Archive | August, 2012

What’s Your EMM?

27 Aug

My better-half is the real better half of the two halves in many ways. Her energy is boundless, focus is laser sharp, follow-up is fervent, multi-tasking is mindboggling, kindness is unconditional and complete selflessness is spellbinding. When Jr. makes it to the podium as World Champion (he’s a Chess pro) some day, I wouldn’t think twice before pointing the press & media her way as all credit will have to be rightfully hers. I would’ve been somebody in this society, if I had even 1/3rd of her traits. Yet, for all her great qualities, there’s one thing that never failed to perplex me.

There are times when she sits almost still in front of the TV when some stupid (it’s not called Idiot box for nothing) program is running, with a blissful smile on her face. She’s not one of those home makers whose lives are entwined with the whining stories (if there’s any) of never-ending soaps. She doesn’t watch sports irrespective of whether it is the IPL or Olympics (she might if they ever broadcast a Chess championship, which might happen when either they rename the sport as Cricket or the Sun rises in the west)! She isn’t a big movie fan either. We never have to fight for the remote as I’ve a separate home theatre setup (natural for a Hollywood movie & all things HD buff like me), but this one was a real Sherlock case for me & I decided to unravel the mystery (without either the hat or Mr.Watson by my side, of course).

The programs that she watched (or appeared to watch to be accurate) weren’t the same, but fell under 3 categories.

  • Talk (more Shout) shows where family members shamelessly wash dirty linen in the studio – with a generous helping by the host (usually in an ill-fitting suit, with untucked shirt) who usually adds a generous amount of fuel to the fire by pushing them to throw more dirt on each other. These shows are typically concluded by a few self-proclaimed experts (according to the host) who liberally advise all present in studio with their wiser-than-thou views, which may offend not only the mud-slinger participants but also the viewers.
  • Dancing or Singing competitions that torment kids & grownups alike, usually with out-of-circulation starlets or masters with horrendous sense of dress or style as judges. Someone – usually the host / ess – will always howl ‘oooh’ whenever the judges speak. And the dancers – invariably wearing garish make-up and plastic smile – will pretend to wait with bated breath for the expert verdict, delivered using language that’ll drive purists to Seppuku.
  • Comedy scenes from movies, where the comedians really try way too hard to make the viewers laugh. The daily comics in the newspapers do it effortlessly. May be none of these comedians read any comics! Or watched the classics with effervescent Chaplin or evergreen Tom & Jerry. It’s not about the faces or noises, stupid!

Now that the investigator in me has dug up so much vital information, the engineer took over and got down to the task of analyzing the hard facts in front of me and tried putting together the pieces of the puzzle. It was as futile as me trying to solve the Rubic’s cube, which I could at least dismantle and put back together. Ishikawa San and Monsieur De Bono were further taunting me with their wonderful tools to decipher this complex scenario. I also pondered about 5-Why, before deciding to give it a rest, as I have no intention to contest for Clooney’s greypularity, as other than being humans on the wrong side of 40 with, well, grey hair, we don’t have much in common anyway!

The Eureka moment happened on a weekend afternoon (oh, don’t have any wild imagination as there’s no bathtub in my home). It was just another day in paradise (my home, naturally) and I was drying clothes. This is a chore I willingly take upon (a minuscule one compared to the household chores my better-half handles on a daily basis) and do meticulously. After about 15 minutes into drying clothes, it suddenly dawned upon me (despite being a cloudy day) that I was almost thoughtless during that time. My mind was blank. Empty, actually. I ran like a mad man to my woman and asked her if that’s how she felt when watching TV. More like, looking through the idiot box. She just smiled and nodded!

So, there it is. The ‘Empty Mind Moment’ or EMM in Millennialspeak. A still moment that empties pointless thoughts. A clear moment that cleans the clutter in our minds. A draining moment that sucks away the cobwebs that clog our mind. A bare moment that dares us to think different. One that defocuses all deliberations and refreshes the brain to refocus on what’s necessary and important. Every one of us have our EMMs. The idiot box switches on the EMM for my lady love. Drying clothes flutter and awaken my EMM. You too must have one, obviously. So, What’s your EMM?

It’s the Vowel, stpd!

15 Aug

Image“Ayyo!” (அய்யோ) is the natural expression, when something didn’t happen / go the way we expected it to. It’s the aural form of surprise, disappointment, failure, aim gone awry. It’s the abridged version of ‘Ah man, how did I not think about that’. It’s that rare acknowledgement of being oblivious to the obvious!

The “Ay.. Ay.. Ay…” by the bumbling lead actor that made us laugh our heart out in ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ (the hero of the movie has got the most enchanting, completely disarming smile and doesn’t utter a word, btw) is a western variation of this (see, they’re not that very different from us)! Oh, if you haven’t seen this movie series yet, it’s a must watch – even in pirated form!  So, rush to your nearest video store or library.

ImageAEIOU is the collection of vowels, which are considered completely unnecessary for communicating by the Millennials. “Wht th hck dd tht gy jst sy” is a perfectly understood and responded to by the Digital Natives (that includes my son, youngest brother, most of my crew, some of my pals and very few of my colleagues ;-). Pronounce the vowels together and you’ll hear the now familiar (please scroll back 2 paras to straighten those arched eyebrows) “Ayyo”!

Hmmm… this doesn’t sound so simple that Holmes can just brush it aside as trivial and mock ‘Elementary, my dear Watson!‘ There must be something deep in this. A Gen X (or Y or Z… gee, there are no more alphabets left)! Time to wear that pointy thinking hat (cap, hood, crown or whatever) then. Sorry Mr.De Bono, we’re in such a tearing hurry to think, we don’t have any time to pick the right color B<@

ImageArrogance – The more one knows about anything, the quieter one must be. Not that one shouldn’t talk about what one knows (those who listen intently do so quietly, in case you’ve failed to notice). But if “I know” starts sounding like “You don’t know”, then that’s no more showcasing knowledge, but showboating about that. And we aren’t Usain Bolt to showboat. Though he has actually earned the right to be arrogant, he usually isn’t. Avoid abrasive Arrogance to shine!

ImageEmotion – We’re emotional beings by design, but have also been endowed with the ability to think, analyze and control our emotions. Emotion is an effective tool, if used appropriately, in the right measure, at the right situations. Athletes use it effectively to compete against the best and win. Politicians use it effectively to fan the fire in their followers (which incidentally can destroy many). Wives use it effectively to get what they want. Emotion is the Garam Masala that has to be used sparingly as excessive use will spoil the dish. Learn to leash the Emotion beast to unleash success.

ImageIgnorance – No, Ignorance isn’t bliss. Whoever told that has successfully managed to fool millions over many decades. Ignorance just shows that you aren’t interested. Or not listening, willing, sharp, clued-in. It can portray you as arrogant, which is the first vowel you got to abolish anyway. It’ll weigh you down so much that you’ll be unable to swim to the surface to catch a breath, even when you’ve to for survival. Irradiate the Ignorance cancer for a healthy growth.

ImageOverconfidence – This can happen to anyone, who knows one’s subject or domain too well. Years of experience can feed this demon to grow into monstrous proportions that it eventually results in absolute arrogance. It will lead to wrong judgments and poor choices. Confidence helps in decision making, but Overconfidence lets one make the wrong choices, smugly, hastening the fall from grace. Bury it deep within, be calm and confident to progress further.

ImageUncouth – Gentleman or Lady, one must mind the manners. Wishing ‘Happy Morning’ to all, saying ‘Hello’ while picking a phone call, closing that running tap in rest rooms, throwing trash only in the bin (have you noticed there are separate ones for Paper and Plastic), switching off the lights and devices while leaving a meeting room, keeping the elevator door open for that person rushing in, not raising one’s voice even when feeling so within, switching on the indicator while turning your vehicle, not honking at any human powered vehicle… if any of these sound alien or funny to you, you’re Uncouth. That won’t get you anywhere ahead or above. Shed that ugly skin to slither up the ladder.

ImageSee, your English teacher was right when she told you in the beginning of time itself to be cautious about Vowels (it’s not her problem – or mine – if you’d misunderstood that as Vowals (வௌவ்வால்), due to your extreme affinity for ‘Bat’man). Just like your Maths teacher (but we’ll solve that problem in another post, shall we ;-)). All along you’ve been searching for that root cause that has been preventing your growth despite being so talented (according to you, that is). Tkng cr f th AEIOU nw, wl hlp 1 avd syng Ayyo oftn. So, there it is… the cure to all your career growth ailments… It’s the Vowel, stpd!

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

@PrakashSwamy ACC

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