From Cows to Bitcoins

Image result for cows vs bitcoins

While the world lay astounded by Trump’s win – stock markets crashed and dollar value plummeted, people hedged their money on gold and ‘bitcoins’ ( 1bitcoin=48k Rupees). Crypt-currencies AND Gold? Seriously?

Although the value of Bitcoin came down after some time, the mere fact that people even considered a digital currency as a safe haven itself is a leap.

Interestingly, today, my grandfather was sharing with me how ‘Gaudhan‘ (having cows) was once considered money. It made me wonder how far (for good or bad, depends) we have come in terms of money, from Cows which gave actual value (satisfied hunger) to fiat currencies of today like dollar/ rupee (not backed by physical commodity) to crypt-currencies like Bitcoins/ Ether/ Ripple (which don’t even have physical form). Perhaps, currencies, in lieu of keeping up with growing consumerism are losing their value/ form.

However, things (if at all they sound that way) aren’t all that bad as the technology (Block Chain Tech) behind Bitcoins, if adopted universally has the potential to do greater good. Block chain technology builds transparency and trust into the present day systems by distributing the power (data) among all its users. So, no worries about one’s money either ,as where it goes, what it buys, who it’s with, everything is recorded and distributed (not your money, data).

So, what’s your bet? Trump, Gold, Bitcoins or Cows?

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Oblige to Thrive..?

Now this one is specific to the people who are working. How often have you seen yourself and others obliging to someone just because of her/ his authority? Answer, I believe, would be a unanimous, “quite often”. In today’s corporate scenario such behavior to acquiesce to one’s senior has become the new norm. For instance, in a team party few days back, I observed that one of the senior showed a lot of energy on the dance floor, coupled with debilitating howls. Immediately after that 2-3 juniors joined their senior’s bandwagon, dancing and howling with the same intensity. Their dance moves showed vigor yet their eyes spoke otherwise. Their eyes conveyed their naked convictions about the senior’s bad demeanor, skills and habits. Despite their convictions and behind-the-back talk, they unanimously acted in sync with the senior, probably in hope of better opportunities.

The question which pops is whether such brief acts are right or not? Who doesn’t want to climb the corporate ladder as early as possible? Supporting the senior on his/ her face doesn’t take much either. Hence in totality it becomes a complete win-win except that one acts against one’s convictions or beliefs which he/ she shows in public.

Another question which comes in my mind is why are superiors often purported as negative figures? Why do they most of times have minimal support from their subordinates? The answer to these questions, I believe lie in the way superior handles his/ her subordinates. If he/ she “Listens” to all and takes the entire team as one in his/ her heart then I guess the mystery is solved. However, superiors often miss out on such assumed-trivialities.

But while our superiors figure the way through this difficult tight rope walk would we still Oblige to Thrive?

Why Corruption of Thought

Corruption in my opinion has always drawn ire unlike opinions of many who see corruption as a lesser evil. However, in the past few days I have come across thoughts which, I believe, define corruption at grass root level.
People and Politicians talk about doing away with the menace of corruption but deep inside they all know that all of us are corrupt, if not blatantly at least to some extent. No offence to the people who inculcate Only-Honest policies in their day to day lives by putting in great efforts but corruption – as many have described, is not limited to bribing a traffic police guy or greasing palms of government servants. Such acts are just the tip of the iceberg, the real corruption insidiously plays its game in our day-to-day lives. For instance, not paying the bills in time, thinking against the good of others, buying pirated software or movies, jumping a traffic signal, trespassing in restricted areas, taking credit of someone else’s work or paying less for a costly dress because the shopkeeper botched up with the calculations are all in my opinion acts of deceit – or Corruption of thoughts. These acts, however little they may appear reflect how corrupt we are- because for each of the above mentioned examples one can offer a retort. These are corruption of different kind, but nonetheless corruption. For example, in my opinion downloading pirated movies is a better option then buying an original copy which pinches the pocket, why spend more.
It’s not that people like you and me don’t know what is right, it’s just that we prefer to mold rules and regulations to our conveniences. Moreover, a person who goes by rules in today’s world is rather mocked at. Today, even if I make up my mind to buy original DVDs, my friends will take me for a fool. It’s now a question of smartness, because if you’re smart you’ll not spend on originals, you’ll not pay the actual fine for parking your car in a No-Parking zone and simply slide a 100 Rupee note into the traffic police guys hand, you’ll not return the extra money the shopkeeper gave you while returning the change, you’ll not let someone else’s credit go by etc. In a nutshell, abiding by rules isn’t endorsed well anymore. Again, exceptions are always there.
If you take a closer look, you’ll find out that we all fancy negativity. Here, by negativity I mean endorsing the role of ‘Don’ more than the role of the good guy-Vijay in the movie Don. Negative means of doing things always look fancier. They look and feel fancier because they kill monotony and invigorate minds with randomness and uncertainty. ‘Uncertainty’ is the only aspirin which kills Monotony and no one likes monotony-because it makes life boring. When I write about monotony, it’s not the the immediate monotony, it’s the monotony of a longer span.

So, if I don’t jump that traffic signal when the road is marooned, I induce monotony and to kill it I’ll have to resort to acts which have an underpinning of uncertainty-so I’ll jump it without any qualms, and maybe bribe the cop on the way. If I have an urge to roam around in the nearby graveyard in the midnight, I’ll do it because it thrills me-thereby inducing uncertainty, even if it means paying a heavy fine-as greasing palms was never an issue. If I intend to watch a movie whose tickets aren’t available easily and I go and buy them in black, I’m inducing uncertainty.  The real fun begins after a rule is broken. These incidents become topics of discussion, and bring laughter and joy to our lives and it happens all the time. How often do we end up praising the negative acts, for example, how a friend’s brother crashed into a police man’s bike owing to drunkenness- again for desire of uncertainty, and got away by just paying 200 bucks. A person who abides by rules-who cuts down on petty thrills, has lesser things to discuss about than a person who breaks them often. Obviously, it doesn’t make the latter a better person but it does give him an over-all edge in his day-to-day life.

It’s questionable, why then countries like US fare good in terms of non-corrupt practices. Why people there aren’t exposed to spells of such thrills and don’t end up bribing to get there way out. The answer is simple, these countries have surpassed the  hurdles India faces in the present day scenario. India is still a developing nation, still shackled by poor pay to government servants, widespread poverty, lack of infrastructure and lack of education. These challenges will be overcome in time and will require dedicated efforts.
Therefore, in my opinion, ‘Urge for Uncertainty’ is the root cause of corruption, and it should always be kept in mind that moral corruption is no different than the actual corruption. Country is no bar to a person who has a habit of smoking, he’ll smoke everywhere. So, the solution is not a strong Lokpal, but stronger rules and regulations – by introducing heavy penalties and simultaneously increasing the pay of the government servants. This will curtail the corruption in limelight, and the corruption of thoughts- little acts here and there, I believe are the required ingredients of life. 🙂

Profoundly Corrupt but Who’s the Accused??

You hear about it all the time, it debilitates your trust in the system, makes you contemplate credibility of everything you come across. Corruption. You tune into  your favorite news channel-which specializes in accentuating slightest intricacy into a humongous headline -to hear deeds of the people at the top, held culpable of some or the other scam. Whole system is rigged-in bits, hurling abuses at the Government and ‘the accused’ who rob the general public of their money, you despise them. YOU is we, the Indians. We are at the receiving end, we think, Government top officials and industry honchos stealing are lives of harmony and peace, which now cease to exist. The corrupt  should be set right by penalizing, not with money-which they have squandered enough-but maybe by giving them a good public lashing,  we think. After all they deserve it. Don’t they?

I’d say, maybe Not.  Let’s be honest, who is not corrupt? Who doesn’t download a music album in place of buying it from the local music store, who doesn’t pay the traffic police guy a bribe, who doesn’t buy at least one electronic item from the gray market, who doesn’t agree to pay a good lot more to get tickets in black, who doesn’t-for once-rob someone blind to feed his/her own needs. We see them as pity acts because we manage to find reasons for our wrong-doings; reasons which at the least convince ‘us’. Who is the accused here?

It’s not our fault. Hypocrite that a human being is, he finds it easy-and right-to implicate and despise people for what he himself does every day, every minute. We are victim of this very human-nature, and no one-be it Anna Hazare or any other activist-can remove corruption from the system. It’s not about pessimism. It’s supported by  facts, history of man-kind if I must add.  Bribes were paid even in the times of kings. Ministers were not always honest, they were not always loyal. It’s deep rooted.

Activists can curtail it; I’m glad they are doing it, but they can not stop it because the people at the top emerge out of us; they are our own reflections, and isn’t it unruly and unrealistic to expect one’s own reflection to behave in a different way ie. if you cheat, how can expect the reflection to not to cheat. It’s a vicious cycle in which no one is right and no one is wrong. Because right and wrong are now-a-days tweaked to self-gratifying standards.

No one would change, even I wouldn’t. I’ll still bribe the traffic police guy and I’ll still download music and movies from the internet illegally. I’ll not wail over the scams either.  Honestly, I don’t see a viable solution to it. Maybe bribes should be legalized, so that they can be taxed. Or maybe more young people should  venture into public sector jobs, and most importantly stay honest. I’m very less informed, yet I write because I don’t see wailing over these financial-massacres as the right thing to do. Wailing makes it an even bigger political issue, or ‘profoundly corrupt’. It’s time when the young of the country wake up, take the baton from the old corrupt politicians- the accused?– and lead the way. It’s time, maybe when all of us should limit our corrupt tendencies. Maybe.