Saturday, February 27, 2010

16 boxes

I love this particular blog post by Seth Godin that he wrote more than a year ago. Its titled 16 boxes and he talks about how our career or business is not a single entity but is made up of so many different parts (that he refers to as boxes). I have always read this post when I am low so I thought I share it with you all as well.


I feel that just like our career or business, even our life is made up of several different interconnected parts. We have our health, wealth, family, job, children, friends, career aspirations, social circles, ambitions etc. These could all be titled as different boxes that make up our life. Now at any moment, not all boxes may be doing good at the same time. Things might be going wrong in some aspects. But life is not a boat which needs no leaks to float. Even if one of our boxes aren’t doing well, our entire life is not gonna sink. We can still sail around.

When things go wrong

But when things actually go wrong, we always focus only on the boxes where things are going bad. We don’t even bother about all the other good boxes that we have in our life. I read somewhere that our primal instincts make us focus on things that are wrong, because when we as a species were still in the jungle hunting for food, not having something right was a matter of survival. However, today that’s not the case. We as a species however have not yet evolved to ignore things which are not in our control. We still continue to worry about the things that are going wrong and many a times end up affecting the other boxes which are perfectly normal till then. So next time when things go wrong with you, try thinking about all the other boxes in your life that are perfectly normal and don’t just focus on what is wrong with your life!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

33rd Tooth

I have been blessed with a set of teeth that can make any dentist happy. I have undergone all sorts of dental treatments ranging from mundane cavity filling to tooth extractions, root canals, and other sorts of drilling, exploration and excavation activities. I have also been blessed with a medical condition that does not close my teeth completely (Next time you see me gazing at a girl with my mouth wide open, we just blame my teeth ;) !!).  Because of all this, I have spent so much time in my dentist’s chair that sometimes I feel the dentist is actually excavating for dinosaurs remains in my mouth (just in case!).

With so much time in the dentist’s chair, you can only imagine how I spend my time when he is playing with his tools inside my mouth. I imagine my dentist and I being crime fighters driving a high speed car (if you try hard enough, the drilling sound in your mouth at times does seem like the engine of a high revving sports car!). The occasional pain that I then get in my jaw is assumed to be a punch from a bad guy…

If your imagination is not in a position to run that wild, you can always count the number of times he blinks while he is excavating in your mouth. If you are really really bored, then you can count the number of hair in his nostrils. I bet I have observed him more closely than err .. umm .. even his wife! (Come on, she won’t be staring at him at such close quarters for 2-3 hours in a row!!)

The dentist and I share a very complicated relationship. Every time that I go to his clinic he gives me a warm welcome and I can see a twinkle in his eye with $ signs floating in them. Its funny though, that each time I am in excruciating dental pain, he is the first person that I think of (yeah, not God!). And though he has caused me more pain in my life than all my heart breaks, primary school punishments and sports injuries put together, each time that I am in dental pain I go to sit in his chair and go through more pain!

If all this pain was not enough, 2 years ago God decided to gift me with a 33rd tooth. For the technically minded its called – Supernumerary tooth. I actually had this extra tooth protruding out below my front teeth that prevented me from doing some Mandarin pronunciations (yeah for those of you who haven’t heard Chinese – its the most complicated language that I have ever heard and you need to be able to reach all corners of your mouth with your tongue to make all the sounds that they do! And for my Chinese speaking readers – yeah I know I am exaggerating!). This time around when I went to see the doctor, he was happy to see the tooth and promptly had it extracted. So now I am in pain for the last 2 hours and my tongue is heavy because of the anesthesia. I have been speaking like a 2 year old kid with a caffeine overdose so I thought I keep my mouth shut and blabber all that I had to say to you all in this blog post :) !!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy SAD

Hello all you love birds! Thought I remind you that along with your Valentine’s day today is also Singles Awareness Day (SAD). Reason for hapless singles to celebrate our solitude.

Now now, before you go all sad and start eating chocolates because you are single, hold on. Here is some advice from your favorite Uncle Girish:

For the single girls:

If you are a girl and you are single don’t worry. There are only 3 reasons why that must have happened:

  1. You are just between two relationships. Wait till some guy comes and does the ceremonial dance. You can sit around and chat with your girlfriends till then.
  2. A guy is desperately trying and you are clueless.
  3. Your expectations are so high about your knight in shining armor that there is no one out there to fulfill all your criteria. God has stopped making guys like that (evolution)! You gotta lower your expectations right now!

For the single guys:

  1. If you are young and naive then go read this. You can still develop a core competency and have a sustainable competitive advantage over the other guys. If you don’t understand what I just said, go get an MBA.  (Then you will be old and single and you still won’t understand what it means ;) )
  2. If you are a guy my age and still single, don’t lose hope, it just means one thing – You suck! There is nothing you can do about it. You are destined to be single. So don’t sit and day dream. Move your butt and be useful to mankind by doing something good :)!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Roller Skating Uncle

Like India, elderly people in SIngapore are referred to as “Uncle” and “Aunty”. However, unlike India there is no term out here for the not-so-elderly but older than you people which we frequently use as “Bhaiya” (Brother) and “Bhabhi” (Sister-in-law) or “Didi” (Sister). So like you guessed right, everyone elder to you becomes an uncle. At my venerable age, I am an uncle for half the population of Singapore already.

So the venerable me decided to learn roller skating (Inline). I have had a lot of time to kill in the evenings and rather than spending it with my computer or roaming around aimlessly I thought I enrich myself with a new skill. And to prevent it from being just another new year resolution, I started my classes in the last week of December, to “technically” not make it a new year fad.

First day of class I reached the venue 10 minutes early, clad in my shorts and a t-shirt. I saw a lot of kids around me, but since it was being conducted in a park, I wondered the kids must be out to play while their adult parents learnt skating with me. To my horror however, when the instructor assembled the class I figured that most of my classmates were up to my knee, and the tall ones I could use as my walking stick. Most of them had ages in the single digits while some of the older ones had a very respectable pre-teen double digit age. I swallowed whatever little ego I had left and lined up for the class.

The first lesson was very simple, “Wear your skates and standup without falling down”. The instructor showed it to us, and the kids around me did it in a jiffy. I, however could barely lift my bum of the ground without wobbling away to glory. Like you guessed by now, I became the apple of everyone’s eye. From the instructor to my classmates, everyone paid attention to how I did it, and my every move was monitored by a dozen pair of eyes. And so was my rather clumsy fall. I bet no other kid in the history of the class had so much fun laughing at someone on the first day of the class! In no time, I had a fan following which cheered me saying “Uncle you can do it!”, “ Uncle don’t lose hope!” and  of course some smart half-pants tried to help me by giving strategic advice on “What I was doing wrong!'”. I guess criticism comes by birth, you don’t have to teach kids how to criticize!

Well, when you can’t do something that you desperately are trying to do, your natural reaction is to become grumpy. So grumpy I was, and angry I was with all those single-digit-year olds. But luckily, I didn’t give up. After many attempts and many falls I finally could catch up with them. That reminds me there are two ways to fall while skating – the graceful way – in which you decide to fall cause you figure you are out of control and land on your palms and knees safely, and – the clumsy way – in which you wobble and fall on your bum.

Now I have been learning to skate for over a month. I can now wobble around like a mannequin on skates and I am the grumpy-old-uncle-with-a-sour-bum who falls at the drop of a hat. If my classmates were any older they could have had a flourishing business by betting on how many minutes before I fall next!