Saturday, 28 January 2017

The importance of being a follower

We always respect leaders. They are talked about and looked up to by people. Everyone aspires to be a leader. It is very natural. The flamboyance, the charm and the clout of a leader are thing which makes it a very desirable position.

But what we are forgetting is the chief ingredient that makes a leader effective. The followers. The people who make the leader, a leader. The people who give their support. The people who come together and give the leaders the power.

People always ask about our 'leadership skills'. Taking initiative is considered to be the most important thing. C.V.'s will have a specific place where we have to enlist areas in which we have shown our 'leadership skill'. I am not saying trying to be a leader it bad. Not at all. The world needs leaders. All I am saying is just like the world needs leaders, a leader needs followers.

The credit given for being a good follower is almost nothing. People think that following a leader is easy. It's not. It requires sacrifices. Although a follower follows someone because he believes that his and the leader's view match to a greater extent, sometimes when the views of the follower are not in sync with the leader's then the follower is the one who has to let go. Leader might decide the plan of action but its the followers who actually implement it.

Twitter teaches us that we all begin by following someone. It does not necessarily mean we agree to all that leader says but it means that we like the person and respect his views. Side by side, we also post our own views. People who like them follow us.

In a group discussion, people always think that the person who leads the discussion is the best. But what people generally fail to see is the opinion which a person chooses to support. The views you support show more about your character than the view you hold. Because just like a leader is judged by the type of followers he has, a follower is judged by the type of people he follows.

So the next time you seen a group of people working efficiently and one of the members taking the lead, spare a thought for the member who chugs along, unnoticed. :)

P.S. - This in no way means followers are better than leaders. They are both dependent on each other and equally important.

P.P.S. - If you want to know how movements start and what the role of a follower and a leader are, watch this short TED talk

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Curious Case of the Khopcha!

It is not unusual to find young couples in India hiding in corners of roads which even Robert Frost would avoid. They are not looking for an adventure. They are only looking to do 'adventurous' things without spoiling their image in the society!

What adventurous activities you ask?

Well, they try to 'cover all the bases'. IYKWIM.

Now my question is, why do people go to such secluded areas for all these 'adventurous' activities?

Its true what they say "In foreign countries, you can kiss in public but cannot urinate in public but in India, you can urinate in public but cannot kiss."

Society 'judges' you whenever they see a guy and a girl sitting alone and chatting. These kind of societal restriction are bound to frustrate youngsters who are bubbling with hormones and still don't understand the 'logic' behind society's arguments.

This has given rise to the growth of Khopchas.

What is a Khopcha?

Like everything offbeat, I decided to check the meaning of this word on Urban Dictionary. Khopchas are used to describe an isolate place/ seclusion especially to conduct nefarious activities.

Nefarious activities? Hmm. Ofcourse something like holding hands and chatting should not come under nefarious activities. But unfortunately, it does. Such crazy restrictions on display of affection by our society is the reason for a lot of our problems.

Imagine this: A girl cannot be seen sitting alone with a guy in a public place because of societal restructions, she agrees to meet him at a secluded location or perhaps at the guy's home when no one is around. It is a date. All good, right? Nope. We are assuming an ideal situation. Imagine something outward starts to happen on the date. The girl has no where to go because she chose to meet at a place where not many people will be able to see her. She compromised her safety on her own.

In an ideal situation, two people could meet anywhere they want to. Public or private. This would give both the girl and the guy enough freedom to plan their safety without sacrificing on their romantic ambitions. They could decide the level of interaction and intimacy on their own.

This would make Khopchas irrelevant. Hence increasing the overall safety of all the citizens.

Lets not be two faced. Lets hold on to our values even when no one is watching. Lets not force people into Khopchas for activities which are not nefarious.

Once we eliminate the need of a Khopcha, we will reduce the frustration that has crept into youngsters, be able better understand what the situation is and help them make an informed decision about what is right and what is wrong and thus start building a more mature society.

Lets start.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Misinterpreting the Robin Hood Concept

When we were kids, we were all told the story of Robin Hood. He was portrayed as the saviour of the poor. The stole from the rich and gave it to the poor. The rich used to be afraid of him and tried to protect their gold from him but could not. He was a hero.

Well, he IS a hero. I agree.

"Its not stealing if you steal a little from the people who have a lot and give it all away to the people who don't have much." - A friend.

Well, there is one major element in the above concept that people always tend to forget. The rich people that Robin Hood used to steal from had acquired their wealth through illegal means. They had exploited the poor and filled their coffers. Robin Hood just helped the poor people get money which belonged to them in the first place.

So, essentially Robin Hood did not actually redistribute wealth. He just saw to it that the rightful owner got it.

So, Robin Hood cannot be used as a defense when you want steal money from the rich and give it to the poor when the rich guy has actually earned it legally.

We might say that stealing money from a thief is justified but just because a person has a lot of money doesn't make him a thief. Nor does it create an obligation on him to share the money with people who don't have it. He earned it. It's his right. He can burn it all up for all we care. No Robin Hood can take it away from him and claim to do the society a favour.

If there is a politician in your country who has hoarded a lot of illegal wealth and stashed them at a Swiss Bank Account and if you somehow manage to steal it, then you can feel like Robin Hood.

But if you steal from say a Tata or a Birla, who have slogged their way to success and then try to act like Robin Hood then you are just another petty thug in tights.

So, the next time you tell kids the Robin Hood story, explain the 'people who got rich through illegal means' part carefully. :)