Friday, 14 November 2008

Let us not Understand!

Calvin: Dad, What will you present to me on my birthday?
Dad: Nothing Calvin. This year it will just be chocolates and sweets.

Calvin: But Dad, last year you bought me a nice bicycle, a wonderful T-Shirt and so many nice goodies. Why nothing this year?

Dad: It's the recession, Calvin. This year the whole world is experiencing a slowdown. I got a nice festival bonus and so many other perks last year and a promotion too. I had nice offers from other companies too. But all of a sudden, my company seems so unstable and the others don’t need me either. Everyone is obsessed with cutting costs and firing people.

Calvin: But why has this recession thing happened all of a sudden? Why cannot companies tackle this issue and the world be as nice as ever?

Dad: You are still a child Calvin, you won't understand

Munnu: Madam, It is always good be honest in life. Isn't it?

Teacher: Yes Munnu, you are right. You should always tell the truth. You should never conspire against anyone or talk behind their back. Whatever you feel about someone you should tell it directly to them. Being honest will always be rewarding.

Munnu: But why did the maths teacher spank me very badly when I was honest to her that I had not done my homework?

Teacher: She was just trying to make you a good boy, Munnu. You are still a child. You won't understand.
Chutki: O learned Sir, Don’t you always say that God created all the human beings equally? That God loves all His children regardless of whether they are rich or poor, white or black?

Temple Priest: Yes Child, you are right. The creator never differentiates his children. No one is special and no one is ignored by Him. We all are His children.

Chutki: Then why are upper castes given preference in this temple than the Dalits? Why are they not allowed in through the main gate? Why should they wait for "Aaarti" till all the upper castes have finished their prayers?

Temple Priest: It is all a tradition Chutki. You still a child. You won't understand.

Gullu: All your colleagues tell me that you are a terrific manager. You always get the work done in time and never miss any deadlines. You understand the customer's needs well and respond to the same. Is it so, sister?

Manager: (proudly) Yes Gullu, I work hard to get all the work done in time. I always ask my team members to put in that "extra" effort to deliver a quality product. I treat them as my family members and don’t mind calling them to work even on weekends. You see, delivering the product on time with quality is more important to the business than regretting it later.

Gullu: Yes Sister, but most of your team members also complain that you never let them rest. You never let them take their normal leaves and their rightful rest after a hard days work. You always stress them out with work even after projects are delivered and threaten them with bad appraisals if they don’t listen to you. Isn't that wrong?

Manager: (defensively) No Gullu, it is always essential to put the customer and business first. The employees can rest after all the work is done. Besides, meeting the deadlines and delivering quality on time is important. You should realize that.

Gullu: But what will happen if you relax the deadlines a little and allow your workers some rest. Don’t you think that will motivate them to work harder?

Manager: No my dear Gullu, you are still a child. You won't understand.

Little John: Father, You tell us that there is only one God but there are different paths to reach Him. Right?

Father: Yes my son that’s true. All religions are equal. They only help us in different ways to reach the ultimate God.

Little John: Then, anyone in this world can follow any religion and attain God. Right, Father?

Father: Yes John, You are right.

Little John: Then why do non-stop conversions happen all over the world everyday? And why is there so much killings of people in the name of religion? Why do people induce terror in people and carry out large scale destruction of lives and property?

Father: Dear John, you are still a child. You won't understand.

Calvin : Mr. President. You told us that you have started on a journey to end terrorism in this world right?

Bush: Yes Calvin, that’s true.

Calvin: So you attacked Iraq as you suspected they had weapons of mass destruction. Did you find any of them in Iraq?

Bush: No Calvin. But you realize that we are a ……

Calvin: Oh, stop it you dumb head! Were you ATLEAST successful in curbing terrorism in the world?

Bush: No Calvin. But you see America is great country and …

Calvin: Whatever! And in spite of all these failures you still think you are the best?

Bush: You wont realize that Calvin. You are still a child.

Baalak: Raj Saheb, you do realize that India is a country with lots and lots of diversity right? That inspite of all this, we are a united nation.

Raaj: Yes Baalak, you are right. Bharat Mata is great. I am proud to be born in this nation, especially in Maharastra, the nation's best state.

Baalak: But each and every state in India is unique in its own way Right? Anyone in this country has the right to reside in any part of the nation. A Marathi can go to Bangalore and work for an IT company; A fisherman's son from Rameshwaram can go on and stay at Rashtrapathi Bhavan; A young and hardworking lad from Gujarat can go on and make a big industrial empire in Bombay; A courageous cricketer from Bengal can lead the whole country against the best of the world. With so much happening all over that shows us that we all stand and rise only if we are united, why do you try breaking the country in terms of states?

Raaj: You must understand son, that I am against people from other states snatching jobs from localites. I am not against everybody.

Baalak: But look at what is happening because of you. You are instigating the peace and harmony in India's largest city. The people of the city who have collectively braved bomb blasts, heavy rains, stock markets over the years and managed to stand tall are now shooting everyone in sight and killing one another. You have ruined Mumbai.

Raaj: You will not understand it son. You are still a child.
Calvin: Hobbes, these people are so complicated. They spoil all good things in life and finally blame it on others. If growing up means facing up the harsh realities of life and losing common sense, I will never grow up.

Hobbes: You bet, Calvin. Everyone would want that!
Today is November 14th - celebrated as children's day in India. We are at our best as children - observing all the miracles of the world with acute sense; wanting to be cared and loved all the time; having a desire to scale great heights; having fun all the time and questioning all the things in sight. Let us salute the spirit of that cute and innocent childhood and try and be as enthusiastic as children always in life. Happy children's day to all!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Kalah kreedathi

When God created this world with all its ups and downs, the rich and the poor, the highs and the lows, the curves and the straight ones, the beautiful and the ugly, the blacks and the whites, the republics and the democrats, he gave one thing that is equal to all - time!

Whether you are a filthy rich son of a politician having money to burn or a poor beggar struggling for two square meals a day, a dedicated student working hard for that elusive rank in an exam or an idler whiling away all your time, a veteran Tendulkar or a debutant Jason Krejza, the inquisitive, overzealous young child investigating everything in sight or the dormant, old grandpa lying on bed all day, live near the warm equator or in the icy polar regions, a small ant or a huge elephant, an entry level junior engineer or the CEO of a company - you get equal time -24 hours a day. No more, no less!

Time is one of the basic entities in this world. Whether you like it or not, it keeps ticking along in magnitudes of micro/nanoseconds on a computer; in magnitudes of milliseconds in athletics; in magnitudes of seconds on that costly ISD call; in magnitudes of minutes in an important exam; in magnitudes of days and months during summer/semester holidays; in magnitudes of years in an individual's life; in magnitudes of centuries and millennia along the course of history. And in all these cases, it does its work diligently - just ticks along with utmost precision! No wonder then, along with mass and length, we term it one of the basic scalar quantities in physics.

Sometimes I keep wondering, what if we had the ability to stop time or change its pace? Maybe substitute some time-block in place of others? The world would then be an interesting and nice place to live in. We could re-live the moments that we enjoyed over and over again and fast forward the bad ones. The great depression and the worst recession could have been over within the wink of an eye and the happy times could go on and on. The terrorist acts could have substituted for the heroic acts. Rahul Dravid, my favorite cricketer who is on a dreadful patch right now could carry on the glorious Adelaide form forever. Wouldn't life be so nice?

The fantasy could go on and on. People could even buy and sell time then. Then a Mukesh Ambani could go on to buy all the poor peoples' times and live for more than 1000 years on his riches. The poor and the jobless people could make money by selling time. The Kareenas Bipashas and Deepikas never had to worry about aging and having to make way for someone else. The software companies could buy more time to deliver quality products on time. And when no client bought their product, they could even sell time. Then what a weird world it would all be. But fortunately or unfortunately, all this is just fantasy. Nothing of that sort can happen for real. So all you Ambanis and Bill Gates out there, better watch out - you have only one life to live. And the Bipashas will have to eventually make way for Deepikas and so on and so forth. The creator has done everything for a reason and in that lies the excitement of life. The less time one gets to prove oneself, the more recognition they get. Everything has to happen in a limited time frame- the joys, the sorrows, the mysteries, the money, everything. No comments on the fly-overs and subways that go on for ages :-) The cycle of time rolls on come what may. No wonder then, the one-dayers draw more crowds than the test matches and more recently, the T20s even better than the one-dayers.

Of late, I haven’t posted anything on my blog site. If you have noticed, the last post was more than a month ago, on my birthday. And in that month, I have posted three posts. The simplest and the most easiest of the excuses would be a two word, "No time!". But, if I had known earlier that I would not be posting for more than a month, maybe I could have divided the earlier posts more evenly.

Most people give that nice and simple excuse for not doing work or something that they like doing - "No Time". Its easy and simple. No one even questions you about it because, as I said earlier, time cannot be bought or sold. Broadly speaking, this excuse can be divided into 2 cases - not giving time when you can which is laziness; and not giving time when you can't which is helplessness. The latter is atleast acceptable while the former is not. Suppose a son cannot help his ailing mother when he has loads of work at office, then it can be considered a case of helplessness. But even on a holiday if he still prefers to loaf around, then it is really unacceptable. Most of the times, the case of helplessness arises due to the initial laziness. When a project is in early stages, we usually waste time and don’t concentrate hard. Then, when the deadlines near, the helplessness begins to show and we become frustrated. Could this not be avoided if we followed the schedule right from start? Maybe yes, but there is no way to go back in time to see if that happened. Time always goes forward. No reverse gear :-(

I have usually been a bad manager of time. I don’t know whether it was engineering college that got this change in me or I was like this from before. It is a case of egg first/hen first. During college days, I had two friends who were very dedicated to studies and who used to always work hard. If we had 10 days to study for an exam, we used to plan properly what had to be done for the 10 days. Then, those two friends would go on to execute the plan properly while I being the lazy guy would somehow allow the time to drift. And finally when 2 days remained, I used to panic and go to a helpless position. Then I used to wonder if I could buy some time from someone to finish my studies.

Anyway all those times are just memories now. Those crucial one-night stands before exams remain an integral part of college life nostalgia. But I really admire the planners who managed their time well. One of them is now trying for a career in civil services which requires dedicated efforts. I am sure he will get there because he has always been hardworking. I wish him all the best.

So what has been happening in last one and half months? So much actually. At home, my sister got married and we all had been to Pune for a trip. At office, a new project started and I have been busy in that. The Indo-Aussie series has been absorbing as ever. Diwali came and went bringing with it lots of fun and happiness. I fell sick, recovered and fell sick again! and yes, I got a nice bike :-)

All said and done about importance of time, I am hoping I will be able to improve my time management skills so that it helps myself, my current project, my future career and my life as a whole. Will try and post more consistently from now. Do come back for more on the bike and other issues. Take care.

PS: The title of the post is taken from the great Adi Shankaracharya's Bhajagovindam. You can read the entire sanskrit text and the gist here (text 12)