The Background

teddyA very powerful concept; A much complicated concept that let’s us understand how simple various things are. It makes the things we do, experiences we have and life we live – stand out. And without the background, it is very difficult to analyze/ understand the magnitude of the things we do, experiences we have and the life we live. I’m hoping this is not philosophical.

It’s all relative. Think about any simple example – you like something or somebody. The moment you look at a poster, if it appeals to you, there is something in your mind that you categorize as good or bad. The poster is compared to your preferences and if it matches with the good ones – you like it!

So here is a question: where do we build these preferences from? No, you cannot stand near me and click ‘sync’ in your brain to have my taste! These preferences are built again from some experiences – lessons learnt in the past. Some the easier way and most, the hard way! I see a dog for the first time, I go near it and it attacks me! Next time I see a dog, I’m scared. Because I ‘saved’ the previous experience in my mind. Whenever I see a dog, I compare it to my ‘preferences’ about dogs and feel the emotion (may be I’m scared, may be I love dogs, may be I hate; whatever!)

And coming to the point now, am wondering if we can ‘tune’ our background. Is this positive thinking all (or a little) about? Lowering or raising the bar on the preferences? It could be! Because if we compare everything we experience to a scale inside us, changing the scale obviously should have some influence. You may start liking something you completely disliked (or less liked) earlier. And the reason is its all relative!

I wish I can control my background like I choose backdrops to my pictures!

Did you just say culture?

indiaIndian culture, western culture, good, bad, what not? I heard the same stuff for years! I wonder who chooses topics like ‘culture and changes in the recent past’ or ‘arranged marriages and love marriages’ or ‘are women still considered kitchen bound’ etc. Either everyone knows the answers or no one understands what the objective is.

Anyway, I realized this while I was watching some ‘Youth special’ debate programme on TV the other day. As usual, this was about the Indian culture and how the youth perceives it; likes or dislikes it; and of course the affect of the so called ‘western culture’. I am sure, for more than half of them participating in the debate, Indian culture = ramayan/ mahabarat and western culture = mini skirt and sleeveless tops. Yep, I am sure they cannot define culture.

After many such shows/ debates, I now have my opinion of what culture is! Here is what I think it is. If it not, I strongly feel that it should be! 😉

People have a way of living. We do certain things in certain ways because of various reasons. Some prefer certain type of clothing for comfort; some might feel it’s just good; some chase fashion; and may be some have no choice; and may be some others have various other reasons! The same applies to everything else. We tend to develop few habits as we are forced to do certain things in certain ways regularly. If anyone is patient enough to document all this, bind it and name the book as ‘culture’. Scribble the date if possible.

It is always ‘a documented version of what people actually do or follow’ is/ should be termed culture. Not ‘following what is documented centuries ago’. Thousands of years ago, they had a way of living. Few had time and therefore worked on all the great books we currently have. Read, understand them and think about anything and everything you have read. Live your own way of life. If you are not following those books, you are not ruining the culture. If no one has time, I will document the way you live and we’ll call it culture!

If someone starts off ‘do you even know what our culture is?’ let them come talk to me! We’ll first agree WHAT culture is and then talk about OUR culture later!!!

Black & White: Up or Down?

Enough is enough! Just tell me where you need to go. Oh, no! I am not asking about your career or life in general. Not about your travel plans either. I ask this with reference to the elevator travel. Yes, the vertical transport we use everyday. For those who take dozens of trips everyday and still don’t know which way to go!

How many times have you been in the lift car when the doors open and you have a confused face staring at you? I should say I’m there everyday! My office is on 6th floor and lift car almost stops on every floor. I’m happy, if they get in and want to use the services. Many don’t. They look at me with a question mark on their faces. They expect me to understand the question AND provide a satisfying answer. My luck; question is very simple: Is this going up or down? So, answer and move on.

Not sure if you’re with me – I always want to shout back: Which way do YOU need to go? Up or Down? But, I don’t. The reason? You never know which dumb looking person is how high in your corporate ladder!

Irrespective of the cadre: managers, office boys, directors, security personnel, VPs, courier guys, cleaning women, pizza delivery boys, developers, agents; all have a problem in understanding how lifts work. Of course, I’m not blaming everyone here. I do come across a few sensible people who are very good at it. One general observation is – they want to “call” the lift – literally. They look at the number on the screen, and if it’s above the current floor they are waiting on, press the DOWN button – to call the lift to their floor. Oops! Even if they want to go up. Once the car stops and the doors open, more often than not, you find [someone like] me inside – wanting to shout at you!

How do I explain to everyone that ‘they don’t call the lift first, get in and then press the number corresponding to the floor they want to go to’? Though this holds true for not-so-advanced lifts with one button and metal-manual-sliding-grill types, this is not true for the automated ones with two buttons on the panel. Probably, I’ll have to print posters and display near the panel!

Silence please!

no_cell_phones_allowedI clicked on ‘Reply’ and was thinking for few good sentences to convince a client. He wasn’t happy with the explanation I provided earlier and was getting irate and unhappy with the services we provide. I was carefully re-reading his email and composing a message. From nowhere, I heard a loud “Crazy kiya re!” and was startled! It took few seconds to realize that it was somebody’s mobile around. I gave a “answer the phone quick!” look at the guy. But, he was already having a “who the hell is this calling me now” look on his face.

I experience this nuisance more than once everyday, more often than not, while I’m concentrating on the most important task at hand. Most of the times, the interruption will be when at work. However, even in public places like lifts, waiting rooms in an office/ hospital/ theatres, I appreciate if people have their phones in ‘silence/ vibrate’ modes. Don’t talk in elevators. Don’t talk in buses or trains. Any place where people are cramped and space is limited, don’t talk. You make no friends that way.

I was surprised to know that few don’t answer the call immediately so as to ‘flaunt’ their phone and the ring tone! Cheap tricks! Further, some don’t know how to put ringer to silence. Mute and then continue to stare at the screen to remember who that is or for whatever reason! And these are the ones who wouldn’t go for a simpler model. They need a N Series or Cybershot/ Walkman series. Why not go for basic models which suit the level of understanding and usage?

Technology does give an advantage of mobility with advanced features. However, what’s the use if basic/ common sense is not in the big picture? There comes a time in any technological revolution when some basic guidelines need to be laid down. I personally feel like carrying copies of the text below and hand over one whenever I come across the uncommon sensed people.

  • If people around you don’t have the option of ‘not listening’, you shouldn’t be talking. E.g.: elevators, busses, trains, waiting rooms etc.
  • When in public places, please use silence/ vibrate modes to receive calls/ messages. You wouldn’t want to use technology even if present for convenience purposes? Don’t flaunt your ring tones!
  • Public performances, meetings, training, theatres (silence mode is considered little okay here, but you anyway can’t talk), switch off the phone.
  • Driving and phone, NOT OK! No dialing, no answering, no messaging, nothing doing. Complete your call and hit the road, or pull over when you receive a call.
  • The ones with Bluetooth devices; remove it from your ear when not talking. We don’t know whether you are [talking] here or there!
  • If signal is weak, don’t talk louder or shout! Mobiles don’t work with your pitch/ voice levels. We have some wireless technology involved.
  • Don’t try to impress with your mobile. When you do that, we know you just started using one and you’re not a veteran. You have a long way to go!