28 December, 2014

Job Well Done ?

All of us work... some on our own free will, and some for the corporate world, and a lucky few who manage to achieve both...

While I am pondering how to best do the work at hand, I often wonder about the choice to be made... whether to the best I can do with the one opportunity I have to prove myself, or to do a good job leaving some space and energy for other things lined up...

Some might argue that every job should be done with an attempt to achieve perfection, and only then do we come close to achieving something worthwhile.... at the risk of sounding lackadaisical, putting your heart and soul into everything at hand is very exhausting.... 

So I am always left wondering where to give in my 100%... but the balance will get nothing at all.... So much for work - life balance !!!

20 December, 2014

Responsibility

All of us like to feel that we are responsible beings.... responsible about our family, friends... responsible about the work we do.... there are almost infinite facets....
And each, has a unique sense of satisfaction, almost irreplaceable...

But what happens when you've bitten more than you can chew... how does one face the consequences.... when you feel you are duty bound and responsible, but all you want to actually do is run away from the scene.... 
Is this just a moment of weakness or your gut suddenly giving you signs ???

30 November, 2014

Healthcare in India

Someone very rightly once said "Health is Wealth".

We may be rich or poor, young or old... what makes are life better is a life free of any illnesses. And keeping our body & its wellness intact seems to be becoming an expensive affair... not just in India, but globally.

People running this business are faced with the problem of deciding between making the business break even v/s doing what the hospital is there for, that is take care of its patients in the best, most efficient way (the two needn't be mutually exclusive though).

Since building even a decent hospital/medical care setup takes loads of money, it is but natural for the people taking the initiative to look out to banks.... However, private equities wanting to put in money (and expecting 25 - 30 % returns in exchange) is a dangerous proposition to my mind... Whether it is Max group, Fortis or any of the other ones, one can easily note the trend in their billing... excessive tests, unnecessary scans, additional visiting charges, creating different types of specialized care or ICU... all a means to extract money from the patient... I wonder if the doctors are to blame at all, or if it is just the pressure from the management to "perform".

Having said that, there are interesting initiatives like Ziqitza, Eye Q, Lifecell Internation, taken by some PE funds, similar to what has been mentioned in the article below, which have made the most of the money they've got, and offered services that are scarce otherwise.

I am still not convinced that PE's putting money in healthcare is better for the society, but there doesn't seem to be any other option, since the government is a long way from even making basic clean facilities (leave alone sophisticated ones) available to all. 
I guess everything has a price... just that this one has a price too high.

23 November, 2014

Dependence - Independence

In the hope of helping them, we take their independence away...
With the wish of making them feel safer, we hold their hand all the way...
Little to we realize that we are actually stifling them...
Not letting them do what they want, the way they want...

Though the article in HT i read yesterday, by Namita Bhandare talks about the other end of the spectrum, the emotions are the same...

16 November, 2014

The Child Inside

I bounce around enjoying my time
Jumping over fences, kicking stones...
I don't care what people think,
infact it doesn't even occur to me to bother thinking...

Then suddenly, I grow up..
and I feel I realize the stares all around...
I realize that girls are not supposed to jump fences & kick stones

I am not sure it is good to be aware..
or if it is better to not care...
'cause the society seems to penalize you either way..

09 November, 2014

Age

Age is a funny thing...

It makes us wiser, but gives us lesser opportunities to apply the wisdom...
It makes us  more experienced, but rarely provides for people (willing to hear ;))to share this experience with...

29 October, 2014

Anger

Anger is a funny thing
makes you do what you shouldn't
makes you wish that you hadn't done it anyway
and still doesn't give you the satisfaction of what you wanted

19 October, 2014

Action.... Reaction...

Watching Haider told a very hard hitting fact loud and clear..

That as a nation, we might think that all the violence is justified... that keeping in mind the bigger picture, it is all for the better...
But for those stuck in the middle... the ones actually affected.. they'll always have a different tale to tell.... whether is it Punjab, Kashmir, Assam ......

What we often overlook, is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction... so for such widespread action, there will be a similar mass reaction... waiting to happen somewhere.....

06 October, 2014

Wavering thoughts

the mindless banter
the conscious avoidance
the constant look out 
wondering what you are upto

it feels strange to be so aware
of senses beyond my own
of a fluttering in my heart
and a pace quite unkown

I was dangerously close
to take the deep plunge
to try and please you
oh my dear ego !

24 September, 2014

India under Colonialism

All of us have different views about the British influence on Indian culture.. whether it has done us good.. bad... made us more civilized... English...
But whatever one might think, I don't think any of it is worthwhile, at the expense of our Independence....

Different people have come up with different perspectives to the issue, but Shashi Tharoor seems to have nailed the emotion...

Below is what he said at a debate in UK on Indian subcontinent benefited more than it lost from the experience of British colonialism.

------

Last week, on the very day that Scotland was deciding its future, six of us gathered in London to debate the past. 

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the British presence in India -- King James I's envoy, Sir Thomas Roe, arrived at the court of Emperor Jehangir in 1614 -- the Indo-British heritage Trust held a debate, in the chamber of the UK Supreme Court, on the motion "This House believes that the Indian subcontinent benefited more than it lost from the experience of British colonialism." Needless to say, I spoke against, alongside two Indophile Brits, authors William Dalrymple and Nick Robins. The proposers were Pakistan's Niloufer Bakhtyar, an editor, Martin Bell, former BBC war correspondent, and Kwasi Kwarteng, a Conservative Party MP of African descent. 

It was a lively affair. As the debate began, its Chair, Labour MP Keith Vaz, called for an initial vote, which went 35 to 28 for the motion. When it was over, voting took place again, and the needle had moved dramatically: 26 to 42 against. The anti-colonialists had carried the day.

Why was our case so compelling? At the beginning of the 18th century India's share of the world economy was 23%, as large as all of Europe put together. By the time we won independence, it had dropped to less than 4%. The reason was simple: India was governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain's rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India.

Britain's Industrial Revolution was built on the de-industrialisation of India - the destruction of Indian textiles and their replacement by manufacturing in England, using Indian raw material and exporting the finished products back to India and the rest of the world. The handloom weavers of Bengal had produced and exported some of the world's most desirable fabrics, especially cheap but fine muslins, some light as "woven air". Britain's response was to cut off the thumbs of Bengali weavers, break their looms and impose duties and tariffs on Indian cloth, while flooding India and the world with cheaper fabric from the new satanic steam mills of Britain. Weavers became beggars, manufacturing collapsed; the population of Dhaka, which was once the great centre of muslin production, fell by 90%. So instead of a great exporter of finished products, India became an importer of British ones, while its share of world exports fell from 27% to 2%. 

Colonialists like Robert Clive bought their "rotten boroughs" in England with the proceeds of their loot in India (loot, by the way, was a word they took into their dictionaries as well as their habits), while publicly marvelling at their own self-restraint in not stealing even more than they did. And the British had the gall to call him "Clive of India", as if he belonged to the country, when all he really did was to ensure that much of the country belonged to him.

By the end of the 19th century, India was Britain's biggest cash-cow, the world's biggest purchaser of British exports and the source of highly paid employment for British civil servants - all at India's own expense. We literally paid for our own oppression.

As Britain ruthlessly exploited India, between 15 and 29 million Indians died tragically unnecessary deaths from starvation. The last large-scale famine to take place in India was under British rule; none has taken place since, since free democracies don't let their people starve to death. Some four million Bengalis died in the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 after Winston Churchill deliberately ordered the diversion of food from starving Indian civilians to well-supplied British soldiers and European stockpiles. "The starvation of anyway underfed Bengalis is less serious" than that of "sturdy Greeks", he argued. When officers of conscience pointed out in a telegram to the Prime Minister the scale of the tragedy caused by his decisions, Churchill's only response was to ask peevishly "why hasn't Gandhi died yet?"

British imperialism had long justified itself with the pretence that it was enlightened despotism, conducted for the benefit of the governed. Churchill's inhumane conduct in 1943 gave the lie to this myth. But it had been battered for two centuries already: British imperialism had triumphed not just by conquest and deception on a grand scale but by blowing rebels to bits from the mouths of cannons, massacring unarmed protestors at Jallianwallah Bagh and upholding iniquity thru institutionalised racism. Whereas as late as the 1940s it was possible for a black African to say with pride, "moi, je suis francais", no Indian in the colonial era was ever allowed to feel British; he was always a subject, never a citizen.

What are the arguments FOR British colonialism benefiting the subcontinent? It is often claimed that the British bequeathed India its political unity. But India had enjoyed cultural and geographical unity throughout the ages, going back to Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC and Adi Shankara travelling from Kerala to Kashmir and from Dwarka to Puri in the 7th century AD, establishing his temples everywhere. As a result, the yearning for political unity existed throughout; warriors and kings tried to dominate the entire subcontinent, usually unsuccessfully. But with modern transport and communications, national unity would have been fulfilled without colonial rule, just as in equally fragmented 19th century Italy. And what political unity can we celebrate when the horrors of Partition (1 million dead, 13 million displaced, billions of rupees of property destroyed) were the direct result of deliberate British policies of "divide and rule" that fomented religious antagonisms? 

The construction of the Indian Railways is often pointed to as benefit of British rule, ignoring the obvious fact that many countries have built railways without having to be colonized to do so. Nor were the railways laid to serve the Indian public. They were intended to help the British get around, and above all to carry Indian raw materials to the ports to be shipped to Britain. The movement of people was incidental except when it served colonial interests; no effort was made to ensure that supply matched demand for mass transport.

In fact the Indian Railways were a big British colonial scam. British shareholders made absurd amounts of money by investing in the railways, where the government guaranteed extravagant returns on capital, paid for by Indian taxes. Thanks to British rapacity, a mile of Indian railways cost double that of a mile in Canada and Australia.

It was a splendid racket for the British, who made all the profits, controlled the technology and supplied all the equipment, which meant once again that the benefits went out of India. It was a scheme described at the time as "private enterprise at public risk". Private British enterprise, public Indian risk.

The English language comes next on the credit list. It too was not a deliberate gift but an instrument of colonialism. As Macaulay explained the purpose of English education: "We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect." The language was taught to a few to serve as intermediaries between the rulers and the ruled. That we seized the English language and turned it into an instrument for our own liberation was to our credit, not by British design.


The day we defeated the motion, Scottish voters rejected the proposal to leave the United Kingdom. But it's often forgotten what cemented the Union in the first place: the loaves and fishes available to Scots from participation in the exploits of the East India Company. Before 1707 the Scots had tried to colonize various parts of the world, but all had failed. After Union with England, a disproportionate number of Scots was employed in the Indian colonial enterprise, as soldiers, sailors, merchants, agents and employees. Earnings from colonialism in India pulled Scotland out of poverty and helped make it prosperous. With India gone, no wonder the bonds are loosening...

14 September, 2014

...

Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.

~ Ayn Rand

13 September, 2014

Home coming

Home coming is a funny feeling..
We get used to where we are, that where we were seems new again.... never the less, every thing has a memory attached... some sweet, some bitter, and some bittersweet...

Can't say I don't miss where I've come from.... but then, I've realized that I miss this too....


No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.
~ Haruki Murakami

30 July, 2014

My Mother

Dear Mom,

I know that you wish the best for me... and you want everything to be perfect....
You keep taking care of me, whether I tell you or I don't...
I understand that you want to protect me from all evil, and want the very best for me always.....

But the only way I'll learn is if I make my mistakes....
What may not seem perfect to you, maybe okay for me.... and that's how I start to define my own perfect :)

So please bear with me, and my impertinence, when at times, I act like I know what I'm doing....
I may not always do what you want me to, but what you say always stays with me....

So cheer up... because there is only one you....

Love you !!

PS: If these are sentiments echoed by others and not just me, I guess its a "Mom"thing :) :D

18 July, 2014

I believe in You

I may not believe in what you believe...
But i believe in you...
And to me, that is more important that having to believe in your belief...

29 June, 2014

Zindagi

Read this recently... struck a chord...

मिली थी ज़िन्दगी किसी के काम आने के लिए ..
पर वक़्त बीत रहा है कागज़ के टुकड़े कमाने के लिए !!! 

08 June, 2014

That thought....

What happens when you think that it is all okay...
But somewhere, somehow you don't feel it...
That there is something brewing in your head, telling you about it...
But you just ignore the signs..

We just stop, hoping the moment will pass by...
But then realize that it wasn't just a moment !

04 June, 2014

Gandhi

Gandhi is one of the most critically acclaimed figures of India... I say critically acclaimed because there are almost as many critiques to his ideology as there are followers....

So when he opens the window to his mind and explains his thought process, one can only read with curiosity and intent.
I won't say I am a fan or a blind follower of all that this man did... But I can safely admit that I admire some of the things he achieved...

And as much as we might criticize him for being over - cordial with Britishers in the initial years, to the final agreement (or should it be called disagreement) over the partition of India, one can't but admire his will power and stubbornness, to achieve what he had set out to do.

But the singular thing I'd give most credit to Gandhi ji (or rather The Gandhi) is that he managed to bring the nation together, in a way nobody else could manage, and by doing, what most would have labelled as cowardly action.... Satyagraha.

In today's world, where we keep looking for incorruptible role models (literally !), here is a man who finally achieved what he started out to do !

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

10 May, 2014

Words

It is amazing how we have an urge to say things... followed by the satisfaction of finally having said it... followed, more often, by the feeling of regret that one could have avoided saying it in the first place...
Words are very tricky... to say something is as risky as not saying it... since once said, it just can't be taken back.... maybe swallowing words in your head is a better option !

30 April, 2014

Happiness

All of us have different milestones & benchmarks in life...

Some want to climb the Everest, some wish to start work of their own... but what if your only wish is to be happy... and that is all you aspire for... does it mean that one has settled for less... that they are less ambitious... or is it simply and endless ladder, since one is never happy.. and we always want better...

20 April, 2014

Give and Get

I am born.... I will die... This is the only reality....
Whatever I give or get in between, is likely to get rotated/recycled amongst people I know.... 

Do I "value" everything I get... No... But do I treasure it all... Yes... Atleast I try to...
As a result, I accept whatever I get, whomsoever it might be, in my circle of life, who might be giving it to me.... and the same goes to what I give... I don't think twice...




Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
While loving someone deeply gives you courage. 
~ Lao Tzu

03 April, 2014

Guilt

The feeling that seems to be hounding my life the most is guilt...
The guilt of not doing something I should have... the guilt of not spending time with friends, parents.... oneself...
I guess the source of all happiness is to be free of guilt... No guilt... no nagging thought at the back of my mind... calm and peace....
But more often than not, guilt is a reflection of our own conscience...  which sometimes we tend to ignore for too long...

It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
~ Oscar Wilde

31 March, 2014

Quotas

India is a huge country, with varying tastes, traditions and beliefs. From the start, we interact with multiple thoughts and ideas be it faith, festivals or biases.

But when these differences turn out to be beneficial for some, and not so for others... when these differences get documented in the constitution as quotas, financials aids, that's the start of the problem.

Some might say that these quotas are justified....
If I am from a Brahmin family, where the last many generations are educated (even if it was the Vedas earlier, and English education now), the odds that I would get a fair education as against someone whose last few generations have been fighting for survival.... True...
But there is no end to this... with all the differences we have as a society, we will alsways be able to identify some "difference" which will benefit us....

It is important that the government, instead of focusing on such quotas, should try and provide facilities for all.. Providing extra facilities to those having economic difficulties is a better basis for the government to show the bias than castes...

Its actually a vicious circle... as long as the voter keep voting for a candidate because his propaganda involved betterment of a sect, the more a parliament is motivated to make such moves.... 

So the next time you vote, give a thought to the real reason you are voting for the candidate.

24 March, 2014

Anger

There are always moments when you loose your cool...
When for atleast a split second, you want to shout... 
make the other person realize how annoyed you are...

But is it really worth it ?
Afterall, some wise man has rightly said...

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

26 February, 2014

Circle of Life

I am a believer of the ripple effect...
Everything we do, has an effect, and the ripple continues... and somewhere it moves a full circle, and what goes around, comes around....

But at the same time, if I am looking to start over, there is no better time than today... since the present will continuously keep becoming the past, and the baggage will only increase with time...

Like Oscar Wilde wisely said, 
The only difference between the saint and the sinner
Is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

09 February, 2014

On the Way

While driving, besides following all traffic rules (yaah, that's part of the job !), we rely on the view in front and the rear view mirror to manoeuvre through all the traffic, to reach our destination... sometimes reaching the wrong place, and sometimes slightly late...

However, in trying to focus on the rear view for too much, we end up losing sight of what is coming our way... Likewise, not paying any attention to the past, might come and hit you at some point in time....

So it's important to be cognizant of both views, and have a clear destination :)

18 January, 2014

3 As

There are 3 things needed to achieve anything... Aspiration , Ability & Approach...
Most of us seem to concentrate on 2 out of these 3 requirements, leading to partial success, or even failure...

Though aspiration is important, it has to be supported by your ability, or atleast someone able enough should be supporting you. The same goes for approach...

There is no benchmark for these things I guess... and no tried and tested proportion either...

14 January, 2014

Year of Change

With the run up to the General Elections in India, it is amazing to see how policies (across states) are being pushed, and decisions are being made. It almost makes you wonder why they were sitting on all of it for the last 4.5 years when they were agreeable to the change in the first place. 

Be it the Lokayukta Bill, or the Environmental clearances to 70 odd projects... The running government (please read ruining government) is making amends in their style, as if the box has suddenly been open, and all decisions will be made overnight.

The Aam Aadmi party is attempting to make the phenomenon in Delhi nation wide, and they just might succeed in some pockets...

Eitherways, this will be an year of change.. 

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

~ J R R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings