Category Archives: Cause & Effect

Repetition is the way to go.

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Like everything, the Internet is also full of many of many strong opinions. I used to always wonder why does one have to hammer home a point? And here I do not only mean the internet. If I have an opinion and I express it and you and I debate on it (whatever the result), the learnings stay with you and me (expectedly), forming our opinions in the future. No?

Little did I know.

For every opinion or advice that clashes against a deeply held belief (otherwise known as conditioning), expressing (and convincing) once is never enough. It is (and will be) a life long battle where at every opportunity you get and every instance you can, you will ensure that you undo what has taken so many years to form. One line of reason is never enough. It may be for you but when you fight conditioning, repeated reasoning and constant back and forth, where you repeatedly prove you point, only to accept that again in the near future you will have to do that same, is normal.

I feel a familiar rise of ‘oh no here we go again’ every time I hear some trademarked sentences.  I brace myself to use the same sentences and arguments every time, no matter if the people have heard it before. Because sometimes repetition means it will stick. Repetition means some of all the people present will think about what you said. Some may wonder why does she keep saying the same things over and over again. Some may agree and try and change their surroundings. You never know where it makes a difference.

That is why I like this blog so much. She (for most issues) is very clear and constantly reiterates what she thinks, linking and cross linking, patiently explaining her point of view, without grudging repetition and saying the same things over and over again. I used to wonder why. Sometimes when you agree with a certain point of view, you tend to become dismissive of people who aren’t on the same page as you. More so on the internet because it is a relatively one-sided medium. Having come from different groups in my near past who say similar things over and over again and me having to repeat things over and over again has made me appreciate her tenacity much more. And the tenacity of a lot of other friends who knew what they were doing when they were younger and still knew what it was like to fight for a cause.

I was once told to show patience if I wanted to change mindsets and I think I understand that implication today. I may not like it but it could eventually lead to some change. Perhaps that is what it means to give your life for a cause.

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.