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Friday, February 04, 2022

How to (re)Start Reading

WHY PEOPLE DON'T READ OR GIVE UP READING

The benefits of reading are beyond debate. Reading a book is like a free appointment for a chit chat with a great mind. Inputting good words and the thoughts they convey can produce pathways in your thoughts that never existed earlier. Just like various infrastructural facilities like roads, hotels, factories, etc. allow you to explore and use your country better, likewise, vocabulary, phrases, narratives and scenarios formed through habitual reading make it possible to think in newer ways, generate newer ideas, and learn new knowledge. This leads to more mental infrastructure getting created, resulting in a compounding effect.

And yet, not as many people benefit from reading habits as one would want.

  • Common laments are that people don't find time to read.
  • Reading is often found to be an effortful process.
  • The benefits accrued from such an effort is often deemed intangible if at all there.
  • Developing a regular habit of reading by dedicating a specific hour of the day doesn't work for those who maintain erratic hours. As a result the reading hours fall victims to the vagaries of an irregular lifestyle, and so does the habit of reading.
  • Not being able to read a book cover to cover leads to frustrations, triggering further avoidance and procrastination.
 Later in this article, I create a list of suggestions which may help you get started with your reading habit, or in case if you are facing a reader's block, in getting your lost reading habit back on track. The tips do so exactly by getting around some of the above issues. I will leave the discovery of the mapping the method to issue as an exercise for the reader.
 

A WORD ABOUT THE ADVISOR

I don't consider myself an expert in the subject of reading. To substantiate this, let me confess that up until recently, I used to average at about 4-5 books a year which is nothing impressive. Recently, for reasons I don't completely understand, I have jumped up a bit to about 8-10 books a year, which also is a very modest rate compared to what I find some other people being able to do. My son, for example, finishes reading a book every 3-4 days. He glides through 100s of pages, literally in a matter of hours. A friend of mine read an unbelievable 63 books last years; and such has been her rate steadily for years. Achieving such extreme speeds may require some special talents, skills and circumstances not all of us may be blessed with. Nor may all of us be so keen to clock up to such high reading rates.

Nevertheless, the point is made that I can claim not to be an expert in this subject of reading, at least going by the numbers. Yet, what may actually qualify me to advise on this topic is precisely the same reason. I am a struggler too. I have tasted the nectar and am surely hooked for life. So, while I know pretty well why a reading habit is such a powerful thing to develop, I sympathise with the difficulties faced by a beginner/struggler.

So, here are the tips:

GO FOR VARIETY

Try reading various types of books: novels, short-fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, science politics, ... Likewise, please give various languages a try. Since most of us have been educated in English medium, and since English has such an unfortunate aspirational angle to it, most of us default to English literature. When some are not able to connect with the content, they make the mistaken conclusion that reading is not their thing. However, Indian literature is equally rich. And even though we may not be very confident about our knowledge of, say, our mother tongue, when we start reading a book in that language, things may prove unexpectedly smooth, simply because this still is probably the language we converse in in our day-to-day life, and our thoughts may be tuned to the vocabulary and idioms of that language. Further, the scenarios, cultures and contexts may be far more familiar in books written by compatriots compared to books written by western authors. Anyway, short of the long: try Indian books too.

Everyone can't read all kinds of books. We are naturally conditioned to like certain topics, styles of presentation and languages more than certain others. To know our fit, we should try reading many kinds of books. Only after having developed some familiarity with one's tastes and distastes, should one start aiming to go deeper into a genre at the exclusion of other possibilities.

READING SPRINTS

Read in small bursts. Instead of making marathon sessions, go for short sprints. This has several benefits. Not having to commit a huge chunk of time to a reading session makes it look less daunting, and hence easier to do. Shorter gaps of 15-30 minutes are easier to find than 2-3 hour slots. Holding your attention for 15 minutes is a very doable target. All these make it easier to start reading every time, and that makes it more likely that you will sit down to read more frequently.

FREE YOURSELF OF BURDENS

We often carry certain unnecessary burdens in our head which block us from feeling rewarded every time we read a few paragraphs. Such continuous feeling of tiny rewards is very necessary to make reading a sustainable process. Hence, before starting to read a book, free yourself of the following burdens:

  • that you will read the whole book
  • that you will read in the same sequence as in the pages
  • that it's only after having read a book cover to cover that you get the benefits of reading it

Remember that each word you read brings in something new. Hence, the moment you pick up your book and start reading, you are already better off than when you hadn't started; your benefits have started piling, and you are progressing.

Likewise, if you have some preconceived notions about the proper method of reading a book, free yourself of that too. There is no such proper way of reading. Your way is the most proper. Just read!

BE HUNGRY

Read with focus and hunger. Mentally pause to wonder what the next chapter or paragraph is going to reveal. Launch on your reading sprint with one such question in mind, and with the goal of finding an answer to that question.

MINDFULNESS VERSUS ATTENTIVENESS

If you haven't ever thought about the difference between attentiveness and mindfulness, may be you would like to. While both are states of focus, attentiveness is a purely conscious process of sticking your thoughts on one subject, and hence is effortful by definition. It may work for sometime but will lead to fatigue before long. Mindfulness is the act of creating an experience of emotional oneness with what you are doing. When we are immersed in the experience instead of thinking about the act, focus automatically happens. The way I say this here may make it appear somewhat exotic. But, it's not. It happens to all of us at some point: for example, kids experience it when playing. Mindfulness doesn't exhaust you even after a period of intense focus and effort. And, with practice, therefore, mindfulness leads to increased focus for longer periods of time.

So, why do I mention mindfulness here? Because, like in all hard stuff to do, learning to be mindful leads to focus during reading. And focused reading leads to more learning and more immersive experience. Outcome: more enjoyable and rewarding reading.

HAVE A REASON

Identify a reason why you would like to read a book. Here, your wishing to develop a reading habit is not the kind of reason I am referring to. Suppose, you are struggling with time management and would like to improve there. That makes for a good reason to pick up a book on time management or personal organisation. Similarly, some topics you may be curious to about (may be due to pragmatic reasons, but may be not) can be learned by reading a book. I realise that for me the lure of being transported to places and times where I can't otherwise go (e.g. fastastic Middle-Earth of Tolkien, Faraway planets and galaxies of Arthur C. Clarke, Olden Victorian England of George Elliot and Jane Austen, pre-independence North Indian rural and urban settings of Premchand). The fact that our mind works hard in filling up the gaps left by the written words in describing the situation is one of the primary lures of reading as opposed to watching a movie/TV series.

DIFFERENT STROKES

Reading is a matter of skill. Like all other skills, it requires prolonged practice to learn and perfect. Unless you intend to stick to a limited palette of genres, you will realise that there are different kinds of reading styles to be employed for different kinds of texts. A novel needs a different method of reading as compared to a book on philosophy. Even among novels, a book by Joseph Conrad can't be read using a style of reading that you found useful in reading Stephen King. In fact, every book is a different species and needs a different treatment. A seasoned reader will be prompt in estimating the tone and timbre of the conversation a book is trying to strike, and will adjust his reading style accordingly.

Therefore, if a book you just picked up doesn't come across as as easy a read as the last book you read, don't despair. It may just need a bit of adjusting the reading style to start enjoying the book. This will prevent unnecessary feelings of failure that often lead to a break.

SUMMARY

I hope the above tips are found practical and helpful in case you feel you are beginning on book reading or are trying to resume it. While reading may not be everyone's cup of tea, I think, it can be enjoyed by more people than we find doing today, if they free themselves of some of the hangups and mental burdens they carry about the idea of reading.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

In Defense of Gandhi

Today (started on January 30) is the 74th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. I am currently reading his autobiography -- a long pending life assignment for me; I am halfway through. From some conversations I have been witness to recently, where his contributions to India and its independence was questioned, and he was called over-rated, I feel motivated to express my current views on him.

Victim of Idolisation

Like many of his likes, Gandhi has been a victim of idolisation. It mayn't be wrong to say that calling him 'Mahatma' has done more to damage his life's work than anything else. Calling him the father of Nation may have been an act of love done by his devotees and friends. But today, this title has little function beyond being a fodder to controversies.

Congress had a vested interest in projecting him as Mahatma and then claiming the inheritance of his political legacy. They ran their shop for a long time in large part by appropriating this false legacy. The result: The Gandhi we see is through a veil of misinformation, exaggeration, and data manipulation propagated through 7 long decades.

The common man has his own reasons for making a deity out of anyone leading an inspiring life. Giving a status of Godliness is the most potent method of stunting a teacher ability to teach. It becomes a free pass for devotees to keep the benefits of being under the wings of a great man without having to follow in his footsteps. Each time someone expects such a thing of you, you excuse yourself, calling yourself a mere mortal. You escape the real test, and get a point for modesty!

The Narrow Lens

Gandhi's most predominant fame is as a freedom fighter which is again a very unfortunate thing. Gandhi was really a public worker who would gravitate towards what he encountered around himself. He started his career as a public worker in South Africa where he fought a long battle for the upliftment of the conditions of immigrant Indians. His public work would often bring him against the authorities. And he kept going back to South Africa after returning to India whenever he was called.

Gandhi worked on almost all conceivable areas of public work: health and sanitation, education, rural emancipation etc. From what appears to me from reading his autobiography, freedom struggle must have been only a part of his life's agenda and goal. Probably, it mayn't be wrong to say that it was, like all other areas, an avenue where he put his theories of truth to test.

The Spiritual Seeker

Public work itself was the outlet that Gandhi's spiritual quest found. Gandhi was deeply religious person, achingly in search for the spiritual secrets of life which he interchangeably refers to as truth or God. This lay at the base of his extreme compassion, courage and tolerance on the one hand, and deep disconnection with many things external. Yet, Gandhi was blessed with great worldly wisdom and tact, which kept getting better over the years. Many of his decisions and choices, particularly in his personal life, weren't half as worldly.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Early  twentieth century was to Indian social reawakening what it was to Western Science -- a golden period. There were many greats including Gandhi, Nehru, Madan Mohan Malwiya, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Tilak etc. all on the political and social front. On the other side, we had the likes of Vivekananda, Tagore, JN Tata, JC Bose etc. all doyens in their respective areas. Gandhi was not the only great soul walking on the Indian soil.

One observation we could easily make is that Gandhi diligently worked towards developing a strong network with influential people. This may very well be his most distinctive characteristic which contributed to his immense influence. And, looking at his methods, far from getting a feeling of a Mahatma, I get a feeling that he followed the best practices of networking to an extent that today's IIM graduates would be envious of.

Unnecessary Comparisons

There are many unnecessary comparisons drawn  between Gandhi and many of his influential contemporaries. One of the most prominent of them is with Subhash Chandra Bose. And I upfront admit my very scant knowledge about Netaji except what was taught to us in our school textbooks and the conspiracy theories that never seem to settle about his death and afterlife.

Netaji was of the opinion that Independence should be snatched; we can't reason with the imperialists so they peacefully let go of their control on their prized colony. It goes without saying that his point of view wasn't without merit. However, his ideas couldn't coexist under the same roof with Gandhi's ideas of non-violence. So, they parted ways.

I would like to see this as nothing more than an intellectual difference between two great men. I don't find great merit in trying to insist to settle as to whose role was primary in India's independence. To the best of my understanding, it was neither. England was then a war torn country driven to the verge of bankruptcy. They would have been keen to invest their energies in rebuilding their nation rather than worrying about a colony which was already milked dry for 2 centuries, where the public faith on the Raj was at its all time low, and mutinies waiting to erupt anywhere and everywhere. I am sure, this would have already bumped up their willingness to leave us to the breaking point. Now what gave them the final push is neither easy to decide nor so important.

I am also aware that the relations between Gandhi and another great man, Dr. Ambedkar, weren't the sweetest. I have nearly no knowledge about the details of this disagreement. I am all too aware of the scholarly brilliance of Dr. Ambedkar, and the ground-breaking contributions towards drafting the Indian constitution and the upliftment of Dalits. Yet, he was no fan of  the other person who worked along with manual scavengers to improve the sanitary conditions of the city during plague, and worked towards their emancipation. This fails to perturb me one bit.

Consider how we do not make a big deal when statesmen or scholars of the present day debate and disagree vehemently with each other on matters professional, ethical and even personal or scientific. Why then does it perturb us so much when big guys we love who died decades ago didn't agree with each other? Because we are stuck with the idea of making gods out of them. It's we who make them into Gods, it's we who expect infallible behaviour from these Godly men, and it's we who fight like religious fanatics when our Gods don't agree with one another. It again us, who lynch out gods when they fail in living up to our picture perfect image of them. Isn't it stupid?

In other words, to pit two great souls against each other long after after they are gone is a vain debate fit for idle hero worshipers who contribute little to the real glory of either of them.

Non-Violence

Gandhi is often ridiculed for his overbearing fascination with non-violence. Non-violence, it seems, is all about giving your other cheek. I think, it's such an incredibly narrow interpretation of an unfathomably deep concept! Like truth, non-violence is open to interpretation. Gandhi didn't invent non-violence. It has found mention in many schools of thoughts over millennia. Gandhi just created a resoundingly successful experiment in using it as a tool to break the spirit of the mighty imperialists and empowering the teeming millions to think that they could take on the Britishers by coming out into the streets and filling up the jails in thousands.

Even if we look at non-violence as just a tool in the struggle for independence, it is not an exclusionary policy. I am sure there were people on both extremes and everywhere in between. Non violence was super effective in solving many complicated standoffs, and there are numerous examples of that. And admittedly, it wasn't a panacea for all issues.

A New Lens

Let's forget the Mahatma. Think of a shy, mediocre teenager from provincial Gujarat -- unsure of himself in everything: be it in his ability to speak English, his control on lust, his professional capability or his spiritual depth. And start tracing his journey from this state to when the whole nation starts looking at him as an imposing influence in some of the most stressful and controvercial of its social matters. You see that he made this big transformation possible through things which each one of us would -- in theory -- be able to do. The tricks he used were of study, self-examination, honesty, perseverance, non-violence, self experiments (in a variety of social, economic and religious austerities among others), networking with a wide-variety of people from various political schools, nationalities, religious backgrounds and races. These are none the qualities of a highly intelligent or talented person, but of a simple and ordinary person who just didn't know how to give up.

And that, in my eyes, is the most inspiring legacy of Gandhi. He essayed his life as a story of a simple man who reached dizzying heights of greatness using nothing but his pathetic experiments with truth. In front of these achievements, I count even his contributions to the National Independence as nothing.

So, let's give Gandhi a second chance. Let's liberate him of his titles and the unrealistic expectations of infallible public/political behaviour from him. Let's study his journey and his experiments with truth. Debate with his thoughts and opinions. Disagree with him, ridicule him, sometimes even feel a sense of revolt at his many naivetes and failings. But let's acknowledge him for his numerous merits which include courage, tact, willpower, resilience and so on. And then see if he fails to impress and inspire.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Blame it All on Nand Ghosh*

 

We Hindus have been picturing our evils as an anthropomorphic entity like Ravana, Mahisasura, Duryodhana, Hiranyakashyap etc. We have been celebrating the single act of vanquishing them by burning their effigies, thinking that's a step towards getting rid of the evils of the world. We have been struggling to conquer them for thousands of years.

Modern people create more sophisticated effigies: Rightists, leftists, Bhakt, Hindutva, Libtards, patriarchy, capitalists, socialists, racists ... their number seems to have grown bigger.

I don't say these things don't exist. But picturing all evil in the world as emerging from one such identifiable source -- your favourite one -- is naivette. To think of it as an external to ourselves is a form of denial.
I think, the practice of mapping all evil you see around you to one source is not doing us any good. Instead, let's acknowledge the complexity and multiplicity of the phenomena that lead to social evils. Oversimplification of problems has never led to any real solution. They may create quick improvements, but would soon replace one problem with another.

 

* যতো দোষ নন্দ ঘোষ  -- In Bangla, the proverb talks about the act of finding a single person to blame for all goof ups.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Let's Draw a Cartoon

Let's draw a cartoon.

Let's tell a story.

That looks funny,
But mayn't be so beneath.
That brings smiles,
And some frowns.
That tickles some funny bones.
And ruffles up some feathers.
That needs hours of hard work,
Just to give the illusion,
That it came out,
Of just a casual stroke.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Once in an Indigo Moon


 

 

 

There was nothing beautiful about this journey. A night spent outside the airport (they wouldn't let me in as I was too early) without a wink, being bitten by mosquitoes and trying to strike a conversation with stray dogs. Heart laden with every negative emotion that you can think of: Panic - that I would get stuck away from my family during the suddenly announced Karnataka lockdown. Guilt - as I knew I would have to dodge the authorities for not having done my mandatory RT-PCR (I tried my level best to find out if I would be able to travel after the lockdown was enforced so that I could travel with the COVID negative certificate, but I couldn't. The more likely thing was: I wouldn't be able to travel). Sadness - as I had to drop unfinished what I had travelled to Nagpur to do. Exhaustion - out of having to deal with three serious illnesses and hospitalisations in the family in the last twenty days. Worry - for the health of those who were sick.  Anxiety - Work piling up.


In such a moment, Nature challenged me. "While negativity crowds your mind, will you still be able to notice a thing of beauty that passes before you." I took that challenge. I showed her this scene which I noticed during a split second spent on the tarmac. She smiled and said: "Son! You have been granted admission to my art school!"

Friday, April 23, 2021

Getting Your License Done -- the Proper Way

Let me ask you a question: How hard do you think it is to get a driving license done in India by following the proper process, i.e. by not using the help of driving schools, agents and middlemen?

1 - cakewalk ... 10 - impossible

Of course, I am assuming that you satisfy the necessary legal requirement for holding a driving license in the first place, i.e. you are an adult who knows how to drive, and doesn't suffer from any of the listed health conditions which debar you from driving.

I have waited for this day with bated breath for three months so that I could share with you my answer to the above question. Today, I want to share with you all that I have got my driving license issued from the RTO, Electronics City, Bangalore -- all using legitimate methods. And, in my estimate, I would place the difficulty level somewhere in the middle of the bar (between 4 and 6).

Last evening, when I finally got sure that my license is indeed done, I shared the news with many of my friends, assuming that this achievement was one of its kind. What I came to know is that there are many amongst my own friends who have been there done that before me. Instead of dampening my exhilaration, it only strengthened my conviction that this piece ought to be written. There are many who have been getting their license done without resorting to curved paths (or short cuts): driving schools, agents, or blatant bribing. It's possible go straight for it and get it. People have been doing it successfully.

And this positive fact needs to be talked about as much as the issues of the system. One of the reasons corruption and inefficiency sinks into the DNA of a system is because citizens lose hope and stop trying to use it in the legitimate way. Only the negative aspects get talked about, and the positive instances, which are probably already in minority, get ignored. Eventually, a public opinion that 'nothing works here' gets entrenched in the public psyche. Therefore, if there are positive instances, they should definitely find mention, so that the vicious cycle of cynicism and despondency can be broken.

So, that's the first reason I write this article: to spread a message of hope and positivity, and encourage people to try going the legit way. It was indeed an eye-opener for me to learn that so many of my friends had actually successfully got their DL through legitimate method. Had I known this before I embarked on my journey to get my license, it wouldn't have appeared so perilous and daunting to me.

Following are the other reasons for writing this article:

  1. I wish to share my experience of wading through the process with those who would like to try getting their driving license done using legitimate means. Hope it helps them.
  2. I would like to share some observations regarding why might the citizens' current experience with the RTO not be as pleasant as it should be, and what could be done to improve it. I would like to assume that someone out there is listening, who has it in his hands to bring out positive changes in the system.

How to Get Your License Done

Well, the process is all out there on the Internet I think. Yet, following it isn't all that straightforward. There are bells-and-whistles, pitfalls and caveats, which can cause the whole thing to become disproportionately complicated.

One more point. While much of the following information should apply nationwide with minimal modifications, there are details specific to Electronics City RTO too.

Another point. These instructions are as per how things stand at present. By the time you are reading it, things may change: the process, the website design etc.

One final point. A disclaimer. These are not official instructions, just what I am able to recollect from memory, which already is beginning to gather dust due to the passage of several months since I went through it myself. But, I am confident that I will say nothing that will misguide you.

1. Learner's License

1.1 Get written test appointment (online). Your first point of stop is this. This is Parivahan site, courtesy GoI. Select your state. And you land with many choices. The first of them (as per the layout while I write this) is Apply for Learner's License. Go ahead, click it!

The list of things you would do here will appear. The online wizard will help you go through the process. If I remember correctly, at some point, you would need to upload a photograph. The photograph file is required to be very small, probably < 200KB.

You would need to pay up the charges for the online test. Note that the online test isn't completely online. It's more a computer-based test. To take this, you have to visit the RTO on the day you select as a part of the above process.

1.2 Appear for test (RTO)

You reach the RTO on the designated date at the designated time. But as per my observation, its complete chaos at the venue. You stand in a long queue. You pay up your fees at the cash counter. Your name gets called, and you have to strain not to miss that. If you do catch your name called, you get into this room with 10-15 computer terminals. You go sit on one of them, and start your test. It's a computer based quiz consisting of 15-20 multiple choice questions. If you know the answers, you get done within a matter of minutes. If you pass, you will immediately be notified. You receive a link in SMS later that day or may be the next from which you can download the soft copy of your learner's license.

2. Permanent License

2.1 Get driving test appointment (online)

Your learner's license is valid for 6 months after which it lapses. The permanent license must be obtained within that period. You can apply for a permanent license only when you have a valid learner's license.

2.2 Appear for test (RTO)

Here's where I saw a lot of confusion, not just among the applicants, but also among people inside the system, including RTO employees. Remember this: All tests happen in the testing tracks around RTO Electronics City (and I am being specific here only for applications for this RTO). There are many there who will tell you that you have to go to the testing tracks near Huskur Gate to appear for your tests. That's a misinformation. All driving tests for LMVs and two-wheelers happen right there, near the RTO. Tests for applications coming via driving schools are taken in a different track -- about 300-400 metres south west of the RTO building, while tests for individual applications, which comprise of a small minority of all applications, happens almost right outside the RTO gate. It's an ad-hoc arrangement; no designated track or anything. The inspector stands in some corner and asks you to take rounds in the midst of general traffic. It's anybody's guess as to how closely he examines you when there are multiple applicants driving their vehicles in the midst of a sea of general traffic. But let's not get into cynical thoughts.

Another important practical insight is that the appointed date of your test may be of consequence, but the precise timing is not. You may take the first slot in the morning intending to get done and save the rest of your day for something else. No! The time at which your test will take place depends on the availability of the inspector, and the crowd that day. We have two instances to quote. In both cases, the tests happened around midday. But, I wouldn't advise you to take a morning appointment and arrive around midday. It's better to arrive on time and be mentally prepared to wait till noon.

Yet another thing to remember. If you have applied for multiple vehicles, e.g. LMV and MCWG, please either take two appointments one for each so that you can go with your car and motorcycle separately. Another alternative is to take a companion so that you have both your vehicles with you. Yet another alternative is to find someone and borrow his vehicle (of course, I consider this a very precarious way of doing things). In other words, it's essential to have handy a vehicle one which you would appear for your test. Common sense!

2.3 Document verification (RTO)

If you clear your test, you proceed to counter number 9, first floor (again, this is an information specific to RTO, Electronics City). There, you stand in a long queue. When your turn comes, you get a retina scan and a signature, and thumbprint done. You pay some extra fees (around Rs. 60/-) there.

That's it. You are done. You can go home. If things work well, you will get your DL through speed post delivered at your address, typically within a week, but sometimes within a month (caveats apply -- see below).


Suggestions to RTO

The declared process really has only two steps: LL and DL. That's it. But in reality, it turns out more winded than that -- all due to unnecessary things. By recounting my actual experience of following the process, let me see if I can bring out where the system suffers inefficiencies which can be dispensed with. 

Help desk

I felt I wasted the greatest amount of time in trying to figure out what to do next. There is one Sakal counter where there sits an official whose mannerisms, when he is there, aren't inviting enough to make you feel like asking for guidance from him. In short, it's an ineffective contraption -- that Sakal counter. In fact, to minimise the time wasted by the applicants in muddling around in the RTO, a good helpdesk is critical. It should be the single point of entry and should have enough width to be able to handle to peak load gracefully. Right there, all document verification, payment, and any other paperwork should be gotten out of your way. If you get past the helpdesk, all probability of your failing due to process hurdles should be eliminated.

 

Make it Transparent

A sheet charting out the steps to be followed by the applicant should be handed over to the applicant after the verification gets done at the help desk. When the applicant gets past any desk, the official there should provide his signature and seal as an acknowledgement of how far the applicant has gone through. Any paper needed for progress should be managed internally. Token system should be followed to manage the queue at any counter to manage crowding and ensure fairness. 

A number of shops have mushroomed around the area who provide services the need of which really exists because the RTO makes no attempt to provide you with assistance. These people should be brought into the folds of RTO, given employment there.

Revamp the Website

The website is terrible ... terrible! It's designed to make you make mistakes which will cost you time, money and cause a lot of frustration. Again, I am getting rusty with the details. I made a number of mistakes while using the website. This, when I reached the RTO, put me at the mercy of an agent who fleeced me for my services.

Fix the Delivery Process

The DL, once printed, is supposed to be delivered to you via speed post. Mine never arrived. Attempts to follow-up turned out futile. So, what am celebrating about then? Basically, I could download an electronic copy of my DL in my Digilocker app. So, I consider this done and dusted.

But the point is: why are we forced to go back home and wait for our license to arrive via the very unreliable medium mode of Indian Post (sorry, another instance of that pervasive cynicism!)? If we choose, we are happy to come to RTO and collect it from there. Or give us the option of receiving it through some other private courier service. Whatever!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Living Every Moment

Sometimes, I think ...

How sad it is that we end up leading the life of a slave to meet our expectations of ourselves -- to become rich, successful, inspirational ... But the worst happens when we actually become successful! Because we create a false example of success for many others who consider us their heroes or role-models, condemning them to a life of slavery!

 How about we let go of those false self-expectations and focus on leading each day, each moment as if were a lifetime, a work of art? What would happen if we stopped defiling the present moment so that somebody would erect a statue of us and worship it when we are gone?