The Other Side of Things…

There is always the ‘Other side’ of events that happen in our life. With experience most of us become more prudent to realize this reality.

Our elders were not wrong when they said, “Its the youth in you that wants to take risks, experiment and experience.” Till we are parents ourselves, we don’t get to know what our parents thought when we sought our own way and defined our own priorities. Similarly, my bias to stick to what I held as an opinion at work was wrong, I failed to see the other side of things. Though, what I meant was not weighed by ‘Others’ from ‘My side of things…’.
My elder daughter will be a teen in a year’s time. And I better know the ‘Other side..’ of why a Facebook profile is important before turning 18, why looks matter more today and what independence is all about. I, as a teen must have gone through a similar phase but still chose to react in a way that replicates ‘My Side..’ approach followed by my parents. 
Optimists are ones who are confident and have a coherent story that validates their belief. However, there is an “Other side..’ to this. Quoting from the book, “Thinking and Fast and Slow”, “A CFO who informs his colleagues that ‘there is a good chance that the S&P returns will be between -10% and +30%’ can expect to be laughed out of the room. The wide confidence of interval is a confession of ignorance, which is socially not acceptable for someone who is paid to be knowledgeable in financial matters.” 
Anyone who has a coherent story will be rewarded and the moment it is qualified with ‘Other side..’, it is subject to criticism. President Truman (of United States) famously asked for a “one-armed economist” who would take a clear stand; he was sick and tired of economists who kept saying, “On the other hand..”
Why is knowing the ‘Other side…’ important? First, nothing in life is certain. Striving for certainty and ending-up to have overconfidence may make us blind to risks associated with an uncertainty. Acknowledging the ‘Other side..’ will help us prepare better both for facing risks and accepting the failures. Second, it makes us more understanding and accommodating. It helps us connect and bond well with those we love and care for. Lastly, ‘Other side..’ is a personality trait that is defines ones leadership skills and formally defined as a ‘Lateral Thinking’.
I failed to see so many things in my life from the ‘Other side..’. However, I am beginning to realize this. 
My wife was not mistaken to have unwavering belief in my strengths, my capabilities. Atleast, I have started to take note of such an opinion. Whenever, I had an argument (lucky one to do so) with her, I lost it since she always had a more logical ‘Other Side..’ which was more convincing.
I grew to be more accommodating to my friends from different economic and cultural backgrounds. Today, I connect with a Sindhi, Brahmin, Bengali, Jaini, Gujarati, Christian and a Punjabi whether from India or Canada. 
For me praying was more about acknowledging the fear associated with almighty’s powers till I realized that its all about igniting the source of energy within ourselves. 
Phone calls to parents staying away from me is about recognizing their efforts to make us what we are. And, its not a bad idea to have your parents staying away from you since that gives them a lot of free time in their lives that they longed for. 
Buying your kids things they demand is not the ONLY way to compensate for quality time that I fail to spend with them. ‘not the ONLY’ since I still believe its a good short-cut to ensure happiness and save time for oneself. 
Watching television is not a waste of time. Its also a source of entertainment as well. Elderly today are kept entertained and updated about developments in the world via television who otherwise cannot venture out anymore. 
Fitness is a way of life but this is not an universal reality. We have healthy humans on this earth who never exercised as much as I do. 
However, whenever I had ‘Other side..’ to express, I was called, “He is a person who can take any side, can argue both sides- for and against.” “Don’t be a thaali ka baigan (Brinjal)” or “You are a “Bin paende ka lota”. (can take any side). May be the criticism is for the indecisiveness associated with my approach to take note of ‘Other side..’
But I am not calculative and diplomatic for sure…

Bond in Relations

We may INHERIT relations more than what we BUILD during our lives. But creating BOND in those relations is our effort. We all are born different. We have different interests and dreams and it’s not that we will meet only those who have similar interests and dreams in our lives. We learn and build relations across our life span. We were born and reared to know our parents and siblings as a brother or a sister. The special treatment we received on first day at school was by our teacher. The first and subsequent lunch boxes we shared with were our friends. We get married to have a life partner and have children to be a parent. We worked hard for a company and have a boss. We share a journey with an unknown- most of them forgotten and some remembered.

We may not live as long as the other or be with each of our relations forever. We will of course die before our kids and after our parents. We will have fights with our life partner, disagreements with our, friends and siblings. We will change jobs and professions. Despite all of this, we will create a bond (defined as a close personal relationship) across each of our relation- some strong to last a lifetime and some briefly. Infact knowingly or unknowingly, all our actions in our lives are towards building or confirming our bond to each or few select relations of ours.

When I dated my wife 14 years back, some of our actions were to strengthen our relation. We tried to exchange letters we wrote when away. We exchanged descriptive greeting cards to share our feelings. I bought a Bar-one (candy bar) without a miss for her when we met. We exchanged rings – symbolic of getting engaged, visited a temple every time we met. Further, we committed ourselves into a marriage but continued to live apart from each other in hope of getting consent of our parents.

In our life on a daily basis, we act to create a bond with all of our relations including our pet and of course our boss. Sharing a dish during lunch, munching from the same plate, office tea breaks, surprise visit to hometown to meet ailing parents/relatives, surprise bouquet for your partner, thanking a friend discreetly using a blog, unscheduled outing to your pet, dropping your kids to school rather than let them use the school bus or submitting a report your boss never expected you to send on a Sunday. All these actions are in a way, a bond we create that nurture our relations further.

Quoting from my friend’s thoughts on his 29th marriage anniversary, “For Better or for worse has different meaning NOW, than it did to two 25 year old years back.” His expression is an acknowledgement of the bond he created with his partner. Irrespective of the fights, disagreements, separations, different preferences and habits all did not matter till they intent was to remain connected.

Emotional bond can be created by doing some things regularly for each of our relations and it grows slowly, quietly and often unknowingly. We should not worry whether they impact us. We will for sure have incidents in our life when we will get to acknowledge each of our relation- courtesy emotional bonds that have been built over the years. 

Greeting while remembering the Almighty (Allah Noo Fazal Che)

Thanking God is also a form of worship. It instils a self-realization within us, everytime we remember, to keep our egos at ebb and acknowledge the role of fellow beings in our life. My friend, Burhan whenever greeted never answered ‘Fine’. He answered ‘Allah Noo Fazal Che’. I considered imitating this but could not for long.  I was in my early twenties and in my culture it was uncommon for a young to say ‘Wahe Guru da shukar hai’.

Instead in our culture young is expected to react that showed his efforts to gain control over his life. Simplest of the response will be ‘theek haa’ or ‘chal reha hain’. Some respond by narrating their problems and difficulties faced. Such people do not believe in saying ‘fine’ since they believe their positive response bring a curse on their well-being. So why do we react in this way?
May be the answer lies in the manner we lead our lives. A life that is highly constrained and restricted. We strive for independence but our actions are goaled towards self-interest and self-accomplishment. We compete with everyone, near or dear, in our lives. We keep secrets and operate on premise of information advantage. We want to know everything about others but do not want the same to happen with ourselves.  Even the so called Dharam Gurus draw inferences of religious texts goaled towards guiding our lives as individuals rather than as a group.
Greeting each other as ‘Radhe Radhe’ , ‘Jai Shri Krishna’, ‘Sat Sri Akaal’, ‘Sita-Ram’, ‘Allah ka Shukra hain’ or ‘Allah noo Fazal Che’ is more meaningful than a simple borrowed practise of saying ‘Good Morning’, ‘Good Evening’ or ‘Hello’.

Learning to Exercise

Exercising does not come naturally to most of us. A very subjective estimate may go like:
          – 90% never exercised and believe they do not need to;
          – 5% think only overweight needs to exercise;
         –  of the remaining 5% less than 1% is actually able to exercise and sustain it over a long period of time.
Exercising is a lifestyle issue and not a stop-gap arrangement as if under some medication to get desired results. Empirical research has always proved that optimal level of exercising strengthens both internal and external organs of human body. But despite all what is written, read and understood very few of us are able to introduce exercise as a permanent change in their lifestyle.
Last year, I began exercising after a gap of some 15 years. In the interim, I had several failed attempts to introduce it permanently into my life style with efforts lasting maximum 3-4 months. When I tried again in March 2012, I was not sure of being successful. I started off with a very light exercise regime so that I could still be full of energy to work for 12 hours every day. The schedule I followed was a self-developed one that gave me comfort and allowed my body to adjust to exercising. Coupled with some diet restrictions I was able to get desired results. My weight reduced by 15 kgs, waist shrunk by 3 inches, stamina increased to a level that from being out of breath ascending few stairs, I could run at 9km/hr for min of 45 minutes with ease.
Post 12 months of exercising for atleast 5 days a week, I was back to having a diet which was twice was what I ate in last two years. Once we attain the permanent change- which in my opinion is possible after exercising regularly for a min of 12 months- diet plays an important role to ensure that your body is not devoid of minerals and vitamins in requisite quantity. In other words, no such diet control from quantity perspective is applicable. It should find balance with the quantum of exercise we do.
My schedule was also put to test accidentally by my friend who was overweight (by 30 kgs) and was worried when Doctors he visited were threatening to put him on medication- 1 tablet for cholesterol, 1 for blood pressure control and a couple more for other associated problems. It is not less than a shock for anyone to hear from a Doctor that he/she is ill. Our whole approach to our bodies (that is usually least cared for) becomes very scientific. We immediately get concerned about what we eat, how much we work and the rest we get. Most of us usually end-up blaming polluted food we get to eat and not the choices we make to eat. Blame our work schedule for strain and inappropriate sleep. But that is not the case always. Fault lies with us and we are blame for the problem at hand.


In first month, my friend called me to say that he had followed my schedule and was able to reduce his weight by 7 kgs and as per Doctors he should continue to build on the new exercise regime. My friend was amongst those who had not exercised before and was settling down comfortably into the exercise regime developed. What he followed is presented below for the benefit of all others. I suggest consult your Doctor with the schedule below, if in case you intend to follow, and then go ahead only when he confirms it to you.

Having a large family

Living our lives we meet thousands of people. Depth of
relation in pecking order is
‘Have Seen/met
, ‘we have known each other
for some time’
, ‘we connect quite
, ‘Everything is special and
effortless between us’
to ‘we are
made for each other’
. In my opinion these relations always assume a higher
significance than the blood relations that we inherit as humans. We love our
parents, uncles, aunties, kids, cousins etc. But connecting to anyone beyond
the blood relation makes us live the true character of a human- the way God
wanted us to Love and care.

Connecting and forming relations comes naturally to us but we
are not the same. We are not selfless in forming relations and instead believe
in getting more than what we can give. In the pursuit of being more practical towards
life, we have lost the significance of true love and feelings. Some of us face
the world with a thought that everyone out there is to exploit and use us. Some
take refuge in customs and practices that are over the ages have come to be the
ONLY norm towards life and love- preaching
a restraint on the outside and while bonding only within family

Connecting to build relation is not felt for all we meet in
our lives. Our personalities and philosophy towards life reflects upon the
relations we build in our lives. For a more restrained person, fulfillment of
expectations will drive relations she forms, while for more open free-flowing
person, frankness and transparency will make him connect with others. We
connect with few and every relation has a role to play. Not all relations may
last for life in practicality but anyone we have known once (closely enough), will
always stay in our memories. There is not any exact tenure post which we can
define a relation to be deep. At times, a short chat with an unknown person is
enough for a long lasting relationship while at other times, we may spend years
together before realizing existence of an unknown connect.  

It is of utmost importance that we start recognizing the
definition of family- a LARGE family that transcends beyond the obvious- parents,
wife, kids etc. including friends, neighbors or for that matter anyone we feel
connected to. Why cannot we have these relations deep enough with equal respect
and regard as our blood relations? Why cannot we all strive to not restrain ourselves
from having a LARGE family in this world? When we connect with unknown
virtually (likes of facebook, linkedin and twitter etc.), why can we not have relations
beyond the traditional contours of a Family?