Saturday, December 04, 2010

From Awe to Disillusionment

India has undergone dramatic changes in the last decade or two. One of the most significant thing in this rapidly changed India that I admired (till recently) the most was the advent of news channels somewhere during the late 90s. I felt they were “fresh”, the journalists were “well educated” discussed and debated on important national and international issues and more importantly had panelists who were champions in their respective fields. So attracted was I to a few news channels that television for me apart from sports meant NDTV 24*7, CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV 18 and NDTV Profit; that was it; I followed these channels as if they were the gospel of truth, elevated some of the anchors to the status of a “demi-god” and literally worshipped them. I watched them online, ensured that I read their columns in the news=papers (and it meant reading multiple papers as each had a column in different ones) and also shared the ones that I felt were very good with a group of friends and felt nice about it.

Now with the (in)-famous Radia tapes exposing the “best-in-the-business” I suddenly feel I was so foolish!!
• The column that I read the other day was not the opinion of my favorite journalist/anchor but was what the corporate head felt should be written in-order to project a certain image of him in public.
• That debate that I chose to watch at 8 pm on Saturday night instead of going out with friends was actually pre-fixed. The moderator already had an agenda (again decided by some corporate) and ensured that the debate was tilted in that direction!
• That magazine that I started subscribing since another of my favorite journalist writes in it; had articles which were again written or spun in a way to please certain corporate.

Suddenly I feel cheated, I was so na├»ve to think that we live in a democracy and one of the pillars of democracy is free and un-biased presses; who with the power of their pen and words have the influence to shape public minds! Alas little did I know it’s all “Fixed”!! It’s all pre-decided! What message to convey, whom to please, whom to bring down, whom to high-light; it never was an independent opinion!
It is 8 pm Saturday evening again, my eyes shift to the remote control (they are so trained to it), to switch on one of the news channels, but my mind now tells me that it’s much better to spend the evening with friends and family……..at least I won’t feel let down.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Simple Pleasures of Life

Ever wondered or thought about how you spend your typical day; have you tried to observe your thoughts and see if they follow a particular pattern? I think if we do, we will find that as we grow older our thoughts follow a typical pattern, mostly ending in questions for which we do not have answers but for which we try our best to find answers to; it would mostly be worries revolving around either the personal, professional or health front.
  • Do I really want to settle in this city? Can I plan something for the next five years?
  • Is the EMI too high? Will the real-estate prices ever come down?
  • Am I really doing justice to my potential at work?
  • He was so bad at school and look where he is today! Life is really unfair!!
  • Why am I falling sick so often?
  • Why are flight fares so expensive?
  • Why don’t I ever get visibility at work that would help me plan my travel home and save on air fares?!
When not actually working, we tend to spend most of our “brain processing time” in trying to find answers to these and many more questions; the answers to which we feel would finally give us some peace of mind! But alas, by the time we find answers to them, a completely new set of questions arrive to bother us and then we again exercise our free “brain processing power” to find answers. It’s quite a vicious circle and by the time its 3rd week of December, we look back and say “Geez, the year went by so quickly and we just did not find time to enjoy ourselves, hopefully next year we won’t have so many things to worry about” !!! And before you realize year becomes three, becomes five and a decade……….

It is so different from the early school going days where we had absolutely no worries; or in fact very few ones like ensuring that we don’t forget to carry all text-books to class, or don’t forget to trim our finger nails before the Friday assembly. One school of thought is that school days is a phase and as we grow older and more responsible there would be “questions and worries” and we must learn to handle them..It is natural progression. While I understand that it is the norm, my question is can we look at our school days, find out what gave us maximum delight (and when I mean delight it is a period of absolute joy)..and can we replicate the same in our now grown up adult life?

I have set out on this mission and have started taking some initial steps and I must say it does work. It could be anything that you loved doing when young, eagerly looked forward to it, but completely shelved it as you grew older maybe because you did not have the time for it or thought maybe “these things are meant for kids or as they say in Hindi “bachon wali harkate hain”…Not for grown-ups and mature people like us”. Try looking back, make a list of things that you loved and start taking out time for it during weekends. And while doing it completely forget about all current worries, office work, switch-off your mobile phones and just immerse yourselves…..It would be re-freshing, energizing and most importantly lots of fun!.Its called re-living the simple pleasures of life.