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Wake up XXXXI - Why me?

It has been an eventful week where I came across a number of people from different walks of like. I happened to meet a friend who lamented, "Oh why is it that everything had to change when I joined the company? They changed the process right at the time I joined. It's always happened with me".

And then there was the man I saw outside the cancer institute walking with a thick straw sticking out of his body through a slit in his neck with some bandages around to keep it in place. Cancer treatment can be very traumatizing. He might have been wondering 'Why me?' looking at others who could enjoy their daily meal.

There are people who lead a healthy lifestyle and yet get diabetes or high blood pressure. And they invariably ask, "Why me? I live a healthy life". Or even if they don't ask then some relative will show up on a bright sunny day to remind them of their health condition and put forth the question, "Why did it happen to you? You were so watchful about your health". And then there were these college students who, though placed, haven't got offer letters from the IT companies till now because of the slowdown in the US economy and they ask, "Why me? Why did this happen to our batch?"

Come to think of it all our worries are relative; just like success is relative. It always appears as if today is messier than the past! A sticky situation we find ourselves in now is stickier than the one we were in yesterday. There was a nice dialogue in the animation movie Kung Fu Panda repeated a few times by the wise old turtle Oogway, "Nothing is an accident". And so are the situations we find ourselves in everyday. Instead of fretting over it we ought to try and enjoy it.

And if you ask again, "Why me?" … cheer up – there must be something special in you; that's why it's you and not someone else.

Wake up XXXXII - Actions, big or small, matter

Every little action counts; you never know who might be influenced by your actions. A friend, who went abroad for studies told me that he felt very disappointed when he saw people he looked up to, act in lowly ways that he never expected them to.
"It felt like they let me down".

Actions can indirectly create a positive vibe as well. While in the heart of US, New York, every evening when I stepped out of office I would see at least two people jogging briskly in shorts and half sleeve t-shirts. I guessed they were practicing for some marathon. Whatever they were practicing for, watching them I got excited within; - a strong positive energy build up; something like their energy rubbing off on you after a tough day at office. It made me feel a lot more positive in the evening.

The same I could feel during the Chennai marathon - the amount of energy in each of those tiny tots running with enthusiasm was something that elevated you to a different level. Again, none of them were doing it with the purpose of inspiring someone; the marathoners were training for long distance running while the kids were just enjoying themselves. But what they were doing made a difference in me. So whatever you do, wherever you do it and even if you feel that no one is watching you do it, beware - the walls have ears; there could be a kid who will get inspired by it or someone who could feel let down. Watch your actions.

"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wake up XXXXIII - Money yesterday, broke today!

What a week the last one was! Money disappearing just like that - some of the biggest names in the financial sector no longer exist; names that have built a brand over the past 100 years have sunk overnight (or rather over the weekend!). Fortunately none of the sinking firms were involved in retail banking - meaning they weren't banks having deposits of customers like you and me.

I was wondering how it would be if one retail bank shut shop one fine day and declared bankruptcy! Well, yes - we do have protection to some extent given by the Government - if you didn't know then there is a Rupees one lakh protection given by the RBI to all depositors having deposits in one of their authorized banks (which pretty much includes most of the major banks we use); So if you have a deposit with a bank and it goes bust then RBI will pay upto Rs.1 Lakh to you depending on how much deposit you had. If you have deposits in multiple banks then you spread your risk as well as get insurance cover separately in each bank; guess it is good to diversify risk even in bank deposits which are considered pretty safe. In the US also they have a similar depositors insurance - kind of helps keep the faith of people in the banking system. If you are curious to read about the RBI insurance policy, you can check it out here:

But anyway, let us continue on our thought of a retail bank collapsing; the thought was fascinating because you might accumulate so much money over the years - putting your sweat and time into making money, giving up on the simple pleasures of life for years together (like enjoying a hobby or enjoying the sunset or holding hands with someone you love or enjoying the smile of a baby) and then discover one fine day that your wealth has been wiped out almost entirely.

Wow; what a thought - I hope it doesn't happen but I just wanted you to think over it for a minute (if not for the entire day!).

Wake up XXXXIV - Destiny?

There were a couple of real-life incidents that happened over the last one month that made me wonder about destiny.

Picture this

Scene 1 - A college student has reserved a seat in a train well in advance. On the day of travel, the boy doesn't make it to the station in time, due to circumstances beyond his control, and misses the train. He is forced to wait for a few hours and travel in the unreserved compartment in the next train. While the train is in motion he walks to meet the TT and due to a sudden jerk gets thrown out of the train via a door, that is unfortunately open. His head strikes a milestone and because of the force with which he was thrown (the train was moving at peak speed), he died on the spot.

Scene 2 - An overcrowded bus in the heart of the city with people hanging on to the windows of the bus with just one foot planted inside the bus on the footboard. The bus is travelling on a highway at high speed and one of the spidermen loses his grip on the window bar. He crashes onto the road and rolls over like a rag doll tossed out of a moving vehicle. There are many who have died in similar circumstances. Fortunately for him in this case he fell from the back entrance of the bus, thus evading the back wheel. And fortunately there was no other vehicle behind this bus.

The first thing that strikes you in both cases is destiny; there are certain things that you just can't escape - perhaps the end is one of them; And it reminds us that we never know which day is our last day out here.