Tuesday, 24 April, 2012

New York, New York

New York Times now limits access to its online content. Every visitor to the site is allowed 10 free articles a month. After that, for access to various sections of the site, you need to subscribe. Before this happened, I didn't realize I was reading so many articles/ blogs on NY Times, but apparently I was because I finished my meagre quota of 10 articles within the first week of the month. The subscription is 99 cents/month ( about Rs. 53)for the first three months and after three months a user will be charged 3.75 USD /month (about Rs.200). I am not saying this is prohibitively expensive, but considering that I was getting all this for free, I'm feeling bad. I feel like a kid who has been playing with the neighbour's kid's video game and now the kid won't let me play anymore. I guess its time to go buy my own.

Friday, 13 April, 2012

Thought for the day April 13, 2012 : Something to look forward to

Even if you have the best job, the best relationship, the best house, the best car, the best insert-item-of-your-choice, your days can still get hectic, irritating, depressing, boring,long and tiring. What helps to make it better is a little planned treat.  A small boost, a little pick-me-up. It need not be ground-breaking. Maybe just a delicious meal in your lunchbox, an ice cream cone, a new stationery item, a phone call, a haircut, an episode of a favorite show, your I-look-skinny-in-this outfit, a replacement for a broken gadget, a nap, the latest edition of a magazine, a new song playlist on your mp3 player, dinner with a friend on a weekday or a book. Just a small unit of time in the day which you view with positive anticipation. That's all you need to make it through the day, through the obstacle course life can become- a little something to look forward to.

Wednesday, 11 April, 2012

Why we drive like we do

I read this article in the paper today, about why we drive like we do. Though it did bring out some interesting points, it was far from an interesting read. I do empathize with the POV but it wasn't well put. So I wanted to do my own take on Why we drive like we do? I think the primary feature is the spirit of 'survival of the fittest' with which we approach our roads. Everyone on the road seems to be raging a war against a personal enemy. A Multitude of 'David's fighting their 'Goliath's. The common man feels like the world as an entity is out to get him, waiting to trick him, fool him, take away his hard earned money and replace it with short lived satisfaction of the Chinese variety. And this attitude springs from the fact that we have a large population. Because there are more than a billion of us, fighting for the same resources - the same limited supply of roti, kapda, makan and ofcourse sadak - a spirit of "every man for himself" has infiltrated the way we drive. So no one is willing to follow the rules. People feel the rules are tools to deprive us of our right to drive as we please. The feeling on the road is that if we don't step up and grab our right, we will be left behind and our neighbour will win. So one reason we are such bad drivers is that we are such good reproducers.

Another factor which contributes to our hellish driving skills is genetic. It has been transferred down generation after generation. And that is the Cult of the Bajaj scooter. Since the Chetak was Indian common man's first automatic transport, the skill of driving a scooter has been embedded into our brains. And passed down from father to son to son to son and now to daughter also. So even though we might be driving a hatchback or a sedan or a truck or even a tanker, we feel like we can squeeze into any 2 inch gap and get ahead. On the road you might be in a Merc, but you can feel in your genes that you are riding your trusty Chetak. The belief in the maneuverability of the vehicle, which was justified in the age of the Chetak, still holds strong. And often causes people to come dangerously close to one another.

So the answer to why we drive like we do : Our talent of Reproducing and Our Genetic Inheritance of the Cult of the Chetak.

Sunday, 1 April, 2012

You gotta work it!

People can be divided into two categories based on the role work or professional life plays in their life. One type consists of people who derive their identity from the work they do. Whenever they introduce themselves they start with :Hi, I am so-and-so, I am an Engineer/ Doctor/Teacher/Dancer. They derive their sense of achievement from the recognition they get for their work. A challenging project sets their blood pumping and their heart racing. They love the idea of a task well done. Now these people are not workaholics, because work doesn't seem work to them. They enjoy it. And the most embarrassing thing about them : They don't hate Monday mornings! For such people to be happy, their work needs to be a manifestation of their passion. The work they do has to make a difference in the world they hope to change. Unless this happens, they will burn themselves out slaving away at a job they don't like.

The other kind is not limited by what they do. Work is just one slice of their pizza. Professional life is important but its also just a means to an end.  They live for the weekend, when they get to live out their true life. Vacation Planning gets the attention it deserves. Their goals are not defined by performance appraisals and deadlines. They have hobbies and interests but they prefer to keep their extra-curricular activities and work separate and they are happy with that.  The don't want to turn their pleasure into work. They are fiercely passionate about one thing or another. They have a complex and rich life outside work. They socialize, travel and recreate in non-work related ways. They stop thinking about work the moment they leave office on Friday (or Saturday for the unfortunate ones) and don't start again till Monday morning.

Now I am not passing judgement on whether one type is better. Whether one type is more effective at the work place. Whether one type has a healthier personal life and work-life balance. I am only bringing out the types there are so that you can figure out which one you are. If you are type one, you better find a way to make your passion work for you otherwise you're going to be investing around 70% of your waking hours (and sometimes even your sleeping hours) into something which doesn't bring you joy. And if you are type two, don't get stuck in an unfairly demanding thankless job or under a sadistic boss. And remember having fun is work too and you are obligated to make that effort. Either way you gotta work it! 
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