Sunday, January 27, 2013

Names and Faces


I was at a grocery store yesterday when I heard somebody call my name.  He was a friend from work and I think the last I had met him in person was about 2-3 years back. We spoke for some time and for almost half of that time I was trying to recall his name.  It really took a while for me to recall his name while he had called me by my name the minute he had seen me.

Just a week back, I had this friend who was telling me how important it was for politicians and CEO’s and people in high places to remember people by names; especially by their first name. Calling people by their first name, especially while meeting somebody after a long time, adds a kind of personal touch.

I was thinking about both these and realized something. I can never be a politician or a CEO or someone in a high place because I don’t possess the most important skill needed for these occupations; remembering people by their names. Not that I had ever thought of becoming a politician or something J. I spent the rest of my yesterday thinking about what else I can be. Anything related to academics; a scientist, teacher, mathematician is all a big no. At most I can be a just ok bathroom singer, so scratched music off the list. I then thought of sports as I understand a little bit of cricket. I have seen most cricketers announce their retirement plans from active field cricket by late 30’s which probably means they start thinking about retiring when they are 33-34. So I cannot start thinking of a new career at an age when master sportsmen start thinking of their retirement. By late yesterday evening I realized I had scratched off almost every profession I knew, from the list.

Then suddenly I had this second realization. I could not recollect when was the last time I had thought so much about what I wanted to be, in my entire life. i.e. my entire life till now has been pretty much goalless. I have read of CEO’s who plan on how they want their company to be in the next 3 years, 5 years and 10 years. All I had planned till now was at most for 6 months or a year.

I woke up this morning with that same feeling of being goalless at the back of my head, but quickly got into the daily routine. I was reading the newspaper when I started thinking again. True, all those big folks come up with such stellar plans about how they want to grow their companies but haven’t we seen enough of many such stellar companies crumble overnight? I have read somewhere that the number of people who are cancelling their newspaper subscription has increased over the last 10 years. Who had thought that this will happen, 10 years back?  I might not have a quantified 10 year goal but I do have short term ones. Thinking about all this suddenly started making me feel better! I was amazed how uncomplicated my life is and how much thankful I should actually be for it! I spend hours with my wife on a park bench watching our daughter play, watch cartoons with my daughter just because I don’t have a 10 year quantified goal.

I might one day come up with a 10 year goal but it doesn't seem bad not having one. For now, this is something I want to do. The next time I meet somebody and I am unable to recall their name, I will just politely ask for it.

~Narendra V Joshi