Friday, October 03, 2008

Being fat: A curse??

So just as a recap, I have always been fat and overweight. It's something, willingly or unwillingly, I have to live with. Its not that I eat excessively, I see so many people eating much more than I do, but they remain skinny and I...... I have tried to do things that people normally do to loose weight, doesn't seem to work unless I go on a strict diet regime, which means being unhappy all time because I cant eat any meat. I want to stop growing now but it seems that my genes are not willing to listen :).

It hurts somewhere. It hurts when I see other people hogging on pizzas, rice and daal, and bananas without worrying about anything. It hurts when I realise that I cant be like them.

It hurts because every time I see an ice cream, there is an avalanche of thoughts that goes on in my mind. My emotions start with excitement, to self control, to frustration, to disappointment, to a sad feeling: I cant eat this, because if I do... I will gain weight !. Its kind of frustrating. It's kind of depressing. It's kind of hopeless.

I am not a big supporter of dieting. If dieting means giving up on everything you like, then what's the point of living a life?. I feel happiness and satisfaction are more important than anything else, and even though I agree with the concept of moderation, I totally hate the mental mess of having to choose between being happy and looking cool.

I know there are millions like me.

Noone likes to be like this by choice. Everyone likes to be slim and fit and presentable. but not everyone is equally fortunate. Some have very low metabolism, some have genetic deficiencies. Things are not always in our control. One cant control hereditary symptoms or genetic set-up. Not everyone is born with with a silver spoon or super fast metabolism.

Somehow some people don't seem to understand that. Its very easy to constantly address someone "mota" or fat. But it comes with a feeling of humiliation, helplessness, frustration, anger, hatred and shame. Doesn't help the fat guy. The fat guy is already frustrated that he/she cant live a normal life, and these comments and constant reference to their size doesn't help. I guess same goes to people who are handicapped or are ugly and hideous. In that sense we include fat people in the handicapped category. I feel its not right. I dont like people passing their judgements on fat people without knowing their situation.

I like fat people. In fact fat people are more understanding, more mature and more adjusting than normal handsome, sexy, thin people. They know their limitations, they know how to adjust in less than perfect conditions. They know how it feels to be taunted; you will rarely see any fat person badmouthing or taunting anyone. I have also observed that fat people are more thoughtful and mature. They mature early because of others who don't care about their emotions. Sometimes situations teach you a lot. Fat people are also happier and content in life, because they know how to find happiness in tough situations. They also know how to make fun of themselves. They are slightly less egoistic and more open in mind.

I like fat people.

I hate some skinny people who give excessive importance to their figure and are very proud of that. I find it very self centered, pretentious and phony. I don't want to generalize, but such cases are definitely more than an exception.

I am a firm believer that everyone has a right to live, and every moment we live is a gift. I believe in treating people the way they are and not the way they look. We cant change our name, looks, nationality, mother tongue, but we can definitely change our behavior, our outlook in life and our future. I like people who think like on those lines.

So I don't think being fat is necessarily bad. In fact its good, because it teaches you a thing or two about life. Most importantly it teaches you self control and patience. It teaches you self respect and respect for others. I value that more than sexy looks and a slim body.
Knowing Thyself !

It's an art. Knowing yourself is an art and a skill.

I conduct a teaching workshop at Case, and in one of the workshops we discuss different personality types based on the Kolb learning style analysis. Some people hate it, some love it. When we analyzed it further, we realized that people hate it because they don't like being scrutinized and prototyped. Fair enough. But I like one part of that analysis, which focuses on what approach each individual is likely to take to solve a problem. I actually find it very useful. See the figure below to see how it works.

I always approach the problem solving with abstract conceptualization, concrete experience, reflection and action, in THAT order. In other words, I think first and then experience it, before doing it. I like it that way. I like to do my homework before getting into something. I feel I make a significant and thoughtful contribution if I have a concept ready in my mind and also some experience. I think I am a very organized person who likes to have everything thought about and in order. Its like a slow churning process. I am an assimilator. It is not necessarily good or bad, but that's what I am and I have to accept that.

Different people approach the same problem in different ways. I have observed that closely at work and otherwise. In common language, we call it a personality difference. Rarely, I came across some individuals, whom I respect a lot otherwise, but I found them very difficult to work with. Upon thinking about it (again !!) I realized that they had a different approach of approaching a problem, they liked to do things first before thinking about possible results and their short and long term effects. Funny. It seems very simple: So what, you will say. But its not that easy if there is a direct conflict. Sometimes the situation comes to a point where two individuals have totally diametrically opposite views and progress becomes impossible. I guess it is a wiser option to accept the fact and move on.

On the other hand, its so much more pleasing to work with people with similar working styles, and similar attitude in life in general. Its gives you so much more satisfaction. In common term, we call it as wavelength matching. I feel its nothing but having a similar learning and personality styles. Things become so uncomplicated and there is never a conflict.

Of course, there are in between cases and ways to work around conflicts. But if you are trying to tap the ideal case scenarios, if you are trying to find people whom you gel well with, then I think the learning style analysis would definitely work.

So if you think that some people think way too much (which many of you think very often) and they are crazy weirdos (which many of you think sometimes), before you start hating them (which happens very often), try to think about their learning styles (and yours too). May be, there is an answer and an explanation.
The other Vivek

I just want to leave everything behind, want to go back home, go away from this world, this hifi world and laptop and everything. Just want to get rid of everything I have achieved and everything I have experienced. Just want to detoxify from this modern world. Just want to wash away all these layers of complexities on me, just want to be pure again.

I want to go to a jungle, all alone, want to stay away from everyone, want to stay away from everything. I want to enjoy nature, I want to enjoy peace, I want to get back life in my soul. I want to live a simple non-complicated life. I dont want to deal with people, I am done with being hurt and hurting them. I am done with getting suffocated for others, and I am done with saying hi and hello with a smiling face to everyone just to b in their good books.

I wish I was born to some poor farmer in a remote village somewhere in India. Then I would have spent all my life just worrying about farming, and nothing else. No school, no studies, no worries about knowing English and Math. No electricity and phone, no computer and movies. No cricket, no tandoori chicken and no shopping malls.

At least I would have been happy in life. At least I would have valued small things in life and would have got so much of happiness out of it. Small things like getting a good crop, raindrops falling on your face, my bamboo hut, sunrise, moonlight and a cup of tea. Happiness comes from small things, I realised it pretty late.

I realised that, and then I realised that Life has become way too complex. And its getting complicated now. Dont know, but sometimes I wonder if there exists something like satisfaction, contentment, happiness, peace in today's world. Something is going wrong somewhere, and I dont know where. One thing I know for sure is that this is not I wanted to live like. Its almost suffocating. I feel too restricted sometimes, I feel I am holding myself back. I feel I am not allowing me to be happy.

I dont want to worry about what I eat every time, I dont want to worry about whether my boss will be happy with my work, I dont want to worry about whatever else is going on in this world. I just dont want to worry about... anything!.

Its not only me who feels that way, I know you feel the same sometimes. I know everyone feels like this, just we dont give ourselves a time to see what a mess we have created for ourselves. Or may be, perhaps we are too scared to look back at our life, may be because we dont have the courage to see it. We live our life as if we are tied to a machine that never stops. Sometimes I feel we are just going in a random purposeless motion, because if we stop, we fear that we will die. Its funny that our heart runs faster than the clock. May be because if we fall behind in time, we will die.

I wish to just vanish from this world.. sometimes I feel it would be so good if some lightening strikes, or if a massive cyclone comes or a valcano errupts and takes me away. So simple, no pain and you are gone :).

I wish...
The "Other" Vivek.

Friday, January 04, 2008

13 Funny things you observe when you land in Bombay after a long period:

1: Bombay stinks. Literally. Bombay air has a unique aroma which is a weird mixture of spoilt trash, green chilli tadka (synonymous with vada paav), cheap country liquor, puke and food. That aroma fills up the space even before your flight lands in Bombay!. You know that you have arrived in Bombay even before getting out of flight. It actually gives you nostalgia.

2: Everything moves in a super slow motion: Everything around you (vehicles, people, and animals) moves at a super-slow speed. There is absolutely no hurry in anything they do. And timeliness is absolutely unheard of.

3: Every moment you feel as if you are going to meet with an accident: people, kids, animals, vehicles, and everything else freely roams on the road. Following lanes, not coming in a way of a driving vehicle, waiting for a proper signal and other rules are not practiced.

4: Auto rickshaws are always available at your disposal. And they somehow trace you, and they somehow know that you need a ride: they will come and stop by for a moment to see if you are interested.

5: Railway stations and streets perpetually smell of vada paav, green chilli and coriander.

6: Indians are fond of food: They talk, walk, eat, and drink food. Food is their life. Even on TV, half the channels show a food show at any given point.

7: Indians eat A LOT: I guess most of them don’t know what dieting is. Indian food is full of wrong calories and your calorie count goes haywire while eating Indian food. People like to eat a lot of food, and a lot of buttery food. A recipe is not a good one unless it has a think layer of oil on top of it.

8: Indians like to express an opinion: They talk. Wanted or unwanted, demanded or unwarranted, they talk a lot and are not hesitant a bit to express their opinions. No wonder why half the channels on TV are news channels (they are just providing a way for some people to express their views, even though mostly they are rubbish, repetitive and boring)

9: They are mobile savy: Everyone MUST have a cool mobile and everyone MUST talk loudly.

10: Spitting is a form of expression: People spit to express anger, joy, frustration, excitement, a pause in a sentence, and dominance.

11: Everyone speaks in Hindi: doesn’t matter whether you are a maharashtrian, gujju, Punjabi, sindhi, or a south Indian. Hindi is the official language of Bombay.

12: People don’t like to say “NO” to anything: they first say yes, then they think about it, then they realize that something can’t be done, and then they behave as if the conversation never happened.

13: They have profound misconceptions and beliefs, and they have no interest in rectifying them.
India Diary- 1.

India is so different now. I never imagined it would be so disturbing to be back home this time. I love my country, lets not doubt that, I am a very passionate and proud Indian. However, for the first time, I was so ashamed of we Indians. Our India is beautiful, but it is our own Indians who screw everything up.

Once upon a time, Bombay was a beautiful city. It was always crowded, always fast and pacy, but it was still very beautiful. There was an element of grace there. Places like Link Road at Bandra, bandstand, Nariman point, Gateway of India, Peddar Road and recently built malls were worth visiting at least once after coming back to Mumbai after a long time (its my 3rd visit to India). When in US of A, I always look forward to visiting these places as soon as I am back to Bombay. It takes me back to my old days and reminds me of the old memoirs I had there. Somehow these places always remained peaceful. But this time it was a different case: these places have become so crowded, dirty and filthy now that one doesn’t even feel like being there. Every corner was full of paan and tobacco stains, trash, and old construction debris occupied every possible empty space. And every place was always overly crowded as well. Earlier these malls and streets used to be reasonably less dense on weekday afternoons; NOT anymore. As a result, there is no privacy, there is always someone listening to you or staring at you. If not that, then you are forced to hear their bindaas conversations on their mobiles (and have very cheap ringtones). There is no escape. Every vehicle has very loud horns and sirens while taking a reverse.

In fact Bombay now seems so noisy that there is almost never a time when things are peaceful around you. TVs are on 24-7 in every house. Autos don’t seem to have silencers anymore. People talk at a very very high decibel level. And if that’s not sufficient, there is some construction going on somewhere in your vicinity that makes all possible thuds and noises.

And construction or not, there is so much of dust in air, that it’s almost impossible to breathe freely. Pollution levels have gone crazily high. You can see a layer of dust on almost everything you see around you. It’s almost a hopeless case. And lets not even talk about increasing population, corruption and a surge of north Indians!

I am not trying to be negative here. But I am genuinely worried about people living here. Many of them are living in substandard human condition, and they themselves don’t realize that. With so much of noise and air pollution, there is no peace of mind. I am sure that many of them are facing a depressing life situation, and it may really hurt them in a long run. The quality of life is very poor: most people work more than 12 hours a day and 6 days a week in unhelpful conditions and without proper health related precautions. I am not sure where is this situation going to lead us to. We talk about making Bombay a la Shanghai and Singapore, but I seriously doubt that. In fact its fast becoming more like a big big dumpster. I thought a lot about possible solutions to improve this condition, but felt it was totally out of control.

I wish there was a magic cleaner that would take every filth away and make my city as beautiful as it was earlier.