Sunday, June 21, 2015

India has seriously got talent

I have been a religious consumer and admirer of the reality show India's Got Talent ever since it was aired first on television. The acts vary from mediocre to extra-ordinary, barring the funny ones. The talent coming on the show is just growing by leaps and bounds in every season. I am glad the confidence is being built in many performers to come on to the show and perform; otherwise in a country like India, we would know of many people whose talent just remains inside their houses due to lack of opportunities, encouragement and resources to come out of those walls; many don't even know what talent they have; very sad!

We all think good nutrition etc. is necessary for a healthy mind and this is a necessary condition (but not sufficient) to focus. I notice quite a few individuals who come on to the show have gone through no professional training - whether it is for a particular dance form, or for any other type of an act. Some people who do balancing acts are so fit, their arms-strength so good; many of these have not got any kind of formal fitness training. Many of these individuals have good muscles also, which usually are thought to be built by regular gymming. What I realize is these people don't survive on food or water, they eat and breathe their passion and their dreams; which they see with open eyes; and that's what gives them all the energy. In a country like India where people don't know and understand the meaning of the phrase 'personal space', taking time and space out to keep practicing dedicatedly, to pursue one's dreams is indeed commendable.

In one of the earlier seasons, a group of two boys had performed using some yoga postures and it was seamless beyond imagination. They had represented India in an international games event and had won too; but unfortunately their talent is not recognized enough in India to make them a good living. When the International Yoga Day was announced, the first thought I got was 'Wish people like them get recognized and they can make their good living out of their talent now'. I think some money should be spent on promoting other games and sports also and not just cricket.

Some time back we had gone to Las Vegas and my colleagues and I went to watch a show whose ticket was worth Rs. 6000; the show was definitely very good; but even at that time apart from one act everything else I had seen in one of the India's Got Talent seasons. Unfortunately, we don't publicize our own talent enough.

India has seriously got lots of talent; there should be more platforms created to showcase this talent There are so many award functions where celebrities of big and small screen worlds perform; why not give this talent a chance to perform in those award functions? There should be a way to reach out to these people to invite them to perform in corporate parties or events too.

Even when I was watching KBC the last two seasons had got contestants who were from the lower sections of the society and I thought that was a very good initiative. Every single person in the vast majority of India has a tragic story; and that story & struggle is what keeps giving that push for one to dream, dream with open eyes, and pursue one's dream.

My personal favourites this season of IGT are:
Individual performers: Yogeswari Mistry, Manik Paul, Prahlad Acharya, Jaydeep Gohil
Group performers: XIX Junior Group; Sonu and Shikha,
A very special favourite is Nangbia Chanda because she comes from Itanagar which is a different world altogether and I hope she reaches great heights through this exposure!

Yes, there are too many; as I said this season's talent is at a different level :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Joy of Giving!

It was 2nd October 2014, marking the start of the festival ("concept"), The Joy of Giving Week. It was a long weekend and I landed at Ahmedabad on that morning to visit my parents. For a change, we took an auto rickshaw from the airport to home; there was no Ola or Uber at that time in Ahmedabad and we wanted to try an auto instead of the taxi. When the auto rickshaw dropped us at our home, the bill was in some multiples of 50, we gave him the nearest multiple of 100 and when he was returning Rs. 50, I asked him to keep it. For a fraction of a second, he could not follow. Then he realized and the smile on his face was priceless! Earning Rs. 50 extra on a day is such a big increment in India, many of us don't realize. There is a large section of these who don't use that additional Rs. 50 constructively, but those also don't work religiously so you can make out.

The joy that you feel when you give something to someone cannot be explained or expressed. In today's situation and probably forever in India, money is & would be the most needed. Giving money is the best, the other things of course are fine but those are perishable. Since then, I decided I am going to tip for every service. I tip the home delivery guys, almost all of them go back with a smile on their face. There is a small South Indian restaurant that we regularly order food from, I realize this one guy probably comes to deliver each time only because he knows I tip him :)

My husband is very particular about tipping for any service we receive. When I started using Uber, I tipped almost every driver unless I didn't like the driver at all, which is thankfully rare with Uber at least. They are the most courteous drivers, a possible reason could be that they earn more than decently. Recently I have had many interesting experiences with Uber when the drivers refusing to accept the tip. This happened first time in Mumbai, I was taking a morning flight and took Uber from the guest house to the airport. The driver was a young Malayali boy, he was very decent. When I offered him the tip while getting down, he refused and said 'No ma'am, thank you'. He didn't smile, he was those serious kinds. That was the first experience for me when someone refused the tip. I asked him why, he politely replied again, 'No ma'am, not required, thank you'. I respected his decision and said fine if he was not comfortable with it. Incidentally, after that, I came across many drivers of Uber who refused to take the tip politely. India is a land of khuddaars too, I realized. After that experience, I started asking the driver whether he accepts tips, a few of them say no and I don't bother them. On one trip, I asked the driver if he accepts tip and he said very happily, 'why not, if the customer gives', I liked it and I gave him the tip. He said with a big smile on his face, 'give me 5 star rating also'. I asked him why, he said the company pays Rs. 50 for each 5-star rating that the driver gets. Ever since, I only give them 5-star unless the driver is too bad, of course in that case I put in a written feedback too.

Recently, we were on a vacation and while the vacation was about to end, my husband was telling me thousands of rupees go in tips for us :) Our biggest expense head is vacation, and small percentage of the expense is tips. Anyway, the receivers of those few thousand rupees (separately) are more need of them than us. Its fine I guess.

You feel a different kind of happiness and fulfillment when you give something to someone in need, and more if you are able to see the receiver's face and expressions while receiving it. Hope I live long, and remain able (physically and financially :)) to keep giving all my life.