battle

Do we know what others are going through? How do we know pain and challenges in our life are more than the rest? How can we compare our life with others?

We are all granted a limited amount of life on this planet and, most of it is painful and, the quantum can differ momentarily. But does this mean we should stop living the life and go on being depressed or crying for what we don’t have?

We live in an ultra-connected world where it’s easy to feel sad seeing what we don’t have and what others have. Social media is for only showcasing a good part of our mirror/canvas/projection. It hides all the battles, challenges, and scars we go through in everyday life.

Do we know what’s going on in the mind of your waiter, driver, cook, or your boss? How is there life, challenges and battles treating them?

Our stoic philosophers must be laughing from above seeing the kind of animal we have turned into, the virtue of empathy has no place on this planet.

Chota Hanuman

We all would call him Chota hanuman. Somehow on Tuesday, he would show up in our mohalla visiting door to door, wishing everyone good luck. When happy, he would read our palms. I remember mom feeding him and slipping some coins into his pocket. Like a baby, his face would light up.

What was his real name? He would limp to his left leg while walking because of Polio. He must have been 14-15 years old, stout and dark complexion with long hair.

I moved to Delhi for higher studies and forgot about Chota hanuman. My local connections became limited. As we grow, life throws enough challenges that we get sucked in our own little bubble, and detachment becomes a virtue.

Sunny Winter of December is my favorite, the clear sky after a foggy morning. I was out for a walk. I crossed sweet shop, Sanzi Bazar and Bus-stand. At Hanuman temple, my eye got fixated seeing a living creature sitting next to the Idol. There he was: Chota Hanuman, with eyes closed in dhyana(meditative pose). I wanted a closer look to affirm my confirmation. A man in 30’s wearing a costume from Ramlila. He had red Sindiur, aggarbaati, flowers, and coins lying around him, along with fruits and sweets. An elderly couple offered some bananas to him. I wonder if they confused him with the original Idol.

I walked close to him and whispered: ” Chota Hanuman Ji ki Jai.” He instantly opened his left eye, observing his surroundings for a moment, and replied: “khus reh beta.” He asked for my introduction and promised to visit later in the evening. I felt sad for my mother because she would make a feast out of Chota Hanuman Ji’s visit.

At 5 pm, Chota hanuman arrived in a rickshaw and introduced himself as Kishore. He said he would stay brahmachari ( unmarried) like Hanuman Ji.
I told him I would get married at some point, although I had crossed the age of marriage. We laughed, exchanged jokes, and got back into our childhood. I asked he continues being a Chota Hanuman, to which he said
” Atul Ji, ab to Marte dum tak Chota Hanuman Saath rahega” (I will continue being Chota Hanuman till my death). He chanted some Sanskrit sloka and told me about giving Sanskrit tuition to school students. He has to show up in Hanuman’s getup every Tuesday at the temple. It gets him extra income and keeps him closer to people and Hanuman Ji.

He also admitted Sheeplishly that he is not a palm reader. It’s the uncles, aunties in mohalla(town) who put him into it. He carried the act while talking gibberish and making all happy. Was he crying? Were his eyes wet?

Then he threw a googly cheekily with mischievous eyes: “Ramlal Ji bhi monthly allowance dete hai humko”( a rich Marwari Seth of my town pays him monthly allowances). I asked why. He smiled and said, “30 saal pehle bete ko bola tha neta Banega, ban Gaya” (I predicted reading his son’s palm that in the future he will become a politician, which he is now).

Chase

It’s amazing how each one of us is chasing one or the other things. It can be a woman/man, money, or a new job. Our chase becomes an addiction and, we start living in it most of our life and decision, an action of ours gets directed to this grand chase. Everything else becomes secondary for us, be it our family, parents, or health.

How much of this chase matters?

right

At times it becomes difficult how can listen to so much advice. Where ever we go, whatever we do, we have someone around with their experience to share.

As a growing human, it can become a pain in the ass. Our friends, family, and superiors might have their own way of seeing the same issue. How do we know which path to take?

How should we be sure which opinions and advice are right?

Stable

Nothing is permanent in life. Things change concerning a partnership, relationship to friendship equations. A good chunk of our time gets spent with people around us.

Is it possible to pick friends or mentally stable acquaintances? Because at times, it seems our relationship is ending up to a therapy session, where instead of spending quality time, one has to console, motivate or cheer up another person.

I know that relationships, partnerships, friendships can always be cheerful. But what if mostly it is about fixing others? Is it worth our time?
I don’t know. But not having people who are mature or stable around us as colleagues, friends, acquaintances can be painful.

Aura

Each one of us carries a world within. How we talk, respond, act, reciprocate creates a unique aura about us in our circle.

We get liked, disliked, or attracted by our subscribers. The world sees us via their own lens and most of it comes down to our aura.

As a leader it becomes more challenging to not carry a positive aura, because the subordinates, staff other members will start subscribing and aping you.

Carry your aura with responsibility.

Grinding it out

I remember Karthik suggesting a dozen autobiographies last year and, Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, was one of them. Since I had seen the movie on Netflix, so skipped reading it. Last week I was bedridden due to cough/cold, that is when I picked up few books, this was one of them.

Ray Kroc is a legendary founder and, much has spoken about his sales magnetism. He started McDonald’s at the age of 52 when most prepare for retirement. But the preparation of building McDonald’s was on his cards long back. 

Finding the purpose in life is the root teachings of the most school of philosophy. It’s like magic that alters our life for good. That must have been the case with Ray Kroc. Even after giving up an active role, he was still contributing to the growth of McDonald’s.

In the book, he talks about everything from the love of his life to dozen odd jobs. He worked as a salesperson during the day and a piano player at night. Like every other successful entrepreneur, he attributed to luck, hard work, and confidence. 

Ray bought a football club, established a few medical research labs along with donating millions to charity. 

The franchise model, the knick of finding the right people for the job: A few key elements worked out best for building a billion-dollar empire.  

Master Switch

I have liked Tim Wu’s writing. The master switch is the second book I finally got to read. The book talks about various monopolies and technological advancements in the information age. The book starts with the early days of innovation from the telephone and stopping at google’s mega empire. I had the 2011 published book; I wonder if he has added recent Facebook emergence and its societal impact in the updated version.

I was surprised to read about AT&T’s innovation, monopoly, and hand-in-glove approach in killing its competitors and how technology like FM had to wait for a decade before going mainstream.

A later section book also takes us to the Hollywood cartel and how few studies with end-to-end integration owned everyone in the industry and ran the show as they wished by creating and destroying anyone.

Anyone who likes little history on our technological advancement should buy/read this book.

outing

It was one of those yearly team outings, where the entire organization heads for a retreat. The management talks about the roadmap, growth plans over lots of alcohol and food. For Vishal, the senior analyst, it was a special occasion. He wanted to propose to Rajni for marriage. They both have been at the firm for over three years.

While Rajani hails from Bihar, Vishal is a local boy from Ghaziabad. Although working together for all these years, talking, working side by side, none dared to express themselves. Other office mates would make fun of Vishal that he needs a robot to express his feelings to Rajni. Some of them wondered if it was Vishal’s appearance that was making him feel inferior. Vishal is in his late 30’s, pot-bellied and 4.7 ft in height, and wrinkles on his face. Rajani is a wheatish, tall, and charming lady with an athletic built. Many confused her as Punjabi because of her eating habits and appearance. There was over a 10+ year age difference between them. Most of Vishal’s friends told him not to worry as age is just a number.

Rajani liked Vishal for who he was as a person, sober, helpful, and super intelligent. He was the go-to person for most of his confidants for advice and help. But Vishal knew it was his age, failures, and learning through the process giving him an edge over the rest. You start finding patterns from your actions and guide others.

Post breakfast after a late-night party, most were sitting lazily near the pool and watching other guests swimming. It was then Vishal expressed his feelings to Rajani. Everyone around cheered for them both. Rajani threw an unexpected challenge, call it syambar, with only Vihal participating. She challenged him to win her over 30 mins swimming challenge. It was a shock for everyone as no one knew if either of them could swim. Poor Vishal happily agreed to the challenge. He had no other option: as everything is fair in love and there are no challenges.

The challenge would begin at 9 am. Vishal had 2 hours to watch the youtube video and get coaching from some of his friends. It was like a penguin in water huffing and puffing, some observed. Others celebrated jubilantly for his courage. He was out there to win over his love. Nobody knew if Rajani knew swimming because it was only Vishal in the pool doing pre-challenge practice.

At nine, the race started. Over 50 people were cheering for them both. Many anticipated that Rajani will, close the chapter of Vishal today by defeating him. After all, they were hardly a match together. But the reality was something else; she was conceding the race to Vishal. Was she testing his courage? She was just in the waters while Vishal was competing fiercely and was ahead of hers. Everyone was hooting, shouting and some of them were dancing.

At 3ed lap, Vishal seemed uneasy but determined to finish 30 minutes swim and win the race and heart of Rajani. But God had some other plans; the next minute, he went unconscious and, his body was floating on water. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital with Rajani accompanying him. She was speechless, numb, and crying while holding Vishal’s hand. He died in Rajni’s arm with a smile on his face, on his way to the hospital. The autopsy report mentioned many other reasons like diabetes and over-stress leading to the severe stroke and causing his death.

Its’ been over 4 years since Vishal’s death. Rajani is in a mental hospital in Ranchi. She has not spoken a word all this while.

Pressure

The positives and negatives of the Internet are known to us all. This generation is under pressure to show and share. Social media is the go-to destination for all announcements and achievements.

In the 90’s most of us mostly lived reading comics, watching MTV, and fighting over batting in the cricket field.

I feel the amount of pressure this generation is going through is enormous. Last evening I met my neighbor’s friend, a 17 years old kid, crying. On inquiry, I got to know about the breakup and, Instagram was the tool for the announcement.

I am not sure how society, parents will be able to take care of them. I feel scared to be growing up with smartphones and Instagram around me. I think parents have to do a lot for their kids growing in this era.