Saturday, December 29, 2007

Genetically programmed to win

This is what Jack Reacher says! Well Reacher is the hero of all Lee Child novels. There are some characters that remain etched in your mind. Reacher, Dirty Harry, Harry Bosch of Michael Connelly! These are guys, to use a phrase to explain them best, are characters out of a story book. Well they are in fact.

The creation of such characters I wonder would be a fantasy of the author himself who he wants to be. All these guys have a common trait. They never lose. They are loners. The girls fall for them. They are anti establishment. They know everything under the sun. They are passionate about the job. They hate the bad guys.

My interest in them is about what I said in the title. Their belief! That they will never lose. Reacher believes that he is genetically programmed to win. He says that killing is his job, albeit the bad guys. As much as a lawyer would not hesitate to see a brief and defend the client, he would kill. No compunctions whatsoever!

I wonder how many of us are like this! Honestly speaking all of us are. Reminds me of an interesting perspective I read somewhere. That all of us born winners, in other words, all of us genetically programmed to win! It starts from our genesis. There are a million sperms that get discharged during intercourse. But there is only one that succeeds in entering the egg and fertilizing it. And that is the one that made you. It had to be stronger, faster and it should have had a desire to be the first, the one that will win. So you start with an advantage. We get made out of winning genes.

But then there are only a few who actually win in the real world. I haven’t bothered much to research or list out the traits of winners. I call myself a winner. I know what I do to be one. I have no guilt, no shame and no fear. ( no fear in getting something done, the normal or the abnormal fears of escalators are very much there ). More often than not I have found that, you just have to ask what you want. Many of them give! When you ask! Problem starts only when you start thinking of what could be the answer. Well, there is always a 50% chance of success, isn’t it? They either say yes or say no. Many say yes. Starting from a normal bargain in a shop or with a vendor! Utmost they say no, they don’t get insulted or hit you for having asked. For many, it is the fear of facing the answer which possibly could be no. But then what is the problem if they no. I read in a small Udipi hotel at Mumbai which said "We do all things possible, the impossible we take a bit more time”. Obviously the hotel owner was someone who landed at Mumbai for north Karnataka with just one rupee in hand. And made it big! Why wouldn’t he?

Sometimes by asking you may even get more than what you bargain for. Because the guy at the other end could be someone who fears to say no! And he is afraid that you may get insulted at the offer he makes. So he does his best. There are plenty of positive thinking books. I never read any of them. I have found no use for them. I know what I am, then why bother someone to tell me what I am. But many find them useful. I actually pity them. You are made to win.

Just go out and win!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Armpits in Advertisements

Sometimes I wonder what these ad guys are up to!!! I saw plenty of hoardings advertising Deccan Chronicle. It showed a lithesome girl with hands lifted up, displaying her armpits. And the caption was ‘Don’t Compromise’. Of course the first two letters of the caption ‘DC’ stood for Deccan Chronicle and there were highlighted. Now tell me what this ad means? What has it got to the newspaper? And what are they asking us not to compromise? Compromising on losing opportunities to see armpits?! Where is the connection? We want to use the female body form for promoting anything and everything, starting from water pumps to pan masala.

While this is a vulgar strategy for getting eyeballs at the advertisements, the endorsement ads are even funnier. Once Sunil Gavaskar endorsed Niki Tasha kitchen range! What has he got to do with that? He was cooking centuries and not curries! But they paid him to endorse the brand which he never uses in his lifetime.

Now there is a new fad. Celebrity appearances! In a recent function at Mumbai where a deal was signed between two businesses, SRK graced the occasion and he was paid one crore for that! Beats my imagination! Why on earth, he would be there and why he has to be paid for that?

For every good commercial there are 10 silly ones. Some of them socially irresponsible too! Like the Pepsi where they used a tea boy when child labor is a crime in the country. Mercifully someone filed a PIL and they withdrew the ad. There was a time you went to saloons for seeing some pictures with cleavage, a confirmed male preserve and domain. But now, they are everywhere, even promoting the toor dhal that you use everyday.

If things don’t change much in the ensuing days, I also should start considering about displaying some deep valleys in my blog for better readership!!!


The only certain way I pass time when I holed up in a hotel room on tours is by watching Discovery Channel. Quite an apt name, because I tend to discover something new every time.

George Santayana told ‘A country without a memory is a country of madmen’. What would he say about the whole species that evolved to its present form when it doesn’t carry the most important memories?

I saw this program about the Bonobos, the closest cousin we have in the primate family. Apparently we lost precious time learning about the chimpanzees to know more about ourselves, when in reality the Bonobos are even closer to us as a species. They are a matriarchal society and the group is lead by the females. The kids hang around the mom’s and the males every now and then display some empty bravado and get chased promptly. The females of the species are the only one in the animal kingdom that is sexually active throughout the year. Maybe that explains their being a matriarchal society. The females know that they hold the key, all through their lives. And the babies who lose their mom and orphaned are ostracized from the community, though the other kids continue to play with the orphan. But not without complications! Any issue between the kids, the mother invariably punishes the orphan kid. And the poor orphan kid writhes in pain with no one to take care and the kids that played with it on the first place and became the reason for its punishment are the only ones that bother. They try to pacify the orphan and bring it back to normal mood. It was so very touching to see that. And at the same time, the adults do care about smaller animals of other species when they get hurt. They take them under their care and ensure that they set them alright.

These are the memories I mentioned that we forget. In the past, we have done such mistakes of interfering in the quarrels of children and in the process get difference of opinions amongst adults, while the children forget that in a minute and start playing. We should have held on to that memory and made ourselves as an evolved species in the literal sense. The community living, the power of women in the community, the care that we showed to other living things, every little thing like this, we have forgotten! Now today because of the civil war in the jungles of Africa, we are even making our closest cousins extinct for their meat.

And this we call as evolution!!!

Let it be

This one happens to be my most favorite song of all time. Yes I am devoted to the Beatles, but this one is a peach. For many reasons, one is Paul’s smoky voice but the clincher of a reason is the lyrics and the ruckus they created when they made the song. John once said that they were more popular than the Jesus Christ. They were confirmed agnosts and when Paul wrote about Mother Mary whispering words of wisdom in his times of trouble, it was considered as a path breaking deviation in their thought process. But Paul later told the world that he wrote about his mother who was named Mary who once appeared in his dream to give a piece of advice. This is the trivia about the song. But I dig what it stands for.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Ah let it be, yeah let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Yeah let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah let it be
Oh there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah let it be
Oh there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Ah let it be, yeah let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Though on a cursory look it appears as a disturbed man’s hopeful prayer, I think there is more to it. Many of the issues in our life, if left undisturbed and we can tell ourselves ‘Let it be’ get sorted by themselves is what I believe. But belief is one thing and practice is another thing. Certain things which doesn’t matter at all when time passes tend to occupy most part of our thoughts today. We are too worried about ‘what if’s?’ everyday. We tend to forget that the light still shines on us even when the night is cloudy. And there is someone who is always standing right in front of us. It is just a question of whether we are willing to hear the words of wisdom.

That is if we believe that we need wisdom.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Fate catches up. Sometimes too soon in your life! Like when you are even just thirteen. I had been warning my daughter to brush her teeth properly and she finds exactly 10 seconds in a weekday for that chore and a princely 20 seconds on a Sunday. And you know what happens. Each tooth was proceeding in a different direction presenting a unique problem to dentistry, as if it has a mind on its own.

But she is so cute that the slipped order lent its own charm to her. And she was happy. It was I who suggested that we fix the issue. Didn’t know that if I was a dentist I would have been happier! Because you get to break people’s teeth and also get paid for that task more than what you are when you are a Business Head. We were given a choice of metal and ceramic braces, the ceramic one only being some 30K. It was another story where mom and daughter fought about which one should be chosen. My daughter looks pretty cute and there are already enough calls to home from her classmates, who incidentally happen to be boys. As it is I was spending a fortune on a cause which I would regret later and I wasn’t ready to double the cost and thus double the agony. Now & later! So we settled for a metal one. I even secretly wished that it will be a deterrent for the so called ‘classmates who happen to be boys’.

It started off with an expense even before I paid for the doctor. Since she was going to wear braces and she can’t eat hard stuff, she demanded that we go out that night for dinner. What she forgot was that she had separators fixed between her teeth to enable the fixture of braces. That was immensely painful and she could not eat. Having come to a restaurant and not being able was even more painful. So she went to the restroom and removed the separators!!! Thus it started. The next day was the actual fixing procedure and because of this adventure that got postponed.

The dentist saw the opportunity in this when she complained that the separators were too painful. So he decided to make more space in an alternate way. He removed a couple of teeth and I paid for it. It at last happened the next day. Now she is with metal all over her teeth and I have named her as Jaws. Her issue would be sorted out and she will turn out even more attractive.

But mine remains. She stays as cute as ever. And the calls don’t seem to stop!!!


My sidebar has been acting up. The damn thing is sitting at the bottom of my page. This I didn’t know for long. One day it suddenly disappeared and I attributed that to the Houdini stuff that is the norm in the household. I felt that I am being very harsh on my wife because we lost a fish and here I have a lost a sidebar. Fairness means that I should be blaming myself too for being a member of the ‘losing tribe’.

Sometimes it will appear to me there is really something suspicious about the mystery of such things getting lost. Fish & Sidebar kinda stuff! So, went to the extent of even thinking of taking some voodoo help. Anyway I was going to Kerala and with some luck if the voodoo guy is also not lost, I can figure out the shrouded mystery of our household. Sheer lack of time in the trip prevented that from happening. Don’t ask what why we were so short of time. Suddenly one guy started about the incompatibility he has with his wife and small things of life and there was a unanimous chorus.

When I resigned to my fate, I opened up the blog at home in Firefox and there it was, in all it’s splendor. That’s when I got my breath back. After all I am a responsible guy, I can’t be losing things like what folks at home do.

Now I am trying to fix that problem and there is too much of help available, just that none of them work for my blog. Change templates, remove pictures, shorten titles, check on the HTML codes, you name it, I have done it. Still the issue is not sorted out.

You know what; Firefox is a better browser than IE. Let us use that only.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It wasn't one more Birthday

I don’t know what I did to deserve such luck and honor!! Maybe it has got something to do with my previous birth when I hoarded tons and tons of blessings that I receive such a never ending supply of love and care. For I don’t see myself as a person who is very sensitive to others or as a great friend to people! I am such a lazy guy that I don’t take any effort to keep the flame of friendship burning forever and given the excess of phone calls I receive in a day, I hardly call my friends or even speak with them for 5 minutes straight when they call me. I don’t remember their special days in life; I don’t wish them and more often than not my actions had been selfish than the other way round. The circle is always limited to family and a few special friends. I don’t call my siblings on their birthdays or for that matter any other day. At office, I pretty much keep to myself and I can’t remember occasions where I have gone out of the way to do something for others. I have strong views on people’s actions and I don’t hesitate to say them in so many words.

I still don’t know why after all this folks show so much love. There had been a flurry of calls since last night and countless gifts for my birthday. Some of them being my classmates in college that I attended 22 years back. Guys from the previous office called me one by one and are planning a get-together on Saturday night.

The buzz has been around at home for a week now and my daughters stayed awake till 2 in the morning to welcome my birthday and keep that extended. My wife has been running around for a fortnight checking out on gifts that she could give me. And one special friend started working on those 3 months back. The kids in the office have decorated my room and have been running around for a cake and surprise me. I see genuine smile in people’s eyes when they walk across to wish me and it has been just a few months since I came into this office.

My eldest sister called me late in the evening and just before the birthday was about to end, gifted me a huge wooden elephant to reminisce my childhood days when she bought me a small one from her Kerala tour, which I ended up as a partner in my sleep for years to come. I kept that with me for around 20 years and it died one day. To gift me something similar when I am turning 42, just reconfirms the place I have in her mind. The kid brother always! I may grow up to the outside world. Never for the folks at home and I shamelessly retain that position and get extremely proud about it.

My daughter buys me a Boxing bag partly to serve as a vent to my anger but more for not ending up as a bag herself in my playful moods. My wife sends me a signal by gifting a Bluetooth device maybe suggesting that we should speak more than what we do now. And I had been wearing the device since it was given and atleast more than a couple of times demanded them to call me so that I will use it immediately. And she thoughtfully shops for bathmats and paper holders because I spend a lot of time reading in the bathroom in which I expect a dry floor. The younger one hand paints a greeting with the National Flag along with the cakes, candles and balloons.

My best friend goes overboard and remembers every single occasion that we had been shopping together and me casually saying that I like something. She prints my blogs as a book with carefully chosen photographs and spending days to get the layout right. She buys me a cycle because I once told that I could never own a cycle all my life because folks won’t buy me and later I grew up to buy only the Chevrolets of the world. She makes a collage of the family photos and buys a self tuning guitar ( maybe she wants me play it atleast once in tune ). Gets me a hand made glass idol of my favorite Goddess and just not to disappoint me folks also get me the n’th sneaker, (n+1)’th shirt.

To celebrate a birthday like this seems to be a throwback to childhood days. Even that I don’t remember to be of such great pomp and love. There should be something that is endearing in me to all these folks. If you ask me, I may not be a great friend to me if I am what I am. And I don’t know what makes me so special to them.

And I don’t think I can ever repay such love. Whatever I may try would not match these gifts. It makes the job of a lazy guy even tougher. But what other motivation could be there for someone to attempt?

Picasso said “It takes a long time to grow young” and Lincoln said “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it is the life in your years” and mine has been filled with life so far and I am marching towards growing young. And with such special people around, I sometimes get pretty greedy about wanting a hundred more birthdays!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

One More Birthday

Another birthday is getting over tomorrow. I don’t remember the earlier ones of my life or its significance. However, these days it is becoming a big affair. As if I am a star or a minister. There are too many people who call without fail to wish and I get flooded with presents. These are the people whom you know in the real sense; add to this, droves of people in the office who walk in to wish. Maybe because I sit inside a cabin and that means even not-so-known people peep in to wish.

Year on year I get to know more people, some of them get really close and a few become an integral part of my life. This means the list only keeps growing. The ones who are in the ‘known’ list are genuinely warm and the integral parts starts partying for this a week before.

I sometimes pity the people who would want to buy gifts for me. There was a time in life there were desires and needs. By God’s grace every single thing of them had been met and some of them superfluously met. Like 12 watches, 14 sneakers, 50 T Shirts, 85 Shirts, 6 perfumes and so on! I have more music collected with me that could last my lifetime or beyond, if I choose to listen to all of them in one go. Don’t ask about books; whoever gifts it would probably be secretly cursed in the same breath as I would thank them. Because the house is running out of space and with the current real estate trends, it is becoming a costly desire just because of storage space. The ones that warm me invariably are the hand painted greetings of my daughters, because that involves hell a lot of effort and every centimeter is filled with love. Being a man is a nuisance to the gifters that much. Choice is limited for a man. Come to think of it the only thing that would really make me feel wow is based on the effort and time the gifter has to put in choosing mine. Even Google doesn’t help you much in this area. So you can imagine, if God fails who can win. So when my father in law called me to find out what gift I wanted for this Bday, I told him that I have got all I want and one thing I would love to have more is ‘peace of mind’ and he replied that my wife would be giving a piece of her mind if that is so! But there are special friends who make every single thing count even in midst of these mounting challenges! Because of their genuine desire to see happiness in my eyes!

One of my friends had it as a habit in his family that they will get themselves dewormed on the Birthday. Just for plain convenience of remembering this annual ritual. I too have picked 2 habits lately. One is that I donate some money without fail. And store those thank you letters for the organizations like treasure. Second habit is taking stock of what I have done in this life. Though I think of it every year, I don’t stop with the preceding year only as an update. I go through the whole works again. Some stuff of the past gives me perspective, some give me smiles, some give me tears and some give me desire to do it again and some give me plain irritation about naivety and adamancy. I vow myself that I would not repeat any of the stupid things of the past and these resolutions are shorter lived than the New Year ones.

As I grow wiser every year I also realize that I am getting softer in my brain. Small things please me more than the big ones. As if I am a geriatric, thing that happened yesterday gets forgotten but I remember dates of small events that occurred some 30 years back. My audacity gets reduced year on year and I convince myself that it is a sign of wisdom. I get more agitated at the choice of dresses by my daughter, the very same ones I have not minded my wife wearing 15 years back. I keep telling myself that I am not turning into a prude but just being more careful about what is to be done. At the same breath, do stuff for which I never had the courage as a youngster. Sentences with the same count of words are spoken for longer time now because it is punctuated is err..’s.

Couple of years back when I turned forty I was almost getting into a depression because of that, as if that marks a watershed in life. Now when I know that I will again feel the same way only when I turn eighty, I can afford a laugh. I was wondering whether I was going through andropause. Nothing of that kind happened. And I stopped thinking about age unless when it is convenient to me or every year around the birthday to complete the ritual of stock taking.

Actually I guess I only grow younger. There is a reverse aging process and now I am worried where that will stop. At 18 like Bryan Adams sang or even lesser? That is a cause for worry. After all I am becoming old; I need something to worry about!!