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Showing posts from April, 2007

A Thought for Today

I tried telling my friend – I have decided to change myself. She asked – what’s new? Point taken – I keep saying that.

But I did change. I am increasingly becoming a glass-half-empty kind of a person. I sure was not this kind earlier. I am, after all, a salesman. Someone, who lives to believe in future, should not see anything but the half-full portion of the glass. Some salesmen go even further – they see only half the glass!

I am sure getting old. Becoming a grumpy old man! But I promised never to get old. So, my bitterness can’t be on account of my getting old. I am growing old because I am feeling bitter.

But am I really bitter? Well, that’s a theory my friend believes in. Well, I have started thinking of late, may be for the first time in my life. And, I am amused with a lot of things these days. Like, all this talk of democracy; all the seriousness of the politicians; all the pompousness of modern businesses; all the pretence of intellectuals; the whole feeling that the world has a…

In search of optimism

So, when did Capitalism win its decisive victory? Well, if my weekly trash rag have to be believed, it happened some time between Ronald Reagan getting too old for B movies and George Bush deciding to spread democracy in Middle East.

This weekly rag is The Economist. I read this for last ten years - first because I loved its tone and optimism, then because it made me angry, and now because I have become an optimist by infection and waiting to see when the pundit editors of The Economist see reason.

Because, capitalism is not winning. Well, I dont want to appear a scarecrow, frustrated about life and bitter about everything. I want to believe in a glorious future of continuous prosperity. I am a believer, of man's ability to dream, create and deliver. As my boss - an house-owner and therefore an optimist - was recounting that doomsday predictions from the 1970s did not materialise, and people are indeed better off, I wanted to believe him.

However, capitalism is not winning. It is a g…

Good Reads

I came across this site www.goodreads.com - a site for people who read books and love to talk about them.

Great idea - latest in the social networking space - and I signed up immediately. Not only that, I sent out an invitation to almost everyone on my Google Address Book who read books.

Well, the idea may not work. It may turn out to be too tedious, as I felt while going through it, too much to write. Also, dont know whether people who read and love books also love spending time on the net - increasingly it sure will, but we are talking now. I mean, whether this transformation will happen before the money runs out, as they say!

But a good idea remains a good idea, and smart thinking, guys! I shall keep spreading the word and invite other people to sign up.

Khartoum, Gordon and Gladstone

When Gordon Brown stood up to present his 11th budget, he did not miss the occassion to remind the MPs that only one man before him - Gladstone - had the distinction of presenting eleven budgets. In fact, Gladstone did 12, but by the time he was doing his 11th, he was already the Prime Minister.

His intended audience, of course, was Tony Blair, who is supposed to retire end of June, and hand over the No. 10 to Gordon Brown. It may be a fairly short lease, as things are not looking good for Labour, and Gordon Brown must inject some new ideas and thoughts to lift its fortunes. However, so far, it is not looking so good.

Take Iraq, for example. Brown has said little what he will do with Iraq. Withdrawing may quickly become as big a disaster as staying on. It seems that withdrawing now will cede space to Iran, at a juncture when they are increasingly defiant and becoming a real risk.

Or, fiscal policies for example. If Brown did anything new in his budget, it was playing with trivia, and thi…

Purpose

I had to learn, at different twists and turns in life, that everything must have a purpose. There is very little place in this crowded world, and among busy lives, for anything which does not have a purpose.

But, also I learnt in the journey, it is fairly easy to miss-read the purpose of things. Does Sun exist to warm up the earth, or keep it bound in an orbit? Or, less glamourously, is the business about making money or about making a difference? Do I exist to generate more carbon or to contribute?

The other issue about purpose is that it must change over time. Because the purpose is not inate in things, but it is what others, mostly people, find in it. Since societies and people change, the purpose of things must change.

I return to retail, as I must. For example, my grocer had a purpose to exist 20 years back - he was making available, under one roof, things that I needed to buy. That changed, since supermarkets invaded our lives. Sadly, the grocers still believe that they must exist…

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