Thursday 31 July 2014

There Comes a Time...Life Goes On

There comes a time when everything seems meaningless
There comes a time when no reason works
There comes a time when all doors close
There comes a time when breathing isn't possible
There comes a time when hope has long gone
There comes a time when no love remains
There comes a time when life is a burden
Then there comes a time when all changes
Then there comes a time when smile is all we can do
Then there comes a time when immortality is all we ask for
Then there comes a time when we feel the richest
Then there come a time when we see bright colours
Then there comes a time when love blossoms
Then there comes a time when we hit gold
There comes a time when we begin to lose it all
There comes a time when life takes a U-turn
There comes a time when tears are all that we can drink
Then there comes a time when someone saves us
Then there comes a time when we realise what is life
Then there comes a time when we don't bother anymore
Then there comes a time when we actually live

Sunday 27 July 2014

There is no Good, without Bad

Setbacks don't always mean failure
We need to learn and not resign
Success at every step isn't possible, truly
Those who get up after a fall, are most likely to outshine

Things don't always go your way
People & plans will fall out of line
Spontaneity is good at times
Know that whatever unfolds is divine

Our lifetime is too short for grudges
Either forget & forgive or just ignore what's asinine
Cut, withdraw, stop - if you have to
Adjust - mindsets, expectations: change & refine

Bitterness generally lasts a bit longer
It is never easy to move on, restart, redesign
But one must do, as one must to survive
Find an anchor, hold on to that lifeline

Being alone doesn't mean lonely - think about it
Depressed & unhappy with people that undermine
Or - alone, but living life on your own terms
What seems better? Depends how you define...

Take a time out, think for yourself, about yourself
Be selfish for a change - chuck societal guideline
Come out better, happier and grounded
Stand tall, on your own feet - with a straight spine!

Just one lesson to remember: life isn't always good
There isn't always sunshine
Things will fall in place, sooner or later...
Open your mind, open you heart and stop your whine

Saturday 26 July 2014

Food Critics: Be Critical, But Responsibly

The more respected a critic, the more his / her word matters and that much more is their responsibility towards their followers. They have to be as impartial and free of prejudice as possible. I understand this is neither always possible nor is it a hundred percent required - after all followers believe in same / similar prejudices as the critics they follow! However, a responsible critic (grounded & centered - who does not think he / she is the voice / pen of food-God) is far better than someone who thinks & wields his / her pen as a weapon.

Pen has mighty strength and each word written (or typed in today's scenario) as a critique has to be well thought out and weighed. Sometimes, a loose word here & there, a personal opinion over an unbiased judgement - is just sign of the critic sunk in heady-ness of power...not the real critique, not the actual experience.

Recently, a famous deli of Mumbai opened its first eatery in Delhi...needless to say with much fanfare. This had to attract the biggest critics to want to go there, also along with Delhi's who's who...and of-course part of not-the-who's-who. One of India's most popular critic decided to pay them a visit, making a reservation under a false name (yeah - people will not recognize them by face when they show up) and reaches on time.

As luck would have it, at first he was not recognized and told he didn't have a reservation there. While trying to get this sorted, this critic saw same treatment being passed on to other guests as well - apparently, guests thought they had a reservation, but were 'rudely' told that they didn't! In all this chaos (obviously, it is Delhi - no one takes crap lying down), someone from eatery management recognized the critic and 'miraculously' a table became available to him.

But this critic being a gentleman and a man of principles refused to accept this miraculous appearance and availability of a table. More so because he was being treated special...after all, God made all men as equal. Angry at management's unapologetic attitude towards their patrons, who were being turned away (despite reservations) and the fact that on recognizing him, he was offered a table - this critic decided to walk away.

The end result of this experience was a 2 page article in a national daily's Sunday magazine - talking about how some places provide good service and some places that don't...most importantly, asking the readers to boycott places that don't! Until that statement - I was completely with Mr. Critic, but his call for boycott seemed more than unjustified. It actually seemed more personal than the article allowed its readers to get a whiff of.

Well, Gandhiji called for boycotting everything drive the British out of India. Is Mr. Critic really suggesting everyone needs to boycott this eatery. To what end? If no one goes there, what will it lead to if not the eatery shutting down? Is Mr. Critic suggesting that this is the only way to teach this eatery's management a lesson (when apparently, he claims to personally know and respect the owners!)? I did reach out to Mr. Critic on Twitter, asking this question - obviously, he chose to play his seniority card and ignored me.

In my view, being angry at this experience is completely justified. Writing a harsh (& true) article is only expected...but to suggest we, the readers, boycott the place - now, that makes no sense to me.

This reaction came from three things: a) no respect for patrons b) unapologetic attitude and c) preferential treatment to him, once he was recognized. I can't imagine if Mr. Critic has never been given any sort of preferential treatment ever (also can't imagine if he never accepted a table when 'normal' patrons were refused entry). However, being in Delhi - not the most polite city, I can imagine rudeness in staff's demeanour...but then again, why should that shock Mr. Critic? Was it the first time someone couldn't recognize him and thus he felt what 'normal' patrons normally do? No...I can't accept his call for boycotting was only based on incidents mentioned in his article.

Mr. Critic has to realise that mistakes happen...even grave mistakes happen. Service isn't something that comes naturally and thus can and will falter. Pointing out errors and suggesting corrective measures is the role I see of a critic - not suggesting "shoot 'em buggers"! Every word written, which has the potential to not only reach millions, but also influence them has to be responsibly written.

Responsibility towards the role of a critic was pushed down, in order to up the agenda of highlighting the ill-treatment meted out that day. I can only hope the bitterness spewed was an aberration and Mr. Critic would find himself comfortably seated in that eatery soon and critiquing the food, which he couldn't do the last time. By the way, the eatery in question here continues to do good business and I have had a decent experience  there myself - w.r.t. service, food was nothing great.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

My Views on a Legend's View

It is not easy to be known and treated as a legend - such a stature is not earned easily and comes with more responsibility than a weak-minded person can manage. One of the challenges of becoming one is to be scrutinised for every word uttered, every step taken (in some cases - steps not taken). There are enough numbers on both sides - followers and cynics - either group can become a pain in a**e.

This post is about one of the biggest legends & philosophers of our times - Mr. Paulo Coelho. I have been one of his followers in past, started with The a few more of his books after that, but now I am somewhere between being an ignorant and a cynic. Where I stand in my life, my view point & general mood direct my opinion on Mr. Coelho's work - needless to say, as things change for me, my views might change as well.

In current scenario: I read one of Mr. Coelho's blog posts. My understanding, in plain & simple words - Mr. Coelho is recommending that instead of following the path that everyone is walking on, think for yourself whether that path is the best path for you. 

It is a good read, as he himself has titled this post - it takes just about a minute to read it and understand it. There is nothing wrong with the view anyway - we have so often heard the saying "take the road less travelled" - Mr. Coelho has given it a twist...think before you follow. 

Because it is Mr. Coelho who says this and he must have thought about it, must have had more than a fleeting view on this subject and actually believed that this is worth sharing with the world - I questioned my views over & over again, as merely a cynical view point. After debating it for few weeks - trying to take both sides, I finally am convinced that I have a question to ask Mr. Coelho. 

Story in Mr. Coelho's blog post is set in a forest and he suggests that one should think for himself, whether the path in front is the best for him. Some will decide that it is, simply because the path is already there and why bother - exactly the kinds that Mr. Coelho wants to reach out to and tell them there is more to life than following others blindly.

Then there will be some, who will stop and think - some will realise that the path in front isn't best suited for them. This is where my cynicism kicks in...What happens when this group of daring individuals decide to make their own path?

In order to stick to the story - this 'daring' group is still in the forest and each individual in the group wants to pave his own path. My question to Mr. Coelho is: knowing man, is it too far fetched to imagine that there is no forest remaining at all once the daring / awakened group gets to work?

Somehow, I can't quite understand how this suggestion / direction is actually positive (in general) for everyone. I say this because the suggestion assumes everyone has a base level of intellect, awareness and confidence to think and dare. Or is it enough that not so intelligent / bold ones will simply like the thought & move on...but there will always be a few who get inspired, decide to dare and manage to change their life?

On a lighter note: I would like to share views of another legend-in-his-own-right, Mr. Jerry Seinfeld:

Surely, something to think about.

Saturday 19 July 2014

FIFA World Cup 2014

The recently concluded FIFA World Cup was the 6th World Cup edition that I saw and was definitely the best. This edition had excitement equal to an on-the-edge thriller...there was a strong contest between the boot & the glove, there was sweet revenge, there was heart break, there were heroes, there were anti-heroes and there was complete annihilation and finally there was triumph.

Honestly, I can't recall a better World Cup ever!

Even though this edition's venue was Brazil, which meant Indian audience had to endure sleepless nights to watch these matches, there was hardly anyone missing any match (provided there was an iota of interest in football, a.k.a. soccer). The tone was set on second day, when defending champions (Spain) had their nose rubbed in dirt by the team (Netherlands) they defeated in the finals to become champs in the previous edition! From there was a goal fest - with some outstanding performances by goal keepers as well.

There were a few interesting "lessons" that one can take from this year's World Cup:
  • You are on top, doesn't mean you will stay there - someone, soon will over throw you from the 'throne' (Spain's humiliating defeat at the hands of Netherlands)
  • One person can lift the team - in spirit, in outlook, in hope...but on his off-day, the team would crumble if number 2 and 3 are not willing to step up (Messi-magic took Argentina to the finals - but he couldn't fire on the day that mattered most and his team lost)
  • Teams that work as a unit are stronger than teams that have the world's best player (Germany & Netherlands didn't have anyone whose fame matched with Messi / Ronaldo / Neymar - but as a unit, they were amongst the best... and Germany did win the championship)
  • Success doesn't come easily, there are no shortcuts and consistency is the key - 
    • It took 10 years for German football to prepare a team that won the World Cup (this was after 24 years)
    • Consistency of players to perform as they had trained, as was expected of them - held the team together, without cracks widening enough for them to worry (there are only two players in the history of World Cups to have scored 5 or more goals in consecutive editions - Klose & Mueller, both German players - both played this year's edition, both scored goals...also, German goal keeper, Neuer was adjudged the best goal keeper this year)
  • Lapse in focus, even for a few minutes can make you butt of all jokes and break millions of hearts - Brazil gave away 4 goals in a span of 6-7 minutes (against Germany in the Semi-finals), which was nothing but a complete lapse of team's focus to play...
  • You have to capitalise on the opportunities you get - let them go abegging and see your competition swipe the pie from right under your nose (Argentina should have been 2-0 up after the first half, in the finals...they missed...eventually, they lost 0-1)
There is more one could learn from sports and bring to life in general, I think these many are enough to be listed here for now :)

I am not a football fan in the true sense, i.e. - I don't follow club football, players - such as Messi / Ronaldo are just plain & simple good for me, but I don't want their teams to win just because these players are there...In fact, truth be told, I enjoy football once in four years...It is just the World Cup that I follow...therefore, hitting snooze button on all football following until 2018, which has been quite hectic and time consuming this year.

In the end, since I was supporting Germany and they won - all sleepless nights and abuses from the 'high-command' were worth!

Friday 18 July 2014

I don't pretend - I don't wear a mask!

This society expects that I smile and live through - learn to take a certain amount of crap on the way and continue to pretend that I enjoyed the experience. This on account of social responsibilities and part of 'being nice'...ha! Really???

One of the first social qualities that I lost was pretence - lost any and all interest in pretending to like people, situations, ideas...anything that I genuinely didn't like! Losing the ability to pretend was linked to my finding meaning within...finding strength to stand alone and most importantly - putting value to my time, mental faculties and emotional resources.

Since I am still a human and still very much part of the society - I understand that I won't get to live like that. There will be people who would need me to act in a certain 'socially acceptable manner' - problem is when people don't understand their limits, continue to demand / seek favours. 

Are healthy two way relationships not possible anymore? Am I too selfish? Am I correct in my approach? - I don't know, I am not sure!

The only thing I am certain about - I can't pretend beyond a point anymore, the threshold of accepting the unacceptable has gone down and in simple terms - I am certain that I am happy this way. In general, I am happy just to be left alone.

The concept of 'leave me alone' is misunderstood. It is not that I want to live for myself over someone else's happiness and life...just that I don't want to do things that bring displeasure to me, for someone else's happiness. I don't intend to become a burden on anyone - emotional or otherwise...can't take anyone else's burden for no reason. Essentially, can't pretend to enjoy anyone else's burden for no reason!

Sunday 13 July 2014

A Friend

Someone who understands you as you are
With whom, you are not trying - but are a natural fit

Someone who doesn't agree with you for sake of it
But, at least, catches your drift

Someone who helps you see through a difficult phase
Doesn't leave you, doesn't run and split

Someone who knows you are sorry, without your saying so
Isn't stuck on ego to move on and resolve a rift

Someone who understands when you need alone time
Yet, knows when you are lonely and need a lift, doesn't quit

Someone, with whom, you always carry on from where you left last
Even if, with time you too had gone adrift

Someone you call when in need
Who doesn't mind getting deep with you in the pit

Someone who is a privilege to have in our life,
A friend is nothing short of God's gift