Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Let Go…

That’s the secret- Letting go…

More of the small/trivial things you let go and the sooner you do it, more will be the peace you’ll have and you’ll have it sooner too.

It is true that these smaller things take up little spells of our time, effort and mind space. Also true is the fact that we usually tangle ourselves in a gazillion of these small things- day in, day out- and they add up. Ask yourself, when was the last time your mind was empty- utterly, totally empty- of all thoughts. Sitting quietly on a park bench, our mind goes for a jog alongside all the people strolling in the park- he’s fat, she looks good in the sun, look at that cute kid, god how I wish that stupid bird would shut up and so on. When you are not too occupied with your head inside your smartphone, that is.

And for the hyper-sensitive, attention-deficit youngsters of today (of which I am one myself), it takes very little to push them over the tolerance threshold- dusty roads, vague signboards, faulty grammar, ill-typed mail, wrong colour of a picture, you name it. Ironically, some of us, we are bugged even by our own less-than-perfect work of yesterday.

I can’t even begin to think why it is this way with us. I don’t even think I know enough to dig into the reasons. But here’s what I recently learnt from a patient, sagely boss (yes, some do exist): Let go.

The perspective he gave was quite interesting in that it was simple; it got me thinking. Everything is done by people, and no person is perfect- neither in what they are, nor in what they do. But they do things nonetheless, for whatever reason. Now, it ain’t possible for us to take everything upon ourselves. (Yeah, we have enough things to do already) So, let go- let people do what they have to do. And you get down to do what you need to.

Call it delegation, call it tolerance or as Dale Carnegie says, “Don’t saw sawdust…” and see for yourself… Hakuna matata!


Bangalore, 28th Oct, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

With all due respect…

Says everyone, but I’m sure nobody- not one- means it, ever. No matter what they say about themselves, everyone has a huge bloated ego and when you say something to their face that they is contrary to their beliefs, it is certain that they’ll fight tooth and nail to refute it.

Hence the prevalent use of terms like ‘with all due respect’, ‘no offense’, ‘with due consideration’ etc. intended to ameliorate the situation. Ironically though, when people use these terms, they seldom mean it and that leads to hilarious circumstances sometimes- hilarious to the audience, I mean. These situations are far from hilarious to the speaker and to the recipient; the recipient will take offense, without exception and the speaker will have many an indignant person to deal with.

So the next time you tell your boss something that starts like this- “with all due respect sir…”- take my seasoned word that it doesn’t matter at all what you say after the phrase. That time you say ‘no offense…” to your colleagues, boom! These four words uttered and alea jacta est!

This doesn’t mean we are doomed to mollifying idiots’ egos. Unless you are Caesar or you just don’t give a hoot for the person, (read, the very last time you talk to your ex-boss), there’s pretty much just one thing that could save you- sarcasm. Copious, witty sarcasm. It saved my ass twice, I’m sure it’d come to your rescue too…

Hasta la vista!

26th October, 2014


Thursday, October 9, 2014


Recently, I’ve moved to a new city. Being just out of college, all friends from before moved to different cities for work. So, I just happened to have moved into a new circle of friends. And things changed.

These are loud, totally random and unpredictable, binge eat and drink like a fish; their apartment is a pseudo dump. But over the past few months, I liked hanging out with them- it’s easy, natural and somehow I felt at home there with them.

That was totally unexpected for me- I mean, this is not the ‘me’ I knew. So, that got me thinking- have I been keeping bad company before or I didn’t yet know what this new company is doing to me. Here are some things that struck me in retrospect:
  • These guys don’t have facades- no pretences. Doesn’t mean they don’t do stupid stuff or have their privacy. Just that they don’t have anything to hide. We respect one another’s secrets.
  • No patronizing. All of these are elder to me at least by a couple of years. And of course in better jobs and all too. But I always felt an equal among them.
  • Not judgemental. I have done stupid things with them. Shared with them many of the dumb things I’ve done before. Yet, all I got from them is the more-than-occasional friendly gibe and lots of poking fun. Never disrespect. Never dislike.
  • Not criticising- accept me for what I am- the flawed, idiosyncratic, moody me.

Now, the friends I had before were also similar, but in varying degrees of these characteristics. I seem to have found another of my quirkiness but I think I also stumbled upon the secret for finding good friends.
Cheers to friends! Cheers to us!


9th October, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This city's made us crazy and we must get out...

So, here I come to this famed hub of technology in southern India. The weather couldn't be more different from the original Silicon Valley- the rains longer, the wind stronger and the nights colder out here.

What a welcome! A friend had to leave the city almost as soon as I arrive, tossing all our plans out the window. The universe does have a sick sense of humour.

The people-oh, the people! There are so many of them that I began replacing "crowds" with "herds" in all my speech.

These herds are so much alike- in shape, size, packaging, labelling, tagging and what not. The whole sight and sound of 'em is so alike that not a day goes by without the song "Little boxes" ringing in my ears.

And all these people choose the exact same schedule to travel to and from work- the exact same two hours each in the mornings and the evenings. Either they have a masochistic love for spending several hours a day stuck in traffic or they have that logic part of their brains fried out from all the coding.

The jargon- uselessly stupid and stupidly useless. Everyone use it but no one knows what it actually means. I'm talking about the bandwidth of using the horizon to deliver perfect excellence across the scope... Sigh!
I'm a huge fan of social experiments; I like love sitting in a quiet corner and watching people act crazy. But lately, the samples of my social experiments have turned out to be so homogeneous that it's a huge waste of effort even trying to experiment here.

My most comfortable and frequent hangouts used to be coffee places and music lounges. This city has plenty of those, but none with the peace and quiet that attracted me to those hangouts in the first place. Conversations turn into yells and screams, cappuccinos are more like crap-uccinos. You know how good the DJ is when he plays an Indian remix of (Coldplay's) Paradise.

I wanted to write about the rude auto-wallahs, the fleecing store keepers, the blood-sucking public transport system and the trouble of finding a seat at office and a flat near the workplace. But here comes a traffic jam and it's time for my power nap- these days I get longer naps stuck in traffic than I ever could sneak at my desk...

PS. Coldplay and Maroon5, I'm solemnly sorry!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fifteen men on the dead man's chest...

Always believed books must be free and accessible to all. And been putting together a nice little bookshelf of ebooks- classics, fiction, mysteries, thrillers and many more odds and ends. A collection that has been one of my prized possessions, almost as precious as The Black Pearl to Jack Sparrow.

This here is Mach's bookshelf

Feel free to share the fun...
And do tell what you liked or any new titles that should be included.

Some more books added

Friday, February 28, 2014

IIMK- Thank God It’s Friday, and it’s over.

a. Last day of classes
No nostalgia, no senti feelings. Coz I remember the last time I felt bad for end of classes, it didn't turn out so well. Less than a year later, I was back in classrooms.
Anyone for whom this was a ‘return’ to college would agree to this being just another phase, just a passing cloud.
b. I would not miss my friends
I made just a handful of friends here. (plenty of acquaintances, though) And there's no way I’m going to miss them. These people are going to hear from me, soon and often.
What good are friends if you stay out of touch long enough to start missing?!
c. I’m glad it’s over
To me this has been 21 months of rushed up everything. Sitting groggy eyed in the classrooms, some real boring lectures, pretty bad food, and a few crappy people too- it was an effort in itself to keep sane.
Given a chance, I’d want to sit through a select few of classes with some very good professors and learn some worthwhile stuff and hang out with some real good people- not because I have to but because I want to.
d. Experiments have just begun
When I came here, I made one conscious choice- just one- that I’d experiment with everything under the sun that came my way. And I did. The list is long and I’d rather keep it to myself. Some have been astounding successes to marvel at and most have been abject, miserable failures.
I’m not going to trust anyone who says failures are lessons (or any such crap), coz they haven’t seen real failure. Failures SUCK. And unless you are strong enough to rise up after the fall, you better stay away and survive.
e. I lost myself
In all the chaos here, I have transformed. So much so that I am not the same person that walked in here 20 months ago. Is that good? Not entirely. Is it bad? Not exactly.
From what my friends say (in the testimonials), I figured that I’ve retained some core of my former self. But for me, it has been like living through a typhoon. Oh well, I’m glad I survived.
f. There are better things to look forward to
Hey, I got what I came here for. What I wanted. (Most of ‘em, at least). That’s a good enough reason to celebrate the end and look forward to the new beginning.
After all, I’m not old enough to fill even a quarter of my biography yet. If this remains the best part of my life- I’m sure it’s not a life I’m ‘living’.

PS. To all the people flooding my fb wall with ‘last XYZ’ messages- it’s not the last of anything. The world is round, the end is only the beginning…

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We are the roles we play

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts….”
-Act II, Scene VII, As You Like It,
William Shakespeare,

We are defined not as a set of characteristics or traits, not as a sealed package by others. Instead, everyone sees us for the discrete, granular roles that we play in their lives. The ‘package’ that we see in our own heads is our own perspective of all the roles we play in the lives of all the people we know.

You may be a caring child, a sincere student, a loyal friend, a passionate lover, a dedicated employee, a pleasant boss, a doting father and a responsible citizen: each of these roles call for a set of characteristics and need you to act in a manner that suits the roles you choose to play.

Ain't that why someone we hate from the guts is liked by some others, why some fall in love with people that just don’t care, why some people buy goods that others absolutely detest, why there is such a huge variety of everything, why someone who is highly successful in his profession has a ruin of a family life and vice versa, why there are no absolute good/bad human beings?

This might sound uncannily similar to the concept of core competency for businesses- something that one company can perform much better than any others and can keep doing that way. So, if your teacher always vetoes you to be the class coordinator; if one of your friends seeks you to fix a problem and doesn’t bother to even talk to you otherwise; if your children call you only when they need pocket money; if your boss directs all the yelling clients to you - it could well be because that is what they find to be your ‘core competency’.

And just as difficult adding a core competency could be to a business, so is migrating to a different role in a person’s life- not impossible, but definitely not easy. And of course, everyone can’t be everything. The trick is in choosing what roles to play in which acts and putting together a balanced package- in our heads, that is.

18th February, 2014