Sunday, August 30, 2015


This may be looking at life too pessimistically, but life seems to be a series of things which are designed to make us fail. It’s an obstacle course that’s designed by the Gods for humans. One task after the other, and you have to go on and on and on. Initially, you will keep sailing, keep flying. When you’re born, its things like walking, or eating or even being toilet trained and everyone knows of these obstacles and they will help you jump over them. And each jump will be accompanied by your fellow human applauding you. These jumps are considered to be life events and yes, they are. They are the events in life when we have tried and we have succeeded.

And there are entire elaborate systems designed to make this a success. The entire school system is designed to prepare someone for life’s challenges to be faced later on. And you know how life imitates nature? School system is also a series of obstacles artificially created so as to imitate life. Perhaps. But take these with a pinch of salt. These are not the real ones.

And life is all about moving on. Some of these challenges be really easy for you and really difficult for others and sometimes things which others show as really simple become a challenge for you.

Each journey is unique. While most people will follow one path, others may not follow the same. And different aspects of life may follow different paths. Your career maybe the most ordinary one, but your personal life maybe a path that is not travelled oft. And vice versa.

What is important that you keep faith and keep moving. Do not get bogged down by the series of challenges coming your way. It just means you are moving faster than others who are facing lesser challenges. Each one will help you grow in some way and you may not realize but it prepares you for something more in life.

So we should not give up. We should keep going. The minute you chose to give up, and stay put at the next obstacle, you will feel like you have arrived in life. You will think that life is easy and without difficulties, but that is not how life is supposed to be. It mean you have stopped moving forward.

Image Source: RD.COM

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Blind Man's Perfume

That lingering perfume

The whiff of your shampoo

The clanging of bangles when you leave the room

Every morning after a bath

When you come and kiss me

I can smell your soap and feel your hand on me

During breakfast while eating eggs

When you look at me, I know you do

I know there is love but there is more pity

The stink of helplessness and the odour of incapacity

Does your scent cover it or can you still smell it

Is that why you bought the perfume

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Facebookers Anonymous

There was a time when love was sublime. Today people make updates about it in Facebook, and Twitter.

Whenever someone talks about the overreaching effects of social networking, the main culprit is said to be the absence of real relations. I wonder if this is always true. The reason is that when I was working in Bangalore, I had very few friends, did not go out that often and everyday I felt the need of making more friends. But I never used Facebook. Not that frequently. Felt it was meant for voyeurs and used it sparingly, afraid to become one myself.

Today, as I am in the midst of company, and very interesting company at that, more than 480 students to talk to, I find myself drawn more and more towards Facebook. Every day, I open the home page to see what people; barely 10 meters away from me are doing, and ask them the sometimes cryptic status messages that they upload.

It is a mystery to me as to why I have willingly given up the mystery that used to define life, and why do I want everyone to comment on it? When I take a picture, why do I evaluate its worth by whether or not it can go up on Facebook.

I decided to give up using Facebook as often, not because I realized these things, but because I realized that I was using it too much, I was getting addicted to it. I had an obsessive compulsive desire to check the home page and comment and like and share. Thank God that is gone. I had my share of withdrawal symptoms and headaches and strong desire to go back, but now I seem to have recovered. I do not know, if I can sustain this once I am back on Facebook, because I will be, the advantages just cannot be ignored.

Really wish to start Facebookers Anonymous, but hope and pray there are not enough people who wish to join me. I hope most people aren’t afflicted and have their self-control intact.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Paper Crocodile

She sat in the train, lucky to find a window seat. She would now not have to talk to her co-passengers as she pretended to read her “English, August” and stare out of the window periodically. She moved her Rail Neer closer to where she was sitting to make herself more confortable. Just a couple more stations and she would reach Tatanagar, her home for the next two years.

She wasn’t scared, but she was still surprised. At her good luck in converting the call for XLRI, at her friends, who were so supportive, at the air around her which was becoming less foggy with every passing day. Was it a fluke? Maybe there was a calculation error. Was the quality of students so bad that they had to take someone like her in?? At least I gave one correct answer in the interview, AITUC was a trade union. And did the IT industry have any labor laws applicable to them? Her interview wasn’t her finest moment. She had read about the menace of relative grading and her friends had tried to update her about the boys from Delhi. She wondered if she’ll ever make good friends like before. Everyone had some word of advice for her and she had never had so much information crammed into her head.

As she stared out of the window, reminiscing about her past, a scene popped into her head. A little girl of 7 was playing with a crocodile made of paper with a string tied around its neck. She took the string and was walking, with the paper crocodile following her around, meekly. Her mother hadn’t objected to her buying it the last night at the fair, after all, it was only 5 rupees worth, and they could afford it.

The little girl was now running round and round with the string in her hand laughing. She suddenly looked back at the crocodile and saw the crocodile following her. Fear coursed through her as she started screaming to her mother about her fear, the crocodile which now looked fierce. The same fear caused her to keep running as she kept looking back and saw the beast following her. The faster she ran, the faster it came at her.

Her mother had by now heard her. She kept shouting at her daughter to stop running , it was something she had bought herself and that if she only stopped the crocodile would stop too. She did not intervene physically though, wanting her daughter to learn the lesson herself.

Finally, the little girl stopped running. She either heard what her mother said, or might’ve thought of it herself, but she threw away the crocodile and stood at a distance watching it, and then slowly approached it, as if it could spring to life any moment. She had played with it for many more days after that.

“Kharab se kharab chai le lo… Kharab chai”

She turned from the window to the marketing gimmick for tea and then smiled at her 7 year self. All fears were like that paper crocodile. Something that was made of paper, something that was scary only because she blew them up in her head, something which she could always take care of herself.

She got up, took her suitcase and got down at the platform called Tatanagar, knowing, this was just another paper crocodile.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big Organizations and Small Mistakes


This poster made me pause and think, why do big organizations make small mistakes? The reason is that most of the organizations do not pay attention to minor details. To the minor things assigned to individuals. Like spellings in an advertisement. Some salesman in a remote location selling your soap with incorrect or half information. Call center representatives deducting money from user accounts on ad-hoc basis.
This is not true, they do have massive quality control, TPM, 6  sigma in place, right? But when it comes to small things like spellings, none of these huge QC methods are used. Many organizations believe in ROI. And that one person will not cause much change. Spellings may be irrelevant to one, and they might not be to another. But organizations must focus on quality from the point of view of their customers. And surely, customers of Landmark will value spelling errors. And my use of a Reliance telephone account will stop the moment I have a more trustworthy service provider.
Maybe this error happened because the poster was printed at the last minute and not many people went through the small print. Still, its visible and causing people to question it. Spellings are the basics of good communication, specially today, when communication seems to be the answer as well as the question to most organizational issues.
Speaking of communication, please see below conversation for how people realize mistakes can happen, when they themselves make it. Be charitable! J

One day on twitter:

Bestselling author Ken Follet in Mumbai. But Landmark, how cud u spell 'author' wrong in the ad?

Hw cn u spell Ken Follett wrong? RT @chetan_bhagat: Bestseller Ken Follet in Mumbai. But Landmark, hw cud u spell 'author' wrong in the ad?
well, i also spelt Ken Follet wrong. It is Ken Follett. Happens i guess. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010


This is for a friend, dedicated by another, I just happened to have the words, the feelings are hers:


Turn Around, and look!
She’s right behind you,
The one who just looked away, the one staring at her plate,
The one who is using her phone to text.
Yes, she was looking at you.
No, I’m not kidding, look there, she saw you again
That smile she is sharing with her friend,
You put it there, just by being here today.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For no reason at all

Fear was dripping from the little nine year old at the same rate as the alcohol that poured next to him. Guilt, blacker than darkness, made it difficult for him to breathe.Suffocating, the little hand shot out to grip something, anything human. It found its mark, and touched a shoulder timidly. But was it humanity that made the owner of the shoulder grip the little hand and jerk it back. Not very hard, it didnt hurt, not physically at least.The child gave a yelp anyway. Could we hear, if we tried hard enough, the pain in the yelp? Not the physical one, already told you, nobody hurt him, but the one caused by something deeper? Or was it because he had clamped his fingers so hard to block out the fear and anxiety?

He knew he was going to hell anyway. His teacher Miss Shirley Perriera had already informed the class what was a sin and what constituted as punishment for it. "Listen children, if you are bad kids, your mummy and daddy will not be happy. Would you like it? Remember if they are angry or sad, its because you have not done your homework or have been bad in some way. So always try to keep them happy. They are the reason for your existence. And if you still make them angry then you will go to hell. But if you are are good boys and girls then they will be happy and the starts will shine for you." " But Miss, dont stars shine always? They keep shining whether we are good or bad. They wouldnt burn up all thier hydrogen just because we didnt sleep at the time our parents asked us to" , asked Anita in her infinite wisdom and innocence, her head crammed with Encyclopedia Britannica which her parents read every night before she went to bed. "Oh honey, but they do...everything happens for a reason. Stars - what reason do they have to burn? They do not give us heat or light like the sun. They dont give us tides like the moon. They shine to show appreciation. Remember kids, nothing happens for no reason at all!"

Yes, he must be the reason his parents were yelling at each other now. Both had drank several glasses from the bottle whose name he was not allowed to know but the stench of which he couldnt forget. It came back to him, sometimes early morning in the bus when other kids were nodding off, sometimes while calculating seven times eight or sometimes during lunch, when he ate the same sandwich his maid for him every day. On his way back home , in the school bus, when other kids were playing dumb charades, he would sit stonily knowing he was going back to the place where everything went wrong because of him.

And now his mother was screaming abuses at his father. She poured the liquid from one hand and the bitterness flowed out of her mouth. Hurling abuses at the man whom once she loved so much that she left her own father heart broken when she eloped, at the same face which she once found boyishly handsome, now looked infidel.Treachery in the eyes of her husband blinded her maternity. Irritated by her son's desire for comfort at such a time, she flung his hand away and heard a small yelp. Guilt flooded her and in an attempt to make him go away from this precinct of hatred, she said "GO. Go from here. It is all because of you. Are you happy now? Its past your bedtime. Dont make me even more worried. As it is I have too much to worry about. JUST GO, I SAID!" The last line said a little louder when she heard the nine year old voice say "But Ma, what did I...?"

Did the nine year old feet then go to see if the stars were shining now? Did he notice the black sky and think that it was because he was being a bad boy again? Did he hear his mother suddenly wail "Look at the bloody sky, no stars! I have such a dull life.I wonder whose fault it is." The last line said is a whisper, almost to herself, did it reach nine year old ears? Did he start berating himelf in his nine year old head? He knew his mother wanted to see the stars. Did he know he had to make a sacrifice for the stars to shine? Did he know what to do to give his mother a moment of distraction from it all. He somehow knew that all troubles would end if only the stars came out.Did his hands wobble when he used them to make himself stand on the ledge?

Hearing a loud thud, the still bickering couple rushed to the balcony. Momentarily distracted by the unusually bright sky with numerous stars, they then stared at the ground in blind horror.

Stars dont shine for no reason at all.