Blissful ignorance or painful knowledge?

I was driving to work this morning. There was a very interesting poll on radio about what would you rather prefer: Blissful ignorance or painful knowledge?

My first instinctive reaction was to choose ignorance. If I am not aware of something, how would I be affected, good or bad? But on a more serious thought, I think it is not that simple.

Because it is all related to another very important emotion in our lives – Happiness.

What is happiness? Is there a set definition that we can use for that word? I don’t think so. I think happiness is very subjective. What may make me happy could annoy someone else. In best terms, I can only say that happiness is a state of mind, a figment of our imagination, a matter of our perception.

Happiness can be found in little things. A cup of coffee can make you happy or a muffin or a song, a kind word but, on the contrary, sometimes even a million dollars won’t do it for you.

So, would you remain poor yet be happy or be rich but miserable?

Knowledge is power. I’ve heard that forever now. But sometimes knowledge is also painful. Backbiting colleagues, a cheating spouse, terminal illness etc. Not knowing about something can be better than knowing about it and having to deal with it. But knowing something atleast gives you can chance to make amends or rectify or change or know the truth no matter however painful it may be.

Would you rather be happy yet ignorant or be upset but aware?

My takes: Let me summarize it perfectly through a quote I read sometime back…

“I know money can’t buy happiness but I’d rather be miserable in a BMW than on a bicycle”.

And about my second question, I still stick with what Francis Bacon said a few hundred years back….

“Knowledge is power”

What do you guys think?

Rabba mere din yeh na dhale

Kaise mujhe tum mil gayi, kismat pe aaye na yakhin

Tum ho toh rahen bhi hai, tum nahin toh raste kahan

Kisi mod pe bhi na yeh saath chutte

Mere haath se tera damaan na chute

Mein tera sarmaya hun, joh bhi mei ban paya hun

Raaste miljate hain, manzilen miljati hain tumse se

Tujhe dekh dekh sona, tujhe dekh kar hai jagna

Meine ye zindagani, sang tere bitani

Ek halki se muskaan se joh sapnon ka jahan abaad kare

Yahi sach hai shayad meine pyaar kiya

Haan haan tumse meine pyaar kiya.

Happy Wedding Anniversay, sweetheart.

And lastly,

Aaj din chaddiya tere rang warga,

Phul sa khila aaj din

Rabba mere din yeh na dhale………..


tum hi toh raahein bhi hai, tum nahi toh raste kahaan

Happy Birthday, my little kiddo :)

I can’t believe one full year has passed. All I need to do is close my eyes, focus a little and I feel like I am still standing right there in the hospital, holding him for the first time, looking at his tiny face and his two little eyes staring back at me. I’m still stuck in that fragment of time. And I wish I never come out of it.

Today, my baby, my little kiddo, my Ibrahim, has turned all of 1-year-old. I’ve been waiting for this day since he was born. To celebrate the happiness, the joy, the magic he has brought to my life, the miracle he has been to us.

Parenthood was never meant to be easy. Those sleepless nights, stinky diapers, sickness, pain and injury, vomiting, farts, crankiness, bawling and much more. But all it takes is one smile, that one dimple laden smile revealing those 6 little teeth, flinched nostrils and that chuckle, oh what do I say about that chuckle, and life is beautiful again. All the stress, worries, tensions, gone, vanished in that one little moment. What could possibly be any better?

The first time he smiled at us, or the first time he managed to sit up all by himself or when the crawled for the first time or when he took his first step, or his first words, are all milestones.

But we can also never forget the days when he tried to eat from a plate by himself, or when he saw a tie and tried to knot it around his neck, or when he picked up a remote control and pointed it towards the TV, or when he picked up a cell phone and held it near his ears, or the time when he was playing near the vacuum cleaner and accidentally turned it on and the speed at which he crawled back towards me, or the time when he sits on my shoulders and massages my head, or when he gives a sloppy kiss on your cheek if you ask him for an ‘ibbu’, or when you ask him ‘where is Ibrahim?’ and he immediately points towards himself, or when he hears his favorite tunes he starts dancing by jerking his head in all directions and throwing his hands all over the place, or the time when he kept laughing hysterically listening to my hiccups, or the time when he fell asleep while eating, or the time when he crawled towards me, put his head on my lap and fell asleep…all these are unforgettable moments.

Those wobbly little legs, which just about carry his weight now, will one day carry the weight of his dreams, desires and expectations. May the beacon of hope always burn and light up his life.

Today I wholeheartedly thank the Almighty for blessing us in ways we could never imagine.

And my beautiful wife, for going through 9 months of pregnancy, 2 days of labor, 3 months of painful post C-section recovery and 9 months of fantastic parenting to make him the wonderful kid that he is today. All this could not have been possible without you, my love. Whatever I do, I can never thank you enough.

Today is your first milestone, my little Ibrahim. I wish you many many many more birthdays and a life with all the joy, contentment and success.

Happy birthday, Ibrahim 🙂

Corporate Lesson 3 : Do your homework

Continuing on my series of posts on lessons learnt in the corporate world, here is the latest one:

Yesterday was arguably the most critical day of my professional life. We had our mid-year sales review meeting with the Executive VP , Senior VP, Sales Director, a few other managers and my team. The reason this meeting was critical because 2009 was not a particularly good year for our team in terms of numbers. Long story short, lets just say that some important internal policy changes have severely affected our revenue lines. And this meeting was scheduled to discuss the same.

And as expected, the meeting room was very heated up. Each project dissected and discussed at length. Every activity in the account questioned. Every action scrutinized. Tempers flaring all around. I was fourth in line to present. And it was three and a half hours before my turn came! My boss started the presentation before handing it over to us. My first colleague, who is doing reasonably well this year, was not really in the firing line. Her presentation lasted 8-10 mins. The second one lasted around 20 mins. Mind you, all we had to do was talk about our top 5 projects on 1 slide. Normally that would take less than 5 minutes. So you can imagine the barrage of questions from the panel. The 3rd presenter broke all records. His slide lasted 55 minutes!!! He was crucified to say the least. And with that behind me, I stood up.

I was asked to pick my best project and speak about it. That’s actually not a good thing, rather very dangerous. Coz then there is no scope for error. If I don’t get the facts right, I don’t have any other chances or deals to fall back upon. My whole year’s work was down to this one project. And so I started speaking. And barely three minutes into the presentation, they told me to sit down! And I thought, “uh oh!”

I was shocked. Didn’t move an inch. My mouth was open. I didn’t know what to do. After what looked like an eternity, my boss snapped me out of it. “C’mon, sit down” she said. Hesitantly, I walked back to my chair. My face was white! Someone noticed and finally said, “Masood, you did good. Now relax and sit down!”

And that’s when I started breathing again!

Finally the Exec VP spoke up. “Why did I ask him to sit down?”. And he answered his own question. “Because he did not leave me with any questions. He had everything. All the information, all the facts in place. He knew everything about this project and much more. That’s how its gotta be done”.

And that’s when I started smiling again!

Before the meeting started, I sat down in front of my laptop and did some research. Not about the project. That’s my baby so I know everything about it. But about the country, the economy, the industry, industry numbers, the company, went through latest annual report of the company, profit margins, expected annual and quarterly growth rates, planned investments etc etc etc. And I spoke about all this before getting into the project details.

Moral of the story: Do your homework. In front of a c-level panel, talking non-stop about the project may not help. Know the whole picture – not just from a micro but from a macro point of view as well. Do the research. And remember it. Be confident. And go for it.

World’s tallest tower in Dubai

The world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa (formerly known as Burj Dubai), was launched in Dubai last night by the ruler of Dubai. The height of this record breaking tower is 828 meters, which is a good 300 meters taller than its closest competitor, the Taipei 101.

And it was the grandest, the brightest, the loudest and the most spectacular of launches ever. The fireworks, lights and lasers could be seen from almost anywhere in Dubai.

The tower has 168 floors, 54 lifts with 911 luxury condominiums, 144 hotel condominiums, 160 hotel guest rooms and 3000 parking spaces. It has the highest observation deck in the world at the 128th floor. The total cost of construction was more than $1.5 billion. At peak construction activities, over 12000 people were working on the tower every day. And on a clear day, the spire can be seen from 95 km away.

A superstructure of such magnitude was never attempted by man ever. All boundries of technological advancements in construction have been crossed. All possible records have been scaled. Burj Khalifa is the highest man-made structure on the planet.

Hats off to Dubai government and the visionary leadership of Shaikh Mohammad for this record breaking venture. Truly bringing Dubai on the world map. Here are some photos of this marvel, starting and ending with my personal favorites…

Image courtesy: Google images, Gulf News, The Gaurdian & The Telegraph