Ageism 2

Here we go. The article in this morning Times of India talks about it.

With only 7% workforce in over 50 age band, clearly most organisations are focusing on the young ones. After all why waste time on those who won’t be productive!

The talk about retirement age. A lot of countries don’t have a retirement age. But that stands to reason at one level. Unlike India, they have an ageing population. In India, the old had to make way for the new. Repurposing the old (some handful of organisations are doing that) as a concept will take time coming.

It’s what the larger population wants is what drives everything in this country. Witness the politics, vote bank focus is what drives economic policies.

We always tend to focus on the larger number because it makes sense.

I have no problem with that. After all, political parties exist to stay in power, the business of organisations is to increase profits and share value.

But this 7% is going to change in the future. It is changing already but just because the change is happening at an urban level, and when you take in to account the entire population of the country, it does look small so no one is paying attention to it.

But when the larger shift happens, as always happens in this country, we will be totally unprepared and won’t know what to do.



This post is sparked by the controversy around Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Also read in the paper today how Virat Kohli is standing by him.

Why is age so important? Why do we believe that just because a person is old, he is not capable. In the context of Dhoni, is it really because he has supposedly become old so his reflexes are dimmed? Is it not possible that he was having a bad day that day? Of course the conversation about his age has been on for a while. Every time he fails with the bat, knives are out. But the moment he scores big, people start talking about how his experience pulled the team through. His reflexes behind the stumps are as sharp as ever. I don’t know how many of you watch the matches regularly, but next time when he is keeping wickets, watch him carefully. You will see it on his face. The brain is constantly ticking. His match awareness shows through. Now is it age or experience? Yes sports is a very physical and fitness is paramount but as you grow older, you learn to balance the two. Experience and fitness. He is lucky that he had Virat supporting him.

But look beyond sports. Ageism has become a concept. Except for India and few other countries, age has become a big factor. The population is old and therefore ageism has become a burning issue.

Traditionally, One has always believed that up to a certain age, a person is considered productive. After that he or she becomes a liability and has to be looked at in a patronising way. To be suffered till he retires. Retire by itself is a concept. Who decided that 58 or 65 or whatever is the age to retire? Of course one argument would be that place needs to be made for new people joining the work force. Hmm shouldn’t you create more jobs for these new people?

Driven by this thinking, there was a time when people would mentally switch off from work and wait for their retirement. It was almost like giving up on life.

But that mindset has changed dramatically. People want to stay productive lot longer. They want to work longer. They keep themselves fit and agile. Physically and mentally. But the problem is, the traditional myopic view hasn’t changed. All employers still follow the rule of defining when the person will not be productive. Hiring is done accordingly.

There are many things that go against older people. “He will be too set in his ways”. “He won’t be in tune with the latest”. “He will be a technological challenged person”. “Health will be an issue”. “He will be slow and will get left behind in the fast moving world”

Start ups started by 20 somethings tend to hire a younger lot. With. Belief that it is the young who is hungry to make a mark and will fit in to the start up culture better.

If you ask me, it is a lot of bullshit.

Couple of decades back, people used to get married at a much younger age so everything used to happen much earlier. By 40-45, a person would have done everything he or she was meant to do in life. After that it was just a matter of time.

But that’s not the case anymore. People marry late, have a focus on what all they want to do in life. Kids happen late. So the responsibilities start late.

Back in the old days, by the time a person retires, his kids had kids. But now the kids are more often than not, still pursuing higher education.

This is the realisation that has made people look for ways to stay fit, stay connected with modern trends. They want to be productive lot longer.

But the world around them wants to scream in their ears that they are old! (Perhaps the world thinks that because of age the person might be going deaf). It is hell bent on putting them to pasture. To sideline. To tell their life is over.

Experience has stopped counting for much. You see, the pace has changed, the way of working has changed and the experience of 20+ years is not going to be relevant. What will this old person know about Digital?! How will he have insight into the millennials and Gen Z minds?!

No issues with that. Everyone takes time to change but Change does happen.

Experience does count. In a rush to do many things at the same time, things are faltering. Lack of experience is showing. A Hardik Pandya will take time to mature. He will need someone experienced to manage the maturing process. That is where experience counts. Managing the process to be successful.

We see 10 things this, 10 things that of people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or whoever. Notice these things have been tested over a period of time and have proven to be successful. Yes they all started young but if we talk about them now, we talk about what they learnt over a period of time.

In India, with its young population, ageism perhaps won’t be a big topic but over a period of time (after all the population will age too), ageism will become a topic of heated discussion.

Perhaps we should learn from the ‘experience’ of other ageing nations? 🙂

At this point of time, driven by a certain arrogance of youth, this post might sound like a venting of an old man but we all grow old and we all know what Karma is 🙂

Era of evil?

Been thinking about this for a while now. News for whats it worth has been all about killing, intolerance and nothing good at all. Sure there are bits and pieces of good but mostly it’s all bad.

It made me wonder. Why there is so much of this all around. In India and everywhere else. For this post I will stick to India.

Over the weekend I was watching a TV SERIES called Mindhunter on Netflix. It is creepy as hell. Messed up with your mind. And partly responsible for this post.

We seem to have totally given in to our darker side. Positivity and a healthy attitude towards a fellow human being is just not there.

I don’t think it has happened all of a sudden. It has been happening for a while. We have become utterly selfish and self absorbed. The so called seven deadly sins have perhaps stopped being sins.

Why has it happened? Is it just us venting out? Is it technology? Is it us being part of a larger world with access to all things good and evil. Is it just a phase or it’s here to stay?

I believe that freedom and openness that did not exist earlier, is causing all the problems. Think back to perhaps maybe 25 years back or even earlier when we were a rather closed society. Maybe society is the wrong word but we lived in an era where there wasn’t much for us. Everything around us was just enough for basic existence. We were not flooded with images from around the world about what is possible. We lived comfortably in our closed world. We didn’t have great demands from the world around us and in our relationships. Yes, it wasn’t an easy life but we had learnt to accept it.

And then it all changed. Liberalisation, beaming of images on satellite channels, and the biggest disruption called the internet.

All of a sudden it made us realise what we have been missing out on. We looked at the imagery with wide eyes disbelief and perhaps excitement. It became a frenzy. To catch up with the world.

Nothing wrong in that. We all want a better life and means to achieve a better life. It all would have been fine if we focused on a “better life”. But we did not. Better life became acquiring symbols of a better life. And in order to get those symbols, we gave up on our biggest strength – to be a good human being. Materialism and hunger to be better than our neighbours and relatives corrupted us. Corrupted our mind. Once the rot sets in, it is hard to pull things back. It becomes all pervasive and corrupts everything we do and our mind.

We kept demanding for more. And more. Whether in terms of money or relationships, being satisfied with what we have took a beating. That’s when sin stopped being a sin.

Look around you. Stress, hypertension, obesity, depression, couples struggling to have babies, relationships falling apart as soon as they start. Terminology like ONS, FWB, no strings attached, depravation of every possible kind, it’s all around us.

We were pretty healthy and fit in the past. Marriages (or let’s say relationships) lasted a life time. Respect for elders and unconditional love for children were the bulwark of our existence. There was a larger societal connect. All of that is gone.

Technology wasn’t supposed to lead to all of this. It was supposed to make life better. Sure it has on many fronts. We are able to perform better, be more productive, more connected (?) but…

We have stopped being humans. Animals we were and animals we have become. Even animals tend to take care of their own in a herd. We don’t do that. We are totally self centred. Yes we do mouth all the right things but we don’t mean them. Talking social cause is just a step towards building a better brand out of us.

Human mind, it always had a dark side but in the past, we never focused on that dark side. But all that has changed.

We are quick to hate and even quicker on the keyboard to vent out that hate. We might get up in the morning, do pooja and have all the love for our kids but we reach work and layoff a few hundred people. We drive fanciest of cars that block out the misery that exists beyond the tinted glasses and almost sound proof cars. People in South Bombay don’t know anything about the world that exists in suburbs. Same goes for all the posh addresses in all the other cities.

We all believe in Gecko’s philosophy of “Greed is good”

Murder, rape and doing unspeakable things to another human being has become a norm. It is not just at a physical level but even at a mental level. Our minds are taken over by lust – for power, money, fame, satisfaction…

Given how our country moves at different levels of evolution and progress (I laughed when I typed these words), all the evil will continue to exist. The ones who got on the ground floor of evolution will have a more polished approach to evil. The ones who are getting in, will look at everything from a very crass perspective.

Dante wrote inferno in 14th century but we see it all around us now – “realm… of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against fellow men”

Is there a redemption for us? I don’t think there is for the generations that are currently walking this earth. Future generations perhaps. If only the ones who are really young, grow up to despise what we have become and lead the Change. On their own. Not driven by so called social causes promoted by brands.

I would like to believe that eventually we will use technology for what it is supposed to do. I hope we get over all that WE think technology is for.

But till then… like pigs in the muck we will be happy in the this self created muck of our sins.

13 super hacks to be successful!

Got your attention? Made you open the post?

We all are so gullible and seeking stuff like this.

Tips to be a great leader, great marketing person, great Digital expert etc.

Learn from Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Nadella… endless list.

You are not going to make it if you are looking for tips from any of this.

Some people have the X factor. Most don’t.

Just be good at what you do. And let things happen.

Nobody became great by reading any of these tips.

I haven’t come across anyone who has become big and credited the success to everything he learnt from infinite posts that are put up about tips, habit and such other stuff.

Best companion

DISCLAIMER – This post does not promote smoking. Also for the non smokers, you can stop at the disclaimer and not read beyond. And yes, smoking is injurious to physical health.

The title of the post and the disclaimer will be enough to let people know what this post will be about.

A while back, I had written about caffeine and nicotine. This one is all about nicotine. Well not nicotine really but cigarette. Only the smokers will understand the sentiments.

We all think that we light up a smoke because, having become used to it, body needs regular dose of nicotine at frequent intervals.

I think it is not about the physical need but smoking operates at an emotional level. Sit back and analyse the number of times or more like occasions when you have reached out for a cigarette or craved for one. It is never just like that. There is always a trigger. An emotional trigger.

Stress, depression, loneliness, good times, happy times, excitement, when you want to spend time with yourself, when the brain is working very hard on solving a problem… the first instinct is to reach for a smoke rather than somebody to talk to.

Why does that happen? A cigarette does not judge you. It doesn’t give you profound insights if you are stressed or depressed or lonely. It doesn’t give a word of caution if you are feeling very happy or having a good time. It is also not the voice of conscience. It just lets you be.

In a world where everything is a function of relationships and having to conform to those relationships, a cigarette is your silent partner. It probably knows what’s on your mind but doesn’t say a word.

The act of lighting up a cigarette, the first long drag, it is kind of cathartic. Meditation at its best. Letting the thoughts flow rather than telling you to let them flow right out of your head.

Yes, we all know the ill effects of smoking and yes we all need to cut down or stop completely. There are enough voices around you telling you to stop. But a question for them. Can you be what a cigarette is? Will you listen without judging or giving your opinion or advise? Will you be there in good times and bad times? No you won’t.

Those 7-10 mins spent with the cigarette are satisfying. You are with yourself, running all the things through in your head. Even when you are in a social setting (well not anymore because you will be away from everyone. Not allowed). Which I think is a good thing. For the non smokers and also for the smokers.

Smoking does not give you solutions to all your problems every time you light up, but the time that you spend, it helps you perhaps organise things in your head and eventually something might set you off in the right direction.

It’s the solitude that is provided. When the world around is cluttered and clambering with advise, orders, deadlines, responsibilities, duties, commitments… those few minutes away from it all, silencing all the external voices is an emotional oasis. At peace.

I am not promoting smoking in any way but it’s just about how I view smoking.

Swimming pool is closed

Back in the days when we lived in a world which was clean and unpolluted, its the change in the fragrance that symbolised change of weather.

These fragrances, hard to describe, heralded the onset of a season. The subtle shifts in temperature when we moved from winter into spring and then into summer or when we moved into winter.

The shifts, subtle yet so sensorial, we loved them.

Spring cleaning and warm clothes being given lot of airing before being packed or being put in the sun to remove the smell of nephthaline balls as preparation for winters.

All the cues of the change were out there for us to smell and to see and feel.

The symbols have changed. “Swimming pool is closed” notice on the society notice board tells us we are moving into winter. Or in March “swimming will open from…” tells us that it’s time for summer.

The clearing sales by various brands are another signal of a change. The conditioned air in offices and people complaining that it’s either too hot or too cold are signals of change.

There are no fragrances in the air or the perceptible shift in the temperature anymore. More than that, we don’t have time to feel any of that.

The day we made one screen our window to the world, is the day everything changed. Now our world is just size of the screen. The weather app tells us the weather. Posts and tweets tell us of the changes. Detailed weather charts tell us of the summer or winter or the monsoon.

Pollution has played havoc (we are to be blamed of course. Let’s not try to shift the blame anywhere else) and made the fragrances disappear. The temperatures don’t change much. Winter is just about two weeks of intense cold. Summer just doesn’t go away.

I am not going to get into the role food plays with the changes in season because that will make this post never ending, given the foodie I am 🙂

So here is to the onset of winter – swimming pool is closed.

Battered car

I have always been fascinated by life pretty much being as an automobile. Everybody knows that the car we buy symbolises the shift in our life stage.

I believe a car or any vehicle for that matter are far more connected with life in terms of how it all pans out. Especially in relationships and professional life.

The car is new, everyone is so excited, the smell of the new car is quite something. We all want to go take the ride, feel the engine hum softly, the speed thrills and so does the entire interior and all the different things one can do with technology. Then over a period of time, from being exciting new experience, it shifts into a mundanity of driving from point A to point B. Neglect comes into play. From getting the car serviced on time every time, we move into as and when we have time. The charm is gone. At some point we decide that the car has done whatever it could and we change it and the romance starts all over again.

Isn’t that what happens with our relationships and in work environment? Once the newness wears off, the romance dies, it’s a mundane day every day. Of course in the case of a relationship, we can’t just let go of the current one and get into a new one.

But workplace, either we change the job or the other part believes that we as a car have done enough and it’s time to change. So we are consigned to the junkyard called fired and jobless. For the organisation, they get a spanking new person and new romance begins.

In relationships and in our life journey, it is not easy to just get rid of old. You can’t get a new body for yourself just because this one is getting old. So either you spruce up (akin to denting and painting) or you keep yourself fit, the way you would ensure your car is fit with regular workshop visits.

Relationships though are even tougher. You can’t sell one and buy another. No matter how bruised or battered, you carry on. Flirting along the way is like taking a cab instead of driving. Your indulgence. But you always drive the old car.

A DISCLAIMER HERE – there is no gender discussion here. Irrespective of the gender, this car and life hold true.

So why this post. I was looking at my battered and beaten up Xylo (my son says it looks as if I had participated in Demolition Derby) and realised the age of the car and how it continues to carry on even after 100,000 kms is quite similar to how I feel. The ageing of the body and mind is inevitable as the odometer keeps clicking. How I am doing things to stay agile in the mind and physically to make myself go that much more further. Why am I doing that? So that I can beat the redundancy and not be pushed into the scrapyard. After all there is still a whole lot of commuting to do and miles to go (won’t say before I sleep)…

Yes at some point in time, when my next life stage is going to be defined, I will change the xylo. As with Stephen King books (where you pick up a book when it is time), I don’t think there has been a signal yet that there is a change in my life.

Also at an emotional level, I am way too attached to my car (a monstrosity even when it was new). The idea of selling it doesn’t sit well.

And also, we get along very well. We both look battered and bruised. We look good together. I haven’t done much to improve the battered look of the car, nor have I changed my look in anyway. The car and me, are not for the shallow people who only want new and shining all the time 🙂

As an aside, do read or watch Christine by Stephen King.