A57. A Better Dialogue Against Communal Divide?

Discrimination against and ill treatment of any community should not be allowed or encouraged in any manner. 

While it’s important to have an open dialogue on incidents of discrimination and ill treatment, our dialogues need improvisation for them to advance to effective decisions. Communities in India have been feeling and experiencing discrimination and ill treatment. However, the feeling has been constant and is lately getting more intense due to the recent social and political events. Therefore, outspoken members of different communities have been actively advocating for their beliefs in relevance to the subject. But, it’s only leading to further division and unrest instead of unity and peace. 

(Disclaimer: The below mentioned has been repeated time and again by different individuals. It only implies that we need to be reminded of it time and again, which is okay. But, once we become aware of it again, we must stick with it as it goes on to define how mature we are as a country.) 

Our conversations as of now are focused on “us v/s them” mindset. While the mindset does not absolutely need to be discarded, it certainly needs to be well placed; as of now, it’s misplaced. 

The conversation needs to get from how one community is mistreating the other to how a category of people from one community are mistreating a category of people from another community. It’s important to acknowledge that the members of a certain community which are ill treating members of another community do not generally treat members of their community well either except strictly for personal gains. 

In other words, if we are going to have an “us v/s them” conversation, we need to define who falls under “us” and who falls under “them”. So, when a person says that Muslims are discriminated against and ill treated by Hindus or vice versa, it’s important that we avoid putting an entire community under one blanket and target specific people without labeling them as per the community they belong to. We need to talk about how the powerful treats the less powerful/powerless. We need to talk about how specific people are having difficulty in accepting diversity in the society and are mishandling their emotions and authority instead of suggesting that these people are but representatives of their communities and their actions speak for their communities. We need to talk about how a specific person or specific people are influencing a community/communities for their personal gains. The only way any characteristic can be attributed to an entire community is when a majority of its population is embodying such characteristics and sometimes it’s even important to understand why a greater population of a community may be behaving a certain way and address it empathetically, logically and compassionately.

More importantly, we need to understand that when one targets an entire community, one also offends an entire community and people move from offense to defense too quickly. Is that ever really necessary? Instead, it’s important for a community to disassociate itself from people who discriminate against and ill treat members of other communities. If a community cannot do so by itself, other communities should extend help in that regard instead of making them associate themselves with such people especially when such people will seek support of their community by suggesting how the attack is but on the entire community. A better approach, of course, would be when such people who discriminate against and ill treat are not attacked at all and instead helped to gain a better perspective; most of such people will stop discriminating against and ill treating others the very moment they aren’t rewarded for it but instead are at a loss because of it.  

Otherwise, we are basically engaging in a tug of war between communities and primarily focusing on a shift of power. One may argue that a shift of power is necessary but then the entire exercise becomes politically motivated. If a shift of power is necessary, it needs to be distributed equally instead of from one category of people from a community to another category of people from another community.

The aforementioned has been repeated time and again by different individuals. It only implies that we need to be reminded of it time and again, which is okay. But, once we become aware of it again, we must stick with it as it goes on to define how mature we are as a country.

A56. Fear

The night is quiet,
The room: dark.
I’m sitting alone;
Lost in silence.

It seizes the opportunity;
Walks in without making a sound.
It sits right beside me,
Leaving me oblivious of its sheer presence.

It whispers, lightly;
Lighter than air!
As though the voice is coming from me.
As though, the voice is but my own.

It whispers,
“This is all that you shall ever be.
This is all that you can ever be.
This is all you will always be.”

It repeats itself.
Again. And again.
And again. And again.
And again.

It repeats itself so many times,
At last, I blurt out in silence,

“This is all that I shall ever be.
This is all that I can ever be.
This is all I will always be.”

A55. Leadership inspiring Leadership and Slavery inspiring Leadership

There are two kind of leaders:

                1. Leaders who inspire leadership; and

                2. Leaders who inspire slavery.

I have had the experience of working with leaders who inspire leadership and under leaders who inspire slavery. Please pay attention to the way I’ve used the words ‘with’ and ‘under’ in my last sentence as that speak volumes about the two leadership styles.

A slavery inspiring leadership creates a stress stimulating environment under which one seldom sees an opportunity to grow. Under such leadership, all employees focus their energy on pleasing their leader. A leadership inspiring leadership creates a creativity stimulating environment. Under such leadership, people can function as a community and focus their energy on actually doing their work the best way instead of spending their time to please their leader.

Leaders who inspire slavery are narcissist. Such leaders have a superiority-inferiority complexion and derive their self-worth from their possessions, social influence and how people treat them. Such leaders are also bullies. Do you know why a bully bullies? Bullies bully to feel powerful and in control. While most think that bullies bully because they have been bullied, everyone who gets bullied does not become a bully. Bullies do not process their emotions well. A slavery inspiring leader confuses employment with ownership. Under such leadership, employees never feel as though they’re a part of the organisation and the leader does his/her bit to ensure that his/her employees know that they’re just employees of the organisation. Such leaders are trainers.

Leaders who inspire leadership are empathetic and have a high self-esteem. Such leaders offer people space to grow and are unafraid of the competition that other’s growth would bring along. Such leaders are willing to delegate responsibilities as they are aware of the potential and limitations of themselves and others. Such leaders are inclusive and make everyone working with them feel just as much a part of the organisation as the leader himself/herself is. Such leaders are educators.

Leaders set the tone of and culture at their organisation. Often, the culture of an organisation is but a reflection of the values of its leader(s). However, it’s important to realise that a leader does not have to be in a leadership position to lead. Everyone in an organisation has the power to inspire change. Often, the ones who are worthy of a leadership position are those who can lead without a title. A true leader is aware of and exercises his/her ability to inspire change.

I’d love to know your opinion on this subject. So, if you’re reading this, do comment on the post.

A54. Burns in the Shadow of His Own Shine

Look, look, look,

They say,

.

He had set out to light the world,

And today, the mighty boy

Burns in the fire he once lighted;

He burns in the shadow of his own shine.

.

Look, look, look,

They say,

.

The mighty boy weeps like a helpless child,

But even his stream of tears do little to

Lighten the rage of his fire;

The fire himself is turning to ashes.

.

Look, look, look,

They say,

.

He’s a phoenix,

He shall rise from the ashes.

He shall burn bright again to light the world,

Like he does everytime he burns to ashes.

A53. What Are You Wearing?

Personality is the impression that you cast upon people of who you are: it’s the way you present yourself to the world. Character is who you are. Regardless of what you do, your character will always find a way to reflect itself in your personality.

Your clothes can reveal a lot about who you’re. Actually, every way in which you express yourself can say a lot about who you are. However, this post is about what your clothes can reveal about you. It’s interesting how, a study of fashion is also a study of human behaviour.

Have you come across people who wear everything of the same colour? Maybe it’s a man who wears a white shirt with a white trouser? Maybe even his shoes are white! Maybe, even his fashion accessories are white. I’ve a theory: maybe, this is a reflection of alignment in their thoughts and actions; in who they think they are and who they are. This can also be a reflection of the kind of thoughts and beliefs that they have; maybe, their thoughts and beliefs are of the same shade.

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Some people wear colours of similar shades: they pair light colours with light colours, bright colours with bright colours and dark colours with dark colours. I think that this reflects a similarity in their thoughts and beliefs. Perhaps, in their mind, several thoughts and beliefs of similar shades coexist. Also, this can be a reflection of similarity in who they think they are and who they are.

Have you seen anyone who likes to pair contrast colours? Maybe, the preference to pair contrast colours is a reflection of contrast thoughts and beliefs. Maybe, thoughts and beliefs of contrast nature coexist in their mind. Maybe, there’s a contrast in their thoughts and actions; in who they think they are and who they are.

A study of history of fashion can reveal a lot about the change that human behaviour has been going through. A few decades ago, pairing same colours was in fashion. A few years ago, pairing similar colours was in fashion. Lately, I’m seeing too many people pairing contrasting colours.

What do you think about what people wear reveals about them?

 

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Disclaimer: The above mentioned theories are just theories, not facts. This post is written with the intention of initiating a conversation on what people wear reveals about them. Thus, if you’re reading this, please care to comment.

A52. The Devil Smiled

The night is gloomy;

The streets are quiet.

As the wolves howl,

The moon hides behind the clouds.

 

Alone,

He stands in the darkness,

As though he’s the darkness.

There’s still light in his eyes,

As though there’s still hope for him.

 

A Demon appears behind him,

With a dagger in his hand,

Shouting,

“Kill! Kill! Kill!”

 

The Devil turns around;

There’s fire in his eyes.

He pulls the Demon by his collar, and,

With his wicked smile, whispers,

“Burn them all alive!”

 

 

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PS: I take no credit for the image featured in this post.

A51. Constitution of Aditya Solanki

Article 1

Treat everyone equally. Be humble, respectful and honest with and to everyone.

 

Article 2

Speak less, listen more.

 

Article 3

Live in the moment, be in the now, feel deeply and make mistakes.

 

Article 4

Be conscious of how you’re spending your time and money. Choose investment over expenditure.

 

Article 5

Learn daily, spend time with yourself, build good habits and be consistent.

 

Article 6

Sleep enough, just enough! Take care of your body and mind. Listen to your heart. If you cannot hear the voice of your heart, shut the noises around and in you.

 

Article 7

Shine and let your brightness give light to others. See the good in people and invest in them.

 

Article 8

Push yourself in situations which can make you feel your heart beating against your chest: situations in which you feel excited and afraid at the same time. Be uncomfortable.

 

Article 9

Believe in yourself. Be bold, kind and courageous.

 

Article 10

Say what you want to say in the simplest of words.

 

 

 


I’m currently reading Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In one of the chapters of the book, the writer advices the readers of the book to write a constitution for themselves: a set of principles and guidelines that one shall abide to. After writing a constitution for myself, I thought that it would be a good idea to declare it to the world so that, every time I violate any of the Articles of my Constitution, I can be made accountable for it.

 

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A50. Home Without a House

Scene 1:

The sky is getting dark and everyone is returning to their house.

He’s sitting on the edge of the road, facing me, oblivious or perhaps least bothered of the danger he’s in: a vehicle can run into him at any moment. He has a packet of food in front of him. I’m sitting outside a café, with a friend, having coffee and a conversation which seems to be shifting from one topic to another. As I see this man, in clothes which are torn and dirty, owning the space he’s sitting in, I wonder if he thinks that he’s sitting in the dining room of his house; he certainly is behaving that way.

He is having his meal with ease, taking his time, cherishing every bite of the food that he’s having. I do not see concern in his eyes for what people around him would think of him. He seems happy and content. He’s probably a homeless man. However, from where I can see him, he’s a man without a house but he has found a home in the space he’s sitting in.

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Scene 2:

I’m taking a walk, late in the evening, trying to organize the thoughts on my mind.

I see a group of children sitting on the pavement around a small screen. It appears to be a TV and the children are seeing a Bollywood movie on it. A woman is sitting just inches away from these children, preparing a meal for her family. She’s probably the mother of these children. It appears to be a scene of a regular household: the children appear to be in the living room of their house and the mother appears to be cooking in the kitchen.

As I walk a few steps, I see a group of women sitting on the pavement around another small screen. They seem to be watching a Bollywood movie or perhaps a TV soap. If we put bricks around them, this would probably look like a scene of a living room of a joint family or a neighborhood where everyone gathers at an individual’s house to watch TV and socialize.

Scene 3:

I’m in an auto rickshaw with a friend, waiting for the signal to go green, heading towards the railway station to board a train.

As I look out of the auto rickshaw, I see a woman lifting her child from a cradle. She’s on the pavement and the cradle is but a piece of cloth tied to the railing on the pavement. I see two kids running around the woman, wanting to play with the baby. As they see that their mother is busy with the baby, they climb onto the railing and into the cradle to swing on it.

They appear to be a happy family, engaged in the regular affairs of their day, oblivious of the onlookers. If a house does not require bricks and walls then this seems to be a scene of a family in their living room or bedroom. From where I can see, this is a family without a house but they seem to have found a home on the pavement.

 

Every time I play these scenes in my head, I can see a thick line between the word house and home. I’m fascinated by how these people have been able to create a home without having the luxury of a house. While house is materialistic, home is a feeling. One can be in a house and yet, not feel at home. One can be without a house and yet, feel at home. One can feel at home with a certain person or group of people. One can feel at home even when he/she is without a house and alone.

The people who live on the roads and sleep on the footpath are referred to as homeless, however, when I think of these people that I mentioned in the three scenes above, I wonder what I should refer to them as: homeless or houseless?

 

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FYI: I take no credit for the picture in this blog post. I found the picture on the internet and I chose to use it to help the readers of this blog relate to the content of the post.

A49. Sugar Leads to Agreement and Consent

I’ve been thinking about whether sugar can influence the probability of giving consent or agreement. I believe that sugar can increase the chances of giving consent or agreement. It’s highly probable! However, it still is a working theory and I’ll have to conduct a few experiments to prove it.

This question of whether sugar can influence the probability of giving consent or agreement first popped up in my mind when I was tossing and turning in my bed in the middle of the night of January 29. I immediately got out of bed to note down the question in a journal that I usually keep beside my bed. The word ‘usually’ is rather misleading; I’ve recently started keeping a journal beside my bed to note down any ideas that would pop up in my mind when I’d be tossing and turning in my bed in the middle of the night. Anyway, the answer to this question came to me when I was taking a shower on the afternoon of January 30. The answer was dopamine and its effect on our thinking process.

I think that the release of dopamine on the intake of sugar makes the System 2 of our mind take a backseat. System 2 is a term used by Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow to refer to a system that’s responsible for the thinking process of our mind that’s slow but rational. System 2 is a lazy critic.

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I’ll have to further study the impact of dopamine on the thinking process of the human mind to understand if it actually influences the probability of giving consent or agreement. If I ever meet you in person, please do not be surprised if I offer you sweets when we have an argument.

Perhaps, you can take sweets with you to board meetings or the next time you want to have a conversation with your boss for a raise in your salary? FYI: I’m proposing that sugar increases the probability of agreement or consent. I hope that you understand the difference between what’s probable and what’s certain. In other words, sugar does not guarantee agreement or consent.

 

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A48. The Actual Definition of Introvert & Extrovert.

Our society is coming up with so many labels lately that it’s become difficult to keep up with them. As a result, we often confuse one label with another and sometimes, we mix the definitions of two or more labels. Sometimes, when we’re been labelled as a certain type, we limit our behaviour to that type and intentionally or unintentionally fit ourselves into the general image of that type. Also, Stereotypes often become identities of a group. Now, though stereotypes are often true, they’re not always true.

Introvert and extrovert are two of the most misunderstood labels. The stereotypical image of an introvert and an extrovert have become their identity and as a result, these stereotypical images have ended up becoming definitions of these terms.

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An introvert is considered to be a person who’s shy and is not really good at small talks. Introverts are considered to be avid readers and they’re either considered to be geeks or individuals who are good at arts. Introverts are expected to be in a library or book stores or in the corner of a café. At a social gathering, an introvert is assumed to be where they’d get little or no attention.

An extrovert is considered to be confident and great at small talks. Extroverts are considered to be energetic and adventurous. Many people think that extroverts love attention. Some think that extroverts are jack of all trades, master of none. Extroverts are expected to be at social events/gatherings, pubs, and places full of people. At a social gathering, an extrovert is expected to be where he/she would get as much attention as he/she possibly could get.

Let’s keep the stereotypical images of introverts and extroverts aside for a while. An introvert likes to spend time with himself/herself; he/she prefers being alone over spending time with others. An extrovert likes to spend time with people; he/she prefers spending time with people over being alone. Everything other than this that you know about introverts and extroverts should either be forgotten or be detached from the definition of these two terms. Introverts can be confident and extroverts can be shy. An introvert can be good at small talks and an extrovert may like to read.

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Now, this blog post is not merely about the actual meaning of the words introvert and extrovert. Like I said in the first paragraph of this blog post, “Sometimes, when we’re been labelled as a certain type, we limit our behaviour to that type and intentionally or unintentionally fit ourselves into the general image of that type.” I do not like to label myself as an introvert or an extrovert. I can be either of them but I’m going to be neither of the two forever. These labels may define me in a moment but they’re not going to be my permanent characteristics. Dare you call me an ambivert!

An extrovert would sometime like to be alone and spend time with himself/herself to get to know himself/herself. An introvert would have times when he/she would like being in the company of other people. Let’s not treat these labels as definite characteristics.

We humans have started putting ourselves in boxes to better understand ourselves and each other; that’s what we always do to make things comprehensible. But in the attempt of doing that, we’re limiting ourselves to certain characteristics. We’re not one thing; we’re numerous things. We’re numerous things, sometimes all at once and sometimes one thing at a time. We may be a particular label for once and we may be a particular label over and over again. What am I trying to say? Okay, let me put this in a nutshell: We’re limitless; we can be whoever we want to be.

 

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