Monday, August 26, 2013

The Shopping and its Potentials!!!

In 2005 Nicholas Cage movie “Lord of War”, he plays an arms dealer known as Yuri. For a few days, his brother Vitaly helps him as a business partner. Yuri’s biggest competitor is Simeon Weisz whereas his most prominent customer is Andre Baptiste Sr. All this while; an Interpol agent, Jack Valentine, chases Yuri.
No, this is not the review of the movie. This is something else. In case you have not noticed, all the names I have mentioned have been of different men. Yuri sells arms of different variety to the different warzones across the globe. All his suppliers are men. All his buyers are men. The world is shown to be headed towards an end where only arms dealers would win and everyone would lose.
Now think about it. Consider men in the above scenario are replacing by women, entirely. Even hypothetically, but assume it happens.
I strongly believe that if the business of arms dealing, both buyers and suppliers, is taken over by women, we shall achieve a stage of complete global peace and harmony. Because by the time women decide which guns to buy or which hand grenades to sell, decades would pass and people in different warzones would yawn their way to peace. Yes, it would be the case.
First of all, with change in customer profile, the product profile would also change. No longer would you be getting an AK47 in only black color. AK47, pretty much like Sony Vaio, would be sold in different shades of pink and other colors with an option to change its color as the user changes the nail paint. Hand grenades would be sold covered in different fabrics like cotton, satin or Bandhej.  Oh yes, you would also find frills of different kinds around it. Revolvers would have to match the different kind of earrings.
Even the selling pitches would change. People would no longer say “Buy this gun, muzzle is awesome, never jams, shoots till five kilometers and kills the target even if you are shooting out of sand”.
The selling pitches would be like “Bhabhiji, yeh naya pink aaya hai AK56 ka. Aapki Chunni ke sath bahut jamega”. (Sister in law, this is the new pink of AK56. This will go well with your scarf).
Although this may meet a response like this, “Chal hat nikhattu, meri saas ke paas bhi aisi hi AK56 hai. Kuch naye fashion ka dikha, waisa jaisa Aishwaryane pehna tha us movie mein, hum gun de chuke sanam” (Get lost you useless fellow. Even my mother in law has such AK56. Show me something of new fashion, as the one Aishwarya wore in the movie “We have given the gun, my beloved”)
Shopping, ladies and gentlemen, is something no women cannot do without. Ladies will accept this fact with pride and Gentlemen with pain. But both will accept it nonetheless.
No offence meant but I think if you ask a woman to choose between constipation and a period of no shopping, they would choose the former. It is one topic that would have consumed more ink than Rajnikanth’s larger than life image, more airtime than SIR Jadeja’s command over the universe and more space than Sunny Leone’s you-know-what. Yet, we can still talk at length about it.
If you ask ten women what did they over the weekend, nine would reply with one word – shopping. Women’s replying in one word itself is an event rarer than a Rohit Sharma century. Oh by the way, the tenth women would crib that her monster husband took her out for shopping for just one of the two days. Nine out of ten times, you would be that monster husband. There must have been plethora of books explaining probability but I wonder if anyone of them has this as an example to explain one of the most obscure topics in mathematics – probability.
There is a difference between how men shop and how women do. Men are bad buyers. If a man has to buy a shirt, he would go to the shop, buy it and come back. Being morons they always are, they knock off the most enjoyable act for the other side of gender divide in just three steps, three useless steps.
Women are different. They are intelligent buyers.
Tell me my fellow men; do you think if that Rs. 3,000/- color plus shirt is actually worth that much? No, it is not. The cost includes the rent of the garment shop in that gigantic mall, the electricity bill, the salaries and other overheads. Do you ensure if there is a way to recover that cost? No, you do not. You just do not.
Here is how shopping skills of women comes to fore. They are excellent in recovering costs. Even if they have to buy a Cadbury silk, they would ask the shopkeeper to show all the chocolates they have. They would check with him if it were possible to taste before swiping the card. They would see the texture, the color and how it has been packed. They would like to know the history of the chocolate, the shop, if they do home delivery, if they took bulk orders for their birthday (the birthday would be 6 months away), if any discount was available and after checking all this, they would turn towards you, smile and say “Have you made the payment?”. If one could calculate the cost of time spent in all this, it surely would have exceeded the cost of the chocolate.
Sale is another word that drives women. If Pied Piper of Hamelin was given the job of driving women out of Hamelin, he wouldn’t have needed a magic pipe to play. All he would have done was to open a shop, put a large placard in front of it with a four-letter word SALE. All the women in Hamelin would have been driven out by the mere smell of it.
No matter what they say, women are fascinated by mathematics or to be précises, % dynamics. For them, a 20% sale is good, 30% sale is great and 50% sale is absolute heaven. If there are things written in an unreadable font with an astrix, they prefer ignoring it. God has blessed them with eyes, which look at this world on a relative scale so they do not look for absolute prices. For them, a Rs. 1,000/- shirt is good but if the same shirt is sold at Rs 3,000/- with 50% discount on it, it is even better. It is the feeling of making a steal that matters and not the steal.
Mind you, they are the pioneers of Keynesian theory. They have the power to drive the consumption in the economy and bail it out of any trouble. For the small matters of paying for driving the consumption, men can worry about it. Useless creatures that men are, they ought to do something to earn their right to breathe after all.
To all the economists striving hard to bring this world out of recession, here is my simple solution. Most economies are driven by consumption theory. Hence, if we can put up boards of SALE everywhere, suddenly everything will find a demand. Assuming that life runs in a circle of supply and demand, it will all get picked up by the intent of fairer sex and we shall be out of recessionary world to a boom. Once that happens, we can thank the women for this noble act by making them take over the business of arms dealing. That will make the world a lot more peaceful place. All we can hope is that women’s jealousy does not drive them in killing each other with the same arms. Some may argue that this planet will be lot more peaceful without women, hence it is a win-win proposition but I strongly disagree. What shall we do without them?
See, the women hold the power to solve the two biggest problems on this planet – eradicating the poverty and bringing back the peace. Hail all women.
PS: The post attempts at sarcastic humor. Sentiments hurt, if any, are regretted. Please don’t kill me.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Crisis Called Midlife!!!

Biggest problem with midlife crisis is that you do not know what your problem is. Until now, life has been all about setting goals and striving to achieve them – the school, the marks, the college, the job, the girl and all that. Until now, you have had something to look forward to. Until now, you have had an aim. Now, you are past that stage.
All those things that at one point of time looked like a tool to reach the pinnacle of life have dropped you to the so-called pinnacle – just that the pinnacle has turned out to be a plateau. Since it is a plateau, you find others to have reached the same place by taking different routes. You wonder if all those years were worth this present. Funny part is that everyone else in your boat thinks the same.
Human mind is a monster always hungry for thoughts. A kid’s mind is lost in his present. In his youth, human mind is lost in the dreams for his future. An old mind has too much of past baggage to think about.
Problem is with those in their midlife – there is sufficient baggage of past to think about and the future gives you more worries than hope. You are always thinking if change in handling a few things in the past would have reduced your worries for future. You are always trying to make yourself think that whatever you have is the best you could have got. Sometimes you also think that you were lucky even to have the present you have. The thing is that you are always confused between past, present and future – which part should be given the more importance in your thought process.
Deep down you know that staying in present is what will make you happy but you do not really like your present. Whatever you are doing is not what you had dreamt off in your youth. Something you dream of doing is the very same thing you cannot do now. Even if you manage to do it, you soon realize that it is not what you had asked for. It is nothing but a state of not liking whatever you do and not knowing what you would love to do. As I said, confusion is the word.
Midlife crisis is nothing less than an identity crisis. You don’t know what you are – a kid who dreamt of making it big in life, a youth who left no stone unturned to make his dreams come true, an employee who turns up every day at work so that he could pick up his paycheck at the end of the month, a son split between the duties of a husband and a father, a law abiding citizen who cannot do anything but crib about the issues out of his hands. It is an identity crisis.
Until now, you had been running a race that you did not know if you wanted to run. You hardly ever decided to take up or give up a lap. You were always told by others what to do – go to this school, this college is good, you have to take up a good job and things like that. In fact, you hardly took any decision on your own.
Suddenly, the tables have turned. Suddenly, you have become the decision maker. Suddenly you have to make all the calls. You have to choose school for your kids in a time when fee for one year is more than what your parents paid for your entire education. You have to choose a career move knowing that you do not have liberty of making too many moves now. You have to decide where to put your money so that it can guard you against old age, you have to decide which city to settle down, you have to decide which relations to hold on and which to let go. You have to decide everything. There is no comfort of others making a calls for you, you walking down the road in full knowledge that if things go wrong, the blame would be on someone else.
Risks and returns, they are all yours. There is nobody to blame now.
It is something quite new to you. This is something starting afresh. This is something you have to start learning when you had thought you are past the learning period of your life. Mind you, making decisions for yourself is the most important aspect of life and learn you must.
There is one more thing you have to learn and that is to find happiness. Happiness is not like bad luck, which comes uninvited. You have to seek it, search for it.
You have to find out what makes you happy. Work is nothing but a rut. Family is lot about making others happy and finding your happiness in their happiness. With them, it is more about finding solace in a better future for your family. It is good if you find it but what is equally more important is what makes YOU happy, what keeps you in present. Remember, I am using the word YOU repeatedly.
Maybe it is time to pick up that side of your which you had allowed to sleep while you were busy running the rat race in your childhood/youth. It is time to dig into what could be termed as your “oblivious side”. It is time to explore YOU.
Pick up that guitar which was dumped somewhere when you could not even find time to look at it. Pick up that camera which you bought in a thanksgiving deal but have not even charged its battery twice. To hell with tracking stock markets and real estate prices, go read the stuff you always wanted to. Forget watching news and getting worried about the state of the nation and society. You getting worried will not help it much. There is a whole lot of cinema made by geniuses across the globe – go watch it all. I am sure there must have been something you loved doing without caring about anything else. There must be. Are you sure there was nothing like this?
In case if there is nothing like a “loved doing it but had to give up” thing in your life, go pick up something new. Go out and play. You will be surprised to see the agility of your mind and body that could be achieved after playing a game for a month or so, you will be surprised to see that the kid in you still breathes. You will be surprised to see that you still have the ability to live in the moment. It does not matter if you are a rookie in anything you do. Doing is what matters.
In fact, it is good if you are a rookie. Remember, you have to enjoy the process without bothering a damn about the results. If you were perfect at an art, your job would have been more difficult. You would have needed to find new challenges and the biggest challenge would have been maintaining the passion along with loads of crap life puts in front of you. What you are looking for – a kick of achievement making you happy would be a tough thing to get. Hence, being rookie is better. With steep learning curve, you would be getting the desired kick more frequently. It is better to be a rookie, it is better to pick up something new. It is always better to be in present and that is what it will do.
The gist of the story is – go deep down inside, look for what makes you happy and have a life. It will be lot better than simply cribbing about life.
Okay. I am not preaching it to anyone else. Having being stuck in my midlife crisis, I am talking it all to myself. But it can very well be true for others.
Just in case you are an old man reading this, I hope I am making sense to you. I am sure you would have done the same.
Just in case you are in same boat as mine, I hope I am making sense to you. According to me, this is the only way to deal with this.
Just in case you are a young man reading this and I am not making any sense to you, stop grinning and save these tips for future. I know you are living in a denial that you will never age. Soon you will be living in a denial that you have not aged and these tips will come handy.
As has someone has said (Okay, Rahm Emanuel said it but I do not know who he is. I just googled for a good quote) “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before”.
Who knows, while doing such a thing you may find a hidden treasure of a wonderful future in your midlife crisis.

Photo courtesy - The Scrib.