Thursday, October 28, 2010

Save Our Planet

When the global recession was at its worst, out of all industries, Retail was the worst-hit lot.This was the time to innovate. Retailers had no choice but to come up with various innovative ways, in which they could extract maximum money out of whatever little foot-falls, happening at their stores.

One of them happened to grab my eyeballs only recently. I will not take the punt of naming them, because if I do so, almost certainly I will be slapped with a defamation suite for maligning their reputation/brand-value and all that jazz. One small hint that I can drop about them is - Their name matches that of one of the nick-names for the greatest leg-spinner, India has ever produced, who is also currently serving as captain of one of the most-talked about IPL teams, which has a not-so-famous-yet-commanding-a-celebrity-status badminton-player as its lucky mascot/brand-ambassador.

I happened to visit their store after a long time. I shopped around at a leisurely pace(this is where I am different from most of other creatures from Mars and similar to those from Venus), bought a handful of stuffs and stood quietly in the long queue at the cash-counter. When my turn came, I promptly took my credit card out of my wallet, got it swiped and waited patiently for the lady to finish her packing of goods. As the poor lady was busy packing stuffs, I decided to do a cursory verification of sorts for my bill. This was when I happened to discover one product that I was convinced, I had not bought, with the following description

             "CARRY BAG - SAVE 5 No 5.00 Rs"

I enquired about this from the gentleman@cash-counter. He explained that this was the cost of all carry-bags, that were used to pack all the stuffs that were bought. I was shocked, I just couldn't believe what I heard. A retailer charging its customers for carry-bags !! But then for a moment, I gave them the benefit of doubt and decided to understand the rationale behind. This was when, the gentleman showed me one of the carry-bag covers, which had the following printed in the middle
followed by
            "SAVE OUR PLANET"
            "I care! Do You ??"
at the bottom.

So 1 Rs per carry-bag from the customers in the name of saving environment. Nobody would mind "contributing" one Rupee to earth's cause. So this request to sounds reasonable,right ?? Well, not really. I noticed that out of 5 carry-bags, 4 were only half-filled and the last one had just one item in it !! I told the cashier that you could have effectively packed all of these stuffs in 2 or a maximum 3 bags, why did you use 5 ?? Is not that unfair from his part w,r,t his "contributions" in saving our environment ?? Cashier stayed mum. He couldn't give any answer. He could have, only if he had one !! But I got my answer. The poor fella must have been instructed by the management to maximize the number of carry-bags !! I felt disgusted. I didn't say anything to the poor cashier(it was not his fault, so no point blaming him) and left the shop.

As I made my way out of the shop, I started wondering is that really a sincere attempt to save our planet or a somewhat desperate attempt by retailers to save their business in the name of going green !!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Who is a Yogi ??

Some of us talk about spirituality and being a Yogi at some point of time in our life. I was talking to one of my close friends recently and during our conversation, somehow the word Yogi popped up, don't quite remember the context though. He gave me a very different perspective as to what makes somebody declare himself as a Yogi.

He said, there are two reasons one chooses to become a Yogi.

One who doesn't have any desire at all, so no wonder he becomes a Yogi and the other who does have desires,in fact many of them. But the difference is he goes about fulfilling every single one of them and once he is sure, he doesn't  have any desires left to be fulfilled, only then he declares himself as a Yogi. So the choice is yours, which type of Yogi, you want to become, if at all you decide to become one !!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

North India Vs South India

I just came across couple of interesting observations, made by few eminent personalities, regarding cultural habits prevalent in north India and south India.
  • Poor people in the north drink tea while poor people in the southern parts of India drink coffee.
  • Women in the northern parts of the country pierce the left side of their nose whereas women in the south pierce their right.
Who decided that things should be like this, I don't know, but it's like this, ever since I have woken up. I am sure there are many more such comparisons.But my intention is not to provide the seemingly exhaustive list of such comparisons. My goal is to pay tribute to the author of two books, that I recently went through !!

First one is noted by Aravind Adiga in his booker-prize winning master-piece "White Tiger" while the second point is made by Kishore Biyani in his somewhat unconventionally written autobiography of sorts "It Happened In India".

PS: Some of the readers of my blog have complained about the length of my blog-posts, so I have deliberately kept it short :-). Hope this makes them happy at least for the time-being ;-)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye

Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye

Do you know, what this Sanskrit quote mean ?? I don't know either. This was the famous tag-line for my college(some people may want to call it a school), where I completed my +2 education(In our state board, +2 was called as an intermediate program and I had opted for science discipline). We happened to realize this only when we came out of the college and that too by an outsider, Alas. A classic case of a diamond being discovered by outsiders after being ignored my its own people for years !!

It just so happened that on occasion of "Saraswati Pooja", we invited a celebrity to visit our college. Mind you, celebrity word is always relative. For Ambani brothers, Bachchans are just another family next door, but for an ordinary man, even a District Magistrate can be called as a celebrity. So we had an SDO(Sub Divisional Officer) joining us on the occasion as a chief guest.

We had a not-so-nice brick-coloured 6*5 gate, built during British Raaj, with these sanskrit-sholka in a not-so-large font-size inscribed onto it. This gate marked the entrance to our college main building, Oh by the way there was just one building in the entire college :-). As we made our way through the entry-gate, the gentleman asks the rickshaw-puller to stop. The rickshaw-puller immediately puts the brakes on and rickshaw comes to a griding halt. For a moment, we thought that he probably doesn't want to torture this poor fella, hand-pulling this rickshaw, anymore. The rickshaw-puller was looking exhausted, busy wiping out loads of perspiration accumulated over his forehead and other body-parts with his towel, waiting for the money from the gentleman. But when he got down, in stead of paying the rickshaw-puller his due, he requested all of us to stop. He stopped at the entrance, looked at the concrete-wall surrounding the gate. He notices that there are some scribblings written on those bricks in Sanskrit, which couldn't probably be read using naked eyes. The poor gentleman had forgotten to bring his specs, so he asked one of us to read out the sanskrit-shloka for him. I put my hands up for the same (I used to be a good student when it came to languages Hindi and Sanskrit, not any more though, English has taken over all my senses ;-)).

As I finished reciting those lines, the gentleman asked "Can any one of you explain the meaning of this great shloka from Vedas ?" All of us had no clue what those words meant.  We tried our level best to decipher it. But we didn't succeed. Finally, we followed an incremental-approach and tried explaining the shloka, taking one word a time. Sa means She, Vidya means Knowledge, Ya means That and Vimuktaye means Freedom. So the team-work succeeded and we had a meaning. I was the one, who explained this to the gentleman. He was not entirely happy with the fact that we couldn't get the real meaning, rather stayed at the peripherals trying to explain every single word. Nevertheless, he was not too disappointed either, after all students had at least gave it an honest try, in fact they had tried hard, as hard as they could. So the gentleman went about explaining the underlying meaning of this shloka.

"It is the knowledge which enlighten us and education which liberates us from this materialistic world".

The moment, he finished explaining the shloka, one natural question arose as to what liberation and enlightenment meant ?? We were too naive and our knowledge was too shallow to understand those heavy words-of-wisdom. The gentleman replied back with a question "Forget about these words. Tell me what do you want to do after your I.Sc is over ??" We all replied in unison "We plan to appear for IIT entrance examination". To this, gentleman replied "The day, you get through India's most-difficult entrance exam, you should think  you have achieved enlightenment and liberated yourself.

These words were etched into my memory, very much similar to these sanskrit-shlokas were on those age-old bricks. I gave IIT JEE my best shot and got through with a three digit rank. I opted to study B.Tech(H) in IIT Kharagpur with computer science as my specialization. While in campus, I came to know that the definition of liberation aka enlightenment had changed. Now its like "If you get through a high-paying job during placement season, you will attain nirvana.OK, point taken. I started preparing for the same. Although not  in campus, I did finally manage to find a job at one of the highest paying MNCs in Bangalore. I started my exploration of software industry with a fortune 500 firm. But after spending three years in the organization, I realized that the meaning of liberation had again changed. Now it was getting an MBA in one of the ivy-league schools or IIMs.

Now I started questioning what the gentleman had said long ago. Does education really result into enlightenment and help us in achieving moksha ?? For a moment a weird thought crossed my mind - More education meant more ambition and greed, thereby ensuring that you are always chasing something or the other and making us more and more materialistic. May be education does bring prosperity and success, but not nirvana. But another school of thought suggested - Is that freedom still elusive, because I have run after degrees/qualifications, rather than educating my self. I don't know, may be , may be not. So my quest for attaining nirvana continues. The question is still wide-open and I am yet to get an answer to the same.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Introduction@IndiBlogger Meet@Bangalore

Good afternoon, IndiBloggers. My name is Suman. I am a software builder by profession, people builder by choice and story builder by passion : software builder, because I work for a very small company, popularly known as Oracle, people builder, because I am a part-time soft-skills trainer, story-builder, because I am a self-proclaimed writer. My blog URL is sumansays@blogspot and I mostly blog about personal life and a bit of story-telling. I call myself a half-writer and there is a story behind that too. Ever since childhood, it has always been my dream to be a writer. But while I was busy dreaming, my mother interrupted and woke me up half-way through. So the dream remained incomplete and that is how I ended writing in cyberspace rather than on paper.

PS: This thirty-seconds-of-fame style introduction didn't fetch me an HP Inkjet Printer, but it was fun giving such a nice introduction for myself and my blog in front of 250 odd Bloggers. Thanks to ToastMasters, that's where I heard stories about great speakers like Ian Faria and Vijesh Hegde and their catchy introductions. BTW, this was my first ever IndiBlogger meet. I went there out of curiosity and excitement and to say that it was exciting and fun-filled would be an under-statement of sorts. More updates regarding this event to follow ..