Saturday, March 20, 2010

Be 'Idiotic'

Speech by Mr Chetan Bhagat at Symbiosis ...must read...

Don't just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

"Life is one of those races in nursery school where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same is with life where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die. .......

One thing about nurturing the spark - don't take life seriously. Life is not meant to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? ......

It's ok, bunk a few classes, scoring low in couple of papers, goof up a few interviews, take leave from work, fall in love, little fights with your spouse. We are people, not programmed devices........." :)

"Don't be serious, be sincere."!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Moments of Inertia

Nehru said, “Aaram haraam hai” …… This was the motivating thought for me whenever I needed to stretch and work hard for exams in school days. However, now I think otherwise. Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about dynamism and being the ‘go-getter’. Winning the rat race and ‘achieving’ is the mantra that most corporate niwasis swear by.
Reminds me a wonderful story I heard about the Mughal emperor Babar. Babar was famous for his military exploits. A wise man visited his court. The wise man was utterly shocked at the way Babar behaved. Babar cracked lewd jokes and laughed profanely with his courtiers. The wise man was saddened by this. Before leaving the court, he told Babar the motive of his visit and the fact that he was very disappointed. Babar told the wise man that if that is the case he should leave immediately, but before the wise man left he showed him a bow hanging in one of the corners in his court. The wise man did not understand. Babar explained that just like the bow needs to rest without being stretched or aimed at something ( lest it loses it’s flexibility), in the same way he prefers to rest and just ‘be’, so that he can give his best in the demanding phases of administration and battles.
Hierarchies are put in place for division of labour and decomposition of tasks to achieve business goals. However, climbing up the corporate ladder has become an ego and ‘status’ issue. Isn’t that sad? In this rat race obsession how many times have we not been good listeners to our parents or spouses or children? Doesn’t make good business sense to me. About 70% of what we achieve is for our family and how good does it hold when we cannot ‘connect’ with them.
The bell which ‘tolls’ in the church or temple or the Maulvi melodiously reciting the Namaz in the mosque at dusk are all wake up calls. Wake up, stop and proceed home, not as a corporate executive but as a father or a son or husband, etc….
Unless, we stop and lay back how can we ever excel and ever ‘connect’? The character Rancho in 3 Idiots is interested in excellence, not the rat race and not the competition.
Dynamism and enthusiasm are very important but it does not entail a hectic race where we neglect the scenery along the way. Human nature is to swing between extremes.When our country was not so developed, the stress was on answering ‘competitive’ exams and making a mark for oneself. Have we gone overboard with this? More urban youth in India die by committing suicide then in accidents or disease. Calls for a ‘reality’ check.
The key is not to relinquish ‘efforts’ but to do away with ‘doership’. Being lazy is not the answer but ‘restful activity’ seems to be the answer. Focusing and fully believing in our innate potential can work wonders. When you feel good, you look good and you get into the zone where you truly enjoy what you do. Look at a Anand Mahindra or a Sanjay Kalra., they exude tremendous energy and dynamism but at the same time they are relaxed and enjoy what they do. If we are not relaxed, how can we ever ‘connect’?
To conclude with my rant (or GYAAN), I quote my Dad’s favorite verse (by W. H. Davies)
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare