There are several parameters by which a person can be judged. Someone said, " Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you what you are!” A very dependable yardstick I should say. And extremely logical too. Yet another innovative yardstick is “You can read a person from the type of jokes he takes offense at”! It is a very interesting parameter to read into a person’s character and can by itself generate a long and lively discussion. I don’t intend initiating it here though. I’d like you to try my recipe, which is simply this. We can read a person’s character with a fair degree of accuracy from how he takes his success or failure. Does he accept success with a smug smile as if it is nothing new to him or he keeps talking about how he made it? Does failure make him wilt or does he take it with a philosophical shrug? Take for exampleone of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1lace>India</st1lace></st1:country-region>’s greatest Emperors. Emperor Ashoka very nearly became a Saint after the Kalinga War which was the Emperor’s first and last war. Transforming him from a bloodthirsty warrior to an apostle of non-violence, the Kalinga War was indeed a watershed in his life. The success in the war did not make him bloodthirsty or a megalomaniac. On the contrary, the sight of over a hundred thousand mangled bodies strewn all over the battlefield transformed him instantly. How he became an ardent follower of Buddhism and how he became an epitome of human virtues is history. Contrast this with how Hitler took his victories. There you have two men of extremely opposite qualities. I do not know if you had ever been to a horse racing. The moment the result of a race is declared, you’ll find all those jilted by the horses on which they had waged their bets reacting in different ways. Some will just crumble the tickets into a tiny ball and throw them away with the same gusto with which a shot-putter would do in an Olympic event albeit aimlessly. A few will tear it off into as many pieces as the world’s most competent shredding machine would do and toss them up to watch them fall to the ground like Leonoid meteoric shower! A few others would make a beeline to the canteen and ask for horsemeat. A handful of relentless fighters will take out the race book and start concentrating on the probable winner for the next race. In each of these reactions, their characters are brought out in vivid colours. Take sports for example. We, the Indians, can take pride in the fact that we are the world’s most gracious losers. No arguments, no excuses, no shows of petulance and no ill feeling. Some may argue that we have developed this graceful attitude to defeat over decades of experience. I do not agree with this argument. It is my view that unless you have a basically philosophical bent of mind, no amount of consistent defeat could temper you so much as to be able to accept it with grace. Look at <st1:country-region><st1lace>Pakistan</st1lace></st1:country-region> or <st1:country-region><st1lace>Australia</st1lace></st1:country-region> when they are losing particularly to <st1:country-region><st1lace>India</st1lace></st1:country-region> and you’ll know what I mean! Don’t you think it was cricket’s greatest hour of shame when <st1:country-region><st1lace>England</st1lace></st1:country-region> launched a bodyline attack against an irrepressible Don? Look at our boys in <st1:country-region><st1lace>England</st1lace></st1:country-region> now! They seem to be bent on providing a lot of entertainment on the ground even when they face a certain defeat. They chew their nails for breakfast, lunch and tea. They keep falling on the ground long after the ball eludes them and crosses the boundary line. They try new antics for getting maximum exposure on TV! About winning and losing in politics, the less said the better. If there is a contest, there will be winning and losing. There will be an instant polarization of forces usually around the winner to look for some short-term gains. There will also be a group clustering around the loser to ensure that he develops into a constant source of irritant for the winner. It is, therefore, imperative that both the winner as well as the loser keeps a level head at all times. After all, in our long march through life, we win some and lose some. Both are just relative.