Saturday, January 31, 2009

Honesty is the best policy? Satyameva Jayate?

Imagine this……
Host presses the guest to have one more puri, just one laddu……….come on…one more helping of pulao…
The guest vehemently refuses………reluctantly takes the puri and the sweet
And manages to finish the meal
The host and the guest are quite satisfied with this interaction and the dinner is a success.
The host thinks…..we must take good care of the guest…….he expects us to force him to have more…let me force him
The guest thinks…….. I like this person...if I refuse the food he will feel bad...I must not hurt his feelings………ok, let me have some more…….

Have you seen the saas-bahu serials?
The little sister appreciates the jewel box. The sacrificing sister in law tells her that she can have it. The little sister protests weakly but the sister in law pushes the precious box into her hand. It is assumed that the bahu really did not mind the transaction and more important…the little sister really wanted the jewel box.
What if the little sister actually didn’t care…….and what if the bahu actually priced the box a lot?

That would be very ironic……right?

Do you think such second guessing happens only in serials and advertisements? Well, not really
We Indians are adept at saying what we do not mean……… As a result we also do not take what others say at face value

This makes the head reel

For we are often left in doubt……………does he mean what he says? We try to second guess, and often end up in a mess

The mother tells her extended joint family, she does not mind the cooking and the cleaning
The boss tells his assistant manager, the product must be ready for despatch in 30 days.
Both do not mean it.
The mother would rather take it easy and laze…… after all she has spent 35 years caring for the family.
The boss knows the product requires 60 days for completion…..anyway the manager never delivers on time

The daughter in law says………its Ok ma, I will help
The assistant manager says …….yes sir, the product will be ready
Both do not mean it
The daughter in law would rather hire a cook……..and spend precious time with the children before leaving for office
The manager has already decided that the product cannot be readied……..anyway we can always blame it on something later

Why do we complicate our lives? With whom will the buck stop?

Just for this week I will say exactly what I think………let me see if anything around me changes?
Don’t they always say? Honesty is the best policy

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Developing Nation

We had an amazing experience yesterday. We were at a signal in JP Nagar. Just when it was about to turn green, an elderly couple began to cross the road. I held my breath as the lights changed. Would the hapless couple be caught in a volley of vehicles swishing past them on either side? But amazingly that’s not what happened. Every car at the crossing stopped till the couple safely reached the other end. There was a lot of impatient honking from cars at the back…perhaps they could not see what had held up the flow of traffic. But we witnessed a great moment of understanding patience.

What makes a nation a developed nation?
Is it merely a yard stick to measure the wealth of a country? Is the answer that simple? Is every rich country a developed country?

From the 6 weeks that I spent in France I know for sure that this courtesy to a pedestrian would not have amazed anyone. I remember that as a pedestrian there, I was often amazed at the courtesy afforded to me. I saw amazing courtesy and precision in almost every aspect of life. Patience and perfection! As a people that seemed to be what they stood for.

As a nation what are we proud of? That I think decides whether we are a developed nation.
Is the driver of the bus proud to stop every time exactly at the stipulated area or is he proud that he can stop the bus anywhere and no one will question him?
Is the doctor proud that he gives appointments and keeps them or is he proud that he has a line of patients waiting in the lobby?
Is the manager proud of giving his visitor complete attention for a duration of the session or is he proud to be interrupted by phone calls?
Is the energetic young man proud of treating the elderly with kindness or is he proud of being able to ignore them?

Fifteen years ago the first option would be the obvious choice of most Indians. But India was not so rich then. Now India has more wealth. We have economic stability. With increased education and increased wealth we should have become a nation that is proud of right choices. Somewhere along the way we have lost sight of where we are going.

I had read somewhere that
Success lies not in achieving what you aim at
But in aiming at what you ought to achieve.

Are we progressing towards being a developed nation? Or are we going to merely be a wealthy nation?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The swearing-in ceremony of President Obama

20 January 2009
The TV was turned on in a million homes across the world. We sat and watched with wonder as thousands of people converged to the Mall, on that cold winter morning. Every person interviewed said that it was history in the making. Every person there knew that he had no chances of getting even a glimpse of the real Obama. They had travelled miles, were willing to stand for hours and brave the fierce winter winds to witness together, the big event on big screen. And they had absolutely no complaints; on the other hand, we heard jingles and songs and lots of fun time.
Like actor Will Smith said, Obama is an Idea.
Every nation today is a tired victim of senseless violence, hatred and corrosion. The perpetrators of this violence belong to no particular religion, race or nation. They have no accountability, no responsibility.
We have learnt the hard way that prosperity and adversity have chain reactions. If my neighbour suffers, I suffer too. But we are so caught up in suspicions we cannot stretch out a hand in friendship without looking cautiously over our shoulder. The irony of the day is that people hired to the dirty job have turned against the hirer himself.
The sane world wants peace. The world wants to be friends. The world is looking to Obama to be the catalyst that brings peace and harmony to the world. Enough wealth can be created in peace, so that every nation on earth evolves into a developed country.
That is the hope the world has in Obama.
Obama must succeed.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Who is the True Indian?

The latest fad seems to be India Bashing. We see this in elite drawing rooms, chai dukans, TV news and even in classrooms.
The roads and pavements get the biggest bashing and perhaps a close second come the politicians.
I don’t claim to be free from this malady….

Why do we as Indians enjoy playing down our own lot? We revel in articles and cartoons that highlight, often sarcastically, our “chalta hai” attitude and callousness. Over cups of steaming coffee we talk about people who spit on roads, take bribes and sell the country. Then satisfied that we have done our bit we walk away to chores left unfinished, with a smug smiles.
Have you watched the Western news channels? More often than not, the gruesome aspects of their life is left out or under played. We see politicians well in control of the situation, dignified reporters who are respected, and citizens proud of their country.

I dream of a news channel that throws spotlight on developmental projects.
I dream of a news channel dedicated to showing what is right with the country.
I dream of a news channel that looks at everyday heroes instead of zooming in on criminals and rogues.
I dream of a news channel committed to showing us what India can be.

I believe that if we make ‘Being Proud of India’ the done thing, rather than ‘India Bashing’, then India will become a country everyone would be proud of. If auto suggestion can work for individuals why would it not work for the country?

I will narrate an incident that should shock you…
An NRI family was enjoying the lovely glasshouse in Lalbagh. The 6 year old son was troubled by the chocolate wrapper that needed to be disposed off. He was searching for the dustbin – that was actually just round the corner and made to look like a tree trunk! – his mother, looking smart in her jeans and top said, “beta this is India, you don’t worry, just throw the paper anywhere”.
Let us please highlight, that such behaviour is the exception and quite contemptible. This is not INDIAN!!
What do you say?
Let us be INDIAN.