Sunday, May 1, 2011

Remote Control

By: Zahoor-ul-Islam
I have been living in this apartment for four years now. The apartment has two entrances to the basement parking, one at the front and the other at the back of the building. When I first moved here, I would always use the front entrance, but later on I discovered that the back entrance was more convenient, as it is broader and gives me easier access to my allocated parking space.
Ever since I started using the back entrance, I was always faced with a problem in opening the parking entrance bar which operates with a small remote control. I noticed a lot of other people struggling with it too. I would try different combinations, different distances from the bar, at times pressing the button of the remote with different intensity! I mastered in all sorts of techniques and found one or the other working at different times. It would get quite frustrating at times.
Every time I was able to open the bar, it was like a triumph, an achievement, something similar to discovering the secret to unlock some hidden door in pursuit of a treasure hunt. At the same time some (not so) nice words would instantaneously come out for the manufacturer of the parking bar and the building management.
While I discovered different techniques, I noticed other people struggling and facing difficulty opening the bar. I found it quite amusing, and I would wonder why everyone (that includes me too) would just struggle with the remote control and not complain about this to the building management! This apathy didn’t make sense to me. But alas one day I discovered the secret…
One fine day I reached the parking entrance and tried the remote control, it didn’t work as usual, and then I started applying all the techniques one by one. I tried pressing the button with different angles; I also tried reversing my car to a certain distance and then pressing the button with different strength. One by one I tried them all but none worked.
I then pulled up to the front entrance but the remote didn’t work here either! Poor maintenance, it seemed as if the disease now spread to front too. The building management charge hefty amount for maintenance but spend it all on their salaries! Maybe this was a result of rising inflation for the past couple of years, I wondered.
I finally decided to do something about it and get this problem resolved once and for all. So I went to watchman’s room and explained the entire situation. I told him that nothing was working, and things have worsened in the past few days. He agreed to come to back with me to the entrance and look at the problem himself. He tried his remote and to my amazement, it worked! Wow!
I thanked him for his help, but I insisted that he get the maintenance staff to check the issue and get it fixed, or the bar totally replaced. He paused for a moment, looked at me, smiled and asked me for how long I had been living in this building. I proudly said 4 years. He politely asked me, “Sir did you change the battery of your remote in these years?” And I wondered, what battery? I thought battery came with the remote, and worked forever!
I went home and opened the remote and found an unusual sized battery inside with 9 volts written on it; something quite unusual. I was very proud of my observation till this moment but I had never seen something like that.
The very next day I went to the nearby supermarket, went straight to the electronic counter and enquired about this unusual battery. The person behind the counter immediately asked me if I needed it for the car remote. I was stunned, and I said yes, thinking that this guy was a genius! He told me that I would find it in the battery section with all the other normal batteries.
I felt my observation wasn’t all that great after all, since I never noticed this unique battery which had always been there with all the other batteries!
Ever since I changed the battery I never had problems again; no complex techniques, no reversing of the car, no pressing of the button with that particular strength needed. Just a simple press of the button and the bar opened!
I felt everything had always been perfect except me. I was the noise in the whole equation.
For a moment I thought, the bar operated when the remote generated a special frequency which matched the bar configured frequency. I had the same problem with many such bars in my life, but I always blamed the bar. I never realized that the battery inside me needed to be replaced. I don’t know how many times the bars have acted smartly and sympathetically towards me and opened the door of opportunity for me, but I always thought it was my brilliance and excellence.
I always considered myself and my world as perfect, and all the people acting around me as robots and dim-witted. I considered myself the king of my world, as I supposedly knew the solutions to all the problems around me, but I never realized that the problem was not in the surrounding, but it was inside me.
I realized that all I needed was to change the battery inside me, and be receptive to everything that was coming towards me. I never noticed the car remote cell while purchasing ‘AAA’ size batteries because we tend to see and hear what our brain expects. Our intelligent subconscious mind excludes all the unwanted signals before they are refined to be understood. So my brain was always happy, it always saw and heard what it wanted. But this incident that made me to change the car remote battery, also compelled me to change my personal battery too, and with that, I changed too in a positive way.


  1. very interesting my late father would say "this is an inside out approach" and he would also put it by saying " we should clean our own lens to see the world clearly"

  2. Good one. Things aren't that complex as they appear, and mostly a modest approach will suffice.

  3. very true indeed! we need to change our batteries to think positive :)