Whimsy: They Walk Amongst Us…

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This post has been inspired by a short exchange that I had with a lady who goes, sometimes, by the moniker Idiot Writer. During this exchange, employing the highest standards of sophistry, I proved to her that the asshole is the most important part of the human body.

The tragedy is that some humans believe that, in behaving like assholes, they are the most important people on this planet. However, to extend the analogy of the asshole being the most important part of the body, to an asshole being the most important person in the office, the country, the planet is an error. You cannot extend this proof. This is not an example where the micro reality is a reflection of a more global, general phenomenon.

Unfortunately, the question of what defines an asshole starts to become a bit murky when we go deeper. In the older, simpler days when Newtonian physics ruled the world, it was a rather simple matter. Like Newton’s famous Laws of Motion, there were definite rules by which we could define and identify an asshole.

Now, we have three or more people whom we can blame for the current mess.

Let’s start with Einstein, who started it all, with his Theory of Relativity. An asshole is no longer an absolute quantity, and is defined by standards like, “Oh, compared to him, he ain’t be an asshole you know…” Bloody Hell!! Is he(I will use the term ‘he’ to include men and women, ignoring the protests of feminists around the world) an asshole or not? Why does he have to be an asshole when compared with X, and not an asshole when compared to Y?

Then, we have Werner Heisenberg, and his Principle of Uncertainty. You can know the speed of a particle but, not it’s direction or vice-versa. You can know an asshole in one situation, and not in another. Where were the rules that allowed you to identify an asshole clearly!! In the old days, when you dropped an apple, it fell. Now, you have mysterious particles to define gravity. You don’t even have the certainty of saying that, ‘an asshole is an asshole is an asshole irrespective of where he is, the situation or anything.’

Moving on to Schrodinger and his blessed cat. Why can’t you identify an asshole from miles off? Why must, like the opening of the cat’s box, you have to perform a human interaction to find out if he is an asshole or not?

And now,  I forget who deserves the credit for mucking up the simple definition of whether light is a wave or a particle. Blame my grey hairs for this. When you perform experiment A, light behaves like a wave. When you perform experiment B, it behaves like a particle.

Why can’t assholes be consistent? Please, is this such a big thing to ask for?

I can only end with a bit of advice. 

Be careful:

“The assholes they walk amongst us in the silence of the night,

 They creep up upon us, and try to give us a fright.

 The warning is clear to thee, clear to you and to me.

  Free the world of the sounds and smells

  Of the assholes and their bells.”

Sorry for the doggerel!!

Source of the image: The WhatsApp Circuit

 

 

War….. Or Peace? Or, War For Peace?

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In the picture above (I downloaded this one from the internet).

This is one of the most famous scenes from Hindu mythology, and is set at the start of the Great War in the Mahabharatha, the war between the Pandava brothers and the Kaurava brothers. Before the war started, Arjuna asked Krishna to wheel his chariot to his front, and when he saw his ‘enemies’, consisting of uncles, cousins, friends etc, his courage melted away.

It was at this point that Krishna recited the Bhagwat Geet (The Gita) to him. The Bhagwat Geet translates as “The Song Divine”. Krishna is the avtaar of Vishnu, the second God of the Hindu Trinity, the one who preserves the order of the world. This is, of course, very simplistic, as Hindu and Vedic mythology is extremely complex.

Anyway, at the end of the Gita, Krishna urges Arjuna to fight. He is urged to do his ‘dharma’,(his duty, as it were), and fight.

At this point, I will not go into the concepts of ‘dharma’, ‘himsa’, and ‘ahimsa’. They are deep concepts. The time will come when I shall start to give my views and understanding of them. However, as they have come down the ages, these concepts have been warped and twisted out of shape.

‘Ahimsa’, non violence, does not tell you not to fight. It urges you to fight to defend ‘dharma’. But, let’s leave this for now.

As per the ancient Hindus, we are living in what is know as Kaliyug. It is not The Age of Kali, as that author William Dalrymple seems to believe! Yet, it is a dark age, and we seem to fight.

There is violence in the air. Violence breaks the peace we seek. Currently, the world talks about the Palestinians and Israel, Uzbekistan and Malaysian Air. They talk of the Taliban, ISIS, Al Qaeda.

In India, we talk of Pakistan and shudder. We talk of Afghanistan and shudder. It is strange. Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are all part of the same people.

The Mughal Empire was an Afghan Empire, and their territory, at one point, included Afghanistan.

History is full of the tales of war, rape and looting.

India was rocked by the Nirbhaya case.

Our old government wanted to blast the Maoist rebels in India out of the ground, without wanting to know why they were rebelling.

Yet, there is hope, in that we can make a difference.

One marvellous story that I heard at a sales training event, was about this gentleman who was walking down the beach, throwing starfish back into the sea. There were hundreds of starfish littered over the beach, and a passerby asked him why he was doing it, and what difference it would make.

The gent bent down, and as he threw another starfish back into the sea, he replies, “It made a difference to that starfish”….

When I saw Melanie Blackwell’s message about Artists4peace, I said “yay”. This is one person who is starting to make a difference.

I think that the Artists4Peace is a marvellous initiative.

We can make a difference.

We must.

As a wise man said, “The Time Is Now”.

I Finally Know Why Indians Pray!!

This has possibly been the worst summer that I have witnessed. With temperatures touching 47 degrees Centigrade, we simmered, and there were fantastic cartoons that floated all over WhatsApp.

The horrible summer has been replaced by an equally horrible monsoon, which has been characterised by the lack of rain, and extremely high levels of humidity. I detest hot, humid weather, even though the Chinese once told me that it is good for the skin.

Road rage is on the rise, with temperatures of the drivers rising with the daily sun.

In all this, I finally figured why we Indians pray, and with the increasing existence of temples in India, I think that climate change has something to do with it!

During the winter, we are, initially happy. However, our homes are built for the summer, and when the January fog starts to creep between our stockinged feet, we start to pray for warmer weather.

During the months of February and March, when the temperatures are not bad at all, we pray for the year to stay this way. Alas, our prayers are never answered.

We pray for a mild summer, and once in a while we get a summer that is a real scorcher (compared to the normal level of scorching summer), and we pray for the rains.

At the time the rains are around the corner, we go crazy, and really, really pray for the rains…

When the rains do come, after the initial relief, we realise that the corrupt contractors and politicians have, once again, made mockery of the promises they made. When the waters rise to alarming levels on the roads (which cave in from time to time), we pray for the monsoons to end, and for the festive season to start.

At various points during the year, we pray that El Niño and La Niña don’t create havoc and generate new siblings, else the price of vegetables and fruit will rise….

When the festive season comes around, we pray that the prices of gifts are not too high, and that the crackers are not as smoky as we normally have them.

Man, however, does not heed this, and around Diwali, smoke from the crackers fills the air, and we pray to God to remove the smoke as quickly as possible.

Winter then sets in, and the cycle starts all over again…..

And so, we pray. I finally realised why we Indians pray.

God is indeed sleeping in His Heaven, and the priests (and politicians) laugh their way to the bank……..

As always…

My Nikon & My Curry – Climate Change

My Nikon & My Curry

My Nikon & My Curry

Now, I love my Nikon. I really do. I have had it for 8 years now, and I refused to add to the pile of e-waste. But, sometime this year, or the next, I shall upgrade. Anyway, this is not about my Nikon.

This is the month of the Roza, and I was in Jama Masjid early one morning, to take some photos, and to wolf down some fabulous nehari curry. Therefore, the chai has been replaced by curry!

A few days later, I was at a conference, in which the French Minister of something or the other spoke about climate change, and the need for us to take drastic action. He had to leave relatively quickly, because he had to meet our Prime Minister, and then a bunch of well meaning senior and well-respected dudes proceeded to engage the audience in a round table debate on climate change, renewable energy etc. The hall was packed with people nodding sagely, taking notes and looking on at the speakers with rapt attention.

It was all very serious. Very serious indeed.

I started nodding off, and to stay awake, I started reading some WordPress posts.

You see, it was all very serious indeed.

The fact also is, that we have over a billion Indians, and more and more of us are buying cars. This is great for the automotive makers. However, our road network has not increased, and the condition of the roads has deteriorated.

We have signals, at times every one hundred metres. We have pot-holes. We have speed-breakers. We have police barriers. We have pedestrians who casually saunter through traffic, slowing it down. We have people who can’t park and people who drive the wrong way.

What this means, is that the journey (the car ride ) that used to take me 60 minutes to that meeting room, now takes me 75-90 minutes. I drive slowly, and I spend a lot of time with the car idling. I don’t turn the engine off, because it is too hot! And, polluted. I do take photos, while I wait for the traffic to move.

All in all, the level of pollution has increased, despite the fact that we have better engines, and better fuel.

However, rationalising the traffic signals, improving driver discipline, and improving the roads is not sexy. No, not sexy at all.

Solar power is sexy.

Climate change talks tend to centre around the sexy, and that which is far away.

Simple solutions that can contribute quickly to a better environment are generally ignored. They are simply not sexy enough. After all, when a politician drives, the traffic is stopped to let him pass, so that he can languidly wave his hand at the adoring crowd.

We’ve had the hottest summer in decades this year. We have the driest monsoon.

Like the sailor’s in that immortal poem, “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, we stand with parched lips waiting for sensible solutions that are not forthcoming.

“And every tongue, through utter drought,

Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.”
….
“There passed a weary time. Each throat

Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye,”
As I sit and think of my curry, I wonder, shall we indeed get cool water to drink? The cool water of sensible solutions?
I wonder.

 

Weekly Photo Contest. Contrast – Cry Freedom

Are You Free? Or, Am I?

Are You Free? Or, Am I?

 

I took this shot at Jama Masjid in Delhi. I don’t normally put up photos for photo challenges on this blog. However, the topic was irresistible.

July 4 approaches, and the Americans do treasure this date.

For us, August 15 is the day we became a free nation.

I shall return to this topic around August 15.

What is freedom?

Which of the feathered friends is free?

Cry freedom, my friends..

That Leadership Journey – 18. What The Shit Is Leadership?

When I was writing about leadership some blog posts ago, a friend of mine (he writes a delightful blog called DarkOfficeHumour - and,  i hope that I have inserted the proper link), asked the question – What is leadership?

And so, I thought that I would pop into some of the literature on leadership. I did not go far, because Wikipedia gave me enough for this post, though not for a whole series of writings.

Some definitions.

“Leadership is a process of social influence in which one person an enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.”

“Leadership is organising a group of people to achieve a common goal.”

So far so good! I read these definitions, and I re-read the article. It seems that articles and tomes on leadership have been in the works since Plutarch. The articles normally gloss over the writings of Asian authors. No mention of Sun Tzu or Kautilya.

In recent times, there has been a fair deluge of articles. There are articles on leadership styles, leadership values, and all sorts of stuff on how a leader should behave. I have experienced our headquarters rolling out a Global Leadership Model. All leaders in the company across the world were expected to adhere to the model and behaviour enunciated by a bunch of people in a small town in the Netherlands. The model completely ignored the different cultural context in which leaders across the world work, or the business context. Churchill, after all, was considered to be a great war time leader, and a lousy peace time one.

So, back to the question – what is leadership? The definitions above don’t really answer the question.

Could I offer a simpler definition: “Leadership is the ability of a person to make people want to follow him/her from point A to Point B, or even on a journey” Does this work?

Bear in mind, that I do not make any judgement call on whether the leader is leading the people on a worthwhile journey, or that point B may be somewhere deep in the bowels of hell.

But, the idea, as I see it, is that people want to follow the leader.

However, what else does a leader do? Does he/she add value to the people who follow? Is he/she authentic?

So, we can expand the proposal” “Leadership is the ability of an authentic person to make people want to follow him/her from point A to Point B, or even on a journey, and adds value to them in the process”

So, was Hitler a leader or not? He certainly was, but may not fit into the second definition…

And so, we are back to square one.

What the shit is this wonderful thing called leadership? Does it include self-leadership?

Minors Gangraped, then Hung on a Tree (Updated)

Rajiv:

This is a rather shocking post from Swami Yesudas (http://lovehappinessandpeace.wordpress.com). Shocking not for the content or the photo.
Shocking that we have leaders who say “boys will be boys” when men rape. Shocking, because we are still in the grip of age old prejudices and biases.
I was planning to ask the question: “What is leadership” in my next post. This is a precursor.

What is leadership, if leaders allow ignorance to prevail, if they are insensitive and callous?

What is education, if it does not open the mind, and only focusses on grade point averages.

What is the value of such leaders, and such education?

Good questions? Yes, or no?

Originally posted on lovehappinessandpeace:

Minors gangraped n killed in up 0514

These Two girls, Cousins, were allegedly Gangraped, and Hung on a Tree.

This has happened in uttar pradesh of India.

Photo from: 

*******

My Heart Feels like a Stone. Am I Alive? I do not want to Live in a World like this.

*******

Updates:

A. Seems there have been Triple Rapes/Gangrapes/Murders/Hangings, including those of MINORS, in uttar pradesh, all within a short time, which news has reached even the BBC.

1. akhilesh yadav, cheap minister of uttar pradesh, when interviewed, asked reporters, ‘Are YOU safe or not?’

2. Here is what the reporter should have said to akhilesh: ‘If your daughter has been raped, would you say ‘I’ have not been raped!’

3. Or: ‘If your Sister’s daughter has been raped, would you say ‘I’ have not been raped!’

4. All these horrific things happening in the state after mulayam singh yadav had said: ‘Boys will make mistakes.’

B. All…

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