Saturday, January 2, 2016

The 'Phoney' phobia of my life

Every living soul has phobias of some sort or other so what's the big deal in me having one? Some of you may wonder why would someone care to read about my phobia and some of you may even question why would I care to post about it in the first place. Lets admit it, at the core of human social behavior is the fact that we prefer to talk about ourselves and hear about others. We prefer to write about ourselves and read about others. We prefer to show ourselves and watch others. We prefer to live our lives and secretly wish we could live other's. That's precisely why I would post about me, my life, my surrounding, my career, my people, my experiences, my phobias and that's precisely why you would read about anything and everything that's not you!

Coming back to the phobias in my life, there are obviously some usual suspects that are not too uncommon to find, like my phobia for height, reptiles, dancing or singing on the stage, so on and so forth. Look, I confess I hate looking down from anything beyond say 20 feet (rather any height falling from which can cause me harm!), I hate sitting on a narrow parapet wall just for the sake of it and the giant wheels make me nervous but none of these actually block me from indulging in them. I kind of go sadistic on the 'other' me and enjoy the pleasure of fear, even when flying on a plane thousands of feet above the earth and secretly wishing for some sort of turbulence just to have more fun (don't call me a psychopath or coward for this, the poor words have become fashionable these days). Similarly, my phobia of reptiles doesn't block me from clicking photographs of a snake on the road or actually holding the pythons in hand and around neck. About dancing or singing phobia, the less I talk the better. My dancing on the stage has made people think I am too drunk to be playing cricket on the dance floor when I hadn't touched even the innocuous looking Pepsi. Singing is another story altogether when inattentive people thought there was some urgent announcement going on from the dais when I started. So you see, there are either genuine reasons behind my phobias or they are too common to have an entire blog post dedicated to them.

The one which I want to talk about is my 'Phoney' phobia.

The thought of having to make or receive phone calls gets me butterflies in the stomach. The thought of having to talk to anybody over the telephone or mobile scares the hell out of me. Especially since the advent of smart phones and subsequently the messaging applications in our lives, I have found this phobia ever-increasing in its intensity(earlier there were limited or no options to have a conversation with anyone). There is a general consensus among my friend circle that I am considerably social and I don't deny that. I love to talk (though I love to listen more), and I do engage myself in in-person chitchats, banters, debates, and even text based messaging. I can spend hours talking to a single person or a group of people face to face anywhere but I absolutely hate making or receiving phone calls without a specific reason to or from anyone. Close friends, relatives, sibling or even parents from both sides aren't an exception either. The ringing of a mobile ringtone or a landline sounds to my ears exactly as the sound of an irritating early morning alarm would, to a student who has slept post midnight with unfinished studies. Adding to the misery is hundreds of occasions we have here in India when we traditionally make calls to our friends, families and colleagues. This birthday, that anniversary, this festival, that occasion, exam results, admissions, marriages, engagements, engineers day, rose day, valentines day, teachers day, new year day (and many more new year days in a single year), oh there are just so many of them. In fact, I would be the only person in the world to first think and worry about the prospects of receiving so many phone calls in a single day before getting excited about the fact that it's going to be my Birthday or Anniversary or an exam result today!

I know it is weird but I don't know the reason behind this peculiar phobia of mine. After the initial hi hello and asking about the well-being, I just don't know what more to talk over phone. It kind of mentally blocks me from thinking and responding in the most natural fashion.On the top of my mind, the thought of making calls to anyone doesn't come if there is no specific purpose or urgency. Deep inside my mind, I want the calls I receive to end quickly. This also baffles most of my friends and relatives as to why I don't make regular calls when I am a totally different person spending hours talking face to face with them. It is certainly not the 'genes' factor. Both my mom and dad are big time callers and sometimes we jokingly say that they can talk for half an hour over a call before realizing it is a wrong number. There must indeed be some unique programming done for me, the logic behind which is what I am totally clueless about. I would be highly surprised if I share this or similar phobia with anybody else.

[Update] - an update to this post is, I just read that there is actually a term called 'Telephone Phobia' or 'Telephonophobia' or 'Telephobia' the symptoms of which match a bit close to mine but the causes, effects, coping and avoidance strategies, and treatment (treatment!! seriously?? !!) do not at all align with my experiences. On Wikipedia, the listed ones are social anxiety or glossophobia neither of which I have. I can engage any audience from the stage, I can talk with full authority on the topics I am aware of (and on the topics I am not aware of, as well, if I find even the audience isn't aware of!!). Furthermore I don't think I have the anxiety or fear of being judged, criticized, or made a fool of, beyond normal human levels :-)! Interested parties can read more here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_phobia

Nevertheless it seems there are similar people with similar phobia though except symptoms, nothing else matches. It is always a pleasure to discover something about oneself which is truly unique and singular...Ahm-Brahmasmi!



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Back from a hiatus

Hello World, it's been a long time since I have written and published anything anywhere. For the sake of statistics, this is going to be my first post after five months and only the sixth this year. I didn't plan this hiatus but I was living a professional and personal life that was put on a fast-forward mode and I never truly got any opportunity whatsoever to think, let aside post, or reflect on anything else in the last few months. With a new year on the horizon then, what better place than here and what better time than now to come back from the hiatus and resume my connect with you by sharing a brief recap of some minor major happenings in my life in the year 2015.

[Intercept - I am going to shorten the amount of words I need to use to express myself and those who know me can very well think of it as my potential new year resolution (They understand how difficult it would be for me to achieve this though!).]

Let me begin with some of the key happenings on the professional front. My industry is in itself a highly dynamic and rapidly evolving one and Microsoft isn't an exception either. Our new visionary leader is trying to create a culture where each employee is empowered to do more and bring his A game every single day. Any cultural shift for any organization, especially if that organization is as gigantic as Microsoft, brings in a lot of change for everyone involved. I too had to go through multiple changes in terms of the roles and responsibilities I assumed, the impact areas I chose, the teams I worked with, the people I had to engage, so on and so forth. It did take a considerable amount of my bandwidth to adapt to these frequent changes. The nature of my changing roles also included significant amount of travel. My peculiar apathy towards traveling abroad, especially the Americas, on short duration business visits, is well known in my circle and considering that, after an initial detour to Singapore early April, flying to the states five times in seven months was an incredible mental feat for me, something which I never thought I would do (or rather would 'have to' do). Nevertheless, in the process, I made a lot of new friends and built new relationships at both the personal and the professional level across the globe.

The change in my roles and responsibilities also demanded a shift in my focus from people development and team building to more and more technology oriented outcomes and I used this opportunity to attempt to master newer trends in the industry. What's more, I enrolled myself for a 2 year 'M. Tech. in Information Systems' program at BITS Pilani (first semester already conquered as I type in). If anyway you want to learn something new genuinely, why not get a degree for that as well?!

On the personal front too, it's been an exciting year. We spent a gala time with family (my in-laws) in the USA during October in Seattle and around, as well as with my best friend and his family in San Francisco!! This was one hell of a trip, unplanned (or rather, planned within a short time span of 10 days without any advance notice), full of adventures, and long road trips across the beautiful west coast. For a driving enthusiast like me, the highlight was to have driven almost 1500 miles single-handed across the Washington/Oregon region with family as a company. Apart from that, in general we were high on our travel quotient this year which started with our road trip to God's own country Kerala, and then Incredible Odisha. We also celebrated the grand arrival of our super-cute nephew and niece (twins!!) in our extended family. This year also witnessed me shifting my device loyalties from Windows phone to an iPhone (self) and an android (better half), and that's also something which, a year back I would have never imagined.

There were many firsts also this year. First time for anything, is a memory to cherish, doesn't matter whether it is small or a big thing really. For me, a first time outing abroad with family, first time driving 2500 km with chickenpox, first time travel in the humongous A-380, first time upgrade to the business class (I find happiness in small things isn't it!), first time in-person encounters with a lot of celebrities (thanks to frequent travels), first time meeting a childhood friend after 25 years in an unimaginably farther region from India, first time using a non-Windows/Nokia phone, first time in 9 years finding no water on the tap here in Hyderabad and many more!

Any regrets for the year that's going to end? Well not at all, hindsight is a wonderful thing they say but then after the ship has sunk, everyone knows how she might have been saved, so no regrets at all. Living in the past is not my cup of tea. It is however, also obligatory to make mention of the new year resolution this time-frame of the year but no there hasn't been any (apart from reducing the length of my posts and mails as I mentioned above!!). One of the things that I have set a personal goal for myself is to conquer the marine workout, i.e., a hundred push-ups, a hundred sit-ups, a hundred squats and twenty pull-ups. I am sure it is going to take at least a year for me to achieve this feat even though I could make significant progress reaching half-plus on them in a couple of months.

So here's me wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous new year 2016. See you all in the new year and expect a few changes in the way I have been expressing myself in my posts, a teaser may be a vlog (video-blog)? or a plog (photo-blog)? or perhaps cartoons !! Let's see.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

5 lessons successful bodybuilders teach us about career growth

No, neither have you been mistaken reading the word 'career' in the title line nor has there been a typo on my part to key in 'career' in place of the seemingly apt word 'muscle'!

I have been a vivid gym goer and I have come across a lot of achievers when it comes to bodybuilding. On the other hand, I have been a keen observer as well, at the workplace and other corporate places I have been to, and have found stark similarities in the way a successful bodybuilder approaches muscle growth and the way a successful and fast growing corporate professional (at any level) approaches career growth. Based on my observations of others who're successful and those who aren't, in both the fields, here is my list of top five lessons I believe we can learn from the successful bodybuilders about career development.

No one size fits all
The biggest and by far the most common mistake I have seen people doing, especially the fresh entrants in the gym as well as in my industry is, blindly walking on the footsteps of someone they think as a role model and expecting similar results. We get fascinated by seeing what they are today and desperately attempt to just follow their routines. What we don't see is that they have molded their routines after years of trial and error methodologies based on their own strengths and weaknesses which may not be applicable to us. Successful bodybuilders retain their individuality in terms of their goals, success measures, training methods based on their individual body types, strengths and weak areas and other priorities in life. Similarly, in case of career development, we should be careful following the footsteps of someone as-is because things which worked for them may not work for us and in fact may not even be relevant for us to follow especially during these times of rapidly changing industry dynamics.

Progressive overload principle
Muscle grows only when gradual increase of stress is placed upon the body during exercise training. You may as well keep on training with the exact same intensity and volume years after years without any results and hit the plateau. Same rule applies to careers too. Remember, it is all the more easier to just keep on playing in the national level tournaments for a cricketer and score centuries after centuries, win awards after awards, but that can't be called as growth. If he has to be successful at the international level which is indeed 'growth', he should be open to fail for zeroes, open to getting hit on the chin by the leather, open to getting dropped from the team frequently and so on. In the corporate world too, if year on year you are performing the exact same roles and managing similar responsibilities without any increase whatsoever in the breadth and depth of your impact, or complexity of the challenges, or variety of efforts and scale, you are simply not growing and sooner you are bound to hit the plateau or in aviation terms, a deep stall, recovering from which becomes next to impossible.

Make hay while the sun shines
If you have the opportunity to do something, do it before the opportunity expires. Bodybuilders understand this very well and hence you will always find them adjust the intensity and volume of training as per the conducive nature of their surroundings and resources they have. They train extremely hard during winters when the climate is cool and supportive for quick healing, natural nutrients and meat resources are grown aplenty, and injury risk due to dehydration is minimal. Come the summer, they cut down on their intensity and just go through the motions to maintain the form and shape. Similarly, working in a corporate environment has its own set of challenges in terms of team, work-group dynamics, resources, infrastructure, leadership support, customer backing and conducive work culture. There will definitely be moments when all of these things are favorable for you to produce the best, so use such opportunities to the fullest. When things don't go the way you expect them to go, slow down and use that period to sharpen your axes. Equip yourself with weapons you can again use when the times change.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going
In bodybuilding, it is no secret that steroids as well as supplements like creatine and high calorie protein shakes can give you that beefier look in no time, however, an illness of a couple of weeks and doses of antibiotics can get you back to square one in no time as well! When it comes to building quality muscle in its best form, there are no shortcuts. It is almost always a long hard journey. Similarly, when it comes to growing careers, there are no shortcuts and even if there are, the success derived from those is hardly long-lasting. There are loads of quick-success formulas that exist in the corporate world, about which I don't think I need to elaborate more as they are well known, at the same time, the success ratio and the probability of sustaining the initial exponential growth that generally is associated with these is found to be pretty low.

Muscles grow outside the gym
There's an old saying in the bodybuilding community, they say, muscles grow outside of the gym and that's true indeed. If one has to categorize muscle growth in numbers, 30% growth comes from the actual workouts you do in the gym, 40% comes from the food that acts as a nutrient, and remaining 30% comes from the 'rest' that allows you to recuperate and heal the muscles. Similarly, majority of our career growth happens outside office. A healthy work-life balance, fun elements, extracurricular learning lead to a healthier mind and body that produces best output in the office, as well as, keeps oneself equally motivated throughout all the phases in his career. These factors also act as nutrients that fuel our personality development. That's primarily the reason I believe I have found a lot of workaholics struggling in their respective jobs. All-round development is essential to one's personal as well as professional growth and that majorly comes from outside of the office premises and cubicles.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

If it's not Boeing I am not going!

I read somewhere that talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease and I must say I have been suffering from this disease ever since I became aware of what an airliner is. No amount of time I spend on reading about them, or watching the documentaries, or fictional movies or just plain textual engineering stuff, is sufficient enough to satiate my hunger. Talking about jetliners, only two names come to mind, the Boeing and the Airbus, and guess what, today I visited what you call the mecca of the awesome birdies...that's right, the Boeing Factory! I can't believe it took me 4 trips to Seattle to be able to finally meet my birdies and watch their conception to birth journey in action.

Built in the year 1966, located at the north-east corner of the Paine field, approximately 20-25 miles from Seattle, it is the largest building in the world by volume covering 100 odd acres, that's just humongous. This is the factory where the wide body 747, 777, 787 and 767 are assembled. Just to throw some data around, 40 thousand employees work in this facility, churning out 1 and half 747s, 8 and half 777s and 10-12 of 787s per month. To put things in perspective, the cost of these planes ranges from USD 250+ millions for the DreamLiner to 300 millions for 777 and 350 millions for a 747-8, that's a whopping 2000 crore Indian rupees for a single bird!

I reached there at around 8.40 am in the morning accompanied by my dear friend Varun (without whom this trip wasn't possible), and my colleague Paul. Again Varun who also doubled up as a tour guide, took us to the stratodesk (or something of that sort they call it) from where you can have a 360 degree view of the Boeing factory, its surrounding, largest private runway, airfield and the adjoining motorway. Did I mention the large number of jets that you see, some just lying there straight out of the factory, waiting for their maiden test flight, some waiting for their delivery to their buyer airline, some in the queue to be painted et al. Luckily enough, we also witnessed a Boeing 787 DreamLiner taking off on its test flight right in front of our eyes straight down from the runway. The right side of the stratodesk lies the hanger for the DreamLifter which is nothing but a fleet of 4 modified 747-800s that are used to carry the entire fuselage, other large components and big control surfaces of the DreamLiner from various locations like Japan, Charleston etc. to the Everett factory. We came down, and it was still some time before the scheduled 9 am factory tour so went across the floors to the future of flight aviation center which hosts a lot of exhibits such as flying and aviation videos, presentations and mock-ups, original plane fuselages, simulators, cockpit, full size and actual jet engines from Rolls Royce and GE, other components from 747 including tail, wings, landing gear, flight deck and full sized engines. Simply marvelous. Spent around 15-20 minutes there and proceeded to the Boeing factory tour. The entire factory tour is of 1 and half hours duration and you cannot take any electronic device including mobile phones along. You have to deposit them before the start of the tour. A guide takes you through all the assembly lines starting from the manufacturing of 747s to then 777s and finally the 787 DreamLiner. 767 is just on display because it is being used for the military aviation purpose and as a refueling aircraft these days. The vastness of the factory area is overwhelming and the sheer size of the birds being assembled there, it just cannot be described in words or even a camera (though they don't allow one inside). We are talking about witnessing the birth of a 200 tonnes metal marvel, with a wing span of around 70 meters, height of 65 feet, and length of 80 meters capable of carrying along 400 tonnes of weight in the sky at a ridiculous 600 miles per hour speed, beat that. In other words, simply majestic. We moved from 747 to 777 to 787 one by one, beholding one stunning sight after the other, only to cherish them all forever. Believe me it is next to impossible for an aviation fan to take his eyes off the birds in making, and to think of the fact that every single Boeing plane you have flown in your life has taken off from right here for the first time, its a wonderful feeling to just be there!

One small unfortunate incident which we happened to coincidentally witness, unbelievably, was a small two seat single engine plane crash that happened right in front of our eyes, though, at that moment we didn't realize it is a crash which simply looked like any other landing much farther away from the runway (we assumed there is another runway down there which was nothing but the dense forest). Later in the day heard the news about the crash of the same plane on the internet. While on our way back, we even saw the rescue briefly but didn't realize that time it's the rescue effort of the crash-landed plane on the highway sidelines.

Anyway, back to the post, as I wish to end it here, some of the links that may be of interest to you. Some of my pictures can be found out on the other social mediums such as my Facebook public profile.

That's the lovely birdie I am talking about!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCIJ0F62og4

About Boeing factory and the tour
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_of_Flight_Aviation_Center_%26_Boeing_Tour

Since they don't allow camera and photos, all the stunning images of the factory and the beautiful planes can be seen on the bing/google search text 'Boeing Factory Images' in the image section.

More information on the Boeing Tour and Future of Flight center
http://www.futureofflight.org/visit

About the small plane crash we witnessed inadvertently
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/306797851.html




Monday, April 13, 2015

The Singapore Diaries

**************************************
Anything related to Singapore has to start with the flying experience these days. The strait of Malacca has been in the news, especially in relation to the aviation industry the entire last year albeit for not so positive reasons. I have been a post 911 generation flier, having started air travel a couple of years later to that, so not sure how it was earlier but every single time I fly, I make it a point to closely observe my fellow passengers while waiting in the lobby to on-board, or while entering the aircraft, for suspicious activities. This time though, in addition to observing and spying on my fellow passengers, I found myself closely observing the pilots of the plane as they were getting through the gates, for signs of mental wellness or any abnormalities in their gestures, postures etc. Don't get me wrong, I so much love flying, and not just flying, I can sit for hours at the terminal observing those monster birdies take off from the tarmac. This time however, my passion for flying was tested at an altogether different level. Midway through the Hyderabad Singapore flight, as we had just finished the meals and were about to doze off, the aircraft experienced a severe sudden jolt, huge vibrations and horizontal shake accompanied by rapid fall to some feet, and a red light on the cockpit door (without any announcements though). It lasted for maybe 15-20-30 seconds but those felt like eternity. The aircraft soon corrected its manners and we all knew this was definitely not the routine turbulence that we had encountered. In all probability, this was a case of a clear-air 'Wake Turbulence' that is caused by the wingtip vortices of another jet (jet wash) coming your way when the jet overtakes you flying (minimum 1000 ft up above) in the same direction. I am a self-proclaimed aviation fan and have read just too many books, researches and blog posts from the actual military and commercial pilots to know turbulence very very rarely causes any mid-flight crisis, especially in the cruise mode but this was one hell of a scary experience. I must admit though, that in such situations, it is amazing to notice how calm one's mind remains, knowing that nothing's there in our control anyway so worrying is worthless!

**************************************
On a side note, landing at the Changi was uneventful and the airport is so big it would be a fair ask to have an entire fleet of cessna to internally commute from one place to another inside the Changi.

Now, after this harrowing experience mid-flight, the last thing you would want is to get onto an 'externally located' capsule-like elevator in your 34 storey hotel to reach 29th floor. This was like standing on top of the glass wall overlooking the grand canyon beneath your feet through the transparent view. God blessed me with this another vertigo inducing experience immediately after landing at Changi and checking in to the hotel in the city. How merciful.

**************************************
No matter if your hotel is a five star, six star (if there's ever anything like that) or a seven star, and offers 100 different dishes from 10 different cuisines all over the world for breakfast, lunch and dinner, my observation is that you end up eating the Idli Dosas, Vadas for breakfast and Dal Rice with some curry during lunch for the major part. Food is one of the most critical factor that kicks instant home sickness no matter how lavish your spread on the offing is.

**************************************
This was my second visit to Singapore and during my last trip itself I had visited most of the tourist spots and shopping malls. This time I was alone and it was so very kind of my colleague and dear friend Mani and his family to lovingly accommodate me as part of them wherever they went. A great company indeed and I am thankful to them for their kind gesture. In these two trips I have now finished almost entire Singapore.

From tourism perspective though, Singapore has nothing 'natural' to offer. Each and every object that you see in Singapore is a man made marvel. So if you are a nature lover, you are bound to be disappointed. You can anyway finish the entire city in two days sharp. Same goes with shopping. I haven't found a single stuff there that can not be purchased here in India with equal or less pricing and equal or more ease of availability. Again, even in a general sense, Singapore is an extremely expensive country. My rule has always been the same. As much as possible, I am not going to pay a dime to the foreign government for something that I can get back in my nation with equal ease and pricing. Period.

**************************************
One interesting experience while dining out in Singapore was, and this is a repeat of my Facebook post, please pardon. "If you strongly desire to learn something, the whole universe conspires to force you learn." Here in Singapore, as I was learning deep insights on Customer Obsession through an American agency, another American food chain too contributed to my learning in the most practical way possible. Happened to visit a restaurant (famous chain worldwide) for lunch and settling down in my seat asked for a WiFi passcode to connect to the internet. The hotel guy responds, 'Yes sir first you order the main course and then only I tell you the passcode for the restaurant WiFi'. So much for the customer obsession!!!

***************************************
The return journey was also equally turbulent, all the time vibrating and shaking as if this is not a plane cruising in the skies but a Mahindra Bolero offroading on the beautiful Hyderabad roads in the monsoon! However, given the onward journey experience we had, this felt like a butter-smooth flight.

And yeah, to and fro I was sitting on the emergency seats deliberately chosen (window14A) and loved noticing the vigorously rocking wing, the lightening in the clouds, appreciating the fact that I will be the first one to get out in case something happens, and I am an excellent swimmer too!!

Yeah one interesting thing that happened there is, while passing through the security gates at the Changi, just before boarding the plane (in Changi, the security checks are done right at the gates, and not at the airport entrance as in most places), on passing the security metal detector, I habitually marched towards the security personnel (a lady in this case) with both my arms up flaying sideways (that's what we do here in India airport security checks for the staff to run their metal detectors around our body). Here, the lady got scared and said "No no, you're alright sir". I then realized they are not doing this running around metal detectors stuff for the passengers. I can't say for sure the assumption that this person is going to hug me was the reason behind her scare!

****************************************
The trip itself was an official one with intense three days training and networking, though my role doesn't allow me to share a single word about the event itself in a public domain. Those of my colleagues in the same company who happen to read this post, can contact me in private to know more about that 'experience' if interested!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Accident, Suicide or Murder?

No, this is not a work of fiction though the subject may just have indicated that and no, I wouldn't have imagined myself expressing my views on the theme that's going to unfold next, especially when I am writing after a long hiatus.

Road safety is a fairly common topic of discussion and there has already been so much written, talked about, published and promoted on this that there would hardly be any living soul who isn't aware of what it is all about. Yet, then, we come across such kinds of 'accidents' happening on the roads of India almost every hour, that make us wonder if we should really call them accidents, or suicide or a murder.

Last week itself I came across two unfortunate events where one lady lost her life as she was waiting on her scooter with her family on the traffic signal (while it was red), and some drunk driver who was racing his vehicle to impress some of his fellow passengers, lost control and hit them from behind at high speeds. Another one was where there was a head-on collision right in the middle of the lake where apparently the machine boat sped carelessly towards the ferry allegedly for some stupid adventure and equally stupid photo-op and 'selfie' opportunities for the passengers. Again, although this second incident is not particularly linked with the road safety, I am sure I need not surf the internet to find at least 10 such news daily about the 'accidents' caused by similar stupidity and misadventure.

Now, the question that we need to ask ourselves is, are these really 'accidents'? To me, an accident is something you have no or limited control over, for e.g., a tyre burst, or the vehicle catching fire, or the sudden malfunctioning of the equipment like steering, handle, brakes. Even in these cases there is a very thin line between an 'accident' and 'act of negligence'. You can always say the vehicle couldn't be controlled on the tyre burst because the speed was out of permissible limits for the road and the vehicle. In that case it is no more an accident. The vehicle wasn't maintained properly and the fuel used was of low quality, the electric components of the vehicle were tampered and hence it caught fire. In that case it is no more an accident. You can always limit the damage caused by accidents for yourself, your loved ones and for others on the road whose lives are as important as your own.

My anguish goes beyond such 'acts of negligence' though. Drunk driving leading to a fatal accident is either a suicide or a murder (depending on who bears the brunt of it). Not wearing a seat belt resulting in fatal injuries is sheer suicidal. Excessively high speed driving causing accidents is an attempt to murder, nothing else. Underage driving, talking on mobile phones while driving, not wearing helmet on a bike, performing a wheelie, a drag, leaving infants and kids alone in the vehicle so on and so forth, all of this amounts to either suicide or murder. These things can't just be sidelined in the name of accident or negligence. Negligence is an act where one doesn't realize the potential impact of doing it upfront, and that's where crime is different from negligence in a sense the criminal act is one where the owner of the activity has absolute control on the activity and realizes the impact fully if the outcome of the activity goes wrong.

Is it really worth it? I mean, if the doers yearn for getting a 'high', instead of resorting to these monkey antics, my advice to them would be to try bringing a smile on the face of the needy with small acts of kindness and experience the 'real high' out of it. If they are yearning for a real adventure, my advice to them would be to join army, go to the border and fight the enemy, spill the blood on the border rather than wasting it on the roads.

Is it really difficult? wearing seat belts, helmet, following signals and other basic rules, maintaining lane discipline, managing healthy speed limits, not mixing drinks with drive, keeping safe distance, all just too simple things to do. In fact, these are the things where there is absolutely no need of any explicit promotion or awareness. A fair amount of common sense and applying that on the roads is enough. Unfortunately, many of us still don't have either, or don't apply for the reasons best known to them.

I make it a point to follow as much as I have inculcated in my driving habits over a period of time and with a lot of grey hair, to wear seat belts, maintaining the lanes, speed limits not crossing three digits, no drunk driving without exceptions, not stretching the vehicle beyond its capacity, day driving as much as possible, not jumping signals, not taking shortcuts, no wrong side driving to save time, no mobile while driving, to name a few. Through this post, I appeal to the readers to pay proper attention to the road safety of themselves as well as others, by following basic rules and applying common sense while driving. If this post makes some impact on at least one reader, even for a duration as short as a week, I will believe my time writing on this was worth spent.