Life, Transformation

Connectedness #Day 23

EVERY BALL COUNTS (2)

It was my last day in Mumbai, as a person seeking admission to a college. My dear father had gone back after the formalities were done. Big city, much bigger than I was used to. That day I roamed alone, a day alone with the city, where I would spend the next 6 years of my life. I decided to take a double decker, and got on to my favorite seat, the front row. I could see everything on the road, as a driver would. I could see the sea and Haji Ali on one side and skyscraper and traffic jam on the other. I would be lost, the city is too big, I thought. I felt like a dot on the planet, while the horns blew in the background, red lights flashed in front of me and BEST bus revved in heat. I felt lonely. The bus conductor asked me for the tickets. And he also told me the stop that I would need to get down. He tried to explain me in as much as he could in his Marathi accent.

I was on my way to catch the train from Dadar central station, exactly two days after my father had left. He had an important business to attend to. He filled me up with every essential. I was a grown up man, enough to travel alone. And yet, I felt small, the city seemed too big. My only luggage was a small bag, which I was holding close to me, to mitigate any mishap. I had also put my wallet on my front pocket, which otherwise I would use my hip pockets. Bombay is very crowded, you should be careful about the pickpockets, I was told, you would never know when your wallet disappears especially when you are in a crowd. The eventuality of losing my wallet was scary. How would I reach back home, better keep close attention on my items. I was very careful. The man in front of me kept reading the newspaper and the one standing next to me, kept looking at me. I offered him my seat when my stop came, he smiled and nodded in approval when his patience paid off.

I was on Dadar station, it was evening, didn’t know what time it was. I had a bag and wallet in my front pocket. I had to cross over to the other side to get to the train and as a matter of fact, I looked down. Not an inch of space on the platform. I could only see people everywhere. It was the evening time when every one is rushing back home. Like a ant colony, I felt small again. Probably, I won’t survive. In the midst of this chaos, there was a sudden realization that I needed to get to the train; I could afford to miss it. I wanted to get away from Mumbai, as fast I could. While I was walking, I asked a person who was walking by about time. “It is 6.30.”, he didn’t look at me and walked on. He was in hurry, to catch his local train, but had heard me. He helped me as much as he could in the time he had. I remember he also said, “Get off the last platform to get to Dadar Central.” I didn’t ask for his last piece of his advice, but I guess he saw my luggage. He walked on and didn’t look back or expected anything in return. I never met him again and he left memories that made me fond about the city & people.

My first few recollections of Mumbai were of concern, full of anxiety and sense of loneliness. And it took just about few days to settle in. The people, the food, the language, exuded warmth. I found spirit of people inimitable, it was grand and connected to each Mumbaikar. The culture and love is extended to strangers and the new. I miss Mumbai, so much so that when I went back to Delhi, the place I have spent longest time, I felt shallow. I couldn’t identify with people, I took me 3 years to feel at home in my  home city. We seemed to be running all the time in Delhi.

We were a group of 9 people in a yoga session and none of us know each other. My first exercise was to approach every single person in the group and tell him, I belong to you. Didn’t make sense to me at all. We did this every day of our course. Sincerely, even by the last day, I wasn’t able to truly say, I belong to you. We would leave after a week and none of us would connect again. We do belong to each other, even if it is for a fleeting microsecond. But it may take many years for us to realize it. I haven’t realized it yet.

And it is difficult, and takes courage to say, I belong to you, and stand by it. It doesn’t come naturally, as it comes for our siblings, parents or children. These boundaries, in our minds, are created by us and difficult to break. Irrespective, connectedness is one of the strongest virtues, that empower us and give us hope and strength. For the sake of simplicity we would just let it be. If it doesn’t affect me directly, it is none of my business.

Kids understand it the best. They have amazing 6th sense to know who is genuine and feel connected to them. First few interaction with a new person would tell you how genuine you feel with each other. There is an invisible bond amongst all of us, essential like air; we will feel suffocated if there isn’t any.

And it is all so powerful. Connected people make good families, teams, society and nation. Where each one respects the existence of the other, where there is a dignity of life in every individual, where there is strong connectedness.

Do you feel it? Slowly, one day at a time is all it takes to truly and sincerely say, “I belong to you.”

Photo & layout courtesy: canva.com

 

 

 

 

 

Life, Transformation

How to become a millionaire in 10 steps #Day 22

EVERY BALL COUNTS (1)

A humble submission and resolution for next half of the new year.

  1. I won’t read any self help books
  2. I won’t read any blog or article that begin with headers such as “How to become a millionaire in 10 steps.”

This is at the cost of the blog not being popular or my inability to simplify life and experiences for the mass majority. I guess we lack patience and the rigor to go through the drill. Or possibly, the life too short to be enjoyed as a journey. I feel, we all have unique experiences and each of which makes this planet a better place to live in. If there was a formula, commercialization of this idea wouldn’t have been a problem and it would been biggest funded venture capitalists startup.

Such articles follow a typical methodology

  • They start with a successful personality and trace his life. Put in perspective all his/her hardships etc.
  • They look at few common traits such as courage, optimism, risk taking, etc and comment on the traits. “Taking risk” would be by far the most citied term. And encourage you to take risk and follow path.
  • Celebrate and equate “Risk taking” to amount of wealth generated, the most respected symbol for success.

Reading autobiographies are better because at least it is first hand. At the same time, we are assuming that all the facts mentioned in the memoir are true and verified. Whatever be the consideration, the success outweighs any other factor. By another argument, “Failure”, though a celebrated word in our context, won’t be seen as a successful plot; will have few takers. Have you read memoirs of anyone who has been failure? Probably none, because the chances are more likely that such stories wouldn’t have been written. Though such people in normal life would have demonstrated the same set of traits, courage, optimism and risk taking, however there exists a fine line between success and failure.

I was inspired by one of the section in Malcolm Gladwell’s book that I’m reading, David & Goliath, underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants. He dedicates a section to a Hollywood personality, who had been very successful. He began working very early in his life because his father would ask him to fund half of everything, pester him if he left the light switch on, “We are paying for you being lazy.” His father had a scrap metal business, where he worked and swore that he would never get back there again. So left with no choice he had to chart is own journey of being financial independent. His father had 3 sons who were motivated and did well in their work. I’m sure, few would be interested in the father’s side of the story. And even after reading, they may wonder where is it going. Unfortunately, what is learnt can never be taught.

Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught- Oscar Wilde

Mr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his book, The Black Swan, calls such phenomenon as the Silent evidence. He cites the story of drowned worshippers to further elaborate. One Diagoras, a non-believer in Gods was presented with a tablet which had portraits of worshipper, who prayed and survived shipwreck. Diagoras asked a very pertinent question, “What about the people who prayed and then drowned?”. The chances are likely that the dead worshippers won’t be available to pose as model or share the experience. To establish the truth we will take the part of reality that appeals to us the most. According to Mr. Taleb, the neglect of the silent evidence is the endemic to the way we study comparative talent, particularly in activities that have winner-take-it-all-attitude.

Phoenicians are credited to have invented the first written script. They were merchants and need a method to measure commerce. As it is said about the Egyptians, who used tablets to keep a record of treasury. The utility of these method was to facilitate the understanding and not just rely on memory. This wasn’t art, plain simple arithmetic. It served a purpose, it helped us count. It was real.

We may enjoy what we may see, but there is no point in reading too much, because we don’t see the full picture. The only complete picture that we have is of ours, which maybe ordinary, but is true and real. It requires courage to accept it as is.

And there couldn’t be better learning about success than from our own. Each day and every hour and the celebration of the ordinary, the mundane and the inconsequential. It is the most influential story that you can ever write.

Photo & layout courtesy: Canva.com

 

Life, Transformation

Humility #Day 20

100% (8)

I had been following with the gentleman’s office for almost 10 days, and I got his direct number eventually. Menon was known to be a tough professionally and very straight in talk. I had never met him, and this was my first interaction. Menon’s background indicated that he had been at helm of affairs for a considerable period and therefore a decision maker. He was an important contact and I was convinced that my product and service could deliver him incremental results. My enthusiasm showed in my fast delivery of introduction. He told me to call him back. And so he did the third time.

These interaction were during the Ramadan days, when work hours are short. In Dubai, people are relatively easy at work during these days. There is no pressure, because a large number of the day is spent in prayers. I was determined to call Menon again and so I did. And this time to my surprise, I did get his attention. I again introduced what I did. While speaking this time I got a sense that I very little time to make an impression. And what I did that day goes as a lesson for the rest of my life, not to be repeated. Absolutely.

Menon (sounding hasty): So what do you want?

Me: I need to meet you to explain about our service. I have studied your business and I believe we can deliver you results.

Menon (sounding still hasty): What is your summary?

Me: I can send you the opportunity gaps that we have found, which may help us increase your business.

Menon (completely losing it): You don’t have to tell me what I need to do.

Me: Mr. Menon, I haven’t even started to give you recommendations. Moreover, you can use it only when you have debated internally. It is your business.

Menon: No I don’t need your recommendation or your business. I hope this is the last interaction that we are having.

Me (completely losing it): It is your loss. I hope you do well in your business.

I remember my last emotions; it was anger, contempt and hatred for Menon. How can he deny me without listening to me? He is so fixated. And the thoughts went on and on. Clearly, Menon’s rigidity had made me upset and I was very livid. And it was also true that I had lost the business and an opportunity which may have resulted in large contract. It was not just opportunity loss, it was a deeper regret.

It was a habit that costed me tremendous opportunity and I decided never to do that again. I reacted and that was incorrect. When Menon told me that He didn’t want me tell him what he needed to do, I started hating him for his loftiness. I was saw him as abusing his position of power that he held in this relationship. I felt like a victim, which is where I was defeated.

When you are consumed by emotions, it is not the best time to make a decision. Reaction is even worse. There are more chances that you would regret it later. No matter how bad the situation is, the humility counts.

In the interaction with Menon, and in the heat of the moment, I ignored the good and let the untamed part of me take control. I wished I were more calm and requested if there was another time that I could call back. Maybe he would have thanked me later when he would have witnessed an increased business.

I also lost my focus on the outcome, which was to do business. And this was the larger worry. When we lose focus of the merit of discussion and get governed by the emotions, no one wins. The emotions shouldn’t decide the outcome, you should. Maybe I should have paused and kept the speaker off my ears.

Or maybe I should have just listened. There are many possible alternatives, but the reality stood unchanged.

After few day I shared this incident with my friend. He laughed. I laughed too, I felt lighter. Lesson learnt and time to move on.

Maybe I should write a book with the usual bestseller title: The Subtle Art of Not Taking Things Too Seriously.  

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