Virus Bonhomie!

Technology has brought people together! Don’t lose this opportunity to bond for life long!

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This blog is about a specific group but I have tried to make it as generic as possible. But it applies to all the groups of friends. 

Once upon a time there were a set of retired people and not so retired people, who lived their life, enjoying their golden period. Things were quite good. They were traveling, enjoying with family and had great time with their grandchildren, once in a while. They had illnesses, they had their anxieties but were game at carrying their burden, gracefully. Of course, the children were around but the there was a small issue, they were around the world, for many. Children and their family was a great solace, once in a year or two years, in some cases after five years! There were WhatsApp messages and Video calls, all keeping them very happy in the winter of life. Everything was smooth, children were very caring; they ensured that there were caretakers available round the clock, if needed. Everything was hunky dory! Once in a while there was a cool breeze and warmth of good old friends. This would come out of blue and kept people gasping as they had gone their separate ways in the journey called life. Friends from the old gang, were expected to meet only once in a while. Yes, these folks were also in college once upon a time; had gangs and great friends!  

A few years back suddenly, a species started appearing on horizon! It looked like UFO, nobody initially knew what it was. On searching Google, people came to know it was called Bonhomie! (Oxford meaning of Bonhomie is cheerful friendliness; geniality.) As normally happens, nobody was sure what really was happening. These people realized that there were two naïve folks who were bringing in an unknown creature called Bonhomie in their lives. Thanks to WhatsApp, FB and modern technology in general, things started moving really fast. The group of people was a little confused; they were not aware that they were getting converted into “group of friends, close friends!” The thought itself was breath taking. Am I going to meet my long-lost friends again? Am I going to meet Ashkya, Dhanya, Panya, Dindya, Sharya again after so many years? What fun we had when we were together in college? 

Lists were made, groups were created thanks to technology and two idiots! Phone numbers were shared and, in some cases, photos were exchanged. Calls were made and demeanor of all the people enjoying golden period slowly started changing. People at home were surprised and took some of them to doctors. Doctors said that there is new virus spreading fast, especially in people who are enjoying golden period. There was simply no cure to that. Sometimes these people show signs of Euphoria. But let them be. This virus can actually cure many ailments in that age group. Of course, Bonhomie is not a cure all. It cannot cure cancer, heart attack and stroke! But this virus is an antidote to overcome anxieties created by such illnesses. Anxieties in life, worries in general, feeling of loneliness!  

Finally, the D day arrived for the group to meet! Meet they did at their favourite place near the river! Words like Mithi, Salya, Jadya, Taklya, Lambya were thrown in with gay abandon. There were slaps on the back. There were bear hugs, and of course some tears of joy (which I have even while writing this piece too!) And the party started. There would be formal meets maybe twice in a year. Friends started meeting in small groups; old gangs came together! Bonhomie virus was spreading and parties started in Mumbai too! Small picnics, big parties, idli/dosa at favourite joints was the name of the game.  

As the gang became closer, there started good old fights and skirmishes like those from olden days, as if they were young adults again. The resolution in all the cases was always virtual or sometimes by a phone call. Group magazine started to keep bonding, it died its natural death over a couple of years. Photo albums were created to be shared with all but this also stopped after a period, a natural thing. But after every meet, there was a only one discussion, “When are we meeting again?” And the party continued. Joy was spread among friends regarding achievements of next generations, some of them in studies, some in art, some in painting. Travel photos and experiences were shared and advise taken from others for next holiday.  

Honestly, things were too good to be true! But bonding continued. There was sharing of sorrow due to demise of common friends. There was real enjoyment when some long-lost friend suddenly started meeting again; then a friend started sharing his old passion, paintings. He started getting time for his passion and made everybody’s life all the more enjoyable by sharing his art. Everybody looked forward to his paintings.  

I am all for a healthy world but started getting jittery that our group was traveling in the direction of destroying the virus of Bonhomie. This is one virus that I want to be alive all the time. Google was searched again. Google explained that there was a strong anti-dote, for this virus, called EGO. The group was slowly managing to infuse this anti-dote on a daily basis. Some friends were getting worried, some were overwhelmed. Some were relentlessly doing it. One friend joined only to infuse this dose. Advise of spin doctor was taken. The Doctor said that the virus of Bonhomie remains healthy with a regular dose of a vitamin called communication both verbal and written. The doctor suggested to reduce the communication for some time, to find out if his judgment and treatment suggested was correct.  

Reduction of this vitamin indicated that doctor was right. There were hardly 2/3 friends, who showed interest in checking out if monthly meet was ON! The experiment continues. But the spin doctor also suggested a communication by way of a big write up, which sometimes kick starts the rejuvenation of virus Bonhomie!  

Friends, don’t let this virus die. You will know it’s importance after it goes into coma. Instead of current two idiots, there can be 2/3 additional idiots who will nurture this virus. If not on first Sunday, friends can meet on second Sunday, at a different location, at a different time. Suggest whatever you think will keep the virus kicking! We all have a large stock of anti-dote EGO. Just dispose it off! Throw it away. This is true for all the remaining life of any person young or old, man or woman. Have fun, nurture friendships. God has gifted us three great things. The nature, the family and the friends. You cannot destroy nature because it is self-sustaining and self-correcting. But other need to be handled carefully, they come with a label “Fragile! handle with care”!  

But rest assured that two idiots will not rest till the Bonhomie virus is kicking in again!  

 

Good Old Days!

Whose Good Old Days are better?

This is one term that is frequently used in many conversations. Some use it nostalgically, some use it with heavy heart, some use it as a passing reference. It is the emotion behind it, that is important. All of us have a past as we grow old. Some have 20 years of past, some have 40 years of past and some 60 years of past! Being nostalgic about your “Good Old days” is natural! It is fun, it’s  joy, its pure nostalgia! These are your precious memories which can never be taken away! They open the door to your personal life history, they open the door to the history of the society and the nation, and to the World at that particular time. When we think about “Good Old Days”, we open a small window but how far we are able to see and enjoy, depends totally on our way of looking at things.

Those who enjoy “Good Old days” nostalgically are emotional persons, those who remember “Good Old days” with a heavy heart probably remain grooved in those times. Those who make passing reference of “Good Old days” are not very emotional about life memories. This is of course an observation and I am not commenting what is right and what is the correct way of looking at things. Nor am I passing any judgment! But what really are the “Good Old days”?  

To me “Good Old days” are bygone days. To me today’s times are my “Golden Days”! But the beauty is “Youthful days” of today become “Good Old days” may be 40 or 50 years hence. So, each of “Good Old days” from different decades have their own charm, their own scent, their own beauty! My “Good Old days” are no better or worse than someones “Good Old days”!  

Humans have different ways of looking at life, enjoying life at different age! Each decade probably changes human perception about life, their way of looking at life! In the childhood, life is simply fun and fantasy; it is a time when one leads a very protected life. The entry into adulthood brings out different emotions, exposure to different pleasures and professional studies and sometimes real bad world. Fun is a major part of this growth. Many times, it is more fun than serious things. Generally, “Good Old days” are this phase of life for everybody because they are lively, fun filled and adventurous.  

The current decade, which is Golden Period for me, is going to be “Good Old days” for my grandson Suyash in future. He is in the phase of becoming an adult. He studies hard, he enjoys hard. I am sure he has fun and he has growth pangs. For him travel from US, where he lives, to India, is an adventure. He is now old enough to understand that world is not the same in various different parts. His place of stay at Sammamish near Seattle in the US, is a serene location with lots of trees, lots of water bodies and lots of clouds and a lot of rain. So, when he travels to India, it is lots of noise, lots of people but a lot of family members.  

With modern technology proliferation, the growth of technology in both India and the US is similar and there is not a big chasm between the two places. But chasm in two eras, my “Good Old days” and my golden days is simply breath taking. In my “Good Old days”, Mumbai, where I grew, was a reasonably peaceful big city with a lot of activities. But when I moved to Pune, where I have been living for 50 years, things were drastically different. People would move about on bicycles, using horse driven carriages; whereas in Mumbai there was a fairly modern train system and a bus system. In my “Good Old days”, there were a few major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata; other places were towns or villages. Intercity travel was rarity and air travel was non existent. Those were the days of shortages and rationing of food! Eating an apple was considered luxury, the same as owning the car. But I enjoy the memories and nostalgia of “Good Old days”.  

Today Suyash is growing up in the times of plenty of everything. Plenty of money, plenty of gadgets, plenty of cars and plenty of everything in general. With this base, he is growing up with big dreams, and looking forward to even better future. In my “Good Old days”, we also had plenty of dreams and plenty of fun same as Suyash has. But probably, on the scale of 10, my dream size was 3 and Suyash’s dream size could be 7 or 8. So when Suyash becomes nostalgic 40 years hence and yearns for his “Good Old days”, can our “Good Old days” be compared? Answer is both yes and no. No, because the base level at both times are totally different, they simply cannot be compared. Yes, because the nostalgia does not depend on tangibles. So, the base simply does not matter.  

The emotional person can enjoy best of the both worlds and enjoys memories of “Good Old days”; the same person also enjoys today’s good modern, but a bit of hectic times. The person who keeps stuck in “Good Old days”, enjoys in remaining entrapped in those times but is not able to enjoy today’s times. For The less emotional person, nothing really matters.  

When I retrospect about “Good Old days”, I realize that general health and happiness in those times were not so good. Society in general did not have zest or drive as most people used to struggle to survive. My youthful age masked all such struggles, which anyway I did not understand at that time. I am quite sure the “Good Old days” are always the same in every era when intangibles are compared. But when tangibles come in picture, it will be difficult to judge which era would give more joy. I feel that my golden days are better days than “Good Old days”. To me probably, this aspect will keep on improving with time, all the time. In my “Good Old days” we used to have Kaware Ice Cream. Oh, but Baskin Robbins and CCD and Barista today…. You know what I mean! Of course I am nostalgic about Kaware Ice Cream but…… 

Happiness Mantra!

Keep on smiling infectiously to remain happy!

The world is full of good things and bad things. Happy things and sad things. To me happiness and sadness are the two sides of the same coin, our life. If there were only one status in life, we would not have known the difference. Change of status is what shifts our mood from sadness to happiness. Sad or Happy status is a state of mind. There are some absolute things when anybody can be sad or some events make everybody happy. Death in family makes you sad and birth in a family makes you happy. Just change the lens through which you look at the world and you will find this state changes. World over, we have terrorist situation. But terrorist for you is a martyr to someone else. One group will be elated due to death of a terrorist and the other will be saddened due to death of a martyr. Two sides of the coin?

To me easiest way to remain happy is to switch mentally to the age group in which you are surrounded. Be a child around children, be a young man when with young people, understand tough life of hot shot busy executives who lead a hectic life. At my age we have been there and done that! We are enjoying our golden period of life. But that does not mean that we meet people our age all the time. When with younger people try to understand their way of life; probably in our times life was not that hectic, it was not so much connected. Enjoy  the different ways these people do things today. 

Young kids have their own way of understanding and imagining things. When I am with my granddaughter, I am transformed mentally to her age. She likes to listen to a new story every time. It can be about a ceiling fan, it can be about her imaginary younger sister, it can be about my childhood. I twist the stories in any which way, there can be pink snake or demon with blue T shirt, that’s me. The other day, I had some meeting in Tata Motors and I was getting ready to go. For the first time, she had seen me wearing a suit and a Tie. She was continuously asking me about the same and whatever I told her, she was not happy. Just as I was about to leave she said, “Grandpa, I know why you are wearing these clothes! You are taking part in a fancy dress competition!” When she was told that someone’s dog had to be treated for illness she asked,” Was the doctor also a doggy?” You get what I mean? Behave like kids when you are with them, you will be really happy. Enjoy their imagination, have fun with their thought process. That’s a path to happiness.  

If you go are in the group of young adults, their discussions and thoughts will be about new devices, selfies, RAM and what not. (Yes, they talk about girls too!) Try to be update with these things. Then you can have fun in this group too! Take some selfies with them! Maybe make crooked faces like these guys do! Be part of them! You may not like it initially but let me assure you, once you get to know their ways, there can only be fun. Once they are comfortable with you, they will ask you about old stuff. There are many things they don’t know anything about! Share with them. Be young at heart, be happy!  

You may have memories, you may have future plans which are known fashionably as bucket list! They will give you some happiness. But why bother about these things when you have so many things in front of you, in the PRESENT! Forget the past, don’t bother about future, enjoy the present. You are sitting with your friends, you are enjoying a book, you are enjoying a movie, your all-time favorite, Guide! Guide will bring your heart throb of college days, Waheeda in front of you. Enjoy it. There are trees, there are rivers, there is a lecture series going on, attend it. There is a rose show, don’t miss it. Once in a while go out and binge on your favorite Gulab Jamun, though you are not supposed to eat them due to diabetes! Become a child, cheat on food once in a while!  

There are many things which you must do or learn to ignore. Simply don’t bother about who thinks what about you. Happy people don’t let negativity of other people affect them. Oh, come on! Always be friendly and grateful, remove that frown! Keeping a smile on your face does not cost you money and say thank you to everyone who helps you a bit! Don’t take people for granted and thank people genuinely from the bottom of your heart! You let the infectious disease of smile to spread where ever you can, people will love you for that! Smile is something that can achieved in a group of people as our moods depend on people around us, with whom we spend most of our time. Be a part of smiling gang.

Every situation has two sides! Be blind to negative aspect of it! Stay positive in every situation. If there are more negatives, don’t lose heart! God has created that negative experience for you to remain a student, all through your life! Learn from it. Don’t become compulsive or obsessive personality. In life nothing is perfect. Even the beautiful Moon has its dark spots! You will find happiness easily when you learn to let go! Happy people know how to control their yearning for perfection. They are proud of what they have achieved. Not all can be Sachin Tendular, you can be a Dravid or a Ganguly too! For that matter you can be Amol Muzumdar or Paddy Shivalkar too! One of the very high ranking players who never played a test match for India!

Contribute to the world, at least to your surroundings. Try and help some needy people. Smile at some strangers. If a car stops to let you go, make thumbs up signal and smile! Keep on learning things, learn to use new gadgets! I know of an eighty-year lady, who learnt to use online banking! Taking interest in new things gives you energy and more meaning in life! 

Do social work, share your life’s experiences and knowledge with needy people! I have only written about trying to be happy with your own behavior, your approach to life! I am not even discussing many things you can do, for which you never got time while working! Don’t ever feel that you have become old. I learnt this in last few years. When we went for the Alaska cruise sometime back, there was a 99-year-old lady who was traveling alone! Then last year during our tour round the Alps, there was an 85-year-old person, traveling alone. There was a person who needed to carry his oxygen generation system with him all the time, was also on the cruise. He took local excursions too. Disability, age are a state of mind! These people made it look like their physical limitations did not exist.  

Friends be happy, be cheerful, keep smiling. It is easy to crib, it is easy rue lost opportunities. To be happy in life, needs to have positivity in you. I have seen people with financial difficulties, all their life, selling through, happily. Money helps but it’s not the only thing.  Happiness is infectious, spread it; the happiness disease always starts in a small way, but it can become bigger and bigger, if you allow it to spread. Start small but never stop being happy!  

Technology Onslaught! Reskill or Perish!

Technology forces humans to retrain!

Some lawyers in Pune have declared that they will go on fast until death, against the decision of Charity commissioner. It is now decided that that all registrations with charity commissioner will be done online! Thereby eliminating the need to employ lawyers to handle this work. Lawyers have gone by the only route known to them. They are cribbing, crying and fasting. Welcome to the brave new world of technology.

Technology is a part of revolution that mankind has seen from stone age. Only difference is that today’s technology can take away work from highly educated and successful people! When the wheel was invented, the strong people in that era must have gone on strike because with invention of wheel, people with brute force, for doing various manual things, became irrelevant. This sort of thing is not only technology related but it is about out of box thinking too!

Western part of China has many industries that produce goods for the world! Shipping of these good to Europe was a real long haul; taking the goods to east coast of China and from there goods would sail to Europe, in big ships. Total time taken would be between 40 to 45 days. Someone had a great idea. China had talks with Russia and rail system in western China was realigned to connect to Russian rail system. Trains full of these goods now reach Europe in 15 to 20 days! Ship owners have not gone on strike!

Human nature is such that we want status quo, all the time. While going is good, humans don’t try to find efficient methods of doing things better. Lawyers probably never understood that drastic changes that were coming up. Nobody designed something specific to make lawyers’ work irrelevant. Technology does not target anybody, it just looks to improve things or to do things in a different way. Somebody in government took a step forward to make the system more efficient and transparent. This is already happening in many areas in the private as well as government domain.

Blockchain is a classic example of technology can change things drastcially! I will briefly explain about Blockchain. A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions inexpensively. This technology is already being used in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Technology is proven and slowly becoming popular. This technology has a potential to eliminate ALL the agents that are currently there in the system. These agents are Chartered Accountants, Bank Agents, LIC Agents, and so on. Over a period, Bitcoin Technology is expected to eliminate even the Banks and Currency! This shows two things; currency as a tool can vanish and Blockchain can push many educated people out of work, in big numbers. What is the solution? Retrain, get new skill sets! Don’t crib!

The other day, I was having coffee with my friend Sharad. He told me a story about some government agency people who wanted to do ground survey, near his factory, for a new expressway being planned. The people living in that area have been opposing the project. As a protest, they blackened the faces of the surveyors. Surveyors were cool guys. When Sharad asked them how much time the survey will take? They said 15 minutes. They moved around, put some paint marks on the rocks around and were ready to go. Sharad asked them, ” What happened to your survey?” They said, ” We are done! Now Google will take over and do the necessary survey; we just had to paint some markers.” Technology? How are local protesters going to stop Google Satellite?

Do you remember Tonga, the horse carriages being replaced by Auto Rikshas? Now a days, we rarely see young people driving Rikshas, so it could be on it’s way out! Heard of Uber and Ola? For long distance travel, the replacement was trains. Then came airplanes, local purchase is being slowly replaced by Web based selling. Amazons, Flipkarts are taking over business from local grocers! Typewriting institutes? What is that? Where are the typewriters? Where are the typists? Are we now hearing stories about Electric Vehicles? Another 20 years maybe! There may not be big repair workshops!

Most of the times, new technologies start with some mundane task or something which is not relevant at that time. It takes people thinking out of box that makes rapid and sometimes dramatic changes. Something similar is happening in another area of our lives.

When Jaya did her engineering in early 70’s, ladies in this field was a novelty! Lady engineers making a full-time career after degree was even more rare! This has been changing for some time. Early part of current century has seen major jump of ladies coming into different professions, in large numbers. They got themselves adapted and trained to handle many aspects of life which they were not supposed to know or do! How has this changed things in the society! It’s the women who have been retraining themselves, realigning themselves to out of box thinking. Some have gone into supplying home cooked food for people, some have gone into running creches! They have retrained themselves as per the need of the hour. Are men doing necessary changes in their thought process? Have enough number of men done this? Have they retrained themselves? Have they re-skilled themselves? Have they learnt cooking? Have they learnt to change diapers? Have they learnt to go to office after spending hours with the child who was unwell at night?

No, they have not! The majority have not done it! What comes in the way? It’s the so called traditional way of thinking that men are supposed to perform so and so things in life and women are supposed bear kids and manage homes. What will happen if men don’t change? They may not become irrelevant like lawyers, but whether they like it or not they will have to face ground realities. Whatever traditions or old way of thinking may say, there is one skill set which only women have! Bearing and producing a child! Yes, men are needed for this but technology has proven that you don’t need men but their sperm to produce a child! Remember, Kunti had given Karna birth by using this method! Mankind knows and is very much aware of this method, for a long time, as mentioned in mythology! But the point of inflexion for this to happen regularly, is still too far away!

What is the easier and more prudent way for men? To retrain themselves, to acquire skills to run the family jointly with women. This does not need technology change; this needs the change in mind set. Change in old way of thinking! Accept that people who don’t adapt to new technology or thinking can become irrelevant over a period of time!

Lawyers, find your selves a new area where your skills are needed. Try and re-skill yourselves for doing something different! Become a great chef, become an online teacher, become a producer for online serials! Instead of striking you may strike Gold in your new profession!

Bonsai of Relationship ..

Create a beautiful Bonsai of friendship in life!

Bonsai

How is the relationship between humans formed? What does it depend on? There are legal relations which are by birth or by marriage. There are other relationships which just happen. Closest relationship is between mother and child. Then comes husband and wife and so on! I am not talking of relatives but I am talking of relations. One may be a close relative but we may not have much relation with that person. I am taking a look at relation between two persons as friends, whether  they are  relatives or not, even if there is  age difference between them and maybe they are of different sex.   

Years back we visited Canada. It was our first visit outside India and our knowledge about personal inter actions was limited. We had gone on a holiday for a couple of days with our Canadian friend Ed and his wife Dorothy! We were in early thirties and they were in fifties. On the way back to Ottawa, Ed asked me whether it was ok if he took a small detour. I said, “Ed, we have absolutely no issues.” Ed said, ” My mother lives in an old people’s home, I would like to meet her for half an hour!” While we were reaching the old people’s home, Jaya and I were trying to judge if we should also offer to meet his mother! Our problem was solved by Dorothy when we reached  the parking lot. Dorothy said, “Ed, you go and see your mother, we will sit in the car!” After, so many years of marriage, for Dorothy “It was Ed’s mother”! We were surprised that she did not feel like meeting the old lady! We were surprised with the relationship between the two ladies!  

We have been lucky that most of our close relatives are more of friends, than relatives. It is said that father and son must become friends once their shoe size matches. Similar thing can happen with grandfathers, uncles and other similar relationships, but for this to happen, the onus is on the senior partner. The age difference can come in the way. The relationships is a thing that cannot be explained. They simply happen. Two people simply hit it off on day one. In Bollywood lingo, it is called chemistry between two people. Chemistry just occurs. Sometimes two persons are poles opposite in their backgrounds, their thought process. Still they can be close friends.

During my engineering college days Sharad, Nayan and I were room partners. Only common thing between us was our mother tongue. But even today after more than 50 years we are very close to each other. The main reason I feel is that there never were any expectations from each other. We were very much aware of milestones reached, progress made or difficulties faced. In fact, we shared with each other everything, all the time. But discreetly, we had made efforts to nurture the relationship. In case of Nayan, we were lucky that out relationship went even one step further. Nayan’s parents continued to live India after Nayan moved to the US. After that, we suddenly realized that we had third set of parents, Opa and Omi! We had such lovely times with them whenever we could meet. This simply happened as Nayan moved abroad, and we could spend time with Opa and Omi! Now whenever Nayan and I meet, we share memories of Opa and Omi!  

Deepti and Raju have become family for us. Again, as destiny would have it, Deepti joined my business at the tender age of 26 and we have been together through the thick and thin of the business since last 25 years. When they became family, is not very easy to say. There is an age difference between us but it just happened. When Deepti’s mother became our Aai, we do not know. The funny part is Aai calls me, “Sir” and Jaya “Madam” but she is Aai for us.

I will share how these relations get matured and cultivated. A few years back, I was to go for my check up with Dr. Sant, for my sore throat. My granddaughter was one months old at that time. Priya had high fever and hence Jaya was managing Rhea. She called and told me the situation; I told her not to bother as I could easily go alone. This conversation happened while I was in the office. Five minutes later, Deepti simply told me, ” Sir, don’t worry. I have called Raju. He will go with you to the doctor, you don’t go alone.” Again, the destiny was such that I was detected with cancer during that visit and Raju was there to support me. Raju had simply come out of whatever he was doing, to go with me!  

On the other side,I have a friend, who is a very pleasant person, always smiling, always enthusiastic, always keen. But he has a tendency to keep relationships on/off. In initial phase, he lived outside Pune. He would pass through Pune very often but would communicate very rarely. Like all of us do, he also went through ups and downs in life. Some of these were very serious up and downs. But as expected he came out of these tough times, with flying colours and became a great professional. We were always on the periphery except when he needed close support. As friends, we kept on giving it. But later we realized that we were his friends only when he needed support! To me friends are simply there when needed, especially if you live in the same city. They are like shadows and they simply take up what is needed to be done. But alas in this case it is not to be so!  

Another case is of a college mate, whom I met recently, after 45 years of gap. He was a pleasant person in college days but soon after college he moved to foreign shores. He used to come to Pune, like all migratory birds always do but he never met me during this period. He has an added qualification of “NRI” which he displays proudly.  Our friend has need for small help these days as he has acquired some property in Pune. His experience with his “friends” was not so good. I was a little upset when he informed me about his experience but in the same note his rant about change in Pune culture, change in friends not keen to support etc made me think a little more. When I came to know the other side, looks like our “NRI” friend has different set of friends for fun and getting work done! Looks like our friend is riding a big white horse! With shining armour! So, his “friends’ simply ignored his requests. Apparently, he forgot that any relationship needs nurturing. Nothing is constant in this world including relationships, unless cultivated. Our NRI friend forgot that relationship is like a balloon, you need to pump the gas very slowly and check, pump and check. One must get the feel of knowing when the balloon will burst.  

Give and take in a relationship is not like an accounting ledger. You don’t need to create a credit entry, immediately after a debit entry is created. But at some stage ledger needs to be balanced. At the same time, you cannot simply create a major debit entry too! Nurture, coax, help each other to become closer and closer. There is nothing in life like a lovely relationship.

I could go on and on! While writing this, I have become nostalgic but friends don’t forget that the beauty of this world is enhanced by great relationships. But you need to nurture them, cultivate them like a Bonsai. The purposes of bonsai is primarily contemplation for the viewer, and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity for the grower. We can compare relationship with Bonsai.

Bonsai is a Japanese  art form using cultivation technique to produce small trees. Bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container. Similarly, relationship between two individuals is cultivated for pure relationship, friendship. There are no expectations. Create a Bonsai of friendship, between two individuals, these are grown with care in a container made up of love! Like Bonsai plants relationship can go on and on, living in their own meandering path.  

 

 

Don’t Break the Flyovers!

Take decisions in life from long term view! It’s your life after all!

Our personal life and the life around us has many things in common. In both cases, issues crop up, they are studied, they are discussed and decisions arrived at. In retrospect, we realize that better decisions could have been made, finer solutions could have been found. As the saying goes, the hind sight vision is always 20/20! Had we been able to take decisions closer to 20/20, things could have been better! Mistakes happen in both public and personal life. The end result is complications and stress. This thought gave me an idea of comparing these two aspects together.  

COEPFlyover

In Pune’s newspaper, I saw a photograph of the perpetual traffic jam on the flyover system near the engineering college. The city planners built an elaborate system of flyovers to overcome the traffic snarls in that area. I have read somewhere that by building fly overs, planners tend to push the traffic snarls in to the next traffic junction where we have traffic signals. But in this case, something else happened; just after the fly overs, there are traffic signals and the traffic gets choked there itself, even after flyovers were commissioned, not much has really changed. At the next junction, which is signal free, there are no traffic snarls. 

Life is always in WIP (work in progress) mode. It means that at every stage we keep on processing information that reaches our brain. We of course know that our brain is the world’s most advanced and fastest Super Computer. All new data is processed, churning takes place, information is sent back and forth to the stored database/ information in the brain. The result is arrived at, on the basis this churning and processing. This happens so many times during the course of the day, that we tend to take decisions but we process results based on priorities. Sometimes our priorities clash, sometimes end results clash.  Humans tend to push certain issues under the rug or come up with a temporary solution. These solutions are reached, based on the analysis of the available data, to solve the issues based on current situation. Most of the times, humans don’t take long term view into consideration and this action sometimes creates problems, later.  

Did you any similarity in the above two paragraphs? Indeed, there is similarity and we tend to put issues on back burner, we sometimes ignore problems. City related issues are handled by the humans,  in a very similar way. This affects large number of people in the society. But in our individual cases incorrect resolutions affect individual lives directly. What needs to be done such cases? For any issue or a problem, overall solution needs to be considered and not a short-term solution.  

 MumbaiPuneHway

I have displayed a google map of the area in Pune, where there are traffic snarls, after new flyover system came up!  The Red circle indicates the snarl area. If we consider the traffic arriving from 4 to 1, we will know the real problem. The new flyover system helps people to cross the railway line in problem area. In fact, all four points do the same thing. But point 1 has been closed for this crossing long time back. Point 3 has been closed recently. Point 2 and 4 help in crossing the railway line, but these crossings pass through narrow or congested roads. In last few years, besides traffic from 4 to 1 coming in red circle, traffic has been pouring in through the new road, from airport, parallel to the river. All this indicates that problem definition and solution did not go hand in hand. Huge traffic volume comes to the red circle area. The solution should have been to not bring traffic to snarl area and divert it via different routes. But the studies were not proper and hence solutions were incorrect. What is the solution? I don’t know. In Mumbai some such issue about a flyover was resolved by breaking a particular flyover to be replaced by another one, which resolved the issue. We have similar problem in Pune University circle area. In University circle area, one could see from the beginning, that solution was not correct. On top of the wrong decisions, judgement about future traffic density were also grossly under estimated. End result, the same. In peak hours, a group of policemen is required to manually handle the traffic chaos!  

In our lives, we also misjudge many things. Sometimes, we make wrong investments. Sometimes we misjudge our future requirements at home as well as finances. Sometimes, we do not take decisions and let the problems linger. I have seen this happening in people about their health. They try to ignore issues or postpone the checkups. A friend I met after many years, told me that he is afraid to get himself regularly checked up by doctors. I asked him the reason. He said, ” I am afraid that some health issue may get detected”. I said, that is the reason for getting yourself checked.  

In public domain if we make a wrong decision, we can find different solutions, including from above example, break the flyover and build a new one. This creates inconvenience and costs a lot of money. No individual is directly troubled with this solution. But in our own case, we and family are the direct sufferers. Wrong career moves, wrong investment decisions, involvement with wrong type of people, are described as errors or wrong decisions, in retrospection.  But they take their toll!

Friends, try and learn the art of visualizing things about future, while taking life’s decisions. We have enough information stored in our brain, learn to utilize it correctly  while we decide something. When we have to take major decisions in life, sleep over it before taking the final decision, ask friends and mentors. Don’t feel shy to take advise. Ultimately, it’s your life!  

Strange Political Bedfellows!

We need strong Bharat and not political dramas!

My resolve of not writing about political things is broken again. The happenings in Bangalore are such that many thoughts come to mind and I see that the same things get repeated again and again and again! This is irrespective of parties involved. Why people take decisions like the one taken by BJP is simply beyond my understanding. It is said that you see strange bed fellows in politics and it gets proven again.  

Years back, Quattrocchi an Italian Businessman was being haunted by Indian officials for his misdeeds in India. They went to Malaysia to arrest him. The then Indian Prime Minister Deve Gowda’s government had vigorously taken action against this Italian national. The Prime Minister had formed the government in Delhi, with support of Indian Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi! She was against this action but government rightly pursued the case (How can you arrest an Italian Friend?). Quattrocchi simply told our officials that there is no extradition treaty between India and Malaysia; our officials came back empty handed. Within a few days Sonia Gandhi, the then Goddess, “punished” Deve Gowda by withdrawing support for his government and Deve Gowda had no option but to resign. After so many years, Deve Gowda and his son are sleeping with congress again. That is politics! Everything is forgotten if there is benefit.  

Besides the political aspects of the matter, I want to take a look at human aspect too. I hardly know much about Yeddyurappa, the deposed Chief Minister. We forget that all the persons involved in the drama are human beings. What must be his condition now? He simply was a pawn in the power game that is known as politics. I would not like to be in his place. He appears like a sacrificial lamb on the altar of political games. How much time he will take to come out of this? It is very difficult to judge. The stress that he must be personally going through, various things people talk about him, various analysis that people will make, he will be declared as a dark demon. People forget that he is one of many dark demons.  

I remember an incident from my college days. I was selected for a lecturer’s post, while completing my Masters in Engineering. There was another candidate who came last in interviews. He was from reservations class. Somehow, he could never fit anywhere in the process of selection. I took the post and later left the college to join the industry, after completing my education. But the atmosphere created in the selection process, left such a bad test in my mind that it took a few years for this bitter test to go away. In spite of my selection being rightful in all respects, a bit of turmoil happened. Even while writing about this event, which happened 50 years back, I am very uncomfortable. 

Well, we say that all politicians have thick skins so they can absorb any shocks, any events good, bad or ugly. I don’t think so. A human being is a human being and any so called thick skinned person can take up only so much of muck, so much of ugly pressures, and after effects of events beyond control. I hope that, Yeddy will manage to over ride this menacing wave of events, on which he never had any control! 

Now to the event. I have seen and heard many a times that law is blind or law is an Ass. I am not an expert in law so my comments will be like a common man, you and me. Why was BJP allowed to attempt to form a government? During the day, today, we will get more clarity of the position of law in this matter. Why did BJP create the absolutely un called for event? Had they not done so, Deve Gowda and Congress could have formed a government. Obviously, the first six month to one year would have been honeymoon period for their government. Then the political subterfuge would have started. Amit Shah and company are experts in that. They could have managed the numbers to change their skin colour to saffron as per political mathematics. How the heavens would have fallen if this was done later, post honeymoon period of Deve Gowda government, I do not know.

Maybe it boils down to 2019 elections. BJP wanted to complete their boast of Congress Mukt Bharat! It is a brilliant political slogan created by someone. But it seems that BJP has become obsessed with the slogan. They want to make sure that this happens by hook or by crook. Looks like a bit arrogance has crept in somewhere. It appears that BJP has started thinking that they are the destiny, they are the Gods. To remain at top of the game, anywhere, needs a very mature and stable state of mind. It looks like people are generally accepting the measures taken by BJP, for improvement of India as a nation. But BJP should not forget that the same people who put you on pedestal one day, will simply drop you. This may not happen by way of BJP losing the elections that take place from today to the big day in 2019! But they will simply keep on giving fractured mandate. This will ensure that nobody has real the Trump card in hand, pun intended!  

About Congress less said the better. It appears that they are going from bad to worse. They simply don’t want to understand that days of dynastic politics are over. Mr. Gandhi is no Indira Gandhi! He does not have charisma and the backing she had. She rose from the ashes of Emergency like a Phoenix and ruled India till she was assassinated. Rahul’s father and Indira’s son Rajeev, was a good person but was a misfit in the cauldron that is politics. Rahul appears to be a similar person and does not have towering personality like his grand-mother. BJP should allow him to taper off on his own. Karnataka episode has given Rahul’s career a bit of an oxygen!  

Is this going to continue in future? Yes, it will. Daru, Women and Power are the elixirs of the game called politics, and life in general. Modi’s and Shah’s of this world are street smart guys who know how to handle such situations. There are local variants in Bengal, UP. There are satraps like Mayawati, though currently not in power, who can control the mandate in the large state of UP. This can have effect on government formation in Delhi. What India needs on long term basis, is a stable government in Delhi, strong leader like Modi. Currently none of this appears to be seen on the horizon of any political party, other than BJP.  

But hopefully, the BJP think tank will wake up after Karnataka drubbing and take politics in the right direction! I am bothered only about my country, India; I want this to progress and governed strongly but not brutally. The world never respects weaklings. So, I hope that the better sense will prevail and such episodes will not be repeated! I also sincerely hope that system does not forget that it is formed by parts which are called humans like you and me! Please be a little soft on them!