good hoping that Indian values and Indian way of life will survive intact…Asian values are indistinguishable from Victorian values….Modernization has its positive and negative consequences and we have to live with them

The irony of liberalism is that it gives the individual free space, in order to fashion his life, but he is unable to cope with the free space and fills it up with trivial objects….without an ideology – life is reduced to an endless pursuit of cars cellphones channel surfing“.
The core point he puts across “Self interest has always been the greatest motivator of individuals and classes. In denying this basic truth about humanity, we embraced treacherous ideologies and failed economic policies.

Its something many people try to deny but in the end thats a truth Ive always seen win.

Though there is no startling knowledge one will gain through the book , its a real interesting overview of the interesting times that we’ve started living in, and how that the most trivial things at times may affects us with a far greater impact than what we call the most important incidents ,and what misconceptions we always start our future with.

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P.S: After finishing this I was engrossed by the very personal murder mystery by Agatha Christie “Sad Cypress”. Its so enjoyable to see how beautiful a study fiction offers on human nature, rather than the most philosophical books.

A very cruel thought – Was hearing about the food riots in Bihar – Thoughts went back to the ‘The Dark Knight’ . The Joker won in his experiment?

But sometimes when one sees such stuff one does wish one has real tangible solutions .Nothing seems to convince me that donations by a even lakh people for over twenty lakhs will suffice.And most people like to calm their conscience  by donating a few bucks, but no one thinks who will administer the relief bought by these donations,  a thousand or so volunteers for such a huge lakhs.

Not me I know, Not my colleague or friend or whoever I know. We all have a  life which we may hate but we still have not been able to reach onto such high ideological humanity serving paths.So I really admire the people who get personally involved rather than donating etc in such efforts and feel a bit challenged at never being that kind somehow.

Then you think of Nature and you know that Man has never won in so many ways.
Its become a mutual destruction path the way things keep occuring on and on.
Man destroys nature for his ever expanding needs and Nature destroys mankind in its gay reckless abandon ways.

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