The J&K Conundrum

UT of J&K and Ladakh

Bifurcation of J&K

Article 370 and 35A have been abrogated. Let us understand the dynamics of new political and security dimensions of the historic decision. It would put an end to the money-making industry being run by a privileged few by looting the generous funds received from the Central government thus ensuring development and empowerment of the ordinary citizens.
With the passing of J&K Reorganisation Bill-2019, unified entity of J&K state as created by the Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh will become a part of history and two new political entities will emerge. A union territory (UT) of J&K with legislative powers and a UT of Ladakh without a legislature. While there are different models of UTs in India, UT of J&K will adopt Puducherry Model under Article 239A of the Constitution of India.

The separate Constitution of J&K promoted separatism rather than ensuring state’s full integration with the rest of India. The Constitution of India will be fully applicable without any exceptions in J&K. The separate state constitution will cease to be operative and with that the separate flag enjoying the same status as the National Flag. Only the National Flag will fly atop all government buildings and the government offices. Any disrespect to the national flag and national anthem would be a cognizable offence. Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) or the State Subject, which used to be the most prized possession of the state residents and most difficult to procure if one happened to be from any other community, will now become an ordinary document like many other documents. A big relief to the common man and particularly those who were denied the privileges enjoyed by the permanent residents of the state. There will be no gender discrimination. Tourism potential will be exploited to the full. Ranbir Penal Code will form part of the archives. In other words, the symbols of being different and special will cease to exist and from Kanyakumari to Kupwara and Lakshdweep to Ladakh India will be one and all will be Indians. 

Some are crying foul and trying to fuel communal passions to ensure the continuation of their hegemony, it would be suffice to say that the days of feudal attitude and open loot are over. The preamble to the Constitution of J&K did not refer the state as secular while the Constitution of India proclaims India as a secular nation.

What are the implications of reorganisation? UT of J&K will have a legislative assembly and no legislative council. It would have a council of ministers with 10 ministers (not exceeding 10% of total legislators) headed by a Chief Minister. Lt Governor will replace the Governor. The UT of Ladakh will continue to be governed by the two autonomous hill councils headed by the Lt Governor (LG). There will be common High Court for both the UTs. J&K UT will continue with JK Public Service Commission, Ladakh UT will be served by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). All major Central laws & Commissions will be applicable in both the UTs by deleting the term “excluding State of J&K” from the Acts governing them. Election Commission of India will henceforth conduct all the elections in J&K UT instead of the Chief Election Officer (CEO). All Indian citizens will be eligible to register themselves as voters as per the existing electoral laws as applicable in rest of the country. Local land laws have been retained.

The provision of Article 239A applicable to Puducherry will be applicable to new J&K UT. The legislative assembly will enjoy the power to legislate on all matters in the State List except “police” and “public order” and all matters in the Concurrent List. The J&K Police will be under the control of Home Ministry, as in the case of Delhi. However, in Puducherry law and order is a state subject. This is the main reason bothering the Kashmiri leaders who used to have full control over the police and used it to fulfil their agenda including soft approach towards separatists and terror sympathisers. J&K Bank will be under the full control of the Central Government and RBI. Bank which acted as a “Kamdhenu” for the local parties will no more be at their beck and call thus drying up a source of personal financing and conduit to terror financing. Centre will now have the power to also declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the two UTs.

The new assembly will have a term of 5 years like the rest of the country. It would have 107 members with 24 seats frozen for POJK. LG will have powers to nominate two female members as existing. The four existing members to Rajya Sabha will continue to be the sitting members from the current J&K. As far as Lok Sabha is concerned J&K UT will have 5 members while one will represent the Ladakh UT. Union Government has also proposed fresh delimitation of J&K Assembly. As far as MPs are concerned fresh delimitation is not permitted till the next census after 2026. An increase of 7 seats, 114 from 107 has been proposed and the delimitation will be based on 2011 census. The 2011 census is fraught with irregularities with the entire floating tribal population shown in Kashmir as well as a population of 2 lakh Kashmiri Pandits. Nonetheless, political reservation for the tribal is a welcome step.

Tourism will get a Boost!!

With this reorganisation, the people would expect good governance, of which they were deprived by the successive elected governments in the past, and end to rampant corruption. With direct monitoring by the Central government, the scope and pace of development will undergo a change and external investments will generate avenues for employment. Hopefully, the region will get better medical and health facilities and the need for its citizens and state of art super specialty hospitals will be functional here as well.

As far as the security environment is concerned, the new system will deal with anti-national, separatist and soft –separatist forces with an iron hand with policy of appeasement becoming a thing of the past. Pak sponsored terror will continue to be a cause of worry. It would not be easy for Pakistan to continue with its evil intent for very long. When lasting peace returns and situation becomes normal, there is a hope that the UT may once again get back the status of a state. 

The move has evoked little response from governments across the world except Pakistan. The response of USA and other P5 powers has been very positive. The noise being made by Pakistan is on the expected lines. Pakistan is worried about the next move of the Modi government which is likely to be its claim on POJK (which the Defence Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh has said, will be the only point of discussion henceforth). Pakistan’s criticism of bifurcation of J&K holds no water because of what it did in 1970 wherein it carved out a separate territory of “Northern Areas” from its occupied territory of J&K and made it a federally administered area. In 2009, it was renamed as Gilgit-Baltistan and is now planning to make it a province of Pakistan. Even Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) has maintained silence rather than supporting Pakistan. China, which lays claim to parts of Ladakh had tried to raise the issue at the UNSC but without any substance or support. 

UT of Ladakh

The detractors have been the ones, who have lost their “kingdom”; the likes of the Farookh, Omar, Mehbooba, the Hurriyat … the ones who would line their pockets of the dole that India pushed for peace in J&K.

And most importantly, the stature of India, across the globe would emerge as a decisive, determined, self sufficient country. This, coupled with the Chandrayaan II, would project India as a nation capable of holding its own, a nation you cannot mess with.

Here Great Courage and Fortitude is the Norm

Highest Battlefield of the World

This is the motto of the Siachen Brigade; the highest battlefield in the planet. Having served in the uniform for nearly 25 years, I understand courage. I understand valour. I understand bravery. I understand fortitude. I’ve lived it. Facing the incoming bullets of terrorists.

Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. Physical courage is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death – even if it means inviting the wrath of the perpetrators of crime/ physical danger. Moral courage is the ability to act rightly, in the face of opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement or personal loss.

The recent incident in ‘The City of Joy’, Kolkata and the actions of a daughter of an Indian Air Force Officer, speaks volumes about the qualities that ‘fauzi’ kids imbibe. Ushoshi Sengupta, an ex-Miss India Universe, was confronted with a situation. She displayed presence of mind to capture the incident on her phone, approach the police (whose response was a blot to the uniform), was followed to her residence, mobilized people of her area and took control of the situation.

Build YOUr Self-Efficacy

Kudos !

The grit, resolve, courage both physical and moral were in ample display. But then, nothing less is expected from the people who breathe, live and extol discipline; the armed forces. People who are role models of our present day society. It is no wonder that her father is her inspiration! Hats off sir.

Lessons for Women Safety:

A. I keep harping on presence of mind. What is required to be done, has to be done. A quick plan of action .. what are the resources I can bank on.

B. Be fearless. You’ll get abundant courage; energy which you never realized you possessed. If you are gripped with fear, the amygdala will take over and stop blood supply to your pre-frontal cortex; your thinking brain. Your body is being prepared for flight or fight.

C. Standing up to the bully has always worked for me. Once you raise your voice, you realize that the bullies are all empty within – all noise. AND importantly, this goes on to build your Self-Efficacy. The next time your brain will tell you, you’ve been in such situations earlier and gets hardwired to handle them.

D. Raise your voice. Make it a priority to make this planet a better place to live in. A better place for my mother. My sister. My wife. My daughter. Parents teach your children better.

Hats off Ushoshi .. for showing the way!!!

Fight Back

The Army taught me “Offence” is the only form of “Defence”. Very many times, I heard about ‘Self-Defence’ classes for women to protect themselves. Tch! Tch!

Take Control

When in doubt, attack! You’ve been attacked – counterattack! Bring it with a bang. Here are some key fight back principles. Remember: Fighting is the last resort! But when you gotta fight, you gotta fight hard. Your goal is to safely escape. Run, when you can.

Foremost – YOU are the weapon. Everything else is a tool, which can act as a force multiplier. The choice is between the perpetrator or YOU! YOUr commitment counts. YOU cannot be squeamish about this. What is non-negotiable. Clear any doubts in YOUr mind now, what is it you’ll fight for and what you’ll let be. What is acceptable and what is NOT?

YOUr strongest weapons of your body parts are: elbows, knees, legs, feet, hand, teeth, hips and of course your head! Strike these against his VPs (vulnerable points): eyes, throat, nose, neck, groin, abdomen, shin, knees. Be direct and explosive. Hit hard. Hit fast. Rip out his ears. Gouge his eyes. Smash is head. Crack his fingers. Strike his knees. It’s YOU or him!

Shout! In the Army, we have our war cries. It pumps up the adrenaline and adds 33 percent more power to your blows. It rallies the fighting spirit and sharpens your focus. Shout!

Your biggest ally is S.U.R.P.R.I.S.E. … Exploit timing. Exploit when he is talking. Attack without warning. Keep the initiative. Take him by surprise. Go for the gonads. Go for the eyes. Strike at his ears. Rip them off. YOUr goal is to drive him back to safely flee. If you are cornered, don’t struggle. Gather yourself to release with a sudden force with a War Cry. Don’t wait for big opportunities, grab small openings.

There are ‘n’ number of daily use items you can use to strike. Just use your imagination! Be aggressive! Overcome your fear of injury. Adrenaline will take care of it. Never give up hope or let futility set in. Futility results in paralysis. Focus. Focus. Focus. The assailant will let his guard down. When he is fumbling with his/ your clothes. When he is thinking he has won. Strike. Strike hard. Strike fast. Stay on the hunt.

Vignettes from the Uniform

Foot Soldiers: “For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”
  1. The recent incidents in J&K and the subsequent actions have brought to fore many issues. Many of my friends, who have not donned the uniform, have oft asked me very pointed questions. Some of them even went ahead and suggested what the response of the uniformed forces should be; from the dubious to the incredulous. Some of you are privy to these through the social media. That our nation does not have conscription army, coupled with complete lack of ground situation, prodded me to share some real-life vignettes to understand ground realities.
  2. My ‘infantry’ battalion; Infantry are the foot soldiers you witness operating in Saragarhi, Mumbai during 26/11 or Kargil in the chilly heights of Tiger Hill/ Tololing.

Fail Fast

3. In my first field posting, we were deployed in the North Eastern frontiers. Of the 4,057 kms of border that we share with China, 1,126 kms is in Arunachal Pradesh. If you see the map, you will notice River Ngi Chu, emanating from the Tibet Autonomous Region enters India and becomes River Lohit. It is a major tributary to the mighty Bramhaputra. River Dong flowing from East to West joins River Lohit. From this junction if you look due East approximately 28 kms (as the crow flies) is the tri junction of the Indo -China – Myanmaar border. A man-made marker is present to identify the location.

4. The mission of our ‘Long-Range Patrol’ was to go along River Dong to the marker.  Time 15 days. 10 men self-contained for the entire duration. Thus, each of us carrying anything from 30 to 35 kgs on our back. We were carrying a Radio Set to give an “all Okay” report each evening and our location. There were no track or trail to follow. Our plan was simple. A four/ five -kilometre march each day. Reach our location and prepare one hot meal and settle down for the night which descended at 4 pm!

5. The first four days were uneventful. That is, if you don’t account for the leeches!! They manage to enter  through the shoe eyelet, crawl up and keep sucking blood. Once huge, they just drop off leaving behind huge blood clots. To counter the leeches, we walked with a salt pouch at the end of the stick and keep dabbing around us. Phew!

6. We would set off after having our hot cup of tea early morning and reach our destination by around 12 – 1 pm. The walk was gruelling and tough. We would often have breaks to catch our breath and have some ‘shakarparas’ (Indian snack, rich in carbs). It tested us for physical fitness, mental robustness, determination and grit. On reaching our destination for the day we would settle down, contact our base and report location and prepare one hot meal and rest. We explored a variety of flora and fauna. My troops being from the North East helped as we would invariably have some fresh catch to keep us going, thanks to the booby traps they would lay.

7. Disaster struck on the fourth day when the heavens opened up. The heavy rains drenched us to our bones. It rained for two full days. We were forced to cancel our walk. Cold and shivering we were forced to take shelter under the canopy of the trees. We commenced on our mission the sixth day without our hot cuppa and, we kept walking till 2 pm. I was aiming to catch up the two days that we missed. Dinner was a challenge as we could not find any dry log| trees to light fire. We slept on half empty stomachs. By now we were running low on our rations and were hoping to complete our mission. But by the ninth day, it seemed like mission impossible.

8. We came up with a brilliant idea. Shed all our weight| heavy bags and proceed with bare essentials. Complete our task and on our way back, pick up our stuff. This sounded very logical. And the next morning, we set off, so much the lighter. That day we walked and walked. By around 12 noon we reached our marker and unfurled the Indian Tricolour and planned to stay there for the night. Without the packs, we had no extra clothing. A bonfire was lit, my boys managed a nice game, and we celebrated with a barbeque. The night was cold. Shivering through the night, we curled up against each other to keep us warm, we all got up at 4 am to return.

9. Things were fine, till we reached the place, where we thought we kept our belongings. Zilch!! We searched and searched and came up with nothing! We decided to spend the night there. With no warm clothing, cold and shivering and this was when the rain gods decided to test our resilience and mental stamina. Wet, cold and hungry, we all huddled and tried to catch a wink. The rains didn’t relent. The radio set was defunct by now, as our batteries had run out. Totally lost in wilderness, with not a soul aware of our location.

10. The fourteenth day, we resumed our walk, with no packs, drenched to the core, and to the pitter patter of the rains. Walking, in stupor, one boy lost his footing, and had a drop of nearly thirty feet. Dangling above the River Dong, which was flowing down below. Rescue was a major challenge, as we could get no footing in the slippery sides. Tying each other two men, lowered themselves and rescued him. He had a fractured ankle. He could definitely not walk anymore. We tied his ankle and decided to carry him. We crafted a stretcher from the logs and commenced our journey back. Night descended and were forced another halt for the night. The morning, saw heavier showers, and visibility restricted to 10 yards. By now two men had very high fever and were unable to walk. I had huge blisters in my foot.

11. We were to return to our base by the fifteenth day; and here we were stuck in an unknown location. Soaked to our bones, we decided to take change things. Hungry, I nominated two boys to hunt for some food. We had weapons to scare away wild animals. As the leader, I was carrying some ammunition. So, the two hunters go to fetch us some food. After some hours we hear a shot! Bingo! Darkness sets in and nothing; Kaput – neither the food nor soldiers. Some local leaves were boiled and we sustained for the night.

12. Just before dawn break, the two soldiers lumbered in. Bedraggled, dishevelled, tired with cuts and bruises all over their bodies as if mauled. On inquiry, we learnt that the hunters had bumped into a small bear and took a shot and missed; the mother hovering nearby charged at them. The two ran to save their lives and kept running for over three hours and both of them could finally meet up only around 2/3 pm. While they were finding their way towards the camp; they found a cave and took shelter for the night. To their horror, this was the mother bear’s abode. They found some remains of the pack that belonged to us, everything torn to pieces and in tatters. They slid out in silence and found their way back to our camp.

13. Twentieth day, the rain gods had mercy and the sun peeked from the mountain range to the East. It ushered a fresh ray of hope and cheer. We found the energy to commence our journey to our destination. We were already three days past expiry date (much later we learnt that rescue mission could not be launched due to the inclement weather). With one soldier on stretcher, we took turns to carry him and made a halt that evening. One of our traps, set on our way out had a catch! Another hot meal (just tandoori!) was enough to perk us up. The hot meal restored our spirits. On the twenty first day, we met a rescue patrol which had been dispatched to look for us. We were still two days from the SP. With the help of the patrol, we gained speed and found our destination.

Call for Action

  1. The whole is greater than the sum total of the parts. Our actions resulted in a string of successes. T.E.A.M. is the key to success. 
  2. As a leader, not only must your T.E.A.M. know your master plan but it is imperative to have their buy-in. Leadership is the imposition of your personality in execution of task. And when the task calls for unlimited liability, you better look into every aspect of their training and operation. And remember, the devil lies in the detail.
  3. Get your T.E.A.M. to buy in your vision, and once that is done, there is nothing they cannot achieve. Believe me when I say, NOTHING!!! And to get your T.E.A.M.s buy-in they need to see:

+ Your skin in the game; your commitment and your whole-hearted involvement. No ifs and no buts. They can see through sham.

+ They should believe that you put them before you, always and every time. I’m proud to share that YOUR army, the credo of the Chetwode, is drilled into every officer: “The safety honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety, come last always and every time.”

+ Nishkaam Karma as a karam yodhha, do your task and BE in the present. The rewards will follow. If you are looking for rewards, concentrate on your service. Its ‘give’ and ‘take’. Remember, you’ll always get more than what you deserve.

+ And if there is one, just one QUALITY that’ll stand by you. That stood by me and stands by every soldier when he dons the uniform. The one differentiator is INTEGRITY. Which really means, that your MEN TRUST YOU to do the right thing. Each one of us comes to this cross road, and we have to make a choice … I urge you, it’s not necessary to make the correct choice BUT make the right choice. It may be a road less travelled. So be it. The journey will be beautiful.

Jai Hind!!!!

Are YOU Growing?

Growth is Mandatory

Nature demands that each person grows. This is very evident, if you find time, to watch nature. Every person has this in his/her DNA. Each and every parent wants their children to be better than what they have achieved/attained. They go out of their way to provide and educate.

I met this YOUng handsome bloke (score and half at the most), working in an MNC, in an enviable position. The battle of the bulge was evident. After the introductions, I commented on his losing battle (and touched a very raw nerve!). The routine (which I believe, YOU reader, share in common) is waking up (reluctantly) in the morning (7-7.30 am), morning rituals, grab a bite and office by 9-9.30. Lunch time vanishes in a jiffy. Before YOU could say Radhakrishnan Pillai, the day seems to nearing doomsday, as the number of pending tasks hangs over your head. By the time you reach home, dog tired, its already 8-8.30 pm. There is just no time for anything else. And life goes on!!!

Each one looks forward to the weekend, to let YOUr hair down. The venues keep changing, the malls/ movie halls change – and again there is a definite predictability of the actions. Noble Laureate Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

Want to Grow? Want to Get an Education? Want to do Something (sth)? What/ who is stopping you? One day, the employees of a firm, read a notice on the entrance of their office, “We are sorry to inform YOU of the untimely demise of the person who stopped YOU grow”. Kindly place a wreath on the casket. The employees, filed one at a time, to pay their last respects. They moved up and on placing the wreath, saw a mirror inside the casket. The person who stops YOU grow is YOU. Wherever YOU would like to go/be is in YOUr hands.

Can we just tweak our lifestyle? Just one change. Get up say thirty minutes early to include a physical activity in our lives. Enroll in an online course. Pursue some certification here. Attend some seminar there. Growth is imperative. Growth is Mandatory. And if YOU are NOT growing, YOU are going against nature. 

What are YOU doing about YOUr Growth?

What is YOUr Statement?

A number of you have been wondering about the purpose of your lives and whether you are doing the right thing?

It’s quite natural for these queries to crop up. Every once in a while, when you sit back and relax and you wonder what are you doing with your life, this question pops up? Am I doing the right thing? More importantly, and especially when, you seem to be leading a routine, dull, daily life – when life seems to be a rigmarole. Each day is “same-to-same”. Each day seems to be a repeat of the previous day, and the one previous to that. Fact is, if you slice off a week, from between, you’d not even realize which week has been sliced.

Sad, right? This is not what life is supposed to be, right? Each day should invigorate me. Each day should fill me up with energy, ready to bounce, ready to roll, ready to impact all those lives that come in touch with me, right?

What is the missing ingredient? Why is this NOT happening? Why does the day seem to be such a bore, dragging its feet? It’s neigh impossible to wake up in the morning and feel enthusiastic about the day ahead.

Seems familiar? Sounds familiar? Is this what YOUr life has turned out to be? After all the Engineering Degree/ Management Degree? And YOU thought you’d make a difference. It’ll be joyous, fun-filled journey.

wbw-igmonkey-mtee-tan_900x

Welcome to Reality!!

But let me share some tips to make it a reality.

1. Give as much as you can and where ever you can. Helping other people is healthier and makes you feel good.

2. Relate to people. Truly connect. People with strong social relationships are healthier and find happiness. Keep the principle of family first foremost.

3. Exercise and take care of your body. Each morning get up and inject fresh oxygen into your system. Do anything, walk, run, yoga … definitely not in the gym!! Go out and let fresh oxygen in. It charges the billion cells of your body and you feel great.

4. Appreciate the good things of life. Have an Attitude of Gratitude. Be in the present. Look around and be thankful for the wonderful gift of life. Enjoy the present.

If you are depressed, YOU are living in the past, If you are anxious, YOU are living in the future. If you are at PEACE, you are living in the Present.

5. Be a Child and remember as a child you kept learning each day. Keep learning each day. Learning keeps you curious and engaged.

6. Attitude of  Positivity. There can only be good – just because you cannot see it now, doesn’t mean it’ll not happen. Good things are in store. Have patience and keep working. Do your duty with a pure intent, without looking to the rewards. It sounds tough, but its easy. Just do it!!

7. Accept the consequences of your action. Things will happen – but all in good time. So just have patience and continue to enjoy what you are doing.

But then these seven steps will make my mind positive but what about my office. The work environment, the crabby boss, the *** colleague and so forth.

Foremost, be clear as to what you want to do. The moment, you realize you are doing things which are ‘giving back’, you start enjoying the work. Some people call it passion. Just that, when you are doing it, you don’t look at your watch (or even your fb/whatsapp), and you kinda enjoy what you are doing.

Get to do those things. To find your purpose, therefore, ask yourself, “What is my Statement?” How will people describe you in one sentence?

He single-handedly, fought for the freedom of his nation non-violently and successfully ousted a 200 year old regime, to gain Independence for his Country.

What is YOUr Statement?

Searching for Passion

0_QCoLlusulB5mjhG1

I dunno ’bout you, but very early in life, being from a boarding school, I got influenced with the uniformed people around us. The first competitive exam and shortly, I was donning the uniform. A number of YOU’ve asked me whether, I always wanted to be in the uniform? In hindsight, I would say, Y . E . S . I wouldn’t trade that for anything else.

Why do you all put off what you want to become?

You Already Know what YOU want to BE

A number of YOU do say, “I don’t know what to do with my life!” But deep down, you do know, ’cause with slight probing, the answer is out! YOU just don’t know it yet, OR are blind to it with excuses, rationalization, some ifs and more buts! So the problem isn’t you not knowing what to do, but something else.

Haunted by YOUr Parents’ Wishes for YOU

Your parents leave a huge imprint on your formative minds and project themselves onto you. At times, even fulfilling their unfulfilled dreams (aka Dangal). But, at times, their aspirations for YOU might not have anything to do with YOU. “I’m different!”

In “The Way of the Superior Man” (author David Deida) says “live like your father is dead.” Until you let go of your parents’ expectations for you and do what you want to do. There’s a huge difference between physically and psychologically leaving the nest. Once you accomplish both, you’re free to do what you want.

YOU Don’t Think YOU can pull it Off

If YOU were guaranteed to succeed in whatever you did, I bet you’d suddenly know what to do with your life. Our biggest problem isn’t a lack of knowledge about ourselves. It’s fear. You know what you want to do, but you’re afraid. And fear is no easy mess to untangle. It’s almost insane how much our minds control us as if they were separate entities. The moment you think about doing ‘that thing,’ the inner critic whispers right into your amygdala. The fear never goes; YOU can work on it though with practice and getting better in what you do. 

So what should I do?

The thing is YOU know; but YOU’re waiting for someone to tell YOU, “It’ll work and guarantee you success“. Thus YOU are unsure OR afraid!!  You already know what ‘THE thing’ is. You knew it when you were a YOUng boy/girl. Find the courage to live the life YOU want to live. Remember, you have everything you need already.

 

Independence Day

India-0037_-_Flickr_-_archer10_(Dennis)

Happy 72nd Independence Day

As we all celebrate our 72nd Independence Day and shout out ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and “Jai Hinds” let us think whether we are independent? Yes, it does invoke a sense of patriotism within us and somewhere deep down quite a few of us feel proud too.

But let me pose a question to each one of you here. Are you Independent? No, no … don’t be in a hurry to answer. Just sit back, think awhile and answer. Are you truly Independent?

Let me assist you answer that! Independence Day is a joyous occasion; think of 1947, when the nation united to celebrate the end of British reign and we got FREEDOM!!!

Freedom gives joy. The knowledge that we are free gives us that JOY!!! Think back of your first bike/car/job .. and the sense of independence; the joy. So if you are independent you should’ve been joyous, right? Are you? The answer by a majority of you is NO.

Fact is, you all are slaves. Slaves to your own habits. And these habits have become hardwired in your brains. Think of all the times you got angry/irritated. On query, invariably the answer is, he/she did this and I lost control (and got angry), his/her such and such actions irritate me so much … and at times we go to the extent to say .. he/she knows I get irritated with such an act and yet he/she did it on purpose to irritate me.

Now, let us analyze this a bit. His/her actions angered/irritated me. My peace, harmony, happiness; my very own stability was shaken and stirred by someone’s action/talk/ situation and so on. My peace/harmony/joy/happiness is dependent on his/her action. Where is the Independence? We have given the control of our stability to someone else who controls my buttons. The remote has been handed over.

Let me give you another example. So you were in a tight situation, facing your angry father and the easy way out was to lie your way through. You chose that option and were able to make a getaway. The next time the lie came easier and slowly and steadily, your brains get hard-wired. Soon, its your habit. And now the system has been short circuited. You don’t think (OR choose); your brain does it for you. YOUR FREEDOM to choose has been blanked out as the default mode now is to lie. Where is your FREEDOM?

This INDEPENDENCE DAY choose to be totally independent from your own habits. be In-dependent. IN dependent; here you are dependent on your own self; your feelings, emotions and stability. Thus you are INDEPENDENT and not dependent on others feelings/ actions/words/ situations.

Take a PLEDGE.

What STOPS YOU …

mountains

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same” – Colin Davis

During my various interaction with the YOUth across the Country, I’m constantly asked this one question (in different versions); Why don’t I seem to be achieving my Goal? Why don’t I fulfill what I set out to do? Why am I not successful or words to that effect. A quick query to uncle Googs will throw up various pages with answer to the question .. 10 steps, 9 things, 7 ways to, 5 reasons why and so on. Our ancient books have spoken at length about goal setting and ways to achieve it. Arjun, and his quip about the ‘eye of the bird’ is an oft repeated story highlighting that without focus your goals are distant dreams.

Some of the reasons are pretty obvious, I suppose (or not quite obvious for those who are addicted, right?) The millennial kids were born with the ‘smart’ phone in their hands. Yes, they pretty well know how to find the location (google maps), order the food they want (swiggy), ask for the particular shade of lipstick (flipkart) but I’ve found them wanting when it comes to inter-personal communication. And yet, empirical evidence suggests that this is the same generation that is floundering … 😦

I Believe

  1. Instant Gratification. Prof Walter Mischel, Prof Stanford University in his seminal work on delaying gratification and its effect on mind control spells out the negative effect of giving in to all our cravings instantly. Think Whatsapp. One ‘ping’ and the hand moving to slide the screen to see who pinged! Instant gratification! This is one major cause of distraction and losing focus. Delay the gratification and get a grip of your life.
  2. Burning Desire. The need to achieve the goal should be so strong that it is the only thing that you think all day along. Your activities revolve around this one goal. Your preparations, your studies, your actions are all driven to towards achieving it. Say you want to join the defence forces as an officer. Morning physical activity is directed towards that. The day-long preparations are for the written exam. The net is for research of related subject. Any interaction with other people must be this goal related. Parties, picnics and photo ops will happen post success. Now focus.
  3. Role Model. Have a role model. Speak to him (if possible). Emulate him. Read up about him. Find similar stories of success and realize that this is achievable. Go for it! Never give up. If thousands have walked the path earlier, so be it. Remember, that if they could do it, YOU too can. Have a clear road map. It should chalk out step-wise action plan. This followed by this and so on.
  4.  Give up. A number of you give up too soon, too fast. One failure/ rejection puts the brakes on. Remember, failure is part of the process. Without failure you’ll not grow, not learn. Fail, and learn. Then be back on track. Sir Alex Ferguson (Man U coach) used to tell his team – win or lose, you get 24 hours! Celebrate or mourn … but after 24 hours be back on the training ground. Re-calibrate and be back with greater vigour.
  5. Feedback loop. The system of feedback has either not put in place or is faulty. Some of us deliberately, don’t set up this mechanism, as we are not comfortable with negative comments. We don’t realize that without feedback your achieving goals are tougher. Feedback help you in affecting mid-course corrections and to bash on!
  6. Focus. Earlier when I mentioned Arjun, it was focus that I wanted to highlight. There is too much clutter in your mind. This clutter clutters your mind. It does not quite help you to prioritize or focus. De-clutter. Delete unwanted stuff. Meditate and get your focus back.
  7. Check your Belief Systems. At times it is our belief systems that hold us back. We believe in talented people thus preventing us from putting in hard work. We believe in child prodigy and thus want to believe success is hereditary. We believe in a number of such ideas which prevent us putting our best foot forward. This lack of Belief hinders our growth. Prevents us from achieving our true potential.

Over the years, I’ve personally realized that, when I focus and put in the hard work, the results are there for all to see. Success is bound to happen. Things are bound to fall in place. Goals are a given. You’ll stand tall with Victory at your feet.

Wishing YOU all the success.

 

Instant Gratification …

Or why don’t I seem to Achieve all that I’ve set myself to achieve.

wbw-igmonkey-mtee-tan_900x
The ‘Monkey’ controls my Actions.

In my last post I penned about “Am I losing Focus?” and signed off mentioning about Instant Gratification.

A number of readers came back to me with: YOLO (you only live once)/ Lyf is to be enjoyed/ why delay instant gratification and live a lyf of no limits, no restraints. Well, well …

Prof Walter Mischel (American-Austrian Psychologist) of Standford University came out with his seminal work; The Marshmallow Experiment. The students who could delay instant gratification were psychologically better adjusted, more dependable, motivated and scored better grades. It improves your will power and helps reach your long term goals fasterThe exact same participants in 2011 reflected that the basic characteristics of the individuals remained for life.

And yet, we succumb to ‘Instant Gratification’. While in most cases we think we are in control. Dan Ariely in his book ‘Predictably Irrational’ highlights how your mind can be easily manipulated, so much so that, you’re predictably irrational. Remember, the ice cream you craved and gave into, despite dieting promises.

While the YOLO brigade shout from rooftops of ‘Carpe Diem‘ – Seize the Day and how you need to do whatever you feel like. Well, they also need to hear about ‘Carpent tua poma nepotes‘ – Good things come to those who wait or as we say in vernacular; ‘sabr ka phal mithaa’.

The question is why do we give in, when we know that giving in/ succumbing to instant gratification is harmful in the long run, it diminishes focus and prevents us from our long term goals. Why do we, despite making promises, falter on coming to crossroads and make a wrong choice? Do we lose control of our minds? Or is the Monkey controlling us, making decisions for us?

Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now. When we don’t get fulfillment, our psychological response is anxiety or tension and often manifests as procrastination. It’s a form of self-sabotage where you get caught up indulging in the temptations of life at the cost of your long-term goals. Indulging in instant gratification is a clear sign that you lack self-discipline and highlights that you are unable to control your emotional urges. This subsequently has significant consequences on your life resulting in narrow-minded thinking, poor decision making, and planning habits.

Delayed gratification is a habit where you forgo short-term pleasure (comfort) in order to gain significant long-term pleasure and future rewards. In other words, you ward off short-term temptations that might distract you from your long-term goals and instead focus on what you need to do to achieve your desired long-term outcomes. Why doesn’t the mind obey your orders? fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) observed increased activity in anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC), thinking about the future. This image is fuzzy and hence NOT appealing. How do we make this tempting?

The aim is to get the impulsive people to produce activity in their brain that shows they’re thinking about future in a CONCRETE way, making them look and act more patiently. Because the future is fuzzy and impulsive people have an especially hard time imagining it, clinical treatments involve de-emphasizing the present, making it more abstract, building a concrete image of future.

Some Strategies for Delayed Gratification and not succumbing are:

+ Neuroscience hints at power of imagining the future. The issue with future is its vagueness and hence its important to imagine in graphic details of your Goals/ Visualize the outcome (power of visualization!). Remember ‘Self-Control‘ isn’t necessarily an inborn trait that you either have or you don’t. It can be developed!

+ Know what you want, what are the values that you stand for and thereof create a plan to achieve them. This will lead to priorities and you reward yourself for each small success. It helps you build your self-esteem too!

+ Shift your mental focus from the short term temptation to finding something else you like. Take a moment to drift off (day-dream!) and take mental breaks. Consider what you’re thankful for – an attitude of gratitude.

+ Watch your urges, and make conscious decisions and with time you’ll learn to avoid situations/persons/circumstances which tend to lead on to temptations. Push yourself to do the hard things and avoid distractions which divert your focus from your goals.

+ Build a strong support network, while you identify your potential obstruction. Set clear boundaries, which help you distinguish between ‘black-and-white’. Create visual reminders and invest in your future gains.

+ Last but NOT the least. Be mindful. Be reflective (of your actions/ choices). Be meditative.

Breathe!!!

May your day be lovely and mindful.