Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Discipline, Talent and Time

Discipline may not be a substitute for talent but talent evaporates without it.

He wasn't talented but he did treat things gently, patiently and took his own time to understand them and get familiar with them. Ask him something all of a sudden and he'd look lost. Give him few minutes and he'd be ready to impress you with his response. He had this genuine interest in understanding how things work rather than be prepared with tailor made responses to situations. Perhaps, at the age of 14 itself he had understood that nothing is permanent, everything changes.
He wasn't disciplined, he hardly followed a time table, except for the school time table which he had to. He too his own sweet time doing things. Once he was forced to finish off something before the deadline and he did. All other deadlines were excused for him so that he could meet this deadline. The teachers were rather surprised though. They could clearly see the drop in quality of this work as compared to his previous submissions, which often happened few days later. Some teachers were fine with his late submissions because they marveled at his output but some thought that special treatment to one student could mean partiality which eventually authorities were not ready to do. Poor chap, he suffered due to this.

So, in a conventional sense, he was neither talented, nor disciplined. But he was both, yes he was!
You could call him talented, his talent lies in his perspective, his approach towards things, situations.You could call him disciplined, when doing one thing, he paid complete attention to that thing only. He never compromised with this time and attention to his work. He overshot deadlines only because he knew he could do better and only when that zenith of perfection is achieved that he is ready to proudly claim that work as his own.
Perhaps we end up defining discipline and talent wrongly! Why do we have to use time to define discipline and talent?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Valentine Day's Story

If two guys go out on a Valentine's Day,
its just natural to conclude that they're gay.

But I'm not. Nor my friend is. In fact, my friend has a girlfriend but she stays in another city. But instead of sitting home alone, they decided to go out in their respective cities, have fun and talk on phone every once in a while. Maybe we're good friends or maybe I am his only single friend but I'm sure I got the first call, and we were the only two guys walking the mall together that night. There were couples, yes, and there were families, and group of friends and by group I mean more than two! Arjun's phone rings suddenly.

"It must be Aditi's call, yeah it is here. Hey Aditi."
Okay I don't know what she was saying, and if I try to speculate, that'd be lying to you.
"Aditi wants to talk to you."
"What? No no I don't want to dig into your precious conversation. I can talk to her tomorrow!"
"Take the phone, man." and he pushed his phone in my hand.
"Hey Aditi."
"Hi Parth. What's up with you guys? What are you going to do?"
"Well, we're gonna have something and look at hot chicks, rate them maybe. And yeah, the one with her boyfriend gets extra score."
"Cheapo! Ok, give the phone to Arjun."
Of course I don't know what she talked to him about but he was grinning.
"Yeah, we'll probably have a sub and then go to some other mall. We've actually decided to observe how couples behave in public."

And that was our plan, yes! Entertaining, and educative. But I'd have still preferred a pretty stranger girl than one of my best friends!
"Ok, I love you too. Bbye! Talk to you later. Yeah, will call you after I reach home and tell you everything I did. Ok, bye!"
I cringed a little inside when he said "I love you". Maybe I'm not used to this word. Please don't misjudge me. I have a loving family but I haven't said "I love you" to my mother as well! "I love you" and "Sorry" are something I have never been able to say to anyone.

While we did window shopping and were walking towards the subway, a quick visit to what happened today morning. A phone call woke me up at 7 am, one and a half hour before my usual time.
"Hi Sunny."
"Hi Mommy. How're you? Why haven't you left for school already?"
"I am about to leave. Just wanted to say, "Happy Valentine's Day"!! Just wanted you to know that your father, your sister and I love you very much."
"thank you Mom."
"and also I had to wake you up. You and your bad habit of waking up late!"
"And I'm awake now. So, you please leave for school and I'll go to the toilet. Can't talk anymore. Bbye!"
I didn't wait to hear her reply because it was an emergency situation. It happens 5 minutes after I wake up, its fixed! That kind of makes me not want to have dinner while traveling overnight when I go home!

I have no argument in my defense. Yes I can be labeled as a loser because I don't choose to be, I am forced to be single. Guys tell me, 'you got looks man, you got your writing and you got a good job, why don't you try, man? Girls are gonna like you, really!' Believe me, I've tried to try but, well, I talk direct. Its hard for me to read signs or flirt around. I mean, I could do that, maybe, but I am not sure of the other person's response. Its a hit and try game. You like someone, you walk up to her, and hope to start a conversation. That doesn't happen unless you have something in common. I did have something in common with that girl I met while on a 'date' with my best friend Arjun. I saw her sitting across us on the other table while we entered Subway. I deliberately took the chair to face my back towards her. The idea of talking to a girl without any plan scares me more than needles and ghosts!

I heard her approach towards the door from behind me when the person at the counter said, "Sir, you forgot your credit card." She and the guy with her looked back. While he walked up to the counter, her sight fell on me. I looked at her at the same time.
"Hey Parth, right?"
My face and hands were a little smudged with sauce, it happens all the time while I eat sub. I felt awkward.
"Yes indeed. How're you Natasha."
I didn't offer to shake her hands for obvious reasons.
"I'm good. How're you?"
"Good. So..." and while I searched for my next thought, her guy friend comes back.
I wipe off my hands with the tissue paper.
"Hey Parth, this is Arun. Arun, Parth."
"And this is my friend, Arjun."
All the formalities were done.
"Parth evaluated me for my speech this time and I was amazed. You were great Parth."
"Thanks Natasha. So when's your club's next meeting? Do send me an invite, I mean Madhapur Toastmasters."
"Sure! We're getting late for somewhere, so I'll see you later. It was nice meeting you. Bbye."
"Same here."
All the formalities were done.
"I have to tell Aditi this." Arjun says in his usual delightful mood when he knows something exciting.
"Why? What happened?"
"I saw a girl actually flirting with you. This is breaking news!"
"Flirting? No! We do that all the time. Its the Toastmasters code. We encourage each other and praise each other for a job well done. You never attend our meeting, I invite you so many times."
"Maybe now I will, I'm curious."
"Hey Aditi, yeah, I just saw a girl flirt with Parth."
"Yes I am sure. She was praising him and she started the conversation and all."
"Here, talk to Aditi."
He pushed the phone again in my hand.
"Hey Aditi. How was your evening? You sound so pleasant tonight."
Nothing worked. She started lecturing me that I should meet her more often.
"We're in toastmasters, that's why she talked to me! Please attend a toastmasters meeting in Pune, there are some clubs over there. You'll know."
"Why do you always try to deny that you are likeable."
"Arjun wants to talk to you, here."
And I took the remaining sub in my hand and quickly walked out before Arjun could push the phone back into my hand.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Price Tag on marriage

Times have changed and are changing, but sadly some things haven't changed. Why do people still believe in taking (which is understood!) and giving (WTH!!) dowry? Educated people living in a mansion also demand dowry... don't they have enough money? And those who give dowry believe that if they don't, then their daughter might have a difficult time in that household. If the groom's family doesn't accept her or if she has a difficult time in that family then maybe that marriage wasn't the right thing to do in the first place. Can money really make/mend relationships? I thought love did that !! Times indeed are changing.

Tell me one thing though, doesn't a woman contribute equally, if not more, to the economy of the household? A wife, a daughter-in-law, a mother, takes care of the house, she is a homemaker. Imagine your life without her, without them... all I'm saying is that dowry as a custom has lost its significance, its not out of love for your daughter but out of fear. Its like a rotten limb, its painful yet you refuse to cut it off just because its always been a part of your body.

This is for all the highly qualified well educated guys... if your parents don't understand, you should. With big degrees and years of work experience, do you still need to ask (or impose) the bride's family for dowry? Isn't your fat salary enough? Have you lost your self respect along with your innocence over the years? How can a marriage, or any relationship, be stable if it is based on financial transaction (in cash or kind)?

Marriage has become a business transaction. The amount of dowry that a groom or his family deserves depends on two things: status of the family and education qualification of the groom. But if the family belongs to high class society or the groom is a highly qualified professional, is dowry really necessary? If the rich and the educated still follow such customs then where's the hope for everyone else?

I am a firm believer of the fact that wherever more than necessary money is involved, evil creeps in. There are too many troubles in this world, why carry another one on our shoulders. Let us be free of the outdated obligations that society supposedly puts on us, because your happiness and your daughter's happiness is more important than what others think, and money can't buy happiness.