Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How Global am I?

It has been a happy two days. Yesterday was one of the best days I have had in a long time.. and today was well.. umm.. as good as it gets. So heres something I wrote some time back when I have these crazy bouts of analyzing some weird stuff about myself...

How 'Global' am I?? The thought gets triggered as I go back to a bleak humid night in a smoke filled room with my cousin and me inside... a few beer bottles and coke cans strewn around.. and some crazy unknown rock music banging in my ears... and a haze over my consciousness.. Its cold, but the smoke needs to be cleared, and so the fan is whirring at full speed, making a crazy buzzing sound, and I am not sure if its the fan or if its my head buzzing. I am in Kolkata in India.. in the most uncertain phase of my life. My cousin.. lets call him J, is lying down.. he is high.. and he is best when he is high. He is my best buddy, we have grown up together... he is an amazing guy.. made more amazing when he has alcohol and some other interesting things in his veins. He isn’t talking, but we are in a comfortable silence, we both know that we are thinking of some really weird stuff, something totally ridiculous and disconnected. And we allow each other that luxury, you don’t get such opportunities everyday, to have the freedom to think weird ridiculous stuff. I am wondering if the buzzing sound is coming from my head or from the fan.. and if the smoke in the room can make the room catch fire.. and if the music has dimmed in my ears, does loud music dim after u have heard it long enough. Yes.. it gets this ridiculous.. sometimes more... and we wait till the one person strikes something ridiculous enough to talk about. Usually its J, he is better at this stuff than I am. I somehow always come up with boring ridiculous, he comes up with interesting ridiculous.
Just as I am feeling irritated enough because I still cannot figure out if its the fan or me making the whirring sound, J speaks. It is sacred in such conditions to give utmost concentration when one person speaks, because it is kind of easy to get distracted in ones own weird thoughts and then we lose the conversation.
J says "B... you are a really global person.. I wonder how global I am"
Under normal circumstances this would be a ridiculous statement. J and I have grown up, been educated in and have lived an Indian life. The only things outside India that we know about are what we see on TV and what we read in books.. and the occasional 'phoren' stuff some relative sends in from "umreeka". But the circumstances are not normal..
Me: "How am I global? I don’t know a single frigging blonde person"
J: "But you have a classmate who works in Singapore"
Me: "I am sure you have some classmate who works in Singapore too!"
J: "But that doesn’t count, I don’t talk to or talk about any such classmate, you do"
Me: "But how does that make me global?"
J: "Because you receive international calls on you mobile"
Me: "But how’s that Global, its just one friend in one country"
J: "But you told me that she has friends in South Africa and the US"
Me: "Umm.. yeah.. actually.. but will that not make HER global?"
J: "No.. it makes you global.. she is abroad anyway, what does she care about being global?"
Me: "Yeah.. makes sense, I guess I am global"

I am sure J doesn’t remember any of this, we have had too many of these conversations, but there are some I remember more than he does. J would kill me if he ever read this. Thankfully today, J is a very busy software architect who is presently in New York, and he doesn’t have the time to read stupid blogs like this one.

Sometimes I think back, and I wonder how life was so much simpler than it is today. And I ask myself the same ridiculous questions. It helps me put things in perspective, shows me how far I have come, where I stand, and how far I have to go... Some people measure how global they are by the number of countries they have travelled, some by the number of countries they have lived, some by the number of nationalities they have dated, some by the number of countries they have friends from. A colleague recently told me that he has 'dated' girls from 17 nations. I probably cant name 17 nations off the top of my head.. so I guess I am not THAT global yet.

So I tried measuring how global I actually am.. At work place... my previous manager was Swedish. Prior to him, I had a Danish manager. Now I report to a British manager. The colleagues in my team of around 70 people include people from Australia, Iran, Greece, India, Lithuania, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany and UK. I am based out of Bangalore, India, currently work in Stockholm, Sweden, interact with delivery centers in more than 10 geographical locations and work for a client with offices in 175 countries. In personal life, I have Indian friends who are in Singapore, London, Copenhagen, NY, Australia, and some other places within US that I cant recall. I have one American and one Bulgarian friend who live in the US and Bulgaria respectively, and I have friends in Stockholm who are of German, French, Iranian and of course Swedish origin. I have travelled to and visited at least one city in Finland, Estonia, France, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Bhutan, Italy and Czech Republic.

So how global does that make me? Not much. My friend from Singapore mentioned above is still way ahead of me in all parameters mentioned above, she has nearly seen all continents and probably has a friend from each country. Well, someday when I have the time, I will try becoming more global. For the time being I will someday try to go back to the same room at my cousins place, create a similar situation and try asking J the same question, "J, how global are u?"

Loved this from Iyas post HERE, so this becomes the

Quote of the Day:
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have. Peace is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank.


  1. I think each and every one of us who are avid internet users are 100% global. I rest my case there.

  2. Are we?? I have been an internet user since I was 17.. and I dont think I was global at all that time.. I still dont think I am.. not compared to some people I know. I believe you have to travel to at least 5 countries each in at least 3 continents to be truly global.. Thats my benchmark!

  3. As long as we have access to information across the globe, we are global. Global does not mean u have to travel the globe.

    Definition of global as per the dictionary
    "involving the entire earth; not limited or provincial in scope "

    I am definitely global in that case.

    I have often felt that English language is the most abused language. We use words to convey their perceived meaning and not their true meaning.

  4. I agree. I do not have to travel the globe to be global, but to me having information about a country does not mean watching Discovery Channel, or reading Wikipedia. It means a bit more to me than that. I believe I know Iran closely, because I am around 2 people who are very closely linked to Iran, so I know the customs, the places that surround it, the beauty, the darker side, the image, the humor.. not everything perhaps, but certainly more than I could have ever known from Discovery or the internet. If I can have enough of what u call 'information' and what i call 'the feel' from such sources I would consider myself global. And till I feel that I have seen but a drop in the ocean that is the world, I will not consider myself global.
    'Having information' is a vague term. I am more demanding from myself when it comes to being satisfied by information. Take a look at the non-Indian people around you who think they know India by virtue of having watched Slumdog Millionaire. Is that information enough for them to say they know India? Or having read the Wiki page on India? Or having watched an Indian episode on a travel channel? No, you do not become global by visiting the airport or the tourist attractions of a country, nor do you become global by having read the Wiki page of every coutry in the world. It takes a little more than that.

    As for definitions, I once put in the word 'love' in the online dictionary. The dictionary gave me 28 meanings of that word. I was not satisfied by any one of them.

    I realized that day that some words are just facilitators to a feeling, and they are better felt than defined. I dont blame the language if there are some feelings too difficult to encompass into a simple word. I define my own words, and respect those who define theirs.

    I rest my case. No more counter comments from my side on this topic :)

  5. Do you realize why we never debated in the same motion now.. If I was for u were against and vv.. I remember that.. Thats what we are .. It is like I can argue from both sides, But I like arguing against you. We should have totally debated as a pair, we would have rocked a lot of contests :P

    I love this ! Thats why I was very very happy when you started blogging. I was looking forward to this very thing !

    A toast to debating !