Sunday, July 24, 2011

Attitude adjustment needed --- for 'Stars' and 'Stargazers' !!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to an Indian Music (Bollywood) concert. But the real experience for me was a day before, at the pre-concert dinner. That event was at a local Indian restaurant. It was an average sized hall, but with surprisingly few people. I went to over the bar and looked towards the stage. And I knew who the "star" on the stage was....instantly!

This guy had dark shades on, (it was about 9 30 pm and indoors!) And the attitude was typical of a 'spoilt brat'. And then in a few minutes, I guess it was time for him to leave. A cordon of about 12-15 young men appeared around our star and closeted him. Then they herded him out of the room, all the while forming a tight circle around him, pushing away imaginary crowds! And there was NOBODY within 20 feet of our star! It was quite a spectacle.....almost comical.

Later on in the evening, we were sitting around a table with a few close friends, waiting for the next star to show up. We discussed how people feed the ego of our stars, which is already humungous, and make it "Super- humungous". They all agreed with me. And then the next star showed up.... and in the next two seconds, everybody on my table disappeared! I found myself alone on the table, except for the entertaining company of my 3-yr-old godson! 

I think all of us (including me) are a part of the reason why most of our stars have an air about them, some of it deserved, but mostly not! We belong to a culture where any connection, no matter how remote, to any celebrity gives the person a 'leg up' on his peers. For example, (read this slowly) knowing the "celebrity's sister's husband's cousin's neighbor" will get you a lot of  "oohs" and 'aahs"!

And finally the concert itself-- the star with more humility was the one who rocked the crowd. She did not have an irritating attitude, was very friendly and her performance was par excellence! The other "star" with all the attitude -- was terrible. Now extrapolate that to the real world. People with an 'air' or 'attitude' about them.....are they just that? Just a lot of 'hot air' and no substance or sincerity? 

"A humble, healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier." ~ Jawaharlal Nehru


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Absentmindedness......good, bad or natural?

Stories abound about absentmindedness. Mostly professors, eccentric geniuses, people near their golden years........and occasionally (relatively!) young,  intelligent, bright people like my friend who was flying home from a business meeting. He got to the airport with his friends. He was to board from gate 6, at 4 pm. 
"What time is your flight?" his friend asked him.
"I have plenty of time. My flight's at 6 pm, from gate 4," my friend replied, looking at his watch.
So what happened? Some neuronal circuits got swapped in his brain? And believe me, he is one of the brightest people I know. He had a flash of  "absentmindedness" that resulted in the ensuing confusion. How does that happen?

We all have been absentminded at one time or another. These are called action slips or mental lapses. Ever rushed upstairs and forgot why you were there? Or went grocery shopping and forgot the one thing that you really needed? (that's my specialty!) I have seen people look for their spectacles or shades which are actually perched on their heads.

So what is absentmindedness? Is it inattentiveness? Lack of concentration? Neuro-scientists insist that about 6-7 "mental lapses" per week are normal. And that is during routine, stress free circumstances. Increased stress, mental or physical, will inevitably lead to more absentmindedness. Busy lifestyles, the deluge of information-- e mail, internet, facebook-- definitely puts more demand on our time and minds. Sometimes, absentmindedness will graduate into forgetfulness. We all worry when we forget occasionally, that we are getting "old". Please don't -- its normal. Just ease up on the facebook time, cut down on the web browsing and see how much better your memory will work!

"I forget what I was taught. I only remember what I have learnt." ~ Patrick White