Saturday, June 1, 2013

Of Comparison, Marks, Leadership, Dhoni, Loneliness, Kevin, Always On My Mind, Break The Rules, Tu Man Shudi, Lazy Lad, and Write Better

Long time no see..

I have many disparate things in my mind, so it going to be unstructured post (as if other posts are structured?)

A few days ago, HT carried an article from The Guardian called When life doesn't measure up

Humans are competitive and, to a certain extent, we've always been comparing ourselves to our peers, but social media has made that "peer group" feel a lot bigger. I blame Facebook. We get status updates every few minutes. The start of summer is peak season for weddings and graduation ceremonies, not to mention exotic vacations (or even just incredibly stunning beach homes), and all those photos get posted on Facebook. But for all that social media has done to reinforce our dark tendencies to compare ourselves to others, the worst of all might be reunions. I find it interesting that the generation that supposedly never wanted to grow up is suddenly very worried that they aren't far enough along the "grown up track".

Isn't it so true? We spend almost all our free time on Facebook and all we see is someone getting married, someone visiting exotic locations, someone getting a good job, someone writing about his movie knowledge (ahem! like yours truly) - as if we all are trying to prove a point. We want to show off. But the reality is no one knows the not-so-good stuff. People do not put that on Facebook. And this showing off breeds comparison. Comparison to show off that I too am good like you. Perhaps that is why I like Twitter more than Facebook. I can be myself on Twitter, I do not have to show off things to my friends, though sometimes I do. I was just going through my friends list and I could not believe the number of people who have deactivated their account. I also thought of doing it but just could not bring myself to do it. I have this fear that I will miss out on something. I hate it. It is like an addiction. I could rather spend that time reading more but, no, I have to check Facebook. Interestingly, Sidin also posted an excellent quote Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

This quotation, from Theodore Roosevelt, argues that comparing your work, your life, or whatever else will only serve to make you unhappy. Why? Because when you yourself to others, you know all the dirty details of your situation or the problems with what you've created but only the seemingly positive surface information about them or their work. So don't hold yourself up to some outside vague standard of greatness. Judge your work by your principles and leave comparison out of the equation.

We have to learn to stop comparing our self and it is really hard. We have to accept that somethings are not made for us and then only we can be satisfied. That is also similar to what was written in Of Student Of The Year.

CBSE Class 12th results came out. I cannot believe it is eight years since school finished. Abhi to college start kiya tha. I checked CBSE archives if my result was still available. Apparently it is. Showing off you see.

But now if I look back..did these marks take me anywhere? No..all the choices I made I never wanted to do them. I was never interested in engineering but did that. I took biotechnology because college's brand is good. I went to SRCC for a month for economics honors and left that to go for engineering. Did I learn anything in engineering? No. I never had the technical aptitude like other smart people in my college. Then, first job was totally unrelated to what I learnt. Moved to other company because again brand was good but where I did the worst kind of work. And now MBA. I really do not know whether I did anything right? I have so many regrets in my life. I do not believe when people say they do not have any regrets. We all have regrets. Even if they are missed opportunities. As they said in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, our life is defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss. If I could go back, I would have taken Humanities in Class 11 and 12, then went for either economics/political science/journalism honors and then went for a masters program in public policy and eventually work for some organisation like the UN or the IMF. But alas! I cannot do it now. I am not that courageous. It is too much of a risk monetarily. Even with such good marks all through the career, it never really helped me. I am not proud of anything. Perhaps that is why people do not respect me. I really want people to respect me. When they take my name, I wish they said that guy is smart. I know.. it is such a shallow wish no? As Naseerudin Shah, in an interview to Anupama Chopra, said,
"Are we supposed to live our lives aspiring to some ideal of greatness. You cannot live your wanting to be great. You do the best you can and it is upto the world to decide how great you are."

Talking of colleges, CNN IBN shot an episode in college. Some much deserved publicity though :)

Starting from 9:00
In one of the earlier posts, I said about how leadership is so abstract. Sidin, as always thoughtful, wrote in his Mint column  Cubiclenama - Coping with randomness. He writes, 

Business schools, business textbooks and business gurus all give us the impression that most, if not every, element of the workplace and business can be reduced to deterministic rules. This is fine so far as the models are extended to mathematical things such as simple banking, supply chains, information systems and so on. But extend this thinking to concepts such as “leadership” and suddenly you’re tap-dancing on razor-thin ice.

To me the very idea of a “leadership grooming system” is ridiculous. It seems a wishful, futile attempt to mitigate all kinds of inestimably random things. It is also a reflection of the modern organization’s insistence that the process is superior to the person. Apple is greater than Steve Jobs. Virgin is greater than Richard Branson. Amazon is greater than Jeff Bezos.

But what if they aren’t? What if P&G can never replace Lafley? What if there is simply no way of using all your confounded obsession with controlling randomness to cleave the leader from the legions?

Totally agree. And the timing couldn't be better. Infosys, too, has brought back Narayan Murthy back to the helm just as P&G has brought back A.G. Lafley. But then this begs the question? Are some people born leaders? Can it not be cultivated? Talking of leadership, there was a big debate last week on why Dhoni did not say anything on the match fixing scandal. Perhaps that is why I love Twitter. It brings both sides of an argument. 

@Diptakirti: Those outraging over Dhoni's silence and using headlines like "Dhoni gagged", tweet one misdemeanor your employer has committed. His needs are much higher than normal people and thus, more dependent on his employer. Also, his productive years are shorter. It is a little sad that he became an employee instead of a captain/leader but that's no reason to crucify him. At his level, there are many 'perks' that a BCCI President can get him. E.g. Captaincy immunity. He chose not to rough it out.

@Greatbong: There is a vast disparity in the power normal people have and Dhoni has vis-a-vis their employers. He can immediately get employment with an IPL franchise. And yes if he took a stand, not even Srinivasan could have done anything to him vis-a-vis the Indian cricket team. I think that's precisely the reason to crucify him. He would have lost nothing. Absolutely nothing if he took a stance. Look at Sourav Ganguly. He spoke against fixing as a real captain.

Last week, I spoke to my sister. I felt really bad when she told me she is very lonely and no body has time for her. Mom also told me she has started to get a bit helpless now. My cousin in California, who is fighting a messy divorce battle, also called me today and told me that how no one is supporting her. I guess our family is one of the most loneliest families now. Each one fighting their own battles. I do not what happened but all of a sudden, my father told me that you will find good people everywhere, and even if people are not good, they will teach you something. I hope things work out for everybody in the family.

It is the Brothers and Sisters effect. I am totally in love with the show. I am dreaming about the show sometimes. These guys are so lovable. In one episode, all the family members were discussing the song they lost their virginity to. Such frank conversations they have. Such fantastic acting. Steven Spielberg is right. God acting is moving from movies to TV.

In one episode, Saul tells Kevin that he is one of the loneliest people he knows. I feel really bad for Kevin because one can relate to him so much. 

You are one of the loneliest person I have ever known :(

Robert proposed Kitty and says,

Robert: Any song that is even remotely romantic reminds me of us, Kitty. You make everything new.

Holly: You can't help who you love

Everyone thinks Kevin is uptight. I did not know the meaning. Uptight means anxious in an angry and overly controlled way. And that is so me. I am uptight too. You should see me in parties, how controlled I am and how I do not let go. I am such a boring person if you meet me, thinking too much about things unnecessarily. Kevin hated it when people said that, so gets drunk, goes to the karaoke stage and sings to prove he is not uptight. Awesome he is :) And the song he sings is Always On My Mind.  

Always On My Mind

I listened to this song for the first time and instantly loved it. Its lyrics are brilliant and it is addictive. Have put it on all status messages - Whatsapp, Gmail, etc. 

Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have

If I made you feel second best
Girl I'm sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

And since I am such a soap junkie, I finished Season 4 of Modern Family. It is just so funny. Luke has become my favorite. So he failed his maths exams and says, they treat me as if I am some kind of irrational remainder. How can remainders be irrational? :P He is so cool. I wish I had a cool friend like him when I was young.

His frozen assets :D

But my favorite part was the final episode. So, Phil's mom had died, and she leaves a gift for everyone. She gives a lighter to Alex. Alex did not understand it first but later during the funeral, Alex lights fireworks using that lighter and reads her grandmother's message.

This is a lighter. It belonged to my favorite actor, Paul Newman. One day, he came into the restaurant where I was waitressing and accidentally left it behind. For the first time in my life, I did something I wasn't supposed to and slipped it into my pocket. One of the customers saw and said don't worry, your secret's safe with me. That customer turned out to be the love of my life, your grandfather. So, my Alex, who I love so dearly, who's probably too much like me for her own good, every once in a while, don't be afraid to break the rules. You never know what can happen.

Every once in a while, don't be afraid to break the rules. You never know what can happen.

Isn't it connected to Kevin being too uptight and letting it go. As I always say cosmic connection theory never fails :) Maybe I should stop being too uptight and and break some rules. 

Raanjhanaa's new song, Tu Man Shudi, is out. AR Rehman composes another brilliant song with Sufi musical touches. The opening lines of the song are taken from a poem from the Sufi poet, Amir Khusrau. These are the same lines that Sheikh Abdullah, Omar Abdullah's grandfather, recited in Lal Chowk proclaiming his love for India.

'Tu mun shudi, tu mun shudi. Mun tu shudam tu mun shudi' -
You have become me, you have become me
I am the body, you soul.

Looking at the video, I am almost sure it is shot at DLF Cybercity. The lobby is so reminiscent of my old office. I am really looking forward to Raanjhanaa. Sonam might not be a good actress, but there is something very classy about her. There is a very real line in the film's trailer. Mohalle ke laundo ka pyaar aksar doctor engineer utha ke le jaate hain. It will not be hard to find examples from your life. In school, the girls who used to date the biggest jerks are now married to some doctor or an engineer. I hope Raanjhanaa is good.

And there is a third song that is playing in my head. When I first heard it, I hated it. But there is some Himesh-like repeat quality about it that it gets stuck in the head. Lazy Lad from Ghanchakkar. And the end part is the funniest. Pare hat na.

Kahyaalon ka pulaav
Milega man mein
Paka ke phir pulaav
Akele khaata hai
Nasal hai karele
Ke neem pe chadha

But please sabse pehle mujhe Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani dekhni hai :(  Kaise dekhun..

Lastly, I have started a new Twitter handle @Write_Better. What better way to learn is by teaching? So I will tweet on tips to write better in English, collated from various sources. This way I will learn it too :) I want to be a Grammar Nazi.

U sent me an email that he got through LSE. He forwarded me his entire resignation mail :) I am so happy for him. I talked to H trying to help him out if he should go for doing what he likes best rather than brand/money. First world problems. If only I was as smart as them :(

Aaj to bahut zyada ho gaya. Still have so many things to say. I am thinking of making my blog private. Should I? Sometimes I write too much personal stuff no?

More. Later.

Dialogue of the Day:

"नींद आती है, सपने नहीं आते, तो फिर क्या फायदा."
 - Meenaxi, Aiyyaa

P.S. - I am barged by anonymous spam comments. Earlier it was fine but now the frequency is almost twenty-thirty a day :( Is captcha a good way to stop them? 

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