Saturday, February 15, 2014

Stress Busters

These have become a part of our everyday lives - not only for people engaging in stressful jobs but also kids, housewives and retired personnel. They are now a constant part of our daily lives. Wen are a worried lot. Most of the time we worry about things that will never happen. Or worry about things that if happen will have no impact on our lives in the medium term.
Can these be avoided? YES
Is there a solution? Definitely YES
Do I know it? Definitely NO (if I did I would still have a lot of black hair)
Will you get a solution after reading this? MAYBE
The thing is that we have to find our own solutions. There is no “killer app” that life gives you to fix the many problems that we face. To stumble upon solutions to a problem, we need to appreciate that there is a problem and then think about the same. This is really difficult for the mind. Even accepting that there is a problem is close to impossible. We just don’t read the writing on the wall. And if there is a problem the easiest response is not to think about it at all. Just ignore it and the problem will go away. Unfortunately it doesn’t – it is the elephant in the room. Let us see what can be done to address the same –
Hobby –
It is a terrific stress buster. Writing does it for me. For you it could be reading, singing, dancing, cooking, painting, philanthrophy, nature, workouts – find out your own stress buster and devote at least some time every week to it. Mind you – socialising is not a hobby. Results are guaranteed, time period for achieving the same depends on you.
Love –
It is very important to have a loving circle – family/social/even pets. We love the feeling of being loved and our love for someone being reciprocated.
Humility & Kindness –
Kindness keeps the heart in the right place. Humility keeps us grounded and our ego at bay. It also keeps away a lot of stress that the “peer pressure” builds on us.
Humour -
Laugh. Find reasons to be happy. Find out what tickles your funny bone. If nothing works – watch the Rahul Gandhi interview with Arnab – it will definitely work.
Conditioning –
No, the hair conditioner won’t work.
The reason that we are not extinct (at least not yet) is that we adapt to our environment. Evolution has made us capable of reacting to stimulus. It is like the work antibiotics do in our body – small doses of bacteria/virus builds our resistances. Same with stress. I am not asking you to walk into stressful situations or ask for trouble. As we start handling stress we start getting better at it. The point is that we can get conditioned to handle it. It is like the people who stay close to airports or railway tracks get used to the noise – it is painful in the beginning, it becomes a part of life once you get used to it. The trick is to realise how much can you take. Since you can’t fight and win all battles – choose yours carefully. If stress in the office is high, try to keep the domestic life peaceful. And vice versa.
Better to deal with it as we can’t run away from it.
If you can do it well, all the glory and the peace is ours to have.
After all, “Diamond is just a piece of coal which handled pressure very well”
All the best!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

For Love, With Love

The valentine season is here and the “season of love” will start. How long the season lasts depends on each one of us – for some it is a day long and for some a full year long. As for me, I am somewhere in the middle. Where exactly I stand is for my wife to say (PS – she often calls me Aurangzeb. That will give you a good idea of where I stand on this scale). The western world has done such a great job of popularising the valentine’s day that it would today be undoubtedly the second most global festival after Christmas.
Love is the most universal emotion. It is also the most complex. Most other emotions derive themselves from love. To put it the other way, if all emotions are the languages of the world, love is Sanskrit – the purest and the mother of all languages.  But what I really like about love is its complexity, the infinite shades that this one emotion creates. Let us look at some of them -     
We love our spouses (specially applicable for newly weds) J
We love our parents
We love our siblings
We love our friends
We love our country
We love film stars/sportspersons/legends
We love a subject
We love a political party/leader
We love our gadgets
We love holidays
We love weekends
We love a place/destination
We love food
We love movies/TV shows
We love being in love
We love our kids (until they become rebellious teenagers) J
We love our jobs (well I do) J
We love our in laws (I do that too) J
We love our dreams
We love being desired
We love winning
We love our hobbies
We love all material things
We love the nature/environment
We love our schools/colleges
The list can be very long. The point here the complexity of love, it is in different shades for all the above states that I have listed above.
Love is universal. All people have love in their life - they may not just feel it. Adolf Hitler loved to hate the Jews. Osama Bin Laden loved to hate the Americans. You see, this emotion is everywhere. Even animals have it. Let’s keep the basic needs (unless they are confused with emotions) like hunger, rest, sleep, pain etc away and we realise that love is one of the evolved emotion that even animals have.
Love is paradoxical. Love seems to be free. But it only “seems” to be so. Ask any lover who is splurging on his/her loved one. It is nowhere near free. Bollywood has made an entire industry around love. The multiplex tickets today do not keep it anywhere near the free category.
Love is a great equaliser. We can love the ones more gifted than us or the ungifted (Rahul Gandhi is an exception in this – he is universally unloved except for his part chamchas). We can love those better off than us financially or worse off. We can love someone from the current generation or the previous. We can love someone from our country or the outside. We can love someone with the same value system as ours or totally different.
Love is everlasting. Look at the marvels that the world has created in the tribute to their loved ones. The Taj Mahal is the best example. Even the characters in love are everlasting – Romeo and Juliet, Heer and Ranjha, Laila and Majnu.
Love is liberating. If you could love everything and everyone the way saints did.
Love is also empowering and motivating.
Love brings out the best in us, the lack of love brings out the worst.
Too much of love will never cause you a disease or get you in trouble, unless you are confusing love with lust!!
Love is pure. Love is unconditional.
Love is passionate. It is also compassionate.
Love is magical.
This Valentines day let us decide to spread love around us and also be expressive about it. It is such a beautiful feeling, why keep it inside? We should spread enough of it around to come back to us.
Its a lovely thought, isn’t it!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

RaGa is an IDEA

Last week saw RaGa give his first personal interview to a TV channel. Till now the mom and the son have not even taken questions at a press conference – they find it easier to read out from printed sheets of paper and then walk away when they are done. RaGa has also found it tremendously inconvenient to speak in the parliament as an MP. His attendance in the parliament would make any parents of school going children blush. He tried taking questions from students a couple of times in the past 5 years and the embarrassing results are on you tube for all to see.
So it was a time for a break from the tradition. It was a time for the “trial by fire” for the “sehazada” to break the shackles and let the country know on his view on important matters, to show that he can think on his feet and take some tough questions. Since his face was already splashed on the media campaign, it was time to go on “prime time” In the event that someone has missed it, the link as below –
The only problem was, they made some serious blunders on the way. These blunders made for one of the most hilarious shows that I have ever watched. Mind you, it is hilarious because you know that he has absolutely no chance of becoming the PM. Otherwise, the interview would have been a nerve wracking shocker. Let’s look at the blunders –
Blunder # 1 – Pick up Arnab as the interviewer
Classic. Now Arnab is a tough nut and he can be really nasty. He is also a bully. The congress media managers should have anticipated a big problem on their hands if RaGa was sitting across Arnab and the cameras were rolling, unless of course someone within the Congress team wanted to sabotage his career. RaGa should be thankful that Arnab was well behaved with him, he could easily have been nasty.
PS – Arnab was the most well behaved in his interview with Raj Thackrey. Put two bullies in front of one another and you would see the bigger bully prevail.
For those who haven’t seen it –
Blunder # 2 – Brief him on the questions that might get asked
Whosoever briefed RaGa on the likely questions that could be asked did a very shoddy job. He protested in the middle of the interview, asking Arnab why he was not being asked the right questions. He also tried to cross question Arnab a couple of times. Any mortal interviewer would have fallen for the same, not Arnab. Go back to Blunder # 1. Put a reluctant politician in front of a serious journalist and what you get is a laugh riot.
Blunder # 3 – Close Up of RaGa
By the second half of the interview you could see RaGa sweating. He is literally facing the heat of Arnab’s questions. The red ears indicate a rush of blood to the brains – after a long time I guess.   
We should really appreciate the courage and the dedication of the Congress spokespersons. They came in the media with after the interview and defended the indefensible. With a straight face they said that what the nation saw was the sincere and honest man doing a good job of what he was supposed to do. They were correct, only if they were talking of Arnab!!
The best part was in the middle of the interview. Lalu is an idea, said RaGa to an amused country. No sir, you are an idea, and a funny one at that. You should look at my circumstances to see what and who RaGa is. I am a serious politician who may also be vulnerable. I only mention my family name twice – the press just keeps showing the same things again and again. I have gone through a lot of hardships in life. Phew. Too much burden for the young shoulders to carry.
The best part is the number of jokes that the interview generated (Alok Nath has sent a personal thank you note to RaGa for taking the heat off him). My favourite? RaGa will now be the mascot for NaMo for PM campaign – the volunteers will be distributed masks of RaGa and the sight of the same will send voters lining up the polling booths to vote for NaMo.
But we must not feel bad for RaGa, we have short memories and are forgiving of such small blunders. The serious point is that this is why one needs enough practice in the middle to get ready for the big role. His father was also a reluctant politician who was parachuted in the job after the assassination of Mrs Gandhi. On the other hand RaGa is being groomed for the position. Groomed for too long I say. You need to work hard to be prepared while being groomed sir. While there is no problem in taking 2 month long holidays every year away from the hustle and bustle of this country, please spend the remaining 10 months wisely.  
PS – This was the edited version of the interview. Just the thought of what the unedited version contains tickles me!!
Next week we take a break from politics and go back to philosophy.