Passing Out.

In a recent exchange of messages in our Senior Citizens group, two long lost classmates from our National Defence Academy tried to place each other by asking when each had passed out. They obviously meant this kind of passing out where the ritual of throwing a cadet is normal. This is from one of our Officers’ Training Academies.

It is also quite common to ask fellow alumni in our Business School Alumni meeting to ask each other as to when one passed out.

If I am around and I get a word in, I inevitably ask “how and when did you revive?”

For me, this is what is meant by passing out:
My mind keeps asking why people cannot use the word graduating instead of passing out. I think that it is more appropriate. What do you, my dear reader, think?

Unplugged.

This topic was very likely to have been chosen after reading this WhatsApp forward.
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My tryst with unplugging started in the good old days of car batteries overcharging and being advised to unplug the battery from the alternator. I did not connect to the modern usage of the term as defined below.

This is a different ballgame altogether and something that needs a different approach to one’s daily life without any electronic gadgets. Can you imagine such living?

I have a lot of experience unplugging during the pre mobile phone phenomenon.  I used to regularly attend ten day meditation camps where contact with the outside world was completely denied and have benefitted immensely from those retreats.  I doubt very much that I will be able to attend one of them now, having settled into a different life style completely.

I know some people who live without modern electronic gadgets and who seem to be blissful in their lives. I do envy them their bliss. I can’t however dream of being without my mobile phone handset and computer with an internet connection, particularly now in the lockdown sans newspapers and crossword puzzles. It is also very comforting to see that all my contacts on the  also are using them to avoid climbing walls I suppose.

Having now taken a fresh look at the phenomenon and the message right on top of this post, perhaps, after the lockdown is lifted and some semblance of sanity is returned to our lives, I should give unplugging a shot to see if I will survive such an experience. When and if I do, I shall certainly make it a point to post my experience about that in this blog.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumShackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Padmum. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

The Virtues And Toxicities Of Popularity

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

~ Shakespeare in As You Like It.
No. my intention is not to ring my own bell.
Nor to pat myself on my own back. I have a message about the topic where I am the centre of the action and so, these two pictures.

Fellow Five on One blogger and web-friend Shackman posted this on his facebook page and as he had requested I copy pasted on my page.

“I think most of you know me pretty well, it doesn’t matter when our paths may have crossed. Maybe some of you like me and some don’t, but if you’re on my Facebook, it’s because I like you. I would love to see if we can still chat more than just likes and actually write something to each other. Again, I decided to participate in an experience called “Meeting between bread.” The idea is to see who reads the post without a photo. We are so quick to dive into technology that we forgot the most important thing: good friendship. If no one is reading this message, it will be a short social experiment. But if you finish this to the end, I would love you to comment in ONE WORD about us. For example: a place, an object, a person, a moment in which you remember me. Then copy this text and post it on your page (don’t share) and I’ll go to your page to leave a word that reminds me of you. Please don’t comment if you don’t have time to copy the text. This will destroy the experiment. Let’s see who spent their time to read and respond according to the common story outside of Facebook! Thank you for participating!”

I was overwhelmed with the responses that I received, bar a few, all from my colleagues from my working life. These wonderful people have been in touch with me all these years despite my having retired twenty years ago, thanks to the internet and the social media. It brought to my notice that I have  well-wishers in my life who still have regard for me; and I am reminded of that post and the comments on it as I write this post.

I don’t think that I was or am popular. Popular is for entertainers and sportspersons. Popularity is ephemeral. What I received was pure affection and regard from mates who had worked alongside me thanks to something that was drilled into me during my younger days by mentors who taught me a simple formula to be good in my career. CCDO. Connectedness, Constancy in the connectedness, Dignity in the relationships thus established and Opportunity for growth for both in the relationship.  This is something that I passed on to the people who crossed my path as well.  That it has worked has now been amply proved and I am grateful to those mentors who showed me the way. I repeat, I was not and am not popular. These long lasting relationships are testimony to that fact.

Since this has been my personal experience, I would say that the virtues of popularity are that they are superficial, short-lived and ego boosters. The toxicities of popularity are narcissism and self destruction. I am glad that I was and am not popular. I don’t know what to call what I am and leave it to my readers to decide on a nomenclature.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumShackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Over Confidence.

I have come across some really stupid over confident people in my life as I am sure that most of my readers have too. Over confidence almost always ends up in disasters except on the very rare occasion. I would call myself a confident person not given to taking big risks. I have somehow avoided being overconfident except on very few occasions, three of which I shall discuss in detail here. One almost ended in disaster and two did not.

The first occasion was when I decided that it was no big deal to drive a left hand drive car. (For my American friends, in India we drive on the left side of the road and use right hand drive vehicles.). I almost killed myself and a few others by not having practiced in a traffic less field like I did while learning to drive in a right hand drive car in the first place. That memory still haunts me now and then. That memory also put paid to my hiring cars to drive myself around in Europe and the USA instead undergoing quite some inconvenience using cabs and other public transport vehicles.

The second occasion was when I proposed marriage to U, my friend of eight years. She was my best friend’s sister and her friends were my friends as were mine hers. We did a lot of things together and were very comfortable with each other’s company. I was undergoing internship as a Management Trainee and my employment was not a confirmed one but, on one occasion, something came over me and I suggested that since we were so comfortable with each other, that we should get married. U took a few days to think over the proposal while I went off on a sales tour but, on my return she confirmed that we can and we took a leap of faith into unknown territory for both of us. The marriage had its ups and downs like I suppose all marriages do but, overall, it was a good marriage that lasted all of forty years. So that overconfidence paid off.

The third occasion was when at the peak of a successful career I decided to take a plunge into a new career path and quit an employer after 23 years. Many of my colleagues of that employer who are still in touch with me still cannot understand my, what they call, rashness. I left a large multinational company to work with a small family run company on a short term contract. I knew the family well and that made the decision making fairly simple. My late wife who featured in the last paragraph, supported me on my decision and went through all the ‘butterflies in the stomach’ stages with me in the initial stages. In the end it paid off and I was able to retire comfortably at an age that would not have been possible had I continued in the big firm.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumShackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

My New Visiting Card.

MY SOUL HAS A HAT

I counted my years
and realized that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure
But when he realized that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings
where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
and who take responsibility for their actions.

In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.

My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
and the second begins when you realize you only have one.

~ Poem by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945) Poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist.

One of the founders of Brazilian modernism.