Thursday, 27 February 2014

Why we break Queues! : Blog # 166

Why we break Queues!

        I was wondering the other day as to why as we as a nation are mostly a bunch of restless people. What makes us so fiercely competitive in a negative way? For instance, we are not really awkward or bothered while breaking a queue. It doesn't make us cringe to throw a towel and make a seat our own in a bus or train. We don’t shy away from rushing past others and getting an airport trolley even if that meant one has to bypass an elderly person. And these are things which are taught to us very early in Life. May be not exactly in such clear terms but the understanding that waiting for your turn might not be the best of ideas in ingrained in us right from childhood.

            Coming to think of it, it appears that these behaviors have got a lot to do with our lack of infrastructure. Over a period we come to understand that if one doesn’t sprang up on an opportunity at the word go, someone else might grab it. Look at our public transport system. The supply here rarely meets the demand especially at the peak hours. Worse are our schools and colleges. However high a student scores, the educational institutions in our major cities fail to accommodate them. The unrealistic cutoffs are not something to be proud of. More so,when the evaluation has more to do with the student’s ability to memorize than his/her ability to apply the knowledge. We should be able to address this issue at least till a graduation level.

            We have come to a situation where when you see adequate infrastructure, we tend to look at it as extravagance! The day we stop looking at infrastructure as an expense, we will see growth in the real sense of the word. It’s like an investment which matures and delivers returns over a period of time. But once it breaks even, it is akin to an Oil field.

       When we pride ourselves as one of the youngest nations in the world, what we conveniently forget is the magnitude of our population. To put things in perspective, Delhi airport handles as much crowd annually as the population of the continent of Australia itself! That shows the size and scale of things at our country and the necessity of having good or at least adequate infrastructure. Roads clogged incessantly by traffic and trains running packed to the rafters are daily indicators of this.

            Rome cannot be built in a day. But I think it is easier to build Rome than expecting people not to break queues and teaching them to be civil!

                                                                                                                        Arun Babu. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Nothing Like Success : Blog # 165

Nothing Like Success!!!  

All of us crave for success. Through my eyes, I can see only two kinds of people who don’t have an urge to succeed. One group who have renounced all the worldly pleasures. The other, those who haven’t got a taste of it yet; for success is like that elusive elixir of which once known the taste of, cannot be given up with ease.

            I was watching a movie and a pattern struck me. Most of the popular films celebrate people who are not successful. People who are successful are mostly portrayed as either nerds or evil or as narcissists.   

Success doesn’t come by easily. It doesn’t call on everyone too. It not only requires one’s dedicated efforts but the nature should conspire for one tooJ. I think we are always biased towards these who have not seen success. And the reason, the plain fact that it is much easier to relate to them. Since the successful kind is such an exclusive lot, people react to them in various ways.

            To begin with, most of us try to avoid them. We refrain from acknowledging the fact that a person is successful. We play it down. We refuse to give them credit. One reason might be the fact that coming in to contact with them and acknowledging their success remind us of our own lack of it which many of us aren’t comfortable with.

            Another approach is to compare it with other areas of their life. That person is successful, but look at his/her family! He/ She couldn’t sustain the marriage and it goes on and on. We look at the pricky leaves and the thorns of the plant and fail to see the rose in full bloom amidst it.

            We find comfort in the crowd. We join hands with the larger lot. I haven’t find success and neither have you. Let us be happy and celebrate the mediocrity. Since the unsuccessful lot is the larger one, this has a lot of acceptance in our society.

            Also, we conclusively decide that the person must have done something out of the way to become successful. We forget that there are many people who have found success without walking down the wrong path even once.

            Then there is this rhetoric of success making people self-obsessed. I feel that is just a stereotype. If success makes one a narcissist, so does failure. The only difference is the former stems out of contentment and the latter from frustration.

            What we conveniently overlook is the toil the person has put in to achieve that stature. The only thing that should concern us is the lessons to be learned from that toil. It is the milestones that one passed that we should look at for only that will guide us when we walk down that road on our own.

Arun Babu.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

First Step : Blog # 164

First Step

Don’t you remember the first time you balanced a cycle? Have you forgotten the day you drove a car with the steering wheel steady? Can you relive the euphoria your first lap across the swimming pool gave you?

The first step is always the toughest one to make and yet, we find it the most enjoyable. Achieving something for the first time is a charm. We all remember it for quite a long period. One of the reasons might be the fact that we do it with a lot of effort. Also, there is a sense of a newfound accomplishment to which we were a stranger till that very first time.

Recently, I came to know that one of my uncles who retired from BARC has took to learning Sanskrit and Music – Violin to be specific. My sister who visited him said his earnestness towards learning was truly inspiring.

As much a pleasure it is to enjoy the success of the first time; the sad part is that it is at the flag off point where we spend too much of time. We refuse to make the first attempt for varied reasons. One of the most common reasons is laziness. We just do not want to change the status quo. The curiosity to do something new goes for a hike. Then there is the equally popular fear. Because we do not know what it will feel like to get in to something that is new, we stop ourselves from taking the plunge.

The greater concern is when a sense of complacence sets in. It is interesting to note that the first times that we have in life begin to cease as we grow older. For instance, we give up learning new things the moment we step out of college. Think about it. The last time you would have learned something new or at least made an attempt to would have been in college or worst, in school.

We begin to spend time and effort in persuading others to take the first step forgetting we ourselves haven’t taken an initiative in a long time. It shouldn’t so happen that in the efforts to make others get started and running, we ourselves forget to put forward the first step.

The best thing about venturing in to a totally new area is that one feels young all over again. The curiosity comes alive; the ability to grasp come calling and creativity gets a second life. It’s as close we can get to being a child yet again J.
Arun Babu

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Urge to Emerge : Blog #163

Urge to Emerge

                        I have always wondered as to how to break out of the prisons of our urges. By urges, I mean the most innate of things like wanting to stay in one’s home town to an addiction of some sort. At times, these preferences that we form for ourselves quite early in life limit us from growing in to our destiny. Many a time, they turn out to be the unwanted pit stops which slows down the lap of Life.

              Some urges change with time and others with circumstances. For instance, as we grow up we become less fuzzy about our preferences. As regards to circumstances, our preferences become less rigid the moment we start staying away from the comfort of our homes. One who used to think beginning a day without tea would be next to impossible begins to think the tea can wait till one reaches the office food court and at times, not to have it at all.

            If I remember right it was Buddha who implored people to embrace their urges to their highest levels so as to break free of the enslavement towards those urges. I think it’s a great way to get over a preference. Satiate your urge so much that there is no further liking for that urge. This is an easier way out. It allows you to go in to the depths of the urges so much that you see the pinnacle of it or the nadir of it, depending on how you look at it.

            Recently, I got to listen to a very different take on this matter from a friend. His take was to enforce an abrupt disenchantment. In one breath, decide to give it up and not turn back. He said that he used to have huge cravings for fish when he first stayed away from home. This went on for a while and one fine day, he just stopped having them. It was difficult initially but as time passed, it became more and more easy. And now, he no more has the urge to have fish. I must say, this approach is not for the faint hearted. It can turn out to be quite a test of one’s resolve. But if one is able to do it once, it can be replicated. Imagine a state where you have a reasonable control over your urges, if not complete!

            So the question is whether to walk along with one’s urges so long till one feel like walking alone or to abandon them and start sprinting back to a place where the urge to rein in one self is greater than the urge itself!

Arun Babu