Category Archives: Cause & Effect

Pick one. Anyone.

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There is always a choice.. I have said it before but the more I see short-sighted, blinders-on people, the more I realise people do not realise what choice is. There is always a choice. You may not like or like making it but you have made a choice. Choose not to be blind about it. Choose not be defensive about it. Choose not to resent others for it. It is not the other person’s fault and if you blame it on the other person (parent, spouse, stranger) you are doing so because you do not realise that you alone are responsible for what you do..errr choose.

More money versus less money

Promotion versus responsibility

Paying rent in a city versus buying your own house out of town

Choosing to partner’s friends and parents over yours

Following your dream versus following your duties

Family versus friends

Self employment versus a job

Choosing to grow versus not realising when you need to make that choice

It is always a choice.

The unfairness of the advantage

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I know for most of the people in the not northern part of India, the Gujjar agitation means nothing. Just another group fighting for another cause. Especially because it will not really affect you and me, and our living. Or so we think. The current agitation is because the Rajasthan High Court has put a stay on a reservation granted to them about 3-4 years ago, as a part of caste politics. It has asked for quantifiable proof that it is a ‘backward community’. Indeed, if we are getting technical, I want to know what is a backward community and how can I become a part of it.

A few years ago when the Gujjar agitation has started and they were burning down buses in Delhi, it was affecting in my life. And, at that point, someone had taken the pains to explain to me what they were demanding. The community, based in Rajasthan, I understand was demanding a 1% blanket reservation in all jobs, college seats and wherever else reservations were used. This was over and above the already 50% of reservations we already have for all kinds of backward communities in India. That is what the court stayed.

The person explaining the fight to me also found it necessary to explain that Gujjars were a rich community, at least in the cities. A lot of the law enforcement in Delhi and UP consist of the Gujjar community. So money certainly was not a requirement. Being categorised backward was perhaps.

That got me thinking. About really affluent Dalits, who are well educated and make 6 and 7 figure salaries and whose parents have worked in cushy government jobs (maybe due to the reservation, I do not know)… do their children still need reservation? And if they are benefiting from the reservations, why aren’t the deserving Dalits, back in villages benefiting? And if these affluent city folks are successful and educated, why this crutch of a certificate?

The Gujjars you see lying across the tracks protesting the stay- are they the ones to benefit if the reservation is back on track? Or will all the cops of Delhi stand to gain? Making it only a victory in principle for people who perhaps actually need the reservation.

Isn’t that what we hoped education would do? Stop them feeling the need for an edge over the disadvantage? Give the equal platform and bring them to par? But now it seems to succeed you need to be of a backward caste. That’s an advantage the common man won’t give away for the money and success of it while the politician will not want to take away, lest he lose his vote.

And at the end of it all, two-three generations after Independence, there are still huge cities and towns of people who do not get to use the advantage they have had while the so-called meritorious or earlier know as upper caste, today look for ways to fake a ‘backward caste’ certificate.

Yes, of course, I am a Brahmin and wouldn’t be complaining about the advantage if I had it (I think). But my being a brahmin is just because my father was so why should that decide who or what I am and what opportunities I am entitled to? If I can prove my worth, I should be eligible. So what if I am Dalit or a Gujjar? You have the marks/ abilities/ qualities, you get the job, seat etc. But today good marks or skills make me eligible for half the available opportunities, all because of my surname. But I guess that is the argument that was used for reservations in the first place.

and Humpty Dumpty came falling down..

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A software professional, at a social gathering, recently pronounced a dire warning for the Indian It industry. Albeit he was a few pegs down and I didn’t know him very well but what he said held some merit. He gave the industry only 10 more years thanks to ever-present need of everyone to become a boss.

Forget the fact that being boss should not mean forgetting your core competency. He was taking about coding and the lack of it and bloated middles (much like us Indians) and the need for everyone to be the boss. He mentioned a big company in particular, which every year, found new posts and departments to promote its middle management to. It was slowly leading to fewer and fewer people ‘coding’ or writing software (is how I understand it). Coding has been, incidentally, the Indian IT industry’s claim to fame.

This entire disucssion started with project managers and why were they so inept. Typically in a group of 8-10 project managers, at least 6 would be under-performing (and yes I remember Pareto’s rule). But I cannot explain how difficult it becomes when PMs make a hash of things.. it’s a mess worthy of any cleaning liquid worth its brand name. That’s how he and I got talking. Apparently PMs mismanage and under-perform everywhere. Following the trails of conversation, we got to a point where he mentioned the aformentioned company. How it has so many bosses now and fewer and fewer workers. “Top heavy” became his favourite phrase.

Is that happening to other companies too? I’ve experienced it in the media industry. Seniors become expensive and stay put (as they are unable to find jobs to hop), creating and engineering new positions (and rarely any new value) But media is a diffierent bargain… the industry rarely mentors or encourages juniors. It’s a raging turf war so I can understand. But IT companies usually have a very complicated procedure of rating, appraisals, discussions and ratification. At the end of it, what happens usually is, more queen bees are created and some more worker bees quit. In an industry supposedly driven by the people, whose talent runs the company, they are the last asset to be cared for.

Boggles my mind…

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Men are known to use many a uncharitable term for women who don’t put out (I used to think): slut, loose, easy, cock-tease and many such familiar and insulting names.. and I always assumed it was a man who didn’t get his way that elicited such a  response. After all a man wants only one thing we assume and which woman always gives it to him?

But in the last few years I’ve met women who have forced me change this opinion. This is not to completely absolve the man of blame but I realised women can also be really cruel. Maybe unintentionally but like the saying (in all languages am sure), taali eka haathanay wajat nahin or there isn’t a clap with one hand, there is some cause for blame.

In the few people I know and the many that I observe, I’ve come to realise that to not give a guy what he wants, when he wants it (and here I don’t only mean sex) is considered good and acceptable behaviour. To be petulant and demanding, and by turns, sulky is considered normal behaviour for girls.

I encountered this attitude ages ago and thought okay,  so some women are like this and it works for them. Then my friends started talking about wars and battles in the same sentence as men and to give them the benefit of the doubt, I thought ok so some relationships cause more angst than others and some women are more adept to changing for their man..

All this is still subjective and person dependent I realise but I have begun spotting this teasing kind very often. The (child-)woman who employs the ‘come-hither’ looks and reels the men in, only to flick them off, as casually as she would flick an insect off. It’s fascinating to watch, almost like an out-of-body experience. Her eyes, her glances, her body language, the interest flickering in the man’s body language, his making of the move and then alas, he being shunned.

I don’t understand this behaviour. You act coy, play the helpless hapless female and I get all that. All women employ this technique, intentionally or unintentionally. And when you get his attention, you don’t carry it through!? And no this isn’t about sex. I mean if you hooked him, spend some time, talk to him, buy your own drink or let him buy you one and see if he is worth investing time in. He is also doing the same, after all.

But why this pull and shove (to mix my metaphors?). And no it is not flirting. Flirting is fun, snappy and has a rush and sends you back grinning, with blood rushing and perhaps a brand-new crush. I’ve seen this behaviour in all kinds of different settings – in cafes, at work, in book stores, in buses, on beaches, in restaurants, at bars. Some with people I know and some with strangers.

Talking to men I know I realised men are not surprised at this behaviour. “But all women do this!,” one said. Really! How come I missed this behaviour all these years …is what I was thinking. Nobody taught me how to flirt or deal with men or how to keep them interested. No rule book or no gaggle of girl friends.  I can’t get past the irritation. How can women do this? It is teasing. It is implying something and not delivering.

During my stint in Delhi I was always encouraged to seek male company so that I could be picked up and dropped off but I never saw the use. I had my own car and could drive it on my own. (I sometimes needed men to park, albeit.) Though some foolhardy incidents come to mind, I managed fine on my own. If I sought the company of men, it wasn’t to accompany me home. It’s not whether I can or can’t or could or couldn’t do. It’s just that. If I couldn’t reach home on my own, I didn’t go or I stayed over. No tantalising or teasing involved.

Do what you have to. Why waste time? Are you trying to prove you are attractive? Can attract attention? But it isn’t it just as important to sustain that attention? Am told the ‘come-hither-and-I-will-kick-you’ technique is a never-fail one. Pretend you are interested, send him back frustrated and keep doing this for a few months and if you are lucky, you snag the bastard. Poor guy, does he stand a chance?

This seems to be largely the spectrum these days. Women who get post-graduate degress, work in big offices, bring home fat pay checks and are used to making informed decisions, one hopes. These are women who are implicityly told to keep teasing else you will be called those famous names. Does anyone else see a vicious cycle?

Despite the fact that there are just as many educated, emancipated women out there who can use words for what they actually mean. These women won’t understand this behaviour. I fall in this spectrum and while I can live with the fact that such “other” women exist, I can’t deal with the fact that some of the women I know personally, follow this code. Unknowingly, it seems.

It’s not always easy to ask a guy out but it should be easy to go out with a guy once he’s asked you out, especially since you seemed to hankering after that.. or weren’t you? It leads me to a bigger question.. guys may be complicated but by god, no one can hold a candle to women!