Loife, they sez is sweet

Inspite of so many colors and hues… Black and White is considered classy. Inspite of being constantly surrounded by so many voices, words and sounds…Silence is considered as Ultimate. Inspite of so much variety to eat…Fasting is considered healthy. Inspite of so much to travel and explore…Meditating under the trees and near mountains is considered superior.  Inspite of so much to see…Closing one’s eyes and looking within is considered Epic. A recent WA message doing the rounds reminded me yet again of our peculiar human predicament…Man (or Woman, for that matter) is NEVER satisfied, never happy, never contented. There is always a stretch, a desire, a hunger for that elusive something…something more! The search never ends!!!!

favorite-drinkWhen my daughter Rashmi was in her teens and we used to travel together in the car both of us wanted to hear some nice music. The daughter would take control of the radio and start surfing. As soon as she hit a known song, I would go, “Wait , wait, that is a nice song”,  Rashmi would pause for a minute, or half, and then turn the dial to another station. Again the story would repeat. Unknown songs I was ok to pass. But in her model, even known songs were on for a minute at the most! Then the station would compulsorily be changed!!! This led to much angst from me, which was stone-walled with a “devil-may-care” response. I never understood and had many arguments with her in those car journeys. She remained unfazed. And when I sought the logic of why she kept changing the stations, she had a perfect logical rationale,”How do I know Baba which song is playing on the next station? It may be a better one. So I have to keep flipping and keep checking“. Only in retrospect I realised Rashmi is not alone….we are all searching for the next elusive one. The next one may be better!!!!

chasing-rainbows

In Marathi there is a saying which captures this mindset…..हातातलं सोडून पळत्या च्या  मागे  लागणे. This loosely transliterates as “the  bird in the bush is worth two in the hand”….hankering for what you do not have and under-valuing what you do possess. We see this regularly at the time of college admissions or entrance into professional colleges/ specialization streams. We all know many parents and students who tell you I have got admission in xyz college , but I am waiting for the abc college list. I have got Electrical in Somaiyya but I am waiting to see if I get Mechanical stream in Bhavans. And so it goes on. We who have worked in Corporate and have got frustrated with our roles and responsibilities at some time point. Soon you feel, there is no appreciation of your contributions and the hard work you put in. The boss is always to blame ….he is invariably a cross between Hitler and Gaddafi. So after much thought you applied for jobs outside our company, are again waiting to land the dream job….the job which would give exposure, freedom, excellent perks and benefits. As you seek your dream job and are appearing for interviews, inherent in the process itself is your becoming progressively convinced what a stupid company you are stuck in now, and what a dumb boss you have drawn. This brings you to a point where you just want OUT…and tell yourself anything would be better than remaining in the present job. Lo and Behold, you finally get an offer from one of the company you had applied to. As soon as the offer is in hand, you start having dissonance, regardless of the efforts you made in the interview/s to impress that you are THE BEST candidate they can consider. Having got the offer, you are already disillusioned and wonder about all the other interviews you have faced. Could the other one better? Lesser commute? Better team,? Much better facilities? Lovely Office. And the Boss also seemed a very decent chap in the interview. So you wait for the next offer. And then the next…

noah

Sounds familiar? It is very much like the apocryphal fishing joke, where the angler lands a huge trout…it gets measured…and he is awarded a First Prize for landing the Largest, Heaviest trout that season. The Angler’s response….” Well that one was big……but you should have seen the one that got away!!!!….” Remember, हातातलं सोडून पळत्या च्या  मागे  लागणे is our human condition. We forever believe “the  bird in the bush is worth two in the hand”. The chimeral “next”, the proverbial “one that got away” is always bigger, better, smarter. A la Wilkins Micawber, in David Copperfield, the iconic Charles Dickens’ novel, we are perpetually in a state of want. We desire much. We try and make ends meet. But satisfied we are NOT…..NEVER. we are always waiting with the belief “something will turn up” . And then, when the harsh realities of life set in, we are always over stretched….”Income 20 pounds….expenditure 20 pounds, ought {shillings} and six {pence}…..result, misery

This outward strtech, this desire to exceed and expand is captured best in this anecdote of Samuel Gompers, the longest serving President of the monolithic American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), who put it brilliantly way back in 1920s what does AFL-CIO want. The national trade union federation was so large and so influential that President Woodrow Wilson himself was dealing with Sam Gompers to defuse a nation wide strike call. After a series of frustrating negotiation meetings where no common ground was emerging, President Wilson asked, “Sam finally, what is it that you want?” To which Sam Gompers made the now famous reply, “ More!”, he said, ” That is all that we want…in one word…More!!”. Does Sam’s reply not catch the predicament and mindset of all of us in all that we do? We always want more! We are never satisfied!! We are always chasing the bird in the bush, the fish that got away!

more

Nevertheless i do not think it is all negative. Yes we search, we hunger, we are dissatisfied. But in that hunger, in that search there are some unique potentialities. When one door closes, another opens. And often if you follow through that new door, you mostly get what you have not bargained for….and it may be better than what you were seeking!! Only your eyes must be open. You should be ready to accept the turn of fate…the way the dice has rolled!! And be ready to face the new reality. Oftentimes that is better or at least as good as what you were hankering after. Only you should be ready to accept the changed circumstances.

trouble

It is much like what Asha Bhosale sang in Umrao Jaan long ago, ”

जुस्तजू जिसकी थी उसको तो ना पाया हम ने

इस बहाने से मगर देख ली दुनिया हम ने” which translates as …. “We did not get what we wanted But with this excuse, we got to see the world ” So we need to keep our eyes and heart and head open and keep moving. There are many adventures and surprises out there.

I end with the words of Robert Frost in Kitty Hawk..”Mind you, we are mind.
We are not the kind
To stay too confined.”

 

Enjoy the journey…indeed, Life is sweet : vikas

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18 Replies to “Loife, they sez is sweet”

  1. Sir, nice feeling as always after reading your blog. Looking for that something which is not in our possession or looking for that elusive thing which will give us happiness and fulfilment is really our nature. You have in a beautiful way narrated in your story on listening music during your car rides, the same quest for the next best thing . Being happy and content with what we have and being grateful for it may be the antidote for this eternal restlessness of our mind. This is my take away from this blog. Thanks for sharing . Do keep writing for the benefit of people like us. Regards HCP

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    1. HCP many thanks for your kind words. My daughter wrote to me that she never imagined such small events can be good teaching moments. But I believe every thing that happens in life has some hidden message, if only we are ready to look at it patiently and unravel the learning.
      A calm and peaceful mind is indeed lakh dukhon ki ek dawa
      Keep encouraging me sir. It feels good
      vikas

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      1. I fully agree with you sir. Calm mind is essential to receive learnings that we get while we move in our life journey. In fact now I am realising life is actually a school wherein once you learn and assimilate one lesson you are given the next higher lesson. Somewhat like going to the next grade.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. HCP well said and in the school of life, the test/exam comes first and the learning comes later. It is an expensive school but the teaching is very solid and long lasting

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  2. Another thought provoking piece! You have selected a topic that touches every one ..almost on a daily basis!..Very well articulated..!

    Like the Marathi proverb you have quoted , a gujju one says ” the ladoo in other’s thali is always bigger than mine” ( In Gujarat, the examples/proverbs also often have a theme of ‘eating or eatable’!!..for better understanding!!)

    On the face of it , there is nothing wrong with “dil mange more”. It is this approach that ensures progress in every field.

    There is a very fine line, however, between ‘wanting more’ and ‘being contented”. The two look contradictory ..but they are not.

    The possessions we seek are of 2 types:

    Hard Ones : more bank balance, bigger house, bigger car..etc etc
    Soft Ones: sense of position/power/reputation/image.

    A common example to illustrate the situation is:

    When your back is facing the Sun, you see your shadow in front. You keep going forward to catch the shadow..(the possessions)..and you are never able to really catch it..You keep running ..and remain dissatisfied.

    Instead, if you turn and face the Sun, the shadow (possessions in the current context) will follow you!

    The point is that when you go for a ‘higher level” purpose (moving towards the Sun), the ‘other things’ follow.

    Organisations ,which are only looking for profit, often falter. As against this , for the companies which work seriously for a larger purpose, profits follow ..in a sustainable way.

    The same is true at an individual level.

    It is ironical that if we don’t care about the possessions , they will follow. If we go only after them, they will always keep us in a state of “wanting more”!!

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    1. JL
      thanks for your detailed, thoughtful and provoking comments. Always enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy penning my thoughts as you always add a perspective and give a twist due to which…char chaand lag jaate hai. Thanks for taking the time and effort.

      Your ladoo example reminded me of the famous Surf ad….uski saadi meri saadi se safed kaisi??… which was one of the examples I wanted to use in the blog, but due to space constraint, I dropped it. But true. That is truly a unique dimension of the human angst. As HR in manufacturing sites with large workforces, I have often come across this approach….uski thali me do swwets hai aur mere me nahi….even if I am diabetic and do not eat my share of sweets, I am more concerned about perceived fairness and will be supremely unhappy if some one is getting something more than me. My only way of handling such grievances was to direct their attention back to their thali, and the one sweet in their thali, and tell them…..even God could not ensure fairness to all, mai to ek Personnel Officer hun, where will I reach…..now issue is with you….do you want to eat and enjoy your sweet or do you want to spoil the joy of that and only crib. Duniya hum aaye hai to jeena hi padega, jeevan hai agar zeher/kheer to pina hi padega. Am a fatalist in that regard.

      I loved your other simile and example of Sun and Shadow; running behind possessions and success….with your permission I would love to note it in my black book of ideas for new posts…It is a powerful thought and deserves to be expanded and deliberated more.

      Aur kya likhun? aaisi hi aseem krupa drusti banaya rahkna…I get energized by your attention to my outpourings….keep the love flowing…..vikas

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      1. Thanks Vikas for your kind expressions about my response.

        You are certainly welcome to use the “Sun & Shadow ” example as and when you wish..no IP protection!!

        in fact i love that simile !. Not only that i have used it on many occasions, i have personally found it to be a very profound concept through personal experiences. Whenever i have tried to do something for a larger cause, the material gains have followed , well beyond my expectations. I have also experience of the ‘reverse’ of this..when i have tried to be after some specific personal gains , the results have been disappointing!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. JLS
      Thanks….I will certainly use the example as it appeals to me also a lot. It is graphic, simple and experiential….something one can easily relate to.
      Your IP comment reminded me of a friend….in the old OHP and plastic transparencies days of presentations….he was very very possessive of his transparencies and the content and would resent even if we took notes as his co-faculty!!!! We worked together in Siemens and he was organizationally in a higher level and grade than me and so I had to eat the humble crow and tolerate his bullying. My response internally was ….all knowledge is for sharing and thanks to his approach I became the opposite….My every ppt would end with an invite to the audience to write me and I would share my content. My logic was even if 2/3 people revisit it, it is worthy recognition of the effort I have taken to make the ppt.
      Re RGK (that chap’s name) then I came to Atul and we lost touch. When I went back to Siemens after 6 years at Atul….can you imagine, I become his boss in HRD!!! Curious indeed are the ways of the Allah. Serendipity got us together again in radically changed circumstances.
      The mills of God grind slowly but grind well, aur kya?

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  3. ये दिल माँगे मोअर… Not money, but what I mean is that I want to read more of your Blogs.
    Its no doubt well articulated, as you always do.
    I always enjoy reading your writing.

    Like

    1. Sir you are more than kind with your praise. A friend Shika told me it is straight from the heart….that is the only way I know to write. Possibly because of that it appeals. Will keep writing till there are people like you to encourage me. Thanks a ton

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  4. Nicely articulated Sir. All of us go thru this stage at one or other points in our careers. Such read is so reassuring that we are not the only ones who goes thru such predicament. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Interesting read. Made me ponder over my present and obviously made me feel better about myself. Hopeful for tomorrow but quite satisfied in the now

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    1. Aniruddha that is the sweet spot…..hopeful for tomorrow; satisfied today….many people would gladly exchange their positions with you. Stay blessed my young friend. I am now a days more and more veering around the theme of gratitude…..we all have a lot to be thankful for….were we only to look around us. Take care. And stay in touch

      Like

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