Sunday, December 15, 2019

Reflections and Refractions - Part 2

With the ink flowing, one must quickly commit the thoughts to paper.
Otherwise the ability to think and judge would catch up with those words and dry up the ink as well.

1st June 2019:

In movies, before we jump into the new frame, new location and start the action, we need a break.
So did I and my family. So we set out to the very old frame, my hometown.

One might imagine a visit to ones hometown as a regular affair. But if the house is locked for almost a year, and visits are only 2-3 days long every year, one generates quite a lot of yearning for the old, dusted and capped memories and emotions.
Anyway, to not lose the focus of the story, I will just cut short by adding that it was a welcome break for my family. For me it was nothing but pure oxygen after surfacing from a deep dive. I needed it badly because I knew I had to go for another deep dive soon after.

With the razor sharp schedules of professional commitments and the house shifting, I didn't waste whatever time I got to recreate my life, one day at a time.

Once back to Bangalore, it took a couple of days filled with 12hrs of meetings at office, followed by packing to actually shift out. It actually took another month for some sort of relaxation and sense of settlement to arrive at our new doorsteps. In spite of such fluctuations, the new house gave a lot of joy due to the cleaner locality, better safety, conveniences, and presence of lots of open soil to work upon.

Maybe it is in the genes, but there is nothing like a walk among greenery to climb over any adversities in life. What else could one ask, if there was also a piece of soil to give life to? We all enjoyed the activities involved in cleaning up the yard and setting up a working garden in a matter of couple of months. Most hard at work was my father who saw this as a replacement for our now neglected garden back home, which he severely missed while being at Bangalore.


Once the new schedules, routines and rigours were set in place, accompanied by crazy timings at the office, .. short pause.. there was still no time to relax. It was time to take life to the next level, and preparations were afoot at office and home on the professional and personal fronts respectively.

Soon with the crab having its tummy filled with one victim and having decided to let go of another for the time being, we started having more bright days. This was in spite of the wet and bone-chilling season. We too having been hardened by the events, decided to move on. Some very old support roles were withdrawn and it was time for the real responsibles to take over without dependencies. It was time to grow up, spread the wings and jump out of the tall tree nest.

So far, so good. That's what I can say about things which are in progress, and can take years to get a proper hind sight. Rays are still in the process getting bounced around like crazy, creating reflections,refraction, mirages and sometimes even hallucinations. One shouldn't take a judgemental view at this stage of life.

I badly want to squeeze some more events in here, but the paragraph above filters out most of the content. But let me cryptically add my appreciation for myself for taking some right decisions based on some random whims, and keeping those habits alive to date.

Now I should be allowed to shift my focus to more abstract expectations for the upcoming year based on reflections of this year.

First of all, the hard events have hardened the expectations and one only needs to guide the mind into accepting new responsibilities. So those should be relatively easy to accept if pushed upon.

The next thing is that events have shown that whatever happens, there are certain things in my primary responsibility. I cannot hold any one or any event accountable for not doing what I myself expect of me. So clearly, I need to spare quite a lot of time, passion, efforts and attention to do my best in the upcoming year.

There might be some boomerangs for short cuts taken this year, but as long as the mind is ready to accept it and walk over, there is no use crying over a swollen temple.

Gonna be a fun year ahead.
15th Dec 2019

Have a couple of weeks ahead, but for me the year is actually over for some weird reason :)

Reflections and Refractions - Part 1

Even though hind sight is perfect, all sight is based on reflected rays.

Some are reflections of what happened, but most of them are refracted at multiple surfaces before it gets reflected back to the eye.

There is no real way to know which is the case.

2019- The year that began just like 2014; With a broken leg, bedridden, dependent on others, biting down the pain and humiliation.

Anyway, as months passed, the pain of lying down gave way to pain of attempting to learn to walk, whereas the humiliation of depending on others just reduced as self sufficiency crept in slowly. It was a mix of self-sufficiency, self-pity, new hope, forgiveness and gratitude.

Through the year, as life always promises, events weren't simply monotonous or predictable. They weren't even in shades of white,grey or black. Each revisit and reinterpretation could give new colours, hence making the activity useless if one is only interested in painting them statically. As mentioned in the Kannada movie "Lifu Ishtene", those are DVDs worth watching again and again, giving various aromas & tastes at various stages of life.

One judgemental aspect is that those days give me a good idea of people around me and how the relationships are structured. On the other side, it also cut me off social connections & activities, isolated me from the buzz of work place & sent me into a personal disarray.

I even managed to catch up on my reading with some crazy reading schedule, having nothing else to do for couple of months. I was able to squeeze in a couple of months worth of reading into a couple of days.

But overall, I could say that my pain subsided and limited itself to some weird set of nerves, strength regained, dignity rebuilt & overall outlook towards myself & people around me transformed. This feat required the constant support and patience of my parents, my wife, my son, the household help, my physiotherapist, my books, the doctor, some friends and my physical trainers later on at the gym. Anyway, with me able to do mundane activities without support, 'officially' I had recovered, though I knew there were miles to go before I really recovered or made up for the incident.

But,  short pause.. ,( there is a always a but and a short pause ) before the pain reduced and recovery started, whatever hopes I had that things could only get better, were shown to be misplaced. This was done by a series of inroads the great crab made into my family, coming uninvited as it always does. With my own flesh throbbing with pain each day, I could really not accept the full physical and mental agony of those whose flesh was being bitten off daily, bit by bit. Even more difficult to deal with was the inability to extend a helping hand or leg for that matter.

My family, who had accepted the task of patiently taking care of me while dealing with my absence from key responsibilities, were dealt a double and triple blow with these culinary habits of the crustacean. Those were tough times when the days looked gloomy, but most importantly that was also a reminder for me to speed up the recovery cycles and stand up to face the new invader.

Needless to say, weakened already by physical and mental agony, the new invasion led to many sleepless nights sunk in gloomy thoughts and dealing with apprehensions. It took quite a bit of distractions by office work, physical exercises, and social visits to break out of this labyrinth. Those were one of those moments where only action can generate enough break the chains that can restrict even a mighty elephant.

Looking back, one can always paint even the smallest of struggles with glorious adverbs and comparisons to give a self satisfaction. So I might be giving myself too much credit where undeserved, but maybe some credit is due, I let such statements be.

It was in this condition that I turned my focus to the minor yet irritating affairs of the rented house in which we were living. I could easily make a list of problems like dirty water, cockroach infestation, crowded & dusty surroundings, absence of clean parking space, regular spikes in maintenance costs, arguments between residents, a case of theft etc. These are just regular matters in life in affordable rented apartments in Bangalore, and I would have let it be. But given the many problems we were facing, this was one that was under my control to address. So I jumped at the opportunity to make a difference.

So we quickly, without much preparation set up a plan to shift the house to somewhere 'ideal'. It was stressful to negotiate with the owner who didn't like the idea of a breaking of the agreement along with with neighbours who had tentatively agreed to take over for a relative, and finding the ideal home in the ideal location with 10s of filters. But I must admit, those involved planning activities with my family were rewarding distractions from the otherwise gloomy days. We really enjoyed the activity with even my parents who built networks with elderly people in the locality were able to identify lots of key properties and localities.

Needless to say, within a month, under a hectic set of negotiations, we were able to make a withdrawal with minimal losses. What awaited us was a refreshing new location and a new way of life. I was and am still thankful for the decision to move from that muck ( actual & imagined being merged here for creative purposes ) at that critical point of time.

30th May 2019


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

News is shit!

New is shit nowadays. Ain't it?

I can't understand the need for sensible human beings to sell and pimp their judgement to suit the fancies of the news channels and other sources.

This might sound quite insulting and offensive to many heroic members who take part in passing judgement or forwarding news-based content over the social media and also among their circles.

But I propose this offensive path purely for the purpose of catching the attention of such people, so that I can ask them to first learn to scrutinize news content and the way sources portray news.

What is so wrong or bad in the way news is served?

Lets try to find and write em down. Shall we?

a) News is supposed to be reporting of events based on recorded facts. It shouldn't be making news in the first place. Most news channels, in order to bring exclusive content, select scoop news that has good chances of increasing TRP temporarily. In order to form a good story, many reporters make a good story and fit the facts to suit it. All this sounds fine as long as they do not sell it as news. It should be marketed as 'inspired by real incidents' and be played as a short movie. That provides the entertainment value intended by the news channel, and they get their required TRP too. And no one has a problem with fake news.

b) News sources making judgements not found in the recorded facts. This is the increasing trend which most members of the audience fail to grasp. Though a judgemental article makes for an excellent click-bait and brings good readership/response in social media, it is making a mockery of journalism and its core purpose. Everyone knows that being judgemental is an exciting position for the one who is judging, but the one who is being judged directly or indirectly is being dealt with unfairly. Judgemental individuals can be a pain in the ass based on their reach. So when a news network itself is intentionally judgemental, supported by scores of fans, expert panels, shrewd show hosts and eloquent speakers, the common man's cry for sensible, unbiased facts goes unheard.

c) News sources are off late being very selective in news reporting, indicating their political or business affiliations. Due to the two points above, warring sides can throw news channels and reports against each other with differing sequence of events for the same set of facts. These practices splits the audiences against channels that give undue importance to topics they dislike and pick out wrongs in things they are interested in. Now we have a large ecosystem of divided audience who are blind to any facts presented by the media source that is against their interests. This destroys the credibility that any party wishes to bring forth using the massive reach of these channels. They have all basically spoilt their reputation by splitting ways with unbiased journalism.

d) Influencers who control the news media using political means or financial means are the modern bane of media houses. Coming under attack for the 3 points above, if any individual decides to move away from mainstream techniques above, they are guaranteed to have a bad time. Once a third front opens with unbiased news, it takes only a sentient population to realize the imaginary worlds created by the mainstream media. As long as intelligent news consumers exist in the ecosystem, it is the need of the tycoons to ensure that such independent sources do not rise up to prominence. The techniques used to stall their growth ranges from persuasion,coercion,public humiliation,trapping into losing credibility, starting smear campaigns etc to using political and financial muscle to subdue such sources. This is by far the largest reason for the mainstream media to continue in the same fashion, though the number of media houses keep rising every fiscal.

e) Each media house, as explained above represents a set of ideals, supports selective bigwigs and shuns certain others. In such conditions, the fan following is split for such houses based on their individual preferences. Quite similar to how political party members support their party leaders through thick and thin irrespective of what they personally think about their actions, these fans forget their own personal stances and start worshiping their media houses. They also take up the role of attacking rival houses, defending their house and its ideals against rivals and/or random independent critics. The techniques used for attacking can range from simple arguments using facts,ranting incoherently,taunting etc to participating in smear campaigns using memes and spreading libel. It is quite sad at this point that the very same audience which is being cheated by the media houses and their bigwigs puts out so much of its time and energy on these petty fights instead of fighting to bring real facts out.

News is an entertainment now for many, and it is a source of money for many others. In between that, the lives of people who rely on the reported news being corrected is not really in focus, unless by sheer luck it also happens to bring in good TRP ratings. You would have to convince the media house's manager about this and also need to bring all houses into an agreement if you really want to reap the benefits. Otherwise you'd end up being either torn down or be worshiped albeit temporarily, until they find another juicy piece of news to follow.