Friday, June 29, 2007

8 things others don't know about me

Badhri had tagged me:

1. I am a Tamizh fanatic and I seriously support the TN State Government's initiative to force Tamizh on all students upto a particular grade. I dislike it when TN born natives give me reasons like, "It's too hard" or "None ever taught me" for not learning Tamizh. I believe that the mother tongue should be second nature and not a choice.

2. When I drive, I stay in the exact center of the lane I am in. It drives me nuts when someone else is driving and they keep drifting within the lane.

3. Due to circumstances/environment etc.., I think I was older than my years as a kid. That has carried over to my adulthood and I've always been the sober, mature type. It is my secret desire to be wild, rambunctious and unruly..:)

4. I'd like to say witty, cutting things to people when they hurl an insult at me. But I've sucked at it so far and expect to continue :(

5. I've secretly fallen in love with Vandiyathevan of "Ponniyin Selvan" yore. Each time I go to Srirangam, I like to go on temple tours nearby. Whenever I pass Vallam, where SASTRA now resides, my father and I share a "Vandiyathevan" moment. :) And unfailingly, I wonder about past lives, rebirths and serendipity.

6. I am more philosophical than I care to reveal. At times, when going to a movie or eating at an expensive restaurant or indulging myself in luxury, a discomfiting voice pops up in my head,

"And to what end does this activity lead you? Who does it help?"

I am confronted with "nothing" as the answer and it scares me. Not sure if any of you have the same kind of thoughts but I often do. It leaves me confused! :)

7. I cannot hate anyone for a prolonged period of time. Although the statement of "I-once-hated-this-person" is there and I express it, the feeling behind the statement would've vanished a long time back (usually within a week). And I am not averse to extending a hand of friendship again. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing.

8. I often have this recurring dream where I am walking on the Marina beach. Suddenly, the waves start becoming higher and I run toward land. There's a huge wave -- about 100 feet or so -- that rises and chases me. I keep running and running and running...And then I wake up. Even though I've had this dream hundreds of times, I've never known the way it ends. I am sure there's some deep Freudian meaning to this dream but I don't want to find out.. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Is Likeability Such a Big Deal?

I landed on to this blog after a colleague had criticised it on hers. I ended up reading some of her other posts including the "Making Yourself More Likable at Work" one. Being easy to work with and having a good attitude does help a person's career. But putting likeability ahead of hard work? I have a problem with that.

If a person smiles ear to ear, runs personal errands for colleagues but doesn't get any work done in the office, would that merit a promotion? Even if it did, I don't think the person would be ready for it. Besides, once you get into the subjective "likeability" game, I think a person stands to lose self-respect after some point. A lot of things in this world are earned -- slowly, surely and with experience. And going through those ups and downs makes a person more mature, capable and worthy. Taking shortcuts by being "likeable" seems juvenile!

Even in the social domain, I think likeability is over-rated. I know people who are quite artificial in their efforts to be considered "sweet" or "likeable". And no matter what they try, I know that I don't like them because of their efforts to be too caring/sweet/likeable! If a person is honest, interesting, friendly and straight-forward, people will naturally gravitate toward them. There's too many complications in this world already. People don't need another complex, emotionally mixed-up, confusing personality in their lives -- whether at work or outside of it!

Friday, June 01, 2007

South Indian families and politics....

For a long time, Hum Aapke Hain Koun represented a cultural watershed for me in a personal sense. It came out while I was in 10th grade and my friends were crazy about it! Apart from Madhuri Dixit's beauty, the haunting songs and the romance that it offered, the movie fascinated me because it glorified the extended family concept -- doting aunts, loving uncles, friendly cousins, one big happy family. Till I saw the movie, I'd not even realized that an extended family could really get along together! :)

My paternal family is quite big. When I was a kid and my grandma was alive, we used to have those annual familial gatherings. All my grandma's sons, daughters, in-laws, grandchildren used to get together under one roof. I used to look forward to those meets as it gave me a sense of family. But as I grew up, I realized that these gatherings were turning out to be less and less about family and more about personal egos. Politics was rife in the air and there was always tension. There were always a few members who couldn't stop gloating, taunting, insulting etc...And the rest of the family usually put up with this due to a myriad reasons, chief among them being my grandmother. I think that in a lot of ways, she was the glue that held the family together and when she passed away, everything disintegrated.

Almost all South Indian families I know are fraught with politics. This might sound like a sweeping generalization but this has been my experience. The relatives barely want to see each other and there's no love lost. Like I said, I'd taken this to be the norm until I saw HAHK. It seemed utopia to me! Later on, I found that most of my North Indian friends really did have loving extended families. 

What is it about South Indian families that make them so rife with politics? Why do we not get along? Is it our upbringing? Is it our competitive culture? Is it because we're too formal and take offense at the slightest instance? I am not sure but I guess the child in me will always keep yearning for the utopian HAHK family.. :)