Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friends, Indians, countrymen, lend me your ears

I come to concede Tharoor, not to praise him;
The evil that ministers do lives after their term,
The good is oft interred with their files,
So let it be with Tharoor ... The noble Modi
Hath told you Tharoor was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Tharoor answered it ...
Here, under leave of Modi and the rest,
(For Modi is an honourable man;
So are they all; all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Tharoor's farewell ...
He was my hero, faithful and just to me:
But Modi says he was ambitious;
And Modi is an honourable man….
He hath brought many traders home to India,
Whose exchange did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Tharoor seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Tharoor hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Modi says he was ambitious;
And Modi is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Modi spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did vote for him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
My heart is in the smartphone there with the MoS,
And I must pause till it come back to me twittering.

--

Enough of the Victorian Shakespeare. And enough of our mentality running older than that. Why do we always have to think old? Why can't we think in new patterns? Are our brains too concrete?
Does using twitter make a minister alien? Or does a website make him Extra-Terrestrial. It is called technology. Technology that makes public life social and social life public. So did Obama. And so did Advani try to. But when Tharoor did it successfully people ask him to stop shooting mouth off.

When Tharoor stayed in a 5-star hotel it was luxury. Had he stayed in Mumbai's Taj Palace, it would have been patriotism.
When he called the 'cattle class' the 'cattle class', people became cattle, thanks to the English pundits.
When he said people should work on Gandhi Jayanthi, it became anti-national. Destroying a holiday of a billion Indians? Oh My Gandhi.
When the terrorists came in rowing boats the government started asking the flight passengers a few more questions. When Tharoor questioned the logic behind this he was helping the terrorists blast peace off India.
And then he's reported to have questioned Chachaji's and Bappuji's foreign policy. He's reported to have.
And the Oxford Dictionary's Pakistan edition is still undecided about the meaning of the word 'interlocutor'.

Throughout he's called the man of controversies. Tharoor should be awarded some prize for this skill.
Where other politicians find it very tough to attract controversy even while making controversial decisions, or accepting huge gifts, or spending too less for an ordinary minister; Tharoor seems to have acquired a knack of creating controversy with sentences less than 140 characters long. When Tharoor talks there is controversy, when he sneezes there is tsunami, and when he watches a cricket match there is extortion, profiteering, breach of trust, venality and corruption.
We've got options. Change our attitude or cut the tongue and all those digits off Tharoor.

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The Way Troubles Are Solved (Between People) And Friends Are Earned

Don't argue that I'm wrong, because I'm dead sure about this:
All the fuss that people make, all the hassles, all the quarrels are because they do not talk.

In other words, there is no trouble in human world that cannot be solved by talking.

You disagree with X.

  1. You keep mum.
    • X thinks you are not interested in what X is saying
    • X just does not understand why you seem disinterested
    • X thinks you hate X
    • X gets angry at you
      1. X keeps mum about X thinking that you hate X
        • You think X is happy
        • But X is angry at you (and you don't know this, for X hasn't told you)
        • So when X doesn't talk to you, you think X is not interested in you
        • So you get angry with X
          1. You keep mum with X about getting angry with X
            • and so on 
            • and so on
    Instead
  2. You tell X why you disagree.
    • X is intelligent enough to see whether you're disagreeing for the right reason
    • If you got it wrong, X will correct you
    • If X had it wrong, you correct X
    • The problem solved.
But when we disagree with someone we don't tell them that we disagree, let alone where we disagree.
Result: Trouble.
Instead: Talk.
Result: Happiness.

You doubt Y.
You think it is rude to say "Y, I doubt that you're lying"
So, you say "I trust you" and disbelieve.
[so Y doesn't get a chance to prove Y's innocence] Y is a liar
Now three weeks later this situation repeats. And you still keep mum about the disbelief. Y is a bigger liar
And three more weeks later Y lies. (This is the first time Y really lies) But you think Y was lying all the time before and Y is surely (with proof) lying this time. Thus Y is a professional liar - assured.

Instead if you said Y you disbelieve Y at the first instance, Y would have proved Y's innocence.
And the second time too.
And the third time when Y really lied you will know that Y is just an occasional liar.

But instead we keep mum. We think everybody around us are liars. We waste our lives living among 'liars' disbelieving everyone (whom you needn't disbelieve)

You had an angry dual with Z
You had a really nasty day. You hit your colleague in the face. You disagreed with your boss. You shouted at your spouse.
And you sleep (somehow) that night.
And the next day you remain silent to Z. So also Z to you.
Both of you think the fight is still on. The fight remains on.

Instead you talk with Z about the previous day. May be you apologize (even if it's not your fault). And Z recognize that you do not intend an intense situation. Z apologizes to you too. Both of you smile. Both of you happy.

Or what if Z is not ready to be happy with you? Try reconciling Z the next day.
And what if Z isn't ready the next day too? Try a week later.
Still not? Try a month later.
Still not? Try an year later.
Still? Stop trying. There is something wrong with Z.

Result: You did everything you can to be happy. And you are happy.

And whatever else be the situation.
The above are three ways where talking saves relationships and friendships (and kills enmity)
Not just these, every interpersonal problem can be solved talking.
That is why human beings are given tongue and ears.
But we seldom listen. And never talk.

Stop being silent. Talk. Talk more. Talk, of course, with the friends you already have. Reaffirm the friendship. But also talk to those whom you rarely talk with. May be someone among them is waiting to be a great friend of yours.

[Add to it that I gained a true friend day before yesterday. It could have come a lot lot earlier. But it didn't because I failed to talk earlier. But it's never too late]

--
Have a Blissful Life
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Avoid Instant Wisdom

This thought descends directly from the old saying "Think before you talk".

My little brother once threw a key towards me. He threw it a bit steep and I could not catch it. I immediately felt like telling him 'You should have thrown it flat, so that it will cross me no matter how slow you throw'.
But I thought for a moment. Another day had he thrown it flat, the key would have hurried past me, and I would then tell him 'You should have thrown it steep, so that I will get the time to align with the flying key'

And so I did not tell him anything.

I realized that when I form 'wisdom' from instant experience, that instant wisdom goes useless more often that not.

If you are older than someone else you live with, you must have had this moment in your life when they did some mistake and suddenly you jumped on them and told them that they did something extremely foolish, something which must have been avoided.

But from now on, when you think someone just made a silly mistake; instead of reacting quickly with an instant wisdom "You must have done the opposite"; just think whether that mistake is a real mistake at all. Whether it could have been really avoided. Whether you are just giving out instant 'wisdom'.

And in case it was really foolish, tell them what could have been avoided.
In case it wasn't, just smile, and move on.

Remember, think before you advise.

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