Let’s talk about actual picture , not records

Now that Nancy Pelosi ‘ s  speech setting a new record with 8 hrs 7 mins has become big news I was intrigued about the 77 year old who held the floor , pleading for the ‘ Dreamers ‘  who had been granted a safe haven to live each day working towards their dreams .These ‘ Dreamers ‘ were  illegal under-aged immigrants in plain language before the DACA program  that gave them this motivational tag -‘ Dreamers’ and even better – a chance to actually dream big .

The columnist had taken the trouble to research upon other marathon speeches in history.

  • The longest speech in the House of Representatives till Pelosi set the record ( 5 hrs 15 min )  by a member from Missouri in 1909.
  • V . K Menon ‘ s  speech at the United Nation Security Council convention on the Kashmir issue when he had to be hospitalized after collapsing  at the 5th hour on 23 rd January 1957 . But he was on the floor the following day with a doctor at his side monitoring his blood-pressure while he spoke for another 2 hours 48 minutes . A total of 7 hrs 48 mins .
  • Castro’s speech ever delivered at the United Nations: 4 hours and 29 minutes, on Sept. 29, 1960 for which he holds the Guinness Book of Records title for the longest speech ever delivered at the United Nation .

But, reading about these people’s speeches made me realize that Nancy Pelosi ‘s efforts even more admirable and her speech was way out of league with the other marathon speeches . It takes  a lot  more than oratorical skill alone  – it takes extraordinary  courage to plead the way she did for the people who constitute a small minority and  most importantly the people who occupy the  lower levels in the hierarchy pyramid  as the illegal immigrants among a section of people who hold the tag as  immigrants in United States . Today when fairly well-off immigrants are taking to the streets  ‘ to show their solidarity with President Trump ‘  just to get the green card so that they are no long XYZ – Americans but only Americans , these people need some angel – representative in the House because taking to the streets alone wouldn’t  work for them as it might do for others . There are still others who are about their daily grind just hoping that everything would be just as it was the day they set foot in the country  looking forward to better life and opportunities .

The Statue of Liberty acquired a new meaning of  standing  ” greeting millions of immigrants and embodying hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life in America. It stirs the desire for freedom in people all over the world. It represents the United States itself . ” due to several immigrants who made America their home and contributed to the idea of America as the Land of Opportunity  with their success stories – a few really big ones and others equally inspiring but  in the materialistic sense not news-worthy but feature-story – worthy  definitely . These  feature stories captured their life ‘ s struggles vividly and that makes it difficult to discount these people . They might not be a  billionaire or a famous figure today and definitely  wealth and fame alone don’t become the sole indicators of success .

I could only marvel at the lady who took the floor using  the “ magic minute ” rule ( what a interesting name to come up with for a Rule )  granting unlimited time to the party leader provided that she did not sit down or even take a restroom break . So , she stood during the entire duration of her speech which started definitely at a magic minute considering that she could tell the life stories of close to 300 of  the ” Dreamers ”  which gave the speech a more humanitarian tone than a political rhetoric one .  Despite a good number of apprehensive fellow Democrats who were concerned about the political consequences of  this speech (very understandably ) , she minced no words .

Today , several nations ‘ leaders have forgotten the fundamental ideals  and principles that were laid down  or even worse stage populist politics to put forth new ideas that are in stark contrast with the ideology of the early leaders of the nation . The irony is that these are the leaders who promised ” good days ahead ” for their people but once they are in office their focus has shifted from the people who actually elected them to the office and the items in the real agenda get implemented real quick owing to the numbers . Too late , the people who not only voted for them but became hard – core loyalists  who would not want to hear a dissenting voice during the early days have come to realize that   their savior ‘s  loyalties lie elsewhere and they were appealed to only because of their numbers and their own insecurities . Or maybe plant an idea and see it become a growing fear or a strong conviction was what those leaders did which eventually became sweeping electoral victories

Let ‘s be practical here – I can’t  imagine majority of the politicial leaders from any nation  doing what she did during the recent times when even  ” the Land of Opportunity ” has become choosy about whom it should extend the opportunities to . Today , several nations ‘ leaders have forgotten the fundamental ideals  and principles that were laid down by the founding leaders or even worse stage populist politics to put forth new ideas that are in stark contrast with the ideology of the early leaders of the nation . The irony is that these are the leaders who promised ” good days ahead ” for their people but once they are in office their focus has shifted from the people who actually elected them to the office and the items in the real agenda get implemented real quick owing to the numbers . Too late , the people who not only voted for them but became hard – core loyalists  who would not want to hear a dissenting voice during the early days have come to realize that   their savior ‘s  loyalties lie elsewhere and they were appealed to only because of their numbers and their own insecurities . Or maybe plant an idea and see it become a growing fear or a strong conviction was what those leaders did which eventually became sweeping electoral victories . A lie that is often repeated eventually becomes the truth .

Yeah , maybe while writing in the context of Nancy Pelosi ‘ s speech , somehow I couldn’t help drawing parallels between United States and India which  prided itself on being an example of ‘ Unity in Diversity ‘  considering the political scenario in both the countries today . The headlines like US Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi beats Krishna Menon’s record with 8-hour speechathon or Facebook posts captioned like Nancy Pelosi set a record by speaking for more than eight hours  don’t do justice to this lady ‘ s efforts .

But then its print media and we can understand why headlines are about record – breaks and new records . The journalist who had given historical contexts about marathon speeches could not give a more in – depth account of the speech itself except for moments like when ” when Pellosi struggled at the fifth hour mark, sniffing repeatedly  from what she suggested was an allergic reaction to the dust from the House carpeting[….]  ”  it gave unsurprisingly very little account of the actual underlying issue for which a 77 year old would stand for 8 hours without a break and speak .

I have only two things to say :

Nancy Pellosi is one of a kind when it comes to political leaders today who could look at the bigger picture . She has finally got the spotlight  but unsurprisingly  for a very dampening reason  thanks to all  headlines about ” speechathons ” and  ” setting new record ”

Can our columnists think about reporting the actual picture instead of  giving accounts of  ” interesting moments ” in any proceedings within the Houses ? I have seen it time and again with columnists writing about political debates .

Let ‘ s talk about the actual picure for a change guys because this ain’t no reality show to give us tidbits about ” interesting moments ” ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Types of Quorans

I signed up for Quora in July 2016. I would have made a reference to it in one of the posts. The Quora that I signed up for was a knowledge-sharing platform. During the early days, it was a social media platform with a difference – you read even if your book reading took a backseat with all the deadlines and most importantly, read about things that matter. The title speaks for itself. So let’s get started…

       Storytellers:

These are the guys who have a story for every question they answer. As we know people tell stories in their way and so the storyteller tag itself is a generalization.

           Just for Laughs Only storytellers:

               Warning: Read at your own risk in office as these answers will crack you up and you would definitely get some weird looks if it happens too often. Or if you are the kind of person who can always manage a placid smile , then you can go ahead.

These guys are probably cousins to the Facebook meme creators. They ace the art of telling stories in a rib-tickling way and rival the stand-up comedians with their narrative spiced with puns and definitely their own unique style of writing. Any question they choose to answer should have a story and most importantly should be told so that the readers have a good laugh. When the answer nails these two factors, it automatically rakes the upvotes. For those who are for Laughter is the best medicine, when you cannot go for Facebook or Twitter, you can go for Quora also now.

       Enlightened storytellers:

These guys are the ones who have graduated from the first category. They have finally realized that you don’t have to make the reader smile or LOL with every story and that there are other stories also to be told for some answers-inspiring personal stories, personal stories that sometimes reveal about the person with the “popular Quoran” tag whom several try to emulate (definitely) and most importantly about inspiring people whom many of us have very little idea or no idea about .Whatever story they tell they make the reader sit through it to the very end. When the reader finishes reading the answer, it leaves the reader with questions/new insights or pondering about the opinions put forth. Whatever their answers do, the readers have a takeaway from each answer. The stories cannot be simply categorized-they know which story should be told for any question.

Some of them have been very honest about their journey from being a JFL storyteller just to establish a good follower base to telling stories that need to be told today. The answers that are introspective about the journey and setting new goals by some of the really honest guys are as good as motivational blogs and TED talks. These people show how to do things when they write those answers.

      Masked storytellers

          Not all heard stories are easy to digest for the readers. We can only imagine about other stories which we have not heard.

I have seen several anonymous answers raking upvotes and helpful comments by the awesome Quora community (not meaning to sound insensitive) than the stories which identifies the writer.

Their stories drill the hard fact that all good things in life will not be handed to you in a platter sometimes. You have to beat the odds to reach where you want to. A few answers are people who are still struggling but very optimistic that they will make it.Some answers would make you wish you knew that person and heard the story from their own mouth. These guys are the ones who have bounced forward. The society, their family circumstances, their failures-nothing shakes/shook them. They take/have taken things in their stride.

Another set of answers are written by people who want to unburden themselves about some harrowing experiences in life which they wouldn’t confide even to those closest to them for the fear of being judged/sparing their loved ones the pain which they suffer constantly. The Quora community reaches out to these people which encouraging words and I have seen several of these storytellers coming up with Edits about how those words have been consoling and they are looking forward to moving on.Some have gone to write about bouncing back in the Edits.

The Mentor

These writers were probably Adam D’ Angelo’s target audience when he together with Charlie Cheever came up with the idea of Quora.

They painstakingly write quite lengthy but super-informative answers on how-to-learn or choosing-between-X-or-Y or about complex concepts and several others questions beginners have in a particular field. Some of them actually substantiate their answers with stats and a bonus of list of reference links for more info/tools for learning/links for courses. A single answer can provide a wealth of information and give a head-start for the reader’s learning journey. Several of them give the tips & tricks they followed during their learning phase too.

I specially love those writers who narrate the story of their learning journey with all the mistakes they made (which the reader had also made/might be making) and most importantly, how they got back on track which serves for reassuring the beginners that perseverance pays off when some beginners feel anxious about getting stuck in learning-plateaus (I was one of those beginners…So special mention about these answers).

The Prime Time Debate Panelist:

As the country which drives the highest traffic to Quora, this is an exclusively Indian thing. The Quorans who write about India’s current political scenario are divided into two camps. No wonders there-there are no-so-healthy discussions in the comments sections or tongue-in-cheek answers about why the other camp has got it wrong completely. It becomes really ugly only when people specially from the camp that is critical about the Government write anonymously and begin their answer with the explanation-I am one step from getting banned. Some of the “not-so popular” but definitely bold writers from the camp have got banned. So, the seasoned political critic has to resort to this safety measure so that another dissenting voice is not banned from putting forth his/her opinions.

I believe that people of a free democratic state have the freedom of speech. It becomes a joke when we can make Trump jokes and Brexit jokes but cannot see what has happened at the home front. The current Government is honest enough to set the example for their Digital India campaign when every minister in the Cabinet is active on the social media like Facebook and Twitter. But, Quora is a different social media platform-questions will be asked and dissenting comments with solid facts for which the Minister has to come up with an convincing reply much like their “epic tweets”. Quora does not need their presence-their faithful followers in Twitter and Facebook are doing their job. So, why worry? With all honesty, one camp has an unfair advantage over the other like in most of the prime time debates on Indian news channels.

With several non-Indians hinting about their feeds monopolized by questions about The Great Indian Socio-Political and Economic scenario (one guy was frank enough to suggest that India should have its own Quora) where we would probably be able to thrash another writer’s opinions from the opposite camp without any fear about moderation from Quora. Well, rules can be relaxed as user experience matters and most importantly user engagement.

The Avid reader

The one who reads and reads but doesn’t write much and upvotes good answers. Quora freshers are in awe of the “popular Quorans” and even a comment from one of them, for one answer makes them ecstatic. You need to see some of their replies!! The fandom reaction for anything a “popular Quoran” does is becoming somewhat of fandom reaction for celebs.These are the most underrated guys very understandably but these guys also drive a good amount of traffic to the site and most importantly, make the writers write often and better.

Today the platform for “gaining and sharing knowledge” is just another social media platform. Quora follower-base is just like Facebook’s Friends list and Twitter followers. The stats say that India drives the largest traffic to Quora (33.3%) compared with 26.5% from US. But we don’t need the stats-we see it everyday. Now, Quora has become another in-fad platform that Indians have to try out. Quora has become a platform where every wannabe writer practices writing and there are too many of those answers that are written only for raking upvotes and every other reason except sharing knowledge and even for really interesting questions the answer is in the Indian context . My Quora feed has no variety and is flooded with answers on select number of topics when there are a wide range of topics. Click here for the full list of topics on Quora. The Quora follower-base has given them bragging rights because ” Brainy is the new sexy”. I think it’s the beginning of Quora becoming another Facebook/Twitter because this is what we Quorans get to see everytime nowadays

 

  • You upvoted this answer on this topic and so we bring you more answers on this topic.
  • You have answered questions under this topic and so read other answers on this topic
  • You can “discover new topics” with a list of related topics with the names of the “popular Quorans” you are following who are following those topics
  • Notifications like XYZ upvoted this answer after seeing your upvote

To gain an edge over its competitor Q & A sites Adam D’Angelo made sure Quora had the crowd-pulling features of both Facebook and Twitter. The Quora blogs feature is just taking things too far-Its like Lenka singing

All I wanna be
Is everything

Everything at once

By now, you can guess which category I fall into. I was also into honing my writing skills when I signed up for Quora but eventually I was not interested to enter into a rat-race that people where making Quora writing to be. I am still mostly answering A2As about book recommendations and anything on literature and some interesting questions in random topics.If you are wondering if I am still reading Quora-Yes, I read but mostly answers by the last two Quoran writers and sometimes stories by the last two kinds of storytellers.