Why Look Back?

Life goes on and we humans always look forward to the next sunrise. Wisdom says that you look back and learn from mistakes and make sure we don’t repeat them. These wise thoughts are always helpful in doing better in life. I have known and heard of a few people who say “Why look back?” What is the meaning of this statement? Are these people belligerent or thoughtful? Overconfident or just plain pragmatic? How do people manage to take major events in stride? What gives them the courage? Are they created differently by Him?

My good old friend Hemant, god bless him, is one such person. He is an engineer by profession, smart, pleasant and what have you. He is a good techno marketing guy. He succeeds in his work by good engineering knowledge and marketing & persuasive skills. Somehow during a certain period we lost touch. Those were 80’s and communication was bad. One day he called me and said, “I am coming to Pune on Sunday and will come to your place for breakfast.” He arrived at nine and when I saw him, it was a shock of my life for me and my family. But knowing him, I did not say anything. He just said there was an accident two months back but “now I am ok.” I knew that he will tell details over a period. We had our breakfast, of course nothing had changed!! He managed everything expertly with one hand. After breakfast he said lets go out. When we came out, I asked him about his driver, so that driver could also have breakfast. He said he had driven the car himself, alone from Mumbai. Again, no comments from me, only stunned silence!! We went to a place where two of us could sit peacefully. I knew he wanted to smoke, I was wondering how he was going to handle this. Nothing special, he just held the matchbox in his knees and there he was smoking. After that he recited the whole sequence as a matter of fact.

Back then he had sold an equipment to an organization. Successful trials were done. Then it was decided to start full operation on an auspicious day. That day, he along with his technicians went to that factory. Usual things like Pooja were performed and at the hands of CEO, the equipment was started. After sweets distribution, tea was circulated. Couple of hours later big handshakes took place and they started moving away from the equipment. He took a couple of steps, and somebody called, “Hemant, can you come for a moment?” Hemant went back replied to queries and turned to go back. While doing so he just extended his right hand to explain things better. This misjudgment cost him his right hand upto the elbow. Somehow it was just sucked in the equipment and rest as they say is history. But the story does not end here in fact it begins. He was taken to hospital and being fit and young recovered quickly under the circumstances. On eighth day he started learning to write with his left hand. In the third week his signature with left hand had become stable. Here he was 150 km from home, after two months,driving the car all on his own!!

When he was done, I asked him a question, “Looking back, would you have done things differently in those last few minutes before the accident?” He said,” Pramod, Why look back?”

My Friends list is longer than yours!

In my childhood, in fact in everyone’s childhood, there have been games of “My spit goes farther than yours” or “My Su Su goes longer than yours” and variations thereof. It was great fun & did we enjoy those games!! Facebook game of “My Friends list is longer than yours!” appears to be the latest variant of the childhood games. But is it really fun? Does it really have childlike innocence to it?

I joined Facebook a few years back when someone suggested I join, and I just joined. I did not have much knowledge of the same (today also my knowledge level of FB is not much different.) What is FB, why FB are the questions that come to my mind? I know that Mark Zuckerberg is the owner and I also know that there are N number of more zeroes in front of his wealth figure than that of common man’s wealth would have. I have seen the movie Social Network based on birth of FB. Beyond this information I also know that this site is used for socializing.

In earth’s history we define time periods as AD and BC; similarly there are times Pre FB and Post FB! Life has become so different during these time zones that it is difficult compare these pre and post FB times. In Pre days, people used their phones to talk to each other or actually physically meet up, now people write on your wall to ask “hey, how is hernia doing?” In post days I have seen people posting their journey details when they travelled from Mumbai to Delhi by road, a snippet of posting. “Finally we reached a reasonable Hotel and I rushed to the loo, what a relief!!” Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw must be squirming in their graves, “Why I could never write such Gems during my life time”?

What is the best way of using FB? Every individual has different opinion on the same. I personally use it for an important function of Birthday management. FB reminds you the birthdays of friends but I like an idiot do not write on the wall, I call people and talk to them on their birthdays. Initially I used to be worried, I thought people will think that I am breaking their privacy by calling them. But I have realized people actually like it if you call!! I am on FB, like United Nations observer. I do not do anything. I just observe what others are doing. This probably helps me understanding how people of different generations interact with each other.

Senior citizens and retired people are in their own world. They keep on posting about subjects that they pursued during their active days or of the fields they wanted to be active but could not get the opportunity or the forum. The younger female gang around twenty five, have a peculiar way of saying things. Suppose their friend posts a picture of new born, baby becomes cho chweet instead of so sweet!! Do you call something cho chweet in real life talking? No but this is FB effect. Of course they keep on writing about sweet nothings! Then the very young brigade can have 600 to 800 hundred friends may write about anything in this world. In case of active young ones this figure can reach even 1500. This is fine because they are trying to find things in life and this includes finding of who real friends are. Then there are mature persons in forties, even they sometimes put personal things on FB. Did we share personal things with 200 or 400 hundred people in Pre FB days?

There are average 200 friends for many but this figure can reach 400 also in some cases. Do you really have 400 friends in real life? Do we even have 200? Friends is an FB term but it is mostly acquaintances. Can we really handle so many friends? Friendship is like any other relationship & needs to be cultivated. After your daily grind, do you get time cultivate such large numbers? I understand that that FB is now used for advertising, I presume it is like google advertising. In between news feed you will get a few ads for banks or Makemytrip and so on. This I am sure is paid service and FB gets paid for this. I have seen two persons around the age of fifty, have around 2000 friends!! 2000 is a large number under any thought process. How are these people selecting friends? Is it that in your daily work or life if you talk to a new person or meet a new person, you immediately send him a friend request as soon as the meeting is over? Is this Zuckerberg’s idea of Facebook? I have seen some people advertising their business opportunities on a daily basis to the same 2000 people by way of news feed. Won’t people get fed up? If you want to advertise then pay to FB then your business deals will get advertised to different set of people and not the same set, every day. Is it that these people do not understand what they are doing, but they are smart people …..

Who does one invite as friend or whose friendship request do you accept? I have done so with an unknown person only once but with a reason. I was travelling back home and at Delhi airport my name was announced for some reason. When I boarded the plane this person sat next me. He said he had heard my name and it sounded very similar to his Punjabi name, so he wanted to say hello and gave me his business card. I told him that I am a Maharashtrian person and my name was pronounced incorrectly at the airport. We just shook hands and that was it. He was a very senior person in Delhi Administration. Next day I received a friend request from him and I accepted it. But that is about it. After that there is no exchange of any sorts with him. This reminds of a story I read in newspapers. A lady became friends with an unknown person from a different town. One thing led to another, then they decided to physically meet. During the meeting, the guy had different ideas and started getting physical with her. The lady resisted and end result the guy got wild and simply killed her! Do people understand the meaning of dealing with people in anonymity? What people write and what they are can be quite different. When you meet people face to face, from gestures, eye contact one gets the feel of the personality. Behind the computer screen this is just not possible and you might end up meeting a Frankenstein!!

I also hear of people getting addicted to FB. They just cannot survive without looking at FB every now and then. What do we really get from FB? Is FB Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde. No it is not so, used correctly it is Dr. Jekyl but when used incorrectly it can become Mr. Hyde. We have already seen people killed for no fault of theirs because someone posted nasty messages on FB. Spreading rumors is one more activity that happens regularly on FB. But mostly it is Mr. Timepass!! Cheerio and have a great time today on FB!