Monday, April 14, 2014

Can't we be less cynical?

We keep cribbing. We rarely have any kind words for others. Even if someone does or says something good, we readily come out with a conspiracy theory. We are contemptuous and sarcastic. We have no hope in the future. Everything is doomed to fail.

The so-called realistic view is actually pessimistic view. All deals are scams. All politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt and inefficient. Everything is done with an ulterior motive. No one is straight forward or sincere.
  • A new is road built. O, just imagine the amount of money engineers and politicians would have made.
  • An NGO is doing good work. O, that is all just to get some foreign funds.
  • A new college has come up. O, that is just a way to make some money out of hapless parents.
  • The neighbour has bought a new house. O, he must be corrupt.
The list goes on and on.

Why are we so suspicious? Why are we so negative? Why do we see red everywhere?

Can't there be good people around? Can't people just be helpful to others? Can't there be many honest bureaucrats and politicians? Ok, the system is bad, but is it so bad as it's being made out? Aren't many people, performing well in spite of the system?

Have we lost trust in humanity? When we ridicule others, don't we realise that we are also liable to be ridiculed same way by others?

The exceptions

I have used the pronoun "we", since these highly cynical, very negatively charged perceptions seem to be all pervasive.

But there are many exceptions among us, may be very few in number.
  • I had an aunt, who in spite of unimaginable hardship in her life, was rarely critical or cynical. She always had a smile on her face, and was ever ready to help others.
  • One of my school mates, about five years elder to me, has always only good wishes for others. He is critical, but always very mild, and always sees a sliver lining in every cloud.
  • An former colleague of mine, who is a successful public relations professional simply infects you with happiness. He is always smiling. When something goes wrong, he recovers very fast and turns happy, because he sees that as an opportunity.
Just as no one can give us happiness, but we have to discover it ourselves; we need to consciously be less contemptuous and less cynical. Instead, we should consciously look at the world around us in a positive way.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gmail at it again -- with Shelfie

It's tailor-made for Gmail to pull it off on April 1. That is the day when the service was launched as a beta release in 2004. So, when Gmail tells you that on their birthday, they have something new on offer, it's quite natural for anyone to be taken in, unless of course, you remember what Google had been up to the previous year or years.

Almost all Google services relish pulling a fast one on April 1. Cashing in on the current narcissistic craze, they poked fun at selfies. As millions of Gmail users around the world logged in, they were greeted with a pop-up announcement: the box that lets you select or change the background theme. At the end, they added: Create a Shelfie. The idea is simple, don't be so selfish: don't just keep looking at your own photo, share it with others, so that they too can look at you, forever. That's a shareable selfie or a Shelfie.

Gmail said it all in their blog post.

It didn't strike me at first, let me confess. In fact, only after I read the last line of the blog post, it occurred to me that it is April 1 and it's Google.