Red is a color

May 19, 2008

Life provides two ways of looking at and doing things. The first,  is the safest and mostly followed by a majority and generally has a monotonous but pompous look. It is mostly concerned with outside form or external look.  The second,  is a way of looking at things inside out. It involves touching the core of the activity and more concerned with the quality of the output. The first is an easier approach, which has set methods in place, whereas the second needs some break-free-from-ordinary attitude.

Most of the recent big budgeted movies fall into the first category. They are made with expensive budgets and shot with big stars in expensive locations and are promoted with made-up controversaries. The main motto of this type is to turn more eye balls with marketing gimmicks and make instant profits. The people of this kind are less attentive about the intricate details like story development, dialogues and characterizations which falls into the second category. This second category of looking at things by taking care of the essential things and evaluating the usefullness of the product to the end customer i.e. the audience, is neglected and it shows the utter lack of respect for the quality of the product that is being made. And correctly, these films are being shown the door by a majority and even the minority of people who patronize are successfully fooled and anyway mostly belong to the kind of people who appreciate the first category.

This categorization, by me, of the ways of looking and doing things, is actually  motivated by a few managers in my profession. It reminds me of their strange ways of managing things. Now I want to analyze based on the two categories which I wrote here. And it starts and ends with the weekly project status meetings. Every activity of the project is tracked in project plan with a start date and end date. At the end of every week, there is a weekly status meeting and the activities status is indicated in green, if it is completed or in red, if it is delayed. And the manager who falls into the first category is always worried about these colors. Whatever be the reson for delay, the manager always wants to see green. If any activity gets delayed, the manager is only concerned with the outer look, i.e the color “Red”, and doesnot care to look deeper into the core of the problem. The manager will just try to force changes to change the color to green, without actually addressing the core reason for the delay. By just looking at the outer form, the manager is looking for temporary satisfaction.

By looking deeper into the core of the activity, the manager will be in a better position to understand the real reason for the color “Red”. Then it will be possible for manager to raise above the levels of colors and see the reality. And managers who do that will fall into the second category and are highly needed and for them “Red is just a color”.
Some other examples of this classification are :
IPL falls into the first category, Test cricket into the second.
Interior decoration falls into the first category, house construction into the second.
Owning a luxury car falls into the first category, the necessity into the second.
Monotony into the first category, creativity into the second.
The dress you wear  into the first, “you” into the second.

At certain level, we all see Red and Green in everything we do. How we treat them depends on to which category we belong or to which category we want to belong.

Afternote:
Its true that both categories go hand in hand, but the deciding factor depends on the dominating category.

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Purpose of Life

April 30, 2008

 

Dear Friend,

 

You have recently asked me to write about the purpose of life. Now that’s not an easy task. To actually say anything about life, you should experience its various emotions which keep changing with age and time. Different people have expressed several opinions at various points of time.  5000 years ago, Bhagawad Gita has said that the purpose of man’s life is to attain liberation. That is what I could have written in a different way. But, I want to tell it my own way.

 

A man’s life can be defined as a series of events and actions. Each of these events and actions can be divided further into sub-events and actions, which can classified as everyday events. These everyday events are associated with certain emotions, which are positive or negative. The more are the positive emotions the better will be the life. Whether the event ends up in positive or negative emotion depends on the actions you have undertaken. The actions means, the honesty of your thought, the commitment in the effort and detachment towards the result. These three parameters can be summarized in one word, Quality. It is this quality with which you perform an action, is going to decide the positive-ness in your life. And to bring in more positive moments with quality actions, is the purpose of life.

 

 

A game, which you have lost in college, may have hurt you at that point, but may have no significance or emotional distress after 10 years. A bad grade in a particular course would have disappointed you at that time. But 10 years later, it’s somewhere buried deep down the brain and never comes up. Be it a game or grade, is an event, which has happened because of your actions. And the event would be a success or failure because of the action you have performed. I don’t mean to associate success with positive emotion and failure with negative emotion. Whether the event is a success or failure, it should always leave you with a positive emotion and that is possible if the action is performed with quality. The actual results of the events would not be significant after 10 years. But the quality of the effort which is put in those small everyday events is going to bring in positive attitude, which ultimately will bestow you with “peace”.

 

 

At this point, with the limited experiences I have, if I have to use a single phase to tell what the purpose of life, and then it should be “Quality of actions”. Whether you have liked, what I have written, would actually depend on how successfully I have retold what Krishna has already said. If not, I promise to come up with a better version at a latter point of time, that is, when I have better understanding of life itself.

 

Bye.

 

Ps: The answer for everything about life is found in Gita. If anyone has answered any question about life or its purpose, it is only from Gita in a different format. So is my try, as well.

 

 

 

Pain is good

April 24, 2008

Defending a score of 148 in 25 overs on a small St. Johns ground of Koramanagala, is a difficult job. Especially so, when you know that the batting of the opposition team is a formidable one. However, we knew that to win we dont need a miracle but some disciplined bowling and good fielding. We had a small team briefing by the captain, that is me, and promised ourselves some committed effort.

There is always a sense of positive anticipation when the first ball is bowled. Whether it continues to stay like that depends on its actual outcome, which in this case happened to a pulled boundary. A pull, is the most authoritative cricket shot and its like taking you by scruff and giving a tight slip. You are immediately on the back-foot. I ran to bowler, gave some tips and came back to my fielding position. However, those tips didnot seem to work and the first over ended with 12 runs. Things didnot improve much as they raced to 50 in 6 overs. However two quick wickets brought us back into the game. But it was only a temporary relief, as the next batsmen continued to plunder runs at will. With they needing only 17 runs of 7 overs with 8 wickets left, I know now, that we need a miracle.

I heard and read people telling to fight till the end. I played and watched enough cricket to know, that its difficult to end up on the position side, in this type of situations. However hard you try to keep your mind in positive frame, that things can change for you, you seem to know and believe from your past experiences that its not going to workout for you, no matter what you try. Experience has its down side. I handed the ball to a part time spinner, just to try something different, and went to my fielding at gully and I always fielded there. It is one of the most exiting position to field, as you have to anticipate every ball to come to you.

The first ball was short ball on the offside. Part time spinners always bowl short. The batsman was in a hurry to windup and played a hard perfect square-cut. However the ball was in the air to my left. In a instant reaction, I dived to my left and took the catch with both my hands. It was one of most memorable catches for me, till date. However in the process, I bruised my left hand with some blood coming out. However in the ecstacy of the moment, I didnot feel pain, and everyone congratulated me for a great catch. When something like this happens, for a moment you will be in a different plane and that joy cannot be described and no pain can actually bother you for that moment. In what you can call nothing short of a miracle, the opposite team lost quick wickets and we won by 1 run.

After the match, while washing my hands, I feld a little pain in left hand and realized the bruise is going to take two good weeks to heal. Over the next two weeks, whenever I folded and raised my full-sleeves, I felt a little pain. The pain may not have lasted more than a second, but it always brought joy reminding me of that wonderful catch and a miraculous victory, so much so that, I didnot want the bruise to heal forever. Yes, pain is good, if it can remind you of the good times.

Whenever I am down with some not so good situation, with little hope, I always remember of this match and possibility that no matter what, things can change for the better. The freshness of the catch and victory still stays on top of my mind.

 

The Chiranjeevi factor

April 21, 2008

The temperatures in Andhra are slowly on the rise. And it is not the type which is caused by onset summer. No, not due to global warming, for which the whole world continues to have long arguments and heated debates, but will never be able to find a solution . It is because of heat generated by the politicial parties preparing for assembly elections which are due in a year and the possible entry of one man called Chiranjeevi.

There was a time, when the state of Andhra is in the complete control of a single ruling party, the Indian National Congress. Like in most cases of monopolistic rule, the people are vexed with the Government policies and were waiting for a change. In comes NTR, in true filmy style, forms TDP party, captures the attention of people, their trust, like never before and forms government with thumping majority. To begin with, he brings in lot of people friendly policies and makes the people of state happy. As time moves, the king of all evils, corruption sets in his party too. Slowly he loses the respect of people and worse of his own party people, though for other reasons, who throw him out of his own party and thus giving a clear demonstration to the people, that nothing is permanent in the political world. Some people, not being so smart, cannot see this but are caught in the media exaggerated hype about the glitz and glamour of IT related policies. The poor farmer, feels a little insecure of this. The TDP doesnot come to terms with the fact that in a democracy, majority matters.

Sensing an opportunity two men, who believe that they have a chance to gain power decide to work hard. Combinedly they teach, two easiest ways of how to win a man’s trust. First, by consoling him personally in difficult times. Second, by convicing him that he is still not free and promise him a separate identity. These two people believed unity is power , political power that is , and so INC and TRS combinedly work and win the majority. First man is the boss, get majority on his own and doesnot care for the second man, who doesnot do much, rather cannot do much, and now and then raises his voice to show his presence. In four years of this alliance, the attitudes remain almost same and sometimes turn worse. TDP is still licking its wounds and cannot find an issue worthwhile to highlight. Things turn worse when chiefs of INC and TDP accuse each other mutliple scams, illegal land deals, and least to mention their usage of language in most powerful office of the state.

In all this, the common man, is vexed and concludes with utmost confidence that all the political parties are selfish, have no moral values and waits for some miracle to intervene. Atleast that is what a particular group thinks about the common man’s feelings. This group having come from a filmy background thinks that it has the reach of the comman man because of the mass following, clean image and charitable work of their leader. That brings us the name of the very man on which the current situation is being analyzed. Chiranjeevi.

Chiranjeevi is arguably the most popular face of Andhra. After 148 films, and playing the rescuer to the man in distress in most of them, his charisma is like never before. His fan based run into lakhs and make any political party envy. His “presence factor” in any public functions is impeccable. His entry into Andhra politics is sure going to make all the political parties spend sleepless nights. This is the biggest factor that is racking their brains. Still no political party has dared to comment officially about the difference this man can bring in the politics of the state. They know of consequence if they dared to comment in the negative. As Rajasekhar. Now and then, there are indications from his close associates and events about a possible entry, but there is no clarity. May be he waiting to peak at the right moment. May be he is not clear if he had to take a plunge. In all this, he has maintained a dignified silence, which any self-respecting person would do. In these times of loose tounge, may be he is using silence as a weapon.

Whatever are his intentions, like in his movies, where the lead scene is developed before his heroic entry, the political situation in Andhra is set. Now the ball is in Chiranjeevi’s court. However, unlike in his movies, there may be no retakes. The political parties are all waiting. So are we.

Search For Freedom

April 16, 2008

 

Hundreds of years ago, in the age of little communication,at a village in south of India, a young man worked hard around  thick forests, rough streams, high mountains in hot summers and cold winters,  to make a living for himself and his parents.  Even though his work involved lot of physical stress, he used to enjoy it without any complaints. He always involved himself in religious activities and believed of God’s hand in all his matters.

In his childhood, he heard from a wandering yogi about the beauty and majesty of the Himalayas. The yogi described him about many breathtaking views of the place and also about the many saints who have immense powers living there. He was so wonderstruck with the way the yogi narrated him about the place, that it looked like a paradase to him in his otherwise not-much happening life. He spent his childhood with a  wish that when he grows up to a young man , he can go there and meet the saints and experience himself. As years passed, he got the job of collecting wood in the nearby forest and hand over to the local merchant for a decent amount. He saved enough money to make a trip to Himalayas. However, the trip  would take about twelve months and as he had to take care of his parents,  he couldnot plan immediately. He wished, he was rich enough to employ someone to take care of his parents, so that he can make the journey. A few months later, his  parents got him married to the only daughter of a poor merchant. After a few years, with stroke of luck, his father-in-law became rich, who passed  all his fortune to him and retired.

After few years, the young man, who by now had two children, was busy fully engrossed in the business activities of his family. Never he forgot his  dream of visiting the  Himalayas and meet the saints there. However, he always thought himself to be in a situation, where his presence is needed for his family. He wished, if he had some sort of machine, which will take him there in one day and with its help he can finish the trip in 1 week instead of 1 year.

Age caught up with the young man, who has become old, and he had fallen sick. He feared that his dream will never be realized. He wished, he is cured of his illness, so that he can now easily make trip with the help of rich fortune and his people.

One morning, he woke up and saw himself face to face with GOD and realized that he was dead. God considered him to be his loving devotee and enquired if he had good time on earth. Our man thanked God for all his blessings, but complained that he was always in a situation where he couldnot realize his childhood dream of going to the Himalayas. God didnot reason with him but blessed  that he would provide better chances  so that he can fulfill the dream in his next life.

Hundreds of years later, in the age of instant communication, he was re-born as the only son to a rich businessman, again in South India. He had all the facilities in the world at his disposal. In his childhood, he again came under circumstances where he heard about the magificient Himalayas and powers of saints there,  which rekindled his dream from his previous life.  When he grew up to an young man, he fell in love with a girl who was also his childhood friend. He made lots of other friends to whom he suggested for a trip to Himalays , but his girl friend insisted on going to Europe and promised that they can go the Himalayas anytime. Though he had a great time in Europe, he knew, deep inside , that this is not the place he ought to visit first.

As days went, he got married and shifted abroad for expansion of his business . As years passed on, like in his previous life, he developed a great regret for not able to visit Himalayas. Whenever he planned for the trip, he came into a situation where he had to postpone it. Though the situations didnot  require his desperate presence, he wanted to finish them first. As years passed, he became old and fell sick, doctors advised not visit cold places for sometime. He spent his days, recovering from the illness with the hope that one day he can fulfill his childhood dream. One day, while walking on the steps of his balcony, he slipped and died of a serious head injury.

He met GOD again who welcomed him with pure love. 
 

Man: Thankyou God for giving me wonderful things in my life on earth. But even this time, I couldnot fulfill my dream. You told, me that you  will give better chances. However, the situations you put me in didnot give the freedom to realize my dream. I was always looking for   some freetime . Instead of putting me in those situations, why didnot you a create a situation where I had the complete freedom?

 

God: I have given a number of  opportunities  in both your lives. I provided all the things you need to have a happy life. You were content with what you were having.  In your first life, When you wished and prayed that you couldnot go leaving your parents, I gave you an understanding wife and fortune. Since you thought it was too much time consuming, I made you born in an age of instant travel.  At every opporunity, you had the option of realizing your dream. You always looked at circumstances around you for freedom.  I wont put you in a exact situation always. I give the situation and leave that small thing so that you will decide with your free will. That unpredectability of your decision, which will decide your future course of action, is not decided by me and is based on your free will. Then your life is interesting for you and me. Not only you, man in general always complains about the situations and blames me. They always search for freedom with-respect-to people and situations around them. However, he neednot lookout for it anywhere in the world.  Man’s search for freedom  ends in his own heart. He has to pray for God’s grace and follow his conscience. That very moment, he is free.

Rules of Life

April 1, 2008

Aditya: There are lots of things happening around the around man. where have you been all these days. I will detail them all to you. I am booking tickets for the new movie for the evening show. Game for it?

Bhaskar: No man I am not interested in such things

Aditya : Such things .. what u do mean such things .. .. get out of your slumber and walk into the real world.

Bhaskar: Do you think this is the real world .. No man , What is all this .. these things are temporary , how long you can continue enjoying these.

Aditya: Ho ho .. dude .. what happened to you .. Are you ok? Are you planning to become sanyasi or what?

Bhaskar: No man …. not like that. Its not like I dont enjoy all these things. I very much do. But , you know, spending 200 rupees on a movie is waste man.Instead we can spend the amount in helping some one. Why waste money on some cheap movies . Anyway most of them are flop only.

Aditya: See, its not about spending 200 on a movie. We get to go around the malls, have nice T, discuss so many interesting thinks, joke around and have a fun time. Dude, this is what you used to tell before. What happened to you in these two years?

Bhaskar: Yeah, its true that I told like that before. But now things are different.

Aditya: Forget it.What happened to that girl whom you used to go around with.

Bhaskar: She got married.

Aditya: Why, you didnot propose to her?

Bhaskar: She thinks me just as a friend ata .. Leave it . It doesnot matter. I felt little dissappointed ra, that time. But not anymore. Things are pretty ok now. Think, I wasted my time all these years. Now I am realizing the real Truth. Should not have been too emotional you know.

Aditya: Hello .. what happened to you … I told you she is not the one for you … shouldnot be too emotional with girls .. strange creatures…. what is this Truth stuff you are talking ? I have seen your mails. These days you are going to temples and Swami’s .. All this is trash dude. Look at me and learn. Last two years in US have been rocking . I had full masti. Made lots of money. Only thing is, I missed meeting with my mom and dad. But its ok, now I have enough money and will take care of them. Will get a nice girl now . Stop all this nonsense and lets go to the movie . Bhaskar: No ra, I am happy for you. But i am sure after some time , you will realize as to what is really important. That time you remember what I am saying today. Anyway, its not that I am negative about things. I am happy with my life. It too rocks.

 Aditya: Ok dude, I will remember. Tell me whether you are coming or not. I have lot of things to do.

 Ravi Prakash , who is overhearing this conversation comes up to them.

Aditya: Hello Sir, how are you? Pleasant surprise for us. Bhaskhar: Hi Sir, how are you? We still remember those days in school, when you used to teach us Sanskrit. Really its wonderful time in school sir. With your blessings we are in good position now.

Ravi Prakash: Good good. I just overheard your conversation. Its an interesting discussion.

Aditya: Please tell Bhaskhar that he is wasting his time in all the trash and speaking as if he is 60+.

Bhaskhar: Sir, you always used to settle our arguments in school. You are learned and experienced, please correct him Sir.

Ravi Prakash : So, you people are still having arguments as you used to have in school. Good to see both of you, still maintaining healthy friendship even after many years. I still remember, both of you were clear in your thinking and actions and always followed your heart. The thought process of both you is correct, in this case. The is no one definitive way. Different people exist with different though processess .As long as you are following your conscience, both are correct. There are no definite rules in life and there lies the beauty. 

Note: The conversation is not based on real life incidents, but some of them may have been  inspired.

Celebrating Sachin

March 31, 2008

sachin.jpg

I had a quick lunch, applied for half-day leave and reached Chinnaswamy stadium. The queues were long . The excitement and buzz of watching India Australia day-night match overcame the impatience of standing for one hour to get in. The stadium is packed already. We quickly searched for a decent place among the few available ones. The toss was going on, Ponting won it and Australia will be batting first. That eased the exitement a little bit and we settled in our places and cheered the Indian fielding even though the bowling got a pasting from Ponting and co. Australia scored a huge score of 350 plus. Even then it didnot bother much to me, for it is not the reason for which I was there.

Chasing 350 place under lights has never happened in history(much later , SA outscored Aus’s 440)  and that being the target for Indian batsman, well , even a layman in cricket would tell that its not going to be a winning story for India. At that moment, the 40000 plus crowd is living on a Hope. It includes me. It is this simple feeling of achieving the most difficult things fighting against all odds, has built the greatest individuals and nations. This is the reason for which a sport is played and watched. A packet of pulao and a glass of coke had pumped enough energy into me to cheer at my full throttle to welcome the one player I have long dreamed to watch. And it is the only reason I am here.

Sachin Tendulkar.

‘The first ball from Brett Lee to Tendulkar is a back-foot cover drive played on the up. One of the most difficult shots to play. The euphoria and the mayhem that has just started can only be felt. In the next one hour Tendulkar played all types of strokes with perfect technique, bringing great joy among the crowd. I wondered, what is it in Tendulkar that puts him at the top. Though I am hard-core fan of Tendulkar, I used to think of compliments from former players  as exaggeration. Not after this innings, which I saw live. There are some things which cannot be replaced. The high-end TV coverage with multiple angle replays can never compensate for the pure entertainement to see Tendukar in action, in flesh.

Those 60 minutes of absolute brilliance still lingers in my mind even after 4 years. It is one of the best individual performances I have ever seen. Pure entertainement. 15 years since I watched a 19 year old boy play the innings in Perth Test in my old black and white TV , Sachin Tendulkar remains my most favourite cricketer and its pure joy to watch the God of Cricket bat.

Ps:

Tendulkar scored 80 and was bowled by a low kept ball. India scored around 250 and lost the match and Ponting won the man of the match. But for me, Tendulkar is pulling factor. Then. Now. And always.

Step 2

March 28, 2008

There is always a sense of excitement in the air when starting something new. The initial pop-up of the idea , the self-inquiry, long discussions with near and dear ones( also called friends) is an enjoying expereince. And its fun,  only to those whose life doesnot depend on that idea.
There exists a  set of  people, who seem not to be satisified with the way how their life goes on. They are not content with  life style of working in a 9-6 setup, which includes big T breaks, internet browsing, and time for personal things. And yes, large pay packets. And dont realize that they  fall into the top 5% richest Indians category. However, they want to do something different, something independant. This type of thinking brings lot of  ideas, which they promptly discuss with friends(mostly on emails), talks of investments, expenditures, market shares and profits. And they get all these numbers right. They congratulate each other for a wonderful idea.

As days move on, most people gets involved in their convenient schedules ( as mentioned in the above para). Some people make that initial attempt to take their idea further. On first difficulty, its dropped. A little later, its as if, things discussed above have never happened in real world.

There is no concrete reason as to why ideas dont get  transformed into actions. But mostly I think, there are three reasons for this pattern. First, The person who got this idea generally created the hype without actually doing the study, Second, the passion with which the idea has generated  is  diluted with the participation of the large number of people, who are mostly carried away by the general talking and lack of any substance. Third, no guts. That extra thing, that next action, that second step,  actually makes a difference.
People who have taken ‘that’ step , have made ‘the’ difference.
Ps: As for me, I am involved in quite a few step 1’s and as for that elusive step 2, I am still waiting. Seems like, thats the only option I have, now.

Arunachalam

February 20, 2008

I never have written about the experiences of a trip. I am starting now , basically getting inspired by blogs of the other two friends who have travelled along with me, this time.

Starting from home(Bangalore) on a friday morning in a drizzling weather to spiritual/religious place of Arunachalam(Tiruvanmalai) gave me a sense of living in the present and yeah, the thrill of spending meaningful time in the immediate future( next two days). Driving my car on a long trip( 3+ hrs is considered long, relatively speaking) always gives me that thrill, even if it involved getting hit on the side of my car by reckless truck-fellow( and may be he will write about me in the same way) and thereby getting a dent. Well, the dent in my car, never really mattered at that moment( read no attachment). And this is what the saint of Arunachalam, Ramana Maharshi teaching are based upon. No attachments. Not even with be body. Well atleast I didnot have it with the dent in my car. Seems like I am  going to the right place.

Driving through the last 10 kms to reach Arunachalam is absolute pleasure. With heavy downpour and visibility on the road barely 30-40 feet, it was one of the  thoughly enjoyable drives I have ever had.From there, the  view of Arunachal hill is not only awesome but also very divine.

Awesome view of Arunachal hill

1 hour is what we took, to checkin the ashram accomodation, finish lunch and be ready, with umbreallas open to counter the now receeding rain. The mission is to go around the arunachal hill covering 17 kms on  bare foot. Heard that going around the hill will wipe out 15000 years of janmas( cycle of life and death). I didnot believe it. It doesnot matter whether I belived it or not. There is a great amount of energy associated with this place. This is where formess Lord Shiva exists as in hill form and its pradakshin (going around) gives great religious and spiritual benefits. Ramana Maharshi authenticates this. This is what I believe in .  And it matters.

1 lakh people do pradakshina on every full moon day. This time also, its not different. The circumfrence of the hill is full of devotees. Most of the people are from nearbly villages/towns. One of the benefits of travel is observing and experiencing people. The devotion of these people, almost stopping at every small temple around the hill and offering prayers is inspiring. Faith, is all what they have. But, how many of them have thoughts of Lord shiva in their minds is arguable. Ramana Maharshi once told a vistor,  who was complaining about the cleanliness of the ashram,  to mind about his own realization than finding fault with others. That thought made me to mind my own business. My trip around the hill .. well .. I cannot describe. Its mixed with chanting of “Om Namashivaya”, offering prayers at most of the temples, observing people, chit-chat about the benefits of going around, discussion if it would have been better to take the walk in the night under the full moon, how the rush in the main temple would be,  how lucky we were that the rain has stopped and once I thought about the dent to my car. Talking about non-attachment.

After literally dragging ourself entered the main temple and to our surprise completed the darshan in an hour or so, with the aid of a 50 rupees ticket. But with tired body and minds could not observe much of the architectural constructions of the temple in the night time. After a quick dinner and 6 hours later we reached the room.

It was quite an absorbing “experience”. I hope to receive participation certificate signed by Lord Shiva which surely would come with remarks “Needs lot of improvement” and I promise to take care  the next time around.