Monday, 28 October 2013

To have or not to have? : Blog # 147

To have or not to have?

        We all have wants, wishes and whims. It can be fame, money, love, success or anything that is appealing about this life on earth. Some of them are met and some aren’t. But I often wonder which is more painful, to have and lose or not to have at all. There are multiple human sensibilities at work here.         

            When one doesn’t get what one wants, one can rely on imagination. We can think if we had what we wanted, we would do this or that. Also, hope comes to one’s rescue too. We can always wish for the elusive want to happen to us. This hope and imagination fuels our journey with enough optimism to sail through.

It might also happen so that one longs for something and doesn’t achieve it even after a long time. Then what happens? Fortunately, we humans are equipped with enough spirit in us that we learn to live with that reality and begin to look at other wishes to be pursued.

But what happens when you are given a taste of your want and then it is taken away?  I think that is a deceitful manifestation of cruelty. Letting one know what it feels like to have something one always wanted and then taking it away is like twisting the destiny. Here, only disappointment remains. Yes, one can always argue there is reminiscence. But what is reminiscence here but a romanticized disappointment?

I think what would be most painful is the sense of loss. The umpteen rethinks that goes in about what could have been done to retain it. Did one take it too lightly or way too seriously? Was it because it came by too easily or was it due to it happening too early? There is this thought as to what can be done to bring it back. Even if tried, will it come back at all? The urge to get it back is always there at the back of one’s mind.

May be, this question of whether to have and lose it or not have it at all belongs right in the middle of those ever elusive quests of Life that we have to learn to live with.

Arun Babu

Monday, 21 October 2013

Characters that are Special : Blog # 146

Characters that are Special

        I wonder if there has ever been a time where in punctuation has found more importance in languages than now. So much so that we sum up a whole sentence with a combination of colons, parenthesis and special characters.

A blog on Special Characters, A blog on Punctutations            Consider this. You need to tell your friend something but would like to convey an exact opposite meaning. All you need to do is put a semicolon and a parenthesis towards the end - I love waking up early in the morning ;).

            Expressing wonder by saying “I am surprised” or “I am amazed” is so a thing of past. Today, we say it using exclamation marks. The most common usage is 3 in a row – I am getting a salary hike!!!It can be used to express shock as well – I am not getting a salary hike!!!The usage of question marks also has the same impact - You have three facebook accounts???

            Sarcasm has always been elusive to many people. Understanding sarcasm itself needs considerable social skills. Expressing it in writing has always been a challenge. And here comes the colons and commas to the rescue – Hey thank you for remembering my birthday!!! J. That combination of exclamations, colon and parenthesis does the trick.

            Now coming to the best usage of all. For those who do not want to dirty their vocabulary using the four letter words, all one needs to do is put up a combination of special characters. You are such a %@%@%.

            The most common of all is the three dots usage. It gives that subtle literary feeling. If you are writing a story and you decide to title it “For my Love”, it will be much more appealing if you name it as “For my Love…”.    

            It is quite a paradox that for a generation that doesn't take using punctuation quite seriously, much of our daily conversations will be incomplete without them albeit the usages are in quite a different context from what Shakespeare would have ever imagined.
Arun Babu.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Dream On : Blog # 145

Dream On…

Recently, I came across these lines by John Greenleaf Whittier, “Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these - it might have been…If we try to remember, we all were very ambitious as children. Not one of us would have had a childhood where we did not aspire for greatness in Life. As and when we grow up, we begin to scale down our ambitions and at some point in Life, we manage to get rid of it completely.  
A blog on Ambition, A blog on being ambitious
We find comfort in the routine life of waking up lazily to the sound of alarm to dozing off to the high pitch of a TV or a laptop. We find that it is easier to drift along rather than aim for something which will demand considerable effort.

It takes conviction and confidence in oneself to be ambitious. One needs to believe in oneself to have an aspiration in the first place. I think a lack of assurance towards oneself is one of the reasons why we shed our ambitions somewhere along the journey of Life.

It is true that an ambition can weigh down heavily on oneself. If one were to compare life to a long walk, one with no particular goal will be an easy jay walk with no particular destination to reach. An ambitious one can be akin to one with a long winding road with a specific destination which is more often than not, a summit to be scaled.  

Not everyone is ambitious. One of the reasons is not wanting to go that extra mile. More compelling is the need to avoid heart burn. Through our growing up years, we have learned that it is easier to not wish for and be happy than to yearn for something and not get it. But by doing so, we are completely ruling out the possibility of a better state of being. One might not get what one wishes for but then having made a sincere effort will leave one with a much better sense of self than wondering how different things could have been had I  made an effort!

All through Life, we are in the constant quest of finding a meaning to our existence. At some point in life or the other, all of us would have wondered as to what exactly are we supposed to do with our presence on the face of Earth.The best thing about having an ambition is that it lends some amount of clarity to the conundrum that is Life. Moreover, there are very few qualities which are as appealing as ambition. It might be due to the sense of purpose it brings about to the person. Or is it the vision for Life that it gifts a person with, which makes it so attractive?

Arun Babu.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Get Bored! : Blog # 144

Get Bored!

When was the last time you felt bored? I am not talking about the general lethargy we all feel in our day to day lives. I am referring to that feeling which sets in when you have nothing to do. It would have been a distant past for many of us. And the reason, the multitude of options that are available to us. There is never a moment of absolute loneliness with all the gadgets at one’s disposal. That is the good side of it. But this also isn’t a coin with a single side.
Bored,Boring,I am bored, Life is Boring

 Talk to your parents and they will tell you they had much more time for themselves in the earlier days. Cut to present, almost all of us find it tough to find some time for ourselves let alone for others. We are living in a world with so much clutter and chatter around us that we are hearing the noise but missing out to enjoy the music in it.  

            It is true that the options that are available are much more varied these days. In the place of a single black & white channel, we have 100s of channels to choose from. From a singular option of telephone calls, there is a plethora of channels for communication. This surge of choices has made our lives much more enjoyable but at the cost of leaving one in a chaotic state of mind.

            What this problem of plenty has done to us is that we are always on the lookout for things to come. It takes quite an effort to stop ourselves from doing multiple things at a time. We can’t stop ourselves from messaging while watching a film. It is with much effort that we pay attention while talking to a friend because of the constant pings from multitude of social media that is demanding our attention.

I think it is time we cultivate attentiveness as a skill. The days of multitasking are gone. Once a quality becomes ubiquitous, it is no more a differentiator. These days, everyone is multitasking. But how effective all those people are in doing multiple things is the question. So people who can concentrate and pay attention become the class apart and those who become sought after.

            One of my friends recently told no one has the emotional bandwidth to reach out to others in today’s time. We are so busy with exploring our options that we have almost stopped caring for others. But it is in such a world, that we should be all the more careful in ensuring that we get our priorities right. We should take an effort to listen and sympathise. If disconnecting from all the gadgets and getting bored is what it takes for this to happen, let us get bored.
Arun Babu.   


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

For all the wrong reasons : Blog # 143

For all the wrong reasons !

        My Colleague Reshma and I were travelling on work and we stopped for having breakfast. I asked for a tea and Reshma said she would like a Coffee. She added that it is not the taste of the Coffee that she likes but it is the smell that makes her want it. This set off a string of thoughts.

            Most of us study the subject that we do not due to the liking for it, but for the job that it is going to fetch us.

      A vast majority of the working population are doing the work that they do not because of their passion for it but because of the fact that it pays their bills.

        Many invite people in to their lives not for the emotional security but for all the others – social, economic et al .

         We put up statuses on FB not necessarily of our liking but for others to like it. We tweet opinions that are not necessarily our thoughts but those which are deemed acceptable.

      Almost all of us follow the religions that we do not because of the profound understanding of its ethos but because of the mere fact that our upbringing was in those set of beliefs.

          We buy the cars we do not because of the convenience it provides but for the ego boost its horse power adds.

        We wear the clothes that we do not because they are the most comfortable ones but because of the brands they sport on their tags.

   We vote for politicians not for their governance skills but for their religious/community allegiances.

       I just wish it wouldn’t so turn out that at a point in Life, we lift the veil on these decisions and we come face to face with a Life lived for all the wrong reasons.
Arun Babu

Monday, 7 October 2013

Brand DQ :Blog on Dulquer Salman's Filmography # 1 : Blog # 142

Brand DQ: Blog on Dulquer Salman's Filmography # 1

           For the uninitiated, ‘DQ’ is how Dulquer Salman is fondly known as. Until not so long ago, he was an unknown face inspite of being the son of hugely celebrated actor, Mammooty. Cut to today, DQ is a star in his own right.
A blog on Dulquer Salman, A blog on Dulquar Salman

              You might wonder as to why this blog. A quite obvious reason is me being an admirer of his craft. Another reason is for a student of business like me, a brand taking shape is quite intriguing.

            DQ’s first film, ‘Second show’ was not a quintessential launch. He was not launched by his father. Neither was the film a stupendous success. I would say these are the best things to have happened to him. The fact that he was not associated to the Brand Mammooty took off the baggage of being an extremely successful father’s son and the comparisons that it would have brought along. The film not working well again took away the burden of expectations.

           Then came along his second film, ‘Ustad Hotel’. An enviable cast, astute marketing, a talented team and the biggest blessing of all, a wonderfully written script. With this film, he had arrived.

            He chose to do ‘Theevram’ as his next film. For a person who understands the nuances of business, he might have known at the back of his mind that this film might not be successful commercially. But it did gift him with something much more important – a perception that he takes his work seriously and the fact that he can act.

            Again, his next film, ‘ABCD’ was an unapologetic commercial film. He even tried his hand at singing in this film and it did well at the Box Office. There was a subtle message enwrapped in this film. But one had to really pay attention to see that.

            By now, he had become a household name. The fact that he is grounded and humble added to the endearing charm. He graced magazine covers and endorsed products- again, not all and sundry; Only those which went with his image. Various award shows recognized him as a talent to watch out for.

          He ensured that he rode the wave of the new generation cinema that is washing the shores of Malayalam cinema industry with ‘Neelakasham…’. It ensured he addressed the demography of Malayalee youth as well. He was also part of the anthology of films ‘5 Sundarikal’ and his performance stood out amidst a cast of competitive actors.   

         Well-read and well spoken, he understands the importance of social media and its influence. This explains his 8Lakhs+ likes on FB and 35K+ followers on twitters. For an actor from a language that is being spoken by barely 3Crore people, those are sizebale numbers.          

         For someone who is as clear in his headspace about the milestones he wants to achieve, I pray and hope he makes all the right decisions and make Brand DQ garner enviable recall and make it emerge to be hugely popular J.

Continued at :

Friday, 4 October 2013

Why Oh Why? : Blog #141

Why Oh Why?

         Recently I watched a short film which dealt with Child Abuse. Neither did it give a solution nor did it end on a positive note. I found it to be dark! What purpose did it serve?

Why Oh Why, Dark Art, ArtWhenever I see a movie that is tragic, I think why on Earth do the directors make movies which take people to the abyss of sadness. I have nothing against depiction of  sadness in movies. They are as important and real as happiness. Neither am I demanding a world of art which is superficial and have no element of reality in it.

I have a bone to pick with those who take out the last ray of hope from a movie. Not only movies; any art form for that matter. Art forms should inspire people. They should also make people think and retrospect. But driving people down the road of despair, what good comes out of it?

       People say art is a reflection of Life. Even when we take a picture using a simple camera, we take an effort to clear the vicinity .We don’t let the mess to appear in the photograph in the name of Life-Like portrayal. Why don’t we do the same in creating an art form by avoiding the unwanted elements is all I am saying.

       The only purpose dark art can do is to remind one of the sadness one has gone through in one’s own Life. Worse, if one has lead a happy Life, a person will start imagining oneself in their shoes and invite unwanted despair.

     I see even a selfish streak in people who portray dark art. They are just exorcising their sadness at the cost of others’ happiness. Their mind space might become pristine but it does fog up others' minds. When one makes a movie dripping with hopeless melancholy or writes a story which tears one's heart away, the reader or the viewer is made to go through an experience that he/she might never need to go through in their Life. That is not a pleasant experience to leave one with.

I think dark art should remain just there – in the dark!
Arun Babu.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Take Care : Blog #140

Take Care

        This blog is not about that famous tagline of a hugely popular cosmetic brand. Neither is it about how we end conversations these days using those two words. Then what is it about? Read on to find out J.
Hotels,Hospitality,Take Care            
        I remember as a child, whenever we used to visit some of my parents’ friends out of town, we used to stay in Hotels. My sister and I used to thoroughly enjoy those stays. We were so thrilled by the idea of pressing a button and getting whatever food we wanted. We used to find the sugar cubes incredibly fascinatingJ. These days, I am staying at some of the hotels as part of work and I see that the love of hotels is still very much there J.

           If you are lucky, the interiors of the hotel will be done tastefully with the fabric and carpet and the furniture being pleasant on the eyes with the appropriate lighting to go with it. The cupboards and tables are all of the right size and always at the right place.

            The best thing remains the food on dial. All you need to do is go through the menu, call room service and sit around in sweet anticipation. Watching TV with the favorite food on plate is something that many of us consider to be among those little good things that can bring a smile on our face without much effort.

            Comforts lie in the strangest of places ;).One such is the bathrooms. Many a time, they are fancy with their high end fittings and glass partitions and the toiletries that come with it. The towels are always dry and warm. And yes, the comfort of warm and cold water at the turn of taps.

For someone who is in love with the idea of cleanliness especially when it comes without any effort, hotel rooms are a blessing! However one leaves it, the next time when the door is opened, everything is in place and squeaky clean.

Although all the above comforts add on to the luxury of our urban lives, I think at the core of the liking for this kind of a luxury is the fact that we all like being taken care of. I just love the fact that there are people ready to help you out with smiling faces right from the moment they wheel in your baggage to the room till they bid goodbye with a thank you.

In this day and age of not-a-minute-to-spare pace of life and virtual interactions, may be this is what we all are looking for;To be cared for.

Arun Babu.