Tuesday, March 28, 2006

(Not) Being The Best

I was reading an interview of a famous personality the other day. This person (lets call him the No.1 Dude) is truly on top in his field, and has earned this coveted position with absolute hard work, sheer passion and single-minded quest to be on top. I dont remember the exact quotes, but it was something like this:

"I always wanted to be the best in my field. Since very beginning, my only aim was to reach the no. 1 spot. I worked hard, practiced a lot, and with sheer determination, passion and practice; I am glad to be at the position I am today...

... I've made lots of sacrifices in my personal life, I have missed many other things that other get to do and enjoy... all these years my only aim of life was to see this day. However, I am a satisfied and happy man today"


Being the best in the field, reaching this top spot; and yet being happy and satisfied ??. Really ??


This interview got me thinking:

I am not sure if being the best is the best thing to happen; rather aiming to be the best is the best thing to do. Take the case of this No. 1 Dude. He must have missed so many things in his life, just for his quest of being the best. He must have sacrificed so many other opportunities of enjoying his life. He must have made so many compromises along the road. And since he has achieved what he aimed for, I am sure he must be unsure of his future.

Is it all worth the few moments (may be days, or years) of being on top?

The only thing that is certain after reaching the top spot is failure. Absolute failure. No matter now hard you try, one day you have to relinquish the top spot. after that, its all downward path. Being on the top spot comes with extreme pressure to perform, the fear of failure, and even more sacrifices. Then whats the point in dreaming about being the best?. And all the happiness and pleasure that this No.1 dude claims to have got, is it really the true happiness, or is it just a state of hallucination?

OK, One may argue that the whole process is worth the happiness and ecstasy one gets after reaching the pinnacle. Point noted. But what about all the sacrifices one has to make?.. What about all those missed opportunities, and missing all the pleasure a common man gets from just being a normal man?.

Is being single mindedly passionate (and in the process forgetting about other things in life) the right thing to do?. Many of us tend to do that.

I am not quite sure about it.

In many ways, I am an aesthete person, and believe in living an aesthetic life (except in case of love, commitment, and friendship. I am very much an ethical person in these things). Kierkegaard defines the aesthetic stage as the stage in which man acts in such a way that will bring pleasure or happiness to himself - that is his main motivation and concern. I like being in that stage. I like to live every moment of life, experience new horizons, and enjoy small things along the way. I play this game of life for the sake of enjoyment and experience, and not to win. I believe that life is too short to aim for one particular goal in life sacrificing others. The whole idea of being the No. 1 does not quite excite me.

Does it mean that I lack skills or I dont have the desire to achieve something?... Not at all !!

I very much enjoy being at No. 2. Its my favorite position: the position which shows the promise and capability of being the best, yet not striving for it. There is no pressure, no sacrifices. Nor does it have any compromises, yet it is full of promise and potential. I just like to hang-in there. I probably dont want to be the richest in the world, or the most successful, but I want to be happy and satisfied.

When I am on the death-bed, I dont want to get a feeling that I missed living (and experiencing) something in this process called life. I would hate to have that feeling. My No.2 position lets me enjoy my life the way I want, and also puts me in a position where I am comfortable and successful. For me, its a win-win situation.

May be that's just me, the way I am !

Friday, March 24, 2006

Getting Into a Perfect Routine ??.. You're Kidding. You Are Just a Human.

Have you ever tried to be a perfectionist in daily routine?. Have you set certain strict personal goals for your immediate future?. Have you ever been able to achieve your goals?. Do you give yourself any allowances while analyzing your quest of being a perfectionist in personal daily routine?. What do you do when you disappoint yourself in that regard? Do you think about all these things at all?.

Sometimes, I do.

I will give one example (And this time, it's from my own life !!.. And it's absolutely personal and true, Mr. Anonymous :) ):

Ever since I came to the States, I have always been a 'nite man'. I was a regular in the 2.50 AM bus in Clemson; and even otherwise I would be awake till 3 AM or so. It was a habit, and I thought that schedule suited me the best. I used to really concentrate well in the 10 PM to 2 AM period. This habit continued in Cleveland as well (well, I had too many home works and assignments to do; I have spent more nite-outs in past 8 months, than any other period of my life so far)

Anyways, on January 1st 2006, on the new year's eve, I made a resolution that I would be a 'day man'.

Everyone in my lab comes early (Cynthia comes at 5.30 AM, and Rick comes at 6 AM), and everyone else is generally there by 9 or so. I come pretty late, and leave late. I wanted to change that.

My 'concept' of a perfect day is to wake up at 7, be in the lab by 8, work, take a lunch break at noon, work, leave at 5.30; then go to gym in the evening, play racquetball or work out, come home, have lite dinner, relax a bit, read some book, and go to sleep at 11.

It seemed to be bit too perfect, but I thought it would be really good to get into this routine, and make it a habit. It was fairly challenging to me to change my daily routine, and habits; but I wanted to give it a try. I was striving for 'that' perfection in life.

I tried, I am still trying, but I haven't been able to achieve what I wanted to. I tried hard to hit bed at 11, but something or other prevented me from doing that. I tried the extreme self-control methods as well: Stopped doing nite-outs, stopped doing Thursday nite outings, switched off my mobile at 11, made it a habit to read something interesting every day, completely stopped chatting... I improved my eating habits, I started working out regularly... yet... I am yet to have "that" perfect day. Invariably I dont sleep before 1 or 2. My brain just refuses to stop working before that. Nite time is my favorite time: I sometimes do blogging, sometimes catching up with things happening around the world, sometimes watch a good game a cricket.

Even in daytime, something or else comes up: like home works, quizzes, or problems with experiments and data analysis; you name it!!. But "that" perfect day hasn't yet arrived.

Why is it so difficult?... It seems to be a really trivial thing to maintain a normal "perfect" routine; Then why??... Am I setting my goals too high??... Am I trying to get something that is beyond my reach?... Is it impossible??. I havent given up yet.


I tried talking about it with A.

A Said: " Buddy, you are thinking too much. Dont think so much about these crappy things. Just enjoy life. Go clubbing, have some drinks, have fun. Some girls are pretty hot, I enjoy dancing with them till late... may be till 2 or 3. You must be a fool to try sleeping at 11. Get a life for yourself".

Fool.. I was not. I want to be a "day man". And I also enjoy my life totally the way I want ( I am writing a blog on that as well) , may be my ways of enjoying life are different than A's.

Then I asked B about it.

B said: "Vivek, you know where are you going wrong?, You are not being yourself. You are trying to be someone who is totally different than what you are. May be you will get a good routine going; but will that make you happy?. Happiness lies in just being yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. You are doing very well with your work and studies; and that should be a good enough reason to be happy. Why do you want more?. Why are you striving for perfection. Dont worry about it, this is just one phase in your life, I am sure you will be on a good routine once things start getting less hectic, you are done with qualifiers, and your research gets more organised."

Sometimes B talks sense. May be B was right.

Yet, I am not able to find a satisfactory answer on whether to strive for perfection or just live life the way one pleases to.

I am liking this new phase though; am feeling much healthier and energetic. I guess at the moment, I am in the purification phase :D. So I dont know if I will resume my favorite nite outs and Thursday nites; at the moment I am happy with the way it is going.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Past !!

Priya and Chetan (names changed) were my good friends in Clemson.

Priya and Chetan joined the school in same semester, and were in same department. But were single at that time. Slowly,but surely, they became good friends. They started spending a lot of time with each other, started sharing their thoughts and emotions with each other. Their friendship grew day-by-day, and in next 6 months, they were very close friends. One fine day, Chetan asked Priya if they could be more than friends; and Priya was more than happy to accept the proposal. We all were very happy to see them together; as they were perfect for each other, and made a very good pair. It all went well for a while. Priya and Chetan were now totally, deeply in love with each other. Priya and Chetan was a perfect couple one could get to see.

One thing was bothering Chetan somewhere within: he did not know much about Priya's past, and he never asked her about it before. One day, he made up his mind, and asked her about it. Priya did not want to hide her past from Chetan. She told him that she had a boyfriend in her college days; they were together for three years, and they broke up couple of years back. She told him everything she could about her past relationship. Priya thought it would be unfair on her part to hide her past relationship from her new partner.

Chetan was totally shattered to hear all that from Priya. He could not digest the fact that his girlfriend had shared intimate moments with some other guy. He could not accept and digest Priya's past. Even though he trusted and loved Priya very much; he could not get over that. He lost his composure, forgot all the nice time he had with Priya, and one day broke the relationship. Chetan wanted to break all the romantic links with Priya, and his reason was that he could not imagine his girlfriend having a past with someone else.


Past sucks. Past hurts. Past haunts.


Past is something that you can not dissociate with your personality. You have to live with your past all the time; you always have to carry it on your back.

Well, past is not as easy to think about as it seems. There is a good past, and a bad past. Somehow people tend to neglect one over the other. We see so many people who live IN past, and so many others who live ON past. There are so many politicians, cricketers, film stars living IN and ON past. Noone remembers them for their 'bad' past; they will always be remembered for their legacy and great things they did. Its all part of life.

However, generally speaking, in most cases we tend to quickly forget the 'good' past of an individual. But 'bad' past sticks to the personality forever.

The other day, I was talking with my engineering friend Dipak (name changed). Dipak had recently arrived in the States for on-site job assignment thru his company in India. Dipak was out of touch with our other classmates, and had no info. about what others are up to. We started talking about our other friends in US, and there was a mention about another friend of ours, Prachi (name changed). Prachi is pursuing her PhD in a very interesting subject at a very reputed university, and is doing very well.

When I told Dipak about Prachi; he was in utter disbelief and shock. He told me that he didnt believe Prachi could be a good PhD student. He also told me that he didn't think Prachi had a required acumen for completing a degree in US, let alone doing some path-breaking research. I asked Dipak why he thought so, and he answered that Prachi's past proves that she's is poor student and a very shallow human being in general.

Yes, Prachi was not a good student in her engineering days. She was in bad company; she was also into drugs and other addictions at a point. She never scored good grades. She never applied herself. And in general, she was 'wasted' in her engineering days. Her past was not encouraging at all, rather it was shameful struggle.

But things changed after Prachi came to US. She developed the liking for her subject, she got into a good decent company, and she was indeed doing very well with her studies, and her personal life as well. I, in fact respect Prachi a lot, for what she has achieved in past couple of years. I hardly knew Prachi in Bombay, but she's my very good friend now. In spite of knowing about her character and past, her present has made me respect her a lot. I always think of Prachi as I know her with her present, than past.

Yet, in Dipak's view, she is wasted, and hopeless !!


Why do people judge others on the basis of their past?.


Yes, I do agree that knowing someone's past helps you to know that person better. But at the same time,doesn't it encourage you to be judgemental about that person?. Its probably unfair, and not justified.

It biases the entire judgement about (and the following interaction / communication with) that person. There is a great chance that knowing past may provoke you to maintain a certain distance from that person; which actually prevents you to know that person in a better manner.

I personally judge and understand a person on the basis of his present (and future, if he holds one); and I really prefer others judging me in a similar manner. I am not a person who dwells in past too much. Past is past. I learn a lot from the past, enjoy the better moments, and move on. I don't have too many problems with my past (and I am proud of whatever I have done); yet I guess I would prefer to be defined by my present, and future; than my past.

Jan Glidewell has made a very nice quote on past:

“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”

Thats the mistake many of us commit, don't we?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Two blogs are missing from my list: Reports of two of my recent hiking trips; to Kuari Pass and Grand Canyon-Death Valley.

People often ask me why am I not writing those, especially when I insist that those were some of the best days of my life so far.

Well, the report of the Death Valley and Grand Canyon trip should be up soon. Ramya is writing a 300 page novel on the trip, and I hope she finishes it up sometime soon. I will post the edited version of that when it's done. Ramya is a fantastic writer, and I am sure she will do a great job in putting those 10 days in words.

Kuari Pass trek... I have made several attempts to write about this one, but my very ordinary writing skills and extremely limited vocabulary do not do a justice to those 20 days. I have tried several times... But I am not able to put up a nice report.

I get nostalgia; I choke up; My fingers freeze.


I cant describe my state of mind, all the emotions I had, when I got that first glimpse of all those Himalayn peaks from top of the Kuari Pass. I cant describe how I felt to reach there. I cant expound all those those moments I lived in those 20 days... those moments for which I went all the way from US to India, walked almost 100 kilometers, climbed 8,000 ft. to reach the elevation of 14,000.

I can not.


I want to enunciate the feelings I have for those 30 people whom I didnt know before the trip... those 30 people who were part of my my life in those 20 days. I want to write about Milind, Amol, Sushant, and Sripad... I had never met these 4 guys in my life... we met, lived those 20 days together and parted after the hike was over... but they gave me some of the most treasured moments of my life. They redefined the meaning of friendship to me.

I cannot forget those three nites we spent just below the Kuari pass... it was windy... at times we feared that our tents would just blow away with that wind... we would have been dead in a minute had that happened... it was so freezing cold that we would think twice even before taking a pee... we kept ourselves awake by playing cards, singing songs, sharing our stories and dreams, till the wind receded.

I sometimes feel terribly short of words to express these things.


I guess some moments are just to be cherished and remembered.. forever.


I am sure that a 67 year old man, Mr. Kulkarni, would remember these moments forever his life; I am sure that a certain gentleman; whom we nicknamed 'Motilal', would remember all the pranks we made on him.


I am sure that Devang , a 9 year old kid, will remember this for rest of his life. Devang, who puked several times because he could not take the exertion; but, like a brave tiger, reached the summit before everyone else did; On top of Kuari Pass, when everyone was mesimerised and overwhlemed by everything that was on display, this kid innocently asked his father "Baba, Is the trek over?". !!

I wish I could meet these people again... I dont know how it would be; if it would feel same or otherwise. I dont know if I can meet them at all.. but they will always be there with me.

Friday, March 10, 2006


World population: 6,597,883,766
India's population: 1,027,015,247
Mumbai's population: 12,622,500

Yet most of us take so long to choose ONE partner for rest of the lif; and have a happy, healthy, and long lasting relationship.


Isn't that interesting?.

We should thank God that he assigned us our biological parents, and other relatives. Otherwise, our entire life would have been a very messy affair with so many complexities, personal problems, mental suffocation, indecision, an inferiority complex, and with so many options to choose from.. some failures and broken hearts. Of course, there is also happiness, love, satisfaction, security and all those goody goody things. But they all come in a package. You cant choose gold and discard the trash.

Relationship... Why is it so complex?... Is it really that complex?? Or are WE making it complex??

(I am not discussing my personal life here. These are just thoughts that came to my mind while deeply thinking about the whole issue. Actually, I am learning all about these complexities from people coming across at various points in this journey called life. Just tracking and observing some individuals teaches so many things in life, which cant be understood by reading books and getting degrees)

I was sitting in McNulty's the other day with some of my buddies. After couple of beers, two of my friends, Priya and Sachin (names changed, of course) started a very interesting conversation (Thoughts just start flowing after couple of beers, don't they :). Anyways). I was the third person involved in the discussion:

Priya: "Hey Sachin, you have been in Cleveland for about 8 months now, you should get a steady girlfriend"

Sachin: " Well Priya, I haven't found one yet. You know its not as easy as shown in movies. We are talking about real life here"

Priya: "Cmon, there must be someone. Look around, spend some time with someone you have in mind and you will find one"

Sachin: " May be I will"

Sachin: "Tell me, why does one need a girlfriend?" (Beer effect !!! Sachin gets philosophical now)

Priya: "Well, don't you need someone to open your mind, talk about some things which you cant share with everyone?"

Sachin: "I have some very close friends, with whom I can talk about some serious stuff. For that matter, anything close to my heart. Why do I need a girlfriend for that??"

Priya: "Don't you want to take someone on a date, and have nice dinner and a movie with her?"

Sachin: "Well, I go for nice dinner and movie with people I enjoy spending some nice time. Why do I need to get into the relationship for that??"

Priya: " Sachin, You are impossible. You are never going to get a girl if you think like this !"

Of course, this conversation was in lighter vein. But I thought about it later on.

Why do we need a life partner?. There are so many options available these days. There are singles clubs, blind dating, gentlemen's clubs, and all that. With some money, you can pretty much get anything you want. Then why to go throught the whole process of finding 'the' right one?

Here are some of my thoughts on the whole thingy:

I am a big believer in love. Pure, selfless love. I am also a big supporter of having a steady partner in life, and living a life with one partner. It makes things so much easy. In today's world full of complexities, compromises, selfishness, politics and all that crap; one needs some security, some sanity, some devotion in life. And that's precisely the reason we need someone with us. Someone who would understand us, guide us, help us, give some frank advice, settle some nerves, critique us, laugh on our jokes, cry with us, and share a laugh too. And how nice it is to have someone whom we can understand, have faith in; for whom we can be there to share their happiness and sorrow.

I believe that relationship develops from love; and relationship (and for that matter love)is a mutual process, a mutual feeling, a mutual emotion: One sided love, or one sided affection has no meaning as such. You may like someone; but it is equally important to have the other person share same feelings about you. I do believe that all successful relationships are built on these pillars (All relationships are not successful. Just because a couple is married for many years, does not imply a successful relationship. Many a times, its pure adjustment; which to me is the biggest failure in life).

I firmly believe that a successful relationship is built on trust, understanding, and passion. Without these three; it becomes fragile, susceptible to failure and impotent. And these things don't come easily: it takes time to develop an understanding between two human beings; and so is the case with trust and passion.

After all we are talking about spending rest of our life with that person; who was completely unknown to us just a few days back. It takes time to know the habits, likings, circumstances and emotions of other person. It takes even more time to digest all of them, and be mentally and emotionally ready to "accept" that person in our life.

Developing trust and passion are even more difficult. I am not talking about physical attraction and sexual desires here (even though I do believe that they are integral parts of a relationship). One can be attracted to opposite sex for a while, but passion and trust are long lasting, and always developing. And they should come in exactly right proportion.

One cant really plan these things: they just happen. Love cant be planned, it just happens. So is the case with relationships. They happen. And that's the beauty of the whole thing; and I guess that's what makes our lives so much more interesting.


I sometimes find our relationships (and for that matter whole life) so similar to cooking. To make something really nice, we have to be really well prepared; we need all ingredients in exact proportions, and at right time; we need to let things settle and simmer for a while; we need to trust our guts while adding spices; we need to be really patient to get the perfect blend and taste; we need to apply our soul for that; and we need passion for cooking. And if anything goes wrong, things turn sour (or bitter, or salty), and the whole effort is wasted.

Isn't it true?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A story of emotions, trust and faith....

Got a shock last week when I heard about this story.... It disturbed me somewhere, even though it was nothing to do with me personally. I normally don’t get emotional.... But, this news was completely unexpected for me.... It shook me up totally. Especially because I thought I knew Andy, Bryan, and Tina very well.

It goes something like this:

Andy and Bryan (both guys) are very good friends for more than a year. Andy is kind of emotional, hard working, worthy of a commitment and innocent... someone who blindly trusts others. Bryan is still immature, believes in living life to the fullest, likes to play pranks on people, doesn't take life very seriously, and someone who you normally think twice before taking seriously. I happened to know Andy & Bryan equally well.

A few days back, Tina came into picture. Tina is stunningly beautiful, absolutely adorable, and very attractive girl; with innocent looks and deep eyes; but still not a mature woman for her age.

Andy, Bryan, and Tina became very good friends. To start with, it was all fun and nothing special.

As time passed by, Andy started spending a lot of time with Tina ... first as colleagues and then their friendship grew. They started interacting more with each other, and became very good and close friends. After a while, they started spending a lot of time together and seemed to be very comfortable with each others' company.

Slowly, Andy started liking Tina. But he was not sure if Tina has same feelings about him, as she did not talk of longer commitment at any point of time. But still Andy thought that Tina would be his best partner for life, as they shared so many things in common. Now Andy was in love with Tina. But still he wanted more time to formally open his mind. Since Andy thought Tina wasn’t involved with anyone else, he could afford to take some more time.

Meanwhile, during casual discussions, Andy declared amongst his close friends that he likes and loves Tina. Bryan was there as well. Bryan being a funny guy, took Andy's case too much and eventually everyone started teasing Andy with Tina.... Bryan played a big part in spreading the news.

Came Valentine's Day....

Andy thought that this was the best opportunity to propose Tina. He prepared himself for that.... and with a bit of hesitation, asked Tina if she likes him.

Here comes a twist in story:

Tina casually answered that she’s seeing Bryan since past 3 months, and they are planning to get serious about their relationship. And on top of that Tina said that she does not like Andy as such, and is comfortable with him only as a friend.

This was a big shock for Andy; his best friends had back-stabbed him. These were two people two people he trusted the most. Bryan and Tina purposefully played with Andy's emotions, used him and then just trashed him when he was of no more use.

After hearing this story from Andy, and another version from Tina, I was in a state of shock. All of a sudden, I felt as if I was loosing faith in love and humanity. Till this date, I am not able to understand:

1: Why did Tina not tell Andy earlier that she was dating Bryan, when she knew that Andy was interested in her ?

2: Why did Bryan play with Andy's emotions, when he knew what was happening?

3: How would Andy feel after being cheated by two of his close friends?

4: Should I trust Bryan and Tina anymore?

5: What did Bryan and Tina get after all this?

6: Does faith exist in today's world?

7: On what basis should one trust a human being?.... Are we so materialistic that we can play with anyone as we please to?

8: Can this love be true love?... What's the point in loving someone at an expense of someone else's life?

9: Do people really care about others these days?

This was very baffling for me. Especially the way Bryan and Tina turned their cold shoulders towards Andy after playing with him. Both Tina and Bryan are still good friends of mine... but I will think twice before trusting them.


I sincerely hope Andy gets over this soon, and starts a normal life.

This hurts... a lot.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Action... Interaction...

We interact with so many people every day. And there are many who keep meeting us. They may be your friends, acquaintances, colleagues or neighbors. But our "interaction" with everyone is not same. It varies from "Hi-Hello" and animated smile to a hug or some hearty talk. Whatever it may be, but one things is sure, that we interact with each one differently. And most of the times, this level of interaction or communication is set in first couple of meetings; and it stays like that for long time.

Have you ever wondered why do we hit it off instantly with some people and never seem to click with others? Why is it that there are some people we feel as if we have known them forever, and we are able to understand them; and others we can’t seem to relate to even after years of contact? We somehow feel that there could be no conversation beyond hi-hello and may be weather.

Lets consider the second case, and think about it:

I guess this degree of interaction comes from a pre-defined expectations from a person. Meaning, every person we meet, we expect that person to behave in a particular manner. Why only meetings, whenever we write emails to people, we do expect a certain type of reply / response from them. If you know a person well, you know that you will receive a certain type of response. I have often observed this thing, and that's where it becomes even more interesting when we get a response from a relatively unknown person (say a colleague, or someone we just know "indirectly").

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re so excited about presenting an idea to someone else and the response to your idea is the least of your expectations?. Say you do a nite-out working on report, you do your best and write an excellent report defying your mediocre writing skills; and send it out to your project partner at 5 AM to meet the meeting time of 8 AM. Your project partner looks at it, his face shows that he is least impressed by it; and on top of it he says that this work is totally crap and needs to be redone from scratch?

What do you think at that point? Is it something like: “Poor kid doesn't really know what he is missing out on... he doesn't really know the meaning of hard-work and efficiency”. Or is it like: “Maybe I didn’t make myself very clear.”

When we impose our own expectations onto others, we expect a particular reaction that we think should be an appropriate one from that particular person. People respond in ways that are acceptable to us or they don’t. If they do, we feel we’ve connected. If they don’t, we think the other person either has a problem on his head, or he is mentally slow, or he has had brain damage, or something is wrong with that person. Very seldom we try to simplify our point, and restate it in simpler manner.

When we’re attentive to others, we don’t impose anything on them. We allow people whom we like to be who they are and don’t take offense at their responses. In fact, we often find ways to meet their needs and expectations. We want them to feel good; and we do that much more to make them feel good. We develop that sort of "understanding" with those "favorite" people. Most of you would agree that this understanding is at the heart of all good relationships.

One way to promote it is to provide attentiveness in ways that are noticeable and welcoming. If you want to be remembered in a positive light, give others your attention. What others crave from us is the attention, perception, and responsiveness that few others provide. IF you are the person to provide that; you would be their friend. This, I believe, is the key to strike a successful, healthy and comfortable communication. Rapport building can be a very herculean task, yet it is so interesting, much like arithmetic additions (more on this later)

So, if you see that you don't really "communicate" with someone; do make an attempt, and watch your reaction!

(PS: I got a related article from a friend couple of days back. I found it interesting, so thought of developing it. So this is not my original thought. I have just developed it.)

Sunday, March 05, 2006


This blog is dedicated to my favorite comedy show: Seinfeld.

Some of my friends laughed at me when I told them that I am reading 'Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing.'

"Seinfeld and Philosophy???. Get lost. Seinfeld doesn't have any philosophy in it. You are wasting your time"

"Dude, Seinfeld is not to be taken too seriously. Watch it, laugh, enjoy, and forget. There is no need to get anything out of it"

"Do you also see FRIENDS??"

"I like South Park better than Seinfeld"

These were some of the reactions I got. I realised that for many of my friends, Seinfeld was just one of many favorite sitcoms. Even though they claimed that they were Seinfeld fanatics, they actually didnt go beyond having a good laugh. They did not relate themselves with the characters. For them it was just another sitcom. after all, its just a show about nothing.

No, that's not the way how I look at Seinfeld. For me, it is much more than "just a show about nothing".

My association with Seinfeld goes back to February 2005 (yeah, just an year back). Before that I used to hear my old friends Sunil and Vipul having a hearty laugh discussing about Seinfeld. Even though that sounded funny, I could not understand much of it; as I didnt know what Seinfeld was. And at that time, I did not have that much of spare time (Sunil and Vipul didn't have anything else to do in those days. Am I right guys?) for Seinfeld.

That time came at the start of last year. In those days, nothing much was happening in my life, it was a depressing and hopeless situation. In those days, even your better friends desert you. I didn't have much to do, and wanted something as a past time. I somehow got an access to all the Seinfeld episodes; and then there was no looking back. I have watched Seinfeld at home, hotels, airports, plane.. and it has been one exhilarating experience so far. I have seen ALL Seinfeld episodes (180 in total), and am now on repeat run :). I am not bored yet.

I like to watch it season by season. I sometimes watch one complete season in a day (20 odd episodes at a stretch, 22 minutes apiece). After couple of seasons, I unknowingly picked up some habits and dialogues of the characters.

I remember I was in India.. it was May 2005. One day my parents got into some trivial petty argument (ah, these parents!! They HAVE to argue on smallest things in this world: like what to cook for dinner, which channel should be played on TV, what should be the room temperature.. you name it !!!)... It's been 5 years since I am away from my parent now, and I was not used to all that. I was watching Seinfeld on my laptop, and even though the whole scenario was pretty funny, it was disturbing me. I took off my headphones and started in the Jerry style: "hey, hey, hey... whats going on!!... you guys have nothing else to do?? ". Then there were numerous moments in that trip when I acted in Kramer style..... It just happens. When you see same four people for so many days together, you are bound to pick up their style. But not many in India follow Seinfeld. I am sure they must have thought that I was mentally retarded or had a major brain problem, etc.

These days, my father strictly avoids any discussion whatsoever about my next India trip .

has given me so much. I have had some unforgettable moments with Seinfeld. Seinfeld has given me joy, laughter, a new hope to live life, and an introduction to four very interesting characters in this world: Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine. I cant help myself but I find Elaine very cute, George a big idiot, and Jerry a very simplistic common man, And I choose not to comment about Kramer. HE is special. I sometimes wish I could be like him. Would have enjoyed my life so much more. Apart from everything else, Seinfeld showed a whole new approach towards life... There is fun in being happy even without being successful. I learnt that from Kramer. I also learned to look at everything with a lighter prospective. There are so many a*s*hol**s around who would normally be very irritating and avoidable. I look at them in a Seinfeld way, and they become tolerable. Whole life becomes so tolerable when you look at in in that way.

I don't need to write about how great the show was. I can't exactly describe the feeling, but there is something in it that attracts you towards it. May be its simplicity, spontaneity, or humor... I don't know what makes Seinfeld so good. But it is good, for sure.

Anyways, now I am tempted to see one more episode. Its going to be "The Glasses".


Friday, March 03, 2006


I know I am going gung-ho off late and blogging about complexities in life. Its not all about nothing, it all about something. And they are getting more serious (and obviously boring for readers, I guess) these days...

Actually, I am in a very relaxed state of mind these days.. there is a certain feel good factor and contentment with day-to-day life; and am thinking totally differently than what I have been writing in my blogs.


I had thought (and sometimes still think) a lot about these small and insignificant things in life. Somehow things got too busy, and never got a time to relax, sit and write them down. Also, at times, the situation was not favorable or I was just not at peace to express myself.

I am not done yet. Have a few more of these; they are ready in my mind, just have to type my thoughts.

I like to see the blog exactly the way I thought it would be. I like each and every word precisely the way it originally came to my mind.

I want to express myself, I want to let my thoughts come out of my brain. I want to hit that avalanche of thoughts and sail through them.

It feels good to do that.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Love... Crazy Love !

Take One: Place: Cleveland, Ohio.

Su is a friend of mine. Su is American. A few months back, Su was dating Eric and they were doing fine. One day, Su met Harry in a pub. They danced together, chatted, had nice time. A few days after that, I met Su in the same pub. She was there with Harry. Su told me that she is now dating Harry, and she thinks she's in love with him. She also told me that, after "that" nite with Harry, she found him very attractive, and it was too much to be away from him. I asked: "Ok Su, what about Eric? I thought you guys were going along nicely". Su told me that she was getting bored with Eric, and didn't feel that she loved him anymore. She was always looking for a better option.

Incidentally, Harry is Su's 5th boyfriend.

Take Two: Movie: Mughal-E-Azam.

Salim, the prince of Mughal empire, gets a glimpse of Anarkali, a court dancer. He falls in love with her, and she also dreams of having a life with Salim. King Akbar does not approve the relationship, and even declares Saleem a traitor and sends his armies to crush him. He tries to kill Salim and Anarkali, even manages to separate the, but he cannot kill their love. Salim and Anarkali sacrifice all their happiness, their dreams, their life for love.

Mughal-E-Azam is considered to be an epic of love, sacrifice, and pain.

Take Three: Place: Mumbai, India.

M is my college buddy. He got a decent job after completing his engineering, and got settled in life relatively earlier. Last year, his parents wanted to get him married, and he was not beyond their wish. Six months back, M got married to P. It was an arranged marriage. M and P did not know each other before that, and did not get a lot of time to spend with each other before they got married.

I asked M about how he could take such a risk in choosing a partner for life, and if he was comfortable with P. He said that P was not his best choice, but his parents wanted P. Since he had no other choice, he trusted her, and after marriage got to spend lots of time with her. Now M says that he likes P very much, and in fact loves her a lot. He, however, confessed that there were some things which could have been done in a different way.

P believes that its a part of adjustment, and everyone's got to do some compromise with life.

What is love?...

Is it just sex?, is it physical attraction?, is it a pleasure?? s it crush??

Or Is it sacrifice?? hurt?? bitterness?? dissatisfaction??

Or is it adjustment??

Intriguing question indeed.

How does one 'fall' in love?... What makes us produce those hormones that would initiate the feeling of love about a person in our mind?... Why do we like a particular person , and not any person as such?... How do we decide that "that" would be a dream love for us?

Does everyone even think that much, and that deep?... Or they fall in love just to get the experience and have a steady physical relationship?...

Why does love 'fail' sometimes?... If we love a certain person so much to start off with, where do those feelings vanish after things go sore?... How do we prepare ourselves to taking that decision?...

Is first love the truest love, and everything after that a compromise??. Someone said that love can happen only once in life. Is that true?... If so, why??...

Why is love so complex??...

Does it need to be this complex at the first place??

My views
(please do not draw any conclusions about my personal life. These are my views, NOT my story):

I try to keep love as simple as possible. I hold a copyright for "Do not confuse your liking with love. You may like a person, feel attracted to him; but that doesn't necessarily mean that you love him" advice for my friends. And I follow that in my personal life a well.

For me, love is a tale of two C's:


I guess everything else follows these two.

I would find it difficult to love a person (a girl, of course, I don't have any feelings what-so-ever about brotherly love) unless I know her pretty well, and I get some kind of commitment from her. I prefer to have that comfort zone, that security in a relationship. And I also strongly believe in it being a life-long one. Would like to be steadily in love with one partner than trying out a dozen. If two people are mutually committed, I guess the trust, passion, understanding, family adjustments, career etc. fall in proper place. For me love is about commitment, loads of happiness, sharing life, and sharing bit of pain as well. I consider love as a steady feeling, a feeling that should be a part of life rather than just being a phase.

This is MY concept / theory of love.

Is it too optimistic??... Is it being too choosy??... Does it work in every case??...

Apparently not.

If my theory was always true, their would be no broken relationships, no break-ups, and no hatred. But it happens. I have seen broken relationships very closely. It hurts. I have seen people going thru a trauma. I have seen their life getting destroyed after a break-up. There is so much of bitterness, hurt, pain involved in this process?

Why do people break up?... How can they suddenly dislike a person they loved so much just a few days back??... Why do they make it so complex??. If they wanted a broken relationship, why do they fall in love at all?... Do they actually think about what the other partner may have to go thru in digesting a break-up?...

I guess we human beings like everything complex, and we ourselves make it that way. I dont know if I can find out answers to all these questions... it will drive me crazy if I try to.

May be that's why love is crazy.