Archive for January, 2007|Monthly archive page

Selfishness – A Matter of Perspective!!

Selfishness – one virtue that is inherent in all humanbeings. When I mean all, it includes greats like Gandhi, Mother Teresa etc. Every man (or woman) is selfish in his/her own way. However, how selfish and the reasons behind selfishness is what differentiates probably the bad, good and the great.
A question might arise that categorization of selfishness (into good, bad and the great) is absolute nonsense. Selfishness is something very emotional, it is not a market survey to be categorised – some might argue. However, my plain argument to that is if the highest forms of knowledge (encompassing description about the Supreme Power to the most emotional of thoughts), the Vedas – can be categorized into different volumes, based on the subject, depth and understanding, so can emotional matters like selfishness.
Keeping categorization aside for a moment, the question arises as to why people tend to be selfish. When I asked this question in various forms to friends of mine – I got one universal answer – though not necessarily in the same form – I want to be happy and hence I tend to be selfish. If selfishness is what it is usually portrayed to be, which is evil, then is being Happy a crime? As is the case with black or white – there is no little selfishness and extreme selfishness (and don’t get me started on the gray area – a topic of total jibberish) – a person is selfish or he is not – and we see the case across, everyone is/was selfish at some point or another.
Interesting arguments arise out of daily life. I have faced the ire of my close friends in instances where I have been selfish – however, when I point out their selfishness at a different point of time and question them, I get seemingly baseless or escapist answers. This is common across organisations, family, friends and at every instance of daily life. What seems right to you, which can make you happy seems wrong to the other person and vice-versa – as I mentioned earlier, it is a matter of perspective again.
Great people like Mother Teresa and the Mahatma were selfish in their own way – very selfish – they wanted freedom for their country and liberation for their people respectively. I have used ‘their’ very deliberately – a word which distinguishes the bad/good from the great. The Greats use ‘their’ and ‘our’ as selfish motives while people like me use ‘I’ to keep myself happy. The worrying factor at present and probably in the future is the hedonistic feeling that is creeping in everyone’s thought process – I live my life, I want to be happy, why should anyone care or be bothered – which actually affects others in a miserable manner. How we deal and differentiate between hedonism and what we term to be ‘happy’ is a question only the individual can answer, least of all others’ perspectives.
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The City of Mumbai – A year gone by dedicated to the ‘City of Dreams’

I never ever thought 20 months was enough time to fall in love with a city. A city of dreams for many and a city of bread for many others. Every aspect of Mumbai, be it the cultural diversity or the magnanimous nature, the ever crowded trains or the never ending traffic, innumerable number of nature spots to hang out or the myriad pubs to suit the western culture, the never-say-die spirit or the city that never sleeps – these and many more make up for the wonderful city it is.
I had my initial apprehensions of Mumbai – a city where the underworld dwells, a city of open murders and thefts, a city where getting in and out of the local trains is akin to clearing a competitive exam and last but not the least, a city where every house is congested and fighting for space. For reasons unknown, I wanted to live in this city, atleast for some time. Although I had an oppurtunity to take up almost any job profile across South, I chose to move to Mumbai – where I had one relative and very few friends. What drew me here is still a mystery to me – probably the charm of living in Mumbai or the mystery associated with the never-say-die spirit – a decision I would cherish throughout my life.
Two things lead a person to cherish a place – One, you gained a lot in terms of exposure from that place and two, simply because you enjoyed thoroughly out there. I am sure there might be much bigger cities and with better amenities than Mumbai has, but to imbibe the culture of hardwork, street-smartness and helpful nature takes ages to seep in a society. In terms of exposure for a typical south-indian like me, it was just tremendous – in terms of financial smartness or the way you deal with different people, my bosses at my previous organisation, friends etc etc, I can go on and on. The peace you experience when you sit in Worli facing the sea face or the fun me and my colleagues had at Aksa beach, the failed attempts to enter a discotheque as a stag or on a Monday 🙂 or the heavy bargaining for good books at Churchgate – I just transport myself mentally there when I think of such things.
The place where I stayed – my roommates – encountered different characters over this short period of my stay there – an extremely short-tempered guy (had great fun tickling his temper :)), an absolutely fun-lovin guy who sleeps only in the day and forgets that it was night that he was supposed to do that activity, a guy whose passion was singing and one more who used to chatter endlessly about everything and anything. There was one television and I dont remember even for once that we fought for the remote control (points to two things, one – noone was interested, two – our interests matched). There was a sense of immense trust in the financial calculations that one person’s job was and there was immense miserliness on the other hand by the same set of people. All in all, a great set of people, all extremely knowledgeable – had sooper fun with them!!
It’s been 25 days since I left the place and moved on to a different city – and how I wish this city was as good if not better than Mumbai. I havent seen much of this city, probably it is much better – but then Mumbai would remain as it always was ‘A dream destination’.
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