Funny Things to Ponder

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Being anxious is the new normal

Being in foreign land, not much phone calls from friends and families, no irritating heart beat increasing news channels and taking some time off from the FB, twitter can give space for the natural emotions to flow out!

I live in 120 sqft room which has used every sqft to the best possible extent. So, even if I have stretched my arms; I should do it in a specified position or I risk breaking something or hurting myself.

I am staying in various European hotels from last 5 + years and I find that the present room size is the new normal size in most of the hotels in Europe. Presently, I am staying in a small town called Eskilstuna from last one week and due to work schedules; I never got a change to sit beside the window and watch outside for long duration. Anyways, no company will pay me for this doing this task of sitting beside window and looking outside :-P

 Today morning, I opened my window and saw a wonderful sight. I felt the same sight to be more peaceful and serene today than yesterday. It is surely the effect of mind, time on hand and old Kannada songs playing in the background.


When I started noticing the scene from the window, I could see 2 fisherman on opposite sides of the river bank, a family of 4 cycling in the bicycle lane, a dog owner taking his dog out (or vice versa ;-)) and obviously few cars in the road.

There is one river and different pace of life beside the river bank.
2 fisherman who is presently stationary in relative motion to the flowing river.
1 dog and its owner walking along the river bank
1 family of 4 cycling along the river bank
Lots of people going in the car and most of them who don’t even have time to look at river side

 If I start equating or matching this with the life style of an average IT professional from India, we are obviously in the fast lane of that road along the river bank. If there is no fast lane, we think it’s our right to have one and we shall demand it. :-P

Looking at lifestyle of todays “normal” IT professional; I can say that
“Being anxious is the new normal”.

World is like a river running in slow pace with undercurrents here and there, rapids during the rocky course and carrying so many things like fish, plants, debris along with it. 

If IT professional (we) choose to run in 12 km/hr speed along its river bank, why blame the world for burning us out?
We can sit, walk, run, drive or cycle on the river bank. But, we choose to run a 100 meter dash and have not stopped till now.

A 100mtr race is good, if we started at 0 and decelerated by 110th or 120th meter. If we continue to run in same speed along the river bank; due to relative motion; its obvious that world looks like a 100 mtr dash race.
 Before the adrenaline is finished or the knees starting paining badly, we need to stop this race which is pursued for too long even after crossing the milestone.

Have you ever seen a marathon runner running like Usain bolt?

Like it or not, Life is like a marathon. 

The greatest run in this life is not just measured by speed, time but its those moments of life while running which would allow you to see how wonderful your life is. It doesn’t come by running at same tempo or speed; it comes by choosing our own tempo according to the course of the river.

I take the example of 3 animals – deer, elephant and tortoise to illustrate this further.

Life doesn’t demand a fast deer; it appreciates a majestic elephant or even a slow tortoise!

You might ask, Why?

Deer run in fear, deer run for saving its life most of times! The day the deer loses even 1 step while running, it would become a food for the carnivores. There is very little room for error here, mistakes are costly!

Elephants tend to take time, walk at their own pace. Compared to their body size, their eyes are quite small. Maybe they don’t care much about everything minute around them and are happy with the visual information received through their small eyes.

Tortoise has a hard shell on the top to protect itself from the vagaries of the external environment and it seldom prefers to walk or swim. It has adapted to sea, river, lake and even our well ;-)
It’s of no surprise that this animal has the longest life span among all living species.

Deer in Concrete jungle
Art by Roberto Foz

Today, most of us are the deer in this concrete jungle. We are bowled over by the benefits of being a deer, but failed to evaluate the risks of aping it.

Being deer in this capitalistic world is like being a chicken for the KFC. 

You are fed well, sometimes force fed so that you can perform for their KPI’s. You can be successful (according to amma appa, uncle aunty standards), rich and what not; but at the end of the day; you are being chicken so that capitalistic creed can consume your greed or create one!

The capitalistic world is feeding you with house, car, loans, foreign tours etc where as its sucking out your creativity, energy and

most importantly, 

YOUR LIFE.


You will have time and enough content to discuss in 1~2 hr meeting with your onsite/offshore colleague but nothing much to talk for more than 20 mins with your friends, family and so on.

You will have enough space in calendar to accommodate a client meeting in the evening but will find reasons to skip the reception of your engineering/school batch mate since the event is happening on the other side of the city.

You will have enough consciousness to attend scores of team dinner and outings but will always postpone your family trips since you are saving for a top end model upgrade of your car.

You might be saying “Boss, team dinners or outings are free/company paid; therefore I go to relax, unwind and connect with team”.

Yes, agreed. That capitalistic world has indirectly set a standard inside you that a holiday means spending time in Coorg Club Cabana or some expensive resort. So, the reason for postponing the family outings since we have set some unwanted standards for family outings !

Recollect the childhood days ; everyone of us used to have regular family dinner in Bengaluru. Where would your dad take you out? Was it 
Windsor Manor or Holiday Inn
or
Hotel Kamat, Hotel Swathi ? 

Today, a team dinner should be in one of the fine dining restaurants and bill should be huge enough so that I can go tomorrow and brag about the dinner, bill and new theme restaurant and so on!
Oh I forgot! There should be some cool pictures for FB too :-P

This has put pressure on your status that you can no longer eat out at so called medium scale service restaurants or you might call them as darshini's now ! 

The point is, by attending so-called team building(bitching) activities on regular basis in your office, we get anxious if we have our family dinner @ Shanti Sagar or spend a vacation in Coorg in some lodge! We cant brag about staying in Hotel Mahendra @ Coorg to anyone, you see ;-)
Leave that topic! these days we get anxious or make the to-be bride and groom anxious if they cant have a honeymoon at Bali, Maldives and so on!

We get anxious if we are not adhering to the new normal standards set by the society!

Don’t worry; even I am one of them. I would get anxious if you don’t read and comment on this blog post ;-)

In this world which is like a river flowing towards ocean/sea/another river, we can choose our life to run beside it, walk along with it or just sit back and take a look at the pristine surroundings.

There is no need to get anxious and run like a deer along its river bank !


As I finish this piece, I see that 2 fisherman have caught enough fishes and pack their bags. I take my book and start typing this post; so that I can live that moment and capture that feeling in my own words. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lesson learnt from a ….

It was a regular summer morning in Bengaluru! The kids have been chased to the play ground by their neighbors, the street vendors have finished the early morning sale, the working class has reached their offices and housewives are busy in household tasks.

The heat was unbearable for a typical Bengaluru hudugaru, so most of them like me would have decided to stay indoors , watch the last day test match and then meet their friends in adda after a good afternoon siesta.

The TV was showing the cricket match and I was deeply engrossed into it.
Amma was working in the kitchen and she was shouting for help so that she can finish her tasks and get some sleep. As you know, boys find it harder to lift a 14kg cylinder in kitchen but can carry a 40kg beautiful girl all around the house ;)
So, I was acting deaf to her requests for cutting vegetables or any small task. The cricket match was progressing well and it was getting interesting by every hour. Therefore, the volume of the TV set was on highest level since its always good to see a match with crowd voice and good English commentary! (the present day Hindi commentary in IPL is bad and irritating) and also avoid shouting from the kitchen.

As the match kept progressing, amma almost shouted on her top of the voice. She asked me to check the front yard of our house since she saw some suspicious movement happening.

My house was having 2 vacant plots in our backyard and ragpickers or curious thief looking for stealing petrol from bikes, clothes from ropes etc. were a common sight. So, I headed out from the hall and started looking for suspicious activity in front of my house and in the backyard.
Seeing no person, I came back and started watching the TV again. After few minutes, again my mother started scolding me for sitting in front of TV while some boy is staring at our home.

This time, I was little angry and left the hall unwillingly.  As I reached the compound, I saw a ragpicker sitting in the moori (storm sewer drain). His head was bent down and he a relatively empty rag bag on his shoulders.
Rag pickers roaming around during the morning and late evening are common sight, since the traffic density or people movement are low at that time. It was easier for them to run away from police, if they sight one at times! Nowdays, we don’t see Indian rag pickers; the illegal immigrants have taken over this trade too ;-)

Also, I had seen most of them consuming drugs like the one shown on TV or seen in railway station, bus stops. These kids or teens would take a piece of cotton waste, soak them in kerosene, paint, whitener or any other alcoholic substance and then keep sniffing at that piece for hours. (http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/others/40k-kids-get-a-kick-out-of-substance-abuse/articleshow/21430546.cms)

This scene was in the backdrop of my mind and I thought that this bugger sitting in the moori next to my house is another drug addict.
As I saw him bending his head down, thoughts ran into my mind.

What if he is consuming drugs here since the regular adda has been busted.

Is he planning to start a new adda near my house?

I shouted to him and asked “Hey, yeno madtha idhya. Hogu illinda”. I didn’t any response and he was in his business as usual. I shouted again and no response.

I imagined how my mother would have felt when I give a blind ear when she is shouting for attention from my end. Keeping that thought aside, I started wondering; what is this guy upto?
I went little closer and shouted again increasing the pitch of my voice.

Again no response, he is carrying on his business!

I thought he might be on a high and therefore not in senses! The next thought came to my mind was, what if he is on high; having some weapons with him and start attacking me if I disturb him!
I wanted to call my mother for help, but my mind said “hey! I am a grown up individual now”.  Let me handle this. Machoism strikes at any time but not at right time :-P
I called out at him again and shouted in even more stronger voice.

Again no response

I decided that it’s time to get physical and let me ask this bugger in the way he understands. In this frame of mind, I gave a hard tap on his head and asked “hey, yeno madtha idya?”
Suddenly, the boy turned his head towards me and had a very surprised look. He looked at me into my eyes and sounded confused. I was also confused for a second.

I shouted again “yeno madtha idya? hogu ! “ I bent down to check, what was he holding in his hands.
Looking at his reaction, I realized that he was deaf and dumb boy
He had never heard to my voice and a sudden hard tap on his head left him surprised and shocked.

All my hormones pumping macho into my muscles stopped working and I was standing there like an idiot; wondering about various thoughts in my mind sometime ago and how I had jumped to conclusions based on visual environment around me.

The boy was having a meal from a packet, probably brought from nearby hotel
He asked in sign language, if he can eat the meal there. Looking at his eyes, hands and face; I found it hard to swallow my own saliva since I felt choked. I just nodded my head. Immediately, he smiled back and gestured for some water.
I returned back to the kitchen, told my mother that there is nothing to worry about and brought a glass of water.

I poured the water into the boys hand and he left the place! I came back to my hall and lost interest in watching the rest of the cricket match.

I gave a hard tap on his head, he gave me a smile back!

Was he rich enough to answer my rudeness with a smile or am I starved of ability to see some things and starts jumping into conclusion.

This world which appears like a reality due to the visual communications received to our brain is actually a perception of our experiences. We tend to jump into conclusions, start feeling insecure, frightened even before it happens!

I don’t know If we need to open our eyes and see this world or open our MIND to see this world !


I don’t call that person who opened the mind as ragpicker, beggar or so on.. 

Therefore, the title goes as “Lesson learnt from a …. “