Does God exist? Is God a man or a woman or even human for that matter? Does he keep tabs and protect the good and punish the bad? What is good? What is bad? Should I believe the words of self-appointed spokespeople who claim to have conversed with God? Does it make sense that God would speak to a few and not to the rest? Is God logical? Or is He fickle and arbitrary and opinionated like his spokespeople make Him out to be? If He is really fickle and arbitrary and opinionated like He’s made out to be, shouldn’t such a God be deposed and not worshipped? Or perhaps, is he the non-judgmental, all observing One? Or perhaps he’s the Spirit? The Spirit who resides in everything and connects everything and yet detached from everything? The One you can hear when you listen closely to the heart beat of this universe? The One whose presence you sense in the mighty distant stars and the frail ant alike? Is He the One who hugs us when we are happy? The one whose hand we feel on our shoulders in grief? Is He just a comforting notion and nothing more?

I don’t know.

Does it matter what the answers are? What do we really want? We want to be happy. So let’s pursue happiness.

Happiness is the sun. It’s right there in front of our eyes. God’s the distant galaxy, nebulous and fading in and out of sight. Maybe we should get to the sun first. If we tried, maybe we will learn something about ourselves. Maybe we will learn humility. Maybe it will make us light and strong. So light and so strong that… perhaps … perhaps someday we will make an effortless leap to the distant elusive galaxy called God. Perhaps we will not feel the need to make that leap when that moment arrives because we’re already there.

From the diary of Arvind Kejriwal.

Jan 13, 2014

Bharat mata ki jai.

Yesterday I met Chetan Bhagat. He’s an IIT Delhi boy. I tried to dodge him but he showed up at the doorstep and started ringing the bell like a vacuum cleaner salesman. He also ended up eating my lunch from my dabba. Smug fellow. He gave me advice on how to start a party, win elections and launch a revolution. I asked him if he had any experience in doing any of this. He told me that he once advised the Thai government on something. He has also written a book called Revolution 2020. Good boy but I’m afraid that he does not appear very bright. Got very low GPA in IIT. Five-point something apparently. He doesn’t get it. He’s writing books and doing online polls. I’m doing the real thing.

Cleaned my office today. Found Sheila Dikshit’s conscience hidden in the lowest drawer of my table under a lot of dusty files. God only knows how long it’s been there.

More and more people are joining the movement. Many of them are Naxals, according to Yogendra and Prashant. They say it like it’s a good thing. Did I mention that these two are beginning to worry me? Like a lot? I remember seeing a movie called the Truman Show. It’s about a guy whose life is a constructed reality show made for TV. I think I might be Truman. Is this all a media constructed reality show? Or is something real going on? Will these people abandon me when they find the next big story? I’m worried. Justice Katju called me. I was shocked to hear him say that 90% of aam aadmis are idiots. I hope to God that’s not true. Else I’m in deep trouble.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the right things. But I felt pretty good about giving away  free water. YOLO baby. Carpe diem. BTW, we got got 4822 queries in the janta darbar yesterday. 4792 were queries asking ‘Muffler ke peeche kya hai?’. No more janta darbars. Katju is right.

I really want to make a difference. God, please give me the strength to change that which can be changed, to accept that which cannot be changed and the wisdom to tell the difference by asking the opinion of random aam aadmis via SMS.

God bless India. Bharat mata ki jai. Jai Hind. Good night.

*********

‘The Secret Life of Arvind Kejriwal’ is an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the life of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal brought to you by What Ho! in partnership with nothing more than a vivid imagination and a sense of humor. 4 out of 5 Jal Board Officials recommend reading this. You can follow The Secret Life of Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter @fakeriwal

You might also enjoy ‘The Secret Life of Arvind Kejriwal: OMG, the revolution is happening.’

From the diary of Arvind Kejriwal.

Jan 12, 2014.

Dear diary,

I can’t believe I’ve come this far. It’s scary. I’m feeling a lot of pressure. I don’t want to make bad decisions. I don’t want to let the people down. Please help me God. I love India. I want to do good things for her. I truly do.

I would love to nail the Congress blokes in the CWG scam. But I have taken their support to become CM. If I go after them, they will kick me out of the CM office. I don’t want to get kicked out of the CM office. Think about it. We just packed our stuff and moved homes. Oh God, I really don’t want to move again. Not for another 6 months at least. Family will be very unhappy with me if that happens. I hope people will understand my situation. Work-life balance is important, no?

Yogendra worries me. It’s like he’s in love with me. The other day, he called me ‘the tallest leader’ in AAP. And I’m just 5ft 8in. Scary, scary Brokeback Mountain bromance stuff. I wonder about Shazia too. Let’s hope that she’s not some crazy psycho like Sonam in Raanjhana who ends up taking revenge on Kumar Vishwas in some gory finale. Speaking of Kumar, he scares me the most. I never make eye contact with him. If I do, I feel like he’ll make me read his poetry.

By the way, I discovered the original Abhishek Singhvi DVD in the CM office. It seems to have been shot in 3D and Blu-Ray. Wow. It was right under a folder marked “CWG SCAM AND COVER UP. CONFIDENTIAL. EXPLOSIVE. DO NOT OPEN UNLESS YOU WANT TO SEND CONGRESS PEOPLE TO JAIL.” All appointments and janta darbars for Monday cancelled. This ought to be interesting.

The movement is gaining momentum. The revolution is spreading. All kinds of people are quitting their jobs and joining me. I hope to God that they know what they are doing ’cause I am not sure if I do. The way things are going, I think we have a fair shot at installing Prashant Bhushan as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

BTW, what’s all the fuss about Devyani? If I had been the PM, I’d have simply given 1000L of water free every day to the Delhi US Consulate and defused the situation long back.

God, please help me. I promise to do my best. Bharat mata ki jai. I love you, India. Jai Hind. Good night.

*********

‘The Secret Life of Arvind Kejriwal’ is an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the life of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal brought to you by What Ho! in partnership with nothing more than a vivid imagination and a sense of humor. 4 out of 5 Jal Board Officials recommend reading this. You can follow The Secret Life of Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter@fakeriwal

Also read “Free stuff is good. YOLO baby.

swing2

I’m coming up on a birthday soon. It’s hard to not connect birthdays to aging once you reach the mid-forties. 46. Is that really how old I am?

Let’s take a closer look.

The youngest atom in the body is more than a billion years old. Hydrogen, the most abundantly found element, is nearly 14 billion years old and was produced during the Big Bang. Carbon and oxygen atoms are between 7 and 10 billion years old. In other words, we are really really ancient. What’s another 20 or 46 or 72 years in this cosmic scheme of things?

So how old did you say I was?

Cells in our body die every second and new ones replace them. In a sense, we are re-created with each passing moment. A liver refreshes itself in 3 months. Taste buds in 2 weeks. The lung’s surface in 3 weeks. The heart refreshes 2-3 times over a lifetime. Cells in the intestine in 2 days. In fact, only our eyes are as old are we are, not undergoing transformation over time.

So we are made of ancient cosmic dust but renew ourselves in some cases as often as every 2 days and sometimes never?

So, tell me again. How old did you say I was?

Each of us, like a chicken, started off as an egg. From the egg that came from our mothers, that is. The thing about a human egg is that it is formed when the mother herself is an embryo. And we could argue that the formation of the egg, half of which contributed to each of us, is technically our first moment of existence. So, if your mother had you at 25 years of age, and you are 30 years old, technically you are ( 30 + 25 = ) 55 years old.

46 years. 2 days. 14 billion years. Add your mom’s age to yours. Take your pick.  I told you that age is just a number.

And happy birthday to you too (for whenever the day comes). Remember that you are this newborn baby that has existed since the beginning of time and will last till the end of it. Many happy returns of infinity to you.

There is an old thumb rule in the tech industry which says that you can get at most only two out of performance, quality and price in any given product. For example, if you get low price and high performance, chances are that the product is sold by an inferior brand. If the product is sold by a great brand for a low price, then it’s likely that its features are limited. And so on. I call this the rule of three.

There may be a similar rule that applies to leaders, especially the political ones. I think you can get at most only two out of charisma, integrity and performance in a leader. By charisma, I mean an intrinsically trustworthy and likable person who has the ability to inspire large numbers of people. Manmohan Singh, for example, is not a charismatic leader. Ronald Reagan was a charismatic leader. By integrity, I mean things like not being corrupt, honesty, truthfulness and similar traits. Bill Clinton, for example, would not rank high on the integrity scale. By performance, I refer to an ability to govern and execute. Vajpayee’s stewardship of the national highways project, for example, is quoted often as an example of excellence in execution.

If we applied this model to Indian leaders, it seems to work well. Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were not the best of administrators. Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Narasimha Rao lacked charisma. Indira Gandhi lacked integrity. Atal Behari Vajpayee is the only one who comes somewhat close to having all three, which probably is why some consider him the greatest prime minister till date. Manmohan Singh displayed governance and integrity early in his career, as RBI governor and then Finance Minister. His last five years as Prime Minister are notable for their deficiency in all three areas of charisma, integrity and governance.

In 2014, we will likely evaluate three prime ministerial candidates: Arvind Kejriwal, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.  Kejriwal appears to possess charisma and of course, has built a campaign around his personal integrity. Inexperience in governance is his weakness. Narendra Modi scores on integrity and governance fronts, but comes across more as a polarizing force than a unifying one. Rahul Gandhi appears to be the straggler in this mix, possessing at best personal integrity and at worst, none of the three. That doesn’t bode well for Congress. If his party were to somehow win, it wouldn’t then bode well for the country. We can’t afford yet another leader who scores zero on three.

Can you think of any leader, either in politics or business, living or dead with all three? Please use the comments section to nominate.