She's the one...

A large part of our growing up years are spent wondering who will we finally end up with... I think girls spend more time manufacturing in their hearts, an image of the perfect one, based on Mills & Boons, SRK and Grey's Anatomy. Men, however, I think, have a vaguer idea of who that girl would be like. Because men dont have to move into a new house, or play to the whims and fancies of their in-laws, they tend to spend less time on this.

Less has been written about the right woman than it deserves. The market is full of books teaching men to get the girls they like, but nothing tells the women what is to be done to catch that catch. I am not the one who is going to tell them. I don't think I have enough authority over the subject. I havent given the topic, as I like to call it - enough 'brain hours' for me to know what women should do to get that one.

But what I CAN tell you is how a guys mind works and how, slowly but surely, she becomes the one! The one, he could fight for against the world. Love might be a beautiful word, but its manifestation is only through the fight you are going to put up for it.

So why is she the one? The one you would put up a fight for. Agaisnt the world. Against God, if the need be. What does she do? And why?


She reads up about the Game of Thrones, just to because you are having sleepless nights,
watching season 1 & 2 back to back. She gets excited, when you get excited, a silly show about flying Dragaons, maybe. But you like it, so she likes it. And winter is coming.

She learns to cook that one dish you tasted on your last business trip away. She doesnt like too much spice, but she knows that you like it, so she learns it anyway.

She forgets the mistakes, that late bill payment, not getting the car fixed before a road trip, she focuses on the good things, the choice of the flat screen TV, the tightened screws on the handle grip.

She thinks about you when she sees something that you might like, remembers your dates for you, your aunt and uncle'sbirthdays, and that teething nephew who now bites. 

She's grateful about the things she has in her life. Never jealous of other women. For she knows, their journey might have been different. Different weather. 

Your friends call you for advice....her, when they know they have screwed up. For you will tell them exactly that, but she will tell them that it will be alright. Then you wonder whose friends they really are. If you are the mind but she's the heart.

You are the ideal son, but deep inside your parents know that she is even better. They are happy that you are happy, happy for a skewd barter.

Bad days come and go, her smile always stays. She might be troubled inside, but you cant get through that maze. Her smile is a sight for sore eyes, the day has been tough, but she is still happy to see you. There's so much to say, but you just gaze.

Her honesty amazes you, sometimes confuses you. For your idea of honesty is more convenience and less virtue, you try to corrupt her too.

If such a girl you find, men harder than steel, cant keep from falling in love with her. I wouldnt think such a girl would exist, but I do, for I have known her. And I might be harder than most, but cant keep from falling in love with her.

I have said enough! :)







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This is Kurlaaaaa....

Note: Every time I travel by a local train, I think about how getting in and out of a crowded train is similar to the movie 300. Here I write an overindulgent post, which might not be funny. But I need to get it out of my system to stop smiling everytime I get down at Kurla. People who have travelled in a local train in Mumbai might enjoy the post more than people who havent.



When the train reached the platform, like all trains, it was inspected...
inspected for an empty seat...
preferably window seat, a place to stand, on one foot if the need be...

From the time a mumbaikar could stand, he was baptised in the fire of entering a crowded train. Usually from Mulund, Bhandup or worse Kanjurmarg.

No mumbaikar got down at Kanjurmarg, a single platform station, but more than a million entered an already full 12 car rake.

The only respite would come at Kurla. If they could push the ones getting in out of the way, for a breath of air, that wasnt second hand. It was in its essence the base of life.

By the time a mumbaikar is 17, he is forced to take a train. To his college, coaching class, or worse, to meet his girlfriend. It has been 30 years since. Our king, Gaitonde!

Gaitonde, gets into the train at Badlapur 9.15 slow. A beast approaches, not now, but 28 kms away in Kurla. A team led by a slave army, vast beyond imagining, an army of garment traders, diamond polishers, fruit vendors. Their king, Mirchi Maulvi, stands behind them, all of 7 feet. Legend has it, he gets his name from his henna coloured beard.

Mirchi calls Gaitonde
Gaitonde: Why do you call for, O Mirchi seth?
Mirchi: Seats and aisle?
Gaitonde: Dont be stupid or coy, Kurla king, you can afford neither in the 9.15 Badlapur slow
Mirchi: Listen carefully, Gaitonde. I lead an army so vast, it rattles the compartment doors when it enters the train. Submission!
Gaitonde: Submission? See, that is a problem.

Gaitonde puts Mirchi on hold to play temple run.

Mirchi: You are a mad man. This is madness.
Gaitonde: This is Kurlaaaaaa....

The station approaches.

Gaitonde: By the end of the war, I swear, they will see their king bleed, by which I mean he wont be able to enter the compartment. And all will know that 300 Badlapurians...gave their last breath to defend the seats.

Gaitonde, I have brought 820 men from Ghatkopar - said Shaileshbhai Shah. How many do you have?

300.

Only?

Gaitonde pulls the collar of one Ghatkoparian -

What are you? Ans:IT engg
Pulls other guy
And you? Ans: Stock Broker

Badlapurians, who are you?
Chorus: HOO HAA

See, Saileshbhai Shah? I brought more men than you did.

Kurla station approaches. Gaitonde sees Mirchi, all of 8 feet height, red beard, standing behind his army.

The train grinds to a halt - YAAA... Kurlains try to enter the first class compartment.

Badlapurians, stand with their sheilds (laptop bags) to the doors. HAA HOO...

Fighters take out their umbrellas, swing them left-right, throwing the slave army soldiers off. This is Kurlaaaaa

When the slaves couldnt get it, it was Mirchi Seth who moved forward. The ground shook under his weight. King Gaitonde moves slowly, very slowly towards the door.

The train starts to move. Mirchi starts running towards the compartment. Gaitonde removes his water bottle from his Samsonite bagpack and swings it at Mirchi's beard. Drops from the leaking bottle fall on Mirchi's beard, making it wet.

The king fell back. He would get into a train,  but not this one. Not today.

Should any free soul  come across that place...... in all the countless centuries yet to be.... may all our voices...... whisper to you from the ageless stones.

This is Kurlaaaaaa.....


Dedicated to everyone who has travelled in a local train during rush hour.


  




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Note: Annoying and preachy post.

"There should be a semi-colon here," she said pointing her finger against my laptop screen. I looked in her sky blue eyes, a shade darker than the sky blue on a clear summer day. We were working on a report that we had to submit in a hour's time. Frankly, I would have liked get the thing over with in 15 minutes and then just relax with a cup of coffee in the cafeteria for the rest 45 minutes day-dreaming. I was in Germany. One could keep staring at the fallen snow - snow can make you think.

"It is not important." I said. Yes, it wasnt. What importance does a semi colon have in a report that is 16 pages long! At first, I thought it was my male ego rejecting an improvement by a girl (who might be a couple of times more intelligent than me), but then when I thought about it objectively - Did the the absence of a semi-colon reduce the quality of the content in any way? - I thought I was correct, the semi-colon isnt important.

"It is important. It might not change the meaning, but it should be there. Also, you have two spaces here instead of one, that has to go too.." she said pointing to the double space between two words.

"If that is a problem, then you can go ahead correct all of this." I am not very accepting to criticism as you can tell. I walked up to the coffee machine and pressed the buttons angrily. She tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear and started working.

After she was done, I was still a little miffed, but she was happy. We just managed to upload the file in time, instead of being 45 minutes early and having all that time to day-dream.

"But see? Now we submitted a report that is perfect in all aspects." she said.

"It was perfect when I wrote it." I can be quite a kid about my work. If I did it, it must be awesome!

She smiled. "Sure, it was." She ruffled my hair. "Now take me out for lunch, Mr.Perfect."

I didnt give up easy, while lunching (is that a word?) I asked her all sorts of questions, the most important being - Why does a missing semi-colon matter? Who cares? Does it help us get a better grade? Does it reduce the quality in any way?

"Not everything should be done for something." She said.

Wow.

"Somethings should be done because they have to be done - to make everything better."

Huh?

It took me 3 years to understand what she meant.

***

India is in a terrible state. In most of our cities the infrastructure is crumbling. One trip to Andheri-Kurla road (or Andheri or Kurla for that matter) in Mumbai and it will make you question your love for Mumbai. One trip to East Delhi and all your beliefs of smooth and wide Delhi roads will disappear. I just name two cities here, but if I start writitng the things wrong with our country, I might end up writing a book (Also if I start writing about the things that I like about India, I might end up writing two books. But that is not the point. The aim is to point out the things we suck at and get that in place)

We love mediocrity. Think about all the times you were told - "Chalega, yaar"  and it made you feel warm comfort, instead of feeling terrible that you were now dependent on someone else's assessment of whatever you have done.

We love mediocrity.Think of all the Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Rohit Shetty movies that we watch. Jawani Deewani made 100 Cr? Where is your intelligence? What about our TV shows? Name 3 good shows on Indian TV?

We love mediocrity. Look at our Politicians. We choose them. Based on caste, mostly. Now some of you who are still reading this, good educated people think that they dont choose on the basis of caste. Well, you do. Maybe not caste, but friendship. If there was a election tomorrow in your office or college, and a friend, not a close friend, but the kind you smile and wave at, is standing in the election, versus a guy who actually has a plan to make the office/college(canteen) a better place, you would choose the guy you smile and wave at. He/she is known, hence safer. That is exactly what the uneducated do.

We love mediocrity. While choosing an umbrella, we choose the cheapest one, not the one built to last. Nothing today is built to last.

But we were not always like this. Did you hear about the floods in Uttarakhand? How all the houses were washed away but a temple built 1300 years ago stood intact? What are we constructing that will stay standing in 3313 AD? The Bandra-Worli sea link? Cuffe Parade? Lutyens, Delhi? The airports? They cant even handle a couple of rainshowers.

If you get time, have a look at the old buildings, british buildings, no, not necessarily british buildings. We unnecessarily put them on a pedestal. Go have a look at the buildings Maharajas built. They lost their kingdoms, in 1800s, had money, but not as much as they did pre 1800s, still, when you have a look at what they built - it was built to last! They were Indians just like you and me! They didnt have blue eyes or blonde hair. They spoke the same language as we do. They had access to the same literature and values as we did.

So what has changed? The power shifted to the people's hands. Now 70% of India's uneducated population took control (It is convenient to blame the British for all our problems, but this problem was particularly caused by them over 150 years of their rule. Sure they introduced school and there were more people who could read and write now, but as you know literacy and education arent synonms.Case in point - Australia ) Now they chose who will rule us. As time passed, India's uneducated population increased. And today it must be close to 90% (again, literacy and education have no relation. See that Goswami guy on TV and you will know what I mean)

Solution?

No immidiate solution. But if this happens - A dynamic leader comes along, well meaning leader, and by some marketing genius manages to sell his idea across states and castes, and sits on the throne - and rules it for the next 5 years, like a king, and not like a minister, things will start changing.

***

I am an eternal optimist. I have faith in the country and its people. But each of us will have to identify where we are missing the semi-colons. Are we submitting our reports too early. Are we doing everything we are supposed to do to make things perfect?

"Somethings should be done because they have to be done - to make everything better." Will we remember that?


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WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere

I dont normally participate in contests, but recently I have been lacking any drive to write. Plus I have no inspiration - I sincerely believe that there has to be a certain degree of velapanti in your life to have inspiration.

So, the other day I was reading about this WeChat contest- Now this is pretty cool - If I could chat with 5 people on WeChat, living, dead, or (most importantly) fictional, who would they be? (Have a look here http://www.youtube.com/user/WeChatIndia?feature=chclk)

This got me thinking. If I could have 5 people, anyone whom I adore, and love, or have naughty dreams about - How awesome would it be, to be able to chat with them (not to mention - for free - heh heh, I'm cheap)

So after a lot of thinking and mulling over, I have decided who it should be.

M.S.Dhoni :


 I have always been amazed by his coolness on the field. Nothing seems to faze him. I see the world through my point of view, and I can't imagine being as relaxed as he is in pressure situations. My favourite Dhoni moment (and there are quite a few of those) has to be the six of the last ball in the World Cup finals. Some might say he does it to hog the limelight, but my point is, if it goes wrong, the Indian fans, fickle as they are, would want his head. Things seldom go wrong. And there is a very sage concept behind it. So wise is this concept that MSD once mentioned it in passing and nobody has made a note of it. This is what he said after winning a really tight match (I don't remember which game, sorry!)-

"I told him (the non-striker) that we should bat for another 5 overs, then as the pressure builds up, their (the opponent's) heartbeats will become faster and they will make mistakes."

Ah! Genius. Such a simple funda! And trust me, this can be applied to any situation (even huge corporate real estate deals, as I do on a daily basis). I would want him to talk more on such strategies (more like life hacks!)

Eminem:

"You better Loooose yourrrrself, In the muuuu.... usic the moo.. ment you own it.. you better never let it go..go..go"
This guy, for the lack of a better word, is brilliant. Poets will be born, and Poets will die. Wordsworth was born, Wordsworth died. Coleridge was born, Coleridge died. Sure, we read their stuff in textbooks, they were incredible, and yet not half as incredible as Eminem is. Yes, I compared those greats with this great.
Eminem entered an industry that wasnt very friendly to whites and made it his own. Other rappers during his time might have been socially more relevant, but one day, they wouldnt be. Eminem however raps about the unfailing human spirit. That is why I feel, one day my son will be as big a fan of him, as I am and then, his son.

I would want to know from him, how the hell did he manage to rhyme Orange. You know they say nothing rhymes with Orange? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRX8sXdCkfo

Hrishitaa bhat:

This is the part about the naughty dreams. Wink. Wink. Subtlty is not my strength as you can see.
I remember watching her face light the screen in that dingy one-screen hall, that turned off the AC after the first 15 minutes of the movie and fans creaking formed the background score. Khaitan fans and not AR Rahman is India's best music director. Anyway, the movie was called Asoka and Hrishita Bhat had a small role. She shared the screen with SRK and Kareena, but I couldnt keep my eyes off her. I dont think I ever wanted to marrry her, but it would be nice to know her. WeChat allows voice chat too as I understand. It would be nice to talk to her (for free.. heh heh... sheesh)


Ronald McDonald:

I find this guy very interesting. His mannequin (or whatever that guy sitting on the bench outside every McDonald's is called) must be the most photographed figure in the world! Kids (and the kids at heart) all around the world sit next to him and click pictures. I dont see the point - It's not like that you are clicking a picture against the Taj Mahal. Here is only the world's best known clown!

I dont think I have ever heard him talk - But I want to. I want to know what all cities he has been to. And what McDonalds serves what. He must have tons of stories I am sure. I want to know if they serve wine in the McDonalds at Paris and do they serve Squid in Tokyo. What McDonalds are the noisest and where are the people the most polite. Yes, I want to know.


My Grandfather: 

Or Baba, as I called him. I was 10 years old when he passed away. He owned some land in the village and he liked staying there. So we would meet only during summer vacations. I have spent some lovely summers with him. He would take me fruit plucking. I found it fascinating that he knew so much about plants and valued all living things around him. When he would wake up in the morning, before putting his feet on the ground, he would do a formal namaskar to the ground. The ground, earth, he said was the mother. She gives us foodgrains to eat and fruits and vegetables. While I dont personally thank the earth every morning before I wake up, I do keep this in mind. Apart from the things we learn in school, history, math, science, there are somethings only a grandfather can teach you. I wish a I get a chance to talk to him at least once, even if it is through WeChat, for as low as 20 minutes, there are so many things I want to ask him, I want to validate so many things that I have learnt over my adult life. I want to tell him about my love for plants which clearly is his gift to me. I want to tell him how some of his teachings have made me a better person. I want him to tell me stories, scold me for the things he finds wrong, pat my back if he feels I have accomplished something, all this in 20 minutes.

If only this wasnt a contest. If only instead of giving me a prize, they could give me this.



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Job satisfaction & Learning to make Poha...

I love Pune for everything it is. Good weather, relaxed, chilled out , which I now realise is the same as relaxed, but it is so laid back, I think you have to use all those adjectives. 

I have a dear friend there with whom I like to spend time with living in Pune. He is a bigger fan of Pune than I am. I guess, if a Mumbai guy says anything nice about any other city, that ought to be amplified by 10, coz we are hard wired to only sing praise about our city. 

I think I have reached a point in my life, that very few friends, old ones, interest me. I am running out of patience to make new friends. But this post is not about this, the post is about Poha.



Poha, for my firang friends (angrez ki aulads), is a savory breakfast dish made with flattened rice. Is it flattened rice? It just ruins the taste to call it flattened rice instead of Poha. Anywho, it is one of my favourite dishes for breakfast, because it involves very less oil and is so soothing for your tummy. So, this friend of mine, is quite a foodie and knows my weakness for Poha. So he took me to this place where we would get some awesome breakfast items.

As we drove along the gulmohar tree lined boulevard, I found around 20 people surrounding a stall. That must be it. There was this old guy with a flowing white beard, and an orange teeka on his forehead, wearing an apron and a wide smile, serving everything from upma to sabudana khichdi to the people who had gathered around him. 

My friend called him - kaka (lovingly used for uncle in these parts), ek sabudana khichdi aani ek poha. The poha was for me, obviously.

The guy smiled, and said wah wah wah, something something (I couldnt hear, I guess my friend was a regular here), gave us a bowl each of sabudana khichdi and Poha. (Btw, if you havent tasted these dishes, please do). Every now and then he would place a small quantity of poha on the roof of his cart. A crow would jump on the roof and eat it. There was genuine love there. 

No wonder the dishes tasted awesome. He was the happiest person I have seen in a long time. He didnt earn a lot, I am guessing. He seemed educated enough to me to work as an office boy or something in a firm.  But he chose to feed people every morning. There was a glow on his face, which only comes when you are truly happy.

In my B school, they taught me a lot, but they didnt teach me about job satisfaction. I dont think school, for that matter anybody can teach you that. It is only in time you realise what is important in a job, for that matter, in life. Only when what you really want, and what you say you want are aligned, do you have real happiness. Real satisfaction. 

P.S. Learn to make Poha here (www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-eiM7u1TKQ)


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The colour purple...

A friend of mine, well, he's not my age or anything, and when we were younger, the age difference and the height difference was considerable, which meant he played with the bade-log on the big ground with no grass while I played with the chote-log on the smaller ground with lots of grass. So this friend, if i can call him that, after spending a chunk of his life abroad is back to India for a small stint. He has been posting all the old, non-digital pictures of us from the different holis we have spent together in our colony through the year.

I had never seen these pictures before - only few people like this friend of mine, had the jigar (or guts) to bring their camera, which cost a bomb to the holi event, with water balloons flying everywhere and each speck of gulal posing a threat to the over all well being of the camera. And since we werent the best of buddies or anything, I had never seen these pictures.

The pictures are from different years and I thinks that is what makes them so special for me. I am not there in most of the pictures. I had always been a shy kid, and even today, I would rather be behind the camera than be in the front of it. There is this pic with me in it - Boys from the colony are sitting with their backs against the garden wall, there's this one guy with his face all purple shouting, there is another friend pushing someone, then another mischievous one pulling at the collar of another - and there's me, sitting in a corner with a couple of feet distance from the main group, with only so much holi colour on my face that suggested I was involved in the colour throwing, smiling shyly.

Now, our colony bears a ghostly town look. There is a building that is not inhabited by anybody - it just stands there in oblivion, reminiscing in its glory days when it used to be the most lively building thanks to its inhabitants who were at the forefront of various committees which were responsible for organising various festivals in the colony.

I am one of the last ones still left in the colony among those purple coloured people in that picture. In fact, the only one, I think. I was wondering what would I do differently if I got a chance to go back in time - Will I be sitting closer to those guys coloured purple?

If I could only be one of those guys who called all others to play - and not - as it were the last guy to come and the first one to leave. If I could stay behind on the ground, talking about weird stuff we saw on cable TV in the 90s, like Undertaker's coffin, and not worry about the unit test that was always around the corner. Would I do it? Would I be one of those guys?

Now, sometimes on lazy afternoons, I want to do nothing more than just go out to the ground and hit a few sixes out of the park. It is a lot easier now that I have grown bigger and the park looks like it has shrunk. I have an itch everytime India wins a match, I want to just go out and be that person who calls the others to come down and play. But sadly, now, none of those guys live here. A different set of kids live here - but they never ever play. I am not very proud when it comes to cricket. I would very happily enter that group of kids the average age of which is close to 13 and demand a game - but they never play! I dont know what they do all day! But they are never on the ground playing.

I still very fondly (and proudly) remember that game where I first hit a half century. Sure, the boundary line was only 40 yards away, but it still remains one of my fondest memories. I know those days wont come back -  We will never have matches that schedule to start at 10 in the morning -The afternoons will never be so crisp, the evening winds never so strong. But I hope some kid comes down stairs and calls me to play cricket. For this time, I wont be the last one to come and the first one to leave. I will be one of those guys coloured purple.



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How to identify that perfect girl?

Many trees have been felled to produce pages which have been then filled with tips on how to get that perfect girl. Some of these tips might actually work- Like my book - How I got my girl back! A nerd's guide to dating. (Product placement bhi important hai bhai) But as far as I know, none of the books focus on how to identify that perfect girl for you. Any guy who "likes" a girl, wants to make her his. As ego boosting as it might be to get that girl, the important thing is to identify THAT perfect girl first. 

Now there are some guys who want girls who have perfect legs and wear skirts, even if it is minus 15 degrees outside, or are really athletic or good at sports, or I dont know, have a tatoo or something. While there might be some guys who want girls like that, I think the chunk of 25-30 years guys (Also, the desperate group, I mean, if not now then when, if not you, then who?) would want old fashioned good girls. At least I want a good old fashioned girl. If you want a good old fashioned girl, read on. If you want a girl who drives a bike, and has 3 piercings on her body (two of which are not visible), colours her hair red every May, then I dont know what to tell you man, you are in for a roller coaster ride. 

So, 10 ways how to know a girl is a good girl -

1. They are honest. Good girls are bad liars. They just are, maybe they have never had to lie, or they dont think anything is worth that much, but they never lie. Now how do you spot this trait? Talk to them. We live in a world in which anyone who tries to be honest will stand out. And you will know.

2. They are kind. You will never find them shouting/ordering anyone around. The waiter could mess up her order, the rickshawala could refuse to take her some place (that is rare, though), her subordinate might miss the deadlines, but she will never lose her cool.

3. They are sweet, for no particular reason. Their default mode is sweet. Having such girls around can make your life so much better. You have sales targets to complete, you just enter her cabin, she talks about her pet dog, and that can cheer you up, for the next couple of hours at least.

4. They are fond/proud of the men in their life. She's very proud of her father. She can spend hours talking about the bhindi ki sabzi he makes or his daal-rice. She will be proud of her brother, and super protective if she is the elder one.

5. They dress conservative. Not that they dont like dressing up, but I think they are just uncomfortable with attention and want less of it. What is considered conservative changes from time to time, and they change according to the time too, only, I think they are slightly behind the times. Not that I am complaining.

6. They have empathy. They can understand the pain of someone else which makes them more helpful than other girls. In fact this is how they make friends. 

7. They cry in movies. It need not be during a romantic scene when the heroine keeps running and cant catch the train in which the hero is in, stretching his left hand half heartedly. They even cry when the grandparents have to leave their ancestral home when Chinai seth & his goons illegally take over.

8. They like pets/kids. They have an inherent need to care and kids and pets fulfill this need. So, if you as a man dont like pets or kids then you are in deep trouble.

9. They understand good humour. Which in other words means that they will laugh at your jokes provided you arent cracking jokes at the expense of her favourite actor, or one of the men she is super proud of.

10. They will make your life so much better. If you have that one good girl in your life, you will know coz your life will be so much better than it ever was. 

I speak from experience, if you can find that one good girl, do everything to keep her. There are very few of them left and by some stroke of luck, or some good karma that you might have unknowingly gained, you have got a shot with her. Don't let the girl go.

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Addicted to Freedom

This is the Freedom generation. This is the generation that keeps trading what it has for something better. Gone are the days of our parents who worked for 30 years in the same company. Gone are the days when job security meant something. Government jobs, at least in the upwardly mobile India, are looked down upon. Look around, how many of your friends have stayed in the same job for more than 5 years? Now start listing everything that is wrong with them. Now look at the friend who cant stay in the same job for more than a year, something is wrong with that friend too. He is addicted to freedom.

When I was in school, I always wondered how my dad woke up everyday, drove his 2 stroke Kinetic Honda to work, worked on Boeing 737 engine-airframe and was happy, actually proud of what he did for a living. My mother, too, super happy serving poor government employees, at a salary a month that she could earn in 3 days doing private practice. The only time I saw her annoyed with her job was when she was on emergency call, and the call would invariable come at 1 in the night. Together, my parents built a family, bought a house, paid for most of my expensive Business school education and were very happy with most things. I have never, I mean never, heard them talk about changing their job. At some point in their life, which I think was early 20s, they decided that they will retire in the company where they were first recruited.

I know too many people who are my age who havent changed a single job. And I could almost predict who would last in their jobs and who wouldnt! Most of these guys I have known since my engineering days. These guys were the most accepting of what came their way. While I was furious that after all my hard work, I had to travel 2 hours to God forsaken Andheri to my engg college, these guys were actually thankful that they got a govt college and had to pay half the fees you paid in a private engg college. They are the in-liners. Their aspirations, their dreams, their understanding of the world, is in-line with that of the society they live in. They dont yearn for freedom. And even if they do, that yearning is clouded by the need to be in-line.

I also know a few people who are too unstable, too crazy, too addicted to their idea of utopia, that they don't last in a certain job for too long. Note that I said, job, and not company, for these guys need a change of job, not necessarily the setting. These are the guys who see pictures of the Google headquarters and dream about working there, not because it pays well, but because, well, they have a friggin slide instead of a staircase. It triggers that part of their brain which wants to be free.

80s was the best time to be born in India. Our teachers, the people who shaped our imagination were from the socialist 60s, but as the internet came into our lives, we learnt things from other teachers, who might have been from a different age, a different country. The need for freedom is ingrained in us. I dont know of any country, no matter how wretched, who after freedom, wants to be enslaved again.

Think about a day - You wake up in the morning, it is nice and sunny outside, you feel like going to the garden, to take a walk, or play catch with your dog, if you are a dog person, or talk to someone on the street, if you are a people person. You dont want to sit in front of a computer screen. But then you wear your suit, get in your car and drive to work, because you have a report due, or a client meeting, or want to earn that day's salary.

In MDI, I joined this group that met Entrepreneurs, architects, ad film makers, Garment exporters every week. We invited them to dinner and shared ideas - I remember talking to the ad film maker, whose name I now forget, the conversation steered towards philosophy and life and he put it beautifully - Life is balance - he said.

So, ultimate freedom is not going to happen, rather should not happen. But yes, I dream of the day when people would have balanced freedom. What is balanced freedom? Take for example, freedom of speech. Balanced freedom here would mean that people can say whatever they want within a group, say, use expletives, write it somewhere in a book, and it should be available to people who are willing to open the book and see it. But at the same time, you cant stand on the street, or enter a bus and yell expletives, for they didnt choose to hear it, unlike the book buyers.

People who are addicted to freedom, I have seen, are also addicted to creating something. They might not be good at anything, but they want to make something, if not something new, improve something existing. And yes, earn freedom out of it. I think if people realise that freedom can be earned, everybody would start working for it. Some say money brings you freedom, but making money takes away all the freedom.It is a cycle you dont want to get caught in.

If you are addicted to freedom, like I am, know that like every addiction, it can only be cured with small doses of freedom. And every dose will have to be earned.

Imagine the life you may have - The life of doing whatever you want, whenever you want it. Imagine waking up in a small shack on a beach. It is 9.30 in the morning. The warm breeze blows from the sea, tastes of salt. You walk up on the sand beach, barefoot. The sand is warm. You are thinking about the last night, the music, the conversation, the friendships. You have breakfast/brunch, depending on what you want to call it, on a shack on the beach. Then go for a swim in the ocean. Maybe then you go teach someone something, algebra, if you are good at it, or brand management, if you like, all those degrees have to count for something. Then maybe you write something, or learn to play an instrument, or learn a new sport. Tennis sounds good. Meet up friends in the evening. Find love, or make love, if you have already found it. Eat. Live. Dance (occasionally). Create. Sleep. Be free.

But whatever you do, be addicted to freedom.




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