Sunday, December 23, 2007

THE PILLS OF FREEDOM

I have been wondering about the life I am going through. Infact, I wonder a lot on it. Not that I don’t know about “doing more than dreaming” and all those “tips to being successful” that are commonly talked of, for people like me, but I seriously am unable to stop myself from wondering. It seems to me as if I was born to wonder. And wonder about nothing but myself and the things around me. The whole thing then upsets me. Sometimes on my own state and sometimes on the things around. Nothing is doing good, it seems, to anything, and that depresses me, to wonder again, that I am also the same. Doing nothing good.

They say each one of us carry a quality, a strength in themselves. I have started disbelieving this lately. Infact, I have been thinking that only a handful have something differently qualitative. Rest others, and that includes me too, have more things in common than different. Everyone is the same, influenced by the same environment over the years, speaking the same language, laughing on the same things, crying on the same stories and even dreaming about the same things.

Even all these years of wondering has not been able to burn the fire inside me. Nor has it completely extinguished it. Its like a flicker that seems to burn or cool down anytime. You never know that the matchstick that you are going to lit would really burn or extinguish with a hissing sound and a weak flicker. Optimistically, I want this sputter to burn, and I think, only my thoughts have kept it alive. Actions would, may be, turn it into fire. Except for the fact that I never act. And amusingly I know the reason too. It’s the fear. The fear of keeping every connected thing aside and let myself go off. Breaking free is not that easy after all. There are many lives that are affected by one decision. Not exactly many, but at least my family’s. But isn’t that putting a blame on my family. Yes it is. But I don’t find my family to be responsible of me not doing what I want to do? Its my thoughts that keep me under the turmoil. Actually, it happens when you get mature enough than your age. I found myself getting matured when most kids my age were involved in all that funny stuff. I was able to understand responsibilities. But even that did no good to me. Because I never had taken any responsibility as such. Maybe because I wanted to break free and the ties bound me. With two minds, you can just never achieve anything. There has to be a uniformity to achieve your goal, a single-mindedness.

I hired my indecisiveness from my family. Its congenital. But I am trying to overcome it. At least in most insignificant matters that pop-up in our daily lives like the way ad windows pop-up when you browse a music website.

And then this confusion of breaking free and looking at the world in a bigger perspective, indulging yourself into the intricacies of it and trying endlessly to understand its complexities makes every other thing in my life insignificant, too small, which would otherwise have been pretty important to deal with. But considering them insignificant doesn’t really mean that I have been able to handle all those matters very expertly. No. They just loose significance and it really doesn’t matter what the result be.

Is that a failure? Maybe, I am failing my life’s test. Bloody tests. Why has life got to be so tough? Well, it really isn’t tough for me in the physical sense. I have led a very relaxed life. But mentally, my thoughts never leave me. They keep torturing me, nourishing my brains with all kind of things. Act as a fertiliser in a crop where there are weeds too. Only I am unable to differentiate between the weeds and the crop.

I have become a slave of my thoughts. The more I think, the more I tend to indulge and then feel upset. This depression, somehow, seems to act as a dope, powerful than ether. Confuses me and renders me indecisive about what I really want from the world. Want? I even started thinking of giving something to the world and ironically I couldn’t come up with something really important, something that would make a difference, a real addition in the world’s treasure. Cant give anything. Couldn’t take something. Rotten hell. I am upset again.

Such depression seems to be an addiction and sometimes I decide to finish off with whatever stupid I am doing so that I could relax and think. Sometimes I even feel that its been a long time I thought. Maybe I should think.

And then I start thinking of all those people who interact with me, the same old chores. Daily waking up, eating, the office hours, the same old friends. Can it get more depressing? Of course it can and I am aware of all the bad things that could have happened to me if not these. And than I am also aware of all the good things that I want to die for.

And then there are things that I selflessly wish to do, just because I think I would love doing them. Like reaching a secluded place and let myself flow in the air. Not the body, but the soul (if its really there). For me, my eyes want to see the far horizon and my mind wants to float, trying to reach that horizon, grasping everything that comes in its way. Not the man-made artificiality. But the natural - like an insect, a mound of sand, a bird on the tree, a snake, the waves of the ocean, the distant mountain, a log floating, the pebbles, the rain…. Coming back after all the catch, I shall offer my prayer and start getting doped with my thoughts of all the beautiful seizures I made. And then I shall let all of them go through my mind. It would be beautiful. And than thank God for all the beautiful things he made. The reflection would make every human activity that we are a part of, immensely minute. The world is so huge. There is so much to see. Just that we have been sentenced to bear the things-that-we-do around us. As if we committed a sin someday. We cannot escape this now. But I have a choice to run. Only to suffer later, of being selfish of all the things and leaving my family behind. Being irresponsible and cruel. No I cannot even run or I would not be able to cherish even the thoughts that I am blessed with.

I feel like finding faces in my thoughts. Just like, as a child, I tried to find faces in the clouds, and consider them as angels and demons having a mouth-fight which would later develop into a battle, not seen by the human eyes. The faces of my thoughts would get into a similar battle, as they always do, when I have to make a decision and then the victorious face would dictate its judgement for me, on which is based my decision. One day, one such face would eat away all other faces and give me the direction, a way to get myself released of all boundations and open the huge iron gate that jails me right now. The only way to weaken that gate is to stop getting tied (that’s what a face just dictated me).

I don’t know. May be I am down with some kind of fever. An infection. I know the symptoms. I have diagnosed them. Only a Doctor is needed who has these pills with unnatural therapeutic powers to cure me.

Hmff…Time to take a dope.

To think.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

HIPs: Highly Intellectual Persons


Lately, my conscious mind realised that certain things tend to arouse instant curiosity when heard for the first time. Generally, this would depend from person to person and something for which I might instantly get curious, someone else may not. This is, somehow, I think is a measure of success for that particular thing. I would definitely count its success by the time it takes to arouse the curiosity in a person. The more a person gets curious, the more it has succeeded in marking its impression on the mind and thus have very successfully justified, or better, enlighten its own existence.

Once such thing that successfully marked its magic on me very freshly was the word ‘Mensa’. The moment I heard the word, I knew that I want to know more about it. It was the courtesy of my friend with whom I engage myself in long chats over normally immaterial things for others. Not because we are from the intellectual clan but because we want to be.

Going back, however, to Mensa. I could instantly feel that Mensa must be something I am very interested to know and when my friend gave a brief, raw definition of it, I knew that my appetite was not satiated. However, I should credit points to my friend on always being very stylish while explaining about previously unknown subjects and thus creating a curiosity to the listener. This, I would say, is his second nature.

On his words, I came to know that Mensa is a community that exists in this world, of people, who are of the highest IQs, essentially the masterminds alive. On a scale of 150 measurable IQ points, Mensans score more than 130. The first thing I had to do was test myself and unexpectedly hope that I am a Mensan too and that this would only be clear when I would surprise my own self by taking an exemplary test that is thankfully available on the internet. Not to my surprise, I scored 110 and was on a threshold of the population of High IQ achievers. Thank God, I could face myself in the mirror.

The time comes when I have to know more about Mensa and know more about the existence of such people. Here is something I found and thought of sharing with all of you.

An idea of bringing intelligent people together for mutual interest and benefit got developed in the minds of Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Dr. Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer in Oxford, England in 1946. Today, Mensa is a worldwide organization with over 100,000 members in more than 100 countries.

Mensa (IPA: /ˈmɛnsə/; /ˈmeːnsa/ in Latin) means table in Latin as is symbolized in the organization's logo and based on this pretty name, it evolved as a round-table society wherein no individual member has preference. The society is non-profit, non-partial, and non-racial. It has no political, religious or ideological affiliations. The society is made up of national, regional and local groups within those countries and welcomes all people, regardless of background, whose IQs meet the criteria, with the objective of members enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.

Mensa is the best-known high-IQ society in the world. The organization restricts its membership to people with high testable IQs. Specifically, potential members must score within the top 2% (above the 98th percentile) of any approved standardized intelligence test such as the Stanford-Binet. Because different tests are scaled differently, it is not meaningful to compare raw scores between tests, only percentiles. For example, the minimum accepted score on the Stanford-Binet is 132, while for the Cattell it is 148. Mensa is formally composed of national groups and the umbrella organization Mensa International.

Mensa's goals
Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research in the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.

At Mensa's 50th Anniversary, Dr. Ware, one of the founders, addressed Mensans by stating that he hoped that “Mensa will have a role in society when it gets through the ages of infancy and adolescence.” He also said, “I do get disappointed that so many members spend so much time solving puzzles,” expressing his desire for Mensans instead to be solving some of the world's problems.

A very interesting fact:
All national and local Mensa groups welcome children; some offer activities, resources and newsletters specifically geared toward gifted children and their parents. American Mensa, for instance, has 1300 child members, ranging in age from 3 to 18. The youngest people who have joined the organisation were both aged 2 years and nine months; the first was Ben Woods in the 1990s, the second was Georgia Brown from Aldershot, Great Britain in 2007. She was six days older than Ben Woods was when he joined Mensa. Isn’t that great?
At the other extreme the oldest member of American Mensa is listed as 102. So cute :)


Mensa is a remarkably diverse organization. While some Mensans noted here are well known, many others lead interesting lives out of the public eye.

Geena Davis: Academy-award winning actress, who has starred in The Long Kiss Goodnight, A League of Their Own, Thelma and Louise and Hero.

Donald Petersen: A former chairman of Ford Motor Company. While at Ford, Petersen was involved in the development of two of Ford's most successful cars--the Mustang and the Maverick.

Marilyn Vos Savant: Listed in the Guinness Hall of Fame for having the world's highest recorded IQ (228). Vos Savant writes "Ask Marilyn!", a weekly column in Parade magazine.

Bobby Czyz: A former two-time World Boxing Association (WBA) Cruiserweight Champion. Czyz now commentates on many nationally-broadcasted fights.

Dr. Julie Peterson: A former Playboy "Playmate," Peterson is a graduate of Life School of Chiropractic.

Alan Rachins: Portrays Dharma's father, Larry, on the comedy series, "Dharma & Greg." Rachins, who left the Wharton School of Finance to pursue an acting career, also portrayed Douglas Brachman on the hit TV series, "L.A. Law."

Adrian Cronauer: Radio personality, lawyer and subject for the movie "Good Morning Vietnam."

Terance Black: Screenwriter of HBO's "Tales from the Crypt", syndicated series "Dark Justice" and the feature film Dead Heat.

Barry Nolan: Co-anchor of TV's syndicated tabloid program "Hard Copy."

Deborah Yates: Member of the world-famous Radio City Rockettes.

Bob Speca, Jr: Professional domino toppler. Speca travels internationally doing domino shows and has appeared on TV programs and commercials.

John N. Moore: University of Virginia law professor who specializes in international law. Moore was hired by the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait to help the emirate recover damages inflicted during the August 2, 1990 invasion.

Jean Auel: Best-selling author of "Clan of the Cave Bear," "Valley of Horses," and "Plains of Passage."

Linda Warwick: Creator and producer of the billboard mega-hit childrens' videos, "Babymugs!," and the "Toddler TOGS" series--the fantasy video for highly creative tots.

Maurice Kanbar: Inventor and owner of Skyy Vodka.

Henry Milligan: A boxer and scholar, Milligan was the 1983 National Amateur Heavyweight champion.

Patricia P. Jennings: Pianist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She is the symphony's first black member and has performed internationally.

Richard Lederer: A master of the "pun." Lederer has written dozens of books on word play and is a frequent guest on National Public Radio.

Judge Ellen Morphonios: Nicknamed "Maximum Morphonios" for her strict rulings in Florida. Morphonios is a former model and beauty queen who passed a Florida exam that allowed her to enter law school without an undergraduate degree.

Richard Bolles: Author of "What Color is Your Parachute?" which at one point had been on The New York Times Best-seller List for 228 weeks.

Velma Jeremiah: A retired attorney who graduated fourth in her law school class at the age of 47. She is a former chairwoman of Mensa International.

Dr. Abbie F. Salny: Author of the Mensa "Quiz-a-Day" books and calendars. Dr. Salny is a retired college professor and expert in intelligence who has served as Mensa's supervising psychologist.

Wondering, if you too are a Mensa?
Take an exemplary Mensa test (http://www.iqtest.dk)and bring out what’s inside you. Maybe you would surprise yourself!

An info for delhiites: Mensa test is being held on the 13th October this year.
Wait till I know the venue :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Medical Tourism: The Latest Buzz


Very recently I came to know about a pretty old style travel gaining popularity these days. Not that travel for Medical Purposes have been unknown, but the brand-sensitivity of today’s world has endorsed it with “Medical Tourism”.

Fun, frolic, adventure, exploration, hills, lakes, forests, landscapes, valleys are the normal reflex ideas as the term “Tourism” touches your tympanum. But a Patient being classified as a Tourist is something that leaves an immediate pitiful smile on my face. Probably this is something of a black comedy that the world is ready to sensibly adopt for a classification in their economic books and affix further data to commerce.

My ethical sense strongly condemns.
A patient who might just be holding that imperceptibly weak thread of life has to choose from a list of ‘Medical Packages’ that he is mentally doubtful of (at least while he is a patient) and give tour operators the benefit of the situation he is in. Or possibly the family might choose on behalf of the patient, who are just more concerned of the cure rather than the luxuries attached. Does this justify the operators’ role of slowly rubbing his scalpel onto the patient’s wallet?
Of course it does! The breadbasket is very demanding indeed :)

More so, the Doctors find their real fiscal value in such an environment and could easily succumb to their wealth conscious grey cells. Thus, unlike the era-long-forgotten, the doctors have grown a ‘financial-viability-testing’ eye that measures the cases (now projects), above a comfort line. The financial feasibility has to be determined and negotiations are not completely ignored.

But is it really that dark or has it done more good than harm.
The economic sense,however, sings a different song altogether. It seems to be a win-win situation for both the patients and the operators. The patients are now aware of cheaper medical packages and can easily choose the one matching to their budget and liking. Just as an instance, a heart valve surgery that could cost around $250000 in US now can be performed in India at a mere $16000!! A patient buying once may then sit back and relax and so can his attendants as the purchase eases them of their run on every minute for every little requirement. The package is complete in that it offers you all that is required in a well determined clean packet with all required enclosures.
The unsatisfied patients have more options at hand and can easily read reviews upon a medical help and make decisions accordingly.

The brand building, thereby, essentially helps the patient and opens up their telescopic window which is a product of the promotions done for the brand. The attracting destination may start counting the foreign currency which is always sought for and give a positive thrust on the Balance of Payments.

Also, a new community of Medical Tour Operators is born and we have more specialized areas and increased employment opportunities.

Whether branding Medicine in such a way is fine or not, is a difficult to say. But it is already here and India bears a huge potential to en-cash. Err…...En-cash or Aid?

On second thoughts, travel for leisure will never lose popularity and as the purchasing power of people increase in the developing countries with growing economies, travelers are spending more on holiday packages. The most attractive destination for Indians and foreigners who come to India is still Goa. Hotels have been on the rise in Goa and no matter how many room nights are available, the supply is always far behind the demand. The carrying capacity of Goa has crossed its threshold and soon there will come a time when Goa wouldnt be an attractive destination anymore. Government needs to pay attention to maintain the aesthetics of this fabulous destination.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

O WHAT A LOVE!!


Thou at the stars dost gaze, who art my star--O would that I were
Heaven, to gaze on thee, ever with thousands of eyes."

Just a feeling......
Such, that you try penning down a bit and the dictionary seems not enough. Rendered unable, feel paralysed, too small to write but cannot come out of the beautiful feeling - enjoying, relishing, thinking & admiring more as you go down deeper into it when ultimately you find yourself engulfed in the sphere of love. The more you dig the more you find there is, to explore. And yet, while you hate to get disturbed in the most loving exercise, you have no idea what and how it was all about.

Thousands and millions of Poets, writers, psychologists, philosophers, thinkers, sages, clergy and even the holy books have written, tried, explored or perceived about love. Thousand brains, thousand views. The journey through time had added more to the definition of love, making it simple to understand. Or appending to the intricacies?
“an intense feeling of deep affection / a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone / a great interest and pleasure in something” is what our Compact Oxford English Online Dictionary has to say about Love (http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/love?view=uk). So much for a simple feeling!!!

Adding to the minutiae have been the methodical, meticulous research work that has been carried down the ages. Its puzzling, as to why one does not accept the term in its simplicity. A lot been said and heard. We, today, intend to think it all philosophically and thereby completely ignoring the way it could be expressed simply. Anything that’s expressed simply ‘cannot be Love’ is, what is, tacitly believed.

Who could have guessed that Plato, who denounced love would one day inscribe the above epigram. Was this his love towards ‘thinking’ or towards his friend he wrote it for? To underline the magnitude of love, we always try to find out new ways where we can express it, like the great Philosopher used his thoughts to write the best lyrics ever in Greece. All kinds of similes and metaphors being used because a mere ‘I love you’ is too old-fashioned to express the fondness. I did a kind of small survey with my colleagues of What do they think love is? And, not surprisingly, I got all expected answers- from words like Commitment, Trust, Sharing, Winning, Frienship, most beautiful feeling to words like Sexual satisfaction, Sexual urge etc I got all kind of answers. Then there were guys who could not answer, simply because, they have no idea what the word might mean. They do not want to speak because its not that Simple. Its something, that is out of reach, an area for philosophers, thinkers and writers. And this is the irony. While the first set of people tried to interpret deeply, the latter fear to say anything just in case they cause mis-respect to Love. The whole process, however, for some unknown reason, does not let us to think it in the most simple terms. Why can the word be not taken direcltly from our dear Oxford Dictionary as every other word? Why is it so that we tend to think about it deeply? Even while I write this I am thinking deeply, infact trying hard, however, probably, I am able to just float on the surface. Why is it that the words like ‘eternity’, ‘perpetuity’, ‘purity’, ‘faith’, ‘trust’, ‘commitment’, et al form a web around Love? There is always a mention of eternal love. Why?

With zillions of opinions that the eminent pioneers have given till date, it compels one to think that isn’t it that Love is a personal feeling. And there is no-one spared from it in his / her lifetime. With everyone having his / her share to add something to the view.

All swimmers do not have the same opinion about the pool. Nevertheless, it’s the same water but each one of them taste it differently. Some might like to swim the whole of life while some may just swim for a few hours to chill out. Yes, it’s the same way.

Think simply and you will fall in love with love (not to mention the one whom you do!!)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Surrendering to your Employers


Recently I had the chance to go through Patrick Barnard's article "Finding out the Hard Way" on Hawaiian Airlines facing a tough time after opening up their Call Center in Philippines. (http://blog.tmcnet.com/makingcontact/finding-out-the-hard-way.asp)
The problem arises, as he rightly pointed out, when the outsourcers don't spend enough time training their agents. I have been an agent for Travelport's Cheaptickets call center operations based in India and found it out myself when I was trained. Not more than 3 out of the total batch of 20 were well abreast with the process when they hit the floor (higher attrition might be one of the cause but then they do nothing to retain people!!). And this was known to the trainers and the managers but because the management cannot wait to prove their effectiveness to their clients, they deliberately push them to work even before they are ready. Further, no requests are entertained for a re-training as that would mean 'loss of time and energy'.

Such approach ultimately displease the clients and the customers equally and the outsourcer and the outsourced together have to bear the outcome. The working environment, too, is not amicable but extra burdens (that are really not needed) are put on the agents pushing them to work (irrespective of whether they like it or not). Also, no requests are entertained even if the agent wishes to switch his process where he thinks he can do better as that would again mean a re-training and a search for his substitution! Even the BPO aims at cutting their costs and sometimes even create a hostile environment for the employees to leave as they know that more people can be hired to work on a lesser salary. Thus, just adding to more attrition.

Two reasons can be attributed for a person to join a Call center job, one, they are easily available and are always on the look-out for the people and secondly, they pay well. But money is not just everything and many of us when realize it, we switch jobs just to escape from the harsh fact. I would not comment on any other Call Center as I had an experience (which was clearly not pleasant enough) with travelport only, from whereon I decided to give up on call centers.
It goes without saying that you should always respect your employees and value their input. And a company's growth is undoubtedly driven by its employees. No flexibility, meek incentive plans, no appreciation and recognition clearly has posted Travelport as an uncompetitive entity in the industry. What with so many top-executives from top Business Schools benching the management.

The client would be pleased only when it finds that its customers are pleased by the services otherwise time is not far when all the Call Centers would be returning back home. With protests in the home countries now, this might only expedite it.