A Small WorldA small world to me is an imagination where ideologies converge, equality prevails and thereforenations unite – A Distant Dream.How many times have we talked about inclusive growth and how many times have we actually donesomething about it? Bihar, for instance, under the leadership of Nitish Kumar has reached thegovernance that was unheard of in Bihar. The state now is one of the most “progressive backward”states in India. It requires support from the more established counterparts en-route inclusive growth.Although the state government assures requisite infrastructure among all other amenities, how manyIndian corporate houses have shown interest in such a proposition?Well, on paper the idea seems powerful; however, in the real world at a micro level nobody wantsinclusive growth. The reasoning is simple – our roots have taught us to be competitive and in the agewhere people sell Unique Selling Propositions, it is rather difficult to conceive such an idea. I am astudent pursuing a diploma in management – and I do not see a reason why a fellow student would votefor my credibility in a job interview in front of a panel, or, tolerate me having an edge. Actually, theproblem is in the very human nature. Leave apart competitive platforms, in day to day life, how many ofus even intend to share knowledge?To realize the dream of a small world, we need to address the basic human instinct – survival of thefittest. We need to catch them young, promote the concept of building a team, open them to the idea ofequality and not attach the adulterated beliefs that we have thrived on. Celebrities, entrepreneurs andpeople with social relevance should endorse this belief and lead through actions. For in times to comethe only way forward would be ‘convergence’.
Change is the only constant: against the motionChange is the only constant – yes, the girl I was with till last year believed that. Repeatedly she told mehow I should behave and how I should change to make her happy. Well, unfortunately things did notwork quite as the way she would have expected. And, guess what she said after she moved on – Changeis the only constant.Change could be anything; anyone could perceive anything as a change. Of course, at a micro level, withtime everything around us changes – toddlers grow up, teenagers poke each other on Facebook, ShahRukh Khan dances for some more moolah, etc. However, is that real change? Change to me is asignificant positive shift from the existing state. And I find it difficult to believe ‘it’ is a constant.It is basic human nature of getting discontent over a period of time with what we have. We grow used toeverything around and more importantly we understand the system well enough to find the loop holes.Change, therefore becomes important. Barack Obama campaigned with the intent of bringing aboutchange – and guess what, Americans who “have it all” wanted a change and elected him President. Ourcountrymen, on the other hand, screamed out on top of their voices to bring about change. We shoutedfor a change in governance – inflation was on our faces, we shouted for a more effective judicialecosystem – Arushi Sharma’s murder still poses a puzzle, we stood up for being progressive – Gujjarriots put our behinds back on seat, we wept for security – the horrific Mumbai attacks made us morevulnerable. We sought matured cinema – Dabang rattled the dancers in us, for more meaningful primetime serials for heaven’s sake – Rakhi Sawant is made bigger than Indian Penal Code. Where is change?Years together the homeless have struggled to find a place of shelter; they shiver through the coldnights and cough blood in the morning. Sadly, change does not brush through these topics of relevance.Yes, we all want change – we want our salaries to be fatter, cars to be bigger, houses to be taller, wivesto be prettier, et al. However, we resist change at the same time. Let’s say, you could get a better salaryin Afghanistan. You could buy a bigger car in Botswana. Build a better house in Nigeria. And find a betterlooking wife in Puerto Rico (that might be an incentive). Would you work in Kabul, stay in Ghanzi, buy aproperty in Ibadan and get a Puerto Rican wife stay with your parents? While some might be delighted,while some might think 20 times, most of us might decline these offers – now that is the irony – we donot wish to step outside zones of familiarity. At some level, we do not wish to change what we alreadyhave. And even if we could, we refrain from bringing about changes.While we cannot disagree that some changes give us dynamism, initiate new inventions, improvise onthings outdated and betters the current state of being, it is not necessary that all changes have positiveconnotations. Or that things change at all.I am a management student studying in Mumbai and even if I know there are better opportunities here,I ‘wish’ to go back to Delhi – the place I have been brought up. Not that I do not desire a fat salary or ataller house, I would ‘want’ to get all of that without compromising with change. Therefore, change forme is not a constant. It is a dependent variable, dependent on many other variables and constants.
Sports in India: a vision over the next 20 years I shift in my bed, unable to sleep. Open a wink of my eye to gaze at the clock - still four hours - I tisk. Itwas the fifteenth time I looked at the clock in the past one hour. While I shifted in my bed revising thebatting lineup in my mind, I had already heard the cheers from my camp as I hit the lofted drive overcovers – my favorite. Times have changed and quickly. In a span of a decade, ‘our’ cricket ground transformed to a heaven forcouples - sitting by the fragrance of lilies. Over a period of time, we all got so busy with our lives that wehardly had any time to pick up a bat or re-string our rackets. While all of us still meet and discuss thosedays, I try hard to find something that would keep me awake the whole night in excitement andanticipation. Today uncles don’t scream anymore over broken window glass or bark at little boys whiletwisting their ears clockwise – like they would ignite their battered Fiats in winter mornings. Has thelove for outdoor sports died?There are reasons why there has been such an abrupt shift.As India grew, grew the disposable incomes of parents and concurrently demands of children. Thegeneration grew up with mobile phones, internet and plasma televisions. Also, the last decade broughtwith it advanced technologies that helped create entities such as the X-Box and the Play Station. Andmore recently, a revelation called Facebook was born. Before anybody could realize virtual socializingwas more important than actually meeting people – worse – it was cool.While one school of thought says this will continue, I believe this fad would die down with time. Physicalexercises (sports) and physical interactions with other kids shape a child’s character and it is imperativeto keep real interactions alive. The current generation that thrives on ‘virtualization’ would realize whatthey had missed. Chances are they would be more careful raising their kids.Also, some people are born talented; however, a career in sports in India is considered forbiddenterritory. For some reason it makes more sense to become ‘professionals’ and become one among themillions produced every year. The bigger problem, however is this – in most cases, not pursuing sports isa logical decision. Many talents emerge from rural parts of India, and often they have to choosebetween pursuing sports and supporting their families. Other factors like the dogma attached withwomen pursuing sports in the rural society, the cost involved in seeking professional training and not tomention the lobbying and ‘politics’ in sporting camps are serious road blocks. More often than not thedecision is already made for them.However, the brighter side is that India is making progress - the second position in the final medal tallyat the Common Wealth Games 2010 says a lot about the progress we have made. With the currentscenario, India finished with an impressive 38 gold medals. Now imagine the possibilities with apopulation of 1.3 billion having access to world class training facilities.By 2030, India would recognize the potential in talents from far reaching corners of the country.Probably a Government institution would be set up to train these gifted individuals across disciplines. Toensure that financial woes do not effect participation, all athletes/sportspersons enrolled would begiven an annual scholarship. This initiative would ensure that talents are spotted, parents encouragetheir children to take up sports as career options and India carves a niche in the arena dominated todayby nations with one-tenth its resources (read population).