The Three Blind Men

Recently, I was in a shopping mall heading towards McDonald’s for a dinner. As I walked past a showroom, I noticed an odd occurrence. Three Men, holding each other by the arms were walking in a straight line. One look and I had dismissed this sight. But then I paused and looked at them again. Here were the three blind men, white sticks in hand, goggles covering their eyes at 9 in the night, walking steadily in the middle of the mall.

I went over to them and inquired as to where they were headed. They said they wanted to go to the loo and the lead amongst them confirmed from me that it was in  the direction ahead. I corrected him by saying in a matter of fact way that he would have to turn to the right after walking down a bit further. He thanked me and started heading out in the initial direction. Instantly, it occurred to me that in the most insensitive way, I had told them the directions but not the distances. I latched on to the first one and took them to the corner where they had to turn right and pointed them on to start walking in the said direction. Again, they thanked me and started off.  Satisfied that I had done a good job, I walked off but stopped before having gone more than a few steps. I cussed at myself for being that stupid and ran back to them in order to guide them further to the exact door. When I reached, they were fumbling around a fire escape, looking for the correct door. Many onlookers were passing by them, surprised to see them try to find their way in the maze of objects and paths we “sighted” people take for granted. Before I could reach though, another fellow had arrived and helped them get to the restroom. I realized as I looked from a distance that it was the lead who alone had to go to the loo but the other two had no option than to follow him. They stopped at the door and waited for him to return.

As I walked off, a thought came to my mind. As the world around us progresses and technology allows us to become greater than ourselves, the society we live in does not change, the plight of the people does not change and the conditions which affect us do not change. We may be running after cures for cancer and aging but the blind man still cannot see and the deaf can still not hear. There is technology to enable them in doing these too, but that technology is not available to the present at a price which does not hit the pride of the man bearing the cost. Those blind men were not in rags but seemed suitably dressed. A poor blind man would have been stopped at the doors of the mall and forced to look for a loo elsewhere but the guard let them in and guided their path too, in his own insensitive way. That goes to say that the latest gadgets which help the blind(no euphemisms here, say it as it is) are within their reach but not there yet.

As a tech enthusiast and a software programmer, I can say that anything is possible in the world of technology. As a hardware designer and a practical man, I can say that we are not looking at the right ventures. I can blame many for not following up on this, from Steve Jobs to the Indian Government, but till some brilliant yet cheap technology comes into the possession of these disabled people, let’s make sure that the three blind men you see on the road next time reach home safely. Let us make sure that the stark contrast between consumerism of the most blatant kind and the simple reality that life has not yet changed despite Science’s greatest contributions be diminished by Humanism, for that too is as simple as extending your hand and guiding the path of those who cannot see.

Waking Up to Sid

So, the movie ‘Wake up Sid’ is a look at today’s Youth and their abhorrence to the 9 to 5 job culture. It is a good portrayal of dreams and winning them and yet, many will see it as critical of the way today’s Generation is leading their lives, waking up late, shunning responsibility and not learning ‘Family values’.

Indeed, it is true that at our ages our parents were more mature, responsible and career-oriented, but allow me to show you a side which the movie only hinted at but did not explore as it devoted time to the Love story enmeshed in it. Does anyone realize that today, the average age of a person to remain a child has gone a lot further! There are many influences towards that- the increasing demands of education being one; it is impossible to get a decent job in today’s scenario with at least two degrees tucked in your belt, proof of that comes from my discovery that the taxi driver, who drove us from Guwahati to Shillong when I first came here, was a Graduate in English Literature and yet not able to secure a good job in Welcome to Shillong. Its amazing how we can proudly jump from one level of Education to another without ever gaining any real Education, vis-a-vis, experience in Life. In that sense we remain Children at least till such ages when our parents we looked at by their parents as Adults who had secured jobs and were starting families. Another influence pushing towards this attitude is the advent of Pleasure. Today, the amount of devices and methods to get sensory pleasures is a huge set. My Father first used a computer in His Masters Degree while I got mine in Class 6th. Obviously this affects our choices and level of enjoyment. Any one with a computer today listens to the latest songs and watches the latest movies at the click of the mouse, while our parents specially took out time and permission from their parents to enjoy such pleasures. Finally, we today have a lot more services which can be accessed via more comfortable means, thereby pushing us away from the real action of getting up and standing in that long queue to book that train ticket. Who is to blame? No One! Society has been consistently pushing these amenities into the hands of its children. Parents will keep loving their children and considering them children as long as they stay in their parental homes and pursue higher standards of education before getting real jobs and learning real values. You will say- “But what of those parents who push their children and make them work hard??” Read on…

The second reason why we are so misunderstood is that today, our Education System is competitive, Our Society, open-minded and pushing our creative talents but our “Traditional” look at a career still points towards a limited set of supposedly “valuable” and good careers such as Engineering, Medical and Accounts. It is this stereotyping of jobs which, at the same time both encourages our creativity and limits it. There are enough Summer camps in school to make students believe that art is a viable career yet enough pressure during exams to cause suicides even in Class 7th students. This ping-pong battle between passions and “consistent source of income” causes a messed up attitude amongst children and shows in their callousness towards life and insistence on living in the world of games and fairy tale love stories. In short, todays Youth is up for many challenges but is not encouraged to take risks. In light of this, I laud Konkona Sen’s role in the Movie, who takes a huge risk at one point of life and is courageous enough to make sure that she’s successful.

This debate and the future of the Indian Child has only two possible outcomes- the parents suddenly realize that the best way to rear children is to give them more responsibility, sooner, so that they learn how to live at nearly the same time as their parents did. This is akin to what happens in many western societies where no job is looked down at and children learn the value of menial labor earlier than their counterparts in India. Alternatively, parents will continue to crib about their children yet keep pushing them towards more books and learning without understanding. That model will only yield a generation which prefers to live in the gaming world and wake up late in the afternoons.

I wonder where India is headed…

Pure Brilliance…

Rarely do we come across something so special that it feels like telling the world about it… Dinner proved such an epiphany for me… I saw on the TV, in between the incredulous serials which line up on the Indian Television nowadays, a set of Ads for the Bajaj Discover DTSI bike which felt like just the right thing!

Now I’m not a big fan of the bike, being a Pulsar guy myself, but the adverts had a sense which I connected to. Both ads I saw were about discovering destinations in India which usually we are unaware of. While the first one claimed that nearby Ladakh, in Kashmir, there stands a place where the bike doesn’t need fuel to drive, on account of the presence of a Magnetic Hill near the road, the second claimed that you don’t really need to go out of country to be out of country, since there are places where the cultures and traditions of the people are so different that any Indian would feel out-of-place, all within 100 kilometers of very well known and often visited places, exactly the mileage of a Bajaj Discover with 1 Litre of petrol. These ads showed not just the brilliance of the creator but also the Vision with which Bajaj is leading us to discover India, our beloved. I stared in amazement as the ads touched a deep cord in my mind about going to the farthest ends of India to discover ourselves. Sitting in Shillong, I am preparing to goto Mysore while having come from Chandigarh, not a very common route every Indian takes and thus not something everyone can connect to… Yet I am sure that these ads will excite every Indian about the many things we still don’t know about our India.

My only regret is that I could not find a suitable video of the advertisements on the Net so as to link to them… As soon as they appear, I’ll have them linked here so that people who don’t usually see their India can marvel at it’s wonders…

Logging out,

Nitin Khanna–

And But: The Negativity Syndrome

A positive thought by a dear friend of mine was recently posted on Facebook. It was indeed, a beautiful thought about the amazing power of Love to disregard any fallacies or blemishes in the nature or character of the person you love deeply. That is because it is true that when you become completely vulnerable to a person, expose yourself completely and let Love fill up all the vacancy in your heart, a few flaws will not stop you from loving ever more. You can see that prime example in our parents. Most of them are from an arranged marriage, an institution where you never know what narrow mindedness or insecurities lie at the back of your partners head and from the time where our parents come, the dictionaries did not hold the word divorce. Does this mean that they are not happy and always fighting?? Not at all. That is the beauty of their alliance. They accepted the other person with open arms and an open heart, truly showing their broadmindedness and believed in their lawfully wedded partner, giving them a chance to love deeply and strongly. These only, later on become the qualities of a good parent, loving their child enough to overlook the small errors they make yet being responsible enough to set them on the right path.

But what does this mean for the present generation? What does the above discussion tell us about how much do we truly love? I discovered the answer while trying to comment about the beauty and validity of the thought posted by my friend. I wanted to start by saying that I agreed with her and so I started with a “True…” This is where it struck me. My mind is so attuned to thinking in the negative that the only word which could have followed in my line of thought was a ‘But’.But is that the right word?? Masters of Group Discussion often tell us that the polite way of making a point during a GD is to say, “Indeed” or  “I agree” or “True” and then append your thought after that, because you acknowledge the previous person’s contribution and yet go on to make your point clear. The sum total of that comes out to be, “True, And…” However, my thoughts were coming to be “True, But…”

Indeed, that is a dilemma, wanting to say Yes but ending up saying No. I sat there,thinking for a minute about what I wanted to say but not quite able to form a decision, left dumbfounded by the fact that my thoughts were negative even in the glaring face of positivity and happiness. I worried about what could be inferred from this discovery and what it meant for my counterparts all over the world. Does it mean that we are doomed to become extremely negative faced with extreme environmental conditions both natural and psychological? Does it mean that there is a limit after which everything the mind sees it believes there to be a downside to? Does it mean that the years of violence both in games and in the News, of competitive nature in sports and studies alike, of believing in the amount of harm of Allopathic medicine and the impotence of Alternative ones and of studying the great World Wars yet starting new ones, has left Man dumb towards the beauty and magic of Nature, solemn to the glory of Man and a polar opposite to the Positivity of Hope, the essence of Humanity? If it has, then there is no knowing when this fragile mind will crumble under a set of beliefs which would sicken any psychiatrist. Because the true Question here is whether you will add an “And” or a “But”. Because that will tell us what we are thinking and how we are reacting to Life. Because that will tell us whether there is Hope.

After a lot of thought, I simply typed in the following words… “True… and beautiful!”

The Bystanders

Ever noticed that whenever in a Movie, there’s a scene in some Public place, the focus is never on the public but on the Actors?? Then what are the other people doing in that scene? Why are they there? What is their purpose and what is their reason?

bystanders

Lets leave the film industry aside. Have you ever thought what it would be like to have that talent or that Father or that Level of Power in Society or that much Money?? Of course you have, we all have! We all have at some point in Life thought what it would be like to have that much money and social standing. How much easier Life would be if we were that Rich and Famous Person who is always partying or giving interviews about their Fabulous Life and how other people treat them with so much respect and always give them preferential treatment! How much fun would it be if we have already achieved what we wish to achieve and are simply sitting back and reaping the rewards.

Often, during College and even School, I used to imagine how Easy my Life would be if I were that Professional who has already achieved that Position and is just working now. How much I despised the process of going to school and how much I longed to exchange it for the process of getting up early every morning in order to go to Work! It was the satisfaction of having a boring, procedural Life which gave me comfort! It was this comfort which made me hate my Learning years, because those years were important only for growing up, not actually doing anything constructive on the work front.

I had read nearly all major interesting Management stories before Class 10th, including Shiv Khera, Who Moved My Cheese?, I Moved Your Cheese and even Murphy’s Law (Where Something Can Go Wrong, It Will !!!) !!!

All of these made me think about all the kinds of new ideas and methods I could implement once I got to that managerial position! And yet, I was not the least bit interested in going for an MBA!

Ok, enough about the reasons for this post, lets move on. So we’ve understood that all the popular stories are about the people at the centre and that Life will always take you through the boring phases before giving you the reward. So what does this teach us?? That those Bystanders have a Life of their own, a Story of their own in which they are the Heroes and They hold the central plot. In their Lives, We are the Bystanders!

Do not be a Bystander in your Own Life, take up the reins and Pull the Horse of Destiny in the Direction YOU want it to go! There is no better satisfaction that to reap the rewards only after going through the Most Boring Parts, because those parts make you realize how valuable that reward is and makes you Enjoy it! There’s no sense in skipping to the most gripping part without dragging yourself through the long, useless explanation!

You are already THAT Person! Just start being Them and see to it that the aspirations you have now are what you are holding 10 years down the line. Because That’s what makes you That person!

Kung Fu Panda and some real MetaPhysics

 

Yes!!! I recently saw Kung Fu Panda… And It was good!

And then I saw it again and again… And it was good!!!

hehe… ok ok leave apart from the Bible preachings… The movie is great, its a must watch for all genres of people, from children to adults and from Kung Fu lovers to sad, bored-from-life ppl and although the action was a little steep (jumping from nearly the highest mountain in China and landing safely), thats what I expect from a Cartoon Movie because these things can’t happen in real movies (Oh, except in The Matrix).

What I did not expect was the deep Philosophical meaning underlying the whole movie. The whole concept of each action and event in a person’s life having a deep impact on the future and deeply being influenced by the past is a basic tenet of all Martial Arts and most Religions, so the movie left me slightly amused about its real meaning.

Let me put down some examples before coming to the real point I wish to discuss-

  1. The Father of Po (Our dear, Lovable Kung Fu Panda) has the same dream of running away to learn Kung Fu but chooses to ignore it to follow his father’s dreams. Had Po also ignored His dream, he would be the same as his father, choosing his destiny to be a cook selling soups instead if being famous and a great Master.
  2. Tells You What? Follow Your dreams and Aspirations, for if you work hard enough on them you will have them and since you have been dreaming about them, You are already Ready to achieve them, just take the steps, the doors Will open.

  3. Shifu had created a Fighting machine in the past (Tai Lung had been trained to be very talented but too challenging in Kung Fu, thus not able to achieve the level of understanding about Life that Oogway did). That war machine destroyed the only happiness that Shifu had, showing that You get what you make. Had Shifu trained tai Lung to be patient and understand that Kung Fu is not a way of fighting but a Martial Art then perhaps Tai Lung would be able to become the Dragon Warrior. The darkness Oogway saw in his heart was not Tai Lung’s but Shifu’s craving for more Pride. So he was responsible for it and had to train Po to become the Dragon Warrior. Shifu thought it was his Bad Luck that he got a Panda to train, but it was his Luck that he got Po who was already destined to be the Dragon Warrior and there was a way to train him (watch the movie, this part is really really funny!!!)
  4. The concept of the Dragon Scroll was really very very beautiful. Spoiler Alert. The truth is this- You ARE the best creation of God that there is, there is no one better than you. Remember that. Because what you see when you look in the Mirror is the greatest mind ever, Realize that and there is nothing in the World that can stop you. Just like Po, look at the world from your eyes, don’t TRY to look at it from someone else’s. See your goals and BELIEVE that they are Achievable. And why are they achievable? Because YOU are attempting to achieve them. The sky is not the limit. There is NO LIMIT TO YOUR POTENTIAL.

Now for the real thing I wanted to say about the Movie… Spoiler Alert

In the Movie, Oogway’s vision of Tai Lung returning to claim the Dragon Scroll is so terrifying to Shifu  that he sends one of his cronies (Zeng is his name and Oh he’s such a scaredy cat… uh… bird… ) to check on the Prison where Tai Lung is held. His presence there is not required as the prison has intense security and the Commander of the Prison (Commander Vachir) does not accept Shifu’s request to increase Prison Security due to Oogway’s Vision. But Zeng’s presence is very important. As Vachir shoves his as a joke, a single feather from the bird escapes to the place where Tai Lung is held and eventually helps him escape (again, watch the movie, you’ll get it).

What does This tell us???

What ever we do is Karma, even if we are trying to do good, thus it will have consequences in our life, and soon. Karma is a basic in all Oriental religions and Spiritual beliefs, because according to us, God is good at calculations (actually, ALL religions and spiritual beliefs say this, but in different ways, like Dooms Day or Armageddon or Karma or Yin and Yang, our beloved two opposites of Life). So We must remember that What We do, i.e. our Actions, whether out of fear or fun, affect us more deeply than imaginable. The best we can do is to do only the right things ( My belief in the adage “It takes less time to do the right thing than to explain why you did it wrong” is confirmed every time I do something wrong) and to think before we act.

In the end, some Italian will do…

La vita è grande, così essere felici
(Translation for those who won’t copy this and paste in Google Language tools to find out what it means out of sheer laziness— Life is Great, so be happy)
Yin and Yang, bhai bhai
Yin and Yang, bhai bhai
 
The Panda is here... Prepare for Awesomeness 
The Panda is here... Prepare for Awesomeness

15 Till I Die

So yesterday I went to the market to get some Ice… The markets in India, as we all know employ a large number of helpers, sometimes upto three in one shop only. The first thing which I saw when I got there was a little boy, probably twelve years of age (probably younger, I’m very bad with identifying age) standing near the counter lifting and arranging packets of chips. I have, as many have, heard about the new law  by the Indian goverment increasing the minimum age for a person to work to 15, below which it is considered as Child Labour. It was evident at first glance that this boy was much younger. So I asked him two questions–

  1. Do you have Ice Cubes?
  2. What is your age?

To the First question, I got a prompt affirmitive, but for the second one, the little one wavered and then said he was 15 years of age. Well Lied, I thought. Then I thought that I must do what I can about this situation. So i asked the price of the Ice Cubes and was redirected by the boy to the Shopkeeper who had just returned from inside the shop. I accosted the Shopkeeper and without looking even once in my eyes, he said that it was none of my business. He seemed right at that moment and I bought the ice and walked away.

But the thought that I did not do anything about the boy kept hurting me the whole day and I will probably be ashamed of myself everytime I will think about it.

So today, I sat down to think what I could possibly do about the Situation. I came up with very few answers as follows–

  1. Do Nothing, which, trust me, is as bad an idea as punching your father-in-law in the face.
  2. Punch the shopkeeper and then run for it, because if you stick around, the people of the market association will thrash you to glory.
  3. Call the Police and report to them, in which case either the shopkeeper will be fined and then he’ll again employ a young child or he won’t have to worry because the head of the market association has already bribed the police.
  4. This one seems to me the best solution to me and I will follow it every time i see Child Labour around me– Ask the price of a lot of goods, ask the shopkeeper to pack them and then walk off without buying them after commenting casually to the shopkeeper that you don’t support Child labour. This will frustrate him and even if two to three people do this to him, trust me, he get an above age helper.

I don’t suggest that you stick to my plan, although I’m sticking to it already, its your choice.

On the other hand, you could also think about what if that kid was the only one to support his family or that he was aiding his family in finance needed because of the large number of his siblings. If you wish to take this route and support Child Labour, just think about this for a minute– Don’t your Children go to School? So isn’t the right place for a Child a School?

Angst

Anger,

Its always there. Waiting to pop out of the corner, waiting impatiently to attack your brain, to consume each and every part of your creative conscious. Anger is there, like a shadow. But unlike a shadow, it cannot be stood upon. It looms on us, looking out for reasons. Often it just comes, and then you just cannot concentrate. Or enjoy for that matter. Even in the most solemn or beautiful settings it ruins everything.

Anger,

It has a way of eating out all your thoughts and even your appetite. It’ll kill for attention.

Anger,

Its got its ways.

But Anger,

sometimes its good. They say everything is good in small quantities.

But Anger,

Its always got to be big. It doesn’t spare. It attacks and hunts down the last bit of happiness, just to replace it with a sick kind of remorse, which doesn’t want to go away. Sadness can go away by music. But anger. No.

Sometimes i think Anger must be good.Because no matter what you do, it’ll be back. So why run away from the inevitable. After all, Hell ain’t all That Bad.

N