Friday, 24 January 2014

Fight it out! : Blog # 162

Fight it out!

                Many of us dislike Arnab Goswamy and his TV show. For most of us, it is the high decibel shrill that evokes the dislike. Is that all or is there something more to it? I think there is an underlying reason too. His way of questioning! His questioning style is intended at creating a conflict and many of us aren't comfortable with that.        

            Some how, there is a general notion that any kind of conflict is bad. That is not the case. Conflicts are a part of life and we need to accept it and very rarely do we do that. Let me elaborate. Generally, there are two ways we respond to conflicts. Either we flare up or we avoid it. When one flares up, then there is no room for discussion. Then there is place only for egos. Even worse is when one avoids conflict. This means that the discussion ends even before it begins.  For instance, the conflicts that happen at a personal level, say between two friends. If one flares up at every conflict, the other person tend to be very cautious about whatever he/she says and the honesty of the discussion goes out of the window. And when one avoids conflict, it tends to get bottled up and eventually results in a situation where one explodes and the other stands shell shocked.

         Small conflicts take away the awkwardness in a relationship. If you have noticed, it is after the first fight that people become closer. One reason is that one knows how the other person will react in a situation of stress - to what intensity and how long it takes one to comeback to the normal state.This translates to a better understanding of the person.

What we become, is a sum total of the interactions that we have with people, don’t you think? There is a lot of comfort in interacting with the same kind of people as one’s own. This might explain our preferences to look out for people coming from backgrounds similar to ours – be it region, religion or race. There are minimal chances of conflict here. But there is a catch here. If all through life, we have come across only one kind of people; our thought process tends to have only one dimension to it. There is no room for evolving one’s thoughts. If one reached out to only those people who always agreed with one’s school of thought, one eventually tend to think that nothing else can be true other than that school of thought.

            However hard we try to avoid conflicts, there come times in life when one has to face conflicts within. What better way to conquer them than preparing oneself by fighting it out with the world outside? J

Arun Babu

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The IT Factor! : Blog # 161

The IT Factor!

        The impact that the field of Information Technology has on our lives is unparalleled. It hasn’t left untouched any field of our society.  It has an impact on all our strata of existence ranging from societal to economical.

            Statistics show that about 30 Lakhs is the number of people who are employed in the field of IT in India. Apart from the obvious positive impact that it has on employment, if not for IT, our education space wouldn’t have emerged as much. Which other industry could have absorbed as many engineers? Engineering in itself wouldn’t have found so many applicants.

            IT has had a huge role to play in the emerging middle class and its purchasing power too. For a nation which boasts of a majority of youth population, a large chunk of it is employed in this industry. If there is a reason why the global brands jostle for some space in the great bazaar that is India, it has much to do with this employed class. As much an enabler industry it is, the kind of disposable income it provides its mostly young employees gifts a windfall to other industries too.

          There might not be many work places which take as good care of its employees as does an IT firm. Far and few industries have such infrastructure and amenities. How many industries can boast of a work environment that is free of pollution – be it of noise or air or water? Almost every other industry demands 6 days of a week from its employees. Most of them cannot afford to provide facilities which will take care of its employees’ areas of interest outside of work.

           The social impact that this industry has is also tremendous. No more do people have to live in god forsaken places because of the presence of industries is so far away from the civilization. IT firms’ offices are mostly within city limits. This means a person can choose to make a living and at the same time live close to his friends and family.This is one among those very few industries which do not put up an Ad saying “Female candidates need not apply!”.The kind of opportunities that this industry provides is unequivocally equal. The industry has also benefited immensely from a large talent pool that would have otherwise gone untapped.

              Not very long ago, the cities of India which could provide employment used to be mostly in the Central states and upwards. This was beginning to exert a considerable pressure on the urban infrastructure. Enter IT and comes a reverse migration of sorts to the southern cities and their emergence. Also, IT has limited the brain drain that used to happen to an extent. People prefer staying put in India although we still look for small stints abroad. Again, which other industry would have provided stints abroad for such a large population is such a small time?

 In the last two decades of our great Nation’s existence and emergence as a force to be reckoned with on the global arena, IT is undoubtedly the it factorJ.

                                                                                                Arun Babu

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Losing yourself? : Blog#160

Losing yourself?

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you realize you are changing. It is the smallest of things that begin to change. Some food that you liked to gorge on begins to look less appealing. A television program that used to have you glued to your seats doesn’t interest you anymore. A magazine that you used to find a page turner doesn’t intrigue you anymore!

It is a bit unsettling. These are habits which used to make you happy. Now, they don’t. You are amused as to what has changed. You wonder if something else will make you as much happy. You are concerned if you will find habits which will lend you the same emotions which they did. You are left thinking if there are more changes coming your way.

The most recurring thought is whether one is losing oneself. We tend to attach our preferences to our identity. This might be the reason why we hang on to those preferences. For instance, there is a friend of mine who like tea. Whenever he gets a chance, he has a cup of tea. These days he is beginning to notice that he doesn’t like tea as much and he is trying to cut down. But his friends and those who know him have already associated this beverage to him. He finds it difficult to refuse tea because of this reason. If at all he does, people say “But you have always liked tea! What Happened?”.

May be, people who have lived their life long enough have seen many a metamorphosis of this sort. Their ability to acknowledge and accept another person’s viewpoint might have its origin in having gone through such changes in preferences and perceptions over the years. May be, this is how one finally attains maturity J.  This might exactly be the reason why youngsters hold on to their opinions so fiercely. One, they think there is never going to be a change in their attitude and approach towards a particular issue and secondly, they might not have gone through such a change in perceptions in their lives thus far.

The interesting aspect is that this happens mostly at that time when you think you have finally found yourself.  For many of us, it takes a long time to understand oneself. It takes a while to understand who we really are! And just when we think we have figured it all out, we begin to change, yet again!

Arun Babu

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Let’s Talk! : Blog # 159

Let’s Talk!

        These are times when we don’t talk enough. If we want to buy something, we click a couple of buttons on a website. If we want to communicate with someone, we do it through pings. If we want to know something, we type it out and find the information. Even though all this is the way forward and part of our advancement, why should we leave a great conventional medium behind?

            Recently, one of my senior colleagues lamented that it is easier to reach out to his son through ‘whats app’ than calling out to him when both of them are at their own home. Leave alone discussions, there is not even chit chat happening at dining tables. Look at the coffee tables these days at those uber looking cafes. People are looking down at their tech gadgets while having their cup of coffee. There is no conversation happening there either.

            It is said that a Language and thereby its use for communication is one of the indicators of the advancements that we have made as a race. For instance, if you look at a tribal language, it will not have as many scripts and syllables as the languages that we use. This evolution happens over a prolonged period of sustained usage of a language. This might be the reason why there is an inherent tendency for people of different linguistic groups to sustain their own language. Losing one’s language means losing a community’s hard earned footprint in the higher evolved bracket. Language is also a strong thread of the fabric of identity. Each community derives its persona heavily from its language. This is due to the simple reason that it is the single biggest differentiating factor for a community to stand out from the larger crowd.

            For languages to sustain and then to evolve, they need to stay relevant. This relevance comes from it being used for day to day interactions. When the interactions in itself become minimal, where is the hope for a language to evolve? Moreover, it is important that we exchange viewpoints. We need to express, understand and evolve our perceptions. That, I think is the easiest way to broaden ones thought process and grow as an individual.

            Also, in this day and age of maddening rush to nowhere and clutter that the comforts of Life bring along, the best reassurance that you can get and give is by indulging  in a heart to heart conversation.

Let’s talk enough so that we ensure there doesn’t come a time when we are at a loss of words and we fall in to an abyss of silence.

Arun Babu