Posts Tagged 'life'

Moments of Truth

As I was driving today I saw a father guiding his daughter on a bicycle. It appeared as if he was teaching her. She kept losing his balance but he did not lose his cool.

I found myself back in time, to the time I was learning how to ride. It was the first day, we had gone to the shop to get my new bicycle. I had gone with my dad to the shop. I was under the impression that we will lug it back to our house and learn to ride it safely in the neighborhood (in my own time). But I was in for a surprise!

As we were coming back, my dad asked me to mount the bike and start riding. He wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. So I did as I was told. I had never ridden before, so I was dead scared and kept losing balance. It was a few kilometers to home and the whole way, I remember tears rolling down my eyes as, I was pinched and nudged and scolded as I kept losing balance and kept falling down. It was so many years ago but the pain is still fresh in my mind. It was humiliating for me to keep getting scolded for something that I was unable to do. My whole thought was focused on just managing to avoid more tears from rolling down my cheeks and fighting the humiliation. I was not focusing on the driving or the gentle breeze or the thrill of the first-time-ever ride on my ‘own’ bicycle. It was a moment ‘lost’ forever. Trust me, I didn’t learn to drive that way. In fact, I learnt that I will never learn ‘anything ever’ that way!

I’m sure he felt helpless and probably, his reaction was atypical of what he did when he felt helpless. I’m sure he learnt to drive the moment he hopped on to a bicycle without anyone’s help and he could not understand why someone would be ‘dumb’ enough to keep falling off a ‘mere’ bicycle’.

However, it was a ‘moment of truth’ for me. I internalized a lot of lessons that day and as I saw the father-child today it all suddenly became very clear.

When with loved ones, you always have these moments of truths – ‘when they make mistakes’, ‘when things are not going alright’, ‘when it is time to learn something new’, ‘when someone does not seem to understand what you think they should easily’. At all these times, you always have a ‘choice’. You can choose to get angry and irritated or stay patient and calm and be loving and understanding. For great bonds and lasting friendships are not built on negative emotions but on empathy, love, patience and understanding.

Every time, the little bubble of ‘anger’ or ‘irritation’ bubbles up near your throat at these moments – you can choose to let it go, you can choose to swallow it and be PATIENT and be UNDERSTANDING. Those moments show strength of character, those moments are cherished, those moments show ‘I LOVE YOU’ more than anything else does!

Have you ever had any of these ‘moments of truths’ in your life? Do you seize them and make it worthwhile or let yourself get carried away?

Boundary Conditions and Rules

I was in my car at a junction near my house today and the signal turned from red to blinking orange just when it was time for me to leave. All the cars started moving at the same time and got interlocked at the center, it took more than 15 mins for people to back out of the jam and move on with their lives. This kind of got me thinking about how we create rules with the assumption of creating a smoother lifestyle, how the same rules breakdown at the boundaries and how when they breakdown they nullify the very reason they were setup for.

I have passed through the same junction multiple times when either the signal was on and when it was off and the traffic flow was never in such a bad shape as at the moment that the rule changed. I have another such example of a very complex junction slightly further away from my house where there was no signal for a long time and believe it or not, I never had wait time, there was never a traffic jam and no accidents. Now, the junction got a brand new traffic signal one day and since then, every single time I have had to wait in line to get across. So, are traffic signals good? In general, are rules good? Especially when they create boundary conditions that nullify their very existence? So, here is a test for a rule in general, if it breaks down at the boundary condition and causes discomfort to the public, the public might be better off without it!

Now, you might say that the rule in general avoids “one-off freak” accidents, but think again, those happen anyway, right? What do you think – rules or no rules?

Bluetooth Mobile Headsets – Quite An Earful!

Ever wondered why Bluetooth headsets never took off the way they should despite the growing need for such a gadget amongst the “teleconferencing community”? I bought a Jabra headset a couple of years ago and it has fallen out of favor with me . Thinking back at my reasons, I decided to put them up here for those considering buying one and for those wondering why they wasted money on it! Have fun…

1. Extra Charger – I need an extra charger for the headset! As if having to go through the constant charging of on my mobile phone was not painful enough. I have extra accessories to carry around and remeber to use. What is more, when I’m charging the headset, I can’t use it to talk. So, if you remember that you have an hour long call at the last minute and your headset is out of charge, tough luck!

2. Connectivity Issues – There is no way I can connect the headset as an afterthought, once the call has started, it just wouldn’t let me activitate the bluetooth headset. So using a headset actually means, being prepared – with it charged and connected – all the time, if that is how much you use your phone, which is most of us, anyway! Not to say, if the phone runs out of charge while you are talking, there are good chances that your call gets dropped.

3. Separate Entity – This is my favorite one…a bluetooth headset comes as a separate entity that I need to track apart from the 20 other things that are essential when I’m travelling or working – car keys, security cards, identity cards, food coupons, locker keys, house keys….what not?

Why can’t the mobile phone have a headset space on it, where I can plug it in after use and it charges along with my phone? Why can’t I connect the headset with the ease of putting my phone on speaker vs. handset mode? Well, life would be too easy then, eh?

Neo-Cultural Custodians

Media for its own reasons has a fascination with festivals, especially cultural ones. Diwali, Onam, X’mas, Id – the fanfare begins a few weeks/months before the due date and offerings range from “50% off sale” to “attractive gifts/lucky dips”. If there is not one cultural festival in a month, they create one or borrow from the international ones – fathers day, mothers day, valentines day, friendship day, rose day – you name it!

I have no complaints with the advertisement and marketing going beserk at the time when people spend, actually, it is but natural that they do so.  But, what bothers me is the new trend of the “interactive media” or the “Media 2.0” per se (which I define as the “SMS Voting” on TV/Radio and “Reality Shows” genre) has latched on to. First it was “Friendship Day” and now it is “Rakshabandhan” – it is not a one-off advertisement that they air. These people conduct polls about  – “what will you gift someone on a friendship day?”, ” What do you want your brother to gift you on Rakhi”, “Who do you think is a good friend” and they go on and on for hours on days at end before the festival, repeating these questions – so one can not, not hear what they are saying, not so subtely! Buy gifts – go spend! I mean, if there is a festival ,

Given this, the question that remains to be answered is that has media, for its own reasons, donned the role of cultural custodians? In this era, of migrating workforce where people are no longer close to home all the time for the elders to tell us how a festival is celebrated, is media playing that pivotal role? Are they cognizant of the responsibility?

Hongkong Night Market – A Must See!

The Hongkong Night Market or should I call it more of “fake goods” market is a place where you can get anything from a Burberry to Calvin Klein watches, glasses, bags – you name it – except, they are all duplicates, that’s all. In some cases you will be hard put to to tell the difference if you are not a brand connoisseur and in some cases, well let us just say, you are not that easily fooled ;). And, what is more, it is more or less fixed price – you can bargain a little bit, but they are so busy with the willing customers that if you continue to argue on 20HKD vs. 25HKD, you will be ignored.

So, all of you on the way to Macau or with a day to hangout in Hongkong – do add this to a must see list of places…and have fun!

Back from a picnic and into a book

I had been to the official annual picnic of my group this weekend, it was at a place called Wild Tribe Ranch in the outskirts of Chennai, about 40kms to the north. The event was organized and managed by e-ventures. The ride to the ranch was just about getting boring, when the e-venuture guys presented a magician to us. Doing magic tricks in a moving bus at an extremely close range with people peering around your hands, neck and pockets is not an easy task – the magician did an amazing job and enthralled the skeptics and the believers alike…! Hats off Suraj….

Next came the activities at the ranch – the organizers are extremely safety conscious and take all necessary precautions. There are a couple of interesting games like the Trampoline jump, Paintball and the All Terrain Vehicle Ride, not to mention the swimming pool and the delicious food! As we were making merry with the activities, a bunch of kids ranging from 3-18 years appeared, armed with sticks and few more weapons, like churutu waal – they were students of a martial art form in Tamil Nadu called Selambattam and by God, were they good!!! The skill and deftness of hand along with the fearlessness to play with arms with fire lit at the ends made it a visual treat. Many of the performers were national level champions in the art form. The only conernmost of us had was that there was no safety precaution on their body or clothes, in case, something went out of hand, especially when they were performing with fire. All in all, the picnic was a stress-busting event and on my way back, enabled most of us to forget a lot of bitterness for a few hours.

I purchased a book titled – “what got you here, won’t get you there” by Marshall Goldsmith, an executive coach, mentor and facilitator and have been immersed in it ever since…more on the book’s interesting insights in the next post… Do visit the Wild Tribe Ranch, if any of you guys live in and around Chennai – it is definitely worth a visit once in a lifetime. I shall publish pictures soon…

LinkedIn Spams Me!

Surprise, surprise!!! I’m getting spammed by LinkedIn Groups. I joined most of the groups on LinkedIn with the intention of gaining from discussions happening on various forums of interested professionals. However, it appears that people just use these forums to blatantly advertise themselves, ask really silly questions or network shamelessly.

Once in a while an interesting and good question comes by and makes it worthwhile to keep subscribed to the weekly newsletters at least – else, I would have switched off all notifications, by now – which is the whole point of subscribing to a group, right!

However, I’m surprised that we are not using the extensive professional manpower behind each of those groups to better use, than spam!


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