Letter from USA: ‘Other view’ of a fairy tale life

I met Ravi, my Engineering mate after 15 years in Hyderabad this Diwali. Yet, there was the same old camaraderie, leg pulling and above all the shared dream. I resonate so much with his letter that he wrote while on-site at Dallas or was it Austin, Texas. Here is the letter to read the ‘other view’ of a fairy tale life. 

Hello guys!

My US trip is going on fine. I came here on a 2 week stay but now they extended it for over a month..I am enjoying it a lot..trying to roam around different cities as much as i can during weekends..I am in Austin the capital of Texas. I wanted to see Vegas but it will cost me a lot if i go in flight and in bus its just too far away..like Kashmir to KK..not worth it. [Good, he did’t make it to the Sin City! I wouldn’t be sad for him, but jealous :)]

Other thing is that if i just go sight seeing to interesting places then the relatives who are here will expect me to come to their boring places to visit too which i don’t intend to do 🙂 [This is the same old Ravi, I knew in college]

And i went crazy for first few days always thinking in terms of Rupees for every dollar spent.Every person from India automatically does it.! Its really really difficult to avoid doing it..anyways i am trying really hard! hehehe [I didn’t know there was a Marwari in this Andhra guy!]

During weekdays my life here is kinda hectic here.Can you believe it I don’t take any breaks here.I eat lunch at my desk,i don’t like the coffee here and we don’t get tea..so most of the time i am at my desk.  And people here are very formal.Not the kind of working style that we are used to. We Indians in any office- like to be disturbed and like to disturb others. 🙂 [The Philosophical Ravi, our very own Sadhguru]

And no its not all cowboys and ranches in Texas.It has moved forward along with other modern cities..you still have some old fellas trying to keep up the tradition of cowboy hatz and big boots etc. On one weekend I went to a
place called san antonio. I got like 5 friends there, so we were in a Camry and going around in downtown blasting desi music..it was kinda cool.

The roller coaster rides (i wanted to experience the complete somersault roller coaster rides and i am glad i was able to do it. Once you get the thrill ,addiction kicks in , i went like 4 times in it!), (value for money…calculate your ROI :))

Water acrobatic shows,  were simply amazing never seen such a thing in India. Its fun traveling by bus here.Another weekend i went to Dallas a more uptown place with few skyscrapers. Austin though being the capital of Texas is not all that city to look.

In US,the capitals of state are not necessarily the most urban places. I am sure Khan will agree- he went to California right- and people always talk about San Francisco, San Jose or LA but the capital is a place called Sacramento– very unheard and unpopular name! (That’s a lovely trivia.. btw guess the capitals of Australia and Canada and its not Melborne or Toronto fyi)

(This is the best part of the letter)

And no! Guys dont even think that life is all happy over here for visitors.life is so boring here trust me…we Indians
definitely need chaos around us so we can look for some order.If everything is so orderly then where is the fun.Life here seems to me a like a fairy tale and very unrealistic.

There is no struggle for survival.The other day, when i was in the cab, i saw the driver having an Apple Air laptop thats the latest from apple- the worlds thinnest laptop.i was talking to another driver who is an Iranian who is here for the past 13 years. His kids are studying for bachelors here. he said he could not take any casual day off for many years. He saved every penny he could and now was able to pay 32000 dollars as tution fees for his kids Degree!

You go into a restaurant you see lot of people waste so much food that i get so wild and red in face. Not that it is great food anyways all junk food but still food is food. People go to Mc Donalds if they are stressed out. They taste some food, and throw the rest.And i was thinking of the people who know only one kind of stress – where to get the next meal from. The point that i am making is in US almost everybody is well off. Now it is the question of who is more rich.They could do so much to help other countries but they don’t. I  don’t want to say that it is the same
everywhere,I am just saying what i saw and not exaggerating. I don’t think i can settle or live here for long..just a visit is fine. (that’s what Mother Teresa said, when she went to Olso, Norway for her Nobel dinner. She said she wished, she could pack all the food being wasted and send it to the streets of Kolkatta. A Nobel thought indeed)

I need traffic jams,i need bad roads,i need a pursuit, I need to be challenged 🙂 ok ok..full philosophy..i will stop boring you now. 🙂

Bye guys,

PS: Ravi – My admiration for you and your values have increased. I am proud to be your friend da. 

06 – Feedback – Breakfast of the Champions

A CEO Teacher

An executive had an hour presentation to a group of senior managers of his company. While his immediate manager congratulated him, later he complained to his colleague that the presentation would be much polished and time shortened. The surprised colleague inquired as to why he had not conveyed the same to the executive. ‘I would have offended him,’ was the reply.

The goody trap

So often, we are trapped in this goody goody relationship that we refrain from giving our perspective. Welcome to the world of feedback. Just as much valuable is to act on good feedback, it is vital for a good relationship to be able to present the feedbacks.

Feedback – a sign of trust

Giving feedback is a sign of trust and confidence. I fondly remember my first visit after a stint in the Gulf and Europe. I wrote a long 3 page feedback to a bunch of young boys like me, who organized a conference.

That definitely was not the best way. I, however, got my message across. While, the feedback wasn’t that great, the organizers took it well and today they are among my closest circle of friends.

Three Lessons

Here are three key parameters in giving a feedback:

Don’t give feedback as:

  • Sympathy (feels patronizing)
  • Power (feels humiliating)
  • Anger (feels abusive)

As Ken Blanchard says, feedback is the breakfast of the champions. What did you have in yours?

05 -Take time for Rituals

A CEO Teacher 

How do you have your TEA? With milk, without milk, no sugar, green tea or you simple want more caffeine and order a coffee!

My friends who are a big fan of the Eastern moview made me watch John Woo’s Red Cliff. An interesting movie, I must add. Infact so interesting, that I blogged about it – [http://pennations.com/2017/04/15/red-cliff-2008/]

What made me reflect in the movie was the emphasis on drinking tea.

The Samurai Tea

The Samurai not only love their tea, they cherish the moment. He didn’t gulp it, but rather took his time, reflected, watched his tea boil and devour it with grace. There was a moment in the movie where this very ritual of drinking tea, was used as a ploy to delay the enemy’s general which ultimately led to his defeat. So much with the tea.

Religion is Rituals

Now think about religion. Religion is all about Rituals – its a way of life. The small acts of worship. The mediation routine. The food ritual. A lot of sport-person follow a ritual. Indian dashing cricketer Sehwag always has a red handkerchief while batting; The legendary West Indian cricketer, Brain Lala would always set foot on the field with right foot. These are not mere superstitions but rather a list of rituals from where people derive their strength from.

Our learning from the daily rituals is to take time out for small but significant rituals on your life. Who knows, where you derive your next act of courage from.

Our lives have become too DAILY. These rituals make them meaningful. They fill our days with activities we can look forward to. Rituals are not mere checklist to tick off, but acts that help us focus and re-energize our everyday.

Three Lessons

  • paying attention [we pay attention to the detail and begin to enjoy our everyday acts]
  • timer at meeting [Rituals help us keep track of time; You plan your day better]
  • areas of focus [small everyday acts help us keep more focused and add flavour to our mundane routine]