Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Nikhil

Dear Nikhil,

Congratulations on completing 22 years of your life. Maybe this birthday wasn’t as happening as the last one, but it was only apt that this birthday celebration, if you can call it that, was very quiet. It gave you the time, however little you got, to reflect and think on what you’ve been through since your last birthday. You also thought of what you want do and where you want to be for your next birthday. Though this happened when things were a little hazy, but the sky was still very clear and you could manage to walk straight. And when the haze cleared the next morning, you were glad that you have come a long way since your last birthday, but also reminded yourself that there’s much more to be done. Make sure you never lose sight of that. Go hang yourself otherwise or pick up the phone and talk to those special people bearing the brunt of your irritation, to get back on track.

Though you haven’t had any time to digest all that you’ve been through in the last one year, you understand that you’ve surely learnt a lot and in more ways than one, they have helped you evolve as a person. They might not be visible in terms of the acquisitions that you’ve made or explained in stupid blog posts like these, but you have certainly realized that on certain occasions, decisions based on such experiences hold you in good stead rather than anything that has been taught to you or been told that those are the right things.

Judging by yourself, but considering different perspectives before that

You’ve also learnt to make judgments by yourself, but at the same time making sure that you understand all the possible ways the same thing could be looked at. While you are certainly right on most occasions, you’ve also realized the importance of making an effort to understand first and then appreciate others’ points of view. That not only broadens your outlook, but also helps you feel comfortable while dealing with different kinds of people.

Enjoy people laughing behind your back.

To this a lot of people would say – ignore people who laugh behind your back. I say – enjoy with them. There are two things to this. One, that their amusement over you could be totally baseless and thus while you’re laughing with them, you’re actually laughing at them. Two, there might be some genuine reason to their reaction. There’s no harm in laughing at yourself. Do that and make sure without being bothered too much, work on those things. It’s a little hard to digest humiliation, but you’ll come stronger out of it. I know you are smiling now, that’s how you’ve learnt a lot of things. Now that you are doing much better, you’re definitely enjoying it!

Patience and focus

Perhaps these two are the most important things you’ve learnt since your last birthday.

You cannot do everything by yourself, immaterial of how genuinely interested in each of those you are or how important it is to you. There are a few things, which beyond a certain level, are beyond your control. Then you have to bow to the structure and order and let things take their own course. I don’t mean to say that you should become a slave of the ‘system’, it is also that certain structures and systems are put in place to maintain order and it is important to respect them. Thus it becomes important to maneuver and find your way through this structure. That skill of making sure you get what you want and to keep people in good humor is something which needs to be developed. Some smart people around you know how to do it, learn it from them. Be patient, but don’t get sick!

There are a lot of things you wanted to do and a lot you still want to do. Just to make sure your energy is used judiciously in the right direction, it is better you concentrate on a few things you think you are good at and you are comfortable with. You are indeed fortunate that you have access to people and resources to help you pursue your interests, but make sure you know the difference between your interests and matters which deserve more attention.

Formalities and niceties are important.

Well yes, on certain occasions and with certain people for sure. But otherwise remain as politically incorrect and blunt as you are. Formalities and niceties are important because not only they make you (appear!) more presentable, they lend a certain degree of credibility to what you say and what you do. Though personally you might not like as it might seem superficial, it is important that you understand and appreciate this. Ways of the world, my man! Be like them, it’s ok. But don’t be them!

[Nikhil’s reaction to this: What the fuck man? Could you please cut the crap? ]

Well, let’s put an end to this crap. But remember
* You’ve definitely done your bit, but there’s so much more to do. The benchmarks are only getting higher by the day. Yes, a lot of times you have the feeling of having ‘been there, done that’. Kick that feeling, go out and take up new challenges.

* Remain as stupid as you’ve always been. You’ve learnt a lot of things the hard way and perhaps that’s the best way to learn things. Remain stupid, ask more stupid questions and make a lot of mistakes.

* Malcolm Gladwell is definitely right, Blink! is a great book. But yes, try being a little measured and less instinctive while reacting to things. Think on your feet, but sit down and talk!

* There are those special people in this world who make you the person you are today. Some help you remain sane while others make sure you are as insane as you’ve always been. And yes, the sugarcane crushing machine!
[ Nikhil : Thanks all you special people. You know who you are. Joey ishtyle! ☺]

It’ll be interesting to watch the contents of the letter I’ll write to you on your 23rd birthday.