Thursday, January 14, 2010


Remember the moment from Munnabhai MBBS when Munna (Sanjay Dutt) gives a jaadu ki jhappi to the janitor of the hospital to thank him for all the sincere work he did everyday?

These days I'm reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The second chapter talks about appreciating people for their good work and efforts. A few days ago, while reading that part of the chapter, I heard the cleaners cleaning the floor of my corridor. I opened the door and looked out. A cleaner went by and asked, "Kaisa hai? (how is it?)" indicating the floor.
I responded, "Accha hai, accha hai. (Its good, its good)"
I realized that instead of him asking for appreciation, I should have given him and others the appreciation they deserve.

We meet people in the following profession on a regular basis: Barber, tailor, cobbler, sweeper, garbageman, milkman etc. We pay them, they give us service and that is where it all ends. Imagine walking up and down a market place and not being able to locate a barber, a tailor, or a cobbler when you need them the most!
What I believe is that because people in such professions don't earn much, we tend to overlook their contribution to our society, to us. We forget how important they are. Let me be honest here, same treatment is given to a compounder against a doctor, a salesman against an MBA graduate, a mechanic against an engineer, a teacher against a professor. Every person is important, so is their work.

Before joining college, I had the pleasure of service from an Army jawaan (soldier) assigned to my father to run errands and do odd jobs. I have always been thankful for their help (we have a better name for them, helper), but never appreciated them which means myself being grateful has no significance if I can't convey it!

We must, therefore, appreciate our colleagues for the hard work and time, appreciate our parents for all they've done for us, appreciate a performer who, even for a moment, entertained us, appreciate ourselves for doing something new, something different and/or something useful, and finally appreciate God/Nature for the goodness that lies within us.

P.S. 1 - Presence of people doing odd jobs, "small" work etc. in our lives are like vitamins and minerals for the human body.

P.S. 2 - Try cleaning, stitching, hair-cutting, running errands and such tasks. Its fun!

P.S. 3 - Like Teacher's day, father's day, mother's day, children's day, valentine's day... one should have a day to appreciate the contribution of those whose presence may not be felt but absence certainly hurts!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

National Anthem

Isn't it a little upsetting or annoying to stand in attention before every movie in a multiplex for the National Anthem? Well, you may not but then you certainly don't want scorns from others in the hall. It does upset me till before the National Anthem tune is played, but while it plays, I feel like a school kid again, standing with pride, singing the anthem. What changed? Nothing. Because National Anthem would work, even after everything else fails.
During my younger days, while standing in the morning assembly I used to look around sometimes and see every person standing still in attention and singing the National Anthem. It amused me, and amazed me at the same time.
I doubt if anyone really understands the National Anthem. But well, who cares? It works, and if something works, we Indians generally don't bother finding the reason! :D
'Saare Jahaan Se Accha', by Mohammad Iqbal, may not be our National Anthem, but it does bring the same feeling of oneness that warms our hearts.

P.S. - Jana Gana Mana is much more suited as our National Anthem, I feel but can't really decide why... is it because of the content, or the structure, or the "Jaya he jaya he jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya jaya he!" thing in the end... your ideas are welcome. :) (I feel lazy so didn't read about the possible reason, which I'm sure many have thought about).

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Personally I think an identity is a conflict of two personas, one being the current persona and other being the persona one wants to become. If the two persona be the same, then no conflict arises.

Is it the way one looks, or speaks, is it one's demeanor or one's actions?
Is it all of the characteristics taken together or only few which are more prominent?
Is it the uniqueness of those characteristics or the similarity with some other known person?
I don't know, but maybe that's how it is supposed to be.

"It is not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you", Rachel says to Bruce in Batman Begins. Of course later she realizes that there's more to identity than just actions!

I met a friend after about 8 and a half years and I realized that although she had changed in some aspects, some things about her didn't change, those things which I think defines her.

In Agantuk (The Stranger), a film by Satyajit Ray, the husband is skeptical about the uncle of his wife whom they have never met. Later the uncle himself confronts the husband, who seems to be convinced by looking at the passport about the identity of the uncle. Uncle argues that a passport could be fake as well, so is there a foolproof way of testing/judging a person's identity?

In the Christopher Nolan's directed Batman movies, I found Bruce contradicting himself.
In Batman Begins, Bruce talks about using a symbol as an identity for justice, to correct the situation in Gotham because a person could be bought or destroyed but a symbol couldn't be.
In The Dark Knight, Bruce feels that a person like DA Harvey Dent, a real person would give people hope and make them feel secure, rather than a masked vigilante and his symbol.The only reason that resolves this conflict could be that Joker, who was Batman's rival in The Dark Knight was again, not a person but a symbol, a symbol of joker, which stood for chaos and randomness.

P.S. - Geminis are said to have dual personas, as in they tend to contradict themselves often.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Quarter life crisis

Himanshu told me a lot about our lives in 10th class, especially my weird behavior. I thought I was the only one who remembered my childhood, but clearly he could recall it much more vividly.
During the course of conversation I realized that the reason I acted strange is because my brain can not think straight when I'm uncomfortable, and I was (am still) uncomfortable among people (also called social anxiety).
My strange/weird behavior is surely my response to my discomfort. As a kid, I can now recall holding my schoolbag or water-bottle close to me. I used to keep to myself during lunch breaks unless and until someone came to me and talked to me. I guess many would find that rude, which I realized in time, but all I could do is look at others chat, or play, but couldn't move my legs to walk upto them. I gave up after a few attempts and it became my habit. And till date, walking upto a person (who is not a friend) and starting a conversation is one of my biggest achievements for the day.
Strangely true, it never bothered me when people called me names, because I saw it as an opportunity to interact with them in some way. In college, it bothered me because I never saw myself as a 'scientist', but rather as a slacker and a lazy person. Today I realize that 'scientist' also holds true in my case for some good reason and the people who believe in calling me so have their reasons triggered by some of my strange behavior in response to my discomfort among people.
The interesting part is, I myself don't know when I would feel uncomfortable. I have felt comfortable talking to strangers sometimes, and utterly uncomfortable among a large group of all my friends!
There has always been an image in my mind, an image of a future me, but I have never been able to meet him in mirror. Some pieces of the image are still missing, the vital ones. If I were a teenager I'd have felt that things would be better when I grow up, but they never got better because I gave up after a few shots.
This is the quarter-life crisis I face. The mundane problems like unemployment or low paying job, no girlfriend etc. have lost their significance in my life. All my attempts are now towards completing that image, which would complete me as a person I would like to live.