Sunday, May 15, 2005


‘Anyone can become angry –that is easy. But to get angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for right purpose, and in the right way –this is not easy’.
-Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

Until recently, we earthlings were under the impression that IQ is the greatest measure of human potential. But two scientists, Dr. John Mayer and Dr. Peter Salovey showed the world that it is Emotional Intelligence (EI) which plays a greater role in making us successful people. EI is measured in terms of Emotional Quotient (EQ). EI has its roots in the concept of ‘social intelligence’, first identified by E.L. Thorndike in 1920.

It was in the early 1990s that Dr. John Mayer and Peter Salovey introduced the term ‘emotional intelligence’ in the Journal of Personality Assessment. They used this term to describe a person’s ability to understand his or her own emotions and the emotions of others and act appropriately based on this understanding. Then in 1995, psychologist Daniel Goleman popularized this term with his book Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ.

Now it is widely accepted that EQ plays an important role in determining our success (or failure). Just like tests meant to measure IQ and aptitude, EQ tests have been devised. In India, EQ is tested indirectly in many ways, both for recruitment as well as for admission to institutes (especially MBA). The personal interview (PI), statement of purpose (SOP) and group discussions (GD) reveal a bit about your EQ. Obviously, in a field like management, EQ of the manager determines not only his/her success but the organisation’s success as well.

EQ plays such an important role in our lives simply because almost everything we do is influenced in some way or the other by our emotions. Even if you are engaged in something like answering a question paper, whether it involves simple calculations or the use of memory, your emotions still play an important role. For example, you must have had an experience where you couldn’t recall anything just because just before the exam in spite of having prepared well. This was because you were simply overwhelmed by unwanted emotions. Every decision we take is influenced by emotions.

The best thing about EQ is that people can consciously work towards improving it. It is not surprising, therefore, that many big companies and organizations are exposing their employees to different training programs that are essentially experiential in nature and claim to be helpful in improving the EQ of the participants. Also, activities like yoga and meditation coupled with personality development go a long way in improving our EQ. If you are reading a self-development book, chances are it is meant to improve your EQ in some way!

Since no one has so far been able to develop a good scale for intelligence, most EQ tests can only give us an idea. There are many free online EQ tests available on the internet. Go ahead and find out what you EQ is! But be wary, the results of these tests are not the absolute truth. But the most important thing is that you may get to know your strengths and weaknesses and you can work towards maximizing your personal aptitudes and social skills. This can in turn make a big difference to your professional/personal growth.

(I wrote this article for Times of India in 2003. I got to do quite a bit of research including taking EQ tests! According those test my strength was empathy. Now you know whom to contact if you want a good listener… ;-) )

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Kyunki Sauce Bhi Kabhi Tomato Thi...

By Claytonia Vices, PUNE (Farse News Agency)
The country has been besieged by a tragedy of unprecedented magnitude: Desi television has succumbed to the soap virus.

Health professionals warn that a certain Fake-ta Kapoor might be the main carrier of this virus. They also warned that watching the shallow-scripted sham unfolding can cause permanent damage to a person's intelligence.

Researchers have supported this by proving that exposure to soaps on a daily basis led to the death of an alarming number of grey cells in the subjects of their experiment. Some participants actually complained of crises in their personal lives resulting from the effect of watching characters in the soaps constantly plotting against each other and sabotaging relationships.

They also said that the characterisation in these soaps is so hollow, almost all the roles can be easily classified into two categories. Among female characters, one is the bitchy type while the other is the rona-dhona type. The script generally consists of the bitchy type finding newer ways to make life miserable to the rona-dhona types, sometimes spending many days just hatching conspiracies. The males however still largely confirmed to the men-don't-cry stereotype and hence fell into the categories of conspirer and the supportive types who come to the support of the females who indulge in chronic fits of rona-dhona.

Experts also warn a channel which plays only soaps may one day become reality. This shocking scenario, they say, may result in widespread brain damage among innocent audiences who may be exposed to this channel for as little as a few seconds while surfing.

The latest casuality to soaps was the popular music channel Yum TV. Its famous VJ, Virus Broacha (name changed), when asked what he felt about the soap Kitna 'Musty' Hai Zindagi taking more airtime than songs, he only said that we shouldn't 'broach' the topic as he is suffering from acute soap-exposure sickness and a mere mention makes him puke. He then added, "Yum TV Bhi Kabhi Music Channel Thi!" before going into a coma. At the time of going to press, he was reported to have been revived when he was placed in front of a TV showing Discovery Channel and is said to be in a stable condition. Doctors said he luckily escaped with only partial brain damage and adviced him to maintain a distance of atleast 300 feet from TVs showing soaps.

This latest development only confirms the widespread fears that this virus is slowly taking over the entire nation and one day there will not be a single grey cell left among the 1 billion (and still counting) people of this country...

Hey! It's time for my favourite soap! Gotta go...see ya!!

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I wrote this essay sometime in 2002-03. It is special to me because this may be the first time I realised how much I love writing and I started a whole new journey with it... and I had a lot of fun writing it!

“…for the more worldly of us,

the way we travel is more of a

fashion statement or even a prerequisite

to 'lure' the female of the species.

What other purpose could a fuel

guzzling behemoth bedizened

with chrome plating and glaring

headlights serve?”

Travelling is something we do almost all the time but rarely pause to think about its significance. It has become an integral part of everyday life -as integral as eating and sleeping itself. Almost all human activities require travelling from one place to another. From the proverbial Mohammed who had to 'travel' to the mountain to the breadwinner who go to work, from the toddler going to kindergarten to the dead man making a last journey to the graveyard, travelling is an unavoidable part of life... and death.

Looking at things from an 'out-of-the-world' perspective, travelling is something that we do every second as we hurtle through the emptiness of space along with our 'spaceship' earth as it revolves around the sun. Amazing, isn't it? Just imagine the billions of miles we must have travelled around the sun without even noticing it!

Coming back to 'ground level', travelling is serious business for us humans. All modes of transport put together could be one of the biggest industries on planet earth. Aeroplanes for the high-flying people, railways, waterways, roadways, e.t.c, are a source of livelihood for a countless number of people. At one extreme is the millionaire thinking of which airline company he could take over, while at the other extreme is the humble rickshaw puller for whom someone deciding to travel on his rickshaw could make the difference between a meal and an empty stomach for the day.

The way we travel and the reason for it can so much about a person and can have so much significance. Gandhi travelled all the way by foot to Dandhi and made a bold statement against the colonial rule and as the cliche goes, the rest is history. The Wright bothers' first successful plane travelled a mere 40 meters but again it made history. Little would the brothers have dreamt that one day much improved versions of their wood and canvas contraptions powered by a small engine would be helping people travel halfway round the world. In 1955 in America, a woman names Rosa Parks was travelling in a bus when she was asked to give up her seat to a white person as she was legally required to. She refused. Her one quite act set off a chain of events that led to the beginning of the civil rights movement. However, for the more worldly of us, the way we travel is more of a fashion statement or even a prerequisite to 'lure' the female of the species. What other purpose could a fuel guzzling behemoth bedizened with chrome plating and glaring headlights serve?

For other people who are badly in need of some change from their monotonous lives, travelling can be a source of adventure and romance. Travelling to exotic locales is gaining more popularity by the day as more people don't mind spending a little extra money. Looking at the number of travel magazines appearing at the newsstand, one can easily guess how popular leisure travel has become. The way we reach a place is also an important aspect of leisure travel. Whether it is the 'romance of the railways' or the acceleration of the jet plane that pins us to our seats as we take-off into the azure skies, each have their own thrills. The travel bug never had it so good!

From the invention of the wheel to the space shuttle, we have come a long, long way. Each of these inventions meant for travel continually reflected the progress of mankind at the time of their conception. But like the fact that the space shuttle, in spite of being an epitome of modern engineering, still needs modern versions of the primitive wheel to land safely, one thing remains unchanged -the need to travel faster, farther and safer and with more comfort. We can say that our Mohammed has some along way ever since he set out for the mountain on foot. One of these days, we may see him vrooming towards the mountain on his four-wheel drive!