Sunday, September 24, 2017

An invitation for action…

Wow! There were justifications and arguments again! Anitha  scored 1176 in school exam but only 86 in the entrance exam; would you like to get treated by such a doctor (if she had become a doctor); she died in spite of getting aeronautical engineering seat in MIT and she  went to private school not to government school are some of the arguments against கறை!

Let me take one chunk at a time "Anitha  scored 1176 in school exam but only 86 in the entrance exam; would you like to get treated by such a doctor (if she had become a doctor); she  went to private school not to government school"!! She scored 1176 in exam and 86 in entrance exam! That is the whole point!! If she was able to score so well, why was she not able to score in entrance? The scope of her studies is different from the scope of entrance exam. Let us not forget that!! Was she given an opportunity to prepare?  Sure, the school will not be able to address the scope (or syllabus) issue; who should have done that? Is it not the government? If they are not prepared to give better / wider scope to the children, how can they change the approach at the last minute? How will 12th standard students be able to mediate between the state and central governments to come to a conclusions? Both these governments should have handled it more systematically! That would happen only if we have governments! But, we don’t, unfortunately!!  Did we ever question these guys for actions / inactions? The next argument of memorizing vs. application of knowledge proven by the stark difference in the marks! If someone scored 1176/1200, their cognitive ability is much better than many others. Of course remembering and recalling are first order intelligence and applying & solving are higher order intelligence. For someone who was so very high in first order intelligence how long it would have taken to get into higher orders if given right support? Whose mistake is that she did not get the support? If the supposedly better private schools also did not give her the support, who is answerable? As a society, did we ever question the quality of these private and public schools?

"She died in spite of getting aeronautical engineering seat in MIT" What a pity! She could have called herself as junior of the great Dr Kalam; he studied in MIT and the same course - aerospace engineering!! How come we failed as a society to educate our children to aim high but at the same time celebrate the achievements? Why did we not teach our children to weigh the options? Why did we not teach our children to see the reality of life and move forward with courage? Who should have done this - parents, teachers, relatives, friends and who else? Even if we assume that someone provoked her to commit suicide, we are failing as a society to educate our children to evaluate any instructions and address provocations sensibly. On one end, we seem to be too happy / content with what is happening around us and on the other end we seem to be too fragile to handle any difficulty. Have we lost our ability to understand ground reality and respond to it positively?

I am thinking of my friends from Lebanon, a war torn nation; they were able to accept that bombing and losing loved ones as the reality of life but still able to focus on studies and come up in life. I am generalising a bit here - but - my Lebanese friends are the happiest human beings I have ever met in my life. Our reality of life is, we have "leaders" who are not interested in leading the nation; we have rulers who are keen about their welfare but not public welfare; we have politicians but not statesmen rule our country. What is our role in such a scenario? The only option we have is to focus on our social welfare on our own! Children without parents need to take care of themselves! A nation who does not have leaders should shake itself, start behaving itself and should help itself rebuild from scratch. How long can we blame Mecaulay for screwing up Indian education system and Indian culture? We don’t even know if the blame is correct. It may be a truth in all probabilities given that any country who invades other country would like to keep them as slaves and for the slaves to continue that way, their competence and confidence should be killed. But we are an independent country for the past 70 years. What have we done? We have grown from 30 crores to 130 crores in about 100 years! Many times, it feels like the only core competence! Shame on us!

After reading through or hearing all the arguments, I feel, the only thing from the great ancient India we still carry is our ability to argue for and against almost anything! Sure, this country encouraged people to argue; winning an argument by logic was respected highly. Let us remember that this country also believed strongly in integrity and duty. It is high time we move from the argument mode to action mode! I put forth my response only to clarify why I am upset with Anitha's death. The girl died a few week ago but it still hurts as fresh. In my view, any dissatisfaction or hurt should lead to a positive movement, every time. For any harm others do, the only revenge one can take is moving forward with a smile and determination. If the governments are deceiving us, the only way we have is to make them obsolete by proving that we don’t need them for our well-being. I invite each one of you to respond with your actions not with arguments anymore please. Your actions can be of any size and it can be in any aspect of social well-being… please do your bit…


You can join us in helping the students learn better and face life better. Please write to me or call me if you are keen.

Monday, September 4, 2017

கறை

நூற்றுமுப்பது கோடியில் ஒன்றிரண்டு குறைந்தாலென்ன, குடியா முழுகிவிடும்? என்ன பெரிய நஷ்டம் நாட்டுக்கு? நீலத்திமிங்கலத்துக்கு இரையானோர்பற்றி என்ன சொல்வதுவிளையாட்டுகள் வினையாய் முடிவது ஒன்றும் புதிதில்லையே! எத்தனையோமுறை பெற்றோரும் ஆசிரியர்களும் சொன்னால் கேட்காதவர்கள் முகம்தெரியாதவர்கள் சொல்வதைக் கேட்டு உயிர்விடும் அவலத்தை என்ன சொல்ல!! வலைதளத்தில் நல்ல கருத்துக்கள் பல கிடைத்தும், அறிவு வளர்க்கும் பல விளையாட்டுகள் இருந்தும் தானே தேடிப்போய் உயிர்விடுவோர் குறித்து வருந்துவதில் பயனேதும் உண்டோ!

ஆனால் விருட்சமாய் வளரவேண்டிய விதையொன்று வீணாய்ப்போயிற்றே! என்ன விதமாய் அதைத் தடுத்திருக்க முடியும்? ஒருவேளை என்போன்றோருக்கு மூளையிருந்தால் அரசியலில் ஈடுபட்டிருப்போமோ, தமிழகத்தின் தலைவிதியைமாற்றியிருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை முதுகெலும்பிருந்தால் அரசுப்பணியேற்று சரியான முடிவுகளைநோக்கி தலைவர்களை நகர்த்தியிருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை அறிவிருந்தால்  இப்படி ஒருநிலை வரும் என உணர்ந்து உங்களை தயார் செய்திருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை கண்ணிருந்தால் இழிவுற்ற கல்விமுறை கண்டு கொதித்திருப்போமோ, செயலில் இறங்கியிருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை மானமிருந்தால் ஏற்கனவே செரித்த உணவை உண்ணும் இழிநிலையில் நாடிருப்பதுகண்டு அறப்போர் தொடுத்திருப்போமோ? இப்படி எதுவுமே இல்லாமல், விலங்குகள்போல, வெறுமே உண்டு உறங்கி ஜனத்தொகைபெருக்குவது மட்டுமே கடனென்று வாழும் சமூகத்தில் வாழப்பிடிக்காமல் போனாயோ கண்ணே!

ஒருவேளை என் மகளாய் நீ பிறந்திருந்தால் உன் மன உரம் வளர்த்திருப்பேனோ? வானூர்தியியலில் விண்ணைத்தொடும் வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தும் உன்னுயிர் பிரிந்துபோகாமல் காத்திருப்பேனோ? 1999-2000 வருடத்தில் நீ பிறந்தது காரணமா? அதற்கு முந்தைய வருடம் பிறந்திருந்தால் நீ பெற்ற மதிப்பெண்ணுக்கு மருத்துவப் படிப்பு மிக எளிதாய் கிடைத்தருக்குமே! தமிழகத்தில் பிறக்காமல் வேறெங்கோ நீ பிறந்திருந்தால் உன் கல்வி முறை இயல்பாகவே வேறாயிருந்திருக்கும் உன் விதியும் வேறாயிருந்திருக்குமே கண்ணே!


தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர் தர வாரா என்ற மொழி பொய்யாய்ப் போயிற்றே! எங்கள் செயல்திறமின்மை உன்தீதாய் விடிந்ததே! நாம் இன்று நமது பிறப்புரிமையென்று நினைப்பவையெல்லாம் நம் முன்னோரின் கடின உழைப்புக்குக்கிடைத்த பரிசுவரலாறு கற்பது இந்தப் பரிசை, பரிசின் மேன்மையை உணர்வதற்காகவேயென்று சொல்வதுண்டு! கல்வி உனது பிறப்புரிமையாய் இல்லாமல் போனதால் உன் முன்னோர்களாகிய நாங்கள் வெட்கித் தலை குனிகிறோம்! வரலாறு எங்கள் பக்கங்களை கருப்பாகமட்டுமே இனம்காணும்! எப்படிக் கழுவிக்கரைப்போம் இந்தக் கருப்பை? கறையை?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

No follow-up…

I knew there will be quite a bit of follow ups and discussions on my previous article. Many of you have felt that though other forms of disrespect are bad, they are not as bad as having another relationship. While I am absolutely fine with you having that view, to me, living with a husband who gets into other forms of disrespect, who affects the mental peace and/or blocks the intellectual progress is as hurtful/distasteful/shameful as living with a husband who has another relationship  (If you are a male, please replace the word "husband" with "wife" and read the sentence again). Though a good relationship should be like adding sugar to milk, with the current topic, the question seems to be which poison is better to be added with milk; my answer will be neither; and if you choose one of the poisons as a better poison, what can I say!! People listing all bad behaviours, comparing them and worst of all, defending them as better than one another tires me. So I am not going to write a follow up with my points against each of your arguments. Let us agree to disagree!!

Having said that, as always, I would like to look at positive side of life in spite of all the potential negatives!! Though I called/call all forms of disrespects as adultery (including the ones normally called so), I also believe that anything can be improved, provided there is genuine interest and careful attempt by both the partners. After all, today is the first day of the rest of your life!! Caring (just not care giving, they are different BTW), respecting each other, respecting each other's freedom, trusting, being trustworthy, living up to the commitment given and all other such fundamentals of maintaining a relationship (please note a. I am generalising quite a bit here - these aspects apply to all types of relationships - personal, familial, professional, social etc. b. the list is not exhaustive) are all skills / competences that one can/ needs to develop. Changing a behaviour and improving the skill need constant nurturing and practice. Which means, all the aspects listed above can be improved with conscious and consistent effort provided the individual (in this case, usually, it is individuals) recognizes the need for improvement. But, if one keeps defending the bad behaviours, they will never be able to improve. Choice is left with the individuals!

I wish you good luck with whatever you choose to do… improving or staying stuck… 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Follow up...

Life is interesting! We  never know who we will meet and when! The long flights make us bump into people we would not have met otherwise!! I met with a reader of my blogs. I was happy to hear her feedback. The good thing was, she did not know that she was talking to me  about me! She went on to talk about my writing style, topics & so on and later she suggested me to read my blogs :-) When I revealed that I write them she was surprised and we exchanged our names and whereabouts only at that point!! The fact that humans can have conversations for hours together without even knowing each other's name is even more interesting I guess:-) (that, probably, is another article - "What is in a name?"). We went on to talk about many more topics including some articles in my blog. That long conversation made me think of a follow up of an article that I wrote about three years back on "Adultery". She felt that extra marital affair is more sinful than the other forms of disrespect and I should not be justifying it. We did not discuss that topic any deeper as we had many other things to chit chat about.

I have been thinking about her views… Am I justifying it? Is it more sinful? My article was more against the single point view we have most often about many things in life (single point of view could be an article by itself)! I am not priest of any kind who can declare something as a sinful or not; All I felt / feel is, there are many other behaviors that are very close to or even worse than what is called as adultery!  In my article, I tried to highlight that there are more forms of adultery that is still accepted by the society ironically and I am amused / surprised how society ignores these aspects. The point is, adultery need not necessarily be extra marital; if the spouses do not have mutual respect and love but they are together in this act for other reasons, it is adultery or at best it is trade, in my view. Their reasons could be social (in our family, separation/ divorce is never heard of, our religion does not accept it), familial (my parents want me to be with him/her, my child needs a father/mother), economic (it is not viable option to live individually), safety considerations and so on. In my mind, it is not better than "adultery"!! It probably is more disrespectful and distasteful!

Friends, let me be clear about the best case scenario "the trade"!! I cook for you & you drive for me is just trade. I am not saying trading is bad; all I am saying is, let us not glorify trade as the best thing to do in a relationship… While there are other names/forms of such trade, for some convenience reasons, if the couple decide to settle down for the exchange of care giving actions / services, it is important for them not to forget this fact: there are ethics in all trades & only when these trade ethics are respected it is a good trade! If you decide to trade, be an ethical trader is all I can say. On the other hand, if there is no companionship, it has already failed irrespective of whether it is within the boundaries of a marriage or not. I feel, companionship is all about compatibility - intellectual, emotional / mental and physical. It is a life of blessing if the spouses can get into compatibility in all three levels; but if compatibility is only at physical level and there is no compatibility in one or more of the first two, then, it is at the most primitive form!

Of course, we may share intellectual / emotional compatibilities in other types interaction as well. If we have intellectual compatibility with someone, it will make us the best working partners. For example, Henry Ford and Edison had best intellectual compatibility; I don’t know about their emotional compatibility; but I guess, most likely they would have had good emotional compatibility as well; this does not mean that they have to have physical compatibility. (It is interesting to note how the statement feels / reads awkward when the example is about two men and how easy it is to imagine something physical if one of them was a woman!!). We may have just emotional compatibility with a few others; we may share our happiness or sadness with these individuals but may not discuss our ideas either because of our ability to communicate with them or their ability to grasp. Again, the emotionally compatible people need not have physical compatibility. But if the compatibility stops at just the physical level and does not evolve to the other levels, it is more primitive and comparable to that of the other mammals; it has a potential to die after we cross certain age! People know this inherently! This is where lack of trust and suspicion thrive. In my mind, such suspicious relationship is inferior (or at least limited & constraining) and harmful; it can affect the mental peace and intellectual progress of the couple.


Now, coming back to the topic. The term adulteration is defined as "mixing other matter of an inferior and sometimes harmful quality with food or drink". The term adultery has same origin as adulteration and it means very similar idea at a different plane of life. Any form of disrespect is inferior and harmful; it does not need to be only sexual or physical! If one harms the mental peace or blocks the intellectual progress of the spouse how does it matter if they have the best physical compatibility and/or exchange the services such as food / transportation/safety to each other? How is it not adultery?

How long would we brainwash women that "அடிக்கிற கைதான் அணைக்கும்" (literally translates as "only the arms that beat you will hug you")? How long would we brainwash men that the most possessive woman is the most loving woman!! Though the possessiveness can look to be love and give a high, it will start to become a constraint and lead to abuse! If there is emotional connection or intellectual connection will there be room for such abuses? If there is abuse, will there be higher order compatibility?

That is why, I feel, lack of compatibility and all the other forms of disrespect are adultery as they mix things of inferior quality and harmful actions! In other words, any deed done without love has the potential to be disrespectful, inferior and harmful and it is adultery. It does not matter if those involved are married to each other or not. If they love one another, they will have the best interest of the other; that means, they can't do anything that is harmful or inferior; that means they cannot do anything that has a potential bad consequence to the other in future or present! At that level, there is nothing right or wrong about it!! It is just it is! There is no need for a priest or rule book to tell us! You will just know!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The first nonpositive article of the year...

Trying to write a blog after about two months!! Writing seems to be tough not because there is no topic or I lost touch with writing! But because there is a lot in mind, with one article seriously crisscrossing! Instead of the one running in my mind, should I write about unintentional micro-inequalities & how to overcome them, trust issues - how being trustworthy & trusting are a competence that needs to be nurtured carefully, how the project management practices (both conventional and agile) help in addressing them or should I write about personal encounters and the aha moments - and is it okay to write on ayyo moments too?? Believe me, this promise of writing only positive blogs was tying me down in!! After a bit of contemplation, finally this article is on an "ayyo" moment not an aha moment!! I am sorry, positive article was just not possible!!

Every time I apply for visa to any country, my emotions flare up; even if I don’t show outwards, I boil inside. This time, it was more! I had to apply for visa to a small developing European country. The treatment I got in their embassy was the heights of humiliation! Not only for me, but for all those who were there; there was someone who has visited 50 countries and he felt that it was his worst experience ever! Hmm… Usually, the developed countries express an arrogance to the individuals from developing countries; but they are much better than how this developing country who is still struggling with basic things (internet connection for example) treated the citizens of another developing country in their own country right at their capital city!! Shame on us, we are citizens of the largest democracy in the world, citizens of a country that launched 104 satellites in one go while the developed countries have only launched a record 37 in the past!! To add to that concern, most of the travel consultants were surprised to know that my visa was stamped in just one go!!! What does this mean?

Sure, I understand there are security reasons for countries to  be careful about who they allow to visit their country; but it does not mean that they can treat people this way. As a lean consultant, I strongly believe that respect for people and cultures is the key to any successful organization! Anyone who consumes your work (product or service or output) is your customer. From that context, those who apply for visa is a customer to that country! Hmm… Anyone in the corporate world knows what happens when we don’t respect our customers!


At the same time I am thinking about Indian government! Will this European country dare to do the same to the US citizens? Will the US government be quiet if they do so? What is Indian government doing? Why does this not have any effect on them? Why is the government not addressing these issues? Is this not a priority for them? What is their priority anyway? As a responsible citizen of India, what is my role? What should I do to address these kinds of issues? Is "மதியாதோர் தலைவாசல் மதித்தொருகால் மிதியாதே", "never step into the doorsteps of those who don’t respect you" right approach or is it "பொள்ளென ஆங்கே புறம்வேரார் காலம்பார்த்து உள்வேர்ப்பர் ஒள்ளியவர்."? Or Should I work towards making my country shine so well that these countries will behave themselves - but, what can be done better than launching 104 satellites while others are struggling to cross 37? What is wrong with our country? Undoubtedly, it is leadership - the lack of it to put it more precisely!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Experimenting with Color!

When I wrote "வண்ணமில்லா வண்ணம்" I sort of anticipated a follow up!! I was smiling while replying sometimes and was not sometimes!! The comments fall into a huge range from are you trying to copy Steve Jobs who wears the same color to save time and energy spent on decision making, to you like black so what is the big deal about it, to how are you handling the heat in the summer, to giving me some nick names :-)

First of all, I am not copying any one and Steve Jobs is definitely not my idol/hero. My heroes wore / wear all colors!! My biggest hero, my dad, does not like black. I know he is accepting my vow only halfheartedly! The day when we went shopping for black outfits, he did not choose not even one though he stood by me the whole hour! Yes, I said hour! It is not saving time at all!! There is not much black collections in the stores! Not many people wear black after all! So searching for fitting, professional looking black outfits takes more time than my usual shopping with all colors! Of course, I would have loved to save time like Steve jobs did; but unfortunately that is not working! I usually buy for the entire year in one go so that I don’t have to spend time shopping often. But because of the limitation induced by the color choice, I will have to go more often than once a year, looks like. So, there is absolutely no gain in terms of time. I have my decision making techniques sort of set and hence there is no change in the amount of energy / time spent from that perspective.

Sure, black is one of my favourite colors. But, I do like other colors too. More importantly, as a person, I never liked to be  constrained in any ways but now I am! I never liked to give power to anyone or anything to stop me from doing anything I like! But now I can't wear something even if I like it! I do not like to be generalised but now I am… the lady in black, blacky, black beauty (depending on how close the other person is and ;-) also how they perceive me)! With yesterday, it is exactly three months  since I started this. I have got several nick names that generalise me already! The heat is increasing by the day and it is getting harder and harder. However, I have decided to continue till I see what I want.

Though the three months had been tough in many ways as mentioned above, there are several good insights, I wanted to share and hence the follow up :-) Some of my theories about life changed, challenged and  and some got confirmed!

Black is one of my favourite colors, so wearing it should ideally give me joy. But it did not! There is no excitement about the color anymore!! Sure, while shopping I surf for blacks but that is a different filter and not an immediate attraction to the outfit as it used to be. Interesting!  The next one is going to be a contradiction of the above statement. I believed that any suppression is dangerous and it will come out nastily. Interestingly, this belief changed almost completely. Since February, I have been suppressing my interests / desire to wear many of my clothes. But nothing happened and I do not seem to have any feelings for other colors anymore!! So, what decides the likes and dislikes? What is meant by suppression? How different it is from self-control? Is it the same as the difference between starving and fasting

Nonchalantly, I was able to gift all my other coloured clothes. Only a few items are retained for sentimental reasons. I guess, I will gain the will to gift even those few "important" ones! What gives the strength to gift the most loved / liked items to others? Donating all-new items is easier than donating items that you loved and used; there is an affinity towards them and there are stories behind most of them… I could withstand that pressure mostly - except for the select few. I am still wondering what gave me the strength to do this?

Another interesting observation is about who all observe. The common belief is women pay more attention to details and observe clothes more than men!! That belief was proven wrong and I do have data points observed over the last 90 days! My male friends and colleagues realised it quicker than my female friends and colleagues; they were able to recognize this in the first week itself - to be precise from the fourth day there were feedbacks, questions and remarks from men and only from the 9th day from women! So far, the number of remarks from men is 1.5 times higher than that  of women, and this is in spite of the fact that more housekeeping women became more friendly with me and they all remarked!! The number of remarks from men being high could be because of the higher number of men in the organization but quicker feedback from them still seems to be a valid observation to disprove the common belief! But there was no sadness in men (except my dad and one of my friends) when I said I will wear only black going forward; but invariably all women felt sad :-) interesting!! Other observation is about the assumptions people make! More women asked if it was a religious reason and assumed that I am praying for getting a child ;-) and more men assumed that I have become an atheist!! What a stark difference!


I may follow up again after a year or so and I hope that by then, this would have come to an end!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

வண்ணமில்லா வண்ணம்!

பாரதியைப்போலவே நானும் வேண்டுகிறேன் மஹாசக்தியை! எங்கும் நிறைந்திருக்கும் இறையை! என் மஹா காளியை

எண்ணிய முடிதல் வேண்டும்
    நல்லவே எண்ணல் வேண்டும்
திண்ணிய நெஞ்சம் வேண்டும்
    தெளிந்த நல்லறிவு வேண்டும்
பண்ணிய பாவ மெல்லாம் 
    பரிதிமுன் பனியே போல
நண்ணிய நின்முன் இங்கு
    நசித்திடல் வேண்டும் அன்னாய்!!

கருமை என்பது வண்ணமில்லை... வண்ணமில்லா நிலை... எண்ணங்கள் வண்ணமயமாயிருப்பின், எண்ணியவை எண்ணியவண்ணம் உருப்பெறச்செய்ய உயிர்கொண்டிருக்கும் காலத்தில் ஆடை வண்ணமில்லாவண்ணத்திலிருப்பதில் பிழையென்ன? எண்ணிய முடியும்வரை திண்ணியதாய் நெஞ்சம் இருக்கவேண்டுமாயின் ஒரு நினைவூட்டல் வேண்டியிருக்கிறது! வண்ணமறுநிலை நினைவூட்டுகிறது நான் செல்லவேண்டிய தூரத்தை! இது கடவுள் மறுப்புக்கொள்கையன்று!! சமூக மறுப்பன்று!! வலியென்றால் வலி!!! கோபமென்றால் கோபம்!!!! சீருடையென்றால் சீருடை! சங்கல்பமென்றால் சங்கல்பம்!! விரதமென்றால் விரதம்!!! 


செய்யவேண்டியவற்றைச் செய்யமறந்தமைக்காகவும், இனிமேல் மறக்காமலிருக்கவேண்டியும்!