Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Friday, January 1, 2010

71. Wholesale

Yes, it is the first day of New Year. Right from yesterday night, I am receiving innumerable SMSs. Don’t ask me about the e-mails and phone calls. Everybody out there is wishing everybody out there. Naturally people can’t be original when they have to produce in bulk. We are people in a hurry. We do not have time to live exclusively. We are wholesalers. We feel, we respond, we enjoy.. all in a ‘blanket’ way. We do not have time for subtleties. We do not have time to live.

About ten years ago, a colleague at my workplace came to my workstation in the morning. To my astonishment, he wished me and presented me a pack of chocolate. Till then I had never worked to earn money. The ‘office’ was a new thing in my life. I was touched and bit amused also. I had hardly interacted with this colleague since I joined – which was just a couple of months. So, I was not sure from where he got my birthday and how he knew that I liked chocolate. I never can celebrate with strangers; I can do it only with friends. But just to show curtsey I accepted his wishes and his gift.

However I was left wondering only for few days. I realized that the colleague gets birthday list from HR department and he presents the same pack of chocolate to everyone. For the first time I realized that someone had dared to wish me so mechanically and so much routinely. A year went without any interaction with him. There was nothing common in us and nothing strikingly different too. So, there was nothing to talk about.

Next year, I accepted the chocolate with smile and politely told him: “Please, don’t mind, but I do not like to take gifts from strangers. I do not celebrate birthday. I would be happy if you don’t give me chocolate now onwards.” To his credit, he accepted this unusual request without moving his eyelid and then never bothered me again. I cursed myself for being in the world with such people around.

Then slowly I got used to such things. Every year, there are at least three new years. First is sometime in March /April during Gudhi Padwa (or Yugadi). Second is in October/November during Deepavali and then the third – or rather the first in January.

The same people keep me ‘wishing happy new year’ all the three times. They send SMS – which keeps on rotating in circles, they send some picturesque emails – you have to browse only two or three to understand the latest fashion. They handshake when they meet. Some people wish you in all these three ways – three times in a year. For many SMS/mails, I have to search my memory about who exactly the sender is. I mean, someone whom I have met about a decade ago, and never bothered to drop in or call and is wishing me thrice a year as if s/he is from some other planet. It is irritatingly funny or funnily irritating – whichever way you like to look at – half full glass or half empty glass :)

Generally I am not a very friendly person (that is why I write a blog? I am not sure.) It is not that I do not have friends. I am fortunately affluent in this regard. I spend exclusive time with them. I share life with them. I make myself available to them just to talk. Generally I do not give anything – not in terms of money and material things. Money I never had much and material I am never interested in much. But I don’t do things in bulk. I try to suit it to the needs, choices and likings of my friends. I am not able to satisfy all of them all the time, they have complaints about me. But they are sure that whatever I do, it is exclusively for them and it is from the bottom of my heart.

I am happy about the fact that I am not a wholesaler. I do things in small bits and pieces. I live from moment to moment. In the process I lose a lot, but well I gain a lot too.

I wish next year I should not receive any mechanical SMSs and messages. If I spend 2010 with people I care for, I guess my wish will be fulfilled. What is your guess?


  1. spending a little quality time reading your blog and to wish you that all dreams come true!

  2. I cursed myself for being in the world with such people around.

    It doesn't make sense. Men have always sought to communicate with each other, to the best of their abilities.

    Back in the days of Snail Mail, I'm sure some prissy Victorian-era gentleman in a dinner coat must've opined over a glass of wine, "Whatever happened to the simple joys, like meeting our friends and acquaintances in person, rather than relying on written word, that is so apt to mislead? Where is the personal touch, the magic of meeting those that you love and cherish?"

    It sounds familiar, doesn't it?

    Our world is shrinking. People, places, information is so much more accessible, and hence we spread our circle of concern far beyond what we would've ten years ago.

    Some say it's good - "keeping in touch" has helped millions, the world over.

    Some say it's bad - more information at our fingertips means lesser time we can spend on a particular something. Our timelines are chopped into miniscule fragments, and we dole out those fragments indiscriminately.

    In the end, it's all about progress. Times change. We ought to change with it.

  3. I don't like to receive new year messages as well but they are a fact of life now. What surprises me is that there is so much agonizing over it by you. Once you absorb that this shallow practice has taken root, how much effort does it to take to ignore such emails. I do not use mobile and do not know how to send or receive SMS, so I cannot comment how easy it is to ignore them. But one simple option is to switch off your mobile for 2 to 4 days and then bulk-delete most of it.

    Your blog is brilliant. Rather than doing things mechanically with herd mentality, you take pains to evaluate how you should lead your life, and that is a rare quality these days.

  4. Anyone will want to be liked and wished personally.
    SMS culture is sickening.
    Try and be personal to those whom you expect should be close to you.
    It works

  5. Thanks Catswhiskers. For the visit and for the good wishes you express.

    rindojustrindo, welcome to Times Change. May be 'I cursed' is not the right expression.. there are good, bad and ugly things around. One needs to steer through all those. But is it progress? I do disagree. May be, we need to discuss it at length.

    Anonymous, thanks for your concern. No, I am not truly agonized. I find out ways and means to live happily through all this. But one of my role is a 'whistle blower'. And I keep on sharing assertively what I feel - whether someone reads or not is another matter! But yes, I do keep my mobile off once in a while...

    Chowlajee, thanks. I hope it works :)

  6. :)
    now i know why you left this smiley on my post! lol! that is what you should be doing and saying 'forgive them for they not what they do'? and smile instead of agonize!
    love it!

  7. Sometimes it is nice to get wishes however mechanical.. Sometimes it is nice to convert polite strangers into close friends.. like that nice boy who gave you a chocolate... i think he wanted you to be happy as well as all others. Maybe one of them would have shown some warmth and become his friend.. i like to think so...
    btw , i hardly get any messages.. since i am not in an office... and my borthday is generally forgotten by those i know...

  8. There are different types that make the world ! And the ones that send the SMS and the ones that prefer it in smaller intense lots !

    To accept and to let go. Those are the choicest of blessings that one can be showered with.

    Wishing you a fabulous new year

  9. Savita-bai : Since you had used the word '(funnily) irritating', it sounded like agonizing.

    > Anonymous, ... I am not truly agonized. I find out ways and means to live happily through all this. But one of my role is a 'whistle blower'.

    It does look from your post that you find a way to avoid things which you like to blow whistle on. That's good. I can identify with you because I, too, loathe the triviality which we are surrounded by.

    People who like to arite are almost always better at it in their mothertoungue. But yours is a curious case. I find your English blog very nicely written, simple, direct, vivid, with a very nice flow to the language and the thought process. Your Marathi writing is patchy, though. It does not have the same impact as your English blog. I guess this is a matter of taste, and other people may not agree with me.

    - नानिवडेकर

  10. Aargh! Two corrections, please. Should have read my own comment before clicking 'Publish' .

    > those who arite .. mothertoungue

    who *write* and 'tongue' .

    - dn

  11. magiceye, yes, I am smiling and not agonized.

    Satyask, by wishing we become friends to the one time strangers, I do agree. I will try that. My only concern is nothing is to be done mechanically but from within the heart.

    Kavi, yes in a way I am lucky to get so many wishes, even though I may not feel like it now.

    Nanivadekar, you have made an interesting observation - about my Marathi blog and this blog. I fully agree with you and appreciate you communicating it candidly. I am bit ashamed of myself about not being able to express better in Marathi, but I know that is not the case. Actually I have not paid much attention to Marathi blog and have written (and thought about it) in patches, which reflects in the blog. But in 2010 I have plan to devote more time for Marathi blog too. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading both the blogs. I will wait for your feedback after few months.

  12. > I am bit ashamed of myself about not being able to express better in Marathi, but I know that is not the case.

    Please note that it is just one man's opinion when I say that your writing style in Marathi is not appealing. Someone else may not share my opinion. To me, you come across as almost two different persons via your two blogs. Your English writing suggests a reflective, quiet and even possibly a little arrogant person. Nothing wrong in being a little arrogant and not much caring what others think of the course you have chosen for yourself. I don't find the same sharpness in your Marathi blog. That could be because you write about sensitive poems, some of which I don't like because I find them girlie rather than 'sensitive'. I hate the soppy 20th C sensitivity. (For example, I am more likely to want to kick that squeaking squirrel which you heard rather than be disturbed by its intensity. It may seem inhuman to you.)

    By the way, when you say 'abda shabda', what does the word 'abd' mean? Mardhekar has written (to God) 'abda abda manee yete' but nobody seems to know what it means.

    As for the post you made a few minutes ago, if the impulse to write is becoming overwhelming, resist it for a day. It may go away. If it doesn't, write what you have written, but mail it to yourself without posting it on the blog. Then read it after 24 hours and ask yourself whether it is worth posting publicly. I have tried it myself, and oftentimes the answer after reading my own stuff after 24 hours is : "Aw, this is not terribly smart and the universe will surely go on existing even if I do not post it." That said, I am not asking you to never post anything on your blog because I like it (your Eng blog) a lot.

    - Naniwadekar


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