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Where are the legends?

We all like answers, when you find one for yourself, it’s a edifying

Looking at the paintings by Raden Salah in the national museum, I vexed why there aren’t artists like him now. Most of the artworks produced by him were fantasies of the, then kings. Attacking tiger, riding a horse, fighting a tornado etc. It is not surprising tiger attack and fight is such a common theme in his paintings, after all it’s for the kings.

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Pablo Picasso, a so called legend of contemporary paintings. His paintings are worth millions now; at least 5 of the 20 most expensive paintings ever sold were made by him. It’s funny how he never enjoyed the wealth of his paintings; rather he died not having much.

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The only few people who had copious amounts of wealth in 18th century and before were the kings and aristocrats, everyone else were in the same boat. Mind you, the world population was hardly 500 million back then, pardon my accuracy here, the figures are almost correct. There was little globalization, and nobody knew more than few miles more than their house.

People did what came to them, by that I mean most professions followed a lineage, from father to son or daughter. If the father was goldsmith, son would be so, if the father was a painter, son would be so. There was less competition. Goal was only to do well enough to make a living, and you had to be good enough to make a living out of doing anything. Singer, painter, carpenter, and farmer had to be pretty freaking good to make a living, especially if they were to work on king’s assignments. The kings liked to brag to others, so perfunctory was not an option. That led to ingenious skill in each field.

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Of course, not everyone caught the eye, but the ones who did, continued to amaze. No interview, no biographies, no one really knows what they thought and why they did what they did. All we see is just interpretations. No one can tell, what was in the mind of Isaac Newton when he decided to try his hand in alchemy, the so called false science of turning anything into gold. Even a toddler will laugh at that idea, but one of the brightest minds in science did not think so. Nobody can tell what it felt like to be stabbed by the so called trust worthy associate in the case Julius Caesar. No one can tell why Alexander wanted to expand at the expense of his own soul.

There are only interpretations.

Fast forward, we live in a world now, where many times it is not the sincere artwork that pays the bill for its creator, but the most published one through the lop-sided media works, many of the works not even worthy of attention. The best code never makes any money; it’s the one that’s made famous through some viral or monopolistic scheme, which probably is a cheap stake. The best athlete may never compete because he/she does not fit into the class based system. When there are so many of every kind, why bother to do something different and threaten your existence.

All the accolades and the prizes were none but still the master pieces were created. Only if one can do that in a consistent basis, one may find another legend. There are many, they will continue to be. Just that the burgeoning population makes everything look small, and the fact that we have already seen so many things in such short time through the help of technology , makes everything look the same even though they are not. Extinction is one way to leave a mark or perhaps you should just be okay with the cheap stakes out there.

 

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You think you know, but you don’t

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Dunning Kruger effect, it says stupid people suffer from dual burden. One is that they are stupid and second is that they are not aware of it.

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Everybody at some point of time would have felt foolish about something or the other. David Dunning said that naive people are more confident about the things they dont know than people who know about it. Charles Darwin said something similar , Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science . I say , some people know they do not know the subject well, they go on about making limpid claims like they can predict future. I imply that they do not know how silly they may seem, but they ought to know better as some of them are in powerful positions. Politicians are not the only protagonists here.

Every now and then I see people making claims and passing loose judgments, including myself. Lack of foresight is not the only reason for it, it is much more than that.

One such statement was from AIFF ( All India Federation of Football) spokesperson, who recently said that India could qualify for the Football World Cup in next 20-30 years of time. According to him, all things are positive and they are going in the right direction to achieve that result, expect that they are not.

Even though this about football, there is no football about what happened here.
Someone who has never played the game, someone who does not have a clue of inner mechanics of the subject is blabbering gibberish. This happens all the time. Ask people what is love and here their answers. You will laugh to death. There is a quality of vacuity among all of us. We talk more and think less. Think more and valuate less.

Current ranking of India in Men’s Football is 97, which is huge improvement since 2016, when the ranking was somewhere in 150s. Statistically the AIFF spokesperson may be right in betting his hopes on the dream, but to do so you need to ask, why do India need to qualify for the world cup? Is it to prove the world that a population of 1.2 billion people can assemble a team of mere 11 mortals and compete in the greatest game ever or is it just a side effect of the passions that they have for the game.

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Right from the start of Olympics in Greece, sports has been a channel for people to let go of themselves like in movies. It is a form of association, obsession,entertainment and group activity. Doing sports for the sake of doing it is not new. You need not be ardent follower to be good at a sport; in fact I play football with many people who don’t even watch the game, let alone follow. The question remains how do you qualify for the world cup?

That is not even the right question. India is not good at many sports, so are many in many things. Football is one of hardest sport in the world and people want to think India can crack this with absolutely no lineage and history which is like waking up one day playing symphony 41 of Mozart with no practice. You need to do something for right reasons. Mark Manson puts that in a blunt way, you have limited fucks to give about, so choose the right one to give a fuck about. There is a strong reason why Indians do not feel football is a sport to invest their time and energy on at a professional level. They are doing so because they do not see any future in it and they are right.

Europe, Middle East, Africa and many other countries far poorer and with lesser resources than India have a good team and are competing in World Cup. How did that happen?  is that a miracle story like a Hero’s journey? Well, those countries had a good team before. They have the history. They want to continue to build on what they had and they are doing so at present. They are in it not just for money but for the possibility and hope of better future, a dream. They continue to progress through their children and that trend will continue like it has for decades.

I do not think India will qualify for the world cup in my life time. History repeats. Among 16 nations qualified for the group stage of world cup 2018, 10 teams are from Europe and this will continue to persist. The new breed of players will come from the same places as they have come before. Those are wombs of footballing talent. No plant can germinate without right conditions, just like you cannot grow apples in a desert. Either the conditions are created intentionally or they are spin off of something else. Unfortunately India has neither so far.

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Do not ask the wrong question. Don’t ask when India will qualify for the world. You should ask, how well can India play football? How can India harness their culture and identity into the world’s most beautiful game? What can India learn from the footballing academies of the world? What can India do differently in their household that empowers their children to follow their passion? Why is Indian media so biased? Why are so many ignorant people calling the shots on critical subjects? Why do you need external validation for yourself? Why do you associate yourself with false entities?

Do not play to be in the world cup. Play if you like, and work hard to be a better version of yourself. If you are good enough you will be invited to the world cup, do not worry about that. And that applies to everything, focus on the journey not the destination.

 

Why ?

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Why is the world the way it is. Why am I like this. Why are others like that.
Why am I thinking this. Why , Why and I dont know why ?

Today I attempt to answer question with questions. Black the question and Orange the answer for the question as a question.


 

Why do I think I deserve better ? Why dont You see that You cannot have everything.
Why can’t I think well under pressure ? Why Don’t you focus completely on the moment and learn from it later. Forgive and forget.
Why doesn’t science provide answers for all my questions ? Why ? if it did then life would become boring . Don’t you need something to work
Why do other people look more happy ? Why do you have to compare.

Why am I bored ? Why are you not engaged .There are so many things that you can do.
Why can’t I be better ? Why dont you work on getting better.
Why can’t I be famous ? Why do you want to be famous. Its just fate that some people are what they are.
Why doesn’t my room have more cupboards ? Why dont you arrange things better.

Why am I hungry ? Why don’t you cook and eat, it can be one of the get away for Boring.
Why can’t I Run fast ? Why don’t you train better.
Why can’t I sleep fast ? Why don’t you stop thinking.
Why don’t I get more likes ? Why don’t you focus on doing a good job and stop worry about the results.                                                                                                                                                           Why ? Why not


 

Why dont I stop ? Why dont you stop.

Serendipity of Chaos

Quote from President APJ Abdul Kalam

“If there is righteousness in the heart, There will be beauty in the character,
If there is beauty in the character, There will be harmony in the home,
If there is harmony in the home, There will be order in the nation,
If There is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world”

Great words by a great leader. We all like order, we long for it, crave for it, need it to feel safe for our own well being. 

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One cannot find order or order a system unless you understand disorder or chaos. No matter how much I dislike chaos. Chaos is necessary to test the stability and quality of Order. A good system is one that is prepared for as many random conditions that one can possibly think of. Unfortunately no matter how well you are prepared, unless you have faced chaotic situations again and again you cannot order it or perform well under the immense uncertainty. 


 

Humans have been unable to control forces of nature. We dont know when there could be another Earth Quake, Tsunami, Intergalactic attack etc. When there is one we realize how helpless we are to the bigger forces of nature. 

Its strange Nature loves symmetry, provides greatest of the sights, has created one of most beautiful creatures, plants, landscapes yet it can or shall I say more often than not level all of that to a speck of dust like it was nothing.

Nature is an uncontrolled force. Human can be controlled but uncontrolled due to the nature of its being. 

Today I witnessed a fight. Fight between two adults. It was a fight of ego. Born out of infidelity. Perhaps the fight was one of motivator for me to write about the incident and analyse it. Even though I was not in the fight, I could feel how unfair is a fight. People who are not in the fight can get affected by it. No wonder majority of the victims in War are the innocents civilians who lost their lives and belongings because some leader thought that was the right thing to do. 

One can take any War or a Mass causality , the worst victims are not only the ones in the fight but also the ones who had nothing to do with any of it. 

I dont want to prolong my hypothesis as it has so many dimensions attached to it. The more I dig the more skeletons will fall out. Rather, let me dig in what can I do to protect my interests in a chaos. 


 

Rule one  – avoid it. We humans are not built to fight. A Tiger or any wild animal is 100% attack. It does not have emotions . No Fear, No Remorse, No Empathy. Given a fight or flight situation it will do anything and everything within its grasp to survive. It does not think of implication and future. All it cares about is now and the moment. Animal Doesn’t care about fatigue, which is why all attack attempts are 100% effort. Biggest of all it is willing to die at any moment ( protected by Natures design).

Unfortunately we cannot do that. We are not trained by Nature to hunt or  To kill. We are trained by nature to think, to empathize, to look from others perspective so as to avoid a fight.

Rule two – lot of times fight is not a fistful one but a vocal argument which turns ugly due to the clash of mutual interests. When peoples emotions are hurt they don’t think straight. Blood pressure rises, adrenaline is high, One tends to act completely out of instinct without rational thinking.

When somebody arguments your belief/Ideas/work/actions in a combative manner, hurts your ego, shows no contrition for the bad manners, displays lack of concern but only selfish interest. You need to know two things.

Is this person above you like a Boss or a Senior person or is this person below you like a child or a peer.

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If the person is above you, then he/she may not budge to your ideas. They are in a position of power. So it is better to let go your ego and comply with their request in a way that characterize you as a victim to gather a bit of sympathy . Comply with their demands with thoughtful and sympathetic way. Knowing that they are in a position of power they might negotiate since you lowered your stands.This is sometimes called principle of contrast in negotiation.

If they are below you then take some time. Buying time is the best thing that you can do. When you are being confronted you must know that you will not make good decisions, so try to get more time. Do not commit on anything.If you cannot buy more time, then think of yourself in their position. This is the hardest thing to do. It is easy to order someone to do something, when they are below you, Unless you ask them to do the right thing, you wont be satisfied with your decision.

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Yes, we are all self conscious. When we make a unfair request, we cannot live with that.Sometimes the Youngsters cannot see the big picture. Youngsters find it hard to stop the temptation of smoking or watching too many movies even though, they know for some extent that is not good them. When you are dealing with such a situation use a leverage.

Instead of strong arming them with a command not to smoke like ” I will will cut your pocket money”, tell them smoking will adversely impact your sports performance etc. Putting yourself in others shoes will help you make better decision and more important will earn respect. Because there is a possibility we will deal with these people again and so If we are unfair to them knowingly then it could impact your reputation and future interactions. 

If you think your situation does not necessarily fall in the above two category. Then there follow the third rule.

Rule 3 – let it go. Lot of the times the Idea of a fight/chaos is not real ( I am using Chaos and Fight interchangeably). If it is real then follow Rule 1 or Rule 2. Many times the disagreements or clash is just personal. It is in our minds.We have no way to know exactly what the other person is thinking. We can try asking questions, but that does not necessarily mean they will honest about it or they are a fair person. So we tend to unknowingly use our own Mental Model to judge the situation. This Model is imperfect but since it is automatic we often fall prey to its imperfections.

Just let it go.May be there is a reason why this person has such a different view of the things.Unless that view is harmful to view just let it go. ( if it is harmful use Rule 2). You dont have to prove anyone wrong or right.Just let it go. People will appreciate you more if you are positive or neutral towards them than negative.Just let it go. Unless these people are your friends who know that what ever you meant to say was nothing personal, arguments can often damage your image and relations. No matter how silly someone may sound, try to explain in a neutral way if you can’t just let it go.

Image Credits: Google 

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Bitter Sweet

like many people I look for something new time and again to avoid getting stuck. Explore new ways for the same act or make a different act out of same situation. Without this curiosity to change we “Human beings” as a species would not have survived or will not survive the future.

May be I profess too much about change for good. In the hindsight, no matter how good a change can be it is difficult depending on what you are trying to change. Even though I am not a mystic I like to think that Every person has a certain Nature which brings about his/her character. This Nature is innate. Character is built. Character is built with up from childhood through the experiences, the teachings, the environment and may be to a certain extent  the Nature might influence how a character is designed.

Character is most important in a person. Circumstances will change, environment will change. It takes character and resolve to sail through the challenges and make it in one piece. 


A Short story to emphasize what character means.

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Year 1936, Karoyl Takacs, Sergeant of Hungarian Army who happens to be a world class pistol shooter is denied an entry to Olympics on the grounds that he is a Sergeant and not an Officer, a Rule at that time in Hungary. 

Lot of people may not know Takacs. Some consider him to be a Olympic Hero a triumph of will ,passion and determination.

Disappointed at the denial of an entry, Takacs continues to train hoping to enter Olympics in the next fall. In 1938, during a routine army training Takacs looses his right hand which was his shooting hand due to the explosion of a faulty grenade. 

Tragic and catastrophic. Was it an Iron will of a Soldier or the Determination to win medal in Olympics I dont know, Takacs decided to shrug off the disappointment of losing his shooting hand by training to shoot with his left hand. Wait a minute this guy spent a month in hospital for the treatment of losing a hand. Shooting is the first thing that comes to his mind in between all of the matters of life ?

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Sounds crazy. That is how some people are. This defines their character as a person.Instead of feeling sorry for himself and losing to self pity, Takacs decides to work with what he has than fret what he lost. He starts to train himself to shoot using Left hand. For months Takacs confides himself in isolation training secretly all by himself( I wonder if something like that is even possible in this generation). Some would have thought he is probably grieving in the sorrow of losing a golden opportunity to win a medal for his country. None would have imagined his rather drastic decision. 

1939. Takacs shows up at the Hungarian National Pistol Shooting championship. People came over to him to pay their condolences, they probably thought he has come to watch. They got a shock when they saw he had not come to watch but to compete. Takacs in fact won the championship. 

The Ban for Sergeants to compete in Olympics was lifted. Takacs had high hopes on the Olympics of 1940 . As it stands The Olympic Games scheduled for 1940 and 1944 were cancelled due to the Second World War. Patience. It had been 14 years,still no Olympics no medal. Takacs had to wait.

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Finally it came through, 1948 Summer Olympics aged 38, Takacs beat the reigning world champion to win the Gold Medal in 25m rapid fire pistol category and set a world record of that era. He Won gold again in 1952 Summer Olympics. He also participated in the Olympics of 1956 aged 46 and finished 8th. 

Apart from the extraordinary Heroics of Takacs , Few things that struck me the most.

Focus on what you have than what you dont ( We all have seen so many talented athletes and people fall off at the first sign of obstacle, perhaps having a different view would make a change).

Unshakable Commitment towards your goals( Takacs trained for Olympics for a staggering 20 years, half of which he did not compete. He encountered numerous obstacles yet he came through with persistence,patience and Hard work. When Life throws obstacles ,you make you own path.)

Consistency( Had Takacs stopped training he would never have been able to compete aged 38 in the Olympics at such high level).


Finally a Big Thank you Salute to Late Karoyl Takacs, You will continue to live in my Mind and Inspire me every day.

Photo Credits: Google 
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