Archive for the ‘Minds and Mindsets’ Category

Being Human

In Dissecting Life, Minds and Mindsets on July 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Human beings are quirky. Their eccentricity causes distrust to erupt naturally between two human beings. It is possibly a defense mechanism that stems from our survival instincts; the need to guard ourselves emotionally and physically from others’ thought processes.

Blessed abundantly with imagination, we are capable of a variety of actions. And each one of us is hardwired to perform a different set of actions which is governed by our “habits” or “character”. One human being is so fundamentally different from another that the absence of culture and discipline is bound to throw us haywire. We don’t know which stimuli will trigger what action in a human being. Maybe that is why cultures and traditions are forced to survive. It is important to have rules to induce normality into the system. Human beings are always in the need to create a society whose members have similar patterns of behaviour. It is the predictability of human behaviour that gives us a sense of security.

The society gives you the license to question when one does not behave the way one is expected to. It structures it with punishments to pull one back on track. Categorizing actions into acceptable and unacceptable makes life simpler by reducing the number of choices we need to make. Maybe that is why systems, with well defined customs, function well, for good or bad. Similar habits and beliefs build strong groups, organizations and armies.

Today, a strong sense of individuality is budding within people. With each one harbouring their own set of beliefs, it will become increasingly difficult to decipher people. It will become increasingly difficult to decide if your action is acceptable or unacceptable because each one will have an entirely different point of reference. The concept of “trust” will become obsolete because the basis of trust is an “expected” outcome.


The Beauty vs. The Brain

In Minds and Mindsets on October 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm

There exists this general perception that Beauty is inferior to Brains. The notion seems to be that it’s ok to be an ugly, intelligent person but not ok to be a beautiful, dumb person. And I seem incapable of perceiving the difference between these two entities.

Give it a thought. Neither your beauty, nor your brains (read talent, skill, IQ etc.) are your own soul creations. You are beautiful or intelligent or talented or street smart or skillful by virtue of your genes, your circumstances, your lifestyle, your mental makeup, nature or “grace of God” if you must. The ultimate purpose is to use whatever you have to make your living. But you can’t merely use your “gifts.” You need to polish it, enhance it, and work with it to make your cut.

This takes me to Skill Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery. Each day you work on several aspects of your abilities such as your knowledge, your problem solving skills, your concentration levels, to excel in a competitive environment. The same applies to people from the field of sports, dance, music and arts. The beauties, on the other hand, work hard on their bodies.  While the brains subject themselves to high pressure learning environments that involve mental transformation, beauties subject themselves to extensive beauty remedies and sometimes cosmetic fixing for physical transformations.

Let’s be honest, all of us require some fixing, some nip and tuck, whether it be our brains or our looks. While some of you work hard on creating an altered perception of smartness or intelligence in a social environment, some others work on creating an altered visual perception. And I don’t see how one is any less a mask than the other. And since we are all masked, what’s the big deal about?

In my eyes, the display of your mathematics scores to win the high-value brand institution is not any different from the display of your bodies to win the “Hottest Beach Body” title. Beauty is as subjective as your brain’s ability to score better than the others given a second chance.

Anyway, while the beauty and the brains breakeven the rest of us, who do not belong to either of the extremes, must get to work. We have a lot of surgeries in the pipeline!

photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can judge you by the way you…

In Minds and Mindsets on October 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

Scrutiny is inevitable when walking into a pool full of new faces. A judgement begins with an assumption and is eventually proved right or wrong. As far as human behaviour is concerned, it’s just a rough estimation. Most of us believe we make accurate judgements of a personality but few of us admit that our judgment is trash. Every nascent relationship is about giving chances; several chances. Ideally, you say nice things, they say nice things, you say stupid things, they say stupid things, you are mean, and they are mean. Sometimes you are nice but they are mean and vice versa. There is a lot of room for misunderstandings and misinterpretations. But after several awkward interactions you enter a phase of comfort interactions and eventually stabalize. That level of stabalization is your relationship with the person. It is this relationship that you are going to build upon.

All through graduation and post graduation we’ve been groomed to develop formal relationships; get interview-ready. A lot is said about body language, attires, presentations, etc. followed by several trainings and lists of do’s and don’ts under the pretext of personality development. The question is what parts of our personality does appropriate decoration intend to develop? Our focus is currently on generating “say the right thing, do the right thing, behave the right way” puppets. In such a situation when people say they are looking for something unique, it makes me wonder why they are looking for “something unique” on an assembly line! If you really think about it, why should the onus of your poor judgement come on the opposition? If you judge a book by its cover, it doesn’t become the books fault!

Currently people around me claim to be great leaders, great communicators, and great listeners and they probably are. They are also confident, intelligent, proactive, outgoing and all the greatness you can think of. But you are what your strengths and weaknesses make you. Your essence, your originality lies there. Yet, you are wise to never disclose your weakness and I know you will never disclose yourself. But I hope you know that this means we might never know each other.

Men and better drivers!? That too on Indian roads!?

In Minds and Mindsets on August 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

One breezy evening, my friends and I parked our butts on a concrete slab in our building compound. As we chit-chatted, we saw a young lady trying to park her car into her parking slot. The slot had a car parked on one side and low walls on the other two. While she was getting ready to park, we realized that it was the same lady who had attempted to park a minute ago but aborted the attempt when another car honked at her for blocking the narrow lane. (Yes, it’s normal to honk your ass off in India.) Freaked out, the lady drove round the building and came back to her original spot. Now calmer and ready to park, she slowly reversed into the slot and parked her car perfectly! While she was performing this task a friend exclaimed, “Say whatever you like, but women are dumb drivers!”

Alright, let’s assume that women are not-so-intelligent drivers. But guess who’ve been driving sluggish taxis on fast lanes? Men! Guess who’ve been driving on the slow lanes as though they are F1 racing tracks? Men! Guess who’ve been driving auto rickshaws as though traffic rules never existed in India? Men! Guess who’ve been driving BMWs and Mercedes as though they are derivatives of auto rickshaws? Men! Guess who’ve been driving trucks and buses as though they are, indisputably, motorbikes? Men! Guess who’ve been riding motorbikes as though the rest of the vehicles don’t exist? Men! Guess who’ve been perpetually abusing those very men and rashly overtaking them in a fit of rage? Men!

Wow! That must be man’s  dazzling display of intelligence!

Which category of respect do you belong to?

In Minds and Mindsets on August 6, 2011 at 11:39 am

You fall into one of the four categories of respectful conduct.

#1 You respect when they “earn” respect.
#2 You respect until they “lose” respect.
#3 You respect everybody irrespective of whether they earn it or lose it.
#4 What’s respect?

If you belong to the first category, it means you respect nobody but few. The people you believe you respect are most likely your seniors, or of certain advantage to you or belong to the same category (team, belief system, locality, etc.) as you. In short, most of you are putting up with a lot of arse kissing, ego massaging and belief building.

If you belong to the second category, it means you respect everybody but few. You respect irrespective of age, sex, economic status, social status, race, ethnicity etc. You will respect until one does something that makes one unworthy of respect.

If you belong to the third category, it means you respect even the ones who have lost respect. Your motto- Respect, period. (Wow, you must be something!)

If you belong to the fourth category… never mind.

Point being, we don’t propagate unconditional respect the way we propagate unconditional love.

Back to Black

In Minds and Mindsets, My Files on July 31, 2011 at 8:55 pm


When I’m confused, I wear black and when I reach my destination, I discover that ninety percent of the population was as confused when they looked into their wardrobes. Dinners, parties, Saturday nights, clubbing, Halloween, rock concerts, be it anything, I know how most of us will turn up- black shirts, black t-shirts, overrated short black dresses, black gowns, black tunics, black shoes, black jeans, black jackets and some whites. Not that if you are wearing a white number you are any more creative than us. But the unspoken dress code seems to be black. “What are you wearing tonight?” is as good as asking “What colour are the wheels of your car?” Black!

We hail from a country (India) where every celebration is grand, and every party scene traditionally explodes with bright colours, electric hues, shimmer, glitter and shine. It is also a country where, once upon a time, blacks and whites didn’t even exist in one’s wardrobe. They were worn only to funerals or by widows. It’s a good thing that today blacks, whites and greys are experimented with but unfortunately they dominate our party wear. Sexy or not, classy or not, the lack of colour is beginning to bore me!

Nevertheless, tastes change, notions change and so do our styles. But let’s not confuse colours with outfits. I am not a fashion designer nor a model nor a stylist nor the editor of a fashion magazine but I can tell a black gown from a black nightgown. As for the guys, I can tell you were confused– black t-shirt with the superman logo versus plain black t-shirt, white t-shirt with the superman logo versus plain white t-shirt. But you finally settled for a black shirt. That must’ve been a difficult choice!

In the midst of this gloom a lonely red, yellow or green can’t help but scream, “Look at me!” and you’d probably be ousted if you turned up like this for a death metal concert. But it is just a celebration night and colour shall do you no harm. So break the black routine! For the unimaginative ones, I strongly recommend two pints of beer before you open your wardrobe next time. It will enable you to grow the much needed pair of balls to pick a coloured outfit.

P.S.: The sight of colour makes me so happy, I could cry!

I Know What You Looked Like Last Summer

In Dissecting Life, Minds and Mindsets on June 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

 Image by: Heptagon :: Image License

It won’t be easy for the Camera Age generations to see themselves wither away. Every moment captured in the Camera Age is a record that will have an important effect on your future. A lot of time will be spent in discussing what you used to do and how you used to look. At twenty one, you will stare at you pictures and think that you were an angel at three, clumsy at eleven and sported a ridiculous haircut at fifteen. At fifty, you will flip though the pages of another album to see your kids come into existence and grow in a more or less similar pattern– angel at three, clumsy at eleven and sporting a ridiculous haircut at fifteen. I sincerely hope twenty one is a pretty picture.

At sixty you will go through your pictures and see the wrinkles come into existence. You will notice your body go through a steady expansion or may be a series of expansions and contractions. Botox will be witness to your access to a reference point; an old picture. A picture that reminds you of what you no more are.

Before the Camera Age, youth was an illusion. Nobody ever remembered what they looked like when they were young and neither did the people around them. The mirror did all the talking, like it does even today, but only for that one moment. The mirror never revisits the same face or story again. But a picture has tales to tell as well as faces to show, of a frozen time. It’s another way of living in the past, living the past and sometimes wishing for a future that has already passed.

At eighty it will take courage (the other alternative being amnesia) to hold your picture against a mirror.

Believe It Or Not, I Don’t Know.

In Dissecting Life, Minds and Mindsets on June 12, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Statement: If Mr.X exists, he occupies room2.

Initial Conditions: A, B, C and Z are sitting in room1. Room1 has a door (opaque and solid) that opens into room2. The door is shut. Also, if the door is opened, nobody can see what occupies room2 unless he enters it.

Z enters room2. After a while, Z walks out and claims, “I met Mr.X.”
Later, Z asks the three guys, “Does Mr.X exist?”

A says, “Yes.”
B says, “No.”
C says, “I don’t know.”

A takes the leap of “faith.” He believes Mr.X exists because he has faith in Z’s words.
B only believes what he sees. He believes Mr.X does not exist and will continue this way until he sees Mr.X himself. He has no faith in Z’s words.
C admits he doesn’t know. He is not concerned about what Z has to say.

There are two possibilities:
Case I: Mr.X occupied room2.
Case II: Room2 was empty.

If Mr.X occupied room2, it means Mr.X exists. So, A’s belief is equal to the truth.
If Mr.X did not occupy room2, it means Mr.X does not exist. So, B’s belief is equal to the truth.
However, in both cases only one man is being true to himself and he is C because irrespective of whether Mr.X occupied the room or not, none of the three guys know the answer to the question- “Does Mr.X exist?” While A and B “believe,” C “knows” that he doesn’t know. Hence, “I don’t know” is the truth.

The dead don’t know death any better than the born know birth. The most honest answer to some questions is, “I don’t know.” And all the alternate answers to those questions essentially begin with a “Maybe…”

Mind Chatter: The Voices in My Head

In Minds and Mindsets on May 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Image by: Nevit Dilmen:: Image License 

I’m observing the tussle between several views originating from the same mind. They discuss what is liked, what can be liked, what cannot be liked, what is not liked. What I should be, what I shouldn’t be, what I could be, what I couldn’t be. What I got, what I didn’t get, what I didn’t get but someone else got. What I should say, what I shouldn’t, how I should react, how I can’t react, how I shouldn’t react. “Don’t react!”

I notice my mind struggling to generate an unambiguous performance report.  It assesses, was I rude, was I polite, should I have been ruder, should I have been more polite? Was I cunning, did the situation permit me to be cunning? Am I good, am I a good human being, what is a good human being? Was I good enough, am I good enough, am I better than the rest, am I the best? I want to be the best, do I really want to be the best, am I doing enough to be the best, do I have to be the best?

I watch my mind trying to build my identity. It investigates, do I like this, do I love this, do I like it ‘cause you like it or do you like it cause I like it? Do I like you? Does it matter? What do you think? What do I think? What do you think I think? What do you think she thinks? What do you think she thinks he thinks? Why is everybody thinking so much? I don’t care what you think! Or do I?


A Secular Nation?!

In Minds and Mindsets, Random on May 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm

India is that secular country…

where political parties are staunch believers of “Divide and Rule” and are almost always successful at creating rifts between members of different regions and religions.

where a maharashtrian rickshawallah takes offence at being called “bhaiyya” but doesn’t mind being called “uncle.” (He’d rather be British than Bihari.)

where college admissions and recruitments are characterized by regional as well as religious quotas- Gujrati quota, Malyali quota, Catholic quota etc. (Especially in Mumbai where everybody is a minority.)

where residents of the Eastern part of India are called Chinese; at least until they blurt Hindi. The rest of India often has difficulty recalling the states in that area.

where the lower half of the country is called “South India” and the rest of India has no idea which “South Indian” language belongs to which “South Indian” state; for they all “sound” the same.

where we have gujjubens, doodwallah bhaiyyas, sindhi chors, maka pavs, parsi bawas, kanjoos marwadis, chinkies, madrasi annas, sardar jokes and so on.

where getting your children married to members of other regions (or religions) is a grave offence and can severely tarnish the family’s image or infuriate the Gods!

where some people still believe Muslims and Pakistanis are the same entity.

where people cannot survive the state (let alone the country) thus, giving rise to new states.

where whenever we talk about “unity in diversity” we give age old examples of fighting the British rule. (Uniting against a common enemy is not uncommon. It’s called “unity in adversity.”)

where the most recent example of “secularism” that we are surviving on is- a Christian giving her seat to a Sikh to rule a Hindu dominated country. (If awareness doesn’t prevail, we’ll be using this example for an awfully long time.)

Jai Hind!