Letting go

A baby hand holding his father's finger

If you read my previous post “All grown up” here, you will realize that some experiences in my past, specifically the ones dealing with the passing away of my maternal grandparents instilled a sense of ‘detachment’ in me more than anything else. As years went by and as I had more such experiences in life where friends and relatives tended to ‘drift apart’ from me due to a variety of reasons I developed a sense of ‘detachment’ with relationships in general.

Not to say that I don’t get attached to people or to relationships at all, but it was more like me planning for the ‘worst case scenario’ almost all the time. And in the case of relationships such a scenario would either be the other person gradually drifting apart from me or even worse. While I understand that this probably can be viewed as pessimistic or even cynical by most readers, this attitude of mine has stood the test of time for me, and has probably been the single most effective method by which I have prevented myself from getting ‘hurt’ in relationships for quite some time now.

While I do realize that having such an attitude probably (many of you might even use the adjective ‘surely’) prevents me from ever having a completely ‘fruitful’ relationship with anybody, given that I am almost never completely honest with myself or the other party in a relationship and am always hesitant to give ‘my all’ to the relationship, the fact remains that this is one aspect of my personality which probably has been changed for good and probably cannot be changed back ever.

But then, getting married and subsequently having a daughter after six long years of married life have changed this aspect of mine to a large extent. Today, my wife and little girl, and to a smaller extent my extended family of in-laws mean much more to me not just because they are related to me but also due to the extremely intense personal equations that I enjoy with all of them. However, there still exist large parts of my personality which remain skeptical about my ability to be genuinely ‘attached’ to them given my bad experiences in the past. I almost always try and look for avenues where I can ‘let go’ of my attachments to any relationship I have…I guess that part of my personality has become so strongly fused with me that it will always remain a part of me forever.

One thing that both my wife and me are very conscious about and have been since our little girl came into our lives is the fact that we ought to remain extremely objective about our relationship with her and not allow ourselves to get inalienably or unduly attached to her. We always tell ourselves that end of day, she has her own personality and is going to develop into a wonderful individual person of her own. We need to perform our duties as parents, provide for all her necessities, inculcate good human values in her, teach her how to survive in this world, provide her with a decent education which will hold her in good stead, all this while remaining relatively ‘detached’ from her.

While readers may believe that this is probably an ‘escapist’ kind of mindset that we are exhibiting, both of us sincerely believe that this is the most effective way to bring up a child nowadays. Given the changes we are witnessing in the cultural landscape the day isn’t too far away when urban children such as ours will want their independence sooner rather than later, and it therefore would help if all urban parents learn to ‘let go’ of their children sooner rather than later in lives.

We personally believe that gone are the days when children relied solely on their parents to take the relatively more important decisions of their lives. And if anything, we parents should feel happy and blessed if they actually even allow us to be part of these decisions. Each successive generation exhibits levels of maturity and independence that easily surpass that of previous generations, and by the time my little girl reaches her teenage years, I am more than sure that she wouldn’t even think twice about living life on her own terms without necessarily involving us parents in her decision making process.

But then, what prompted this post, this ‘rant’ about children nowadays, and about ‘letting go’ sooner rather than later?

Given that I reach office at around 7.45 AM IST every day, it is either my dad (mostly) or my wife (rarely) who drop off my little girl to the play school where she is enrolled. However, on Friday I was working from home and I therefore decided to drop her off that day. Having heard stories that she almost always is more than happy when she actually sees the school and its surroundings and has absolutely no issues saying a quick bye and running into the school compound, I thought it would be a breeze. And the fact that she has been attending play school for more than six months now also gave me the confidence that this would be an easy task. But then life has a way of biting you in the backside when you least expect it, doesn’t it.

There we were, on the two wheeler, me telling my lil one to behave herself, have fun with friends, sing her rhymes and all that when we stopped outside the gates of the school. Unlike her usual self, she took her time in getting off from the vehicle and then without looking back at me, she started rubbing her eyes. The lady from the school gently took her by the hand and started leading her inside. She had hardly taken a couple of steps when she turned back, looked at me and started bawling her lungs out, teary eyed and all.

At that point in time, all my theories about ‘letting go’ and ‘staying detached’ got thrown out of the window. I immediately parked the vehicle, went up to her, lifted her up and the two of us stood there for a good 40 odd seconds when I showed her how her friends were already there at school and were waiting to play with her that day. And as is the norm with kids her age, she immediately wanted to go and join them. Thus ended the tears and the sorrow of separation for her.

As for me, while I am not having any second thoughts about my concept of ‘letting go’, I sure have realized that two and a half years is too young an age to actually begin ‘letting go’ of my daughter, and that I should give her some more time to ‘find her own feet’, so to speak.

Apologies and gratitude


Thank you ……………. Sorry

Most readers of this blog have probably used these words countless number of times in their lives, at various occasions, to convey a plethora of emotions ranging from genuine gratitude to faked apologies. This post does not necessarily portend to relate to all these emotions, but rest assured a genuine attempt has been made to do so.

I am sure all of us have been taught as youngsters (by youngsters I am referring to the age when we actually learnt to speak to express our emotions a little better as small kids) to convey our gratitude to anybody who helps us out in any situation. Something as simple as somebody helping us lift a heavy bag, helping us get on a train, helping us out with directions, all of these people deserve our gratitude and we were taught to express the same by saying a simple ‘Thank you’.

On similar lines, we were also taught to apologize whenever we intentionally or inadvertently committed a mistake. We were taught to be sensitive to people around us, sensitive to their likes and dislikes, sensitive to the fact that our actions might cause them discomfort, cause them hurt. We were taught that saying a ‘Sorry’ might help them assuage their temporary inconvenience caused due to our actions.

For some of us this became second nature, but for a majority of us, these became forgotten expressions of gratitude and apology.

As we grew older and became more sophisticated and learnt the ways of the world, we started forming our own interpretations of people, the work they do, their duties and automatically our expectations from them increased manifold. Suddenly, the valet who opened the door for us everyday with a smile started being viewed critically. We started noticing whether his shirt was impeccably ironed, whether his body posture was that befitting a professional valet, whether the courtesy he showed us was adequate in comparison to our ‘standing in society’, and a myriad of other unnecessary things. And then we started judging his behavior on the job keeping in mind all these variables. Somewhere in this mix, we completely forgot the fact that hey, this was still a guy who was holding open the door for us whenever we walked in an out of the building, and that simple act still deserved our gratitude. Somewhere the simple ‘Thank you’ simply stopped being uttered.

Similarly, as we grew older, we once again started making ourselves the ‘center’ of our world. We started taking things and people for granted. At some levels we started behaving like what we think and what we do are the most important things in the world and nothing else mattered. Even if our actions caused people discomfort, we chose to ignore the same by telling ourselves that such minor indiscretions on our part did not matter much. Even when we were in elevators inconveniencing others by putting on our backpacks and continuously bumping into them, we didn’t care because we were lazy enough not to hold the backpacks in our hands. Even when we jumped queues in our hurry to get the best seats to the show, we didn’t care that the others in the queue had actually patiently waited their turn. Even when we jumped the lunch line to get that last piece of cheesecake, we didn’t care much for the others who might have wanted the same.

Age, money and a standing in society brought about an extremely callous and careless attitude in us. It taught us that saying a ‘Sorry’ or a ‘Thank You’ didn’t quite matter as much as it did when we were younger. It taught us that to apologize or to show gratitude was not quite necessary when you were ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ than others. It didn’t matter as these were unimportant traits which did not matter in the ‘bigger picture of life’.

Wonder when we will all come back to the ground and realize that each and every act that we do impacts others in more ways than one. Wonder when reality will bite us and we will realize that it is those random acts of kindness and gratitude that make us a more advanced and mature species than most others that exist in this world. Wonder when we will finally realize that simple expressions of apology and gratitude will go a long way in helping us get a little something extra from all the people we deal with on a daily basis.

Image courtesy: http://www.cartoonstock.com

This post was selected as one of Blogadda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks on August 13, 2013.


Virtual networking – How much is enough?




For the past couple of years now I have endlessly wondered how much of virtual networking is sufficient for normal people like you and me.


I know people whose Facebook friends run into hundreds and then I also know people who barely have 20 Facebook friends. I know people who tweet endlessly about anything and everything they do, see, experience and feel, and then I know people who only read tweets and don’t even bother replying/re-tweeting these tweets. In a nutshell, I know people who have an extremely active online virtual presence and have a big virtual network and I also know people who are not so active virtually as well. Are they any different? I don’t think so.


Agreed that the people who have a bigger virtual network are probably a little more ‘clued’ into the latest happenings from a ‘pop culture’ perspective, ie, latest movies, latest books, latest songs, etc. That I guess is a result of being completely on top of the most popular happenings of the world in the ‘virtual world’. That being said, when it comes to conventional current affairs, news, happenings around the world, these virtual nerds/geeks/zombies are pretty much on par (or in some cases, even behind) the regular people who keep track of newspapers, news shows on TV, and other traditional media. My opinion is that by embracing the virtual networking craze with a little too much zeal and zest, the virtual geeks are spending too much time on too much unnecessary information.


Yes, the virtual world provides you with an opportunity to have seemingly endless information at your fingertips, but what you do with all that information is something that has to be decided smartly. For eg, if you are a movie fan like myself, there are endless sites which provide you with the latest movie information, movie trailers, movie clippings, interviews with the stars of the movie, and I can pretty much spend my entire day and the next just flipping from one site to another, reading, viewing, enjoying myself. But what use is that information if I don’t actually go ahead and put it to any productive use. Information is valuable only when it is put to productive use, when it is used to enhance one’s life or any small aspect of one’s life, isnt’ it?


Today, we are all a part of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and probably a couple of more virtual networks. And yes, all of these networks have their own uses and pitfalls, but my question is where does one draw the line with these virtual networks? How much of your personal information and your life are you willing to share virtually? And I am not asking this question as a result of all the ‘data privacy’ issues that people talk about (that is material enough for a separate blog post or even a dedicated blog :D ). I am asking this question because most of the times I feel that people share a little too much of information on these networks.


Yes, I find it mildly interesting to know what a friend of mine in Hyderabad ate for breakfast today, but her incessant posting of food pictures of her every meal, day after day, meal after meal gets on my nerves after a point in time. Letting people know what you eat every meal of the day doesn’t quite count as networking, does it. Or maybe it does, and I am missing a point here…I don’t know.


There is no doubt that virtual networks have made it possible for people to come together for like-minded causes such as charity, walkathons for noble causes, collection of relief funds and material for disasters. They also provide an avenue for budding artists, writers, poets to showcase their work and get real time, uninhibited feedback on their creations. They provide a much needed avenue for amateur writers like myself to enhance my writing skills via the medium of blogging, and they also provide all voyeuristic readers like myself a chance to read about the lives of people all over the world. The benefits of such online collaborations are many and have proved to be extremely powerful as well, for eg, Wikipedia lists at least 4 massive public protests in the recent past which were coordinated using Twitter [Link to Wikipedia page]. Therefore the power of virtual networks to bring a large group of people together in a coordinated fashion cannot be ignored anymore.


That being said, another sad truth which needs to be accepted is the fact that most youngsters today use virtual networks simply to kill time which could otherwise be spent a little more productively. After all, there are better things to do that forward internet picture memes, forward stupid rehashed jokes of Tamil and Hindi movies on Facebook, right!!! I don’t have a problem with having a virtual network, but when the virtual networking takes over and dominates everything else in your life, that’s when my problem starts.


I personally use virtual networks to keep in touch with far flung cousins in Singapore and the US of A. Facebook is probably the only place where I can get to see my niece and nephews regularly via the pictures and videos that my cousins post. That being said, the joy I get when I actually see them in person during their annual trips, no Facebook or Skype can ever beat that.


This post was prompted by this article that I read yesterday where a journalist actually ‘live tweeted’ though his mother’s last few days of her battle with cancer [Link to article]. I really don’t know what to make of that situation.


I would really love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What do you use your virtual networks for? How much of virtual networking do you think is required in today’s connected world?


Image courtesy: Google image search for ‘virtual networking cartoon’


Let the buyer beware…



  1. When we spend 50 ps to buy ourselves a candy, we are not too worried about what candy we buy.
  2. When we spend 10 bucks to buy ourselves a chocolate bar, we are still not too worried about what chocolate we buy.
  3. When we spend 200 bucks to fill fuel in our two wheeler, we ensure that the fuel meter is set to zero and all the fuel goes inside the petrol tank of our vehicle.
  4. When we spend around 1,000 bucks to buy a branded shirt, we ensure that the color and pattern is of our choice, the size and fitting is appropriate and that we are fully satisfied.
  5. When we spend around 50,000 bucks on buying a new electronic gadget, we do our homework, we ensure that we research various brands, features, compatibility with our existing devices, etc and then we go ahead and ensure that we buy the right model of the correct brand after having seen a demo of the product itself.
  6. When we spend more than a few lakhs of our rupees on buying a new car, we do more extensive research, we take a test drive, we might even take our family members out on a test drive, we enquire which dealer provides the best after sales service, the best deals and then buy the car.

What was the point of this whole rambling above? The point that I was trying to make was that as the amount invested in a particular venture increases, our commitment to ensuring that it suits the original purpose increases manifold. As the amount increases, we take additional steps to ensure that all the money spent provides us with desired (or in some cases, better than desired) returns. Right…..

I still remember one of the earliest concepts that I was taught in Microeconomics was ‘caveat emptor’, a Latin term which literally translated means ‘let the buyer beware’. To put this term in layman language, and in plain English, it simply means that sellers and service providers are at liberty to pretty much sell anything they want, in whatever condition they want, and it is the buyers’ responsibility to ensure that the goods/services they purchase meet the conditions for which they are required for. The only exception to this principle is if the seller actively conceals any defects or faults in the good/service.

Why exactly am I giving the readers of this blog a lesson in basic microeconomics?

Because I came across this hilariously funny article (which I have every reason to believe is fact) where during the recently held IBL (Indian Badminton League) auctions, the bidders bid USD 46,000 for Pradnya Gadre whereas her more illustrious doubles partner, Ashwini Ponappa went for a price of USD 25,000. Why? Because the auction organizers made a mistake in their brochures and listed all of Ashwini Ponappa’s achievements under Pradnya. [Link to article]

While the organizers might have made a genuine mistake, my question was, what the hell were the bidders thinking about? Were they relying only on the organizers’ brochures for information regarding the players they were bidding for? Did they do any other homework at all before bidding? Do they even care about the game of badminton? Or are they participating in the IBL only because they foresee it to be the next big sports league of the country like the IPL? Just what the hell is going on…

It is a sad state of affairs when people who are willing to spend USD 46,000 have no clue as to the achievements of the player they are buying, and have also ended up buying the wrong player.

Wonder when sports other than cricket will get any kind of respect, attention, and the love of the paying public in this country…

Image courtesy: Google image search for ‘caveat emptor cartoons’


Overparenting….yes, there really is such a term


Yes, there is such a term called ‘over-parenting’. Read this Wikipedia article about the same.

I first heard (or actually read) about this particular phenomenon some months ago when I read this article about the book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ written by Amy Chua. You can read enough and more articles supporting and against this particular book and its concepts all over the internet, just google “Tiger Mother” and you will find hundreds or even thousands of articles.

What prompted this post was the fact that I came across this article in Firstpost about how today’s parents put too much pressure on their kids to perform well not just at school and academics but also outside of school, in the playground, at home, wherever they are, whatever they do.

My wife and me noticed the fact that most of the lanes around where we stay in Bangalore are crowded with pre-schools/play-schools and how all of them seem to have some or the other summer camp going on. From teaching kids painting, dancing, crafts, and all other assorted types of hobbies. We have started this daily walk habit and everyday we take a different route to walk in, and everyday we notice new pre-schools and play-schools, but one theme is common, all of them are in the Summer Camp season right now. This led to both of us wondering what we used to do when we were kids. And the consensus was that we pretty much used to spend time either at home, or at an uncle’s house with our cousins doing nothing focused, playing games at random, enjoying the summer sun, and the glorious outdoors with minimum adult supervision. Yes, we might not have realized our true potentials as painters, dancers or singers, but we turned out Ok, didn’t we!!!

Having said that, our parents led less hectic and tedious lives. They didn’t have to travel 25+ kms a day to office, they didn’t have to drive through ‘road-rage’ filled traffic, they didn’t have to contend with as much pollution, they didn’t have to fight tooth and nail to get good appraisals and promotions, they didn’t have to worry too much about job security, etc. As parents nowadays, all of the above items are realities. As adult individuals, if we face so many problems, then just add the children variable to the equation and it is quite clear that today’s parents are screwed.

Today, we have to necessarily worry about our careers and the money we make simply because pot loads of money is what is required to ensure that our kids have a good future. Something as basic and simple as a pre-school costs at least INR 5000/- for a trimester, and I am not even talking about the world-class pre-schools, but regular neighborhood aunty-variety ones. A school admission in any decent school (meaning one with qualified, accredited, good teachers) does entail some kind of donation irrespective of whichever politician or policeman you know. Add to this the cost of uniforms, books, school bus, other related items such as stationery, accessories, etc, and all of this in today’s prices adds up to quite a bit.

And guess what, given the number of kids that are enrolling in decent schools, the competition for any decent degree such as a BE, B’Tech, B Sc, B Com, BA, etc has also exponentially increased. Making our kids employable is another costly story which I am not even getting into.

The above two paragraphs kind of explain why today’s parents are anxious to ensure that anything and everything related to their kid’s development and education happen without a glitch. Where today’s parents make the mistake is when they get personally involved with their kid’s learning (not education but the learning process itself). Today’s parents are not allowing their kids to make mistakes and learn from them. Yes, kids require hand-holding, but it is only when kids fall down will they learn that falling down hurts, but they also learn that when they fall down, all they have to do is to stand up, brush themselves off and continue walking once again. They need to learn that falling down is only a temporary setback and not a permanent one. As parents, our responsibility is to ensure that kids learn to stand back up on their own, learn to brush themselves off, and teach them to start walking again. We need to teach our kids how to overcome temporary setbacks, rather than taking steps to ensure that they never face setbacks or failures.

In fact, this wonderful article from The Atlantic goes on to talk about why parents should allow their kids to fail once in a while, as it makes the kids tougher, grittier and stronger to face bigger failures when they are older. This other article from The Atlantic talks about how parents from different parts of the world perceive their children’s state of mind, and it is interesting to note that American parents seem to focus more on the cognitive development of their kids whereas European parents seem to focus more on the state of mind of the kid. Europeans seem more laidback when compared to Americans in terms of how their kids develop ‘scientific skills’ compared to ‘life skills’. I personally would love my daughter to develop more life skills as I believe these will anyways help her pick up scientific skills later on an ‘as-required’ basis and thank God, my wife agrees with me on this.

Image courtesy: http://blessedexistence-blessed.blogspot.com