Does this generation have time?

This generation and ones afterwards will be short on time but they will find ways and methods to share it with others to enrich life!

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The other day, a school time friend, Pradeep wrote a comment on Facebook, after reading my blog, “Who has time for Snails & Tortoises?”

This blog was about the thoughts that came to my mind, how we are losing the art of taking things easy. Some things are beyond our control but some are not; like the information and data that we get is enormous and because of that we tend to process everything fast and continue with that habit all the time! But we can take some things easy if we want! It’s up to us!

Pradeep said in his comment, “Pramod, you have written a great blog but do people have time to read such a long piece?” In today’s time, reading 1200 to 1400 words is a lot of time to give to something which shows no tangible returns. If one had to read the 10000-word document for next day’s office meeting, after reaching home at midnight, it is Ok to give time for it. Next day’s meeting is a crucial meeting and there are direct tangible returns.

There are friends like Vijay, Ganesh and Arun who consistently give their opinion on what I write. Friends like Dilip also share an adverse opinion with me. This contemplates me to think, review and sometimes make minor changes in style which to me is essential. Shrikant feels that my blogs sometimes become too conversational. I also read many blogs and I also read about blogging. I have found that this method suits my style better. I feel that I am basically a storyteller. The human brain is a very interesting thing; I think that HE has designed an unlimited archives section in our brains. Once I go into writing mode, my hard disc starts whirring fast and suddenly a right story is accessed. I was writing a blog a couple of days back, “Man and the Machine”.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/man-and-the-machine/

Suddenly from the archive, I remembered the event called Gimli Glider, Air Canada incident. I had read about it a few years back. But HIS design is such that the appropriate address in the archive section was accessed, instantly. This story enhanced what I wanted to say in that blog.

I m k! Hw r u? I lv u 😘. This is the language the young gang uses. But to me, they use this language in their personal communications. Formal communications do remain formal. I was trying to remember from my school time. I was a reasonably good leader, but I was zero in elocution, the writing was only meant to get through in the exams. I had classmates who could paint, write stories and poems, take part in elocution and do so many things. But this percentage was small. I am sure that in today’s young generation too, this percentage may not be high but I can tell you that it has increased. This is due to the exposure and resultant confidence that kids acquire. Like me, there could be late bloomers.

So, Pradeep, “Don’t worry! There will be bloggers, story writers, novelists and painters AND readers.” Each generation has its own specialities, its own expertise. To me basic things don’t change, what changes is the way it is done, the way it is produced and the way it is distributed and expressed. I have understood the modern vehicles like FB, WA, Instagram, LinkedIn pretty well. I use them as my tool for distributing what I write, long or short, serious or funny! Subjects may change, topics may be different. I have full confidence in the young gang. They will read what they like and they will do what they want. Don’t underestimate them. In cricketing parlance, we wondered who will replace Tendulkar. But in came Kohli, now that Kohli is reaching 30, there is Shroff on the horizon, Rishabh Pant is also there!

I am lucky to be neighbours with my daughter and granddaughter, Rhea. All of five years old. I have watched Rhea grow and I am sure everything is fine with this world, as long as we allow it to be! Rhea loves stories. She wants to listen to stories while going to sleep while eating food. She makes stories and tells stories. She plays games where she holds a pencil as a mike and makes announcements, copying her teacher. Her imagination is flying sky high, all the time, because we let it fly. Let there be a thousand butterflies in the world, let there be hundreds of bright stars in the world. She sketches, paints and draws because she is taught and encouraged. Yesterday at the airport she and I played races for some time; suddenly she said, “Now let us play a race, who reaches that pole the last wins the race!” Look at her different way of thinking. I am sure such incidents must be happening in homes where the parents the grandparents find time for the kids and enrich their life! Yes, my 18-year grandson also reads my blogs once in a while!

So Pradeep, the speed of life has gone up exponentially but to channelize the energy of the young ones in the right direction is in our hands. So let us do it. I know all is well this world. This is about a young painter Manasi from Nashik, (about 26 years of age). She had written about how intensely she felt about doing nude paintings. But as she could not get find models; this simple middle-class girl showed fantastic courage to use her own body as a nude model! In times of shortages, we share with others what we have. This generation and ones afterwards will be short on time but they will find ways and methods to share it with others to enrich life. After all, there is life after FB and WA!

I have started this journey of writing after the age of 65, it is the journey taken up for enjoyment; I don’t expect any commercial returns. I am sure encouragement from friends like you and Sukanya on FB, my encourager in chief Jaya will always keep me writing. There some friends who always read but don’t comment. But whenever I speak with them on phone, they discuss my writings, give encouragement and suggestions. And there are some friends, who used to comment once in a while but now have gone on silent mode! But thanks to WordPress, I know you guys read my blogs! Thanks a million!

Death Wish!

I get really upset when people have no considerations for their near and dear ones, their friends, their parents!

We in India and we Indians, like to either play with death or we are born with a death wish! This is a very bold and blunt statement made by me. But what we read in many news items are the proof of what I am saying.

On Dussehra day around 5000 people had gathered to see the Rawan Dahan (symbolic burning of Rawan’s effigy) done every Dussehra, an old tradition of burning the evil spirits, near Amritsar in Punjab. The capacity of the ground was not more than around 400 people. All additional people decided that they must watch this show and thought that it is ok to stand on the railway track along the ground. The frequency of train movement was every ten minutes. A train came rambling down at a good speed and people elegantly avoided the train by moving to the other track. The crackers had started bursting, there was a bend on the track, one train was already passing, producing a big noise. Almost within ten seconds, another train came from the opposite direction at a speed of 80 km. As soon as the driver saw the people on the tracks, he started honking continuously; he put emergency brakes but to no avail. 59 people were crushed to death! How can one explain this? How can this happening be justified? Were these people unaware of trains passing at high speeds? Organizers were giving instructions all the time to not go on the tracks but it fell on the dumb ears of dumber people! Why did the organizers NOT stop the ceremony? Was this so important to continue with so many people on the tracks?

I do not have the statistics of different ways people get themselves killed. On Mumbai rail tracks, everyday average 10 people are killed, most of them are killed while crossing the tracks. This means every year 3600 die. I am sure a large number also get seriously injured, maybe with lifelong problems. Though these figures are known people do not stop crossing the tracks. What really is the hurry? Why not leave home a few minutes early and use overhead bridges? Do these OH bridges have the capacity to handle the crowd if nobody crosses the tracks? Do people cross tracks simply because OH bridges are overcrowded or simply because they don’t care for own lives? I am sure each person who dies such a death, has a brother, wife, husband, father and mother. As a human being is it not the right thing to follow the basic rule of going home alive? There can be accidents but what we are talking here is about a death wish. Who are these people who die? I am quite sure they must be from the cross-section of our society. But does education not teach you these basic things about living a safe life. I remember years back a classmate of mine from engineering days, a professional, died in the train accident in Mumbai. He is supposed to have fallen down from the running train. Why the hell was he standing in the door (rather hanging out)? This definitely is a capacity issue. It is so simple, the train should remain locked if all doors are not closed! This is not some rocket science.

Another death wish is special to my beloved Pune. We have a rule that we must wear helmets while riding two-wheelers! Pune’s smart people have taken so many protests meets, they have fought with authorities with the classic argument, “It is our life, who the hell are you to tell us.” Though it is your life, in many cases accidents are minor but the when you don’t wear a helmet it turns into a major event. You need hospitalization, you may become maim, a paraplegic and there are many choices. It is the business of the authorities to try and reduce the burden on health care and hospital systems which are for us. You have no right to overload them because of your stupid imbecile thinking. I know it’s your life but you have no rights to overburden us! The reasons given for not wearing helmets are naïve, to say the least. I am just riding for two minutes, I get suffocated (ventilator in a hospital is more suffocating), I cannot hear sounds properly (you cannot hear properly because you have earbuds on all the time- get them surgically removed), helmets are heavy (your head is also equally heavy- keep it home along with helmet if you have one), helmets are expensive (Oh, your life is cheap!) How reasonably large numbers in other places use helmets? What is so special about brains of Pune folks? Some organizations in Pune have made it mandatory for bike users to use a helmet while going to office; so do some families. Our friends wear the helmet when they leave home, after some distance stop, hang the helmet on a hook on the bike; stop just before reaching the office, wear the helmet and go inside (brain fade, no it’s a “no-brainer”)

Advancement in technology has helped us Indians to upgrade our methods of dying too! Yes, I am talking of selfie deaths. 25 years back when there were no cell phones in use, there could be no deaths while taking a selfie. India has become the capital of the world, for taking selfies. I am told that in a day young folks take god knows how many selfies! Why do they do it? It is ok when you buy a new cell phone, the camera is new etc. But your face hardly changes every hour and it’s the same for your friends’ faces too! Another thing is why do people make their faces crooked while taking selfies? Every couple of weeks we find new methods of achieving the “Selfie Death”! If they could use this ingenuity in doing something different, the world will be a better place. One Indian couple died recently at Yosemite in the USA. While taking selfie they fell down 800 feet in the valley. They were both engineers, travel bloggers. One week before, they had published a selfie, in their blog, taken at Grand Canyon. Their feet were dangling in the canyon, they were sitting on the age! The caption said, “Never attempt this, winds here can be so nasty, you may get swept away down the canyon”. Their death wish, of taking that last selfie when they were swept away at Yosemite was not granted by Him!

Friends, I was simply so much worked up while I read about the death of these two, I think I have just blurted out something that came to mind. I get really upset when people have no considerations for their near and dear ones, their friends, their parents. We are not alone in this world! Don’t forget that you are inflicting lifelong pain on the dear ones. If I am irritated so much about these deaths, just imagine the life of those near and dear ones after such incidents! I am praying to God that somehow, He will be able to convince these folks to go away from the death wish!

Loneliness & Isolation!

Expecting returns and NOT getting it, is one of the reasons, why the isolation starts!

Loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you. It may be felt more over a long period of time. It is also possible to feel lonely, even when surrounded by people.

Isolation is being separated from other people and your environment. Sometimes this occurs through decisions we make ourselves, or because of circumstance e.g. doing a job that requires travel or relocation.

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The above picture shows a positive way of looking at life!

The above two are definitions of two feelings, that human being gets some time in life. This can happen at any age and can happen due to different reasons. There are different remedies to the same. But one thing is sure, these feelings are bad for the humans and earlier humans overcome them, is better. Though age is no bar, chances of this happening at an older age are much more. World over these two feelings are discussed together hence I am also treating them as same but one thing is well proven that these conditions lead to early deaths!

What are the reasons for Loneliness & Isolation?

Though the reasons are many, the most important being living alone, introverted personality, major long-term illness, loss of job and death of the spouse. Some of the reasons I have mentioned are a real shock, like death, to each of us but some are not able to cope.

I will try and separate them into tangible and intangible reasons. I am using this word in a slightly different way. Tangible means perceptible by touch but I am taking it as something for which there is a visible reason, like death.

  • Death of spouse, close family member or a close friend is an event which puts everyone in a state of loneliness for some time. Many of us overcome these shocks within a reasonable period of time but some people take much longer or they need medical or psychiatric treatment. This could be because such people are
    • Born that way, introverts
    • Don’t have close family ties or ties with friends
    • Live away from the family
  • Living alone for various reasons can be is another thing that creates loneliness within us. This can be because of loss of the spouse, a job change resulting in other family members living elsewhere.
  • Some are introverts by nature and find it difficult to meet new people. So, when the people whom you meet regularly, go away from your life, things can become difficult. Some people have a feeling that they don’t belong! They also feel a lack of purpose or meaning in life.
  • Poor physical health, frailty, mobility issues are some of the issues that can lead to the feeling of loneliness. Long-term illnesses and treatment make you feel that you are alone in this world. I was treated for cancer in 2013 end. My treatment went on for three months and rehabilitation was another three months. Luckily my own and my family’s positiveness helped me. In such situations having a reasonably comfortable financial situation is also helpful.
  • Some people have a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. This is an illness of the mind. It creates a situation such that there is a fear of rejection from others or feelings of being “different” or stigmatized by society. What happens in such cases is that others in the society do not know how to react to such persons.
  • Inability to participate in activities due to access issues, mobility, illness, transport. This really is an issue which can be easily resolved but you need to take support from people if required. During one of our alumni get together, one of our friends who has very poor eyesight called me to say that he wanted to attend the gathering. I coordinated with one friend who lived in the same area. Our friend really enjoyed the meet!
  • Retirement from work, home relocation, starting out in a new role or community puts some people in difficulties as they are not able to cope up. These changes in life are level two events after death in the family! I know of someone who left his home in Mumbai fifteen years back and stays with his children in Pune and Bangalore. But he still cannot overcome this change simply longs for his Mumbai home.
  • Language or cultural barriers, or reduced connection with your culture of origin is one more reason. This can easily happen in India, especially for older people, when their adaptability is reduced. Living in foreign countries for six months, post-retirement can be tough because of the language issue, weather conditions like snow. People feel in Geographic isolation.
  • Feeling lost in the crowd is another mental condition that needs treatment.

How to cope up with Loneliness & Isolation?

It is very easy for others to say, you do this and you do that but persons who face the problems find it difficult to reach the solutions. Those who are born with natural positiveness, also face these difficulties but they overcome them. Another example is, we think that Public figures and stage personalities do not have stage fright. That is not true, they also have the same issues like all others but they overcome them, mask them, hide them well.

  • Connect or reconnect with friends and family: staying in contact with loved ones can prevent loneliness and isolation. If your family does not live nearby, technology can help you stay in touch. Speak to them on WhatsApp or talk on Skype video. These are free. Keep in touch with them regularly.
  • Get out and about: Regular outings for social functions, exercise, visiting friends, doing shopping, or simply going to public places can help. Don’t avoid functions either public or private. If not, take long walks in gardens where you will see many people and maybe you will like a few of them, you may want to know them.
  • Volunteer: Helping others is a great way to help yourself feel more connected. Besides that, the feeling of goodness that comes within you because you are able to help somebody boosts your happy feelings.
  • Consider getting a pet: Pets are wonderful companions and can provide comfort and support during times of stress, ill-health or isolation. They give you love without expecting any returns. Expecting returns and NOT getting it, is one of the reasons, why the isolation starts. But don’t forget one thing. There is work involved in having a dog as a pet. Their food, their walking, their poo poo collection and so many things. Then along with your visits to the doctor, Vet visits get added.
  • Get support: If loneliness and social isolation are causing you distress, you should discuss your concerns with a doctor, counsellor or a trusted person. Don’t feel shy to openly asking for support. Remember people may not know that you need help unless you tell them.
  • Focus on others needs: Focus on the needs and feelings of others, give less attention to your lonely thoughts and feelings. You can be involved in yourself all the time or you can think of others too! Interacting with others is better! Enjoy the site of different people in their own thoughts and their own moods, you can smile at strangers too!
  • Try new things: Try to do some different things but don’t expect perfection and don’t expect people to appreciate what you are doing!

Ultimately, one has to find his own solution and there is no formula for this. Attempt different methods to interact with people, you may find some givers or some takers but don’t give up if you meet only takers initially; those people may have their own problems but keep on attempting. The world is too beautiful to live alone, try and enjoy to the best of your ability with others, with or without someone’s help!

There is a saying, if you see someone without a smile, give him one of yours! In the same vein if you see someone looking lonely, forlorn, isolated go out of your way to bring that person back to normal life! Tomorrow that person could be you!

Distress or Destress!

This attitude will take you to lead a successful, healthy life, no sleepless nights

Modern life has become quite stressful; that does not mean that older life was not stressful. Stress in modern times and olden times were of different types. In olden times, falling sick was very risky because chances of someone dying due to small health issue were very high. There was always a fear of famine, causing food shortages over a long period. Collecting food and water was a major daily problem. Compared to that modern times are a cake walk. But in today’s times the work pressures, performance pressures, financial pressures are very high. We have increased our “basic” requirements so high that there is always a rat race between the money you make and EMI’s you pay. Commute times have gone up in main cities. Luckily basic health issues are much less compared to olden times, especially deaths due to simple health complications are reducing, indicated by an increase in life expectancy.

A friend, before retiring, was top boss of a very very large company and would travel minimum 15 days in a month, followed by 12 to 14 hours of a workday, sometimes, when he was at home base! Stress was a part of his life. He took guidance from a life coach and over a period managed to reduce his stress levels. Here is what he tried.

Winning at all times: First thing his coach told him was to attempt everything, make life changes, on a very small scale and these changes should be incremental. The coach said it is the same as achieving success in your career. The coach told my friend, “You became a big boss over a period of 40 years. Were you made big boss within 10 years, you would have failed!” The coach told him a story of corporate honcho, who was in 40’s. The honcho decided to start running for exercise, he was reasonably fit and reached a stage where he ran a marathon! Next year, he again ran the marathon again but his timing was a couple of minutes slower, compared to the first year. He was very much upset for “losing out” to himself. He decided to run another marathon, but only after a six weeks gap. His body refused to cooperate with him, and his timing was one hour slower! He was devastated. Then he discussed this with his wife. She told him that you need not “win” everything in life. She said, “That you are able to run a marathon, is a great success in life, and on top of that you ran two marathons only with six weeks gap! That is a great achievement. You are not a professional runner, so timing hardly matters. Participation is the most important part of life!” Lesson learnt, do something incrementally and everything need not be a win-lose combination. Taking part itself is a win-win situation!

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Breathing and Meditation: These are two complementary things which are useful for reducing stress. We always tell others in a stressful situation to take ten breaths, or count ten! What is that? It is breathing and meditation. Instead of reacting quickly to a situation, it is a good idea to give time, digest the situation, understand it, check different options, different views! When we rush into anything, it creates stress for you as well as others. Another thing that can happen due to rushing things is that we may not consider all the options available and can make mistakes.  It is well known and scientifically proven that deep breathing and meditation help improve oxygen level in our blood and help reduce stress! The meditation increases emotional control and brain power.

Listening. If we concentrate on listening to other people, the way we focus when we meditate, our interaction immediately becomes richer. The other person feels that we are listening, almost physically. And when they know that we are listening, they form a bond with us, faster. Life almost immediately feels richer and more meaningful. Listening is a positive interpersonal communication behaviour. When we form a quick bond with others, the effect on the relationship is excellent and mutual communication starts quickly between the two people. My personal experience is that the quicker you create a bond, easier it is to succeed in, your work. I had an excellent rapport with a senior officer from an organization. We used to fight tooth and nail, professionally, but conflict resolution was always a win-win situation for both the organizations, thanks to personal rapport.

Questioning. This isn’t about asking other people questions, it’s about questioning the thoughts your mind creates. Just because your mind creates a thought doesn’t mean it is correct. It is better to get in the habit of asking your mind, “Is that thought correct?” And if we are not absolutely certain it is, just let it go. It is good to thank your mind for coming up with the thought and move on. This liberates your mind from the negativity of throwing out an idea, originally thought by you. You learn to discard it because you are not sure about it. It is a good idea to acknowledge rather than repressing negative thoughts. Instead of trying to ignore something we believe to be true, questioning allows us to confront our thoughts head on and to discredit them because they are wrong.

Purpose. What is your purpose of doing something? It is not something about the purpose of life, I am not talking of a lofty thought! If you are trying to create a document and coming up with a great idea, you should give it your completely undivided attention. People are known to check their e mails more than 30 times in an hour! People immediately look at a WhatsApp message, the moment you get the receipt ding. It is not necessary and it is not really essential. Doing these things increases your stress levels because you want to give replies, take your mind away from your document, break the link in your thought process. If you are having a cup of tea, have that cup of tea! Don’t try to multi-task. That cup you take is to really to refresh your mind. In today’s electronics world, don’t let the electrons dictate your pace of work. We see a lot of glorification of multi-tasking. But does it really help? Suppose you are going to complete three things in four hours. While multi-tasking there is always a changeover time that our brain requires. I am sure you may take four and a half to five hours to complete a four hour job, and possibility of errors increases.

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Friends, enough stress is a good thing to have as it motivates us do things properly, efficiently, to achieve success. But if you have been participating in sports, you already know that “You win some, You lose some”! This attitude will take you to lead a successful, healthy life, no sleepless nights (with sufficient sleep every night)! You will be able to start every day with an urge to climb the hill just on the outskirts of your town! Mount Everest is for professional climbers!

Lazy or Innovative!

The written language is often clumsy or awkward or problematic, for personal communications!

 

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Humans always want to do things differently and easily. We say that fashions come back in circles every 30 years! But pictorial writing took a few thousand years to come back! Are humans lazy or innovative? From pre-historical days, we’ve learned to talk, we’ve learned to write, but we’re only now learning to write at the speed of talking (i.e., text), sending messages. If you are talking to someone face-to-face, you don’t need an additional word or symbol to express “I’m smiling” because you would be smiling. Research determined way back in the 1950s that only 7 per cent of communication is verbal (what we say), while 38 per cent is vocal (how we say it) and 55 per cent is nonverbal (what we do and how we look while we’re saying it). This is good for face-to-face communication, but when we’re texting/WApping, the hypothesis goes for a toss. 93 per cent of our communicative tools are out of the picture.

In came Emojis! Emojis were born from the mind of a single man: Shigetaka Kurita, an employee at the Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo. Back in the late 1990s, the company was looking for a way to distinguish its pager service from its competitors in a very tight market. Kurita hit on the idea of adding simplistic cartoon images to its messaging functions as a way to appeal to teens. The emoji means, “picture words”—were designed by Kurita, using a pencil and paper, and were inspired by pictorial Japanese sources, like Manga (Japanese comic books) and Kanji ­(Japanese characters borrowed from written Chinese). I always had this feeling that Emojis show a feel of Japanese/Chinese characters and now I have come to know that I was not wrong.

These 176, initial crude symbols became very popular and Japanese Telecom adopted them. These were used only in Japan.  Apple put these characters in iPhone in 2007 for phones to be sold in Japan; it was meant for Japanese youth and was hidden deep down in software layers. But tech-savvy users in the US found these Emojis and then it was only a question of high-speed proliferation. Now even people above 80 are using WhatsApp and use Emojis very comfortably. In a survey in 2013, it was found that 73% of people in the USA and 82% of people in China were using Emojis in their communications. There is one interesting thing I have observed about Emojis. Since the faces shown in them are basically based on comic books, there is hardly any angry Emoji! Using Emojis, people can love, feel sad, feel elated but it becomes difficult to hate or feel angry using Emojis!

The meaning of Emojis interpreted in different areas of the world are flexible and that is the real beauty of it. 🙏🙏 is an Emoji that is interpreted as Namaskar (Hindu Greeting) in our part of the world. But in the western world, it is interpreted as High Five! If one needs to discuss or comment on something serious, the best solution is face to face talk, next best is Emojis and third place goes to the written text. These not very professional looking cartoons are instantly recognizable, which makes them understandable even across linguistic barriers. Yet the implications of emoji—their secret meanings—are constantly in flux, they keep on changing. The written language is often clumsy or awkward or problematic, for personal communications, especially when it’s sent using tiny screens, tapped out in real time.

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The beginning of writing started with pictorial drawing and their interpretation. First written symbols that began in our lives are pictures. Pictograms—i.e. pictures of actual things, like a drawing of the sun—were the very first elements of written communication, found in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. From pictograms, which are literal representations, we moved to logograms, which are symbols that stand in for a word ($, for example) and ideograms, which are pictures or symbols that represent an idea or abstract concept. Modern examples of ideograms include the person-in-a-wheelchair symbol that universally communicates accessibility and the red-hand symbol at a pedestrian crossing that signals not “red hand” but “stops.”

One thing is sure that pictures, emojis have a definite advantage over written communication. I will tell you how I got confused in Germany, way back in 1984. I had gone to West Germany of those times. I was travelling back to the place of my stay in a small town called Menden, using the train system. I was required to change the trains at a couple of places. I saw one railway employee with a tag, “Information”. I was happy, finally, I found someone speaking English!  I went to the railway employee to seek the directions. Later I came to know that Information in German is pronounced as, Informatsionen! The person said, “Ich spreche kein Englisch”, which I assumed as “I don’t speak English” He held my hand, took me to the correct platform and pointed to me the direction! No Emojis!

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The Joy Emoji shown above, is referred  to as “Face With Tears of Joy” or “the LOL Emoji” (Emojis don’t have official names, just nicknames created by their users)— it dates back, in North America, to roughly 2011, when Apple put a readily accessible Emoji keyboard in iOS 5 for the iPhone. Which means that in a few years, Face With Tears of Joy ­vanquished the 3,000-year-old symbol “~” called Tilde, which is at the top left-hand corner of our keyboard. Tilde is used as a symbol for approximation. Let me tell you briefly about ~! It was one of the most common symbols used in written language for a long time but was overtaken by LOL in three years! That is the power of Emojis!

Then comes the issue, are Emojis the right way to communicate? I think so because when we communicate with each other on social media, it is more of an informal discussion. In our lives now social media communications are very large in volume. Formal work or business related communication is still a letter or an email! You may send an informal consent for a purchase order on WA, but will end with, “Purchase Order follows”.  Of course, there are personal feuds or lover’s tiffs that can happen on WhatsApp. Now I have passed that stage but had WA been available in my younger days, I would rather have used  Emojis. If I had to show my displeasure, I would have used 😕☹😒 instead of saying, “I am unhappy or sad because you said blah blah on phone!” This one sentence would lead to so much more exchange, of initially tough words, and maybe then harsh words. 🙂🙂

Spelling mistakes or deliberate spelling errors are part of communication. ध चा मा is a famous historical saying in Maratha history during the time of Peshwas. There was an order to धरा someone, means capture someone. ध चा मा means the letter ध was replaced by मा . The order became मारा, someone, means kill someone! Don’t be under the misconception that such errors can’t happen while replying using Emoji. The following Emojis are next to each other on the keyboard, 👏👄.  A young man wanted to appreciate what his female boss had achieved. By mistake, he sent 👄 EMoji instead of 👏. This was before, “delete message” facility in WhatsApp. Sheepishly he went to the boss to apologize. His boss said, “Meet me in the evening!” The office was almost empty when he went to her cabin. He was shocked when his boss replied to him with,😘😘 in person! Boss is always right!

EQ is about being Democratic!

We find solutions but need to have resolutions to implement solutions, EQ plays an important part in it!

We are taught about history, science, and math when we are growing up. Most of us, however, aren’t taught how to identify or deal with our own emotions, or the emotions of others. These skills are  valuable, but you’ll never get them in a classroom. During our life, we meet many people, we go through many situations, we have incidents. Some are good, some are bad and some are tough but some are hard. All these situations can create a mental stress in our mind which can become difficult to handle. Whether we like it or not, we need to overcome situations, emotions to bring back our lives to normal.

Our persona is made up of our brains and emotions. Brain decides our intelligence and the emotions decide mental ability to handle situations. It is said that our persona is defined by a mathematical formula Intelligence Quotient (IQ) + Emotional Quotient (EQ)/2. Unfortunately, life is not that simple and it never works as per the simple mathematical formula. Much is always said and discussed regarding the intelligence of persons or the IQ; he/she is very intelligent, very smart. If someone is good at mathematics, the person is said to be intelligent, an American term for which is smart. To me, EQ is equally or more important than IQ. There are enough people with good IQ so there will be great solutions to different problems. But if there are many solutions and your solution is not accepted, you can be upset, you may feel hurt, your ego may come into the picture. We find solutions but need to have resolutions to implement solutions, EQ plays an important part in it.

Many aspects of IQ have been discussed threadbare so I will be discussing more regarding EQ. Emotional intelligence is what psychological researchers use to describe how well individuals can manage their own emotions and react to the emotions of others. People who exhibit emotional intelligence also have the less obvious skills necessary to get ahead in life, such as managing conflict resolution, reading and responding to the needs of others, and keeping their own emotions from overflowing and disrupting their lives. I feel that the following points are important to understanding EQ.

  • Self-awareness: Self-awareness involves knowing your own feelings. This includes having an accurate assessment of what you’re capable of and when you need help, and what your emotional triggers are. What this means is to treat any situation in life as give and take. This in business language is called negotiation. Negotiation is used in all situations in life, be it war, or business deal, a settlement with children about their tantrums!
  • Self-management: This involves being able to keep your emotions in check when they become disruptive. Self-management involves being able to control outbursts, calmly discussing disagreements, and avoiding activities that undermine you e.g. extended self-pity or panic. If either of the sides takes a non-negotiable stand in a situation, loses control over emotions, things go haywire. In a democratic setup, decisions taken at every stage, may not be to your liking, but this is what self-management is all about.
  • Motivation: Everyone is motivated to action by rewards like money or status.  We must look at the motivation for the sake of personal joy, curiosity, or the satisfaction of being productive. All of us do some work or other in our lives but unless we do the work with passion, with joy, we will start losing motivation. Don’t forget that our normal working life is about 40 years; imagine doing work without joy for 40 years!
  • Empathy: While the above categories refer to a person’s internal emotions, this one deals with the emotions of others. Empathy is the skill and practice of reading the emotions of others and responding appropriately. A person may not be sufficiently intelligent but you need to be patient with such people. We work as a sweeper, nurse, doctor, engineer and lawyer. Give respect to everyone. The other day I was at the petrol pump and got air checked in tires. The person doing the job did not have his usual smile on his face. I asked him if he was unwell. He smiled and said,” Sir, this is such a boring job so I am simply fed up. You are the first person to have ever asked me this question. Now I will work with enthusiasm. Thank you!”
  • Social Skills: This category involves the application of empathy as well as negotiating the needs of the others with your own. This includes finding common ground with others, managing others with your own. This can include finding common ground with others in a work environment, and being persuasive. In the retirement phase of your life, your daily contacts reduce; make it a point to talk to a new person every day. At least say hello or give a smile. I have a friend, who can get friendly with people in five minutes. That is the skill that we should try and cultivate.

I will elaborate a little more on each point. Self-awareness is the most important point. Keep a diary or a journal and write down how you have handled emotions during the day. Take feedback from people close to you, take suggestions from your spouse. They can tell you if you overreacted. Slow-down in life. You may overreact because you sometimes don’t have enough time to ponder.

Next is self-management. One key way to manage your emotions is how you receive inputs. You’ve probably heard the old advice to count to ten and deep breathe when you’re angry. On the other side, if you’re feeling lethargic, do some exercise. If you’re stuck in an emotional loop, give yourself a “snap out of it” slap. Anything that can give a shock to your system or break the existing routine can help. You can’t always control what makes you feel a certain way, but you can always control how you react.

Talking about motivation does not mean just getting up energetically to go to work. It is about your inner drive to accomplish something. That drive isn’t just about feeling good. When you are near to achieving something, your inner self, gets charged up! That is what the motivation is about.

Empathy can be explained in a different way. Just shut up and listen to others. This is a way to give a thought to a different point of view. Hypothetically, take up an opposing position in mind. Then analyze the situation. This gives us the pros and cons of both sides and you may find that opposing thought process was better than yours.

Don’t just know something, try to understand thigs. Understanding is the difference between knowing something and truly empathizing with it. When someone tells you about an experience that’s not your own, take some time to mull over how your life might be different if you experienced that on a daily basis. Thinking about someone’s experiences and thought process is very important to empathize. Walk in others shoes, regularly.

Friends, you have seen enough of sharp, intelligent and smart people. Sometimes you may have seen smart and a half people too! But life is not all about decisions taken by smart people, it is about taking decisions or reaching a goal after considering different or opposing viewpoints. Get the acceptance gracefully, whatever is the final decision after “negotiations”! To me, IQ is 40% and EQ is 60%! Your views!

AF and BF!

Social issues created by these apps are worse (loss of productivity, loss of family time) than the advantages offered by them!

 

The caricatures will indicate the subject of my blog!

AD‘ is the initials of the Latin words anno domini, which means “Year of the Lord” – in other words, (approximately) the number of years since the birth of Jesus. The modern equivalent is ‘CE’, which means “Common Era”. ‘BC” is the initials of the English words “before Christ” – a way of counting backwards in time before the current era. But now new terminologies have come up, BF is Before Facebook and AF is After Facebook. Facebook started in 2004 February and WhatsApp in Jan 2009. They have made a great revolution in our lives.

These technologies churned out because of two behemoths of the modern technology, Internet and Cell phone. As normally happens, FB &WA changed our methods of communications totally. These helped us to locate old friends, long lost pals! Everybody was thrilled. We got controls in our hands and we could communicate with anybody and everybody, anytime, be it midnight or be it noon!

In 70’s the communication with each other was by mail and telephones; telephones in our part of the world were a rarity. There was methodology and etiquettes, in their usage,  which were established over a period of time. There were certain etiquettes for business letters and there were some for personal letters. World over, the postal departments were doing the job of delivering the mail. This conventional mail slowly came to be known as snail mail as the time taken for a letters to reach was 3 to 6 days within the country and 3 to 4 weeks in foreign countries.

Slowly with internet came e mail, personal telephones called cell phones became available. But these technologies also came up slowly in nineties! In the 21st century two technologies started galloping and these proliferated world over. In India cell phone usage has increased at the break neck speed. From the same two technologies were born FB and later WhatsApp! Once people realized how easy it is to use FB &WA, the numbers simply became billions! Another thing that helped was increase in Internet speed and Bandwidth, added to it was the local language availability. Video calls became possible as easily like voice calls. We think that these developments happened suddenly but technology does not work this way. These developments of Video on cell phone had started in the year 2000/2001. In 15 years, better hardware, software and Internet changed the face of the technology.

How was this useful to human race? I can say that, had this technology been available before 2nd world war, it was possible that Hitler could have won the war. He had a very fierce propaganda machine led by Goebbels but with FB & WA his reach could have been global. There were enough desperados in this world, who would have joined Hitler!

I don’t want to flood you with statistics about usage of these two apps and all apps in general. From what I have checked on the net the time spent is between 2 to 4 hours in working and retired people; the same use is even more in student community.

https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/whatsapp-statistics/

I have noted that usage of these apps has increased during the time in offices, office time which is supposed to be productive. I go to various industries and the new trend is that people still seem to be busy, but many are busy looking at their cell phones. These organizations prohibit access to the social media apps on their office computers but with smart phone prices spiraling down, large number of people can afford smart phones. Access to these apps on personal phones cannot be stopped. Once we were waiting to meet a senior officer in an organization. We were told that he is busy in a conference call. He was sitting in a designated area. We passed by that area two or three times; every time he was busy on his cell phone screen. Never saw him talking on phone.

Social issues created by these apps are worse (loss of productivity, loss of family time) than the advantages offered by them. Out of 3 to 4 hrs time spent on these apps, important time is eaten away from “family time”, after reaching home.  Of course, the whole family is busy looking at the screen! The so-called group usage of WA is a curse. More than 90% messages are forwards! This facility has been used for spreading rumors and has resulted in killings of people, based on rumors in India. WA is struggling to prevent this from happening, under government pressure!

 

I will share some experiences with you. The above caricatures show how today’s lovers enjoy, they don’t look into each others eyes but.. at their own cell phone screen! The other day a couple came home for coffee. After usual, hi and hellos the gentleman got busy on his cell phone. After more than five minutes he had to be bluntly asked if he came to our home to check his WA messages? Once we had gone out for a family dinner with young family gang. One of the kids, 20 years old was addicted to her cell phone. She was sitting opposite me. After 15 minutes or so, I told her to put the cell phone away as we were having a lovely dinner. After that episode she avoids me in family get togethers. How do we resolve this?

Now I am semi-retired so it hardly is going to make any difference if I wasted time on FB/WA. But, I have decided that in future, I will access Facebook only on days when I publish my blog. (All these days publishing was automatic but FB does not allow automatic publishing from WordPress from 1/8/2018) I will communicate with friends on their birthdays/ and some special events privately, never on the wall.

On WhatsApp, I may be required to react on a couple of groups as I am Admin in one, and the other is our society group where I am the chairman. So, I will be accessing WhatsApp only once in a day, early mornings. Similarly, I will use WhatsApp to circulate my blogs only!

There was a movie called “Back to the future” which took the hero back to his parent’s school time zone. I am going “Back to Pre FB-days”. I have been trying it for last week or so and I am happy.

Please forward this blog or like it! My purpose for writing this is just to communicate with you by “New or maybe OLD” method of communication in future. After all there is life beyond Facebook and WhatsApp!