Monday, October 28, 2013


When I was employed with a commercial Vehicle manufacturer in the past, we studied the various things that can go wrong in a vehicle. These faults / complaints were grouped under different categories and each one was given a rating of sorts depending on the severity and dis comfort to the customer. There was one category called "Irritant". That was sub divided into two, Major and Minor irritants. These were small complaints that would not lead to any monetary loss but still concerned the customers, like a rattling door or squeaky passenger seat or stuff like that. But one should not under estimate the power of minor irritants.

When i can sit and learn and lecture on what irritates others, why not have my own list? So here it is,

1. My latest irritation (and what prompted me on this topic) is the new BB pin thingy. Seriously what the hell? As if the unwanted number of messenger services and their lousy ads on TV were not enough. Now terrorists don't have to go to the extent of encoding or decoding their messages, they can transmit messages through one of the messengers and the government would take forever to find the right one. Our generation, sorry, great generation, has the power of communicating infinite number of non sense messages, moral lectures, photographs that are a waste of disk space and 3g data to infinite number of people through infinite mediums.

2. Filthy advertisements. Not the ones that you don't want young kids to see, but the ones that the advertisers themselves don't want you to see or notice. I have done some little study and come to understand that some people have the power to switch off their minds during advertisements. They are clearly watching the ad, but if you ask them something about it, they say they didn't listen. Sadly, I do not have this super power. That is why i get irritated when every week, some cosmetic or soap company comes up with a new chemical element that can make your skin look better. I think all the research they do is finding words that are not in any dictionary. Only if they were sure that the listeners aren't really listening, they can come up with soaps that are made of fruit milk shakes, face wash with magnet action and deodorants that smell like chocolate. I think within the advertising circle, the power of your beauty cream is determined by how ugly you make your model look before they use the cream. Something that put me off recently is the Tang ad. Initially, the mother says that the new Tang has fruit inside. But recent ads have changed the wordings. Now the mother says that the new tang has the taste of fruit. Same ad but changed voiceover. I don't know why, there is no logical explanation, but this highly irritates me.

3. Real Estate. An ad not so far in the future. "Are you looking for a home in Chennai? Look no further. ABC builders (my intention is to quote a random name but i'm pretty sure there is some builder by that name already) is here to solve your problem. Just a 2 hours flight journey from Chennai airport is our lush villa style houses ready for occupancy". Advertisements are everywhere. It is impossible to escape them. There are already premium TV channels that do not have ads. Slowly there will be premium radio and premium internet browsers that will block all ads. Then there will be a time when customers will be paid to watch/read/listen to ads.

4. High beam head lamps. This is the most irritating experience of driving in India. At least 50% of the drivers always have their head lights on high beam. Most of them are bikers. I fail to understand how they cannot notice that they are flashing their lights on faces and not the road. This, and a lot of other things root from our deeply engraved misunderstanding of FREEDOM.

Our freedom is more important than the freedom of others around us. People are entitled to make their own choice, so they go around choosing. Choosing to cross when the signal is red, choosing what their children would graduate in, choosing where their wives should work, choosing when their sons should marry and choosing whom their daughters should marry. We believe we are right, we are more experienced and we know what is best for everyone. Do we?

Assume we have a choice. The most important choices will never have a sure, definite, time bound, quantifiable result. Like buying a home, choosing your spouse, etc. And if a choice has a sure, definite, time bound, quantifiable result, then they are most likely insignificant decisions. Like ordering your food, selecting clothes, etc. Coming to the significant decisions, there is really no way of telling for sure that your decision was wrong. One cannot say that it would have been better if one had selected option B instead of option A because of the simple reason that one did not select option B. The comparison becomes between something real and existent with something that does not, cannot and will not exist. We exercise great strengths of imagination to create this parallel universe where we have made all the right decisions in life, just to gain a feeling of regret or hatred towards life as it is.

Some may lecture on the concept of probability. The probability of success in class B is higher than the probability of success in class A. Try that lecture on someone who has survived a plane crash or  a family who lost a loved one in a lightening strike. The number loses all its charm once you become part of the statistics.

You had a choice to read this article or skip it. I have consumed 3 minutes of your life and given you nothing in return. But don't regret it, because you would have to spend another minute doing that.