Monday, May 16, 2022

Do what you enjoy?

The world of memes beats me really. Including, of course, the wonder and appreciation they seem to invariably invoke despite the fact that what they say are banal AND that, even when they are true, they are not the whole truth!

That's the reason why the 'wisdom' of the memes very seldom seem to be useful to people in real life. The surge of energy and enthusiasm which pushes you on day 1, peters out almost before the sun sets on that day. Because wisdom is not readily acquired in convenient bite-sized (or is it byte-sized these days?) mouthfuls of chocolate-coated words.

I mean, take this 'Do what you enjoy and you will never work a day in your life'. Seems apparent, does it not? If you love what you are doing, then doing it does not seem like work, will it? Nice, easy, simple and so stupid that people do not adopt such a easy route to happiness!

You LOVE cricket? Nice! And you are going to do it and not work a day of your life? Great! Love the idea of getting up almost before the sun and practicing in the nets? Fielding practice - does that seem like work or play? A couple of hours at the gym every goddamn day-your idea of joy? Cannot gorge on your favorite biryani when you please, that's just what you were looking forward to in life? Going out of form, bowlers finding a f exploiting your weaknesses, reengineering yourself by diligent practice to iron them out...that's has you singing and dancing all day? And...

Love being an actor? How about starving yourself and working out to get those six-packs? About dancing in summer clothing when the weather is freezing? How about having to act joyous and bubbly when you have a fever?

And, please note, I have not even talked about all that you may need to do otherwise to GET to be a cricketer or an actor...and STAY one! Like having to stay polite to trolls, for example!

Nothing, but nothing, in life is FULLY enjoyable! Success in ANY area comes only when you are willing to do those portions which you do not like - with the same dedication - as those portions which you DO like! This STUPID idea that you will 'not have to work a single day in your life' is the biggest stumbling block to success. Unless you can make yourself LIKE what you originally did not!

For every successful man in any area there are a hundred who, with the same or more talent, failed. Misfortune may well be the reason why the others failed...including the misfortune of having believed that they 'ought to' enjoy every day of their life and, therefore, refusing to do what they did not like but which was necessary to do in pursuit of success in what they did love to do!

Yup, it's a joy to work in and area which excites you. To expect EVERYTHING you need to do in the process to be fun...THAT is stupidity.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Good, Better, Best

This business of praising people, I thought, was a certain way of only giving pleasure to others. Till, of course, I actually started practicing it. Ye Gods! The amount of ill-will you can actually create, the raging battles that you can set off merely by the act of praising someone!

You know, way back in school, I was taught this thing about the positive, the comparative and the superlative.(What was that? Drat it, I do so remember what I was taught in school - so what if it is one lesson in a hundred?) So, yes, you can call someone good, you can call someone better and you can call someone the best in order to praise them. And you sort of get the impression that 'better' is...err...better than 'good' and 'best' is, of course, the best of all!

So, yeah, your spouse whips up a damn good sambar and do you just say, "Wow! This is good?" Come on, what sort of praise is THAT? So, of course, you have to say, "This is better than my mother's sambar" and...well...your SPOUSE may be pleased but your mother...! AND, if you are really really messed up (Or, as they say, if Saturn is controlling your tongue) you'd say, "This is the BEST sambar I have ever tasted," and invite the wrath of the entire lot of cooks in your family!

And so it goes! Virat Kohli cannot just be a great batsman; he HAS to be either a better batsman than Sachin OR the best batsman ever. (What's that technical term? Ah! Greatest of all times - GOAT! Though, when a different person is a GOAT depending almost on the day of the week...) Dhoni cannot just be a great captain, he has got to be a better captain than Ganguly if not the best ever! And the battle rages all over social media thereafter!

It seems like some sort of curse that people cannot praise someone without pulling down someone else. If not pulling down EVERYONE else! Reminds me of what they say about the gunfighters of the West. Apparently, people used to talk of who was the best, who would kill who if they fought each other, and so on and so on...till they created the situation where the twain met and one died. It's not that they are bloodthirsty, it's just that they HAVE to argue and it never crosses their pea-sized brains that a man has to die to prove them right...or wrong!

Comes to praise, 'good' is good, 'better' can get bad and 'best' can get downright ugly!

Monday, May 2, 2022

Small Talk

I never really ever like what people call small talk, perhaps because I never was good at it. Small talk seemed mostly to involve the weather when first I had it used on me. 'Kya garmi hai' was where it used to start when I first hit Delhi in the month of May.

On the first day, of course, I joined in vigorously, having never before encountered the furnace heat that Delhi specialized in. True that Chennai, from where I had set out, is nobody's idea of a hill-station but it did provide some relief in the mornings and evenings with the sea-breeze. Delhi's breezes were, if anything, hotter than the Sun itself and, on their more enthusiastic days, laden with sand. So, yes, the first few days, it was all new and interesting to talk about.

But, you know what, after the tenth day of entering the office and responding to 'Kya Garmi hai' from some twenty people, it started palling on me. I mean, if the dratted place was going to KEEP being hot for most of the year, it does get monotonous to keep talking about the same thing every day. And, then, comes winter and you exchange 'Kya garmi hai' to 'Kya tand hai' and keep doing it for the next two-to-three months.

See what I mean? You need a special gene to say the same thing day after day and also FEEL like you are imparting some new and interesting information to the rest of the world. Not to mention the fact that EVERYONE is in the same city and is expected to be experiencing the same weather but you should say it with all the enthusiasm of a TV reporter telling his audience the 'Breaking News' that not only he, but every cohort of his, have been blathering about for the past 6 hours. THAT is an ability that must have been distributed when I was taking a loo break for it never was given to me.

Anyway, I never did take to small talk and used to be impatient with it. Conversation, I had always felt, should have more substance, something informative, something of relevance to Society.

Till I ran into people talking such things. And I find that, these days at least, people seldom CONVERSE about things of relevance. As in, they do not DISCUSS such things. They merely use those things to judge others, to troll them, to wish them ill, to fight them and, generally, to convert what should be a social drama into a full-fledged Arnold Schwarzenegger mayhem movie. Now THAT is a shade too...bloody...for me.

So, now, I have come to pine for the good old Small Talk. When people just talked about how hot it was and agreed companionably. Now I realize the virtues of small talk.


'Kya garmi hai'

'Haan! Jabse Modi PM bane, it is getting hotter by the day.'

'Nonsense! When Nehru was PM, the country suffered from drought for consecutive years. Since 2014...'

Ye Gods! NOTHING is safe these days! Nothing!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Offensive uncertainty

The thing about social media is that you get to know mainly of what offends people, what outrages them. After a few hours on it, you get a certain impression about human beings as being compressed cans of outrage in search of a reason to vent; as frowns of displeasure trawling the world for reasons to be displeased.

It is a given, of course, that people assume offense in anything that others do if those others belong to a different belief system from their own. Also, of course, if you dislike a person he can scarcely draw a breath without offending you. Now these are areas where the offense arises because you are certain about the other person...the blackest of villains who God, in an off moment, inflicted on Earth.

In the bygone days, when interactions between people involved swords and maces and such as often as they involved words, showing open hands in one form or the other was an indication that, this time, the intention was to interact using words. Thus, empty hand = no weapon = peaceful intent. Manners, you see, started off like that. When you are uncertain about the other person, you had these prescribed ritual actions which indicated his intentions.

And, thus, starts the taking of offense because of uncertainty. You are the boss, you walk in to the office and some people do not wish you. "How dare they disrespect me?" comes from the uncertainty of whether you are truly respected or not. True, humanity being the perverse creation that it is (God must have created the whole damn lot of us in an off moment, it seems to me at times), people DO try to push their boundaries all the time but if YOU walk around in a perpetual haze of outrage at that chap not noticing you walk behind his desk and this chap peering into his laptop instead of looking reverently at you and so on...well, THAT outrage comes from your own uncertainty. Impostor syndrome or some such learned label, I think, applies.

Where then does this come from, you think? "You do not even care to remember our anniversary," and so on? The uncertainty about whether the other person really cares for you or not, right? It is not that date, it is how important she thinks you are in her life which is the issue there.

The outrage about a friend not coming over to your wedding, about a colleague not inviting you to a party which you could not have gone to anyway, about your child not opting for the choice of course that you much of it is outrage because you are uncertain about your importance in their life?

And so, after years of diligent practice, you now get offended and outraged by the form of things with scant regard to the substance. Like a spouse caring two hoots about being really loved as long as the anniversary gift arrives!

But, then, what's the use of substance? It's the form that can be shared on Instagram!