The myth of Happiness

Two happenings this week

(1) We have been rolling out performance bonus letters to staff at work. Realized everyone is happy until they start comparing their salary increments with their peers

(2) 6 colleagues at a local jewellery store pooled in money to buy tickets that won the 12 crores bumper prize at the Onam lottery… They were being interviewed on the radio last evening as I was driving home and none of them seemed to be “over the moon” happy- infact they sounded a bit dejected 😡 if you ask me.

Wonder if the realization that a large portion would go to taxes and the rest had to be Shared was too depressing. Hmm.

Have you noticed how happiness always seems to be a moving target. When I find the right job- I’ll be happy. When I marry the right person- I will be happy. When I win the lottery and become a millionaire – I will be happy. And then we reach some of those aspirations – the happiness is temporary and we go back again on another miserable adventure in pursuit of happiness.

So, is happiness then a “natural state” for us humans at all? If so why does it always feel just out of reach and temporary? Or why is it that nature required us to

Work more muscles on our face to smile than to frown…. Looking at kids we realize that our natural disposition as humans is to be happy, however the problem is we keep looking for happiness in experiences and objects outside of us- like the size of our paycheck or the well-being of our loved ones.

I look back and realize I was most happy when I was emotionally invested in multiple areas that brought me joy- playing tennis, the guitar, Art, friendships, religion, etc. Most of which were in my total control, inside me and probably what I was good at.

However the mistake we make as we go through life, is that we unconsciously throw away these passions like a newbie at a nudist beach – running to the water line, while stripping to our bare bums in gay abandon, with only one hope that the approaching wave will save us from more embarrassment. Unfortunately many of us don’t make it in time.

There are slogans and posters in many companies which sometimes mislead,- “happiness @work” it reads, but then can you really find true lasting happiness at work? Nope, unless you’re having an affair with a colleague. 😂

You got to look for your “true purpose” whatever it is, inside of you and pursue it with uncompromising passion as if your life depended on it – because it does.

Don’t get me wrong- It’s important to do well in all areas of life and accomplish success, and realize our full potential in every role (personal and professional) that we fulfil, however we need to realize they only give us an identity.

So there, now if you’re a manager, you have a good speech to give your disgruntled staff at increment time.

Good luck with that! 🙏😂

Madras day

#nammachennai Morning walks on a chennai beach – corncobs strewn on the sand -like dildos after a wild night, “maamis” in saris and nikes walking and talking furiously about advising a son in the US to leave for a startup if the transfer is not given, “maama” walking with a brown tee shirt 2 sizes too small and a dab of saffron paste of his forehead, beach bums on the shoreline in the distance (no literally!!), laughter club members standing in a circle on the sand with hands raised and laughing at the top of their voices, walkers returning home like participants at a wet T-shirt contest, dangling a handful of fresh vegetables in plastic bags, a gang of mongrel dogs curled up next to a guy in a lotus position, gang of old grandpas on Honda active scooters sharing “kollakattais”, talk of property deals all around, a young plainclothes soothsayer deciphering a small note to a very disturbed looking couple, red rose garlands on the shore-line sharing space with a dead puffer fish, expat in cycling shorts running to the beat of Sony headphones, young girl at the wheel of a small Korean car learning to drive and weaving through the crowd. slowly- like a Barcelona terrorist on a test run, the “jigardanda” vendor and the high speed broadband salesman try to out-smile each other as they handout their pamphlets to you, teenage boys participating in games of soccer, rugby? And cricket. #Soulcurry. #madrasday

Desi Carol

Had to do this. 😂



Try to sing without bursting into tears. 😢

Intro: Sleigh bells ringing (4 bars)

Verse 1.

“You better watch out

You better not cry 😭

You better not pout

I’m telling you why

“Modi-Bhai has come into town” (everyone join in) – “… has come into town”

Verse 2

He knows just what you’re eating 🍕

He know when you get a wax

He knows when you buy that luxury car 🚗

To nail your income tax….”

Ho!Ho!Ho! (With gusto!!!)


He’s making a list 📝

Checking it twice

Gonna’ check out, who’s been naughty or nice

Modi-Bhai has come into town

He sees you when you are sleeping 😴

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you voted for “Acche din”

So be good and just fall in line.

Fall in line. 😷 (with gusto!)

Verse 3

He’s taking your notes 💵

He’s making them glow

He’s reworking GST

So you’re paying some more

Modi bhai has come into town.

He says you need some yoga 🧘‍♀️

He says you need some inner peace ✌️

So he grabs your pack of maggi

And tugs at your bowl of chilli beef.

Chorus again. ( join in if you’re not crying your eyes out)

You better watch out

You better not cry 😭

You better not pout

I’m telling you why

Modi-Bhai has come into towwwwwww..


Wish you all a Spooky Christmas 🎄

Kerala Oil Massages

Been a while…. ☹️ Okay just back from the Kerala Ayurvedic spa/ treatment. Landed up 15 minutes early and met at the entrance by – okay let’s call him “mr.chubby”- Short chap with a winning smile. We exchange a few pleasantries like we’re on a first date, and he points to the treatment room. He leads, and before I could even step in, and realize the 2 open windows faced a public parking lot and the main road; mr chubby was already standing behind me with his shirt off. “Well Hello. Did I miss something here?” I nearly ask him, but then I just smile. Chubby asks me to do the drill while he picks up a white cotton cloth, not more than the size of a large hand kerchief. And he goes about tearing it like a street magician,” (just so you all know- I love magic)🤦‍♂️. I watch carefully, “I shall now turn this white A4 sheet into a “mundoo” that will cover you like an extra in the hit movie avatar”. Anyways I watch in disbelief as he does exactly that-okay barely. 🤨 I’m impressed. Chubby points to a small bench on the floor and turns away again, I’m wondering if this guy is shy or actually giggling with his face turned. I look at the stool and though a tough ask, I start getting ready to sit down on the stool. Chubby turns, “aiyoh saaru,” he goes and gestures for me to step on the stool and get onto the treatment table., which looks like a large main door from karaikudi. 🤦‍♂️ Since I’ve earlier been to a similar establishment in Trivandrum, I know the drill from here. Except chubby has got an ace up his sleeve who walks in- another guy and they do a classic “four hands” on me. 🙌🏼🙌🏼 They both seem probably unimpressed they didn’t see a six-pack on me, and go about trying to fix that- vigorously. I felt like apologizing, “sorry cheyta, 20 years too late”. Chubby on the right seems to be taking his job seriously, while “the apprentice” who didn’t seem to have grown to a position of authority to take off his top at work, seems to be still learning to be rough with his clients. I keep wondering what the consequences of having unevenly balanced chi in my body would result in…. epilepsy? Polio? Stroke? 😬 Anyways if there’s a way to describe what was happening- Think of a party game where you swallow a boiled egg and then have your team of two try to push it down your digestive system…. and out without squashing the egg. Fastest team wins. 🏆okay you can stop imagining now….. Anyways post the main event, they put me through the normal steam contraption and then point to the bathroom for a hot bath. As a couple here may remember, the last time I went for this treatment in TVM, this was where I really hit it out with the masseuse. This time though I only had the company of a half used clinic shampoo sachet to keep me company, I then remember what Osho said, “the seed of all our pain and unhappiness is in having expectations from people.” and since it’s Sunday I’ll end on that spiritual note for now. Chubby jumped onto his moped and just like that we parted ways never to see each other again- like 2 ghost ships passing each other on a moonless night. 😂 Have a great week ahead guys.

The third appam

“The Third Appam”… So once you are at a certain age bracket, weekends are structured around uninteresting pursuits-Shopping, eating-out and Netflix. Our Sunday mornings start with breakfast at “Paragon”- a decent place for great local food in Trivandrum. If you’re a contract killer on a mission to eliminate me ( yes, believe me I’ve given a lot of people reason to do so… 😂) – 8:15 am.- Every Sunday. Paragon. We go to the same table. order 2 appams, 2 kerala parottas , nadan chicken curry and 2 chais… yes. Same place. Same table. Same order. EVERY Sunday. But then some sundays, I go for the “third Appam”-not because I’m hungry, but just to change things a bit. Kavitha shakes her head, the music stops, the waiter looks at me, smiles, and comes back with the hottest, most delicious appam ever. It probably tastes as good as the first two, but then THIS appam is indulgence, the forbidden fruit, the reason it’s all worth it…. when was the last time you stretched it, when your mind said “enough”, but your heart said “go for it”, and you did. I’ve regretted the choice sometimes the next day, headaches, stomach upset, etc- but the slightly obese, the not SO successful, the folks who’re always silver medalists, are the guys who’re finally grinning the widest on the podium. So the next time you feel like going the extra mile, an extra round of scotch, adding an additional something to your kids allowance, pulling yourself to do an extra dance on the floor, wondering if you should add an additional 50 rupees for the waiter- smile and do it, ‘cause happiness in life sometimes finally boils down to letting go and giving in. #the3rdappam


So, today our maid “laalee” is on leave…. I was a bit amused when Kavitha mentioned it (with what I thought was a dig at me 🤨) that “laalee” wanted to take leave to “celebrate her wedding anniversary”. Ah? The first thing that came to my mind was probably that Kavitha didn’t get the information correctly, ‘cause “laalee” doesn’t speak anything but Malayalam- and we don’t, so… lost in translation? The next thought was “shit. I may have to do the dishes” ☹️. Anyways my surprise was mostly because it’s almost every other week that our maid goes on “sick leave”- yes her husband is an alcoholic and physically abuses her to the point of her requiring a “sterling holiday” timeshare type, 2 day check in at the nearest hospital 🤨, but she’s back the next day, all chirpy and goes about her chores. Now, enough with all the details- my mind was still trying to go around the fact that she was “celebrating” her wedding anniversary… hmm! Made me think that there’s a subtle difference between the words “acceptance” and “resignation”. When you lie on your back and watch the clouds go by without expecting it to form shapes you want- that’s “acceptance”, and it comes with a “freedom to respond”- either leaving an abusive relationship or “celebrating” the good times. When you react to a situation through resistance, and non acceptance, you lose your mind and carry that negative mindset, bitterness and self pity as you move along- that’s “resignation”. Now there’s some Kitkat in the refrigerator I need to go and test my theory on… accept or resign. Your choice! #acceptance #laalee

Letting go

So, its that time of the year again in office – talk performance and rewards with staff. You have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t have everyone happy, but the key is to be fair. Its about having those awkward conversations, and setting expectations. It’s about plotting your team on a “bell-curve”- a small % of folks you see a future and invest in going forward, a large population of “worker bees” (acquaintances you want to stay connected with) and a small % at the bottom who are slowing you down and you should “let go” off. Hmmm. Just reminded me that we are the CEO of our own lives too, and we need to be willing to do all of the above with the people in our lives, if we want to take control of it. Take a good look at the people you want to keep close, and invest in those relationships, make those “no agenda” calls to your acquaintances, and don’t forget to have those awkward conversations and be ready to “let go” of people you would cross an ocean for, but you know wouldn’t even jump a puddle for you when it matters. Hmm, okay now, I got to go ponder on what I have done to make sure I stay at the right end of the “bell curve” with people that matter to me… 🤨 #omtruths #themorningblade

A bend in the river

A bend in the river: The ship is not lost my friend, the river just bends….

it’s amazing how many people on my team I’ve spoken to recently have just decided to “move on”, some with infants in hand, some just spirited away alone 1000s of miles by siblings to escape the harsh reality, others deciding to leave a good job, to a land far, far away, with all their savings to start anew. Many with a hope that things would change for the better- most with a fear that it won’t. – And then I look back at a time not too long ago, when I was hoping for the bend in the river, and the “collateral damage of living” to vanish- or so we hope. So now you see a person staring blurry eyed at a banana in the grocery, a mother sitting in front of a keyboard at work holding back tears and getting fully immersed in the mundane mechanics of a 9 to 5 job, and the first realizations that life has us all staring at the horizons of our mind for the river to take a bend. So you’re now wondering when the bend in this post is going to happen. 🤔Well it’s that there’s a simple, fun way to do your good deed for the day- call a friend and share a cup of coffee together, smile, lend a ear and assure each other that the river bends just down the road and things would be alright after all. And that’s the only therapy we all need- more coffee! #bendintheriver

Stormy Daniels

So then we have the most powerful man in the world becoming weatherman for a day and trying to extend (to Alabama) the impact of hurricane Dorian using a “sharpie” permanent marker. Somebody please tell him that just sleeping with a lady called “stormy Daniels”, doesn’t necessarily qualify him as a weather expert. Ironically many of us have a lot of close ones around us holding “sharpies”- people who haven’t even had a “stormy Daniels” type experience in life, but somehow seem to qualify as an expert in all of life situations- relationships, investment, parenting, job change, etc. Just look around you, who are the “confidants” we run to when the shit hits the fan, or when we need a big decision made? Just some glib-talking, “maama” in the family with a “sharpie”, because he is family, “knows it all” and professes to have our best interests? Hmmm. As much as I sound like the guy with the “sharpie” at this moment, 🥶 … just remember- take advise, but do your homework, trust your instincts and make your own decisions, because you have to remember, that whatever your strategy – you have a 50% chance it will go wrong, and it’s therefore best you make the decision, so you’re atleast fully invested to see it through and take full responsibility for the outcome. And finally while we’re at it, don’t fall for the “fallacy of sunk costs”, and continue to invest in a decision that’s probably not going anywhere- but south. We all have done it- you pursue on a decision not based on the desired outcome anymore, but purely based on the time, effort or money you’ve already put in. It could be a career, a marriage, mundane things like sitting through a movie, knowing full well within the first 20 minutes, that this was a bad choice, or encouraging your kid to go through that engineering degree because you paid a capitation fee, fully aware that he’s just not cut out for it in the 2nd year itself. Cut your losses, bail out. So there, if you’re an American and you need one reason to vote POTA back, it’s this – he’s taught us all a lot more about life than we’re willing to accept. 🤦‍♂️ #weekendguru

Personal Truths

Any place there’s going to be points of views- there’s going to be stress, because not all views are going to be in line with our beliefs. Social media is a typical example. I’ve had to take Facebook “sabbaticals” in the past, sometimes even sadly block acquaintances I’ve known for years, etc. Then I realized- I don’t need to necessarily agree with people. If I say “the sky is blue”, and someone says “no it’s green”- I now just shrug my shoulders in my mind and just say “okay” and move on. We’re not here to seek approval, acceptance or validation of our thoughts – are we? the “blueness” of my sky is not threatened by how “green” anybody else sees it. Does it? Someone may think the current PM is gods gift to mankind, which is based on his/ her “personal truths” made up of individual values and beliefs, etc. I may disagree, but then there are no “real truths” out there- it’s only “personal truths”. What technology, AI and ML are doing these days is to cultivate strong biases. Have you noticed how google recommends articles and ranks results based on your previous search patterns, etc. So now we live in a crazy world of strong biases and cultivated opinions, and social media has given everyone a platform to air them openly and not always with responsibility. So the next time you see someone post something that doesn’t fall in line with your thinking, stop and think and don’t react angrily- just understand that it’s just their “personal truth” they’re expressing, and by reacting angrily, you just let people know that you don’t fully believe in your own personal truth and feel threatened. … Smile and move on my friend- smile and move on! #personaltruths