Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rudeness- the weak man's imitation of strength

I spoke to a male colleague in the office, aged around 37-38. I was trying to make some polite conversation. This guy replies very sarcastically. I tried speaking about a more neutral topic like, “How was the travel from the new airport?” Even this innocuous question elicited a sarcastic reply. The tone in his conversation was very condescending throughout.
I wondered what made him talk like that. Has power come too soon to him? Had he come from a very insecure/ impoverished background? Is that why he wasn’t able to handle power?
This illness pervades the entire corporate world. Rightly said, “It’s not adversity that’s the true test of a person. Give him power and see.” Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! I have interacted with very senior people in my organization and seen them being so down-to- earth, so kind and hard working. It is this quality that has endeared them to others and therefore they are where they are today. This sadly doesn’t percolate down and the ones in the middle try to implement an authoritarian leadership. These people are probably proud of the little war of words…these small victories but forgetting that they are actually losing out on the bigger battle of life. I would personally consider myself victorious in life when people swarm to my funeral. How does anything else matter?
I had a small spat with the person who is the parking-in-charge at the railway station from where I board the train. He was being careless about his duties and I chided him for not doing it well. But my words haunted me throughout the day and I made my truce on my return home. He has now become very friendly with me, takes extra care of my vehicle and charges me only the minimum parking charges however long I choose to keep my vehicle.
What admonishment and punishment cannot accomplish, empathy, a little smile and kindness can surely do it. And for all those in power, if we could combine that power with kindness, what a lethal weapon we have!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Caught the Train!

I guess I should name these posts as ‘MMTS adventures’ rather than the more staid ‘MMTS journeys’. Each day appears an adventure.
This was on Tuesday. I was busy trying to complete some work at office and when I finally looked at the time I realized that it was already 8:05 pm. Time to rush to catch the 8:25 pm train. I rushed out of the office and got into the elevator. That day, the elevator stopped at all the floors. By the time I reached the ground floor it was 8:10 pm. Will I be able to catch the train was what I started worrying about.
When I walked out of the office gate to cross the road, I saw that there a huge procession of trucks carrying the Congress party enthusiasts shouting slogans. The road was jammed and it was only after the ten or so odd trucks had passed that I could find some space to run across the road to reach the other side. Whew! Now to hail an auto. I could not find any autos willing to come to the Hi-Tech center. After waiting a long time, I got into a bus. This bus stopped after moving some time as the conductor wanted to cross-check the tickets! I was getting exasperated at the delay and started worrying. Finally the bus moved only to stop a good 250 m away from the signal where I was supposed to get down. The jam was extended till here.
I got down and ran through this jam to reach the auto stand to take an auto to the railway station. We were near the station when I saw that it was already 8:25 pm. I knew that I had lost that train but was praying to God to allow me to get into the train. Missing this train would mean that I wouldn’t get another one at least for the next one hour. I got down from the auto, thrust a Rs.5 coin into the driver’s hand and was relieved to find people waiting on the platform. This means that the train hadn’t come. Thank God! I now walked as fast as my short legs could carry me…walked across the bridge praying that the train doesn’t come till I had crossed the bridge. I crossed the bridge and started walking towards the place that the ladies’ compartment stops and just in time... as I saw the train chugging in! It was 8:35pm. The train was 10 minutes late.
I was triumphant for that day. I didn’t miss the train!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We are reflected in others

I am currently reading a book "The Zahir" by Paulo Coelho. The following is an excerpt from the book. I felt somehow stirred when I read this. The following conversation is between the author and the lady in his life. A very simple but deeply thought-provoking dialog.

"Let's suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one of them is all smeared with black while the other man's face is completely clean. Which of the two will wash his face?"
"That's a silly question. The one with the dirty face, of course."
"No, the on with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks like him. And vice versa. The man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself, "I must be dirty too. I`d better have a wash."
"What are you trying to say?"
"I am saying that I was looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and however intelligent or self-confident they were, they ended up seeing themselves reflected in me and thinking that they were worse than they were. Please don't let this happen to you."

Monday, April 14, 2008

A prize- albeit a third one

I have been working in my current organization for the last 3 years but heavy schedules kept me from doing anything beyond my work... (training schedules day in and day out). After all this time, I got time to participate in an Essay Writing competition organized in my organization. Following is the essay for which I got a third prize. I shared this article with my friends in my yahoo group and everyone has said that they liked the article a lot! The constraint here was a 200- word limit for the writing. This was tough as trying to express clearly what you have to say in 200 words is not easy! I also got to see the other two prize winning articles but found mine superior to both of them. My friends confirmed it too. Never ever got a third prize for my writing.
What was heartening, though, were the congratulatory messages which started pouring in immediately after this message was put in the common mailer…never knew that people from my previous department valued me so much. There was only a piddling of messages from my current department…mostly enforced…enforced because I had to point out the common mailer to them to see the announcement. One very callous comment was, “Good to see you learn writing after you joined our unit.” I was stunned to listen to this. This is, in fact, my 47th/ 48th prize in my life!

Leaving this aside, I was happy that my current reporting manager acknowledged it first and sent a message. Well, here’s the article:


Well, this topic set me thinking...who motivates me…or should I say what motivates me?
The ability to find joy and beauty in everything is perhaps the biggest motivator.
A baby’s smile motivates me. The innocence in that smile drives me to be good to everyone I see.
I look at young children playing together, I feel motivated to let go of my ego and harbor no antagonism towards my colleagues.
When I look at the older people I feel that, no matter how old they get, they never lose their beauty - they merely move it from their faces into their hearts. This teaches me the value of kindness.
When my little son gives me a hug on my birthday, I become a more lovable person to the world.
I learn the value of humility when I see the rose plant in my garden open up its rose bud. Its beauty makes me marvel at God’s work of art.
During a downpour, when I see a mother trying to cover and protect her baby first this makes me learn how to be selfless.
I see God’s handwriting in everything beautiful. At every moment of life, I feel inspired by some person, incident or thing that instills in me a better perspective of life and living and beckons me to give back the same to life.

My (mis)adventure

Well, this happened on Thursday when I was set to return from work by the last MMTS local train. The train was supposed to come at 9:25 pm at the Hi-Tech City station. I waited at the station and the train was there at sharp 9:25! I got into the train, and along with me, a bunch of villagers who scrambled into the train with their luggage and asked hurriedly whether the train goes to Faluknama. I, in all my wisdom of traveling for the last 6 months, waved them down saying not to worry as this does go to Faluknama. But there was a gentleman who said that this doesn’t go to Faluknama but to Hyderabad. How would I ever think that the Hyderabad-bound train was half an hour late that day! I panicked when I heard this, and asked a few more people around me. They too confirmed that it doesn’t go to Faluknama but to Hyderabad. I told the same to these villagers. They too panicked and asked my help. I then advised them to get down at Begumpet…the junction from where they could now take a train to Faluknama.

I got down at Begumpet to catch a train to Sitaphlmandi, my destination.
Even after getting down at Begumpet , I wasn’t sure; I asked a group of three people standing on the platform whether the train to Faluknama comes on this platform. I didn’t want to miss the train. I told them that I had boarded the wrong train. They started giggling. I asked them why they were laughing and was told that they had done the same too and had, in fact, gone all the way to Hyderabad before they realized their mistake and took another train back to Begumpet.

The right train came within 5 minutes. I checked and double checked to see that it was indeed bound for Falkanuma and boarded the train. The group of villagers too followed me like Mary's little lamb.

I finally reached home at 9:40 pm! All’s well that ends well!

Thursday, April 3, 2008



My 33 year old friend is getting married and I need to attend this wedding. And now for the story before ‘happily ever-after.’ Well, this guy had fallen head over heels with a girl when he was in his twenties, hopelessly in love till she got married to someone else. Now he is friends with his ex’s husband !

Next one, this time more serious was three years ago. This time he fell with a thud as his GF refused to budge from the UK where she had gone to make a career. The higher you rise, the greater the fall!

Well, my friend wandered with a broken heart for more than a year …

And now he is getting married to a girl, 31, on the 18th of April.

And now for the ‘before’ part of the girl. She too had fallen with a thud out of a prolonged affair.

After these experiences, my friend and his bride have settled for an arranged marriage!

What’s really heart warming is to see these two getting on like fire… always on calls, chats and what not… well, love lives on hope too.


A colleague of mine, a girl, 29, is getting married on the 29th of April. The guy, also 29, said that he loves her but doesn’t want to marry! Turned out to be commitment-phobic! Ladki ne bahut saha then she said joote padenge..phir bhi usne nahi mani …then she said theek hain phir…get out of my life…then the guy comes running back and agrees to marry.

Ab parents ki baari hain…she is from UP and the guy is a Maharastrian. Pyar hua ikrara hua but the different states were the barrier. The parents had to be convinced now…after all this, she is getting married and flying to the US.

Pyaar me lakh thokre… phir bhi pyaar Zindabaad!


Well, this time it’s a 27 years old guy, an ex-trainee of mine…I was his faculty for 3 months and since then he follows me like Mary’s little lamb.

These people are from the lower middle class family …very conservative. This guy’s father is a Pujari in the temple and wants his future daughter- in- law to be from a Hindu Brahmin family. Apart from this, the ‘kundlis’ should match. This guy works in a call center now…very innocent seedha-saadha guy…doesn’t eye girls…says whatever my parents select is ok by me…the parents reject girl after girl…

2 years back, this guy comes to me and says shyly, “ Ma’m, parents have seen a girl for me. He shows the photo very enthusiastically…starts sharing his dream about her till this proposal fall through as their destinies via the kundlis didn’t match! He was less enthusiastic about the second match…then the third, fourth, fifth, sixth…till he gave up and said to his parents, “Fix whoever you want to …don’t ask me.”

Last week he came to me takes out a photo out of his pocket and says “Ma’m I am getting married to this girl”...a nice plump girl, 26, at least 60kgs in weight 5’2” height.

Well, who said marriages aren’t made in heaven?

So I am committed to attending these three weddings and behind those brides’ and grooms’ smiles is this BEFORE “HAPPILY EVER-AFTER’

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fake notes

As I was traveling to work, I was stunned to find a lady of about 35 years sitting at the road-side burning a bundle of new 100 ruppee notes!
I stopped my bike, staring at her and wondering if I was watching a mad woman!
I asked her why was she doing that. Her reply stunned me further. She says that it was a bundle of fake notes! I asked where she had found that. She said that she had found the bundle in the dust bin while foraging. I don't know whether this was the truth but this fluke peep into the crime world left me quite a bit shaken!