Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why Sandy matters - to me.

The thing is, a hurricane on the East Coast of the United States *is* a bigger deal than a lot of other natural disasters in a lot of other places in the world (not just India). And it’s not always about numbers, it’s not about 100 people dying versus a mere 16. It’s not because American life is more precious.  It is a bigger deal because it is a bigger deal, as deals go. And maybe if you sat down to think about it, you’d get my point. If you got all your information in place, you’d see things from my perspective. Maybe if I had all the facts, I'd see your point too.   

It’s a bigger deal to me because – there’s no one in my world who doesn’t know someone who lives on the East Coast. It’s a bigger deal because the impact on the world economy will be something to reckon with. It’s a bigger deal to me because it directly impacted my job. It’s a bigger deal in India because it directly impacted a LOT of jobs in the financial world and in the BPO industry.  It is news, not because of the people who died, but because two of the biggest stock exchanges in the world shut down trading for two full days.  
[Corollary: I’d have expected NYSE and the Nasdaq to have better disaster recovery plans and kept trading going through the storm. But they didn’t. So this storm matters more.]

It’s not that I don’t value human life, I do, and it’s as important or unimportant to me wherever it exists.  And yes – all things remaining the same – 100 people dying is a bigger deal than 16 dying. All things remaining the same.  But the truth, and you know it as well as I do – is that if the same storm happened in Boise or in Melbourne, Australia – you and I, sitting in India – would not care as much. This is New York. It’s the financial capital of the world. Things come to a standstill there –it impacts all of us.

So no, being more interested in Hurricane Sandy than the Assam floods is not a sign that I’m a yank sell-out who isn't patriotic or that I can’t understand basic numbers. It just matters to me more because of my lifestyle, my job, my people, my interests. Thinking it’s only about death-toll, is perhaps the most closed-minded way of looking at it.

And of course, you know, maybe we need to start talking more about climate and less about the weather now. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The five influences

The one I encounter everyday. The one who listens to my problems and mocks them for being childish.The one who wants to be a part of my world, but isn't, can't and will never be. She's the one who lies to herself and possibly everyone around her. She feigns non-chalance and a cold exterior. She feigns strength. She's overly-opinionated and aggressive and loud. I want to squash her. Bitch.  

The one I meet on weekends. The one who hates me and loves me. Wants me and despises me. The one who builds me up to break me down. She doesn't lie to herself, just everyone around her. She knows the truth about herself and she knows that letting someone come close enough will expose her. So she hides behind phrases like commitment phobia and high-standards. She is just waiting to live up to the impossibly high standards of her father, her brother, her sister, her mother and most of all, herself. 

The one that wants to do everything. She wants to be a part of all my plans. She wants to say yes to more education, to more love, to less pain, to breaking ties, to building bridges - everything. She takes all my problems on and then falls apart. Fails me more desperately than anyone else. She wants to be there for everyone, spreads herself too thin and then she crumbles. 

The one I hate. She's the one with ALL the advice. Do this, do that and be amazing. The one that has no sympathy for me when my body hurts, and who says so without thinking twice. The one who always needs to be looked after, but doesn't know how to give back. The selfish one. The one I need the most. 

And then there is you. You break my heart and leave me to pick up the pieces. Then you come and make it all okay. Toughen me up, soften me, toughen me, soften me...you make me.