Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mid life crisis.. is it?

I am just back from a day trip to Mulshi - a scenic place near Pune. After returning from the UK, I spent most of my last 2 months at home recovering from the knee injury. The mood is a little upbeat.

But off late I have been observing a change in mood as the Sunday Sun moves westwards. An anxiety starts creeping in. Mostly to do with work. What is in store on Monday? Will tomorrow be painful? Is the Manager going to throw some new issue at me? Am I missing a deadline? Lot of such anxious thoughts that make my Sunday evening rather nervous. As I wake up on Monday morning, I am completely exhausted by these thoughts instead of being fresh from a weekend. I have been trying to analyse what this could be.

It appears that most of these thoughts crop up from a kind of insecurity or may be lack of confidence. I am scared of being pointed out as a loser, someone who did not perform. Or I fear I may be betraying my boss's expectations. There is always a struggle to be right - never to be wrong, never to be looked at as an idiot and most importantly to be trusted for commitment and sincerity. There is always somewhere a doubt that fingers may point at me today. Have I thought this through? Is this going to work the way I think it should? Do I know enough??!!

Enough, sufficiency, optimum are unquantifiable at the junction of life I am in. Do I earn enough? Am I responsible enough? Do I behave like a Manager or still a fresher? Should I be carefree or thoughtful and immaculate? Should I buy a bike and do road trips or be more sane and buy a house and settle down? I am not confident of the world at my workplace. It seems to be too strict to pardon a mistake. So I am scared. But is it really? Every decision I make, every mail I write, every conversation I have at work seems to decide whether I stay or I am thrown out. I keep thinking if 'this thing I am doing' could make me lose my job. And then the next thing I know is I am thinking of what I would do if I am not doing this? I start thinking of alternate careers, possible business ventures, where the money would come from and weired things like that. And all this does is takes the air out of my today.

I haven't been living in present since a long time. I am either deliberating on the past - should I have worked harder and become a doctor, should I not have quit Banking; Or I am deliberating on my future - should I start my own business or become a teacher, will I be able to move to Goa 5-6 years down the line, so on and so forth. Does it help me in anyway to make the decision now? Hell no! Last week I deliberately tried to keep these thoughts out of my mind. I have been quite successful. I am sure I will weed this out over a period of time.

Is this mid-life crisis? Whatever it is, I have observed that the best way to overcome this is to involve yourself in other activities. They could be any of your hobbies or simply socializing. I also avoid office talk as much as possible after work (and sometimes even at work)! I am also spending more time keeping in touch with friends and relatives, reading literary stuff - something that is not about business or statistics. I try to read Marathi books, poems, short stories and stuff that is pure pleasure. As of now this seems to be the right path...lets see where it takes me!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture

Most products have the cost of failure built into the price of the product. For example, a film. When a film gets made, there are so many things at stake, that the all these risks are covered by the premium on the ticket. If a film ticket was prices simply by dividing the cost + profit by the number of people watching, it would be pretty cheap. Or consider for example, the price of a car. The insurance premium that the manufacturer pays is built into the cost of the car. Or say a doctor, who conducts very risky operations get paid highly...and now you ask what's the point??

The point is, this doesn't happen with a farmer.A farmer faces all the vagries of nature or monsoon. Alll his risks are unmeasurable and unpredictable. But does he get to decide his pricing? Why does market not behave perfectly when it comes to agriculture? Why doesn't the theory of high risk - high return apply to agriculture? How does a farmer hedge his risks then is the main question!
The answer as I found today lies in Community Supported Agriculture. This is a fantastic system wherein buyers share the risk with a farmer. They are participants in the farming process economically and hence emotionally. If the monsoon isn't good in a year, and the farmer isnt able to grow enough tomatoes, the buyers will have to forgo the amount but may be compesated by a good winter and receive abundent peanuts. But since the risk is spread, it becomes insignificant to every individual. Morover, the farmer can concentrate on growing quality stuff rather than having to worry about selling it. There are various flexible models around the worls for CSA. Just google it up and its an interesting read. Looks like my next career move ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Film piracy funding terror

"Film piracy funding terror: US thinktank"

I have read about this many times before. Since the time I was convinced, I stopped buying pirated films and music from the street.
Have a read.