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Monday, June 29, 2009

Just as I am doing the nuisance…

Toilets were introduced on Indian trains only after a passenger , Okhit Chandrasen, wrote a letter to the Divisional Traffic Superintendent, Sahabgunj Divisional Office in 1909, complaining about how he missed the train, when he got down to attend the call of nature. One can actually get to see this letter plated at the entrance of toilet rooms in any railway station in India. This was brought to my attention by my Uncle who happened to take a photo of the letter plate at Bangalore railway station.

The Times of India reproduced the unedited letter:

Beloved Sir,

I am arrive by passenger train at Ahmedpore station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore, sent to privy. Just as I am doing nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with lota in one hand, dhoti in the next when I fall over and expose all my shockings to many female women on the platform. I got leaved on Ahmedpore station.

This is too much bad in passengers go to make dung that dam guard not wait train for five minutes for him. I am therefore pray otherwise I am making big report to papers. Pray your honour to make big fine on that dam guard for public sake otherwise I am making big report to papers.

Yours faithfully

(Sd/- Okhit Chandrasen)

Knowing that this thing actually made a difference and brought about a reform is heartful to note. So, people please realize, it is in us and how ever we put it out, it shall work if there is a cause & effect attached to it. So, yeah bring it out. Thanks.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Does the event create the cause ?

By Shekar Kapur...

Does an event create a disharmony, a ripple that provokes us into action so that we become part of it ? Mistakingly assuming we created the event ? Are we slaves to the event while we think of ourselves as creators of the 'it' ?

Nor are we separate from the event. The event and us, inseparable part of the same play being imagined by the Universe in all eternity. The event itself part of a ripple caused by another. And so on, but circling right back, the ripples being the eternal cause and effect of each other. Enclosed in nothing but timelessness.

Part of discussions that came up as I opened my installation at the Swarovski museum in Austria

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I believe in Love & its Karma...Personality Check - Part 3

I am kind of stressed and derailed today, for reasons beyond my understanding and nature. People close to me call me 'moody', but as moody as I am, there is NO fundamental reason attached to it. Its just that mother nature sometimes throws me out there and lets me ask myself "why are things that are, as they are?"...confused???...just like me. There are too many thoughts in my mind today, and I am wondering if I am doing the right things in life, and I realize that, one always has a choice and it’s those choices that make or break your path to freedom. I was reading my friend Ramesh's blog post this morning (Read it) and his perceptions on Love and its existence. So, I told myself after reading the post, that I would put forward my emotions and candor on Love and its Karma. Though his post reads more into Love as in a relationship, I will dwell a little parabolically and will try addressing it from a more generic view. I have always wanted to do this, and people who have read "About Me" section on this site, have asked me few many times to elaborate the jist of it. So, here you go.

I always had this thought in mind, "I see evolution and the works of Mother Nature as a mainly violent process (i.e. the food chain), and even though there seems to be individual “acts of love” in nature, it appears to me that Love is rather an “anomaly”, and what prevails is violence, and among humans, murderous conduct.” But then, I told myself – Love is the basis of our existence and how can this Love be conciliated with the violent nature of evolutionary process? (Bear with me as I am trying hard not to deviate from this specific subject).

Looking at it from the physical perspective I can see that in the beginning of our universe, out of matter came life, and as we became more complex creatures, we developed complex emotions that helped us survive. The complex emotions that helped our ancestors survive in the Savanna and jungle are those of fear, desire and Love. The monkey that sat on the ground enjoying the beautiful sunrise without worries, got eaten by the tiger, and also the monkey that was scared for his life, filled with sexual desire and loved his children desperately, this is our great great great … grand parent. So why do we Love, because it helps keep ourselves alive. That is why there exists fear, desire, jealousy, even hatred - they served a purpose in the unfolding of our physical beings. Our powerful brains overrun with thoughts also evolved for the same reason - to help us survive better. But these emotions which were once gifts of survival are now the cause of our greatest suffering.
That is the view of physical evolution, what about consciousness? From the perspective of mind and awareness, matter itself arose out of the ground of consciousness. But until there was a complex enough form for the consciousness to know itself, it remained somewhat dormant. So our consciousness deems Love, and love for humans & their existence.

So, I believe that Love is simply an emotion that we experience, part of our array of emotions, and this experience of love is the closest thing that we can come to describe or relate with the great oneness that is everything. Fear & anger are competitive emotions and Love & compassion are cooperative. But all of them helped us survive so we got them in us.

Another way I like to look at Love is that it is simply Karma. As I attempt to learn more about what Karma is, the more my definition of it grows and grows. In our East the general understanding of karma is: if I do something bad, it will come back to me. The most basic definition of karma is cause and effect. It is my growing understanding that karma is in fact everything, and that everything to me is Love for humans and Love for myself. So Love is Karma and vice versa. What is evolution but a very long chain of cause and effect? Everything we see, including us, is a result of myriad causes and effects, nothing more. And while we cannot change the karma of our human bodies, and our basic emotions, we can decide how we can work with our minds. We can work with that Karma of Love.
I could probably go on and on about this, but I think I’ll stop here for now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You ain't capable of nothing?...Personality Check - Part 2

Hmm…this is something I have always wanted to stick up the faces of those who think I am capable of nothing. I am not listing out my capabilities or skills that would run my CV into doldrums but trying to convey to those few and in the process learn to discover myself. I want to get on top of my voice and yell and cry. People, friends, relatives over the years have always seen me as a prick capable of nothing but blabbering. It was my manager Keith in Tulsa, who first made me realize how confident and a capable person I am. I take pride in saying that I worked in a kitchen that was managed by Keith and in a way opened my gates to real world of people trying to overpower their knowledge and experience on me. Though this aspect could be attributed to my undoing, it is very critical to hold me solely responsible.

The theory was that, capable men are by definition those who truly believe they can influence what happens to them, to their friends, to their future. Non-capable people by contrast are those who, whether students in school or staff at work come to believe “Its Luck if I make it or Fate if I don’t, but either way I had little or nothing to do with what happened.” I agree to a certain extent that luck has played a major part in my life and for me to be where I am it’s just been a dream coming true. But that said, I have 24yrs under my rear and I am shit capable to know something and capable of doing something and that too effectively, and people better realize that.

When I said my undoing, it is not because I know nothing but because I tend to be calm and cool in situations which usually demand a vocal contribution. The whole point is that, I do not want to get into an argument. Because, invariably a discussion on a topic or anything leads to an argument and I do not like it. Very recently in Vegas, we had an incident where out rental car was not starting and nobody was in a position to buy my argument that it was a “starter” problem more than anything else. Was it the adrenaline that made everybody put a cotton wrap in their ears or shut their eyes to see what I was trying to do? It was indeed a starter problem and we ended up leaving the car there and driving my friend’s car. And there too, I was not allowed to drive the car as they feared I was a careless and irresponsible driver. The result was that two of our friends had to spend the night at the Phoenix, AZ airport. I mean, am I that na├»ve to not understand the situations on hand, after all I have had the same exposure and experience, if not more.

What I call the below list are the significant points, I have made a list of perceptions of people around me and my skills that are the underpinnings of my capacity. What do I need to know, and what do I need to be able to do, to be a capable person.

The Perceptions of people around me are:

  • I am not capable. I cannot face problems and challenges and gain strength and wisdom through experience.
  • I am not significant. My life has no meaning and purposes – and what I have to offer is of value NO in the scheme of things.
  • I have no influence. My actions and choices do not influence what happens.

The Skills are:

  • How to respond to these feelings effectively – self-assessment, self-control, and self-discipline.
  • How to communicate, cooperate, negotiate, empathize, resolve conflicts, and listen effectively when dealing with people.
  • How to be responsible, adaptable, and flexible.
  • How to set goals, make judgments and decisions based on ethical principles, wisdom and experience.

I feel these perceptions and skills should be nurtured, supported, and developed within me and for me, it makes the effing difference between a environment that excels, and one that simply exists. I have been practicing these and shall adhere to them for the term of my life. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Being Introvert is OK... Personality Check - Part 1

My readers have been screaming loud at me to write small. There are too many things attached to my life and those I would want to share but covering them all in a single post, I am sure to loose a couple more readers. Lolz. So here is one of those loose parts to my personality. I will have more of it coming in shorter posts like this.

Introvert was the word used to describe me in high school. That, and the boy with the freakishly skinny wrists. But then my entry into Bachelors had a deep impact in the way I approached life. Suddenly, my need for friends and fun outweighed the fear, and my life as a social butterfly began in full force. Thanks to my friends who are still my strength in many ways, I am what I am today.

That move was a turning point for me. I had lots of friends and I liked it that way. I wanted to be with people and always know what was going on. Still, I craved alone time but often skipped it for fear of missing out. As a result, whenever I took personality tests through family gatherings and fests, I was always pegged an extrovert. I was deeply rooted to my thought of being an extrovert, probably because I was given such care and comfort to work around. My stay in Tulsa, Oklahoma was a decisive chapter in the way things changed around me. I was loved, cared, and given freedom to do what ever I want, and the best part of it was how people loved me. They loved me for what I am and never wanted to see a different Phani from the time the Sun rose early morning. And that gave me confidence and the desire to function life in my way and that is how I saw myself, an extrovert.

Year later, now after I have a job and also so many friends to play with, I realize the truth: I am actually an introvert. People who know me in real life are sometimes surprised to hear that. I wouldn't call myself an extreme introvert, but I think I am returning to my kindergarten roots in a way. I'm no longer shy with people, but my energy is found only after time alone. The pressures of work & job search smoked the introvert right out of me.

Lately I've been thinking about education and personality. Sometimes it feels like I will explode from the inside if I don't have the opportunity to just be alone without the chatter. I need time to do important introverty things like stare out the window, sit for no reason, or write bad first drafts without an agenda.

But being occupied with so many things does not allow for such luxuries a lot of the time. Instead, I improvise. I find little ways and crazy times to squeeze in the quiet.

Director M. Night Shyamalan [The Sixth Sense; Signs], who was born in India, raised as a Hindu but whose parents sent him to Catholic school for discipline, admits he was a sensitive kid like his young protagonists.

"I was an overly sensitive kid for sure," he says, "and definitely shy. But with my friends I definitely wasn't shy. I was the smallest guy. I was the one leading everyone around. That kind of evolved into making movies where.. I get paid to boss everybody around."

How does your personality affect your work? What are some things you have discovered to help you maintain the balance between being who you are and being who those loved ones need you to be?...these questions always swirl in my mind and are cluttered as heavy as hell!!!.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Understanding Marriage in Indian Society!!!

My dear friend Ramesh had definite and straight feelings on Love vs Arranged Marriage system in India (Read it). Knowing him pretty well, I can say that he has a very strong sense of opinion and he invariably misses to put it up front. But I am not here to contemplate on a well written post, but to actually give a feel of the system via my style, i.e being as unbiased as possible. But if one bets what would I be inclined to, I would definitely vote for Love and then marriage, as in dating and live-in relationships are well off than a 2hr pre-arranged marriage for a life time. But then, here is my take on the whole issue connecting to Indian society.

Love or arranged marriages is still a debatable topic in the Indian society. People still debate on the issue, which one is better. What should be the basis of the marriage love or social norms? We are still confused about these issues. Education and media played a vital role in changing the perception of the Indian mind. As people started thinking beyond the social customs and traditions of arranged marriages, they realized that they have the right to choose their life partner without any kind of social pressure. It is after all, their life. They can decide without having to rely on parents, relatives and matchmakers. This change in the mental set up of the people gave birth to love marriages. Now in India people are open to love marriages. It is no more forbidden in the society. In our country we are having both love and arranged marriages. 

A little tweak in such a comparison could run into humor. This comparison below made rounds in emails couple of years back, interesting!!!

Love Marriage

Arranged Marriage

Resembles procedural programming language. We have some set functions like flirting, going to movies together, making long conversations on phone and then try to fit all functions to the candidate we like.

Similar to object oriented programming approach. We first fix the candidate and then try to implement functions on him/her. The main object is fixed and various functions are added to supplement the main program. The functions can be added or deleted.

It is a throwaway type of prototype as client requirements rises with time thus it is a dynamic system and difficult to maintain.

Requirements are well defined so use of waterfall model is possible.

Family system hangs because hardware called parents are not responding.

Compatible with hardware Parents.

You are the project leader so u are responsible for implementation and execution of PROJECT- married life.

You are a team member under project leader parents so they are responsible for successful execution of project Married life.

Client expectations include exciting feature as spouse cooking food, washing clothes etc.

All these features are covered in the System Requirements Specifications as required features.

Acceptance test possible, you can try before you Buy.

Product is sold on 'as-is' & 'where is' basis. Product once sold will not be taken back.

Social evils like dowry, caste system, matching of horoscopes and community issues are taken at such extreme levels that people don’t support arranged marriages. So whether it is love or arranged ultimately it is up to the individual to decide, which one to go for. Love or arranged both is based on empathy, responsibility, commitment, love and concern. So it’s not just about initial love and attraction it needs a lot of dedication and effort to sustain a marriage. So I feel there is nothing like an ideal marriage, it’s all about the way you perceive your marriage. After all you should be happy with your life partner irrespective of love or arranged marriage.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why was I born ?

I looked for my true calling
I looked for my true purpose
what I am supposed to do on the planet 
why was I born ?
and I asked the question deep inside me
beyond logic, beyond thought, deep in the bowels 
of the space where I connect to the universe
where I can be thrown into the raging storm of 'not knowing'

and the answer hit me in an immense tidal wave of understanding

"you are your own purpose
nothing more, and nothing less
a bundle of purpose and karma
all existing within itself
and the only thing holding it back
is the separation created by
words like 'I' and 'my' and 'me'"

The end of Democracy in India ?

By Shekar Kapur,

If only 40% of the eligible voting population in a country bothers to vote, then is the country truly democratic ? Whatever government comes to power, it has a mandate from less than half the people. It's truly a government by default.

First the politicians and media have absolutely no right to blame the electorate. I do not believe in the statement that " it's the apathy of the people that gives them a government they deserve".

Second the arrogant attitude of some of our media stars that expressed 'outrage' at the low voting turn out , after "all they did to pursude them to do so" in Mumbai, should learn that while they can drive people to the cinemas, the people have little faith in their intellectual or political understanding beyond entertainment. Not everyone gets their picture on page 3 when they vote.

Third, how many times do the people of India need to come out and say " WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE POLITICIANS OR POLITICS ANYMORE". The Mumbaikers did not vote not because they went away for a long weekend, nor because of the sweltering heat, but because none of the candidates made a substantial stand that aroused their passions, their desire to better the political system. I remember how the people of India came out in droves to vote to end the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, or who came out in droves again to re instate her when they were unhappy. Or when they came out in droves to vote for Rajiv Gandhi after Indira's assassination.

We are a passionate feeling people that respond to our emotion, to our community. We need a leader to arouse those passions in us, someone to believe in, someone that we can trust that has the power, the integrity and the vision to lead us in this new century.

Give us, the people of India such a leader and watch us come out in droves to vote. And if not, then accept that democracy in India will be an excercise in futility and the forces of change will be ultimately thrust upon us by non democratic forces like the fundamentalists, like the the naxalitites that are threatening to invade our cities soon.