Crowded on ‘World Population Day’?

 

Today is world population day, wow!

The ‘wow’ is of course satirical because, “well, which day is not?”

As I am growing older and older I am feeling I am getting crowded more and more by the day and that’s even during periods when I have literally locked myself in to my work place.

The population speaks to me through the pings and birdy tunes of social media punishment I face each day through messages streaming into my cell phone and I bear for you who is reading me….”sir / madam…apologies for the strain” but I like it when you do, so thanks!

Everybody has a view on everything nowadays, be it Good Mornings and there was yesterday even a ‘Close Friend’s Day’ and the saddest part was that only ‘one’ person wished me and who knew about that…or was he lying? Yes I do feel blessed for the good things, but take this one I received from one fine gentleman this morning……“Relation is like glass. A scratch on one side will reflect on the other side too because a scratch can never be removed. Good Morning!”

My eyes popped out as it comes from a 5% friend, 10% business associate and 85% ‘daily-juice’ of awkward interaction, which has actually gone on for a year somehow. A mole or a hole in my professional enterprise; a man whom some day, some time I inadvertently punched on wrong side…so many things that I am wondering as I reply “Man…was that a threat or a wish?”

Then there are “groups”. I signed off some more intimate ones for I was afraid an error could ‘scratch’ a relationship. But there are groups like my local resident groups where I am just curious to know what’s going on, but they will crowd on me if I say something against somebody’s local policies and MCAs or MLA’s scouts would crowd up on me.

I post informal music ‘scratches’ of my in-process works at times to certain circles whom I imagine respect or enjoy musical endeavor from a man within whom so many careers and passions. I don’t mind worst of critique unless it tells a story of grudge or frustration of somebody else’s in their individual quest and so I never walk out of an argument or a discussion. Like today I finally took to tell this learned musician friend who persistently tells me I am out-of-tune for mere ‘scratches’ and keeps mum on others. I remind him that it was me who approached him for friendship because he is trained, learned and it was my desire to meet him more often as a source of improvement. The basic trust in anybody’s good intentions is gone truly gone and I have made my upper limits of patience too on my acceptance like others as to when I crowd them, so arguments may not be endless.

The ‘phenomenal diversity’ translates to my expressions through Blogs and Music on social media, leaving it to the WWW to take it to whosoever it matters. Even this has become highly technical and I am told there are paid ways to get a ‘million likes’ and that I should subscribe through the right channels, but that research takes away my time from the path so I haven’t so far ventured in that direction.

Then I turn the clock back to childhood dreams and realize that I am actually doing what I always wanted to do by this age and by that period in life – hurray! The whole problem here is that it is not only a more crowded world, it is also a lot more connected world. Not everybody likes a happy old man carrying on with kiddy stuff called aspirations and that I actually fight to better my own self and it’s not that my posts are ‘bragging’ some achievement. This is called mid-age crisis coming late or perhaps I am still younger than I ought to be –  is a query, better without further analytics.

A guy posting ‘stupidity’ or some oblique trick of photo-shopping designed to create an impact has more of a chance to get the ‘views’ and ‘likes’ than a God gifted writer or singer who is not yet known – that also depends on multitude of factors and a degree of luck or fate. Yet, I also realize that there is an available benchmark to how good is good and today, I can honestly claim through a regular tryst with social media, I have found that vision and target that I can aspire to, so I am not searching for compliments nor would I stand affected by that hint of ridicule.

Yet, the days go by, as fast as they do ,when we are not following which day it is, but that dream or a target; we wake up to realize, that an entire phase has passed us by and new trends have developed, the race around us for our objectives is again being lost.

Frankly I am enjoying the ‘race’ than dreams of the destination and the visible enjoyment in my quests would seem quite unrealistic otherwise. Of course, many are certain I have gone mad, must be!

I have even come to terms that there is no destination like ‘today’. So many who condemn my musical or other entrepreneurial efforts silently or vocally are seemingly quite perplexed even as I know there are so many well wishers in my life who are also praying for me to excel and succeed in these constant endeavors through social media to actually crowd an already crowded worldscape!

The point is this…that even in a crowded world we need to spot our own trajectory and the onus to crowd the crowd with our enthusiasm, glee and interest in life, the world and all that happens around us becomes a lot more attainable in these times of utmost chaos.

And this is to sum up what I have to say for the booming Indian and world population in times when as many are getting killed for frivolous reasons; it is astounding that we are no more hidden. So might as well be be open and inhumanly transparent with what we do and how we think. Uncle Google has us in tight grip anyway!

I don’t mind baring my weak sides for I believe that strong sides can always be dressed up to catch likes, but everybody cannot resort to being part of “the blooper’ gang. An established celebrity of any kind has every right to get his due but as people befriending people directly or through social media it is mutual encouragement of our progress and paths to success that makes a better and wonderful world.

No I am not an idealist. So I will carry this work, fight, or whatever and more of those benchmarks of ‘greatness’ in today’s world – the petty thumbsup called “Likes” will have to be somebody’s natural gut feel for recognizing g.o.o.d. people do which of course, is like finding THE hairpin from a cowshed full of hay….. Cheers!!

 

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Smart Neighborhoods

I am certain that since the time Modi-wave swept past a ‘aam aadmi’ movement to sideline a government that had held reins of power in India for most part since independence, our common man buoyed upon a social media world is getting smarter, more involved, more aware than ever before to choose, elect, praise and critique leaderships but do we all act with propriety when faced with day to day challenges around our own homes?

Satellite cities around our metros are giving way to smart cities. Environment and Climate Change is now a name of a  Ministry, Renewable Energy is a sector where India actually dominates in some areas, ‘cleanliness’ is a national campaign and men doing house work as wives go to work is an acceptable situation. But the unmanageable increase in motor vehicles, inadequacy of infrastructure to hold the boom times is pitiful and we come home or reach our office with anger, abuses and what not more times than ever before.

My colony was to have RWA elections recently and what I present are some lessons from this otherwise annual exercise which till now, I just let pass. In case you don’t know, it stands for your local ‘welfare association’ but if you are a modern household you might say “man, if I meet my wife and kids adequately I am lucky”. So you might have missed out on your RWA.

But to think what you could contribute to your locality’s welfare might be a sensible idea if you wish to be safe and healthy in daily living too. RWA’s were for supposed to be for retired old people, which I almost am; except that our generations now do not retire at 55 or 60 and if ‘senior citizen should be 60 or 65 has also become debatable as more Indian people are catching the Volvo buses to see overseas cities as the white people who used to throng India gate and Chandni Chowk and the local gyms are running overtime.

But seriously, what do we have in stake with our immediate neighborhood that never was before? So this is what I am learning from this RWA election time. Posters, door-to-door is passe. For the first time, a ‘whatsapp group’ was started. But in the very first hour majority of comments came like “How dare you put me in this group without my permission” and somebody pressed the button and “left”. One of the ‘teams’ contesting the election put up a poster and more left, “This is politics, cheating and self-advertising” said many and they left. Whoever was the administrator he added more; then more left. Finally all teams were allowed to put up ads, so more added and more left.

Anyway, with the IPL going on; this was more exciting and as the language turned crass and gross, I thought I must join; the age old competitive corporate honcho in me did my diplomatic best not to side with any team. But hey, I was learning how masses think and then watching the fantastic levelling of ideas to  the “left” people reducing and administrator adding many now and then – it is coming as a revelation how much we can achieve if we dare to just get into the ‘system’ of having a say in our surroundings. I was seeing this process of debate and development go on and I have seen (‘heard’ is better) both in past – people doing good for the colony and then the system’s own goons of self-fulfilment.

So, with this logic; now as a infrastructure consultant I had been following some seminars and reading about “smart cities”, clean water & sanitation and having spent much time in Africa even for issues of gender disparities. But here I suddenly see a whole new opportunity in disparities that are more immediate to warrant a new age of “smart neighborhoods”. Well, this is a fairly elite colony beyond the choicest of words for opposing teams that I am seeing on ‘whatsapp’; so there lies a logic in its economics too.

But to cut across the story, what is it that we can contribute to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to us? Here are some points that I can see emerging from the 24×7 comments coming now that they seem to have let all have a say and mind you the young, women and intellectuals are in good numbers.

AWARENESS: You may be receiving RWA newsletters and information along with your rolled newspaper in morning. Even if you do not read it normally, keep at least a leaflet with contacts of RWA active members stuck to your refrigerator notice board. If you notice things that bother you – suspect movements, choked drains, water issues, etc. note it on Android notepad or send it to your specific area or lane representative as a paper note on way to office.

SMART RWAs: A social media group like “whatsapp” is a modern necessity but take care that jokes, lame forwards, business adverts and anything abusive or derogatory should be strictly banned and the person, after a warning, should be removed. Keep the good old register of complaints and files; but sir, times are that you ought to boost it with digital diaries with categorized logs which an IT youngster in neighborhood can easily design as contribution and a team member can maintain; all these at a dedicated office with timings of physical presence of attendant.

SMART HOMEOWNERS: Install CCTVs and inform RWAs, who must keep log of who has installed where. A GPRS plot can easily be created on webapp or procurable software to map location of the CCTVs of government and homeowners. This will help in solving criminal and other activities. Plotting troubled areas will be an advantage. Make sure servant details are kept and shared with RWA if not the police. Keep a hired security if you can or smarten up your main door operation at least to whatever is affordable technology and check weekly. You can store info on ‘cloudspace’ as well.

SMART POLICING: Each individual is police, but do not do that to extent of being a peeping Tommy. There is no point cursing abuses when you cannot take car past point where double or triple parking, like around general stores, paan shops, etc.; if it is really repetitive, log it with RWA digitally and take a walk on Sunday to verify if your messages actually get logged.

RWA’s SMARTOFFICE: Initially people will flood you with odd complaints and you might go nuts, there is very good chance that if you actually send a few replies and solve a few the deluge will trickle to something reasonable – so importantly HAVE FAITH in your neighbors, all are not worst enemies you think they might be. Also, you need not address each issue immediately. Instead categorise, prioritize, put through for weekly or monthly meetings depending on level of urgency. Hence I mooted for digital logging that is indexed as a decision making tool. Now, these are not expensive set-ups; but like any office these are a standard, need regular attention and some passion ‘to serve’ – so just wake up to this reality of times!

SMART LEADERSHIP: A colony where everybody is muscle and don will be a non-starter to be risk and damage-free. So treat this like another office of trust but remember that since all are volunteers, you cannot shout and throw out anybody from his job; so your big daddying will be for nothing. Humour, a few tea parties with biscuits by RWA brass here and there are fine but refrain from big time parties where barbecue smell goes beyond your house as again – people will point fingers and you lose face for just your large heartedness. Instead visit the aged, intellectuals, professionals within locality than professionals out of your business or workplace for advice, record keeping, etc. This is the art and ability of good leaders to make their own locality see you as humble servicing individuals and please….you are not a politician or civil servant; but truly passionate and concerned for safe & happy living around your responsibility.

This is not an exhaustive essay on the subject and there is a lot more that each one of us has and we all, with our freedom with social media, familiarity with technology and social networking around our place of abode can make our lives safer, simpler, less accusative, less abusive, less controversial and it will be this HABIT that will make us better in our professions too and as human beings, citizens of our country.

So, all the best for your “smart neighborhood”

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Where Love has gone

Now this is the first time where I have put a title and really just starting to write on basis of, just a feeling that I have woken up with. But right away, I must warn you that the context may not be the most obvious.

2017 has begun and we seem to be in a world where from the moment we get up to time we go to bed, we must have a peep into our social media – the ‘WhatsApp’ or Facebook, Twitter and what have you. I have tried not to, many a time. But it fails to work. In fact whenever I decide not to err….peep; I am doing it more!

Why have we got so fixed to what somebody else has to say or what somebody has to say to what we said and if we are ‘liked’ then ‘how many’ are these people and who all?

It is very sad. No, not this act or the habit, but the very existence, adaptation and governance factor of such perception per se and social media by itself.

Gone are the days when I will sing a song, all in my house (whenever together with some and that’s how houses used to be back then), they would say ‘wah, wah’ pat me on the back and someone will give the kiddo a 100 in cash right away for whatever it might have been worth. That 100 or even the 50 and 10 would matter a whole lot and yes, fond memories are around still. They egged me to go on, feel on center of a stage; small as the achievements were at that time. They were my halo of being a part of my little world where rest of the world never mattered. It also made me to make my mistakes in life when I perhaps stopped working the passion.

Now I have travelled the world. More and many have joined in the ‘togetherness’ and it is wonderful to see them all, someone in USA, someone in Ethiopia, Tanzania, a European I met a decade ago, a relative of relative who became now more of a friend than the primary relative over time; even an old ‘enemy’ who is appearing suddenly on Facebook page seems like lost love now.

But all along the way, the closeness, the oneness, the ‘My-ness” if I may say, seems to be waning.

If we remember somebody across decades, or across distances or across wider relationships of official colleagues and business associates with whom we have shared our deepest feelings at times without even knowing them enough; there has to be something more to it if we ‘just remembered’ it one fine day again, in midst of ennui.

And the year ends (2016 just did) and a year beginning (2017) are as good a time as any and so it is that I am writing, expressing it the way it is.

At the same time, there is too much music, too much art, too much writing across the websites to make us be heard nowadays. And then…who doesn’t want to be heard? Our friend Rahul Ram, the bassist from ‘Indian Ocean’ even said of those like me “now Indian music is democratic; people from bedroom studios can post music” with HT Times heading calling it “clutter” (hey, my kinds cluttering on the biggies – wow!)

In times when I was a nobody and could do precious little I had friends who loved me to sing, relatives who sent messages wide and far of what a lovely little boy was the ‘son of my parents x & y’. Now it takes so much out of me to draw a ‘you did good’ from my own close ones; when I have really worked hard, invested so much and fought against so many odds to actually learn and master some across the whole 9 yards down the decades.

Maybe it is not so. Maybe they feel me destined to do even more, reach even higher. I am not old and I am certain there is no age peaking on excellence.

But do they want my ‘Excellence’ or is it, that ‘Love has gone’ and replaced with a YouTube comparative for the ‘seen’, ‘liked’ and there is even the ‘thumbs down’ to declare somebody worthy of a ‘glance’ and ‘peep’.

Where Love has Gone, we learn to re-evaluate ourselves.

I get up in morning or to sleep to find ‘who did not Like’ and if there was even a ‘thumbs down’!

These are my indications of “path, yet to traverse”or should I say, the path to where love still exists and be it our work for profits, music for creativity we carry or writing for vision that we carry; the “manzil” or the destination – is the SONG itself, and path is the quest for that love that exists…but needs to be extracted and brought out again and again, better and better.

At least this is what I would like my children and the youngsters I may mentor to believe and that’s all I wanted to say in this ‘first post 2017’. Those who had gone will come again….just do your thing to the best you can!

Coming soon on through http://talentrack.in/yogimusic and on YouTube:

  1. The YogiB Orchestral
  2. The Ghazal – a genre of ‘feelings’ and classical music