Random Thoughts

Season of Pastiming, Baba’s First Day Out

Season of Pastiming
Baba’s First Day Out
Two is Always Better than One
Think it Through

Season of Pastiming

No, don’t bother to check the word Pastiming in computer spell check. You won’t find it there. It was a coinage of Dr. Eric Berne, the founder of the great psychological tool of self-discovery and self-development called Transactional Analysis.

Among some other presuppositions of his, Berne believed human beings spend their time only in six possible ways. He named these as: Withdrawal, Ritual, Pastiming, Work or Activity, Games, and Intimacy. (In Berne’s order of “Time Structuring”.) Everybody in his or her life apportions different slices of time to performing these six functions alone. More of this later, if you’re interested!

Just take one for today: Pastiming i.e., doing something just to spend time or, as some say, to kill time. Now there are hundreds of ways of killing time. Flipping through pages of film magazines, catching up with society gossip, and above all, without ever having held a cricket bat in your hands and bowled a ball, spending hours and hours watching cricket being played and even betting stakes now and then to earn a little money for the evening drink.

That is all what IPL is about. A genius indeed it was – wasn’t it Lalit Modi? – who conceived of the idea of organizing Indian Premier League fixtures.

What is better way to spend your time than to watch evening after evening that tamasha called T20 – a deft mix of cricket and baseball. And it has, of all the places in the world, its appeal among bhadralok i.e., the people of Kolkata, the beloved city I lived and worked in for decades.

Kolkata has, unlike any other place on the planet, a highly refined institutionalized form of Pastiming. It is, as all Kolkatans know and are deeply attached to, called adda. I hear Indian Express has had the cheek to create one in Delhi without Mamata-di’s permission – official or unofficial. Adda is the place where people get together in the evening for an hour or two and exchange notes on everything under the sun – from the exorbitant rates of hilsa match this season to the lot of the aam aadmi. Great thoughts may not emerge from addas but time is well spent. What Berne was hinting at, the great genius of Bengalis had already discovered and incorporated in day-to-day living. Remember it was Gopal Krishna Gokhale who said: “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow”.  In this case, substitute the whole world for India.

Wisely therefore the organizers of IPL inaugurated this season’s tamasha at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Wednesday, April 3 and will also conclude it in Kolkata on Sunday, May 26, 2013. On these two days, Kolkatans will miss their adda in broader national interests but they know, from long experience, how to make up such small losses by declaring a couple of extra bandhs.

Baba’s First Day Out

If you are, my dear reader, a mother and your teenager daughter announces that she’s off for her first date, what will you do? After you’ve recovered from the shock, you’ll, I’m sure, give her –very tactfully of course – some carefully-worded advice about what’s what in life. And when your son ventures out on the sea of life on a similar voyage, you do give him a word or two of counseling on how to steer the boat if the waters get choppy.

Now imagine, Soniaji coming to know that Rahul Baba is going to address not schoolchildren, but captains of industry at the CII annual jamboree. (The influence-peddling business lobby believes in keeping its fences mended in all directions. X one day and, Y the next. The idea is to have their bread buttered on both sides in all seasons.

Now mummyji’s advice to her darling Baba must have been: “Son must say something high-sounding that no one practices, nor ever will. Everyone will clap and the media folks ever ready to please the powers-to-be will applaud, and, of course, faithfully report.” And the Baba rose to the occasion. In order to sound earnest and humble, he told the India Inc: “Our idea is so big that it can take along people outside India also... the idea is compassion... Mahatma Gandhi said it, Buddha said it and it is written in the Gita also”. He forgot to add: “My great grandfather said it. My grandmother said it. And my father practiced it. It is as you all know embodied in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) – a job guarantee scheme, enacted in August 2005. Just work for at least one hundred days and enjoy yourself for the rest of time but always live in poverty practicing compassion, and vote Congress.”

The rest of Rahul Baba’s speech was like a Hamletian soliloquy: it was as if he was throwing questions at himself, exploring his own vast dilemmas, grave doubts and minor weaknesses and, finally, concluding that perhaps there were no answers.

Does all this show the Government’s remoteness and Baba’s own aloofness from the day-to-day problems of aam aadmi? But suppose events pit him against that formidable, determined Narendra Modi? Let Mummyji find the answer. She’s never wrong.

Two is Always Better than One

Two is always better than one for the simple reason that two is double of one and even if one goes, at least one remains. No, this isn’t from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus but something relevant to day-to-day Indian politics, and some other areas of our national life too.

Sonia Gandhi has an assured place in our history on two counts. Putting dynastic politics started by her dear mother-in-law – no wonder Indira Gandhi chose to breathe her last in her bahu’s lap – on firm footing and secondly, introducing a more enduring form of governance called dual center of power. What names would you like to assign them? Call them notional power center and real power center.

For nine long years Manmohan Singh has been head of the notional power center. In good old days they used to call that office Prime Minister of India, (Even now it’s so-called but qualified by other nouns (like Puppet)) and unmentionable adjectives. The real power center is comfortably away from public gaze. In fact, you have to be behind a screen to be really effective. Tell me do you ever see the puppeteer? All you do watch are the puppets perform all sorts of acts – Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, and, of course, Manmohan Singh. br />
Are you surprised to hear that this hugely successful model is now being copied by the corporate world! And who do you think has taken the lead? It is Tata Sons the country’s largest corporate entity.

Ratan Tata’s retirement led to a virtual revamp at the top deck of the holding company. Profusely indebted to Soniaji, a two-tier board structure is an option being considered. Some knowledgeable management experts tell me that it already exists in Germany and Austria. Aren’t they smart learners from Sonia Gandhi’s experiment!

TThe idea is an executive board which includes all the executive directors while there is also an overarching supervisory board comprising non-executive directors. It is the first which is in the firing line, likely to get the sack if things go awry. All the credit, of course, accrues to the supervisory board. Isn’t it an exact copy of the Sonia Model?

Think it Through

A civilization flourishes, tells a Greek proverb, when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.

Have you planted your share?

Image (c) Gettyimages.com


More by :  Sakshi

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Views: 3325      Comments: 1

Comment "A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.".

The quotes you provide touch the bottom of our hearts.

If only we planted "one - merely one" such tree during the entire course of our lives, we could claim to have paid the debt to Mother India and die with a content heart and smiling face.

09-Apr-2013 01:41 AM

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