Monday, July 30, 2007

Complaint Maniacs

I met one of my old colleagues, HL the other day in a party and he was very furious and was talking about freedom and America. He is from India but never in these 6 years have I heard a good thing about India from him. But this time he was full of praise for India. He was telling me and those who gathered there that:

“In America freedom is only in paper. Americans don’t have or enjoy freedom. What we have in India is real freedom.”

I was shocked by his sudden love for India and asked him the reason for his new love for his mother land. Hearing his reply made me pity him like anything. His reply was something like this.

“Yesterday I took a U turn where you were not supposed to take a U Turn and I got a ticket from the cops. If America is a free country why there are so many restrictions to take a U turn? You should be able to take a U turn whenever you want to take. If it were in India we could take any kinds of turns the way we want. The concept of freedom in US is a myth. ”

These kind of people fall into a specific breed of human beings – those who complain for anything and everything. Their hobby is complaining. I sometimes get a feeling that they get some peace of mind by indulging in the act of complaining.

The colleague I mentioned about has a very good job which fetches him a 6 digit salary in the US; but he complains about the job and his pay. He has one of the best cars in the world but he complains about the monthly payment and the gas prices. He has a spacious house but always complains about the hugeness of the house. For such people they wont utter a single word about the good thing in their or others life. They think only about negative side of things and always complain.

This guy HL was working in the lab next to mine and I use to meet him almost daily. I try my best not to talk to him since if you talk to him for 15 minutes you get so depressed that your entire day and will be a waste. His complaints never make any sense to me and many times he contradicts himself.

I know his professor who has really helped this guy a lot. He paid him well during his studies and helped him get a really good job. It was his professors’ strong recommendation that helped him land in a job that fetched him a six digit salary. But till now I have never heard a good word from my friend about his professor but only complains and complains.

As a student he was getting about $1800 per month. I can understand when he complains that he is having a tough time for a family of three to survive with $1800. Now he is getting over $9000 a month as salary and still he complains that he doesn’t have sufficient money to lead a decent life. I used to think - what salary will make him stop complaining? I don’t think he never ever once told how fortunate he is in such a position to get such a huge salary per month.

Immediately after getting a job he bought a car which has a value of over $40,000. Immediately he started complaining about the monthly payment he has to make and the high grade gas he has to put. The worst thing – he started comparing his car to my car (that was worth 10 times less than his). One day he told me:

“Hey you are so lucky that you have to pay only less money every month for your car. Moreover you don’t have to put the high grade gas”. I got furious and asked him to sell his car and buy mine. Immediately he started talking about the disadvantages of my car. Bottom line is he wants all the features of his 40 K car for 5 K. I was so angry that day since I was bad swearing in English I kept quiet and thought I should not have an argument with such a loser.

Another complaint he has is about his job. I have never seen him in his office after 6 pm and he has made a point never to check his office mails on week ends. He works just 40 hours a week and earns six a digit salary in the US. According to me he should be thankful to God for giving him such a job. But you ask him about his job and his reply could be – “This Company is making me work like a pig and doesn’t even pay me well. I should resign this job and start a restaurant business. Then I could earn lot of money with less work.” I can imagine what this guy will complain if he starts a restaurant – “Business sucks; having an 8 to 5 job is the best thing”.

Another of his complaint was regarding his only kid’s education. His kid was first studying at a public school where he doesn’t have to pay anything. That time he was complaining about lack of quality. Now his kid is in a private school. Now his complaint is about the money he has to pay for his kid’s tuition.

I have tried a lot of times to correct him. I used to tell him the good things in his life. I always used to tell him - “To gain something you have to lose something” but all my advice was in vain. I really pity his wife and kid who have to live a “complaint filled life” with this complaint maniac.

Some people never change....

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One good thing I learnt in the US – Part II


What will you feel if you have to eat food in a day without you having a chance to brush your teeth that day morning? It would be an awful feeling and you may not be able to eat even if the food you are eating is tasty. I had a colleague in my lab, M, who feels very bad if he cannot work out for a day. The importance he gives to daily workout is similar to what we give for brushing teeth. On the eve of the finals also he goes to the gymnasium from 5 to 7 pm. It is an integral part of his life.

He used to tell me the significance and advantages of doing exercise. But I never used to listen to him and always used to think that gymnasium and work out are for Americans and we don’t need it. Why I used to think like that was, while growing up I have never seen any one in their late twenties working out in Kerala/Chennai. Those who did work out would be athletes or some one who wanted to build their body and dreamt to become another Salman Khan.

While working in Chennai I was staying very close to Besant Nagar beach. During the weekends I used to go to Besant Nagar beach to play cricket. The side walk would be crowed with people who came for morning walk. Eight out of every 10 people would be aged 60 or above. You could rarely see young people there. Seeing all these I had an impression that exercise and work out are for old people.

My perception about exercise began to change when I went to India for my wedding around 3 years ago. I found during that trip that most of my fathers friends (in their late fifties or early sixties) have some disease (some already had a heart attack and 99% of them have high pressure, cholesterol and diabetes) and they looked extremely weak. Doctors have asked them to follow a strict diet and they are hardly allowed to eat anything.

I compared my fathers’ friends to the M’s grand mother whom I visited. She is 85 and full of energy. She even plays golf at this age. She doesn’t have diabetics, pressure or cholesterol and in front of me ate a large bowl of chocolate ice cream. Do I know of any one in India aged 85 and doesn’t have diabetics? I thought a lot and I could only recollect one name - former Chief Minister of Kerala, K Karunakaran. But here in US I already know a handful of people over 80 and don’t have either diabetes or cholesterol.

Even though I realized that my eating habits/ not doing any physical exercise is bad for me I was not ready to take pain of working out or reducing my food. I continued eating the same way and put on more holes on my belt, thanks to my tummy which increased exponentially.

Then I realized in a very hard way how bad my body had become when I started playing league cricket here in Arizona. During my undergraduate days I could play cricket the entire day during peak Palakkad (town where I went for my undergraduate degree) summer and still had energy to go for a second show movie by walk. Till recently if I bowled one over or batted three overs I was having difficulty breathing and I couldn’t even move. I decided and told myself “TIME FOR CHANGE”;

I now eat about 25% of what I ate earlier. I go for a work out daily. I have lost lot of weight and my tummy has come down considerably. More important, I have regained the lost fitness greatly and now I can bat for more than 10 overs at a stretch. Now I feel energetic and can do more things than I used to do before I started the work out. The most important realization was - the amount of food we eat daily is much more than what is required to keep one healthy.

I ate the same kind of food I used to eat in India with lot of rice and spices. I realized that these kinds of food are not proper for the kind of work we do daily – sitting in front of the computer all day and night. These food habits were developed by our ancestors when everyone used to do a lot of physical work. Now we hardly move. We have car/bikes to take us from one place to another; elevator to take from one floor to another. So I realized that it is time to change the age old food habits to keep one self fit. In short I learnt,

EAT ENOUGH FOR LIVING, DO NOT LIVE TO EAT!

KEEP YOUR BODY ALWAYS HEALTHY TO LIVE A LONG HEALTHY LIFE!

One good thing I learned in US – Part I

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