05 October 2015

Insatiable people

People are generally difficult to please. 
Seeking more for less, is a natural human trait. However, there is a group of insatiable people for whom more is never enough.

Who are these insatiable people? 
Generally speaking you can never fully satisfy, Customers, Boss, Parents, Teachers and Wife.

No matter what you do, this group of people  keep driving you to do more, supposedly to progress and to become excellent. Progress and excellence however, are not goals, they are philosophies, a way of thinking and performing. No one is excellent so we are constantly and bluntly reminded of our imperfections and the need to do more.

This is how it works. They set you some goals or ask you to perform a task often disguised as a request.
Off you go and surprisingly even achieve it, feeling pretty good about yourself. The insatiable will inevitably let you know that your performance was  ok, but you need to do better. 

I have waited all my life for acknowledgement, if not appreciation from people in this category, and after 58 years, I am still waiting. These are the people who kept moving the goalposts, further away whenever I reach them.

The customer wants his rupee to travel further, he wants more value  for what he pays. However value has no upper limit. When is value enough? So they ask for better prices, better quality, shorter deliveries, harder, softer, sweeter, more personalised attention, more variety, less variety, .............. etc.

Bosses are people who are experts on everything and because they pay a salary, they believe they own people.  Things are made more challenging for employees, because most of the time the bosses themselves are clueless on what they want or need.

Some bosses are born, some achieve bossiness and some bosses are thrust on others. Merit is surprisingly often ignored, in the journey of people to becoming bosses,  stealth and cunning are more at work.

Many juniors wonder, like the tortoise on a post, "How the hell did he or she get there?" 

Staying on top is difficult, a boss needs to perform. If bosses get competent subordinates they spend sleepless nights because they might lose out to their juniors. If they surround themselves with inept 'yes men' they cannot perform. Can you blame the boss for being nervous and dissatisfied?

(Good bosses are rare and studies show that 72% of people are willing to take pay cuts if someone would change the boss.)

Parents try their hardest to achieve their dreams through the children. They could take a cue from Khalil Gibran who wrote, **"Children come through you, yet they belong not to you".**

Parents have a great investment in their children and like any good investor they want their investment to perform well.  Successful children are expected to provide higher social standing for parents, which seems to be terribly important to parents.

Parents love their children so much that they will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves.


There are good and their bad teachers. Good teachers are inevitably insatiable.
They choose their students and disciples and then drive them to the edge, almost.
They are probably the purest of the insatiable people.

A wife is an enigma. Even great and successful men have problems in meeting the expectations of the wife. Men are rarely able to decipher what the woman actually means or wants. 

The wife want her man to succeed, but rarely know what needs to be done. She knows that nagging and criticising the man will move him. Unfortunately all movement is not progress.

Maybe the reason why there are more successful men then women, is that women do not have wives.

Insatiable people usually drive us, some positively and other destructively. The mistake they often make is in their belief that they own the person. One can own own things but you cannot own people. Even a slave, you can own his body but never his heart and mind. 

Ownership or possession kills the spirit of the individual. Pushing people results in resentment and poor performance over time. 

On the other hand those who excite people, and get them into believing in themselves are happier and more effective. Resulting in self motivated,  proactive, contented people who are and usually more positive and successful.

My father and Uncle and many of my teachers are long gone. I have new customers and the same wife, but the music is the same. 

I grumble about these insatiable people, but thank God they were and some still there. For I would have been a lesser person without them.

15 September 2015

Renounce Satan?

Whilst on his deathbed, French philosopher Voltaire was asked by a Catholic priest to renounce Satan.

He simply replied,  
"Now is not the time to make new enemies"

Fran├žois-Marie Arouet popularly known as Voltaire (1650 -1722) 

All his life, poet, writer, philosopher, historian the brilliant, witty and great human being , the Frenchman Voltaire, had trouble with the authorities for critiques of the government and religious intolerance. These activities were to result in numerous imprisonments and exiles. Yet he refused to give up his principles.

He mainly argued for religious tolerance and freedom of thought. He campaigned to eradicate dictatorial priestly and aristo-monarchical authority, and supported a constitutional monarchy that protects people's rights.

Despite great pressure and threats from the aristocracy and the Church, Voltaire refused till his dying breath to retract his well-known criticism of the Church.

12 September 2015

11 September 2015

My children and I. We are not friends.

My cousin Raja in Kolkata, once asked me, "How would you describe your relationship with your children?"

"Why, we are friends." I replied rather proudly.

He replied, "Forgive me Veer ji, but your children have many friends, where as they have only one set of parents. The only people who will be firm and honest with people are their parents and their genuine teachers."

I was irritated that my cousin 15 years younger than me, should even think this way. "How old fashioned and outdated was his outlook?" Raja's statement bothered me immensely.

When I returned from Kolkata, I decided to ask my children over Sunday lunch, about defining our relationship. We discussed my trip and what all had transpired.

Eventually I got around to  my conversation with Raja. I then asked them,  "Do you think I should be more of a friend or less of a friend to you guys?

Both my sons replied in unison and without hesitation, "Less of a friend".

I was flabbergasted, and felt somewhat disappointed. I had to know why they said that.

Then Mohit our elder son said, "Dad we love you and we respect you even more. But you know with friends there are no boundaries, and sometimes, we take you for granted. When we treat you as a friend  we often say or behave silly, sometimes even disrespectful. When we behave like that with you, and even though you do not take offence most of the time,  we  deeply regret it. This is why, it is better that we be more respectful, than friendly."

"Wow! I did not see that one coming", I told myself.

I realised it is the fashion to be friends with one's children, but there is big difference between being friends and being friendly.

Maybe you should ask yourself and your children the same question.