Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Perfect Life

Your new car. Sleek, shining, gleaming, gentle, flawless. You carefully wipe a speck from its bonnet and make sure you have not left any fingerprints behind. You wish the wheels didn't ever have to touch the dirty road. You long to keep it inside where you alone can see, feel and admire. You gently bring it to life and hear the healthy purr of the engine. You rev it up and listen to the roar. Your baby. Impeccable. Smooth. Unequalled.

You manage to maintain it spotless for a year - except for the tires, nothing has lost perfection. Then one day a scooter brushes gently against the side, leaving a faint, barely visible scratch. The driver apologises profusely; you know it was not his fault alone.

But then something changed. The scratches did not matter any longer. The new sounds - the squeaks, the groans - did not worry you any more. The car did not have to be washed daily or kept away from the sun. There were no specks on the bonnet, instead there were mud splashes, and you did not care.

The roughness set in. You didn't have to put in so much effort into it. The perfection was lost, and it was okay.

That's Life. You pull yourself together for years, behaving just the way your mother has taught you to - civilised, she had called it. Being polite to everyone, showing kindness, saying the right things, doing the right things, getting appreciated, being respected. Be good, and people will be good to you.

But then one day there appears a scratch, and the roughness sets in. You do not feel the need to be polite any more or kind; you do not want to say the right things. You don't seem to be getting any good in return. You're tired of trying. You're jarred and uneven and coarse. The smooth has become rough and the rough has become smooth.

'Civilised' was a lot of effort. Letting go and being yourself was so much easier. People were surprised and even scandalised at the change. You've lost it, they said. It hurt, but it did not matter, you told yourself.

The perfection was lost, and it was okay.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Growing out of it

When my son was four months old,
He discovered his toes.
He found these little things
Bouncing before his eyes.
He gazed at them intensely
And frowned in concentration.

He then told his tiny fingers
(Which he'd recently discovered)
To go and grab them hard
For they did look very tasty.
His little fingers obeyed
And brought his toe to him.

Which he, without delay,
Pushed into his mouth.
He liked the way they fit,
The toe and his mouth,
As though the two of them
Were made for each other.

He scowled at the taste-
"Well, that is surprising.
It's like nothing I've eaten-
It's like eating myself!"
He chewed, deep in thought
Like a connoisseur of food.

I tried to pull the toe out
Of his toothless mouth,
But once he had discovered it,
There was no turning back.
He bounced back like a spring,
Went back to his business.

He'll grow out of it soon, said
A wise old woman, who has 
No doubt raised a few many
Toe-eaters herself.
He's not gonna chew his toes 
Forever. He'll grow out of it.

Soon enough, he began to put
The toes to other use 
When he started crawling 
And discovering the world.
He grew out of it, like she said,
Like he grew out of other things.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Politics of Collaboration

There is politics everywhere. Alarming, but true.

Wherever two people come together to collaborate and make decisions, whether money is involved or not, there will inevitably be politics - as soon as the honeymoon period (as some call it) is over. Actually, the politics begins to function during the honeymoon phase itself, during the days of trust and understanding and openness.

Later, each one begins to have their own small dreams that could go side by side, then cross a few times, and then clash. There is a limit to giving in; both need to find their way.

Sad. But true.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Of Being Wrong, Now and Forever

To dive straight to the point, none of us like the feeling that we are (or have been) wrong.

And what of the feeling that we have been wrong for a couple of decades, that every decision, every thought was based on a certain assumption that was not true? That whenever we wondered why things went wrong, it was because our foundation was based on half-truths, we were well and truly mistaken, we were unimaginably misinformed and had misread the clues all along?

No, I don't want an answer.

If this were straight from Bollywood, we could have easily (and profusely) apologised wherever apology was to be rendered, and we would have acknowledged the fact that our assumptions were wrong, shed a tear or two for the road, and then life would have resumed, with everything else intact - except that we are not arrogant any more, we are not blind any more, we are not wrong any more.

But Life's not like that.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Forever Young

Her face is dark and gloomy;
Her eyes, a little dull.
The smile's not where it should be,
Her body's bent double.

There's much pain in the voice;
And so much helplessness.
One could clearly hear the anguish
Sprinkled o'er the words.

Life has dealt a beating:
One, then other, another;
The burden's on her shoulder
And alone must she endure...

When her mourning's over,
Then will she grow strong;
For the sake of her children,
She'll remain forever young.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Working From Home? Take This Survey!

Give yourself one point if your answer is 'Yes' and zero if it is a 'No' (That settles the ages-old question of whether zero is negative or positive.)
  1. Do you get the time to watch at least three movies a week on an average? (Without counting the weekend.)
  2. Do you get to take afternoon naps at least four days a week, except on stressful weeks? (Again, leave the weekend out of this.)
  3. Do you have dinner with your spouse and children? Or at least, are you doing anything other than work when the family is at dinner?
  4. Do you feel that working from home gives you the opportunity to attend to your house and family and other personal interests as much as you like?
  5. Are you satisfied with the pay you receive?
  6. Do you think your employers acknowledge and appreciate your flexible working hours?
  7. Are you happily employed? In other words, is the job satisfying?
  8. Are you busy in a good way?
  9. Do you get time to chat with your spouse when they get back from work and listen to your children when they return from school?
  10. Do you go to bed at a reasonable hour?
  11. Do you have weekends?
  12. Are you happy that you are not going out to work?
  13. Even on the stressful days, when you go late to bed, do you feel a sense of accomplishment?
  14. Do you feel that your employers and peers respect you?
  15. Do you think you have attained the best work-life balance possible?

15 and above ("Flying Colours"!):  Dude, a bunch of resumés are on the way. We all want your job.
10-14: What are you doing here? Go watch today's movie or take a nap!
6-9: You could look around for other options; you really don't have to convince yourself that this is the best you can get.
0-5: Why are you wasting your life in this miserable job? Is there any reason why you're doing this? Take the plunge! ("CIDs, escape!")

Disclaimer: This survey is (as you have guessed) not based on any scientific research or study, but it is based on something more solid than research or studies - experience - and it is not intended to do more than to invoke a chuckle or a sigh or both. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Forging Destiny

It's official. There is such a thing as Destiny. (Anyone who dares to oppose, please leave the room.)

By Destiny I don't mean "it's all written beforehand". What I mean is that "it's in our hands", "our today defines our tomorrow", that sort of thing. Do they call it Destiny these days? Or does it go by some other name?

A long time ago, very long time ago, nobody knows how long ago, I had written on this blog about finding our own path. I am sure my uncertainties, my fears, the knocking of my knees had shone through quite well between the lines. I am glad I had captured that memory there. I remember it so well now.

And from there to here, it has not been a straight road, it was not a highway, it was not even bump-free. Every day's decision had taken me to the next step in getting here. Where does the thread of events originate?

Some things you do always come back to you - what you do is what you get. The bad things, they'll come back too, I am sure. That's why wise men say, good things can neither be created nor destroyed. They only change form, from this good thing to that.

As Maria (of The Sound of Music) says, Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.. So somewhere in my wicked, miserable youth I must have done something good ...

That's all. You can all leave now to forge your Destiny (in Lalettan's words, "Go to your classes!"). Do one good thing, for the road.