Sunday, October 9, 2016

A toast to the renovators of the society

"Go out in the world... The world is your Oyster..!!"

"The world is such a beautiful place, you just have to see it and feel it!!"

We do keep on hearing / reading such things all around. And trust me, I'm 100% with the intention and the gist of the feeling. We live in the times when happiness somehow doesn't sell in the media, and hence the common man like me can do with some sense of positivity that these lines attempt to emanate. All aboard!

Wait, I'm going somewhere with this - If only, life was all about the fairytales of our childhood! The world may be someone's Oyster, but few others do slip over one and fall. Some fall hard. Life isn't so simple for everyone around us, is it!

And then, some of us become the blind tourists on this supposed fairytale of ours. While we are on the tour of this "happy place called as world", we somehow turn a blind eye to the sufferings of the others. To the deprivation, to the misfortunes. While some can't because no guide on this tour turned their attention to this and told them "Look, here we see the issues of this and that....", others choose to ignore because that's what makes them feel better when it comes to their conscience. Turning a blind eye to the elephant in the room, so to say.

While we are on the subject of conscience, this is where my inspiration to write this one came from. Conscience of some others, that can't let them sleep in the night. Conscience that keeps on telling them to keep their eyes wide open, literally, and figuratively. They are not the blind tourists. These are the real tourists that don't just tour the world of fairytales and nightmares, but dare to see both these aspects with their eyes and are willing to do something about it. These are the ones that actually take time out of their lives and dedicate it to contribute in whatever capacity possible, so that the world is a better place, no matter by what margin, than what it was before. This post is dedicated to those, their efforts, their vision, and their conscience that engines their desire to turn a few wrongs into rights, a few darks into brights. Here's one to such souls around me.

You'll know I'm talking about you, in your own conscience. If you do, consider this as a toast to you and your good deeds. You are an inspiration, and I hope and wish that I don't just stop at being inspired and in fact, act! Kudos to you, and stay blessed!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Social Pedia

*****Random Musing - 1: News Feed, or Ego Feed?*****

People say, that humans have the tendency (read guts) to say much more using media that lets them hide their faces while at it. Perhaps true. Often in my "News Feed", or for anyone's for that matter, there appear every now and then discussions that later turn into one-upmanship contests. And some arguments (read desperate attempts) are hilarious.

Patience is a virtue they say, and even with Social Media where we have time to breathe-in-breathe-out before replying, holding patience is quite an effort. And thus, name-callings and irrational comparisons start popping up in the "discussions". Result - The original point of contention becomes a mere side dish (e.g. Chutney) that nobody cares about, and the dish is filled by chilly hot items.

If that is not enough, there are arguments like, "I haven't asked for your opinion." Well, if you put an update on Facebook, frankly, nobody had asked you to do so. You got a platform to express yourself, and you used it. The same Facebook has given a platform in the form of "Comments" facility, for others to further express. If someone does exercise this option, saying that the opinion wasn't asked, seems stupid for the want of a euphemized word. If the comment deserves it, maybe use something like "Remove" option? While I say this, I understand that there are some people who type away and press "Enter" even before their brain is able to process it. Well, some lemons that life throws at us!

*****Random Musing - 2: Comments that do not live beyond 10 seconds*****

Recently it happened, that a very good friend of mine deleted several of my comments on the trot, because I was pulling his legs. Well, just to clarify, none of my comments fit in the types mentioned above, and even he was laughing (perhaps) while deleting them. But it just amused me. The friend in case is someone who seldom thinks about what others would say in real life. But when it comes to his Facebook profile, it is damn surprising to see him conscious about it. Oh, and "Recruiters are starting to check your Facebook profiles before making hiring decisions" is definitely not the reason behind the same, that I know for sure. Anyway, an interesting turn of events.

*****Random Musing - 3: Profiles go way back*****

Recruiters may not check your profile history, but your friends would. Especially when they are bored to death, or are simply having fun, They'll go way back on your timelines, look for a post or anything that would embarrass today's you, and make sure that it suddenly appears as a recent activity on your timeline, simply by commenting on it, "Like"ing it, or tagging number of friends in it. But it is fun for sure!

*****Random Musing - 4: Revisiting old profiles*****

It is indeed fun. I got a chance to see some old activities of some friends as mentioned above. In addition, in bidding a mental farewell to Orkut, we looked back at our own profiles, and the sort of things we used to indulge in. And I for once wondered, "Did I really say this?" Or, "Did I write like this?" Or, further list of "Did I......??" I also came across some hilarious videos (e.g. one "Counter-Strike" animation with characters that I can associate with many from my Engineering Days :D ) that were a real piece of creativity and that had touched a cord with me, but with time were lost in the data clutter that is omnipresent today. Kind of similar to taking out Photo Albums (oh, physical ones) and seeing the photos after years. The same feeling of nostalgia. Who knows, tomorrow what might become obsolete, and what all I can mine out and be as happy and nostalgic about!

Note: The musings may appear random, but somehow they were connected! Hence felt like putting it in a post. Oh, and comments are welcome, I wouldn't say "Who asked for it?" :p

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Last seen at...

It's a lazy afternoon, after a long time. I lie down, relaxing while watching TV. And then, it happened. I had simply forgotten, how I was supposed to react, when it used to happen. It was an SMS - not just any random promotional SMS, an SMS from an actual friend! I open the SMS, only to see the following message - "Hey, join me on hike! The only Indian messaging app! It lets you show your 'Last Seen' only to select friends! Download - http://SomeLinkThatI'"

Yes, the "Patriotic Indian" inside me had awakened. But the "MBA - Marketing" student inside me had awakened a tad bit more. And my attention went to the differentiation - "Last Seen" only to select friends! Ok, the marketing funda stops here. I'd rather draw your attention to why this differentiation could be created. Why, this Last Seen is so damn significant!

A person sends across some message through whatsapp, or some app that is a shameless copy of the same. And then, there are two timers, waiting to kick into action - smaller one, when the second tick-mark appears indicating that the message has been delivered, and second larger one, as soon as the "Last Seen Time" is greater than "Message sent Time". These timers are as good as recoiling triggers - The more they recoil with time, harder they'll propel the weaponry.

Today, we do not have time to stop at anything. We want everything quick, and waiting for something without cribbing is more obsolete than the unchanged "Local-Train-First-Class-So-Called-Cushion-Seats". And thus, as soon as our message is delivered, and we see that the receiver has opened his messaging app after that, we assume that the person would have absolutely nothing more important than to read the message sent. And thus, we start fuming as the time passes by without getting a reply. Perhaps the person is busy in a meeting, and could only see critical pings? Perhaps, the person had to followup on another important ping? Perhaps, the person gets so many pings (girls - pay attention. Yes, I'm stereotyping. :p) that they simply lose track. Or perhaps, the person doesn't know what to reply?

The reasons could be many. And yet, today this "Last Seen" has been so critical that friendships have been broken, relationships have been broken, Judgments have been made, Ego Games have been played, over this otherwise such simple feature. "How could you not reply?" "No, don't even think about saying you were busy. You were online the whole time, but you couldn't reply!" "No, you don't even care to reply. You keep talking to someone else. You must be bitching about me, eh!" "Now wait and watch, how I don't reply!" And the hilarious list goes on and on. Yes, there are times when it is justified, and we actually catch the other person ignoring or caring less. But - well, the entire above paragraphs were about this one big "But" (I had to check spelling again - some letters do unintentionally get repeated while typing.)

While I conclude this post, I'll just extrapolate it, and probably leave you with some thoughts - The words "Last Seen", are ironic, aren't they? The super convenience of this extra-ordinary category of apps have probably hampered our interpersonal relations. We no longer need to meet, to talk, to discuss, or even enjoy the occasional silent company. We are always reachable, and hence no attempts are made to actually reach out to us. We don't probably remember, when was this person actually "Last Seen" by me - all that remains to be seen, is the virtual "Last Seen".

Hope to see you soon, on this space. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Protagonist Problem

"No, dear. I don't mind you hurting me. You didn't do it intentionally, right? So what, if you don't love me! I'll do whatever I can to get you and the one you love, together," he says. She looks at him with a mixture of gratitude, empathy, and (without any euphemism) pity! He, the protagonist, soaks up all the pain, puts up a constant happy face in front of her, and does everything to make her happy, and to get her to meet her "One". And guess what, as time passes, she forgets the "One", and instead falls in love with our protagonist. He becomes the "One", all due to his goodness, his genuineness, his true love (come on, you know all this hooplah. I'm not going to type it all!) And what a great story it is! Hurraah, for the protagonist!

And now I get back to you and me (come on, very trim chance of you having story as above! and me - well, that's what this post is all about!). The virtual reality around us is filled with such near-humans. Turn on any Prime-Time television show, start reading a book, and there they are, staring right in our faces, silently ridiculing us.

And hey, most of us do try to imitate them at some level. And this is the core of this post. This is the thing that has educated some, devastated some others, and blessed so very few. This is the problem. This, is the Protagonist Problem.

We see these happy endings, and we think, 'hey, I can do that. I can be the nicest guy ever, and I'll receive the same treatment from her. I'll be able to win her back, and we'll live happily ever after.' And then we try to be the best that we can be. Here on, there are some possibilities.

  • We, to varying extent, are successful in replicating the protagonist, in essence. We do things selflessly, we put others' priorities ahead of ours. Only, they are not enough. They are taken for granted. We end up being friend-zoned, or worse, 'brother'. "Popppaattt...!!!"
  • We play the role of the protagonist, perfectly. And then we get the shock of life - she, says in her mind, 'what a loser! I'll bear with him till I have to, and then chuck him like I did with my shoes the other day. Even they were 2 months old!'
  • Basically, we suck. "She" is living in the same virtual reality, watching the same protagonists. And thus, as if it was the order of the day since time immemorial, she expects us to be like the Protagonist. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, we cannot do the things the protagonist does. We are simply not capable of it. Au contraire to the above case, she doesn't have to call us loser. Before that, there's an inner voice, that keeps saying, 'You loser! chuck all this. Look there, on the opposite corner - awesome chick!'
  • If you are expecting another "Happy Ending" Bullet Point, sorry. You are heading for a disappointment.
Basically we try to change for good. We try to be as good as we can, and that raises our expectations. Yes, I can positively agree with, "What goes around comes around." However, the one important uncertain variable here is, "When." And we often want things to come around too soon. They say, patience is a virtue. I don't know about patience, but due to the almost inevitable short-term disappointment, some of us become "Patients" for sure. Let it be.

But one thing is for sure. The protagonists are here, to stay. They have been, and they will be for a long time. Whether we want them, or not. So, brace yourself. Introspect, be sure what you want to become, and be surer what you cannot become. I know pigs can fly, I haven't seen one though.

P.S. I hope you read it with a pinch of salt. Oh, and ladies, I am very good at being the protagonist, and I love to do so. Well, just in case! Who knows, who might end up reading this!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Zindagi ek Chai ka Pyaala

Ummeedein, mushkile, nateeje, faisle,
lagne ko toh lagta kathin mixture hai
asal mein toh zindagi ka bada saral formula hai,
zindagi toh bas ek chai ka pyaala hai

Gareeb ho ya ameer, dono is se na choote
apni apni tarah se dono ise jee lete
ek ka simple kaanch ke cup mein, toh ek ka china clay mein daala hai
zindagi toh bas ek chai ka pyaala hai

Sahi hisse ki peeyo toh refreshing positivity hai,
zaroorat se jyada ho toh sirf acidity hai,
limit mein hi sahi, par zaayka samajh ke peenewala hai,
zindagi toh bas ek chai ka pyaala hai

Jo ek ke liye sahi ho, zaroori nahi doosre ke liye bhi ho
koi majboori se, toh koi choice se badal deta hai jo,
normal, iced, greean, ya bina doodh kaala hai,
zindagi toh bas ek chai ka pyaala hai

Koi ek hi baari mein poora jeeta hai,
toh koi teen-chaar baar cutting peeta hai,
har ek ka jeene ka andaaz nirala hai,
zindagi toh bas ek chai ka pyaala hai

Is pyaale ko peene ki ek ada hoti hai,
is zindagi ko jeene ki ek wajah hoti hai,
mithaas, kadwaahat, sab ko ek karne wala hai,
dukh ka biskoot dubo ke rakho toh permanent andar girne wala hai,
zindagi toh bas ek chai ka pyaala hai...!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ek Mulaaqaat

Maybe experiences around and about, or maybe even a little introspection..
Here it goes...!!!

Zindagi ki tez raftaar mein daudne ki rehti hai koshish,
poori karne ke liye sirf ek thodi na hai khwaahish,
inhe poora karte karte bhaag rahe hum din raat,
isi mein karni baaki reh jaati hai, ek mulaaqaat...

yun toh din mein log milte hain pachaas,
koi khush, koi khaamosh, koi chulbula, koi udaas,
kehne ko toh ho jaati hai pachaas mein se tees se baat,
par use koi kaise kahe, ek mulaaqaat...

aaj kal chamkeele kaagaz se cheezein lapetne ka zamaana hai,
pata nahi hota andar kya khazaana hai,
waqt daalne se hi hoti hai wo jaanane ki shuruaat,
aise mauke ke liye lagti hai, ek mulaaqaat...

na jaane kitni cheezon pe aaj ho gaye hain nirbhar,
bejaan saamaan mein ghire itne, wahi jaate hain thehar,
dhyaan bhi nahi rehta, kaun hai, kaun nahi hai sath,
sirf ek dost, ek jagah, dheemi hawa, atoot dhyaan, aise kyun nahi hoti mulaaqaat...

phir kisi ek din jab kuch kehna rehta hai,
jab koi khushi hoti hai, ya koi sawaal khada hota hai,
tab insaano ke beecho beech bhi shayad hi koi sune baat,
tab apna hi kiya, apne ko hi de jaata hai maat.
phir man tarastaa hai, karne ko wo mulaaqaat...!!!

I may or may not be in this situation. Either ways, expressing that is not the purpose. The purpose is just to express, the purpose is just to make an attempt to let some thoughts find few words..!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mystified, inspired, humbled...

These are really interesting times. Pappus, Fekus, Mopmen, cows, monkeys, and anybody and everybody, are being contended as Prime Ministerial candidate. People are busy explaining how they are the visionaries, how they'll take our nation ahead, and myriad of such hopes. In the midst of all this, I happened to meet a lady today. After talking to her, a thought simply touched my mind. Could this be the potential candidate?

No, this post is not about politics, it's not a critique/satire on our so called visionaries. It is about this one person. It is about whether she could actually achieve to do that on a small scale at least.

This lady hails from a village in Konkan - a region in coastal Maharashtra. She works for an NGO over there. This NGO happens to support quite a few local people - predominantly women - in earning that extra income which is like million dollars for them. This lady is here in Mumbai, along with few women beneficiaries of this NGO, participating in an exhibition giving an opportunity for these ladies to sell their products to the customers in Mumbai. For simplicity, let's refer to this lady henceforth as "Maavshi" (marathi word for Mausi, or Aunty).

So, I was talking to Maavshi. Why is she in this exhibition? Because she wants to learn. In the days when a 25 year old around me easily thinks that he/she knows everything and is ready to conquer the world, here was Maavshi with a burning desire to learn. She insisted on coming to this exhibition and after many efforts convinced the director of this NGO. She wanted to see, how a customer in Mumbai behaves, what their preferences are. She perhaps didn't know google, and she didn't need to. She was there to guide the women who were actually going to benefit from this exhibition.

Maavshi comes from a modest background. Modest is actually a euphemism over here. Anyway. Today, with pride gleaming in her eyes, she says that one of her sons is working in London on a high post, and the other one is completing his B. Com. in a reputed institute in Pune. She has brought herself up in the socio-economic sense. Now, she works to bring others there.

This lady says, "When I come forward, I stand to be an inspiration for a number of women. They feel - if she can do it, why can't I?" And she does this, not as a superior figure. Rather, as a friend. Laughing with them, participating with them in small functions, and guiding them keeping the bigger picture in mind. Today, she has started a micro-finance institute on her own, supporting a number of women, giving them loans for their small businesses running out of their homes, enabling them to eventually earn roughly 70% profit margins.

And you know what is the most important thing? She remains firmly grounded to her roots. Humbleness may be personified in her. The simple body language, the kind smile, the expressions that are calm and yet childlike at times. And those beautiful eyes - convincing you that none of this is fake, none of this is a marketing gimmick, none of this is bloody selfish.

And hence, I leave the exhibition and yet I am forced to think about her. To think about how much I have to learn from her. About how there can be a hero in a common man (I do not intend to steal from Nolan's Batman series' dialogue). About how she has changed lives around her. About how, this really is the need of the hour.