70 plus 500 is equal to Nil!

Dassarra1

I don’t know if this is a blog or a retrospection! The meaning of the title is a bit odd. But I completed 70 th year on 7th October, and this is my 500th blog on the  8 th October, Dussehera, one of the significant festivals of Hindus! So, I can say that these two events, or maybe milestones, were reached on two consecutive days! But the meaning of the title is that I am resetting both figures 70 and 500 to zero. It is going to be the new beginning of a phase in my life, the length of which I do not know!  

What will resetting 70 achieve? What will resetting 500 achieve? Honestly, I feel a little embarrassed to mention the blog number when I publish one. But I do not know how to keep track of these numbers. There is no target; there is nothing to prove! I have been a reasonable engineer but never a writer! Someone asked me what my objective of publishing the blogs is? There is no objective or a target, and there is simply passion. What created this passion is very difficult to say.  

I started creating some technical documents during my software business. The need for these documents was to have full clarity and avoid ambiguity. As the projects began becoming larger and customers started becoming more demanding, the need for clarity went up and up! It helped me to write what I wanted to say with clarity; this is helping me while writing the blogs. Some friends tell me that I don’t write precisely like an engineer but argue from both sides. When I write the blog, I am not proving anything or anyone right or wrong. Hence, I write more than one viewpoints. The idea is to delve on a thought or an event or a situation. Get an overall feel and then go deeper into the subject. Some blogs need me to research on the net. Some issues are memories from my life; others are experiences that acquired over a period or got them while on the go!  

But the idea is to start writing as thoughts are gathered for a blog in my mindMy friend Jayprakash has divided my blogs into two types, impulsive and compulsive! He has hit the bull’s eye!  I have given below one example each of Impulsive and Compulsive blogs.

Impulsive blog 

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/brave-art/ 

Compulsive blog 

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/article-370-common-mans-view/ 

Impulsive blogs are visualised by me like setting the destination on Google maps. I know the beginning, the middle and the end at the start itself. These are written almost in one shot. Whereas for the compulsive blogs, I generally know the beginning and have a vague end in mind. I am not sure what I am going to writeIt can be compared with the olden way of looking for an address. I stop, I think and then move forward. It is like getting down from the car and asking the autorickshaw chap or pan walla for the direction to reach my destinationBut I reach my destination missing a turn or two.  

To me, the most important part is the end productThe result of my satisfaction can be achieved by editing and fine-tuning before I publish; it is the toughest aspect of blog writingI also use an English checking software called Grammarly, which is of great help! For images, quotes or diagrams, Google baba is always there to help! I think, in the end, it is your comments, suggestions, discussions that help me get better. I know there is still enormous scope for improvement. So here I declare my target! I have no targetbut I am going to do my best to improve to the best of my abilities!  

Now about the resetting of the number 70! Many of my friends and classmates have been reaching this landmark (if it can be called landmark) in 2019 as they were born in 1949. When I ask them about their feelings, I am mostly getting pleasant responses. Some have gone through major tragedies; some have suffered health issues. In some cases, health problems continue. In other cases, the event was a onetime health event. Friends have said thGat they mostly feel as if they are 15/20 years younger! I am sure such thoughts come to mind when life has treated you generally well. But a friend suffered a major tragedy in her young age, but I was happy to note that she was also quite enthusiastic about life in general. But someone haat this age faced the death of his 45-year-old son in an accident. The usual adage of time helps to heal all the wounds may not work in tragedies of such nature!  

Resetting the counter at the age of 70 opens up many vistas! My blog published yesterday discusses the benefits of the golden period of our life! 

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/the-beauty-of-the-golden-period/ 

It will open many possibilities in life, and you will wonder why you did not do certain things in life! Have a glass of wine if you have never done it before– it is no big deal. World over, the people do enjoy a drink or two! सोमरस  has always been discussed in our mythological storiesMention of  सोमरस can give you the moral support you want. Join some clubs and enjoy playing cards! Try and spend some time doing social work, give time for needy. There are many lonely people in this world because of many reasons. Don’t wait to create some big system which will help others. By all means, do it, but you can start with small selfhelp groups in your locality. Go to old people’s home in your neighbourhood and spend some time with these lonely people. The meaning of resetting is simply to bring back your enthusiasm to do whatever you want to doDon’t do it to prove something but do it to give satisfaction to yourself and help othersMeet friends, phone them up! Meet your cousins, they will be probably of the same age as you are 

Resetting of the number 70 is a significant phase in your life. What you plan and do after reset is going to decide the way you are going to live in the golden period of your life. It is very easy to get entangled into a rut and a sad, unpleasant mindset. I have some definite plans in my mind, which I am going to try and see if they work. We tend to become rigid in our thought process as we grow older, so I am going to attempt to become more flexible. Empathy is one more aspect which all of us have to some extent; I will try my best show more empathy towards others! I want to delete the word EGO from my dictionary today.

Some of my friends have jokingly told me that I had reached a stage where I will have to be treated by paediatricians; I will try not to be treated by any doctor as far as possible. I would instead meet them socially, with that famous glass of wine I mentioned above 

Dassarra2

Advertisements

I Ain’t bothered!

 

letgo2My friends keep on pulling my legs about my blog writing. Some say, “you are a better blogger than an Engineer”. But I “ain’t” bothered what they say! I mean, I know that my friends are pulling my leg hence I am not worried about what they say! But mind you, all of us are concerned about something or the other all through our lives. I feel that these concerns have reached an epidemic proportion.

People think that life is always a bed of roses, but it is not so. Sometimes some events will go against your way of thinking. You may have to face situations that you had never expected. But you need to understand and accept that this is going to happen and it is ok to be in such circumstances. It means that you need to accept certain things and move on. It’s ok to be hit on the chin once in a while. Once we stop accepting this fact, we start blaming ourselves. We start feeling that something is inherently wrong with us. Such thought processes drive us to show to people that nothing is wrong with us. We may end up buying ten pairs of trousers and shirts to show off. We may get drunk on a weekday. It is to show that we have enough money and we are not bothered about the social norms.

We get caught up in a vicious circle of a feedback loop. You overheard someone passing a casual remark about the way you wear your clothes. You get bothered, and you end up buying those clothes. You end up getting drunk too. But should you be upset about such casual remarks? Should you be worried about these comments with such intensity? Is it not easy to rethink and say, “Why am I getting so much upset? How does it matter what that person says about my clothing?” We should learn to worry about remarks like, “Pramod is not a good person, or he is a nasty person.” We should learn to give correct importance to events in life.

We should never think that life is always going to be bliss. There are going to be ups and downs. We will become uncomfortable in certain situations; there could be some suffering too! But learn to go with the flow, accept the position and move forward. Many times what happens is that we take many things personally. There is too much traffic; people are jumping the red signal. We get upset. Last night’s news you saw disturbed you! We must realise that these are not the consequences of something you have done. You cannot prevent such things from happening. Opposite of this, we start believing that good things that are happening are because you are a terrific person. Your being good may have some control over your close circle. You can create an atmosphere where your family members are behaving decently (sometimes there is no control on such things too!), you can be friends with people who behave well. But mind you that your definition and someone else’s interpretation of goodness is not going to match. So again you can be back to square one; your friend’s friend may not behave the way you want him too! That can still upset you. Learn to ignore things that are not serious enough. Learn to let things go which are unimportant!

Letgo1

What happens if we do not learn to let go? Our life is full of events which are good and bad. Sometimes the bad period is longer and many times a reasonable period is longer. By not learning to let go, our mood swings from bad to good to bad. We blame ourselves when things are wrong and are euphoric when things are as per our liking. This swing of moods is not easy to handle. You are the person you are. Your persona is created and gets a reasonable shape as you mature. You are a person with some good things and some bad aspects. You don’t have to face these swings. Just let go; the cycle of good and bad events will always be there.

The million dollar question is what we should let go? At the beginning of my career, I bought a new car for the first time. Within a week, a van rammed into me from behind at a signal. It was the other person’s fault. I completed all the formalities and got all the money from the insurance. But I was agitated and felt very sad. I met one of my uncles; while chatting I mentioned this incident to him and said that I was distraught. He told me, “Pramod, car takes us from one place to another. After you receive your car back, you won’t even know that there was an accident. Just let it go. The good thing is that in the accident no human being was hurt and you got all the money from the insurance company. What more do you want?” I gave a thought to the whole thing and then calmed down. Such things are minor in life, and my uncle explained well. So, I let go what had happened.

Another important thing is, we must learn to change our beliefs if we find that we are not right in our thinking. We have a severe pollution issue in India. Some scientifically minded people know about this but do not accept the problem. If they don’t want to change their thinking, then nothing in this world is going to help them admitting it. We also behave and act like this sometimes. We should avoid such behaviour. We believe certain things based on information available to us at that time but many new facts come up later, and we are not aware of them.

I have read about a method that can be followed. Select ten things in life and write them down. Just think what will happen if your assumptions about those ten things are wrong and how those false assumptions, when corrected,  will change your life. The list need not include things like pollution I mentioned above. The items could be, “I am lazy, and I like to procrastinate, I don’t know how to deal with people in general.” You decide without thinking that you are not lazy and you are the best people’s person in the world. If you debate with yourself, you may find that in both these cases there is a reason why these points are on the list to start with. If you change your thought process, you may become less lazy and more efficient; you will be able to deal with people much better than what you are doing currently. These changes are going to make you a better person. These changes are going to improve you as a person. But sticking to your original thinking, you will remain what you are!

Letgo3

One more thing you can do is to improve situations in life, by trying uncharted paths. You should work to learn the ability to do things with no expectation for results or accolades; this ability will train you to make these big, ambitious life decisions. It will teach you to start on something without knowing what is going to happen in future. You tread an unknown path; you may succeed or fail. But if you succeed in your endeavour, maybe you would have climbed Mount Everest; but should you fail, you may not have climbed even a small hill in your area. But to achieve significantly, you need to tread that unknown path sometimes. Many small failures on a hidden track lead you to the most notable success of your life. In short, don’t set a goal for everything when you start something new! Go with the flow and enjoy life!

To summarise, learn to let go, life is too precious to bother about small things. Learn to change your thinking don’t stick to your guns all the time, you could be wrong. Try and take the uncharted path to reach a peak in your life instead of remaining on the plateau all the time.

Emotional Turmoil!

While writing two blogs about my friend Prakash regarding the major catastrophic event he and his family had gone through, I never realised the emotional turmoil I was going through. My endeavour while writing is always to make the least number of errors, both grammatical and factual. For this purpose, I had to refer to the book written by Kavita about the event, a few times. Every time I skimmed the book, the reading process did some more churning in my mind, as I read a few paragraphs. The pictures of what the family had gone through kept floating before me.  

Today’s blog came up as I read a news item in today’s newspapers, which rekindled the old memories and reminded me of the story of another friend. This story is again very touching! This friend of mine was a friend from my Bombay days. We were neighbours, he was one-year senior to me. As was typical of those days, we spent evenings playing tennis ball cricket on their terrace. He came from an upper-middle-class family, had a well-appointed home, went to a convent school. These things of course never came in between our friendship; honestly, I never realised his financial situation in those days. His father was our family doctor, so when the doctor was at home, we would be a little under pressure! The friend was ever smiling, but he was not what can be called as a mixing type.  

As so happens, we lost touch around the time when I was in tenth grade. A few years later, I moved for my engineering course to Pune. One of my classmates had also moved to join the medical curriculum at Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune. Once when we went there to meet my classmate, I bumped into this old friend, who was also learning to become a doctor. Our friendship was renewed, and we kept in touch intermittently.

As our education was getting completed, I heard that he got engaged to his classmate. I was so happy for him. Then came the news, later, that they had broken off! Later on, our friend went to England and settled there. Another 45 years passed as we again had lost touch. Once I was scanning the Facebook and searched for my friend and lo! There he was! I sent him a private message. I, of course, called him by the nickname from childhood. I shared my email id with him.  

A couple of weeks later, I received an email from him and was I happy! He said, “Pramod, it’s sheer luck that I got your message on Facebook; I was about to close my account on Facebook.” Then he gave details.  

He became a surgeon and lived in Northern England all his life. It appears that he did not travel much to India. He did quite well financially. He did not marry, he never explained hence I never asked. Then he was reminiscent about Bombay days. Our school days full of tennis ball cricket in the evenings. When it became dark, we would chat about everything in the world, until we were called home. Our email exchange continued sporadically, and we became comfortable with each other.  

Then in one of the emails, I shared with him how I went through Cancer treatment, end of 2013! Since he was a doctor, I shared with him as many medical details as possible. His reply was very positive and helped me to understand some more things from a medical perspective. I was surprised by his in-depth knowledge about cancer. He was a surgeon, but he was not an Onco Surgeon. From his next mail, I understood the background about his depth of knowledge. He had also suffered cancer of the throat region and had gone through massive doses of chemotherapy. Then he revealed a piece of very shocking information.

He wrote, “Pramod, after taking treatments for a few months, one of my doctor colleagues (who was my Onco surgeon) had a “doctor to doctor” talk with me. He said that the chances of my surviving beyond six weeks were remote. Why don’t you inform your family?” From what I knew, he did not have much contact with his family.  But he also wrote, “At the end of one month, a procedure was done. Suddenly after that procedure, my health started improving. The doctors have now removed me from the critical list and my current status at this time is “managing cancer”. I may require chemo once in a while as sustenance dose.” 

Well, this is not the story! The story started after this, at least for me! He once informed me that he was coming down to Pune for his medical college reunion. I was thrilled, and I said that we should meet. I told him, “Taj Blue Diamond will be the convenient hotel for you!” He said, “Pramod, there is one issue that I have not shared with you. When I was told that my days were numbered to six weeks, I got my lawyer and liquidated my fixed assets quickly, and I had substantial liquid money too! I organised and distributed 90% of assets to charities. Kept about 10% for unseen expenses, if required, after my death. Now with my health improving, I am seriously short of funds, but luckily, I have a pension! So, I am managing somehow. I came to know about this reunion and decided to attend, probably my first and the last one! So, staying at Taj is out of the question!” 

I thought, Oh, my god! How has this happened? He had many expenses, but luckily his most medical costs were covered under British Medical System. But overall, he was going through tough times. Other than his pension, he had no income. What turn can life take!  As he was past retirement age and in ill health, he could not work again.

This story again put me in severe turmoil, my mind was churning, and I did not know how to handle this. There was no way I could pay for his stay in Pune, he just would have refused.  

There is another twist to the story. I knew the dates for my friend’s stay in Pune. He had said that he would call me when he came to Pune. He did call, but somehow, I missed the call. During that period there were many phone calls to me from unknown numbers. So, I wrote him an email. He wrote back to me saying that he was sad that we missed out on meeting each other in Pune. He was back in England.  

After this episode, the frequency of our communication has dwindled down to a trickle; this has nothing to do with missing each other in Pune. My last couple of emails have remained unanswered. I must find out about our friend, and I hope that he is doing alright.

I am still very uneasy! Emotional turmoil continues!

Saxophone or Mercedes!

Passion or Bucket List was the title I had given to this blog but during a review, I felt that I should change it. Hence the name Saxophone or Mercedes!

Recently the expression Bucket List has come into vogue! I had not got into details of this and I had always thought that this a list which one prepares of things to be done or achieved, before one’s time on the earth is over. But in recent discussions with friends, it was generally expressed, as a list of places to visit, before you die.

But the formal definition of Bucket List is a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.

Similarly, we humans have an emotion, “Passion”.  Passion is a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something. Passion can range from eager interest in or admiration for an idea, proposal, or cause; to the enthusiastic enjoyment of an interest or activity; too strong an attraction, excitement, or emotion towards a person. It is particularly used in the context of romance or sexual desire, though it generally implies a deeper or more encompassing emotion than that implied by the term lust.

These two terms are connected. I feel that unless you have the passion there cannot be a bucket list. Most people live life but a few live it with passion.  The third slide with names of Einstein and Opnehimer is included becasue Passion is the genesis of the genius!

I was lucky to take a photo of the house where Einstein lived in Bern, Switzerland.IMG_20170909_144057 (2)

What after all is passion? Passion is something we live for, it may be art, it may be a sport, it may be a product that you design, it could be music that one creates. Behind every passionate person, there is a lot of hard work, in today’s IT buzzwords back office work. A passionate person appears to be in a hyper state because the person has to do many other things, on the side, to achieve his final goal; not only that but he keeps on doing it all through his life. The explanation below will give the meaning of the hard work and thinking needed to achieve your passion.

  1. Set your Goals
    1. Obviously, the first step in achieving anything is setting the goals or targets. Without the targets, we don’t know the path to take and we will let our life take its own course. Goals will put you on the path. You set goals because you want to achieve something, you are passionate about something.
  2. Understand the obstacles
    1. When you have set goals, obstacles will be there. But the passion will ensure that you will plan to overcome these obstacles in advance. The passion in you will never allow you to change the goal. In fact, the passionate you will resolve to overcome these obstacles by setting up a target to overcome them.
  3. Create a positive mental picture
    1. There will many problems  and there could be many problems which we may not visualize while planning. But the passionate person will budget for such problems and overcome them, and move ahead with a positive mental frame.
  4. Clear your mind of self-doubt
    1. When you are taking a different path or an uncharted challenge having self-doubts is possible. But passion will pull you through this phase and push you on the right path.
  5. Embrace the challenge
    1. No challenge is too big when you have the passion to achieve things. Adversities, doubts and obstacles are part of the path one has chosen; embrace the challenge to march towards your goal.
  6. Stay on track
    1. While you are trying to achieve the target or a goal, there could be mini targets on the side; there will be difficulties galore. Staying on track is possible only if you are passionate.
  7. Show the world you can do it
    1. Though you are trying to reach the goal, especially when it’s a tough, world in general, may be hoping that you fail. Keep focus and show the world you can do it.

A close friend is a surgeon. He is passionate about the medical field and keeps pride in achieving great success in exact diagnosis. He is a couple of years senior to me. Once when I went to him for an advice, he said, “Pramod, I will show you something new that I have bought.” He had bought an expensive equipment which would help him in improving his diagnosis quality. He was very happy to show me the details, which I could see in his eyes. He asked me my opinion about the procurement. I told him that I was very happy for him that he was able to pursue his dream of bettering himself, professionally. His establishment is in an area of Pune city where his patients come from financially lower and middle strata of the society.  He said, “Pramod, by God’s grace I have done well financially, so I have decided not to increase fees.” He further said that some people celebrate their success by buying a Mercedes car. “Pramod, this is my Merc!” This is passion for you! All his other friends had told him that he was crazy to waste money on such projects.

Another friend, an engineer, retired from a large organization as a General Manager. While he was working, once I had gone to meet him for some work. He wound up his discussions with colleagues and suggested that they meet the next day. He then said, “Pramod, I want your opinion!”. I jokingly told him that since he was sitting on the right side of the table how my opinion would be of any value? He said, “Pramod, I am serious. Forget the work. I want to buy a Saxophone. Tell me if I should buy it.” I knew his love for music. I also knew that Saxophone was reasonably expensive but I said that he should go ahead and buy it if he could afford it. I also suggested his neighbours should not be disturbed! He said, “The math works out and I am going to create one sound proof pad at home so as not to disturb the neighbours!” I said then simply go ahead! His eyes sparkled. Same old story! He said, “All other people whom I asked said come on buddy. Don’t waste precious resources”. I told him, “To hell with others, go ahead! with your passion” He did it. Now post-retirement he has formed a troupe and gives professional music performances! He is enjoying this more than his engineering career!

To me, Passion and Bucket List are almost like synonyms. Without passion how will have Bucket List? Bucket list is a by product of passion! Some people follow their passion and make it their career and others just do their career, as it comes. Let passion drive you, Bucket List will follow it automatically. But saying that you should follow your passion is easy but actually doing it is not so easy! I found some sayings which explain this perfectly!

  • Renew your passions dailyThe meaning of this is never give up on your passion!
  • Never underestimate the power of passionNeed I say more?
  • Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion Is this not obvious?
  • There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life– Sounds very familiar to me
  • If passion drives you, let reason hold the reinsThis the practical advice of a person who has lived a passionate life.

I had told you to live life with passion your Bucket List will follow you! 🙂🙂🙂

Bucket list

Heer Ranza or Romeo Juliet!

This is a love song from a movie Jab Kisise Pyar Hota Hai (1961). The lovers say,  “I have loved you since last hundred years and will keep on doing so for ever!”  A typical fantasy!

Marriage or union of two persons for life brings stories of Romeo and Juliet or Heer and Ranza, in front of our eyes. (Life has become trickier with same-sex marriages and all!) Our literature romanticizes the union and we all think that life is full of roses. But after some time, these beautiful roses start to wither and petals are what we are left with. I am not a pessimist but these are the facts of life! A relationship between husband and wife are never as romantic or rosy as they seem from distance. I had mentioned this in a blog I had written a month back where I wrote about friendship.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/human-nature-a-mystery/

To me, marriages are of two types. Historically, we married for logical reasons but lately, some marriages are based on feelings. Marriage based on romance and love are the imaginations of writers and poets! Romeo and Juliet or Heer and Ranza never had to discuss, EMI’s, promotions, illnesses, and yes, children, that are the result of the initial passion, remnants of the times when petals had not started falling down.

Current descriptions, love marriage and arranged marriage are also ways to describe of how people get married. In olden days, love marriages were a rarity but in modern times with males and females living independently, before marriage, in large cities and getting opportunities to meet each other in a no family settings, leads to love marriages and of course, sometimes to live-in relationships.

For most of the recorded history, people married for logical sorts of reasons because you were neighbours and were equals in the society, his family had a flourishing business, her father was the General Manager in a factory, there was a farmhouse close to city to keep up, or both sets of parents were from the of same caste and creed (politically correct word for this is Biradari), or were members of the same club. But once you reached the petals stage, from such reasonable marriages, there flowed loneliness, infidelity, abuse, a hardness of heart and screams heard through the nursery doors. The marriage of reason was not reasonable at all; it was often expedient, narrow-minded, snobbish and exploitative. That is why what has replaced it — the marriage of feelings — are taking its place.

Why do the famous roses start withering? Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when the person agrees with you. (By that time the other person is furious, is another story) Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of informing us. One of the privileges of before marriage is, the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.

Before getting married, couples should ask a question to each other, “How crazy are you”? Because each individual has some quirks and without getting married and intimate, most of these will remain hidden. A very smart hubby might turn out “momma’s boy” or may love to burp after each meal; or smart wife of yours, of bouncy and fluffy hair might be applying tons of pungent oil to her hair before sleeping!

Before getting married, the couple and their family generally check a few things. We try to understand the person and the family. We visit their homes. We look at their photos, we meet their college friends. All this contributes to a sense that we’ve done our homework. But we haven’t. Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be! We never make an attempt to find out the so-called “hidden” stuff! Most people don’t hide things purposely but they remain hidden because they were not checked. For example, a family may be very stingy or overly flamboyant!

We need to swap the Romantic view for an awareness that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us — and we will  do the same to them, too. There can be no end to our sense of emptiness and incompleteness. But none of this is unusual or grounds for divorce. Choosing whom to commit ourselves to is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for.

This pessimistic thinking  offers a solution to a lot of distress and agitation around marriage. It might sound odd, but pessimism relieves the excessive imaginative pressure that our romantic culture places upon marriage. The failure of our partner to save us from our grief and melancholy is not an argument against that person and no sign that a union deserves to fail or be upgraded. These are the brass tacks of life!

What matters in the marriage of feeling is that two people are drawn to each other by an overwhelming instinct and know in their hearts that it is right. Indeed, the more imprudent a marriage appears (perhaps it’s been only six months since the two met; one of them has no job or both are barely out of their teens), the safer it can feel. Recklessness is taken as a counterweight to all the errors of reason. To me, instinct is better than centuries old thoughts of unreasonable reasoning.

When Jaya and I got married at an early age, she had a teaching job and I was in the final term of graduate study. Instinct told us that “the stars” would match. Young age helped us overcoming the petal phase very easily because of lack of maturity. We had almost no professional experience hence whenever we discussed any differences of opinion, these were just that, discussion about differences of opinion! They never turned out into minutes of meeting kind of thing! During our last meeting…. blah, blah, blah! During these discussions, we learned to accommodate each other’s thoughts, ways of expressing things. (This is what maturity is all about!) No strong argument is good or bad; couples come to understand, over a period, the acceptable standards of nasty levels! We started understanding what other did not like! In courtship and honeymoon phase, the couples are literally on the moon! So, when the aircraft lands on the earth, quirks and warts become visible! Each human being has different moods through the day, like our blood pressure or sugar level keeps on going up and down! You can’t be in love 24/7!

Finally, we marry to make a nice feeling permanent. We imagine that marriage will help us to bottle the joy we felt when the thought of proposing first came to us. Perhaps we were in an office picnic, a new year party, we were together during a hike, with the evening sun setting behind the hills, chatting about aspects of our souls no one ever seemed to have grasped before, with the promise of dinner in the Chinese restaurant a little later. We married to make such sensations permanent but failed to see that there was no solid connection between these feelings and the institution of marriage. So next best is that we learnt to say after a particularly strong disagreement, “Honey, how about dinner at that Chinese place?”

Your Future Self!

Create-your-future

Yesterday Jaya and I were coming back from the airport after dropping our Son. We had travelled using  an Uber taxi. On the way back, we met an interesting driver. I felt that he was quite enterprising. It was evening time and most roads indicated heavy traffic on Google maps. Not only was he using maps efficiently but at a couple of places when the congestion was too heavy, he took U-turn and changed the route. I praised him for proactive actions to reach the destination as quickly as possible. Then he asked me, “If I ask you a few questions, will it be ok?”  I said, “Go, ahead!”

He said that he owned the car he was driving and he wanted to run a fleet of taxis similar to Ola/Uber model. He wanted to give better service than Ola/Uber. He said he had funds, though of course not unlimited! But he had that aim to be better than the giants. Jaya and I probed him with many questions like what his USP was going to be? He had thought about some things and he had not thought about many things. I suggested that he put things on paper and study, create his plan. I said, “You drive your taxi every day, how will you get time to do these things?” He said that since this plan is his passion and he will somehow find the time, and “trouble” some customer like me. He would take advice from various people but will achieve his goal. So, I said, “The time you will be spending on future is going to be unproductive time for your today’s work and will stretch your daily time schedule to the limit!” He replied, “Yes, I know that I will be required to do a lot of “unproductive” work for my future. If I don’t invest in my future who will?” This I thought was an extremely smart way of thinking. Invest in so-called unproductive things to reach the moon in future! This coming from an Uber driver gave me a terrific feeling.

He was not an MBA from IIM’s nor was he highly educated. I did not ask him about his education level but he must have taken a college degree in some subject. What could be the source of his passion? We talk about business families, business communities. This person was definitely not from these groups. He must be reading something, he must be discussing with some people, he must be watching stories on TV which has led to his thinking. When my ride was over, I wished him all the best and told him not to lose courage and focus because path could be tough. He said, “With suggestions from people like you, my resolve is getting stronger day by day!”

You’re busy all day, working non-stop, multitasking in a misguided attempt to knock a few extra things off your to-do list, and as the day comes to a close, you still haven’t gotten your most important work done. Being busy is not the same as being productive. It’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running to a destination. They’re both running, but being busy is running in place.

If you want to be productive, the first question you need to ask yourself is what do you want to be? Another question is where do you want to go? Chances are that the answers to these questions represent growth in some direction. And while you can’t spend all your time pursuing those objectives, you definitely won’t get there if you don’t spend any of your time pursuing them.

Key to all this is that you need to spend time on the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts. In other words — and this is the hard part — if you want to be productive, you initially need to spend time doing things that feel ridiculously unproductive.

My daughter Priya is a dentist. She and her family are in the process of migrating to Canada. They were initially expecting that they will move to Toronto. But Priya felt that as a doctor she should also know French, as Canada is a bilingual country. Even in Toronto, you could get French-speaking patients. So, she decided that learning French would make sense. Hence, she joined Alliance Francaise and took a four-month course. She had a tough time managing the course, her Medical Practice, family obligations and her child. But she did it! As the luck would have it, her husband got a job in Montreal and her so-called unproductive efforts will become productive when she joins him in Montreal!

You want to become a writer or a painter or marathon runner, along with whatever you are doing currently. Your busy mind tries to keep you away from the new stuff, you’re not yet good at and which isn’t yet productive. Sometimes you need to be irresponsible with your current challenges in order to make real progress on your future self. You have to let the present just sit there, untended. It’s not going away and will never end. That’s the nature of the present.

You may not end up with an empty email inbox. You may not have the perfect compensation conversations with your boss. You may not please everyone. I am confident that those who want to invest in their future, will be good enough to do their current stuff at 7 or 8 on ten level, instead of their usual on 9/9.5 on ten level. Some of you might get jitters because of a lower level of productivity, but it is simply not possible to multitask things beyond a certain level.

Once you have clarity in mind of what you are doing and why you are doing, tasks become easier. Once you start seeing at least hazy image of your future self somewhere on the horizon, your jitters level will get lowered. This brings me to my latest theory of everybody requiring to reskill themselves. Reskilling in future is going to be mandatory. This is irrespective of whether you want to do it or not! So why wait? It is going to be reverse of “Back to the Future” movie where the person travels back 30 years in a time machine. Now you will have to visualize yourself ten years hence.

In case of training for Marathon, you may first start with 5 km then 10 and so on! Similarly, the writer in you may be able to write a few things initially. You may paint a few things after 3 months! This step by step progress is what you are looking for! Do it as a passion, but don’t forget that you may have to do it in future, anyway!

Your original training as an engineer, architect or whatever will keep you going. But in both these professions, you also want to add subject knowledge of Costing. This knowledge may put you on a fast track in your future career! The future costing engineer will have to take efforts, today, then you will get the fruits in the future! Don’t lose track of “Your Future Self!”