Monday, April 29, 2013

2004 : Nirvana paperback

I love this tiny book called “Nirvana in a nutshell” by Scott Shaw. Its really tiny, has 157 tiny posts, most of which jolt you into an insight, no matter how often you have read them.

Like today I read this, which was really apt for the day:

Internal Peace is a choice.

The world will give you a million reasons not to be peaceful if you allow external images and negative stimuli to dominate your emotions.

Next time you find yourself upset – stop everything.

Be Still.
Let your mind rest.
Do no let momentary emotions control you.
Catch them and watch them fly like a beautiful bird across a scenic horizon.
Understand that whoever or whatever has led you to this unpeaceful state is not worthy of controlling your life.

Allow yourself to feel peace- even in the most unpeaceful events and enlightenment will be yours.

2003 : The back support

There is something very poetic about having partner who encourages you after every defeat of yours. Its also unlike me. I could never do that, because in every defeat, I would be busy analysing the seeds of what went wrong.

Yet I have someone who does this exactly for me. She is terrific at this.

Thank you!!

2002 : More on the mechanics

Nowhere is the previous post more apparent than at a workplace. You always see that within a project team, the operational level shall fall below the median, and sometimes very close to the bottom.

That is why, its important to ensure that every person who joins is potentially intellectually just as astute, if not more, as the remaining folks in the organization.

We sometimes compromise, in the need to hire faster, always saying "just this one, it wont matter", and before you know the whole team of 20 is operating like "this one".

2001 : The mechanics of a society

Here is an interesting thought experiment. Take 10 random folks and put them in a room. Ask them to live together and co-operate.

Faith in human goodness will make you hope that the brightest minds come together and create something more than the collective offers. Unfortunately, this is never the case.

Human beings drop to the lowest common denominator, when you are put together. If the room for example includes one with a gun, one with a stick, one with a paper, and one with a rational voice.

Guess, who shall win everytime. The man with the gun, not because he is Einstien, but because he is the gun trotting Idi Amin, who can choose evict a million established folks from a country, because he felt like it.

As a society we should explore how we can make this whole equation a little more palatable. If we cannot at some point demonstrate to our children, that goodness does win, then we shall have a world were only Idi Amin's shall be idolized.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

2000 : Its always good to survive a battle,,,you then have a tale to tell

This blog started out for me as a personal memoir....a way of telling my daughter that her papa was human, fallible and yet, really tried hard to be a good man.

6 years ago, this was just a whim. Today its a part of me, its an identity. I love the fact that though its very personal, it does invoke very strong reactions, and has given me some good friends.

Do reach out to me, and keep the conversation going...its a great adrenaline rush to see a mail in your box, which says "little monkey fuck, I completely disagree with you!!" or something to that effect...... Seems like my battles interest more folks than just my daughter.

Thank you Uncle Universe.

1999 : The fallacy of being smart(er)

No where is hubris more apparent than in a corporate jungle. You walk around, and do realise that some folks believe (from their heart), that they are much smarter, because they have the seat, or they have the context.

Give or take a few exceptions, this is universally untrue. As we start comparing within a dense band in the corporate jungle (the layers at the top are usually always dense) its very imperative to remember (and perceive  that the intellect gaps almost disappear....which means the top five levels of the organization are all similar in would the mid pack....and so would the bottom pack.

Being smarter is a function of context, and to a certain degree opportunity  Take the context away, and you have a nincompoop.

It always is an eyesore to see a person strut and dole out if he/she partook of the special ocean water.....thats so never true.

The faster we remind ourselves of it, the more grounded we shall be.

1998 : The joy of work

Typing and writing on the chromebook is the closest you can get to writing with a Mont Blanc. The key pad is the fabbest I know amongst all the devices I have ever worked with.

The best things in life dont cost all that much :-)

1997 : The ghost in the machine

I have been having sleep issues - a disturbed sleep for over 2 weeks. I was talking about it to someone, and as we were talking, we agreed on the following.

When you are having a disturbed sleep (very different from insomnia), what is at the heart of the issue, is a bane which is bothering you. Your mind is going at it clickety clock, tick tock, irrespective of whether you are sleeping or jogging.

That is not allowing your mind to switch off, at least to the degree it would like to.

If you resist this machinations, and continue to try and sleep, it might work....but for a person like me, its akin to pushing back a oncoming train with bare knuckle hands. So what do you do?

I think, you allow your mind to win. Let go off the sleep. Allow the battle its run time.....At some point, the debate will longer exist, and at some point the mind shall no longer want to fight. Be it a loser or a winner, it shall want to withdraw.

Count your days to that time, till then let the clock run tickety tock.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

1996 : The bigotry of social media

I was talking to someone at work, who was aghast that I blog in personal life. Before I get into why/what….let me take you through the course of events.

What I did was, politely shared with him the URL of this page…I also categorically mentioned that if he can conclusively ever conclude that I am who I AM, and if he can figure out from the blog where I work – I shall be curious of the slip ups I had made.

Also, if someone did figure where I work, they should ideally see that I idolize it, and I really do….if I did not, I would not be working there at all.

What worried me more was that, I could have a facebook page, where I say I am XX working at YY, and then also post my “anti LGBT” tirade there….and it would be perfectly fine with everyone. (For the record, I don’t have a facebook account, and I have colleagues who are LGBT who I admire and cherish).

So its fine for me to puke in facebook and defecate in Twitter, but if I blog….well, I am a threat to the society.

Now where did we lose the plot, I really sit and wonder?

I blog because it allows me to maintain my history. Facebook is just too transactional and bizarre for my social tastes. I would willingly not tarnish anyone’s personal life (and that includes the firm I work for). I will write here on this blog, because it allows my voice to be heard, for me to be an influence.

The senior person, did come back, about a week later, and privately patted my back, he said he had been sucked into the content and the range of this blog. He thought this was in no way remotely a worry to a person or a firm.

Thank you, but I wish we did not start off with “the onus of innocence is on the accused”.

Friday, April 19, 2013

1995 : Why your cell phone does not have a dial tone?

I loved this article….original at

Reproduced below for easier reading….

Why Your Cell Phone Doesn’t Have a Dial Tone
Eric Limer

In addition to the long curly cords, and the part where they are permanently attached to a wall, old-fashioned landlines have something else that we've lost in the cell phone revolution: a dial tone. What happened to that thing?
Dan Goldin of Makers Alley just happened to be reading The Idea Factory when he came upon a passage that addresses just that and was nice enough to share it with us all.
From the book:

Meanwhile, Phil Porter, who had worked with [Richard] Frenkiel on the original system, came up with a permanent answer to an interesting question. Should a cellular phone have a dial tone? Porter made a radical suggestion that it shouldn't. A caller should dial a number and then push "send." That way, the mobile caller would be less rushed; also, the call would be connected for a shorter time, thus putting less strain on the network. That this idea-dial, then send-would later prove crucial to texting technology was not even considered.
Typing everything in and hitting enter may seem like second nature to us tech savvy folks, but it's weird to think that the change was actually an explicit choice, even a jarring on to older folks; phones like the Jitterbug still go out of their way to emulate a dial tone for old time's sake.
Today's phones don't need a tone since they can parse and send numbers all at once instead of one at a time, so it would have been silly to keep it around. But still, it's a little bit sad to think that it's gone for good. [Dan Goldin]

1994 : A state of being

I have been awake since 2 today morning, and I have been reading, writing and drinking cups of poison…and yet through this jungle, my brain has been humming….Pink Floyd’s  Comfortably numb.

I have not heard that song in the past many days/months…and yet the song is going on in my head like a rhythmic capsule….on and on….like a gong.

Ever wonder why that happens?

I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I... Have become comfortably numb

1993 : 42

Someone I love turns 42 today. I have been telling him, “that now he has the answer to life, the universe and everything”.

I hope he gets the joke.

He should remember that we live in a Dickensian world, “it was the worst of times, it was the best of times”, and yet, no one can take the number away from him.

Here is wishing you a big happy birthday, my dearest one.

1992 : From a distance

I have been struggling a lot with my health for the past 4 days, and yet, I have been doing nothing much about it. I have been impassively looking at it from a distance and almost, as if, I was waiting for a truce to be called.

Ican’t easily explain my own behaviour away….and yet it makes perfect sense to me. I am at complete peace in this bloody war.

From a distance
You look like my friend
Even though we are at war
From a distance
I just cannot comprehend
What all this fightings for

From the Bette Midler classic….

1991 : The memory remains

I was talking to someone who was leaving. (Leaving who? where? what?….does that matter?). As I was talking to him, he quite matter of factly weaved a Zen like story into his conversation. It was fascinating.

Here is what he told me…..

When you remove your hand out of a bucket of water, for the first few moments, you see a gap, infact in the first instant, it looks like a big hole….then it becomes a gap…and soon, it looks like focal point around which ripples are forming and settling.

Give it a few more seconds, and the water is still all over again….as if, there was never a hand. Someone who came and saw the bucket now, could never tell you that 2 mins ago, there was a full lifesize lifelike hand in the bucket.

The world has conveniently accommodated an absence, filling up the hole, removing all traces of the missing arm……whats left, if at all, is but a weak memory….and that is living, only in those heads which knew of the arm. They faster they (folks who have the memory)expunge that from their head, the faster they shall accept the new reality.

1990 : On your going away

In retrospect, everytime I have completely stepped away from a problem, I have usually seen the edge of the knife glimmering….the real underlying force shine right through.

Its not something unobvious, but stepping away seems to clear up my mind no end, and it allows my rational brain to kick in with some really insightful solutions.

I can think of so many examples in my life – like quitting a draggy job, or moving to a new city, or moving away from your parents….in all examples…a few months later, the situation has become better for all involved….only because all involved brains began their recourse (in earnest) to reclaim their own lives.

And then….

When I look at real life….I realise that its just not designed for that level of reprieve. How many times does your manager tell you during a performance review “Amit you are terrible at sales, why don’t you just drop everything for a month, and we shall pick up the threads again”….instead he rattles out 101 Kottler, and then pushes you harder into the open mouth of the dragon….so close that the fire breather now hurts.

Or for that matter, how many times do a couple, say….maybe we are really breathing down each other’s neck, lets take a break (from each other) for a month, and then lets start all over again….never.

….conventional warfare is always ….if you are in the belly of fire, stay there and fight……versus wisdom says….when you see a fire….just walk away…let the fire burn its own soul up….you can come back and reclaim the living.

Wonder where and why we got so knotted up?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1989 : A death in the family

Now this is why good writing shall never ever go out of style. The following piece is from Mint Lounge edition available at

I have copied the article below for easier reading…..


A death in the family

The impact of losing a parent on a young child is immense

Natasha Badhwar

First Published: Sat, Mar 30 2013. 12 10 AM IST

Children flounder when they lose a parent. Photo: Natasha Badhwar.
Children flounder when they lose a parent. Photo: Natasha Badhwar.

Also Read

The first time a child lost a parent in my class, we were in class V. I was new in that school. Priya was my best friend even though we had only known each other for three months. I had attended her birthday party in Geetanjali Enclave in south Delhi. Her father died of kidney failure. He had had a transplant earlier.

I remember feeling numb. I didn’t understand what she had lost. I was just quiet. My mother was distraught. She spoke about their family for a long time. She would repeat how young the father had been. I remembered a man with a dark beard. A 10-year-old child thinks all adults are old.

Many years later, we were film students, hanging around an inner courtyard on our campus. A classmate had had to leave suddenly after she received a phone call informing her that her mother had died in another city. I remember going into a shell again.

An argument broke out somewhere near me. Our class argued about everything. Two classmates seemed to be disagreeing vociferously over the impact of losing a parent. They were loud and angry. Hours later, we realized that both of them had lost a parent in their teenage years. They had been deeply shaken that day. You have no idea how it really feels, they were both saying. Screaming from the raw isolation of their experiences.

I had walked away that day. Both of them became my best friends later.

Our children bring home stories from their classrooms. There was a new boy in the first grade with our daughter. First she reported how he didn’t understand English. He didn’t wash his hands after going to the bathroom, she said. He drank water from other children’s bottles.

We spoke to our daughter. Children come from different kinds of families. They learn different kinds of behaviour at home. Some children take longer to learn the ways of a new school. Don’t laugh at him. He needs friends too.

She began to tell us lighter stories. He was still being inappropriate, but they had begun to laugh with him, rather than at him. I met him after school one day and spoke to him. He looked away, his mouth slightly open. He is tall and stout but his face is still like the baby he was a few years ago.

Later, my daughter explained him to me. “He only talks to people he knows. He listens to our class teacher, but he is shy. He will talk to me but he won’t talk to you,” she said protectively.

One of our friends called us on a weekend after years of being lost to us. “Tell him to come home,” I said to my husband. “He needs a family. I can use a son.”

Rohit is a successful design entrepreneur. He is also a single child, a single adult and one who lost both his parents in his early 20s. He came over and stayed with us for the weekend. The first night he stayed up late, dusting and sorting everything in our house. We found toys and books arranged according to themes. “I am always trying to build a home,” he said.

Life. Our stories keep converging. They intersect. They cross each other. Sometimes it takes years before we realize what it is that draws us to another. Despite our successful, sorted out external selves, something in us connects to the backstory of the other. These stories may take years to unravel, yet we subconsciously recognize something in the other.

The boy in my daughter’s class. He would ask her every day how long it was before it would be lunchtime. He had difficulty in reading and writing. Girls were complaining that he irritated them.

We spoke to the class teacher about him. “His mother died of leukaemia last month,” she told us. “She had been in hospital for a long time.” The teacher was now making him sit next to her throughout the day. She knew he had special needs. She knew his needs.

Rohit came over one weekend and painted one of the walls on our terrace, splashing it with colours. He shot a photo feature with our children fooling around in front of it. My mother-in-law made him sit next to her and asked him about everyone in his extended family. She is a single child too.

The child in our daughter’s class is changing his school. He needs a special educator, the teacher told me. Since I am a grown-up now, I don’t feel numb any more. I feel that there has got to be something I can do.

“Should I do something,” I say aloud at home.

“Yes, Mamma, yes,” my children answer in chorus.

At the parent-teacher’s meeting last weekend, the teacher pointed out the boy’s father to me. I turned to see a young man taking his place in the classroom with a half-smile on his face. Spectacles. A pleasant, comfortable expression that made me feel relaxed and hopeful.

He had come alone. I told him that my daughter is his son’s friend. “He’s a wonderful child,” I said. “We wish him luck.”

I don’t know why I felt I had to write these stories here. I just wanted to.

Natasha Badhwar is a film-maker, media trainer and mother of three.

1988 : Movie drought

On the return flight I did try hard to get some movies, but simply could not get myself to watch anything at all. I ended up listening to hours of Bach, who used to be such a favourite, in my growing up years. I also ended up reading a lot of economist, and actually loving the articles (for the first time), I usually have found the economist to be a stiff upper lip....some of the most important matters of the world today, presented in the driest fashion possible….but this time around The Economist was a revelation.

I am definitely switching off to the visual medium completely.

1987 : Why peace matters

Personal peace is a very important goal in my life….so much so that I possibly value it above everything I love and adore.

And yet, in the past few days, I have seen an emotional state of mind, disrupt this peace easily….not once or twice, but at least 4 times.

Each time, in retrospect, I have felt like a loser…almost like someone who scored 299, but in that rash minute also got run out. The next stint at the innings is always going to start from 0.

Life is a tough game. I have been telling myself, that to be a triple centurion, the focus at 299 has to be 299 times more than when you scored your first run.

Yet, that balance is difficult to maintain….and I feel like a fledgling. One day….I hope to imbibe tiny parts of The Buddha and The Dalai Lama into me. Till then……

1986 : Why this Kolaveri di?

shrutiDhanush Shruti Hassan 3 Movie New Stills


I am not a big movie buff or aficionado, but I do definitely try and play catch up, everytime I am on a flight. And last week had one such day..(my first time on a A380....potentially a facebook moment, for someone who is not even an active email user Smile)

I think I have so switched off from the visual medium, that I was really finding it difficult to get myself to hook upto to either the newer Bollywood, or action movies or even the inane rom coms....but I did manage to catch Argo (more on that later) and I did love it.

I also started to watch 3, to check how jaded my Tamil is – and surprising was completely hooked on. Shruti Hassan and Dhanush look so utterly believable as college students, and you almost bleed for their puppy love. Reminded me of the times when my own heart fluttered like a butterfly J

Both Shruti and Dhanush are so real, you almost want to participate in their make believe world. The chemistry between two of them is electric....and the lady just steals the thunder, by virtue of having a more real world role.

Shruti goes straight into my favourite list of actors – she is gorgeous in the movie, and she acts so smooth, that she could even give her legendary father a whole goosebump experience. Dhanush too becomes a favourite, he is just fab.

Expect for the last 30 minutes where the movie veers into histrionics, the movie is as lovable as DDLJ or QSQT (yes, I still love that movie....Juhi Chawla brings such grace to the role).

Go watch it, not once but maybe 3 times.

1985 : We didn’t start the fire

We all experience it every now and then. You know what I am referring to.....? Picture this. You are driving on a 3 lane road, and you are on the middle lane trying to overtake the one on your left. The car ahead is backing up. You know if you slam all your horses, you can dive and just manage to make it, but its going to be close....very close. On most days, your sane mind should tell you that being slower is wiser and to wait for the next overtaking opportunity....but someday in the bowl of the madness, your mind says, go for it....whats life but a risk? You floor the pedal....

Get the drift.

Or the one occasion, when rage takes over, and you tell your wife and best friend, things that are designed to hurt her.....and worse still, in that moment, you don’t really care. The fire of rage is burning, and its now turning out to be a forest fire.

What makes us all do it? I don’t know, but I do know that my anger and rage can also be channelized to achieve something otherwise overtaking in a tight spot.....or writing beautiful poetry.....

Should we fight the fire or fuel it ?

1984 : The long dark tea time of the soul

I have been on and off from this blog for the past two months. That usually happens when either I am part of a terrible writer’s block, or if I am just not making enough time for my soul.

I think its been the latter this time around.

Similar to the George Orwell 1984, I do feel that the Big Brother which forces you to behave in an optically inconsistent manner is what I am having an overdose of.

I often seem to reach this point, where I yearn for the laptop, because my mind has so much to say, I login and open my browser, and my hands go limp, not wanting to move – again, not because of a writer’s block, but because I think I have “too much to say” and the airwaves are getting jammed up.

One day, when the clouds clear, hopefully I shall have a good clean cup of British tea, the kind Douglas Adams would have been proud of.

Monday, April 15, 2013

1983 : The Supper

I spent an evening last week with someone, whom I admire a lot. I have respect for him, and almost believe he is like a friend and father figure.

What was also special, it was his birthday.  It was he who reached out and set it up.

He is much more powerful (much much more) and much more wealthier than I am…and yet it was small 1-1 affair. We went to this small (non ZAGAT rated) tiny shack which sells south asian food. Coincidentally, its a place  I had eaten before and I kind of liked it.

We ate a simple meal, chatted boisterously like two friends do. Laughed a lot, and when the time was up….we hugged and parted.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and it will be meal I might remember for some time.

I do miss catching up with my friends Smile, yes terribly miss Sad smile