Saturday, March 28, 2009

United We Stand

United we stand.

The verity of the statement is timeless. It has been the mantra behind India's independence and the credo of many organizations. It has been the guiding principle of many a family and many groups of friends who have stuck together through thick and thin. It is also something that people with common goals (but not necessarily of similar outlook) have used from time to time. I stress on the word used. This is when the statement becomes a mockery and is subsequently reduced to mutual back scratching for mutual benefit. You might wonder what's wrong with that. Aren't we all inter-dependent beings, living in society as symbiotic creatures bonded to each other? Sigh. How or where can I even begin to explain? Look around. You can find examples everywhere, in every aspect of life.

Experts who study group dynamics have a term called cliques. It's supposed to be a high school phenomenon, but some of these extend into adult life as well. Hindi TV soaps gave examples of sisters in law ganging up against the newly wed bahu. It's a group with restricted entry. And they have targets. And they are mean. (Not that cliques are confined to soap operas or chick lit novels).

So...what's the big deal?

A lot actually. Cliques are damaging--they erode self confidences, they create silos and unhealthy competition, and they stop growth and independent thinking. Suddenly, the group is making all the decisions: who to talk to and how, who to admit into the group, and how to spend your time.

Probably unexplored is an aspect that's scary, to say the least: the clique can potentially get away with bad decisions and tardy work if it's an influential group in an organization. Birds of the same feather flock together. Another saying whose truth rings out far and wide, and has been reduced to a cliché. Indeed, sometimes, this becomes the motto of members of a clique whose sole aim is to get ahead and gain influence. That's when the seemingly childish phenomenon rears its ugly head in diverse forms elsewhere, to the detriment of society.

Hopefully, each one of us will examine whether we are becoming part of a clique, whether a clique is exerting its influence near us, and whether there are victims and collateral damage. Hopefully, we are sensitized to the dangers involved and take appropriate steps.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Life's a sine wave...

Life is a sine wave--
You ride high
On the crest sometimes.
On some days,
You hang out
In the valleys...

Wherever you may be,
Don't forget:
Better days will come.
Hang in there
For when the storm is past
The sun will shine bright again
And flowers will bloom
And bring you joy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Ain't it lovely? Took it from a recent Delhi to Imphal flight. It was amazing...

Monday, March 2, 2009

What I didn't like as a kid... and still don't

I have been a pretty opinionated kid as far back as I can remember, and there are quite a few things I didn't like at all. My pet peeves, as I would call them, are listed here in random order.
  • I didn't like adults who talked down on you, simply because you are a kid. A patronising tone that says "I am older, have seen the stars and the sun before you; therefore, I know better"
  • Adults who say "Chhooo cute" and pinch your cheeks hard (don't they know that kids can feel pain?)
  • Adults who'd call you into the living room to have you recite nursery rhymes in front of their friends
  • Having to take afternoon naps just because you are a kid and because it's supposed to be good for you
  • Having to say namaste to those horrid unclejis and auntyjis who talk down on you anyway
  • Having to tolerate stupid comments like, "You are actually my kid, and you are going to stay in my family from today." Well, I guess the adults get a kick out of seeing the look of alarm on a kid's face at this. But what a horrid thing to say! Ugh!