Friday, April 21, 2006

On the Edinburgh bridge

On the Edinburgh bridge Posted by Picasa

The Power Equation...

Ive always wondered about what drives relationships. What makes succesful relationships and what breaks them? The web of our existence is intertwined by a unending array of relationship threads- and they are certainly not similar. Familial relationships are god-given, friendships are symbiotic and work-related networking a bit like a temporary equilibrium- you strive to maintain that delicate balance between formality and bonding. Yet there must be something common to all of these- some virtue that applies to all, but in a different way to each?

During my growing-up days, my idea of a love story with a happy ending was based on the tenet of true love: you love your partner so much that you are ready to sacrifice evrything for him/ her. Everything else- status, compatibility, et al was just secondary. Indeed, fables and Bollywood (however senseless it may seem now, it surely had a subconscious influence) only reinforced those beliefs.

And indeed, when I looked around, it did seem true. I had, and still have, friends from various strata of society, with different mindsets, different perspectives to life. Yet all that matters for me to click with them is an agreement of core values- the basic things we stand for. Indeed, I do know of people falling in love, irrespective of vastly different social backgrounds and disparate views of life. And not all of it was puppy love- there were deep connections.

But did it all stand the test of time? Not really. As some close friends fell apart and lovers' tiffs turned to quarrels, I realized that true love didn't guarantee eternal happiness in a relationship. Something else was pulling the strings. My prime suspect- some sort of balance between the two parties involved. Something that is an innocuous bystander at the start- its meek voice is obscured by the din of love and caring. But as time goes by, it starts speaking to both, furtively, creating the fatal rift. I call it the POWER EQUATION.

So what is the Power Equation? Simply put, its a parameter of each partner's relative strength in a relationship "as perceived by each other". My theory- to be happy in a relationship, you have to get the power equation right. If that is not the case, irrespective of all the love in the world and all the caring, you will never be happy and contented.

So where does the Power Equation derive itself from? It could be as simple as how much each partner needs the relationship- that's Emotional Dependency, the most common player. Indeed, in my case, most of the times it was emotional dependency that led to unhappiness. The most common is also the most curable- Emotional dependency is perhaps the only thing that is within your control. In other less-fortunate cases, it could be rigid factors- Financial Status in some cases, Intelligence in some.

Again, the important part here is "As perceived by each other"- a couple may be living off on the fortune the wife earned by heritage, but if wealth is not an important parameter to the both of them, they could still be living happily. The relative perceptions also are equally important. The wife may feel that the husband is not giving enough time to their baby, though he may feel he is doing enough- it would result in an unbalanced power equation in the wife's mind. Most of the times however we see an interplay of various power equations- take the first example again- the wife may be richer but may be much more insecure than her husband- the two would then cancel out to create a harmonic balance.

A final word- not to imply that true love is a fallacy. Indeed, the hopeless romantic that I'm, I still believe in it. Just that the Power Equation is an important consideration too- a notion we often dismiss away under the guise of over-practicality.

Think about it. Does it help in a teeny-weeny way in solving those riddles that always racked your brains? For me, yes it has. And it's also given me a key to happiness- I now keep the equation balanced, and it keeps itself solved :)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

You can't run if you go weak in the knees

A rare sunny London afternoon greets me warmly as I step out of office to grab my mid-day grub. Liverpool Street is abuzz with its usual activity. A sea of investment bankers clad in garish pin-striped suits jostle their way to their offices in hurried paces. Scores of bodies make their way in and out of the tube station in two orderly lines, occasionally accosted by newspaper vendors offering free copies of the Metro. In a way it reminds me of Bombay, my hometown. The same speed, just a tad more organized and a lot less messy. Thats probably the reason why I have grown used to it so easily. Only, if only, they could import the smell and color of Bombay. Sigh.

I cross the street color-blind to the traffic light, graciously allowing a police car to go through. Soon I'm one among the sea, making my way to the sandwitch joint around the corner. Its not until I get a clear stretch of pavement ahead of me that I shift gears into that familiar fast pace that Ive always been comfortable with. I do like it this way, dont I?

Friends have always jibed me for my gait- they just could never catch up with me. And it's not just the walking- I've saved a fortune in telephone bills considering how fast I speak, and I also eat fast and think fast.(Intriguingly, the only thing I am not fast in is where it really matters. God does play his little tricks sometimes.)It somehow stems from my crazy utilitarian mentality- I dont like wasting time on the mundane things in life. (I obviously treat the three hours spent everyday snooping into random people's orkut scrapbooks as time well spent.)

A rude tackle by a heavy Turkish passerby jolts me out of my thoughts. An involuntary glance at my watch reminds me of the impending dreadful post-afternoon meeting. I step up the mph, virtually flying as I manouevre the irregular human traffic. And just as Im about to cross, a lovely Chinese couple, very much in love, amble across slowly, hand in hand and eye in eye, inadvertently coming in my path. I reluctantly grind to a halt as I politely let them go through first.

The contrast between my sprint and their relaxed stroll could'nt be more pronounced, I realize. And then I ask myself- if I were to be committed, wouldn't I have to slow down, just the way the young man had, for my better half? (Surely yes, because both of us running around hand in hand would be an extremely funny sight.) The metaphor strikes me immediately- wouldn't the added responsiblity and commitment become a spanner in my dream-works? The breezy way of life, the mad rush to capture every moment of the day, wouldn't all that have to take a backseat? Dreadful thought indeed.

I successfully squeeze through the revolving doors just in the nick of time, congratulating myself for the effort. The swiping of the card and the entry through the glass doors is timed to the usual perfection. I run up the escalators and gripe as the 2nd floor dealing room door just shuts on my face- "Holy shit! Extra time wasted in swiping the card and pulling the door!" I smile to myself. God does play his little tricks sometimes. With good reason.

A remedy of errors...

The increasing number of oversights by referees in soccer games is an issue that has had FIFA on the mat of late. The third umpire concept which has been such a success in cricket, just cannot work in soccer because of its continuous free-flowing nature. My room mate Mittal had a nice workaround suggestion- may be there could be a third referee in soccer too, only that he neednt be referred to- he would have the right to override the referee's decision on highly critical matters such as a handball/ tackle in the penalty area. So if his decision were to be the opposite of the on-field referee's, he would indicate so via a special whistle. Not bad, eh?

50 years down the line, we could have a futuristic solution for the handball problem. What if we fit every player's hand with a chip and insert a chip in the ball too, so that if they came into contact the ball would start glowing red? There would be some logic needed to ensure the ball doesnt glow if it touches the leg or the head, but should'nt be that difficult!

Friday, April 07, 2006

A "doosra" strategy...

Indian cricket's lack of expertise in the pace bowling department has been the favorite breakfast nibble for quite some years now. In a way the issue resembles that faced by a smoker- we know the problem, and the solution too, and yet are helpless about implementing it. So, rather than deal with the grassroots issue of having more pacer-friendly pitches, can we force the same outcome indirectly?

A wierd idea struck me whle watching a tennis game the other day- could we borrow a leaf from it's book? Just like we have Grand Slams on different surfaces, each suiting a certain style of playing, could we replace the various meaningless Leagues in India with 2 specialized leagues? How about a Kapil Dev pacers league and a Prasanna spin league? Probably the seperation of the two arts of bowling could lead to specialization in each?

Its very much an impractical idea, not well-thought out, indeed. But if somehow it could be worked out, it could work- we could see motivation at the grass roots level to prepare players for pace bowling.