Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sama, Dhana, Bedha, Dhanda...

Sama, Dhana, Bedha, Dhanda...

Have you heard these words anywhere? I recently heard them on a television movie. Though I have heard these words many times before, I was tempted to contemplate more about them this time.

In any conflict, you should go in the same order, they say. Sama first, which means equality. Give the other person equal share or respect during negotiations. If that doesn't work, go for the next one - Dhana. Dhana means giving. Giving little more share... not giving up everything! If that also doesn't work, go for Bedha. Bedha means discrimination or warning. Start treating the other person differently and warn them that there is a limit to anything. When none of these work, what you should do is Dhanda. What is that? Take an iron rod and beat him on the head in a way that he would never be able to get up - to continue the conflict. But, be very careful about one thing - he also may have an iron rod with him.

What if I go for the second one straight? People would love to have me with them. I would be called a nice guy. I won't know that nice guys finish last until I am finished. I will be taken for granted. When I realize what I lost, it will be too late. What if I go straight to the third one? It means I am an arrogant bugger and there are some lessons that I have to learn. Soon someone will come to teach me them. Not only that, the conflict will take a different route if I get into such an act directly. Fourth? If I choose the fourth option straight away, I will be called a goon or thug. When I do that to someone, I can write in my diary that some day I will also be killed with another Dhanda - sooner or later.

Not only with enemies, some people even say that you have to follow these prescriptions even with kids. Some people say that India should be following this approach with terrorists. Some say that India should go with this approach even with Pakistan. The Sri Lankan Tamils say that they went with the fourth one only after all the other three options were tried unsuccessfully. Anyways, looks like it is a good conflict resolution model to try with anyone that has problem with us.

All these are Sanskrit words and are believed to be the techniques taught by Chanakya. In Mahabharata, they say, Pandavas went to war because their enemies didn't listen when they tried with all the other options. Not sure if Chanakya lived before Mahabharata or if he learnt this lesson from that. If there is someone who has more information on this, please throw some light.

PS: Some people say that Chanakya was a South Indian brahmin by birth. Any further information on that?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Whats, Whys, Whens and Hows of My Blogging

Mr. Hariharan Valady, one of the fellow bloggers, has reached his silver jubilee in blogging (Valady Views). He has reached the milestone of his 25th post today. The title of his 25th post is ???. That's it. Just three question marks. But, inside he has posed a lot more questions to his fellow bloggers. Let us congratulate him for reaching this milestone within such a short while. He has actually done it in two months. Great strike rate, right? I could have posted my replies as a comment under his post, but that looks bigger than his original post itself. So, decided to put it as a post itself on my blog. It also increases the count by another number in my blog, right? Here you go...

Below are the questions that he has asked himself. Let me answer them also from my perspective first and then get into the questions that he has asked us - the fellow bloggers...

Q: What motivated me to write my first post? 
A: I always love writing. I used to write a lot in Tamil. But, I started blogging in English first as I didn't know how to type Tamil letters using English keyboard. Now I am more active in Tamil blogsphere than in English. However, most of my posts are in both the languages. I write in one and translate to the other. I have to do this because I have equal or more number of friends that don't know Tamil as well. As I mentioned in my first post when I opened a blogger account, I wanted to write a lot but I didn't like my articles getting edited by someone who doesn't understand the background of my thought process. I also used to write diaries regularly from childhood. I thought blogging was a perfect blend of both journalism and dairy writing. My first post in blogspot is still available here - "Well begun is half done". Later, I also posted a lot of my earlier writings with back dates. Even now, I do that whenever I find something from my old diaries or notebooks. I know, this is too much more than what is required to be told, but as you know this is how I answer questions. :)

Q: Is that valid still? 
A: Yes. It is. I have in fact stopped writing diaries now as blogs give me much more flexibility.

Q: What kept me going? 
A: I have been dreaming from childhood that I am going to be a great writer some day. I know that I am nowhere close to where I want to be. However, this is like my sandbag. I use this as a practice field. If this can sharpen my writing skills to be better than yesterday, that is exactly the reason why I blog. So, even one appreciation, i.e. a comment per post makes me better or makes me feel better. Both are good in the long run, right? This is what keeps me going. If nobody ever said anything about my blogs, I 'might' have stopped blogging long back. I am saying 'might' because I might have continued despite that as well. I did do that without any appreciation for a long time, too. That's because I had an urge to write irrespective of whether I had a reader or not. Worst case - I would be my reader. That's what I thought.

Q: How did I choose the subject for each of these articles? 
A: I want to talk about everything under the sun. I want to have a balanced opinion on all controversial subjects. Being a libran, it's natural that I am more interested in being balanced than being right. Otherwise, controversy is the last thing that I want. I am just not interested in arguments. That way, the blogsphere is mature enough not to waste time with people who have opposite views. Generally, people only read the fellow bloggers who have similar views/interests. So, that's another reason why I like blogging. Coming back to the point... I have a huge list of topics that I want to write about. It keeps growing on a daily basis. I write about these things only when I find time. It's generally weekends. There is another category of topics that never get into that list. I just open the blogger screen and start writing. They are generally subjects that compel me to write my views then and there. They are mostly about current affairs. And, the 25th post of Mr. Hariharan (or the reply to it) is one of those compelling things that didn't get into my list. I have just started typing my answers right away after looking at his post. Maybe because it came on a weekend, too. :)

Q: Did I really choose the subject or I felt compelled to write?
A: Both. My previous answer answers this question as well, I guess. This is the advantage of giving more detailed answers than required. :)

Here is the list of questions that he has asked us - the fellow bloggers...

Q: How do you choose what to blog on?

Do you always have a compelling story- be it a political story, personal one or a romantic poem or a photograph or a picture or a recipe or a historical monument or religious site you visited- to share with others? If you always have a compelling story, what is the role of research? Without research, how do we get new ideas, new recipes, new scenes to be photographed? How do we form opinion on new developments?

Or do you choose a subject and then research on the same? In such a case, will you be able to emotionally connect with the same? Does it not sound too logical and less creative? Is it not a case of form over substance?

A: Parts of the question have been answered earlier. Let me try to answer the unanswered parts now. I generally don't do too much research about things that I blog. I just pen down things that I have already stored in my mind. I don't have to be worried too much about data because I am not here to build opinions or to justify anyone. On the other hand, I think, as a blogger, my primary responsibility is to share my confusions with my readers so that they also get confused, get more questions and look for answers. Moreover, being a full time employee in a software company, I don't think I can ever have so much time to get into the root of every problem that I get into. Even those who got to the root of the problems only got to one root and ignored the other roots. I am not sure if I would be like this forever. As of now, I don't have enough knowledge; I haven't read enough; so it's better I stay like this. Maybe when I become more knowledgeable I will start forming opinions and expressing them. As of now, my stand is that this world is so unsafe because of all the opinionated people than the open minded ones so it's better to be open to all views than one. Otherwise, on some very straight forward issues, I also have opinions and I express them, too. I may get to this stage on other issues as well, as I read more and start talking about them more with people like you.

Q: Is it the irresistible inner urge that makes you blog? Or do you want to get noticed?
Do you see what is trending and jump into it? Pragmatic, I would say. Or do you intensely feel about something and genuinely believe that it will ‘trend’? Pragmatism or idealism- what drives you?
A: Both. As I said earlier, there are things that compel me to stop doing anything that I am doing at that time to start writing about it. And, there are also things that get into my ever growing list of topics that I write only when I find time. The latter topics are to share my views as well as to get noticed. Why to get noticed? I want more people to read what I write and give their feedback so that I can improve my writing skills. To be very frank, I am not interested in getting criticized. I want my readers to appreciate me, boost my confidence and make me a better writer. When I don't find someone interesting I just ignore them and move on. I don't tell them that theirs is crap. So, I expect the same kind of feedback from others as well. Otherwise, I love specific comments to correct myself or to get better. Hope you understand the difference. Do I intensely feel about something and genuinely believe that it will 'trend'? No. It's very rare that I have felt like that. On the other hand, there are things that I intensely feel about but I am more than sure that they would never trend. In such cases, I don't restrain myself from writing about them. I go ahead and write about them knowing that most people wouldn't be able to appreciate what I mean but there may be a few (maybe even one or two) who would find it interesting. That's enough from me. Even otherwise, I write about them because I know that I would be able to appreciate them anytime if not anyone else. Maybe, when I become a better writer, I can refine them and present them differently to the world. But, I don't miss them out because they may be fall into the cracks if I do so.

Q: Are you conscious of the language? Do you write and re-write? Do you change one word or phrase for another because you feel the former is more powerful? Or do you just focus on the content?
A: Yes. I am. I only read once after finishing the draft. It's just to ensure that there are no spelling mistakes. Otherwise, I don't want to worry too much about the quality now. I want to produce as much as possible first. Then, I can spend a lot of time reviewing them and making them better. I also assume that they are not too bad either. So, that makes me lethargic about reviews and re-writing. However, I want to spend a lot of time later to improve the quality of my posts. Only later... not now!

Q: Do you read or review your post again and again and again before publishing?
Are you concerned whether the readers may not connect with you? Do you tone down your views lest the readers may take offence? Do you ever hold back your honest views lest you may be classified as right wing or left wing, secular or fundamental or some other slot?
A: Yes. I try my best not to take sides. I use my experience in the corporate world. All appraisals start with the goods and then only we discuss about the bads. Even if the bads are more or more problematic, I should talk about the goods first to prepare my reader to listen to me. If I sound conclusive in the first paragraph, they may not even proceed to the next. They would just brand me as something and continue to remain what they are. I never want to hurt anyone nor do I want anyone else do that to me. Like in appraisals, there are also readers that only take the goods and conveniently ignore the bads. That's the flip side of this approach. Yes. Sometimes I don't try to be honest when I feel that's not the need of the hour. I know, it's more political than journalistic. It would sound positive if I say it's psychologically a better approach.

Yes. I just hate getting branded. I would even change my view on something to avoid getting branded as something. I know, it's not right, but as I said earlier, as a libran, I am more interested in consensus building and harmony than anything else. Like on everything else, there are exceptions on this as well. I don't mind getting branded as something in certain aspects. I feel - it's okay!

Q: Do you feel a sense of achievement after every post- an article on the success of an anti corruption movement or a photograph of rising sun or a recipe for new halwa? Or do you feel you could have done better?
A: Yes. I do. Every time I look at the total number of posts I get more confident. If there is one person to appreciate my post, I feel fulfilled. And, yes - very often I have felt that I could have done better but can't help it considering the time constraints and other commitments that we have.

Q: Do you feel frustrated at being unable to do anything beyond creating a post say after a terrorist attack…say after clicking a pathetic beggar…say after visiting a neglected temple? Or do you feel you have done your job as a blogger?
A: Yes. I do feel so. Let me put it this way. I keep saying this - one of the primary reasons why I love writing is, it helps me vent out my frustrations in some form; I also help someone else get more frustrated about it, which surely is going to lead to something some day. It's like being part of a silent revolution. This is what is happening with blogging and social media these days. So many drops together... becoming an ocean!

Q: How do you take an adverse comment on your post? Is it better than a favorable comment? Or is it just better than ‘no comment’?
A: I want to be honest here again. I don't like such comments. I strongly believe that there should be some decency in whatever one speaks or writes. I am at least mature enough to ignore things that I don't like. At a minimum, I expect this from others. However, I am open to specific comments that help me correct myself or get better. I can't call intolerance constructive criticism. They are different. I think, I understand the difference between them. Hopefully, I am right! :)

Otherwise, I also strongly believe that 'indecent behaviors' should be criticized with indecent language.

Q: Is your answer a straight ‘haa’ ya ‘naa” for these questions? Or is it somewhere in between?
A: Both, 'yes or no's as well as 'in-between's.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


When nothing works out
And no one helps out
When there is none to share
And not even one to care
When cornered to an edge
And all decide to ditch
When things become hopeless
And life becomes meaningless
Self-cide becomes best-cide!

We say, inability to live is cowardice...
They say, ability to die is courageous!

Allowing mental stress to become physical mess...
Heart disease instead of self-decease...
Are they sings of courage?
They ask!

If euthanasia is mercy killing
Why not self killing?
When pain starts to ruin...
They question!

If there is no licence to kill myself
Where is the permit to harass myself?
They wonder!

Solution to a problem...
Solution becomes a problem...
Solution to one
Problem to many!

Solves one's troubles...
Dissolves n's dreams!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

We hear so much political speeches, spiritual addresses, literary commentaries and philosophical lectures. Each of their speeches are special for their own reasons. Some speeches emit fire; Some speeches are thundering; Some speeches are full of information, Some speeches are full of satire and sarcasm; Some are like music - so sweet to hear; Some are full of quotations from all across the world. Thus, each type of speech has its own beauty.

More than all these, I love the blabbering of drunkards and mentally retarded people. Some people are so gifted that anything they speak is very clear and attractive. I just love to keep quiet when they speak and watch. It's a feast to ears. It's those people who become orators when they get right opportunities. But, there is another group of people who just don't like to speak normally, but once a glass of liquid goes inside they rock. I wonder, 'Where was he keeping all this intelligence for so long?!'. So much information, philosophy, teasing, comedy! I am addicted to their speeches.

Likewise, the mentally retarded people also have so much philosophy. Looks like they have more clarity about life than us in many areas. They have an opinion about everything that they see and they comment about each of them. Even we may have those comments inside, but they don't come out. We feel so happy to hear something that we have thought of but hesitant to express. A statistics says one third of humanity is lunatic. They say that there are two categories of them - full time and part time lunatics. My goodness... even here! This one third consists mostly of the latter category - part time lunatics.

Another thing - When those who generally speak clearly don't speak so, it's called blabbering. When those who generally don't speak much speak out their mind, that is called blabbering too. So, the definition of blabbering is not depending on what you speak but on the speaker's background, context, and the listeners' background. If we don't understand something, we call them blabbering, too. If someone has an opposite view to ours, we call them blabbering, too. If someone has an opposite view to ours on an important issue, even on other issues... irrespective whatever they speak - even if it is the same thing as what we say but in different words - we ridicule them and call it blabbering. We also try to prove that what they say is actually blabbering.

What makes one blabber? What makes us enjoy blabbering? What makes us blabber is the restrictions that our society has put in, which discourages us from talking whatever we feel like. When we get an opportunity, our mind wants make full use of that. What makes us enjoy blabbering is, when someone speaks about something that we already have in our mind but we were hesitant to express we enjoy them. If I have to tell you the same thing differently, blabbering is natural; speaking is artificial. What has been going on from the day the first man was born is blabbering; What we learnt in between is speaking. The current blabbering is different from the stone-age blabbering. I should say, this blabbering was learnt in between in medieval period. But, it was an invention before speaking. I even wonder if that long lasting relationship with blabbering is what makes us blabber and enjoy when someone else does it.

Not all speeches are straight forward. Many people speak with hidden agendas many times. We mostly don't understand why they speak like that. When that is understood they get caught. When we don't understand them, we call them blabbering, too. Some people don't even understand their own hidden agendas. They are actually more intelligent than us. Smarter lots! You may call them subconscious agendas. Their subconscious mind works in lightning speed to calculate what is good for them and change their stance accordingly. When we don't understand them, we call them blabbering, too. Those who are smarter than them catch them very easily.

So, blabbering is not just blabbering. There are also other meaningful speeches that hide behind this wrong name and cheat us. It's a mask for some people. So, we can't ignore all blabbering. It's important to observe the blabbering as well. Even they have hidden meanings. Even they have hidden reasons. And, hidden agendas!

Everyone blabbers; children blabber; elders blabber; lunatics blabber; sages blabber; drunkards blabber; averages blabber. So, it's not a reserved behavior for any particular group of people. It's unreserved and public. All can make use of it. Some people do it always... Some people do it once in a while...I am doing it right now... :)

Wondering, "What a blabbering..."??? :)


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