Dec 23, 2013

Old Age...

Fact of Life? Reality? Or wish we never reach there.

We all have some one who is senior, old, fragile in our families. Either immediate, or close by or at times, far off. Aunt, Grand Mom, Mom's Mom, Dad's Aunt.. the combinations are endless. Point being, we all know some one who is in that stage of an Age, where there is no difference between a 1 year old and a 90 year old.

Truly said that a human being is helpless at two points of his / her life. Being a child, totally dependent on the parents, being old and fragile, dependent on one's children or on the support of outsiders. No sense of being, no sense of belonging, but just being there.

Man or woman in all their splendour for years, all their power and grandeur, one fine day, all down to dust. The good looks all gone, the majestic walk, reduced to a crawl, the booming voice, a whimper, the icy glare, now a flickering of eyes, hardly in a state to remain open for more than five minutes.

The time when one dressed, people were in awe, today, there is no difference between a dress that hardly fits, or is too tight. A dot on a shirt never tolerated, a glass of spilt milk or water would have driven frowns and anger tantrums, today, we are not in a state to know that we keep on spilling food on ourselves and have no clue.

Never one to accept help from any one, never would we accept favours, today, the very thought of even standing up on our two feet is a dream. A jump from a table or five stairs was nothing, today, while walking if we sprain our foot, it may break the bones.

The time and money spent on building our empires, our dynasties, our legacies, today, they may or may not exist. All the dynasties that we built, are busy building their own. All the possessions that we so fondly collected and built over the decades, we have no clue whether they exist and even if they do, we don't recognize them.

At the end, it is simply a matter of a bed, that we lie on, helpless, groaning, moaning, waiting, biding for our time, which also we have no acknowledgement of. Are we living or are we dead, that in itself is a mystery.

Of course, our generations take care of us, our children do care for us when we fall and lift us up, they do get worried, if some thing happens to us. But surely at the same time, some one would also be hurting along with us, as we suffer life, not knowing, if this is due to some past deeds of previous lives or of the current life.

Why this post? Nothing specific, but for sure, looking at the people around, as they grow old and as they struggle with the very basic tenets of life and seeing people around pass sympathetic comments and not empathetic, a thought did come across my mind..

Would I want to live until 90 or a 100? For sure not. Would like to go at a happy age, where I remember every thing and every one and knowing who the hell am I abusing and for what.

Also, I guess the same as, would I want Arthritis or Alzheimer? With Arthritis, at least I know where my booze is. You?

Dec 21, 2013

The Past and Accountablity

Simple, No. What am I talking about? Am I making sense? Yes, probably, not at all!!

Recently (at work), I had a question regarding a process / issue on some aspect of a job that I was handling a couple of years ago. Post my move, a few people managed the same, and all moved on, with some one new as of today. An issue crops up, and the question comes to me, can you explain this?

Not that the issue was relating to the time that I was looking at, the issue was on a process being followed for years, and because things had been going smooth, no one questioned it. Now that there was a problem, a straight question on the process.

Of course, as nature stands, we all justify what we did and why we did, but what was interesting was that many of the people who were following the same process came up with a standard answer: I don't know, this was the process that was there and you should ask the predecessor. It starts going back and some where the one who initiates the process, has to suddenly justify why he did what he did. No matter that at the time, that was the correct process, the correct step, but one needs to justify. One needs to explain, why one took a decision that he did. Suddenly one finds that many people have memory losses, people don't remember, why they agreed for the decisions that they took, more so, that over the years, things may have changed, that would make the decision of the past no longer valid.

Does it not happen in life? We surely see that in Politics! We take decisions based on events, time lines, circumstances. Life moves on. 5 years, a decade down the line, things go wrong. Is it human tendency to first and foremost find out who initiated the decision? Is it human nature to not evaluate what has changed over the years, that made a decision of a decade ago, no longer viable in today's times? Are we as people so inefficient that we cannot fathom our mistakes or do not change historical decisions due to our inefficiencies? We have as a generation for sure degenerated. Compare the talented people of the past - Socrates / Solomon / Da Vinci / Kabir / Voltaire / Galileo... Do we have even 10% of them in today's society?

Looking at some of the decisions that have taken place in history, and evaluating them:

What if Hitler had never started his ambition of ruling the world? Would +World War II  have been avoided?

When the East India Company first came to India, if the rulers at that time, had refused them permission to land, setup shop and trade? Would India still be a country of Kings?

What if Europe had not invaded other lands? Would Europe have been poorer today? Would the world be different in terms of cultures, where East meeting West has generated so much of a fusion, that wonders have been created?

What if the people who built the Seven Wonders not built the Wonders? Generations would have been spared of the slave days, but what about the world?

What if some one had said, no more Slaves in America? Would the nature of the country be completely different today?

Was there reason why many of the Rajput Kings of yore, tied up with Akbar to have peace, rather than unite together and ensure independence was retained?

What if Dhritirashtra had taken a decision to sacrifice Duryodhan when he was born? Would the Mahabharata have been avoided?

Surely, there will be countless more such questions and similar answers as to why? But the moot question remains. Does the one who took the decision at the time remain responsible and accountable for life? What if future generations did have an opportunity to correct a decision of the past, but decide not to, with the rationale, that right now, things are good, why upset the apple cart?

If we blame the past, then I guess the future too should be justified in blaming us. Your take?

Dec 13, 2013

Relationships - Money based?

Courtesy Google

A simple discussion at a recent family event.. Event going on in full swing, people enjoying themselves, guests coming and going, laughter, fun and frolic every where.. Time just passed by, with every one having a laugh here, a joke there and a guffaw coming out from some where. Every one sitting and time simply forgotten. A generic feeling. This is what you call family.

With people sitting in different groups, discussing different topics, a subject that came out was, amazing that how for the family event, every one came. Relatives from different countries, Relatives that people have not spoken to for years, Relatives, the well to do and the not so well to do.

My first comment was Hello..!! This is family, why would relatives not come in at a family function. What has this got to do with any thing else. Yes, one does see the occasional family issues where people don't talk to each other, but then, family is all about that. You see differently, you may not agree, you may not see eye to eye, but in good times and in bad times, you are all together. A family shares the Joys and Sorrows together.

As this discussion took ground, among a few people, one comment that shook me was.. The family is united because the head is very well off. He has the capacity to spend, take people out, blow money and that is what binds the family. What do I say, other than was stunned at the comment. The next comment was even better.. Our family is not united, because we never had any one that strong who could bind the family, you know, have that money power. Totally stunned now !!

My view was asked, however was too speechless to respond. Simply shook my head and said, BS. If it is all about money, who needs relatives. I would rather go and buy new ones!

However as I thought about it later and saw around myself, what was apparent was that it did seem to be a fact. Brothers / Sisters of the same parents. Grow up and then split as their families grow. If they fall in the very well to do class, they are united. If for some reason, one is well off, the other is not very well off, but still does good, it is a matter of a the well off calling the shots. If for some reason both manage well, but not in the very well to do category, they know each other, but there is always a lack of unity.

What defines togetherness? Being available when needed. Being present on family functions. Being there at a simple call at the time of need. Sure, we do see family members doing that, but is that because they are happy / sorry with you, or is it simply because, Oh well, it is family.

What one sees with the new generations is that Sons today, would not think twice about leaving an event on the paternal side, but tell the same son to avoid an event on his wife's side, and that would be chaos (more so, if the girl's family is well off). The same with the girls. Girls prefer that they are more tuned to their parents even after marriage, rather than their in laws, effectively the husbands too following their wife's directions.

I have nothing against being on the in laws side, however always hurts to see families where boys would drop off an event on their paternal side citing commitments, going to work tomorrow, children's schools. Put an event on their wives side.. The next day, the Son has taken a day off, some thing that could not be even thought of for an event on their parents side, if not in their own house.

Not sure if these are changing times or society in general, but probably a lot also to do with unilateral families, with many getting married outside the community and not being approved by their parents. Not referring to the honour killings that one reads about, but this is more towards the strata of society where marriages on children's own decisions are accepted.

Not sure if this means that we are moving to a Matriarchal society, where the wife's family takes over after marriage, but as what is normally observed and I guess the eventual proof:

A Son will scream at his mother for giving him food that he does not like, or if the food has no taste. The Wife once comes... There is no food that the Son does not like and there is no such thing as taste. Money based or changing times.. You decide.

Dec 1, 2013

Being Broke

Definitely an eye catcher of a heading. Any one would be hit with it in  a moment. How to avoid leaving Broke? Of course this is not in Aamchi Mumbai, or Downtown NY, but the sands of Arabia, Dubai.

The article came in quite some time back and of course, keeps on reappearing in the news every now and then, making you wonder, if there is some kind of a message or a reminder that is a flag to you. But jokes apart, very real, very factual and very necessary.

So very easy in a land, where every thing is available, for a price of course. And even worse, when there are 100's of ways made available to you to find ways to get what you want, irrespective of the price. Living beyond one's means is nothing new. The Nawab's of old did it. The Rajah's of old did it. Difference now is, that every one wants to do it. Of course the Rajah's and the Nawab's sucked the gentry to live their lavish lifestyles, one does not need to do that today, but then, the end result is the same. A point where you have to return back every thing that you "borrowed" to live a life of bliss.

Difference again, the Kings of yore, did not have to return it, in a society, one has to. It does always make one wonder, as to why people go to such extents to live beyond their means? Does a fancy car, a lavish villa, the need to go to an exotic country count so much in today's materialistic life, that living a simple life is like a curse?

I know so many, who HAVE to live in a certain lifestyle, not just because they are living in a desert oil country, where lavishness is all around (of course at a price), but some times, one feels, for many it becomes a matter of pride and peer pressure. I drive a saloon car, my neighbour or my cousin a Beamer or a 4WD. Do I need to follow? One lives in an apartment, with 2 Bedrooms, some of your family in a lavish upmarket villa in a high society lane. Does one need to go there, just to show that you can afford it?

Money no doubt has become more easily available today that it probably did 5 decades ago. I get on a average about 3 calls every week from banks offering money. Many cannot accept when I say, not interested in a loan and don't want one. But they persist, even telling you, take the money, invest in another country, and you can make the extra 3%. But then, I still gotta pay it back, Right?

There are probably 100 more ways to make easy money that there were about 20 years ago. And for sure, our demands too have increased today, than what we were happy with in the last 10 years. Each generation outdoing the previous one, we need more than what our parents needed, our children need more than what we needed..

As I went through the article (have been thorough it nearly 10 times now), I but cannot wonder. What is it that takes a man to such an extreme, that he has to showcase himself or herself per the needs of the society. Why can a person not be satisfied with what he / she is, rather than meet the expectations of what others want him / her to be. Of course, in private would rue that all this lavishness is at a price that is unaffordable, but in public, would never dare to admit it.

Fear of society, Fear of being shunned, Fear of being looked down? Is that worse than a life of accepting and being happy with what one has?

Reminds me of what Sachin Tendulkar told the kids when some of them told him that their parents want them to be Sachin Tendulkar. Simple Answer. Why can you not be U? Sachin never tried to be a Gavaskar, but was just Sachin. Why not us. Is that so difficult?