Tag Archives: conversations


You are responsible for the pothole next to you

The clay paths in times gone by were a favoured hunting ground for the potters. They would raid the paths in the middle of the night for clay and leave behind holes that got to be known over the years as ‘potholes’.

This phrase evolved to represent a global phenomenon. Across the world they appear like a rash  and represent a combination of human inefficiency, poor quality, corruption and institutional apathy. Every year potholes cause accidents, mechanical destruction as well as create roadblocks that result in higher fuel waste and resultant pollution.

Good governance is the logical remedy for potholes. However the activation of governance is often a bigger roadblock. Some artists have used their ire very creatively to awaken the conscience of such institutions. Here are some interesting examples from around the world.
Street art Images of Russian politicians

Street art Images of Russian politicians

I feel that voter apathy manifests itself physically in the form of pot holes. Next time when you exercise the right to vote make sure that you vote wisely. Else potholes will continue to alter your way. The road ahead is clear…As the old adage goes ‘You will always get to enjoy the hole that you dig’!

Will your legacy be a selfie?

The existence of a human being in the past was limited to his physical form or extended through his legacy of talents, memories or to an extent the relationships that were left behind.  Expressions in the form of paintings, books or crafts were limited to a few enlightened individuals and find a place in our history by a combination of luck and talent. Legacy left in the form of wealth, architecture or institutions was the privilege of the rich and the powerful. In any case there are very few examples as such that have survived the test of time. In essence the average person in the past had very little chance of recording and leaving his footprint for times to come.
However with our generation this has changed.

We have a proliferation of digital imagery, video and audio that will outlast us. Available through a smart phone that two billion of us shall possess in the next twelve months. All of this in addition to all the tools that our ancestors could access. I was struck by this thought recently when I was listening to music on the radio and most of the singers had moved on leaving their musical legacy for us to cherish. This is really a staggering testimony of our times and an important point of inflection in human history- footprints in the sands of time replaced with silicon chip enabled impressions for posterity.

We are all a mere speck floating in a continuum of time. For the first time every spec has a chance to record its presence! Go figure..in the meantime take a selfie!

It’s not fair

A popular South Indian star is taken to court since he featured in a TV ad for a fairness soap.
Apparently the claimant used the soap for a year and nothing changed for him. He claims that the fairness soap does not work and the star is misleading the public.
The star claims that he is just an actor and is not responsible for the delivery of the product. “It’s not fair to blame the actor”, his lawyer exclaims and his plea to the claimant is that he should take up the issue with the manufacturer.
A concerned citizen agrees that “it’s not fair” to blame the star since the star has nothing to do with it. Another citizen immediately retorts that “it’s not fair” for a brand to make a claim that it cannot deliver.
But in all fairness the star should have checked before endorsing the brand. He cannot wash his hands off it. It’s evident that the facts are not black & white yet and the poor judge has to figure out what’s fair here! The fact is that the great Indian obsession for fairness is a never ending pursuit.
This important soap opera gets national media attention. Is that fair?

Stop living a stereotype!

We all live our lives navigating through a series of stereotypes of our own creation. I must admit that I had a recent experience that made me aware of my severe limitations.
I have always been vary of a certain profile of individuals. The ones who look slick, dress sharp, drive fast cars and generally talk glib. I tend to be very guarded with these type of characters and somehow there is no specific rationale for my reservations with such individuals.
There is one such individual who I have interacted with over the years and have boxed him into the cage of my prejudices. I had an accident recently that has taken me over a month to recover. Given the nature of the head injury I drew an outpouring of concern and sympathy from friends and acquaintances. I noticed that this person was keeping a constant tab on my health and expressed a keen interest to meet me. My stereotyped self kept on postponing this interaction until one day I had to come face to face.
He earnestly inquired about my health that I summarily described. He complimented me on how positively I had responded to the crisis that I shrugged off. He asked me to take good care of my health that I reluctantly accepted. Then he mentioned to me something that hit me in the gut. He said that he wanted to tell me something that he had told very few people. My antennas were immediately alert.
“I almost died three years back”, he said. I was all attention now. “I suffered from a massive heart attack while driving. My kids were with me in the car and I was lucky to drive myself to the nearest hospital. As a result I have three stents in my heart. It’s in my genes. My father died at the age of 41 from a heart attack and my mother at 50 from a heart attack too. I am sometimes reminded by my doctor that it’s a miracle that I am alive. I believe that if I am living a miracle then I will make each day a miracle as well for my family and me. It’s the attitude sir which makes all the difference”.
“May the force be with you sir and do recover quickly” said this character as he bid me farewell.
“May the force be with you as well”, I muttered, crushed under the weight of my debilitating stereotypical self.

Double Chins!

As a rule, double chins signal the ebbs and flows of life. When the going is good, the food and drinks are exemplary, you see more of ’em hanging around. When the rhythm of life gathers pace they tend to recede. Recently I had the pleasure of taking my bawling four month old niece in my arms and putting her to sleep. As I held her, she snuggled and found a cozy nook in the folds. The layers enveloped her as I hummed ‘oh what a wonderful world’. Guess everything in life has a purpose … even a double chin!