Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Step # 2

The most difficult thing in excercising control is the initial oath. When I read that from Gandhiji's "Experiments with the truth", I started pondering on his observation from his life.

Now, its no more just an academic read. I can now see why he states so. I struggled a lot to take up the vow of turning vegetarian. Myriad of questions thronged my mind. Self doubt about my ability to have my will under my control was the most daunting.

But once the ship started sailing, it was not that rough a ride. Yes, there was some craving for the hyderabadi biryani or the prawns curry for a while in the initial days. Today, I do not even feel the temptation to deviate from my stand. Yes, sometimes the craving kicks in - trust the mind to do it! But that craving just whimpers away as a small rat on the big stage! Its gone even before I notice it!

Encouraged by my own little success, it has given enough confidence to take the step #2. Yesterday I have decided to start version 2 of the changes. Its about killing each of my bad habits - this time its about my thought processes.

I made sure that I have nothing accessible to me which could potentially entice me back to my old style of thinking. I thought that would be the easy part, but believe me it looked like someone was screaming at me not to embark on this new route. There was a huge pull to hold me back! I dont know how I fought that demon called inertia but I decided to set sail on my next interesting voyage.

I have been going through some withdrawal symptoms in trying to adopt this new system in purging all my thoughts. But if I were to go by my experiences of my first set of experiments and their results, I have a belief that sometime sooner or later this will be internalized in me. I do not have to consciously fight it out.

I do not know if I currently have all the wherewithal to reach the destination I have set out for. But I do know that I will find my ways to get there if I work hard enough. I am not under the impression that controlling my thoughts (not just actions) is any easy ask. But theres the target I set for myself and over a few years (or may be a few decades) I hopefully would have weeded out all that symbolizes impurity in me.

And yes! I am enjoying the sailing part as much as the joy of anticipation of reaching my destination! And thats such a big encouragement for me to keep sailing!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How old art Thy?

A few years ago, I had to adjust to being called 'uncle' from 'anna'! I was making a mapping in my mind that I have grown older and should slowly accept being called 'uncle'. Not that I had issues, it just sounded funny that the same guys on the street playing cricket would now yell at me "Ball please UNCLE!" Now that was half a decade ago.

Come another six months, and I am eagerly waiting to be addressed as "DADDY!" Heck! I am growing older day by day! :P

Its not always that you want to be young. Infact sometimes I wish I looked older. When I used to meet people to talk about my software product, I was amused when people used to enquire about my age - does it matter I used to ask myself? I am here to talk business with you. I am here because of a belief that I can add value to your business and why should you be bothered about my age?

One of my dreams from the company I set up is to facilitate education in remote areas of India. In this regard, I once went on a trip to some rural and semi-urban areas to check out the technical feasibility. I almost fell off my chair when one gentleman in Bhimavaram first asked me my age and then followed up with whether I was married! And that was even before I explained to him about my software that should help him! My uncle later explained to me that he was looking for a suitable "groom" for his daughter! (Now! What a way to find a son-in-law! - Shaadi.com - are you listening? )

And then I started taking it as a compliment. Specially when they tell me that they could not tell me apart from the kids preparing for their 12th class exams! :) But then, while it did make me feel happy, I soon realized that I desperately needed to look older if people were to take me serious! I am not here to feel flattered, I am here on business!

My father's brother has a similar issue. He is one of India's finest liver transplant surgeons in India, but since he is quite young, he jokes around that he tries to look older to help his patients psychologically! :)

Now I wonder what it is with age? I have also fallen into that trap of believing that the older a person is, the more responsible the person shall be. But I was proved utterly wrong. So these days I believe that a person is who he is ... nothing to do with the age! Age brings in wisdom only to those people who value their experiences and better their thoughts, actions and behavior by each passing moment. Age has effectively zero significance in adding to wisdom for people who choose to have a very short term memory of their experiences and continue to behave in an irresponsible and reckless manner.

Having said that I learnt that age has got nothing to do with wisdom or trustworthiness of a person, I still do my best to look older when I meet my potential customers. I am an engineer who loves to interact with the market even though I do not come from a sales background. But I take my sales pitches very seriously. When it comes to age and looking older, I make sure that I am in formals when I step out of my office.

Otherwise, when I go to my office its always a t-shirt and shorts for me. Since when I am in my office, I do not need to pretend to be more "wise" with my colleagues. In fact, I should confess that I like it when they call me "bhaiyya" or "anna", so much so that "sir" has been officially banned in my office :)

Just a couple of days ago, after quite a gap, some one actually asked me the same "dreaded" question - "Raghu, how old are you?". Believe me! That was the first question he asked me! But I actually felt happy when he asked. For I could make out that he asked me not to doubt my capability in delivering on my promises. He genuinely felt happy with the energy levels I showed in my pitch and he just wanted to know a few details about when I started my company, etc etc. At the end of the meeting, he entrusted me to rollout tuningfork for all his 70 schools. Now that was the biggest deal I ever closed! May be its time that I can call myself a sales-pro now! :P

Nah... I am better off being an engineer :) Old or young, doesn't matter... as long as people like me for any little value addition that I bring into their organizations and their lives!