Sunday, 27 April 2014

Of Godmen, G.D.P & Maslow : Blog # 173

Of Godmen, G.D.P & Maslow

         A strange line of thought sprang up during the evening tea. Does the rise of middle class have anything to do with the flourishing Godmen and their sprawling businesses? I think it does.

Much has been written about the emergence of great Indian middle class. It has far reaching consequences in a many a fields that impact our lives. It is the reason why multinational retailers are dying to open their stores in India. If there is a reason for universities to flourish like cocoons, this is it. If automobile sales are skyrocketing in our country when it is slowing down across the globe, you don’t need to think far from this thread.

         To try and understand as to how the emerging middle class and Godmen are connected, let us explore a concept called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in the field of Human Resources management. In a nutshell, Maslow says at different stages of life, different things motivate people. The initial stages of hierarchy are the basic needs – physiological, safety and social. Then comes need for self-esteem and then eventually, self-actualization. If the initial needs are met, then in order for a person to be content,the higher needs of the hierarchy need to be appealed to.

          As a result of the surge in the economic growth in the last couple of years, a large population of the country has moved in to the middle class who has purchasing power. This means that a considerable population has fulfilled the initial needs. To put things in perspective quite literally, these are people who has a house, a job and has time to sit on the balcony with a cup of tea and fret about the finer things in life. Having found that time, one begins to feel a void – a sense of not feeling complete and thereby a lack of contentment.

            It is here that the Godmen/women have found their opportunity. It is exactly the two upper strata of the Maslow’s hierarchy that they appeal to. I talked to a couple of friends who follow some Godmen or the other. Most of them said that they are seeking two things 1. To figure out a way to feel good and 2. To understand the larger meaning of life. What else is self-esteem and self-actualization but these?

         I wonder if any other group of people would have benefitted as much from the economic growth as the Godmen have without as much as lifting a finger.

p.s.  I still would like to believe that there are some spiritual leaders who are genuinely striving towards leading the human race to the greatness that awaits it. 

Arun Babu

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

See you at the movies? : Blog # 172

See you at the movies?

        Have you noticed that that many of us go for movies much more than we did about 5 years ago? All you need to do is to look at the number of films becoming profitable these days or how the trend of cinema theatres becoming convention centres or marriage halls have come down considerably. I am not talking only about the 100 Crore club. There are many good films which are reaping in multiples of their production cost.

       The emergence of multiplexes is one reason. Those comfy seats, better air conditioning, good food, convenient show timings – all of these would have contributed to larger number of people going to theatres. But I think at the core of it is the fact that better movies are made these days. Movies these days are no more purely escapist in their themes. They might be aspirational but not completely out of touch with reality. Add to this, they have become more relatable. No more does the hero depict a superhuman nor is the heroin, an epitome of virtue.

         Another reason is the fact that movies these days take care to appeal to all kind of audiences. Earlier if the heroines were serenaded in chiffon sarees in pouring rains, these days the cameras drool over heroes’ six packs as well and mind you, this is by design and not by accident.

Coming to think about it, going for a movie is the last of the things which are yet to become ‘private’. By private, I mean it is among the very few things which we still do as a social activity. The only things which we do as a social group these days have come down to weddings and religious gatherings.

What I love the most about going to a theatre is the fact that it is one of the few places which manages to retain our attention for a full two hours. We might go to a public park but only to stare at our cell phones. We might go on a stroll with a group of friends only to be deafened by music plugged in to our ears. Look around and you can see that each and every one of us is distracted by one gadget or the other. Be it in a bus, an office or even in a place of worship. But in a theatre, we keep the cell phones firmly in the pockets.

I hope the theatres grow in popularity if not for anything else, at least to remind us that there is more to Life than the pings and blinks of gadgets.

Arun Babu.

Keywords: Indian Cinema,Bollywood,Hindi Films, Indian films, Indian movies, Indian film industry, Indian actors, Indian actresses,100 years of Indian Cinema

Sunday, 13 April 2014

An Ode to Serenity Prayer : Blog # 171

An Ode to Serenity Prayer

          Many of us pray, don’t we? We all have varied reasons for saying our prayers. For some, it’s out of fear; for some, it’s out of reverence and for many amongst us, it’s out of sheer habit. Having been exposed to varied forms of prayers (thanks to my schooling under varied religious trusts), I have noticed a couple of things. Mostly, a prayer is a note of thanks to a higher power. Many a time, it is asking for forgiveness and it also becomes an earnest supplication for protection at times.

            Since prayer largely concerns our ‘self’, we tend to lack objectivity. This is the reason why we commit the gravest of sins and have the audacity to ask for forgiveness. This is why we reach out to the higher power only in times of need and conveniently forget otherwise. This serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr that I came across made a lot of sense and I think that objectivity is what makes it so unique and universal.

It goes like this:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

            This prayer addresses our world and thus our lives in to two – that which can be changed and that which cannot be. Through my eyes, I see it as a prayer to help us to do away with the feeling of ‘regret’ in our lives. I look at ‘regret’ as cancer to spirit of our soul.

We regret about things that could have been done differently. Do not mistake regret with repentance. There is learning involved in repenting because in that state, we learn from our mistakes and thus strive to become better beings. In ‘regretting’, all we are doing is putting ourselves in to misery due to an occurrence from the past which cannot be undone. These are among things that we cannot change.

In the second line, again it implores for power to not get in to the downward spiral of regret is what I feel. It asks for the strength of mind to go ahead and do things which one is capable of. It implores within to make a difference in the lives of one self and of others. It asks for courage to not hold back when one is capable of doing something noble. Largely, we are asking to be blessed with contentment when we look back in Life.

It is said we worry mostly about the eventualities that never happen in reality. We think in our own mind about things that could go wrong and the repercussions there of. We should know what is worth fretting about and what’s not. Hence the need for wisdom to know the difference between both.

Don’t you think these three lines of prayer embody our journey of Life in itself?

Arun Babu

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The dreaded 10 Questions! : Blog # 170

The dreaded 10 Questions!

        Let me start off this post with a pre- emptive bail. This post might turn out to be a bit of hypocrisy. The reason being the questions that I am going to list down is what I ask for earning my brown bread and whipped butterJ. These are the thoughts which run through a recruiter’s mind when they ask you these questions!

How are you doing?
When a candidate walks in, I wish him/her. Then they ask me the question listed above. I tell them “I am good. How are you?”. Then they go “I am good too. How are you?” Then I am like “Dude, that’s what I said in the beginning. I am GOOD! This is an interview. Pay attention.” (of course in my mind!)

Are you nervous?
I usually ask this question when a candidate make the first question in to an unending loop. Most of them say that they are not nervous. But there was one person who asked me “Are you?”. I thought in my head “Why the hell would I be nervous? You are the one who needs a job!”

Tell me about yourself
Now this one is hated by both the people sitting across the table. The recruiter hates it because of 2 reasons. One, most people have no clue who they are. Two, some people just wouldn’t stop when asked this question.  Things like the pet dog’s name and your pet name aren’t exactly the things we are looking for in the answer!

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
For the love of God, everyone can’t be Amir Khan. Being a perfectionist cannot be everyone’s weakness! Yeah, you read that right. People list it as their weakness! And strength, “I am a good team player”. Ok then I say, tell me about your team. “Oh don’t ask me. There is too much of politics to the extent that even I have stopped working properly!”. There goes our candidate’s “strength”!

Where do you find yourself five years from now?
Some go on to say “I will be a Vice President in your company and in worst cases, CEO of your company!”. In my head, I am thinking; for heaven’s sake, give me a break and God save my company if you become the CEO!

Are you happy in your current job?
There are people who go on to bitch about their current company to the
extent that makes me cringe. I am thinking what is the guarantee that you won’t do the same to my company in your next interview?

You think you will be happy in your new job if you get it?
Yes, I will be extremely happy. I will be the happiest person on earth. I am thinking dude this is not an interview for Disney world!

What is your salary expectation?
This one is particularly hilarious. There are people who ask for 100%-200% hike. I have half a mind to tell them that you seriously think you will be paid more than your second level manager???

How long will you stay with my company?
“I will not leave this company, ever! This is my dream company.” Yeah right! This is the reason why you have not stayed with the last 3 companies for more than 3 years!

 When can I know the result?
Now, here I am turning the table a bit. This question is usually asked to the interviewer.  The interviewer goes “We shall get back to you in two weeks time”. The interviewee asks does that mean I am selected?. We go “The status will be informed to you in two weeks time.” But you can tell me if I am selected or not right? In some cases,I want to scream“It is considered in appropriate to tell a person that you have failed miserably in the interview and with your credentials, I don’t see you clearing any interview for a very very long time”(of course in my mind).

So the next time you go for an interview,forget about these tried and tired answers.Be yourself. Believe me, it's refreshingly relieving for both people sitting across the table :)

This post is written for Indispire