Posted by: Neeraj | October 11, 2008

The Acceptance

Over the period of its existence India has not started any war. We have been invaded, time and again, by the Mongols, the Mughals, the British and in recent past by Pakistan and China. This statement of fact tells a lot about us as a nation. We have been taught to be subservient, respectful, non-violent and not aggressive. This has now become a part of our personality, well entrenched in our mindset and something very difficult to shrug off. What this has led to is that we have learnt to adjust to almost everything even when we don’t have to. We subconsciously do it almost everyday, everywhere.

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Posted by: Neeraj | October 5, 2008

The advent of the Jeans in India

The Wikipedia describes the Jeans as trousers made from denim mainly for work and which became popular in the 1950s among teenagers though a certain Mr. Levi Strauss used to sell blue Jeans to the mining communities of California even in the 1850s.

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Posted by: Neeraj | September 20, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Over the entire last week I and my brethren experienced rain and reacted differently to it depending upon where we were. While in office we cursed because the journey back home will be long and tedious and if at home, the feeling was romantic bordering on aphrodisiacal. One of my lady friends who is currently studying in Houston will not forget those rains, the winds and the collateral devastation in a hurry. She was only slightly away from the epicenter from what we have come to know as Hurricane IKE. So let us read it as a first person account.

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Posted by: Neeraj | September 14, 2008

The diminishing divide

The economy opened up in the early nineties. It gave people more avenues to make money and slowly but surely brought upgrades to the class they belonged to, horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally because the numbers began to swell from mutation from within the class and vertically because more people began to leap from the class just below (read upper, middle and lower class). This in turn redefined the social fabric. Let us see how:

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Posted by: Neeraj | September 6, 2008

The Religion

The cliche “Man is a social animal” manifests itself in many ways. Growing beyond the belief of individual identity, man had always wanted to be uniquely identified and assert himself socially. He learnt to mutate, multiply and form various complex structures. His need to be recognized at different levels  – as one family and one clan, as one culture and one society, as one state and one country or united as poor or rich was insatiable. The most powerful form of belonging came from religion and its various forms. Religion easily transgressed physical barriers and began to be practiced worldwide. Even for the intelligent its a tough call to choose between his faith and his country.

People throng to religion because it gives them a reason to live life beyond the materialistic. For some, it gives release to their spiritual energy and helps them come to peace with themselves. For others, it allows them to commit more sins outside as they had already asked for forgiveness for all the bad things that they had done. To the weak it gives the high of being accepted socially and to the powerful, the ever growing flock  ready to die at his command.

Religion is big business these days. Politicians use it as a tool to garner votes and come to power. There is no easier way to divide people and generate euphoria than through religious outcries. Countries were formed on the pretext of people practicing same religion. Religion brings in a lot of money too from the religious tourists who come for their periodic pilgrimages. So the locals tolerate them because they feed on them. Religion has the power to unite and divide – unite the people who practice it and divide them from the people who don’t.

Religion still leaves me with more questions than answers. If man was born Adam and Eve and then grew (many may dispute this theory but at some point in time in the past we must have been very few and a single clan or if we evoluted then too it could not have been the work of different Gods) how could he have different Gods. God is one unless he is human too and felt the need to assert himself through his various identities. And Mankind, if only it stuck to a faith and not try to give a form and shape to it the world could still have survived as one country, one religion and one clan and not lost itself to the Chinese whispers that passed on through generations starting with “We are one and the children of one God” but now interpreted as “We are children, all very different, each with his own personal God”.

PS: I’d request all my readers to leave a comment on the post – good or bad, so that I know you exist and get to know you better through your comments. I can see on the stats page through the number of page views that many of you are visiting my blog but too few comments to show that you actually came.

Posted by: Neeraj | August 30, 2008

The Doctor

God made man with the intent of creating it equivalent to all the other animals. But unsatisfied as he is, man decided to straighten up first not liking to be considered equivalent to apes and then worked continuously towards discovering new depths in his brains and innovating to constantly redefine the saturation limits of improvement. That is what made us distinctly different – our brains; what we could not do with our hands we did it with our brains making machines that could do things hundred times better than hands. So if God created mountains, man discovered dynamite to blow them up and make roads, if God created oceans, man discovered ships to traverse the waters and if God created disease man made the Doctor.

With the power to heal, the Doctor became a small God unto itself. The ability to produce children every time he copulated made mankind grow exponentially. Compound that with the profound desire to prolong his life, newer diseases on the horizon and a very complex human body, it was but natural that the Doctor would always be a rare and highly revered species.

The Doctor to his credit really tried to stay human but with all his patients regularly expressing gratitude, most of them overtly and some covertly, he was reminded that he was the next best thing to God, and he ultimately succumbed to the lure and began to suffer from the megalomania. In his hundreds of interactions with his patients daily he started treating them differently. A lot of how he treated them depended on the time of the day, the color of his mood and the availability of time. Slowly, as he began to become more successful and powerful (as a consequence) he forgot that he needed to maintain a checklist for everything he did so that two people suffering from the same problem did not end up being treated differently, that he needed to give them the same level of attention and that he needed to constantly upgrade his knowledge which is what elevated him to that platform of God.

Much of it happened because the Doctor wanted to fulfill the social need to maintain a minimum standard (threshold of minimum standard being much higher than ordinary humans) and still live the life of an ordinary human (getting married and having children and taking care of their future) and complacency. Without realizing he was, but naturally, out of control of his time and life.

The human God has disintegrated. Today he is hardly accountable, he does not like to be questioned on his decisions, does not even like to explain his actions and his brand equity is low.

Oh Doctor! How I want you, at least, to be more human and compassionate because not only medicine, love heals too.

PS: This comment is on the state of the profession in general and should not be taken as a comment on the whole community. I know of a few Doctors who try really hard for the well being of their patients.

Posted by: Neeraj | August 22, 2008

A friend and the friend

A friend will keep on changing but the friend will remain with you for life

A friend may disappear when you fall into a problem whereas the friend gets transformed into the friend at the time of the first problem

You will have many a friends but sadly or fortunately very few the friends

You will confuse between a friend and an acquaintance many times but the friend will be just that the friend

A friend will typically be the result of your social circumstances whereas the friend will typically be there inspite of your circumstances

A friend indulges in politics and the friend will shield you from it

The friend will always live without a storage device whereas a friend would not let you forget the need for one (where he stores and constantly fetches what all he has done for you)

Your family may not know a friend but the friend will be a part of that family

And finally you should allow access to all to be a friend but be diligent with who you tag as the friend

Posted by: Neeraj | August 22, 2008

The Path of Least Resistance

I am not a very firm believer and supporter of Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” phrase primarily because I don’t belong to that class. So I became the propagator of the much less known (in this context) “The path of least resistance”. I began to liken myself to this phrase as I grew. Not the strongest of people physically and toughest mentally this phrase has helped me and my kind survive till now and hopefully in the future too.

When I was a kid nobody played Godfather to me though I badly needed one. So whenever a fight broke out in the neighborhood I took the street next to the one in which the brawl took place even when my heart went out for the weak brother who I could identify with anyway. That helped me as I always lived to see another day.

The Darwinians always head for a situation where we, the weaklings (weaklings is a euphemism for the followers of the Least Resistance Clan) anticipate trouble. We have formed our own mechanism of countering these everyday situations. So instead of trying to reach office at 9 in the morning we try to beat traffic and reach the office by 8 and leave by 5 in the evening while the Darwinians jostle for space on the road which may lead to a potentially disastrous hit in the ass and the ensuing fight. Then everyone knows that having dinner in a Restaurant at night on a weekend is a big challenge – the Darwinians again reach there in the peak of the night, waiting and fighting for their space whereas the weaklings have learnt to get hungry by 8 pm so that they could enjoy their dinner outside without ogling Darwinians (and the waiters turned Darwinians) preying over their seats. Developing our own method to live in this brutal world we have fine tuned ourselves to watch the first show of a new release on a Saturday morning even though with groggy eyes, in the process helping the guards open up the gates of the mall (as if we were there for a redo of its opening) while stepping carefully over spilt water on the granite floor which the housekeeping guys are warming up to clean in a while.

By following this practise we only get to see the Darwinians receding in the rearview of our cars while moving out of the parking or through a light brush of the shoulders while exiting the mall. I can very proudly say we, the weaklings, have learnt to enjoy the makeovers (couldn’t resist myself from using this much in use term) that the Darwinians have forced upon us. No regrets because the teller at the toll at least says good morning and the housekeeper in the mall welcome. I guess they suffer from an overdose of Darwinians too but unlike us they don’t seem to have a choice.

PS: A few things the Weaklings should avoid to prevent being confronted by a Darwinian

– Discount Sales
– Traveling without a seat on trains
– Last minute checkins at the airport  
– Distribution of gifts on the eve of Diwali
– New year bashes
– Getting a voter’s id card
– Standing in line for a passport
– Packaged tours
– Marriage ceremonies on an auspicious day

Posted by: Neeraj | August 16, 2008

We – Contemporary!!!???

A lot is said about how India is a transformed country after the economy opened in early nineties. Suddenly the nation began to progress, and people began to expect. As always happens when you start expecting the object of expectation reacts and tries to live up to the burden of those expectations by hyping its achievements. So too happened in the case of our country. Caught in the confusion of an expecting nation and some great achievements in limited spheres and some very limited achievements in most others we began to scream from the top of the roof. We were in great hurry to not be called the country of snake charmers and elephants and wanted ourselves to be compared to the best. Paradoxically, China began to progress as well. Who best to compete with than with your neighbor, supposedly equal in size and power. In this race to be better we have ended up a nation in utter chaos, very confused whether we are a superpower waiting to turn the corner or a nation still trying to find its way. 
         Today when I sat in my office I was proud to be an Indian. I was proud because I saw people around me delivering world class products, striving to better the already good existing processes, brainstorming to bring more value to our customers as well as ourselves by achieving greater quality at a lower cost. I was so very proud to show my foreign customers around my office telling them how we have infrastructure to support 24×7 delivery inspite of day long power cuts, a network that does not go down 99.9% of the time and a communication system which almost always work. I was not afraid from taking them to any part of the office they wanted to go to. They left the office very satisfied with what I had to show and I left it with fear. Fear, because I know tomorrow they will ask me to show them my country. I know then that I will fail to live up to the words that I told them in the office – We are the best. 
         My office is in Gurgaon. I pray that it does not rain tomorrow because if it rains it will take me (along with my foreign customers) two hours to reach NH8 though it is only 3 kilometers away. I would need to delve into my experience where to take my customers around from to the highway; through the road on the left which is potholed and where the traffic jam is a direct indicator of the weather in Gurgaon or the one on the right which will result in a bottleneck in front of a famous software company as all the bus drivers, cabbies and motorcyclists fight for space to be the first ones to reach the highway. It is not their fault. Someone somewhere forgot that more than 20, 000 people will need to move out from that single exit point and he never ever in his wildest dreams would have imagined that Gurgaon would be such a huge success story. So not that someone’s fault as well.  After reaching the state of the art highway I would still need to negotiate the Toll Plaza (which was meant to debottleneck but sadly has become a painful bottleneck itself) where again all of us Indians will be in a hurry to cross first. Everyone who is such a good Manager or a well behaved employee in the office will drop all pretense of being nice and jump into whatever lane that would help him cross the toll plaza first. Many of them will forget in the hurly burly that they were not supposed to be in the cashless lane in the first place.
        I will also have to plan well. I will need to see that I have enough fuel and my cell phone is charged all four boxes as I may be on the road for the next 5 hours to travel 20 odd kms to the first point in the sight seeing tour. I will also need to make sure that I bring them back to the airport well in time for their 0100 hours flight. I pray for a few policemen to be on the road to help regulate the traffic. But they are human too. They fear for their own health standing without protection in the heavy rains, so I fear they will counsel themselves to stay inside till the traffic has sorted itself out. I will thank God for one thing though. Since my foreign customers have an early morning flight they will not be able to read the next day’s newspaper where they would have seen some of the civic agencies blaming each other for the previous day’s chaos and others pretending as if nothing was wrong knowing very well that we Indians are forgiving and forgetful and will forgive and forget this episode too. 
       I will also pray to God that my customers don’t return in a hurry as Gurgaon which is already a few thousand rooms short would have even lesser space for them the next time they come. The Hotels by then would have added a hundred more dollars to the existing 200 dollars per night room charge while giving services for far less. But I know they will return to do business, to take pride in my success while I sit in my office because they are the direct beneficiaries of that success. And before I go to sleep I also pray to God to help me, by a miracle (because nothing else seems to work) to make me feel proud on the road too so that I can take them around to any part of my country from any part of the country and not have to think twice before doing that.

Posted by: Neeraj | August 9, 2008

Why do I believe God exists?

The primary reason why people believe that God exists is because He is inherited, He is imbibed and He is injected into our system through the daily breakfast television, the loudspeaker of our neighborhood temple and the weekend sermon in the illegally acquired neighborhood park. Some of it is genuine, most, a result of the glamour and power of religion which provides the religious Gurus security for a lifetime. None can escape the powerful combination of God and religion served loud even if not right.

I myself very strongly believe in the existence of God but not because of any of the above reasons. I believe in Him because there is so much method in the way the world has evolved over the years, so much complexity in the way different species interact with and their interdependence on one another. Look at the way the human body has been designed: a complex mesh of different organs, each with its own specific purpose in the whole cycle of existence defined by the complex DNA carrying billions of bits of information which passes on through generations telling all parts how to grow and behave. Look at the way how various living forms such as plants and animals replicate and reproduce. The whole process of existence is very complex and such complex things could not have happened without the help of a Controller who is keeping a hawk eye over the proceedings lest something goes wrong.

I believe He is a force far more superior than any of the existing super computers and has a vision far greater than all of the existing entrepreneurs on the face of earth. This is why we need to respect Him, love Him and above all thank Him for giving us a chance to live.

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