Begging is the unique art of wringing another’s conscience (or patience) sufficiently enough to make it submit in substantial measure to one’s entreaties. The result one seeks could be either a few coins, a raise, a promotion or in the case of the two richest beggars of our times, the chance to form a club of the richest charitable donors in the world. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet made news prior to their visit to China with the much publicised objective to rope in some of the freshest members of the billionaire club to join them on their journey to immortality through their stage managed redistribution of concentrated wealth. They have made similar overtures towards the Indian millionaires as well.
Evolving idea of charity
Societies in China and India have mirroring trajectories of the rags to riches cycle. Diverging only in the political chapters, the morals from tales in all other aspects of one society could just as easily be applied to the other. Begging in this part of the world, at least the destitutional kind, has a long and complex history. It is only natural that a society with surplus manpower, limited natural resources and a history of concentrated and hierarchical flow of wealth and power should find beggars weaved generously into it’s social fabric. Their survival relies mainly on the mercy shown by the ruling class while their quality of life is dictated by the collective conscience of their neighbourhood. For most parts, begging is a feature of cities and other pilgrimage towns or tourist destinations that creates a noticeable disparity between the haves and the have nots. As a result, everybody in this society imbibes the technique of dealing with beggars very early in their childhood by emulating their guardians and elders. With such an overwhelming pool of lower and middle class folks (nursing aspirations of joining the wealthy class) it is not surprising that most among them grow up with pragmatism as the driving force in dealing with beggars. Compassionate perspective is a rarity. For the working class who drone about their lives trying to fulfill their emotional inheritance of providing a better life for their immediate and extended families, beggars are usually viewed as the lazy bunch rather than the unfortunate ones.
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I happened to meet my cousin and a friend of his for dinner the other night. My cousin had recently extricated himself from his 10 year sojourn in the BPO industry, now working in Insurance. His friend, who was also his ex-colleague, was narrating some of the changes happening in his company.
With a straight face he said that the target for next month is to add 500 more heads. Scaling of teams this rapidly and in such huge numbers happened frequently in the BPO sector, especially in it’s champagne years of 2005-06. It also rarely happened with such urgency, without the need, having already knocked on the door twice, made itself present. I wondered how they were coping with their workload now. Pat came the answer, ‘OT’.
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There is nothing more frustrating and cringeful for a sports fan to watch than the replay of a play on which the on-field umpire made a wrong call. Whether that call was in favour of your team or against, means little when the contract of fair competition is breached. Fans are left to reconcile their rationales and emotions using few techniques. The fanatics among us choose to vent frustrations quite vocally and in an increasingly intolerant trend, even by physically destructive means. The casual follower is more forgiving and sympathetic to the plight of the umpire who is expected to make that split second call under immense pressure while the rest of the public is awarded the benefit of reviewing the play on television from many angles, at varying levels of optical and digital zoom as well as in ultra-slow motion. In other cases a heat sensing camera, a high sensitive microphone and other gadgets from the espionage trade are employed.
Chalking off such incidents to human error has been the best soothing balm that administrators of the sport have offered for the longest time. However, some sports, over the last couple of decades, have decided to leverage the technological advancement as a viable option to rectify this. Real time decisions could either be deferred or reviewed by off-field referees. This has eliminated a lot of heartburn among the sports fans. Precluding any chance of human error as well as any possibility of malicious intent has proven to be a success among the fans. Nobody likes to hear or talk about the mistakes of the umpires once the match is over. The focus should be on the competitors and the competition.
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