Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chasing perfection

“I have never bowled a perfect spell” Said Glenn McGrath, one of the greatest fast bowlers of all times. “The closest I came to perfection was the game against New Zealand in which I bowled almost all the balls in the same exact area I wanted to!” he added.

If you ask Michael Atherton, he would always say that Glenn McGrath is the perfect bowler he had ever faced, but Glenn swears that he had never bowled a perfect spell to Michael.

So, why do humans chase perfection? For some, it gives enormous satisfaction and are ready to put in huge amount of work day and night to reach there.

But, the truth is none of them reaches absolute perfection all the time. Even Sachin Tendulkar, the highest run scorer and the man with most number of ODI hundreds by far, has loads of ducks in ODI cricket!

Even the planet earth is not perfect. It was almost a second late, last year, in going around the sun, and that is its only job all year!

Look at your wrist watch. It wouldn’t show perfect time at any given time. It would atleast be fast or slow by a few milli seconds. But, you still wear it. A watch that is not functioning shows perfect time, to the millionth of a second, twice a day. Have you ever considered wearing a wrist watch that is not running? Why would you prefer a wrist watch that is imperfect all the time while you have one that is perfectly perfect twice a day? The answer is simple. We don’t need perfection. It is okay, to be a little imperfect, all the time.

Just be who you are and never chase perfection, for the sake of chasing it. You are still loved by people for being who you are.

Life is simple!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Starbucks and me!

I stood there motionless with a five dhiram note in my hand and tears in my eyes. The aroma from the shop was enticing. Afterall, it is one of the biggest chain of coffee shops in the world. The aroma made me cry. I couldn’t stop crying when I saw people throw money at the counter for a cup of ‘fancy’ coffee.

I wanted coffee. I love starbucks. I wanted coffee from starbucks. All I could spend was five dhirams. And all they could offer for five dhirams is… nothing.

So I stood there, wondering about a few incidents that happened to me exactly one year back.

“Keep the change as tip” I said offering a five pound note for a two pound coffee and I never even bothered the empty my cup. I drink it 90% and throw the rest into the bin.

I never even thought, even in the wildest of my dreams, that one day I would stand in front of starbucks only to stare at the coffee makers and the coffee buyers around me.

I was told that MBA is only a transformational process in our thinking and attitude. I realized that it not only applies to the subjects thought in the class, but also to life in general. Nothing is constant and nothing can be taken for granted.

I waited for a few minutes in front of the shop for this realization to sink into my mind that “When you have bucks to back you up, starbucks is a real star and when the bucks suck on you, starbucks is a sucker!”

I hate starbucks. Atleast for now.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The death

The entire corridor was stinking. The elevators were stinking even more. It took me to the second floor with a screeching noise all along as elevator looked like a death trap for me. Two guys dressed in whites were carrying a person on a stretcher in the same elevator. So, there was this person trying to avoid death by taking a ride in the deathtrap. As soon as the elevator opened in the second floor, the smell of all medicines used in the hospital hit my nostrils. The stench had “Welcome to Government general hospital, Chennai!” written all over it.

I turned left to the ward I wanted to visit. Patients were waiting for the duty doctor in big queues. The corridor was filled with people who were ill, and people who accompanied them. It clearly looked like the infrastructure was not enough as the patient nurse ratio was more than thirty to one.

I went to ward 13 to see my dad’s friend who was in the hospital after a surgery. He was recovering well after the surgery and was about to be discharged.

The next bed had a new patient. He looked very ill and was on oxygen. A huge oxygen cylinder was kept next to his bed.

“Good morning uncle!” I said “how are you now?”

“I am fine son. Thanks!”

I couldn’t control myself from asking this question. “The place is full of medicine smell and is full of people like a market. How are you coping up?” I asked with a frustrated face.

“Well! I am not feeling that anymore. Got used to it!”

While I was chatting with him about a few things, the person in the next bed started breathing heavily. There was no one to attend him. No nurse could be seen in the vicinity. No doctor could be seen in the entire floor. I started running from the ward. I was running for help. All I could do was to run for help. I was looking for anyone dressed in white.

I couldn’t find anyone. I came back running to his bed to check on him. His breathing got worse. I ran back out again. Finally I found a ward boy smoking bedi near the end of the corridor.

I waved towards him while running. I was gasping for breath. I couldn’t talk for a moment. I didn’t talk, but pulled him by his hand and took him towards the patient’s bed.

The level of breathing was coming down. I knew for sure that he was dying. I pointed my finger at him to the ward boy. He threw his bedi in one corner and checked on the oxygen cylinder. It was empty.

He ran away from the bed the same way I did. He came back after a minute empty handed.

“There are no more cylinders here and this one is empty” he said, wiping the sweat off this forehead.

“What? Do something” I screamed, on top of my voice.

Everyone looked at me. I stared at the ward boy. He was helpless. There was no one in the entire floor who could help him; no one who could help the patient from dying.

The ward boy tried to prolong the supply of oxygen a bit by shaking the cylinder as much as he can.

Then suddenly the patient took a deep breath. Then the breathing stopped.

He died. He just died. Right in front of my eyes.

I was helpless. I couldn’t do anything to stop it. What could I do? The ward boy was still shaking the cylinder. I asked him to stop it and asked him to look out for a doctor nearby.

I went around to see the patient’s name from the chart attached to his bed.

It read “Kumaran, age 8 years”

I held the chart and stood there still. Someone had just died there; someone who did nothing wrong to deserve this kind of a death, and I couldn’t even come to terms with what I just saw.

Where were the duty doctors? Where were the nurses? I wondered

The hospital could say a thousand reasons for his death. Non availability of oxygen cylinder could be the silliest.

Whatever the reason might have been... he should have lived.

The proposal

She was sitting opposite to me. Charming as always. She skillfully used her fork and knife to cut the tender pieces of chicken in front of her. After cutting a small piece, she picked it up with her fork on the left hand and took it towards her mouth, and gracefully munched it. She then took a sip of red wine, which was as red as her lips.

I was not looking at my food. For once, the chicken didn’t interest me. But the gorgeous girl did. I was looking at her and was cutting the plate with my knife rather than cutting the chicken.

I didn’t know her much, but something in her pulled me towards her. It could be her charisma or elegance or whatever. She was sitting between her father and another guy in the twenties. He was filthy rich and was looking like he was controlling everything around there.

“They are going to get engaged”, my friend told me pointing her and the guy sitting next to her.

I looked at him once again. He looked arrogant to me. “Why do good looking girls fall for such an idiot?” I thought. I can definitely be a better choice than this person. On any given day.

“I should beat this person, whatever happens!” I told myself.

He stood up. He took his wine glass and made a sound with this knife to make an announcement.

“Hi all, I have a news for you. We are getting married” He said pointing towards her. He was full of joy and pulled her by her side and locked his lips with hers for a few seconds.

She pulled out of the lock, still with fork and knife in hand, looked a bit surprised, a bit confused, a bit amused, and a bit joyous. No one could really say what was going through in her mind. Just like any other girl!

She stood like a statue, trying to rollback her tears. She then looked at me, with a sorry look and stormed out of the room.

I ran behind her all the way to a big tree in front of her house. She sat there on a wooden bench.

“Don’t marry him” were my first words to her, still trying to catch my breath.

She looked up, even more confused than before and asked “Why?”

I thought about what I wanted to say for a second and said these stupid words “Because there are better choices”

“What? Are you nuts?” she asked

“Well, I am not asking you to marry me. All I am asking you is… not to marry him!” I said

“What? This is crazy. Why would you say that?”

I waited for a while so that she could face me. I saw her ever glowing eyes. If there was a big moment in my life, this was it. I took a deep breath and finally said this one little sentence.

“Because….I have fallen for you!”

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Birthday celebrations in Dubai hostel

“Its time to clean up your fridge” claimed a mail from his roommates. “Anything is welcome, as long as it is stale” it mentioned.

It was close to midnight. Every room in the hostel was busy. Every one, for once, decided to close their books and open their refrigerator to look out for leftover food stuff. Everyone knows that anything that was not stale was strictly not accepted.

I was sitting in the kitchen table and was deeply disappointed that my fridge was already clean. Thinking whether we should borrow something from the next room’s fridge, I was sipping my cup of coffee. People started gathering in the corridor, with a pack of ‘presents’ for the birthday boy.

At the stroke of midnight, the crowd roared “Happy birthday” and everyone frantically emptied their pack of presents on the birthday boy’s head. “Yuk!” he exclaimed, but more and more presents literally poured in.

At the end of it, everyone, in unison, started singing the birthday song for the birthday boy. A large chocolate truffle cake came out of nowhere, with a lighted candle in the middle of it.

As soon as the birthday boy blew the candle off, all the cream in the cake were spread across his face. Like putting a chocolate spread on bread. For the first time that day, the birthday boy got something that is not stale! And for the first time, he did look sweet!!

By now, the birthday boy was covered from head to toe with yellow dal cooked two days back, left over curry from the nearby restaurant blended with camel milk and a chocolate cream topping on it! Happy birthday song went on for a few more minutes in the corridor as everyone showed the willingness celebrate big time with the birthday boy.

Everyone was awake to wish him at the right moment; everyone wished him, hugged him, kicked him, and applied cake on his face and what not? Quite a party it was. The birthday celebrations had become a tradition in the SP Jain Dubai hostel as the level of celebration is ever increasing from one birthday to the next.

These kinds of celebrations show that no matter how busy we are with the exams, no matter what time of the day or night it is, we, boys and girls in the hostel, are there for each other’s happiness and sadness and love each other the way we did on this particular birthday night.

At the end of the celebrations, we realized that another birthday was coming up in a couple of days.

“Start preserving your ‘presents’ from now” I shouted. “And on the next birthday, bring it on guys!”