Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Dependency Is A Major Weakness

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"There is no greater weakness than dependency"

I'm sure most of you are aware of this by experience. A dependency is something that will always pull you down. It is something that makes outcomes of certain events uncertain, and makes certain otherwise strong individuals weak.

This post discusses about dependencies in general, and also why auto rickshaws in Bangalore continue to be a problem.

So, what's a dependency?
I am sure that such incidents would have happened with you or you would have been around or heard about incidents such as the following. A group of children are playing cricket, and one of the children brings his brand new bat. This is the only bat for the group of children to play. When the kid who brought the bat gets stumped and becomes out, he refuses, and says he wants to still bat. The rest of the children disagree, and tell him that it's the next person's chance to play. At his, the kid says that he is going to go home, and take his bat along with him.

Now it's the turn of the other children to be stumped. If they ask him to get lost, they end up with no bat, and cannot play. If they allow him to play, he is obviously taking undue advantage by using the bat as a leverage.

Dependencies exist everywhere
Just look around. A man tells his wife to do something. The wife refuses. The man says that he is not going to give her any money, because he is the earning member of his family, and she is just a housewife. She has no other source of income, and finally has to yield to his whims, whether or not she likes it. He uses money as a leverage, while she succumbs to dependency.

Many software applications don't run properly, because certain dependencies (files) are missing. You then have to start hunting for ocx and dll files, register them, etc. If there were no dependencies, life would have been smoother.

Coalition Governments are perhaps a perfect example. For the government to sustain itself, a lot of people need to be kept happy. If they are not happy, they will walk away, and the government collapses. As you can see, as long as the government is dependent on them, there exists a weakness.

A group of people, A, B, C and D decide to work on a project. A, B and D might be very efficient, while C is not good. The work is divided among themselves, and the sequential stages of work is completed by them, in that order. Now, the project will never get completed, as long as they are waiting for C to complete the work.

Autorickshaws in Bangalore are rude, overcharge, don't come to places you ask them to, use rigged meters, etc. And yet, when it is raining, or when you are running late for a meeting, you pay more and hire an autorickshaw. This is because you don't have another option. And so on... There are countless examples for this.

How do you battle dependencies?
The only ways to fight dependencies, is either to be independent or to create alternate solutions - not as simple as it sounds.

You first need to develop a mindset against it. A strong will to not succumb to dependency. And I am saying this, only in places where it is not impossible. For example, when I have to cover a distance of four kilometres, and there are no buses in sight, I walk. And I am talking about times when I don't have meetings, or any time limit. You might ask "What's the big deal in doing that?" The answer is simple - A person such as an autodriver develops an attitude to refuse to go to a place where you ask him to, or develops an attitude of overconfidence or arrogance or complacency only when his stomach is filled. He has the idea that - "If not you, someone else". Every time you walk manageable distances, you are denying him of some money, while it is not a major hit to you. Imaging what will happen if this gets multiplied by a lot of people - Auto drivers will start feeling the pinch. They cannot afford to refuse getting hired.

Have a look at BMTC buses - There are two types, the normal ones and Volvos. The bus conductors and drivers of normal buses are inherently rude. They talk roughly all the time, and the reasons are that they see a lot of people and the buses are overcrowded all the time. They are able to meet the targets set by BMTC - this is because the fares are lower, and so, many people board the buses, and targets are met. So, they even have the audacity to skip bus stops leaving eagerly awaiting commuters high and dry. Volvo buses on the other hand can't afford to do that - Their fares are higher, and so, very few people board them. If they create a negative attitude, existing commuters may find alternate ways. If that happens, they cannot meet targets set. And this is the reason why they stop even when someone stops them.

Apparently auto drivers in Mumbai are very polite. This is obvious - People there go by local trains largely. They also have buses, autos and taxis as other means of transport. If they are not being competitive, they lose out. In Bangalore, if not for BMTC buses, there are no alternate means of transport for Bangaloreans that take them to the interiors. So, auto rickshaws continue to show attitude problems.

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