Serendipity!

Don’t rush into things, give sufficient time for all activities and hope for some pleasant surprise!

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The word Serendipity means the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Some of my friends are always saying that I am infected by “Tharoorism”. Honestly, I am not, and Serendipity is a word that was first used in 1754. It is said to be one the hardest words to translate. Notion of Serendipity is common in science domain as some important discoveries in science are due to chance e.g. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin, discovery of microwave oven, “Post-It” note.

Don’t worry, I am not going into discovery mode, but I get a feeling that in today’s world of rush, rush and rush we don’t leave time for Serendipity, we don’t leave time for anything! I am not talking of the time when we are working. But besides work we do so many things in life but we seem to continue to rush through things. We take holidays, we go for brunch, we go for shopping, we just chat, we go for a stroll, we read, we play, we paint; but we have gone into a habit of rushing through everything.

We had recently gone on a holiday in Europe; with age and language issue we thought that it may be a good idea to take a conducted tour. We had two-day stay in St. Moritz in Switzerland. The tour director had offered to take our group to various peaks and the lake, but the program was quite cramped. We told her that we will go at our own leisurely pace and maybe see a few things less!

First, we took the bus and took a tour of the town at our own pace getting down where ever we wanted. We went to the famous lake and spent a couple of hours there and really had a great time. We saw many small things which were not mentioned in any of the brochures. A very tall escalator to come up to the road level from the lake, was a pleasant surprise as we never got the judgement of depth of the lake from the main road! We were looking for nature’s beauty, but this man-made structure was also a surprise to us. We took some photos and videos but most of the time just enjoyed  the beauty of the nature through our own eyes and not through the lenses. The colour changes of the mountains and lake water, due to cloud movement were simply superb.

Later, we went to a couple of peaks at the height of 3800 meters, plus. What we did there was to absorb the atmosphere, look at the beauty of snow and sunshine, drink the pure weather! We were hungry, but they did not offer food which suited our diet. The chef there said if we had some time with us, he could cook something to suit us. That was the best sandwich we had on the entire tour, Serendipity?

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We felt like sitting and watching this lake as long as possible, it was so beautiful!

We were in Innsbruck, Austria. The traditional dance show was the optional part of the tour. It was called Tyrolean Evening. We were informed that no photography was allowed during the show. It turned out to be an absolute boon as we could enjoy the show thoroughly, we could see and feel the energy, we could see the superb coordination of the group and we could also enjoy our wine! The way dancers energetically tapped their thighs in coordination, was simply awesome. The show was the highlight of the tour! It was a late show, we were tired but were never rushed. It was the Serendipity moment. Here is the link for the show.

https://www.tiroler-abend.com/en/tyrolean-evenings/tyrolean-evening.html

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Social media has added to our rush/rush mentality. Everybody wants to share what they are doing and seeing, on the social media. It may be Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and what have you. We have made it a rule to share such things only with close family that maybe at the end of the day! Sharing photos and videos from the locations is an absolute no no! The rush for sharing things on the media, puts your mind away from what you are doing, you feel that you are enjoying it by sharing it! But if you think seriously, except close family and friends, all others are not so keen to know what you are doing at every moment. This excited behavior has led to accidents as people have fallen from mountains, fallen from ships, fallen from trains in their attempt to “share” instantly. I had written in my blog “Touch the whale”; people go on whale sighting trips but are behind the lenses all the time instead of touching the whale which has come at a touchable distance.

When you go for shopping, occasionally you end up getting a deal which you will never get if you rush through. During brunch, keep extra time, linger on a bit, try new things, you may discover some new food stuff that you had never tried out before; if you don’t rush you may meet a long-lost friend. But rushing habit is not good for anyone as it creates stress and can affect your health.

Sorry! I must rush and take my evening sunset photographs! I don’t get enough time to write my blogs because I must rush and meet friends, just before I rush for evening bridge rubbers. Then of course there is a late evening dinner with family before going for that recently released, late night movie! I just don’t get time for anything, but I enjoy rushing everywhere! I really enjoy ! Do I?

Multitasking! Boon or bane

100% social media free time is very important in any relationship!

I have been reading that all the successful people are expert multitaskers. They have many habits that allow them to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. This makes them more efficient and performance oriented. But I read an article today which started some thought processes in my mind. Multitasking of current days includes checking WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, during working hours. The article even says that this multitasking is affecting the GDP of the nations. People are wasting to 1 to 1 ½ hour from their working time on WA/FB/INST. Initially, I doubted these figures either way. I thought these figures could be larger  or smaller. In large organizations the sites like FB/Instagram are blocked and hence cannot be accessed. But with large numbers using Smartphones one does not really need Computers to access these sites. In some organizations, people from a department are spread all over the country and they are travelling. They form WhatsApp groups and officially use them for keeping in touch with each other. My experience these days is that I get fastest response for my WhatsApp messages in comparison with any other mode of business communication!

The figure of 1 to 1 ½ hour is not the actual time spent but when your thought processes are broken while working, by using social media, people lose the link. So, getting back to groove plus actually checking social media may add to this figure of 1 to 1 ½ hour! This is a real menace and the society at large will have to find a solution. People use their cell phones for work, so banning them at work is not possible. Organizations can say that if you are using company phone then use it for work. How do you keep track if one has used WA for official purpose or personal needs? People will simply use dual SIM card cell phones and have WA on personal SIM!  Enough of work related complications but what about personal life and social media?

There is story of a young couple, very much in love, they got engaged to be married. Next day they went for cup of coffee in a Bistro! Instead of looking into each other’s eyes, they were looking at the screens of their own cell phones! If you don’t have the urge to look into each other’s eyes at this stage, when will you do it? With the new gadgets and newer media our lives have become different. Is multitasking really important at home? Can we not live without it? To some extent it is essential, but I feel that we are going overboard. The other day my grand daughter Rhea, all of four years old, was doing some painting, she loves it let me assure you! While painting she was humming an old Kishore kumar song, “Ye Ratein, Ye Mausam nadika kinara!” (The choice of song is again a surprise, courtesy her Mumma!)  Jaya was sitting by her, just attending to her! Maybe she was skimming through a newspaper, nothing more serious! Suddenly there was a ding on Jaya’s cell phone and she had received an e mail. She quickly read it and was thinking of the reply! Immediately Rhea said, “Aaji will you look at cell phone later? Can you help me do the painting better?” Rhea was doing perfectly all right in her painting but she realized that Jaya’s mind was a bit distracted. She did not like it. A child can put her demand bluntly but as we grow older we become more courteous and don’t demand full attention.

Same things happen in husband and wife relationship too! Can’t they give each other 100% distraction free attention for some time during the day? Same things can happen with friends too, for that matter in any relationship. We tend to give gadgets and social media more importance than the person. This type of distraction leads to different consequences in different relationships. I remember ages back, I was called by Managing Director of company for business discussions. I reached on time was ushered in his cabin. In a few minutes we were both served piping hot coffee and boss was speaking on his cell phone, very important stuff about his Rotary Club activities. He finished his call in 15 minutes. Before he could apologize to me, (I was naïve and thought that he would apologize!) the phone rang again and another 15-minute call discussing more socially important things. When the third phone call started after one-minute break, I signaled to him that I wanted to use the washroom. I walked out of his cabin and sat in my car to drive back to my office. Half an hour later his secretary called just as I was settling down in my office chair. Probably after two more rounds of calls, our friend realized that I had left. I had taken a decision to stop doing business with them and managed to do it smoothly within six months.

We can take such decisions in business, at least sometimes! But what can we do in personal life, with spouse, with friends, with relatives. One cannot take divorce, one cannot break long friendships! So how do we find the golden mean? The children are usually open as well as blunt. This was displayed by Rhea’s telling Jaya to pay attention to her. What she expected of Jaya is an opening of “Trust Fund” so large that there never will be any deficit. I have used the Simile between the “Trust Fund” and “Trust” she expected from Jaya. Apparently, it is such a small demand, but we have made things difficult for ourselves. We don’t give “100% free time” to each other! We keep on doing so called multitasking of looking for stuff on social media! While on my way  to office there are always some people who stop side by side at traffic signals. The moment they stop, they take out their cell phones and start looking at WA/FB/Inst. There are about four signals on the way, each taking about ¾ minutes to reach. What important messages keep on coming every ¾ minutes? Can’t messages wait till you reach your destination? A person may have something very important going but how almost all must see their cell phones at each signal? Driving carefully in traffic is important, cell phone causes a distraction.

Friends I strongly suggest that today’s social media attack is like a terrorist situation. We cannot stop the real terrorist attack, but we can always avoid social media attack by initially reducing and then trying eliminating trust deficit that gets created in relationships. Why not think of giving blank signed cheque in the relationship which is indicative of 100 % attention? Rhea’s of this world will tell you on your face that you are not attentive but others will not!