Sunday, November 22, 2009

Human Nature

I was flabbergasted. All my attempts to raise money to build the school had come to zilch. We required close to 2 lacs to build the school. All we'd managed to raise so far was a measly Rs 32,748/-.

Raj came to my office one day. We were best buddies in school. But life took us along different paths. I took to social service. Started working in NGO's and finally I set up one on my own. Raj went in to business. He was doing well. He'd already made a sizable donation to my fund and I felt guilty asking him for any more money.

I opened out to him and told him of my problems. I went on and on ranting. I told him I couldn't believe people were not willing to donate for a noble cause like this one.

"What is society coming to?"- I asked him.

He smiled and said- "Let me take care of fund raising for you".

It took me a while to realize he was serious. It wasn't like him to offer such services.

"How do you plan on doing it?"- I asked him.

"Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies"- he replied. " Give me ten grand from whatever you've collected and 3 months time. You'll have your money".

I pondered on this a bit but finally gave in. I trusted Raj. I was very curious though as to how he was going to raise this money when all my volunteers' efforts of the past 6 months couldn't bring in any money.

One and a half months later Raj was in my office with a cheque for Rs 2,17,571/-. I was astounded.

"And there is still more coming"- he grinned.

"How did you pull it off?"

"Come I'll show you."

We took the car to a village just outside the city. Situated a little away from the main village square was a thatched hut. Inside there was a Swami sitting inside with a few disciples.

"This is it"- a gleaming Raj said.

"The Swami gave the money to you?"

"No, I set up the whole thing. I pay the Swami and his disciples to sit here. "

Furious hearing this I began to remonstrate before Raj calmed me down and explained how the idea came to him.

"I was at a temple and was looking at these beggars sitting just outside. The temple undal was just a few feet away from the beggars. I noticed people putting 50 bucks, 100 bucks, even 500 in to the undal. However, they'd drop just 1 or 2 bucks for the beggars. That's when the idea came to me. I called the beggars. Explained things to them and told them I'd set things up and they just had to act their parts."

"So I came here and found this obscure place for them. Then I went and told my wife that I wanted to meet this Swami and donate some money as his blessings had helped me. We came here and I put a big sum of money in the undal in front of her. Leave it women to spread the news like wildfire... All her friends and their friends started streaming in to this place believing my story to be true. One month down the line and we have your money."- Raj said smiling.

"You are a true businessman"- I told Raj appreciatively.

"It's really simple"- he said. "You were trying to appeal to people's charity. That never works. I was simply appealing to their greed!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Art of Nothingness...

The idea for this post comes to me while I'm sitting in Nungambakkam station. I'm not here to catch a train. No, I'm here to kill time!

I know most readers will find it strange. But, I count this as one of my many 'original time-pass ideas'. I've taken a train pass for 3 months. Whenever I'm bored or mind fucked I come to the station and take a train up and down the line or chumma sit on the platform. What am I doing??? Ans- NOTHING!

Yes, after an agonizing 24 years on this planet, pondering over my fate & wondering what my 'hidden' talent is, I've finally found something I'm good for. Ladies & Gentlemen- I'm GOOD FOR NOTHING!

The many years I spent in education... and I learnt NOTHING. The countless books, magazines and newspapers I've read and still NOTHING makes sense. Infinite hours of watching TV and movies and I still don't understand anything. All those long never-ending discussions with friends and family... and what's come of it??? NOTHING!

I've accomplished nothing in my life. I've never been brilliant in my studies. Never been brilliant at any sport. I have no awards. Never been been part of any of those societies or clubs. Never been on a holiday. Never left home. I've done NOTHING till date.

There are many works requiring my urgent attention... but I undertake nothing. This is not just some special day I'm talking about. This is about my everyday routine.

Folks- I'm an expert in the 'art of nothingness'. It's in my blood. It's become a part of me. Defines me... it is a part of my character. I can out do anyone in it. I can sit for hours, days, years doing NOTHING.

This has to be something special. I'm yet to come across anyone to feel threatened in this special talent of mine. In fact I dare you to think of one person in your life who has done NOTHING. I'm sure you won't come up with one. The honours are all mine... all mine.

Everyone's been telling me that I've been wasting my time. But they are wrong. This is what I'm supposed to be people. This is what I'm supposed to do. This is what I was born to do!

Having just discovered my purpose in life Ladies & Gentlemen I would like to conclude by saying that now I'm only 'good for nothing'. But, it will be my life-long endeavor to be the "best for nothing."

Thank You.

Friday, November 6, 2009

India vs Australia

Last night I re-discovered the Sachin that made me believe anything is possible. He was supreme last night. But, alas, like many times in his career... he couldn't finish it off for his team.

Sachin is one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Yet, he doesn't have any big trophy to his name. Like the World Cup, or a test series win in Australia or SA. All great players have one or more trophies to their name. Tendulkar hasn't been able to use his game changing qualities to bring any big cup home. Maybe that's what spurs him on, after 21 long years in international cricket.

Coming back to his innings last night- I feel honoured that I watched it. I will take the memories with me to my grave. It was marvellous. His team-mates must be feeling real ashamed that they couldn't complete the job after Sachin had done so much. They owed it to him to finish it off. That wasn't to be.

Australia are clearly one step ahead of India in every dept. No where is this more visible than in Aus's fielding. For an eg I will recollect the last wicket that fell. There was clearly a lot of tension and Praveen Kumar was trying to run 2. But Haurtiz's rocket throw was perfect, right near the wickets and that made it end game. The ability to keep calm under pressure, to execute perfectly, to be ruthless... all these qualities are highlighted in this one little instance. All these qualities are the hall-mark of the Aussies and you'll find them repeated many times in every game. That's what makes them a champion side.

For too long now we've been depending on raw talent. We should be proud of a system that's able to generate a Sehwag, a Dhoni, or a Bhaji. But not all 11 players can be like that. We need to chip away at the edges of the ordinary cricketers and make them polished so that they shine on the international stage. Ravindra Jadeja was clearly too excited...and that cost him his wicket. Nehra played an irresponsible shot. And why wasn't Praveen Kumar diving in full body for that last run? That could have easily made the difference. These small things make a big difference in the end.

We lack finishers. We lack that finishing quality within us. Even Sachin is not a finisher. Dhoni is & Raina also to a certain degree. We need more of that calibre. It is a real tough job. But the guys should be trained for it. Even in bowling I've noticed that we lack that killer punch. How many times have we let the last wicket just drag the match on? We should be ruthless and finish it off at the earliest.

2 times now in the same series that India has lost matches chasing that it should have won comfortably. Not good at all. Means we haven't learnt our lessons from the first time. This is where Indian cricket needs to improve. This chalta hai attitude will not be accepted. We will need to be machine like in our pursuit of being the number one team. The Aussies are not going to surrender that spot easily.

Australia are still a depleted side. With 2 games to go, I'm still not willing to make any bets. Let's hope India gets it finishing act together for the next games.