Saturday, 23 August 2008

All for a better status

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The one thing that drives us all is “Status”. Despite all spiritual garbs we don, there are very few individuals today who don’t aspire to improve their status, on a day-to-day basis.

Status as defined by the concise Oxford dictionary is “relative social or professional standing; high rank or social standing”. The catch word for me in this definition is “relative” and that is what triggers the “rat race” for the “human race”. We want to be better off than our relatives, neighbors, colleagues and competitors. The word “Status” is a typical double bind. The urge for better status has caused the human race to progress and also given it untold misery. Inventions, discoveries, ideas and wars are all a result of the urge for better status.

The urge for better status has progressed mankind from “Stone Age” to “Silicon Age”. The dream of better status for his countrymen propelled Bapuji to lead the freedom struggle. At the same dream for better status in the eyes of Jinnah lead to a painful partition which has continued till date. The dreams of better status for his race lead Hitler to his Machiavellian designs. The dreams for enhanced status of the deprived society, lead Dr. BR Ambedkar to scripting our Constitution (he would have definitely decried the depths which reservations has reached today) The collective dream for better status made Japan a super power after the pounding it got during the Second World War. The dreams for a better status in the early 90’s lead to collapse of communism across the East block countries.

Individual performance is enhanced due to a need for better status. Management graduates from slums; Business corporations from sheds; Super athletes from utter poverty are all the results of the urge for a better status. Status by most of us (including me) is perceived as possession of maximum material things. To an extent it is the correct but not the entire picture. Our perception of status is best defined as “Buying things which you don’t require, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like”. EMI is only an enfant terrible of the wedlock between “urge for status” and “consumerism”. This definition explains why our credit cards have perennial unpaid balance; houses are filled with things we don’t use; relationships are filled with invisible walls; society is riddled with crime and corruption. The “urge for status” forces us away from our families, friends, health, ethics and morals.

If the motivation for status can be streamlined, we could become world beaters and better both the society and ourselves. Otherwise we would be left a woes, worries and families on the brink of collapse. Such a situation is not desirable for the society. The million dollar question is how to streamline this desire and it is certainly not by desiring less. Answering this question, would require another blog.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Once you are dead

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“Once you are dead nobody remembers you and when you fail/falter very few care for you, there is nothing more important than you”. Sounds a very harsh statement to make, but life has taught me this over and again. This blog is not for the spiritually inclined but those who want material success and happiness.

Except grossly breaking ethics and betraying one’s motherland, I think it is fair for us to pursue anything to be happy and successful. There is no place for sacrifices in this world unless you are a lamb. Even they have the animal right guys to fight for them but nobody is there to protect the sacrifice of human emotions that takes place day in and day out in our lives. We have to guard ourselves against being sacrificed because there is no point in crying over spilt milk. We have to learn not to fall into the trap of sweet talking selfish people.

I am not against using people. Get used but ensure that it is mutual. There is no free lunch in this world. In today’s world, you don’t get what you deserve but what you negotiate. There are a billion of people out there who want to use you in the name of friendship and later discard. The difficult task is to avoid the friendship of a billion people but the easier way out is being one among them. There is no harm in being a Roman when you are in Rome.

Learn to negotiate everywhere in the outside world for your own happiness. Otherwise, when their purpose is done with or if you fail in life, most of them will discard you like an used tissue paper. Encash your cheque when the account is still in operation not after it is closed. No amount of crying or ranting or going down on the knees in front of such individuals will fetch you any sympathy but stern words which question of your intentions for being good.

Never mind if you have to play politics in office place if it gets you the required success. Even if you don’t play politics with others there is no guarantee that nobody else will dish out the same stuff to you. You don’t get anything for being noble at office space except self pity. There are two ways of going up in a office place; one you take the long arduous route of working sincerely up the ladder (I am all for it) and another by pointing out others mistakes. Have a judicious mix of these attributes, of-course with a heavy mix of the first route. Never let go your colleague’s mistakes (official only) just because he or she pretends to be your good friend. Keep a note of them, you may require it in the future.

I know this blog would seem to be negative but I have learnt that everything is not fair in this world and we need to play devil in real life more often than not. Even the most noblest of the souls many a times suffer and die, why should we mere mortals worry? Just go ahead and find your material success and happiness.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Indian politician knows everything

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Citizens complain about everything. They complain about bad roads, corruption, cops, etc. They write letters to the editor; become citizen journalists with a mobile camera in hand; write blogs; send email to non-responsive ids of public authorities, etc. Do we assume that the politicians are not aware of these problems? How innocent are we to make such assumptions? It is not as if only “Yeh Public Hain, saab janti hain” Politicians also knows everything but do not act on it for certain valid reasons. Here are some of the reasons

They know that corruption is wide spread but can’t do anything about it because the foreign bank accounts of politicians will be starved to cancellation.

They know where the terrorists train within the country but can’t do anything about it because the vote banks will get depleted.

They know that black money is bigger than the economy but can’t do anything about it because nobody will shoot at his own foot.

They know that the forests are being depleted but can’t do anything about it because more important than global warming is family, buddies and chums wealth garnering.

They know that poverty is rampant but can’t do anything about it because the crowds in their meetings will be reduced and fewer people can be deceived in the name of better life.

They know that castesim has to be eliminated but can’t do anything about because it will mean a peaceful society; lesser protests for and against reservation and elimination of the best source for polarization of people.

They know that the law & order situation in the country is bad but they can’t do anything about it because honest well-paid cops mean trouble for themselves; lesser options to provoke a riot and later distribute token relief.

They know that more public investment is required in education but can’t do anything about it because it would mean lesser donations in the schools and colleges owned by them and lesser students in un-recognised vocational schools owned by buddies.

They know that basic infrastructure like roads, footpaths and drains are in a mess but can’t do anything about it because honest contractor’s means less party funds and un-encroached footpaths means curbing the space for the dishonest traders.

They know that adulteration, counterfeit goods and piracy affect the health of citizens and economy but cant do anything about it because their sidekicks require a source of living.

They know that the sports bodies have to be professionalized if we have to win more medals in the Olympics but can’t do anything about it because it would mean lesser options for them to head various sport bodies and clamour for publicity in times of individual success.

This list could go on and on but the long and short of the matter is that if you want to complain about problems in the society please, please sit and analyse what losses the dearest politician may have to occur and if you find none, represent only those problems.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Movies which are carved in my mind

Movies are the best form of entertainment in modern times. They take us into a world of make belief. Movies sometimes create a stir in the society la Rang De Basanti. Here is a list of the movies (Commercial Only) which inspired me, captivated my imagination and of course entertained me.

Movies which inspired me

a. Life is beautiful (English) – A wonderful film about the travails of Jews during World War II. If only everybody could lead their lives the way the main protagonist of the film does, stress would become a non-existent word. Even when he is being taken away to be executed by the Germans, he neither flinches nor makes it known to his young son. His positive attitude is to be seen to be believed.

b. Ramana (Tamil) – This film portrays the fight of a college professor against corruption in the society. How a professor organizes a bunch of his students to kidnap corrupt officials from across the state and finally execute the most corrupt one, forms the crux of the story? I liked the scene in which he traps a dishonest hospital into giving treatment for a dead body. One more highlight of the film is when he makes appeal to the general public not to disturb law and order on his execution.

c. Saving Private Ryan (English) – Two sons of a widow are killed in second world war and a third is fighting the war somewhere in enemy territory. The army sends a small contingent of soldiers to bring him back. The film is to be seen to be believed especially the last few minutes.

d. Lagan (Hindi) – Skills not courage is what matters preaches the film. How a group of villagers learn the game of cricket to escape taxes is the story and how well it has been told? The scene in which Aamir Khan argues for the inclusion of a lower caste person in the team inspired me the most.

e. Border (Hindi) and Muthina Hara (Kannada) – I think these are the best two films made in India about war. Border brought to life the sheer courage of Indian Soldiers up against a huge Pakistani contingent whereas Muthina Hara amplified the futility of war. I am just in love with the last song of Border, very painful but very true. Muthina Hara should be the best Kannada film made till date but did not achieve the required box office success as is the case with most good films.

Films which captured my imagination

1. Sholay (Hindi) – leave alone the action just raise a toast to the friendship of Jay and Veeru. I can touch my heart and say I was never a friend like Jay to anyone, not even 25%.

2. Broken Arrow (English) – Not much of a story line but the breath taking action and the cool anti-hero character portrayed by Travolta is worth its weight in gold.

3 Cliffhanger (English) – A fantastic film in which Slyvster Stallione, a reclusive mountain rescuer eliminates the villains by his skills and not by his brawn in extreme temperature and high altitude.

4. Anand (Hindi) – How to be happy when death stares in your eyes every now and then? How bad you feel when all your knowledge can’t be of use to save someone you love? A simple story but a saga of human emotions.

5. DDLJ (Hindi) – I am not even an admirer of Shah Rukh Khan but this was one film when you want him to get the girl such was his portrayal of the character. At the end of the film, I was left praying that somehow Kajol gets on to the train. One of the best romantic films (most importantly with a happy ending) made in Indian films. I hate romantic films with a tragic ending.

Die Hard series, Speed, Independence Day are some of the films which are worth a mention in the category of films that captured my imagination. U-turn an English Film about what disaster adultery and greed can prove to be was one film which captured my imagination.

Films which entertained me

a. Amar Akbar Anthony (Hindi) I have no counts of how many poor mimicry I would have done in my college of the scene in which Amitabh in a drunken state tries to applies tincher to his mirror image. The title track and “My name is Anthony Gonsalves” still rings in my ears.

b. Most Amitabh films (Pre Shahenshah days) entertained me. Possibly the list of films which entertained me are too many to list. After all, I am not one who lands up at a movie for the sake of it.

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Banglaore, Karnataka, India