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Wake up L - Why isn't dowry given to the bride?

I heard of a case where the girl's family paid dowry in crores because the boy had passed a prestigious exam! The word 'pay' is said to be derived from the Latin word 'pacare' meaning 'to pacify' or appease or make peace with. Apparently, in ancient times, the bridegroom's family paid the bride's father to appease him - to compensate the father who would be losing the services of one member of his family. Nowadays you rarely find a case of dowry being given to the bride (it happens in certain areas but research says it is changing even there)! Perhaps because they are considered weak?

I wonder why that came to be so; perhaps in a one-on-one fight with a male she might lose (though I think there are women who could beat men in that as well these days!). But if you think of the hardships of pregnancy one wonders why women are called weak - nine months of excruciating pain they bear with a smile, without complaining, just to see the arrival of the baby. And after that most of the times it is the mother who takes care of the kid while the father is away at work! Feeding the child a meal is a daunting task; the father would give up saying, "The child will eat when it is hungry" while the mother, worried about the child, will run all around the house with a bowl in hand narrating creative stories to make the child eat.

Are they weak? And why do they have to pay the groom? I've heard people argue that dowry helps the new couple start their lives. But is it really worth getting an unfair advantage? If you were playing a computer game and used a cheat code to make yourself invincible, you will get bored of the game after a few minutes. But if you played the same game without the cheat code, you would enjoy playing it for hours because success tastes sweeter when it is earned. Same is the case with dowry – enjoy life and earn your life; things that come free aren't memorable.

Wake up LI - You should do this, not that!

There are so many times when we are really confused in life. I can probably pull up a dozen instances from my past and I'm sure you can too - right from school days we have confusion over something or the other; forget the petty decisions – even the major ones are filled with confusion.

And more often that not the confusion gets complicated when other people drop their opinions into your mental closet. In school days it is a matter of someone saying, "You should become a doctor" while someone else says "you should become an engineer".

Then in college we have more confusions - "You should specialize in surgery" says one while another comments, "You should gain some hospital experience and earn some money. In the engineering world someone would say, "Doing an MBA will be a great asset" while another would say, "Getting a job is good since it will give you valuable work experience". More the number of people around, more opinions you get; more opinions you get, more choices you have; and more choices you have the more confused you become! I had read somewhere that we actually become what we think others think of us! More of a case like you shaping yourself to fit the mental image that others have of you :-)

I've seen a couple of people who keep wandering from one aim to another just because someone tells them so; and unfortunately they have never pursued anything whole heartedly either because by the time they get involved in something, their mind ponders into the next career idea!

I guess it is good to have all the choices but finally you ought to sit down and think of why you want to do something - and if you don't have a proper answer to that question then chances are you really don't know where you want to get to. Circumstances also play a vital role but more often that not circumstances will help eliminate choices and reduce confusion.

So, what are you passionate about?

Wake up LII - How much is too much?

I came across different view points on the same issue from different people regarding how much handholding a senior should do at the workplace?

One person felt the senior should continuously monitor the junior - kind of like continuous handholding; extreme forms being the senior asking every ten minutes what is the status! Another person felt that the senior should just assign the task and forget about it – the junior can research and complete the task. In case the junior can't do it then the senior can chip in. And another feels either extreme is bad for career growth and the senior should do some handholding but not non-stop monitoring that he/she literally becomes a pain for the neck (with constant head turning by the junior to see if senior is watching!).

One of the problems might be because people just about take any job that comes their way - because of circumstances and the pay factor (at the end of the day that is what matters). It is not by choice but rather by circumstances that many land in a job – and not everyone usually finds the job they like. So when you don't really enjoy the work you do, one is bound to lag in interest.

So what should the senior do? I did notice over time that each person needs to be treated differently – the concept of treating every individual as just another resource doesn't work. Each one needs a different level of handholding and seniors should let go of the hand once in a while – can't be done in case of critical tasks but not every task is critical.

And what should the junior do? Put your best because you are after all paid for it – and if you aren't happy with the amount of handholding then do talk with your senior; more often that not we never tell things to the person involved and keep cribbing behind their back. Ask and you shall receive. And at the end of the day senior and junior work on the same side - it is a team sport; so put your heads together and see what works best for you.

Wake up LIII - Automation is great, is it?

Recently Honda built a device to make walking easy; the device is such that you sit on it while the device takes up the burden of moving your leg – basically you don't need to use your energy to move yourself but you will get the feel of walking. I wondered if we'll soon forget to walk and after a period of time in case the device fails we would not know how to stand as! Of course it is a boon for those who are unable to walk and it is actually meant to improve their lives; it gives them the power of mobility. But when you have something that could possibly make our life more luxurious (or make us more lazy) we will be tempted to use it! And over time we'd forget how to walk since we would depend on it for everything - okay, maybe that is an exaggeration but automating anything tends to have its drawbacks.

There was this smart techie colleague who automated an entire batch process (what we call 'end of day' scripts/jobs in computer jargon). The usual process was that whenever a test cycle had to be executed the tester needed to change parameters, get the latest programs ready, setup some data in the database, run a sequence of programs, check the results and then run another sequence of programs. This techie automated the whole thing with a front-end panel where you just key in a few fields and the tool would take care of everything and even send you an email with the test results. Sounds great right? It is but the problem was that anyone new to the project never knew what really happened in an end of day cycle – all they knew was only the tool and not what actually happened behind the scenes – the dangers are obvious.

A nice example (maybe again an exaggeration but a nice thought to ponder over) was portrayed in the animation movie WALL E where humans (in the future) have got used to robots controlling their life – robots control their moods, food they eat, what they see, how they feel. And humans in turn have forgotten how to walk, play and socialize!

Wake up LIV - Start fresh...GO GO GO...

It is that time of the year to reflect
and over memories good and bad recollect
I ponder over choices i did select
and opportunities that i did neglect

I feel like giving myself a kick
for the times i missed the trick
There are many moments i can pick
thinking of which makes me sick

But now is the time to let the past purge
and let within the adrenalin surge
looking on to the path ahead
and marching on with my tread

It is time to institute some rigor
and renew my self belief and vigor
I will eliminate all my stupor
pursuing what i think as a dreamer

Rigor - strictness
Stupor - mental numbness
Vigor - physical/mental energy