Dreams….

30 07 2008

Haunted by my dreams, this post is a result of midnight musings, after I soothed my frayed nerves by a short chat with my papa. These days I realized that dreams are my deepest desires which I have never acknowledged. Its like those persistant voices which never got a chance, and hence they manifest in the eerie visions of the dreamland when our resistance to logically refute is at all time low. Most of the things I dream are either about things that I heard of, or things that I want to happen or stories that I read somewhere. Those some of these often take me by surprise, they would laos make me believe that I am what I dream. But dreaming alone won’t achieve what I long for, right? May be I don’t live my dreams because I live my fears. May be, I magnify my fears with the thinking mind and lull the heart’s desire with cold reason.

My experience of dreams goes a long way back.. Most of my dreams weave those ‘what if’ sequences about the opportunities that life presents. Some of them could be about me visualizing how would it look if I try bungee jumping or about how would life be in a different career, or about how is an ordinary day in a new environment. Yet, these are what make me come to terms with my anxieties and facts of lifewhile making me comfortable with the fear from the unknown.

And there are those creative dreams either about the stories I heard, movies I partly saw or books that I read somewhere. One of those vivid childhood dreams that stayed with me, is this dream of Ramayana, that started from where the Hanuman brings the sanjeevani to the end of war. I distinctly remember this, for I stayed long in bed so that this dream finds its end. Well, there are dreams where I played wild roles, like a daredevil detective, or a super woman, but let me assure you, these are quite rare. Its been long time since I played the batwoman. 🙂 Yet, the kick of these dreams lies in the way I could manipulate those sequences, or even create them to my satisfaction.

And then there are those dreams that helped me overcome my fears. In childhood, I have always been afraid of things like loosing family members or snakes. I am not sure if I overcome any of those fears. But I remember those dreams which made me run till I made a choice to pick a stick and fight or those that portrayed loss of loved ones and taught me to appreciate their value in life.

But of all these dreams that I had, I never felt as if I am an inactive participant. I have always, (ok, I concede) most of the times, been able to direct my dream to my desired end or end it before it turns wild. May be that’s why I never had such a predominant nightmare which became a permanent memory.

Somehow I believe that dreamland is the space where we touch the threshold of our potential and visualize the realization of our deepest desires. Some stop there, reveling in the beauty of their dreams and basking in vicarious satisfaction; while some hold on and make it a reality in this material world.

I don’t think I have a theory about what I dream, but somehow writing about them did lighten my thought at this late hour. If you are reading this, tell me about your dreams. Would love to hear about the extent and expanse of your imagined universe. Even if you don’t want to talk about it in public space, it’s ok. At least acknowledge them to yourself in solitude, else you would end up being haunted by dreams, just the way I was.

P.S. Whenever I think of dreams, I couldn’t help but muse on here, for in vague sense, it gives me hope.





Antargange Trek..

23 06 2008

Pure Exhiliaration is the word of the day. Thanks for the insistence of a sweet pal, which made me head for this trek instead of watching ‘Dasavatharam’ or indulging in window shopping.

This is the first time that I tried ‘Bangalore Mountaineering Club’ and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by the experience. We boarded the bus at 8 AM at K.R. Puram busstop and I was surprised to see 50 plus people in the bus, given the short notice. I guess the quality of the companionship in the group made all the difference to this trekking experience.

The trip started with around 90 minutes of bus journey from Bangalore to reach Kolar. We caught up with the breakfast at ShanthiSagar in Kolar which is around 3 km from the ‘Antargange’ location. We reached the place in no time and there was a pack of stairs leading up to the temple. We were welcomed by loads of monkeys, and the pleasant sunny breeze warmed us for the trek ahead.

We reached the Antargange temple after a little climb of stairs, and I already had doubts forming in my mind, if the trek actually is over before it even began. The temple is filled with serene silence and the group is abuzz with action for the impending climb. Making the temple as our base camp, we started the trek with Janak playing the lead trekker and Neeraj trailing to support the cozy climbers.

The path is paved with sand, rock, thorns and the sun, in his blazing glory, wasn’t playing the good Samaritan. Yet, undaunted, many were climbing ahead, one step at a time, in a quiet determination to discover the terrain. I really marvelled at the energy of the crowd in climbing and cave exploring in the region. By noon, we reached the peak of a mountain(if I can call it that) and were ready to go for cave exploration after a relaxed lunch on the peak of a mountain by the side of a small brook filled with chilled water. Cold feet takes a different meaning when you get to rest by dipping feet in chilled water on the top of a mountain in sooting breeze after a hectic trek uphill.

The beauty of mingling with a group in an organized trek, is the sheer experience of encountering different people with different choices and interests. There would be some exploring the untrodden path, some who would take time around to smell the roses and savour the scenary around, while some who run ahead in childlike enthusiam of scaling the peak ahead only to discover that there is no dearth of rocks. Everyone discovering his or her own private definition of solitude and enjoyment amidst wilderness and sun.

If the climb uphill through the rocks in no definite path was a journey on its own, filled with a different thrill of navigating through the boulders that challenge your endurance, the cave exploration post lunch unleashed the childlike exuberance of discovering the unknown. Armed with a naive faith that the dark holds no terror, we all went through the natural caves, to discover our own recess for solitude amidst the mammoth rocks that are resting since centuries. Those rocks filled with small crevices are loaded with umpteen challenges. Often, finding a way ahead in the maze of boulders becomes daunting as the chances of hitting a dead end means reinventing the wheel once again. The wild flowers with their gentle fragrance, and the natural caves with their cold soothing embrace did offer some sanctury against the sultry weather. We did learn some gymnastics, prodding ourselves though the closely nested rocks to reach no definite destination in an easy pace.

The view from the top is breath taking! Enveloped by sand, rock, sky and sun, the town of Kolar looks serene and calm. All I could feel was numbing contentment. With so many people sharing the joy of experience, the thought that lingered in that moment was, ‘who said its lonely at the top?’. 🙂 I was in for a treat while getting down. We discovered a small well with pristine sweet water and I relived the fantasy of a village gal by drawing water from the well and enjoying its sweet taste in primitive fashion. With loads of memories and sated satisfaction, we headed for Bangalore playing Antakshari enroute with the new found pals. We sealed off the day with a quiet dinner at Malgudi and bid our farewell. I had my much needed break, and I confess this, even though the after effects of the trek still remain in my hoarse throat and aching muscles.





Respect For Individual..

21 06 2008

This time I started with the title first, and as soon as I keyed it in, it sounded darn preachy! Especially when I have the Accenture core values pamphlet in front of me that has features the title as one of the core values. 🙂 Yet, it has been a lingering thought since sometime, and I have some interesting anecdotes to share.

Now that I mentioned Accenture, let me start with my induction programme that happened some months back. We were allotted some 2 hours session for discussion around this particular core value. Incidentally, this was I think the last session of the day and all of the participants were tired. The faculty walks in. The first question he posed to the listless audience was: “how much time do you all give to me?”. Someone answered 30 minutes. He quietly agrees and announces that this is ‘respect for individual’. I couldn’t help but burst clapping in appreciation. Yes. Indeed, he closed the session within agreed time and I did carry the message home. 🙂

One of my favorite anecdotes in office humor has been about ‘biscuit’. Though we often kid about the incident in lighter note, it did generate a serious thought too. It all happened in one of those office treks, where we are buying food stuff for snacking en route. One of the teammates wanted to pick some biscuits for it and he was made fun by some folks of being kiddish for his food choice. It is very easy to get carried away in light hearted banter. Most often, humor generated is at the expense of someone, especially in groups. Finally, that poor chap didn’t pick his biscuits and that did leave that feeling of denial with us.

Yet, that incident did trigger a new dictum in the gang, which we call by name biscuit. A rule to abide by the respective individual choices instead of succumbing to group think. And it did offer me some interesting experiences too. Respecting somebody’s interest in Art and Theatre did take me to ‘Water Lilies’, ‘Natyalakshana’ or ‘Don Muttuswami’, some of which I throughly enjoyed. “What’s your biscuit?”, this question that often happens among us, whilst we are thinking about weekend plans, often sounds like music. The idea of group coming to individual and celebrating independent thoughts, instead of individual interests being drowned in group is charming. And Yes. No one is denied of biscuit these days. 🙂





The Fires Within..

18 05 2008

When Was The Last Time That I Did Something For the First Time?

I attended a dance performance by Natyalakshana, called ‘The Fires Within’ which was sponsored by Bosch Cultural Events at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall this Friday. For those who were wondering about my new found interest in traditional art forms, I have to ascribe due credit to those unconventional inspirations that result from boredom.

And how glad I was that my whim took me there. How I thanked my friends for their exotic and audacious suggestion to take me there! The show was a beautiful symphony of music, dance and art, where flying feet gave voice to age old legends. The legendary poems represented are selected verses from Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’, Bharathiyar’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and a few selection of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry in Kathak. I loved the ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Ghalib’s poetry representation, where I felt that the dancers delivered a magnificent justice to the poems.

Shama and Sanjay’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Hari and Chandana’s ‘Mirza Ghalib piece’ had a delicate balance of perfection and expression and they held me in rapture through out. The dance drama that followed, called Tagore’s ‘Tasher Desh’ was a little bit disappointing, but the blame rests with my expectations which reached the sky by the end of the first two performances. If I have to define the experience, words would surely fail me as I am running short of superlatives. I could never realize that poetry could be so brilliantly enticing and soul wrenching. I was swaying in a world, so out of myself and the feeling is liberating. I believe that the credit of those beautiful moments goes to those on back stage as well. A special mention for Usha Venkateshwaran, the director of Natyalakshana who choreographed and produced the dances. Simone for the wonderful sway of lights and Sri Gurumurthy and Ustad Faizal Khan for their mellifluous music.

This event did make me reflect on my opinions towards conventional art forms. For to achieve perfection in blending, a music so divine, a dance that lent life to poetry and expressions that tugged heart, it must either have been Divine’s grace or years’ practice. It did teach me a thing or two about the immense beauty that’s submerged in Indian tradition and art. Like a welcome summer rain, my heart kissed the joy and danced along enticed in the magical world of dance, music and poetry. A worthy life long memory that’s for me for keeps.

Here are the translations in English for the Ghalib’s poetry that’s recited in the Event.

“O God Thy blessings on the soul
Whose name just came to my lips.
And as I willed that it be sung,
My speech rained kisses on my tongue.

These images drawn by Thee to make
Thine grand image, this world
Stand there like supplicants bowed in prayer:
Their burden they can’t bear.

The Fire in me, it rages high,
Though I be bound in chains.
The chain rings bounce,for they are light
Like hair all curled by flame

No simile matches her playfulness
And her quick-silver, passionate ways,
For, lighting lacks, by far, her play
And her temper is hotter than a blaze.

It is the nature of love, no doubt:
A kind of freak fire, which
You cannot start just when you wish,
Nor can you put it out.

A fire is raging in my heart
On this lonely night
My own shadow doth run from me
A smoke from fire takes flight.

It is ages since my beloved’s feet
Did cross this poor threshold.
So let her, with her twinkling cups,
Light up my dark abode.

My bustling crowd of desires
Each took my breath away!
Though I could quench many, many of them,
Yet millions remain un-slaked.





A Piece of Rant Club…

15 05 2008

X: I Am Good At Management…

Me: Why Do You Think So?

X: Umm… I am good at coffee table conversations. I am good at talking to people. My communication skills are super. Top of the world actually. And, finally, I think I am good at coordination (really, any one can schedule meetings and handle logistics! ) and I enjoy doing it.

And finally as the discussion proceeds, I realize that its either the lure of flexible time, or the seemingly easy work that acts as a persistent motivator than the idea of career.

There is a lot of misconception about the so called management roles, at least in the field that I work in. Thought most of the senior people in those roles seem to be doing only talking, preparing pretty presentations, or spending most of their time in meetings, there is lot more under the hood than that meets the eye. One doesn’t account for the years of experience or the knowledge that they are equipped with to handle client demands on the feet, or the experiential insight that they bring in while addressing specific issues. Even bad communicators may have sound understanding or a strategic approach to the problem at hand. We can’t ignore the skills that they bring to the table because someone has bad presentation skills, just the way we can’t give weight for garrulous mouthing of words with little essence.

For those who are contemplating management career or decision making roles, a little bit of soul searching is crucial. List out all the reasons and hidden factors that propel you to consider this option. You can give a load of convincing answers to the world, yet please don’t deceive thyself.

Do you have it in you to face tremendous odds and come out trumps? Can you handle tremendous pressure or do you get fizzled out at the drop of a hat? Do you have the never-say-die spirit or do you give up easily and are driven by the principle of fatalism, i.e. the belief that you don’t have control over your deeds and some external force like God determines that.

After going through these discussions umpteen number of times, and talking to aspiring MBAs my mood turned nostalgic as I leafed through those memories of college days. I am blessed with a great mentor during my engineering days, and I am sharing a piece of those exchanges. These are times when I feel that the basics of these questions hasn’t changed over 5 years.

Why you want to do MBA?
1. Is it for money?
2. Is it for fame?
3. Is it for getting power?
4. Is it for getting a good job?
5. Is it for getting social recognition?
6. Is it because you want to make a career in Management?
7. Is it because you like to take challenges?
8. Is it because you want to broaden your horizons?
9. Is it because you have an academic bent of mind?
10. Is it for the sense of achievement?
11. Is it to get yourself equipped with an additional degree so that you can have an edge in this dog-eat-dog world?
12. Is it because you get turned ON by business and economy like nothing else?
13. Is it because you have nothing else to do?
14. Is it because of peer pressure?
15. Is it just for the sake of it and enjoyment?
16. Is it for making yourself more eligible in the marriage market?

It doesn’t require a great deal of analysis to figure out the secret motivator behind picking brain about management roles. For most of us in corporate field, its unavoidable. As we add on experience to the work life, most of our work or output depends on the deliverables of others. Thats when people management, communication, planning and organization skills come into play. For some, a management degree is a way to break free from the technical roles or a launchpad into different industries. For students, MBA is either a lucrative career option or a way to extend unemployment. ( Pun intended 🙂 )

But for those with mammoth goals and lofty aspirations, I am sharing this piece of advice that I received years ago from my mentor.

“A person doesn’t become a CEO just by doing MBA or just having the desire. The culmination is only due to untiring efforts and careful grooming over many years. Do bear that in mind. Although, having lofty ambitions is laudable, being nervous even before the battle has begun doesn’t behoove you. You need to have the emotional poise to handle things at ease. “

And finally, chill. We are all good at management in one way or the other. We all are managing our lives without much catastrophes. Acquiring management skills isn’t rocket science if we put our mind and heart to it. They say, vision without action is a dream and action without vision is a nightmare. Be true to the choices of life and be true to your dreams and longings. Life will sail on much more easily and happily.





Close To the Wind..

5 05 2008

There is an advantage when one subscribes to a library. One buys a chance to discover new authors and antiquated books that tell myriad stories. I was so glad that I chanced upon this book titled “Close To The Wind” written by John Harris, which I picked up as an afterthought, lured by the title. Must say I am really enticed by this beautifully penned tome.

Its a story about a debt ridden Italian Couple Joe and Rosa who prefer the capricious Pacific to surrendering their mortgaged houseboat. Aided by their daughter Frankie, a school atlas, a nonfunctional ship engine, penniless condition and derelict instruments they sail to the unknown, hoping to discover an island where they can hide their only means of livelihood, the boat Tina S to safety. Pressed by the need for money, they take an unknown stranger Willie with questionable past for passenger on this sea adventure.

What follows then, is a story of grit, emotion, belief, and love as the passengers discover themselves over the challenging voyage. Little did the older couple know that their antique old boat is no match for the journey that they set themselves ahead. To reach America and have a chance at creating life for Frankie and Willie who fall in love with each other over the wild voyage.

To make the issues worse, the old couple is haunted by the media who thought that their impossible sea adventure makes good headline story, and the police for Willie who committed a murder and is postponing the inevitable capture by discovering himself over the Pacific. Life over the sea becomes a roller coaster ride for these four members who discover love, bonding, temptation, struggle, hurricane, and loss while they struggle for survival with little food and meager money, from the vagaries of the Pacific.

The characters feel so natural that you may wonder if they are conjured from your daily life experiences. Captain Mama is a tower of strength in handling the crisis and her devil may care attitude, positivity and enthusiasm tugs a chord at heart while the evolution of Willie from a wayward ruffian to a responsible person does manage to cheer up your spirits. The ways of God are ironic they say, for Willie sacrifices himself on the face of death to save the family, just a few days after he discovers contentment, lady love and purpose of life.





Random Musings Over Weekend…

3 05 2008

This post is a result of a desire to list out some of those haphazard thoughts that catch you in randomness in every direction on a weekend, just when you realize you have all the time in the world to be with oneself.

The Regular Weekend Laundry List

  • Yesterday, I watched a telugu movie called ‘Parugu’, just for the heck of it. Its about time for me to admit how I am such a hopeless movie freak and how I enjoy catching any movie at any theatre (multiplex to local standalone) over weekends.
  • Just finished reading ‘Close to the Wind’ by John Harris. I was little reluctant to pick that book at start, as I couldn’t find a single review about it online. Thankfully, its a beautifully told story and I added a review about that book to my to do list.
  • Yesterday, just when my stomach is full of ‘Bobby da Dhaba’ Paratha and my eyes are really longing for a trip to dreamland, a pal of mine calls me to ask a seemingly innocuous question, “Do we really have a larger purpose in life?”. Huh! My mind really went blank. Answer, anyone please?
  • After being bulldozed by a pal for about four hours, I trotted around in BTM to discover a place called HICON which offers weekend cinematic Hiphop dance classes. I have no clue what that means, but I am planning to figure it out tomorrow. See, even I am susceptible to flashes of random inspiration.
  • Today, I discovered that I have an amalgamation of about 56 odd stocks in my portfolio. For a novice that I am, thats like placing eggs in to too many baskets. Hopefully, I will sort that mess by next week.

Some High Moments

  • Last week, I attended my cousin’s marriage. We grew up together and its sheer pleasure to see him enter into an assisted marriage. Marriages are also time for family and relatives get-together for socializing and catching up with times. My heart took me through a flashback ride of childhood, those times of playing hide and seek, mounting walls, bicycle races, flouting rules and climbing trees for mangoes and guavas. Looking at the brazen mirth of a couple of kids jumping on and off the marriage hall, my grandpa innocently remarked, “Probably childhood is the only time when we are carefree and truly happy”. Hearing his artless remark, I could only flash a blissful grin.
  • I am glad to know that the post on Tashan stopped at least a couple of folks from watching that movie. Curiously, I felt so happy to play the savior.
  • I am really glad to see Amitabh Bachan blogging. I can’t help but wonder how he answers all those thousands of comments on his own, or how does he find time to blog on a daily basis amidst his busy schedule. He almost taught me Hindi over Doordarshan during my school days and I love the way he carries himself. He holds a special place in my heart and I am happy to share a piece of his thoughts. 🙂

Some Time For Confessions

  • My weekend over the past three years stuck to a random pattern of predictability. It almost always includes a couple of movies, pals and books, long walks, a diary, some music and some restaurant. Not that I mind falling into a pattern!
  • I often write to share with others some advice, opinion or a slice of my mind. I can’t call it a hobby anymore, for this zeal for self-expression is a part of the core me.
  • These days I am worried about the acceptance that I offer to circumstances. I have become too complacent and accepting of things around me as if they are part of scenery. I have a right to feel and vent anger. And I think that justifiable and just anger shows how much one cares about any situation. May be I should try exercising my right instead of pressing that ‘Ignore’ button.
  • Sometimes I confuse potential with skill. There is a world of difference between ‘I can do it’ and ‘I have done it’.
  • I enjoy counseling and dispensing advice to myself and to anyone who naively lends an ear. Yet, I am incapable of taking the admirable advice that I get uninvited from me and the world.
  • When I wander through college campuses, I get this overwhelming urge to get back to school and classrooms. Like children, I forget those urges once I step out of those campuses.
  • My biggest weakness is my lack of self discipline. I somehow find it tough to stick to any form of schedule. Can’t say that I am working on it though!
  • I am an extremely positive person. Being positive requires continuous effort and like a petulant child, it demands constant attention. When situations subject me to unexpected lows, I retreat into a shell for sometime to compose myself enough to long for those hopeful rainbows. I hate to share those moods of moroseness and negativity. Some thoughts are not worth sharing.
  • Barely three years old into the corporate world, I already suffer from materialism,’What’s In It For Me’ Syndrome, To-Do lists and finally randomizing nonsense through bullet points.




Some Story Telling Session…

25 03 2008

This moment is filled with sheer nostalgia. A chip off the memories at the IMDR personality development classes.. I do wonder at times about the things that haven’t changed, looking back at those days when we did that four princes story telling session and impersonated one of the prince’s exile story with utter glee. What I loved was the beginning of the story, the entire group gathering and the joy of offering the non-material gifts.

That was some day when that sane wise man started his session like this: “Once upon a time, long long ago, just about yesterday, far far away from here, just around the corner was a kingdom a kingdom not too large, not too small and like all kingdoms its boundaries extended to East, West, North and South to the extent of the known world…” And then we went through a racy ride over a kingdom blessed with four princes, each with his own unique skills and two unique gifts from his fairy grand mother, all set to reign the world.

The two gifts for each prince were intriguing too. While one gift fetched success in public, the other gift acted as a mirror in the closed quarters. First Prince got the Book of Knowledge and an Ever Smiling Doll, the Second Prince was gifted the Magic Sword and the Roaring Mouse, while the third prince is left with the Magic Box of Potions and the tear bag and the Fourth Prince had the Magic Cap and the Magic Wand. Faced with a challenge to live a two year exile period out of the comfort zone of his kingdom, each prince marches in the designated direction at a certain age to make his life. There the story was left open and the participants made their own journey impersonating the prince of their choice.

Little did I know at that time that my instinctive choices haven’t changed even after three long years. I am still that rolling stone, the prince of laughter, gifted with magic cap and magic wand.. What felt like fun sounded frivolous at times, yet I guess the beauty of that experience lies in its inherent contradictions. It engaged our creativity while making us introspect and reflect on our choices. It held our interest and spread a lot of cheer while making us ponder over the deeper implications. We all need mirrors at times, to see how we have evolved and how we have changed over the sands of time.





In Pursuit of Happiness..

11 03 2008

There is a moment in that movie where Will Smith says, “It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?”. That did made me ponder about the futility thats inherent in the pursuit of happiness. Yet, I shut my inner voice to indulge in that movie, as I loved the father and son chemistry very much there.

I get quizzical when people come and tell me that they are in pursuit of these. Happiness. Joy. Laughter. Peace. Through out life, they keep these very things that they long for at bay running after materialistic pursuits , trying to ensure that they would be eternally happy ensconced in luxury in the end. Finally, most of them end up rudely surprised by the bout of misery and dissatisfaction that surmount them even after reaching the pinnacle of achievement. What went wrong? How could these tremendously intelligent people miss the bus of holistic Life?

This nagging thought is consuming me in all intensity. Though I can debate endlessly about the origin and location of happiness and proclaim holy statements that look with in one self, what makes me wonder is the continuity of effort that happiness demands. My moods, and state of mind are in constant flux, and there are always things that can make me rattled or cheesed off on a daily basis. It really requires detachment, determination and a great deal of focus to keep up my cool in times of crisis and uncertainty.

Two days back, I was very unhappy about a certain situation. My mind and emotions were really disturbed and then, in an attempt to tease myself out of thought and in pursuit of peace, I went to Ragi Gudda Temple. Even, the God couldn’t numb my worry and a little reflection told me that I desperately needed an attitude change more than the location or work. Probably seeking pleasure or happiness would inherently invite misery along. For, I believe that any activity inbuilt with a sense of purpose is a blend of pain and gain. We struggle, and we learn. We cry and we earn. We can only try to attempt a state of mind which can rival the lotus leaf that can stay untouched by the water even in the middle of a pond. We can be happy only if we choose to be happy. And that requires a constant effort indeed. For now, let me try to digest Karma Yoga (The Yoga of Action) of Swami Vivekananda which advocates about the pursuit of knowledge instead of pleasure. Hoping to garner some reflection there.





A Take On Beauty..

10 03 2008

This post is dedicated to Anita Roddick for she led my personal favorite campaign on Self Esteem called ‘The Ruby Campaign’. Ruby was a realistically and generously proportioned doll that tried to mock the all so perfect Barbie which hammered the young girl generation in to getting into that perfect shape at any cost and there by falling prey to eating disorders, bulimia etc. Being a part of the very cosmetics industry, Anita champions an ethical revolution by quoting, “It makes me angry, not only because it is a male-dominated industry built on creating needs that don’t exist, but because it seems to have decided that it needs to make women unhappy about their appearances. It plays on self-doubt and insecurity about image and ageing by projecting impossible ideals of youth and beauty.” Though am a self confessed prude, I cant resist posting the Ruby posters over here for the benefit of folks who are discovering Ruby right now.

Some facts that the Ruby Campaign highlights is

“# There are 3 billion women who don’t look like super models and only eight who do.
# Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14.
# If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
# The average woman weighs 144 lbs and wears between a 12-14.
# Scaled to life size, a Barbie doll would be 7’2″. She would have a 40″ bust, a 22″ waist and 36″ hips.
# One out of every four college-aged women has an eating disorder.
# A psychological study in 1995 found that three minutes spent looking at a fashion magazine caused 70 percent of women to feel depressed, guilty, and shameful.”

Ruby kind of explores in a deep way the notions of beauty, desirability and the society induced guilt which propagate unwholesome psychological needs of beauty. And now men are not left either in that pursuit of unreasonable Adonis. With all media going gaga about the chiseled muscle men, many of the guys are pumping their Testosterone in those high intensity workouts for that perfect V shape. Yesterday, in one of those engaging discussions with my pal, I had my first brush with this guilt in a guy. Though it gives a grim satisfaction if I consider those issues of equality in dark humor, I couldn’t digest my friends going through this phenomenon without an awareness of the baggage that they carry. If we are chiseling ourselves for being good enough and attractive to that illusionary partners, we are piling our subconscious under a mountain of guilt and inferiority complex. And tell me this. How can I expect to be loved for what I can be, if I don’t love myself for what I am? For love with oneself is expressed in the way we relate to humanity. Unless I am comfortable with myself and accept myself for what I am, I can never accept the other person for what he or she is. I would burden him or her with unreasonable expectations and may build pressure on them to live up to my love, almost expecting them to pay a price for a chance at a relationship with me.

Guess, I need to clarify here, as I have indeed suggested diet plans for a couple of my friends while advising them to keep their weight in check. I did so, as I experimented with myself with various diets and I indeed believe that holistic life includes being right sized for flexibility, health and activity. I do believe that a well balanced holistic lifestyle attuned to nature wouldn’t store excess fat or flab on body. Yet, we are the way we are based on the trade offs and the choices we made. I am comfortable with what I am and I won’t let some external entity alter my views on beauty, femininity or the acceptability or desirability of myself. To put it simply, I use or try things based on my interest or curiosity and not because ‘I am worth it’.

If I look at the entire process and concept of beautification, I feel that its an attempt by all of us to be loved and accepted a little more. Isn’t it? Yet, my appeal for all is to do it for oneself and internalize that idea of beauty that you have after keen reflection. I hate to see anyone being plagued by a concept called alienation: of being a part of the world you don’t want to be in and working for a goal that you can’t own in heart for societal or for ‘the significant other’s’ sake. We all try to change for those we love, yet do keep this in mind. Those who reciprocate wouldn’t care whether we are good enough and those who don’t doesn’t matter. Falling in love with oneself, and wearing that narcissistic hat once in a while is a great way to catch that conceptual perfect unicorn for yourself. Cherish all that is you, coz you are unique in our own special way just like everyone else is and noone can take that from you.

Here’s my favorite Darren Hayes’s “Good Enough” song for you all. I loved this song both for its lyrics and the music. 🙂

“If I woke up late
Couldn’t get out of bed
If I bought you a cafe latte instead
If I lied when I said
32 inches was the size of my waist
And can I admit
Every once in a while
Even though I dig alternative style
Occasionally
I can be caught dancin’ to Brittany
And can I confess
That art house doesn’t turn me on
But I like every single thing that Speilberg’s done

Could I be good enough
Could I be good enough
If the going got worse
And the worse got rough
The days became endless
And harder than tough
I’d be good enough
Better than best
Would be simply to be good enough
If everything I give
Doesn’t seem like a lot
If it’s all that I got
Baby tell that could be good enough “





Summing Up The First Quarter..

8 03 2008

Recently I turned 25. Its kind of tough to think through the passing moments, really. Especially when you consider the first quarter of life as a milestone that passed by, acceding to no will of yours. Much of the complexities of being a twenty something is already addressed by some blessed soul over here. I identify with most of it. Yet, life is more than just a summation of miseries, woes, troubles and confusion and I don’t choose to cast a negative cloud on what has been an enriching journey. There is a lot of sunshine, some perfect moments, a few relationships of lifetime, reflections, solitude, lessons earned, studies unlearned, and some cherished people who filled my life with fond memories. Through the walk of life, I discovered joy in music, books, writing, woods, friends, family, mentors and myself which filled my life with love, laughter and a sense of celebration.

My experiments with life have evolved with the different phases that I whizzed by trading my innocence with apathy. Now, am wondering as to how to name those stages? Should I call them Childhood, Adolescence, and My Struggle to Grow Up or should I adhere to the society standards and treat them as Education, and Settlement? 🙂 When I got all I wanted or asked for, there was a sheer joy of achievement and when I didn’t, there was a huge lesson hidden in the reflection of that experience. It wasn’t all roses, yet while looking back, I realize that those little setbacks and failures taught me more than those larger than life kind of victories (they seemed that way when I was there 🙂 ).

Now let me confess this, I had a fabulous set of memories of growing up. My first 25 years that rolled by left me no regrets! Life is indeed beautiful. Call me Ulpasantoshi or easy to please, yet that is the big truth of my life. Words fall flat if I have to express my gratitude to my loving family which shaped me and been a pillar of strength, fabulous mentors who watched over when I faltered, friends offering companionship and acceptance in need and deed, and a lot of strangers and acquaintances who knowingly or unknowingly etched their footprints through innocent interactions. It is indeed people and nature, and the relationships I created with them which made me what I am.

Every day that I wake up in presents me with new challenges or opportunities,of which I passed up some, while exploring some. There is some realization and an immense depth of learning along the way, which I plan to record here for my sake so that when I look back after another 25 years, I can muse on what changed and what stayed on. I know it sounds rather ambitious, but I plan to stay around savoring life for another 3 quarters at the least. 😉

I have learned to appreciate elders, value experience, cherish people, share a smile, care with empathy, love without expecting reciprocation, cheer for the fellow men, endorse goodness whenever I can, enjoy my company in those moments of solitude, face uncertainty, live in the moment and to accept myself for what I am. And am practicing with myself to incorporate them in every pace of life. There are some things that I am trying hard to give up. Like wondering about cosmic questions like the purpose of life, playing the Nostradamus, Ignoring the present in an attempt to design future, postponing happiness, procrastination, transactional relationships, materialistic pursuits and being a rat in the race. That’s a constant battle that I wage on a daily basis with the inner demons, to get that right equation for holistic life.

This first quarter is all about developing roots, as I can feel that a lot of my convictions have only become stronger with age. Glad to trade my innocence for those wonderful moments, memories and experiences that altered me in minute ways, I see a long road ahead to work with myself in translating values to action, moments to memories, and dreams to reality.

To sum it up, let me borrow from Robert Frost.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”




Ragi Gudda Temple..

3 03 2008

This temple is one of my favorites in Bangalore. Its truly a no brainer to guess why though. A little temple on hill surrounded by loads of Gods, Ample space, limited crowd, well planned design and peaceful environment. What more can I ask for? I loved the beauty of those bougainvillea arcades that envelop the devotees on their way to God. For those fashioning a little trek, a small route is paved on the rocky terrain to climb atop. But that wouldn’t allow you a direct entry to the temple, unless the door is open or the Pujari takes mercy on your knocking, of course. 🙂

Ragi Gudda Temple

There is this little anecdote thats oft told in my household. For an innocuous inquiry about – “Grandma why are all these temples located on hills? Why do Gods make us climb so much? – earned me an answer – “Earlier all the temples were located on same plane little one. But as mankind grew, they sinned a lot and the land in which they lived has fallen down due to the burden of their sins. Hence we feel Gods are located on hills.” That sounded a reason good enough at those carefree times.

Sometimes, the little effort that we put into and the huge bang that we make about visiting temples can make me dazed. For those who care to follow, I can recount at least 20 instructions on the top of my head. Take Tirupati for instance. Many families that I know have this temple in their travel agenda, even when its not easy to climb up the seven hills on foot route. Guess pain is gain at those times. Guess the effort that we expend nurtures peace in a way. Guess these are those little practices in our religion that teaches restraint in a way.





Its Yesterday Once Again..

2 03 2008

I had a really rocking weekend. Yes, the emphasis has to be there, as its been ages since I sampled those happy moments of yesterday again. Thanks to that quirky mind of mine, which made a spur of moment decision to treat itself out of cold with loads of love medicine of Grand Parents. This little last minute trip to my granny’s place has really made me alive and probably this forced intimacy is what I needed to shake me out of the cloistered work environment. I really can’t tell you how much of a shift I experience, especially coming from the corporate metro world where every minute can be accounted for to my Granny’s place, where clock holds no meaning and day light pretty much dictates how the day passes by.

Waking by to the chirping of birds, climbing walls to collect those hiding jasmines, out running little kiddos during lazy evenings, collecting veggies from the kitchen garden for lunch, helping granny in little chores, collecting firewood for the heating water, fashioning myriad flowers for God’s garlands, the poking fun on those legendary TV serials which occupy those dusk hours, wrestling with little sis over the primitive fire place, sharing the starlit blue sky for the blanket at the night.. Life suddenly feels as if its yesterday once again and life is not so much complicated after all. Every corner that I walked to, I would find a rose, jasmine, lemon, goose berry or mango and I can feel a mild fragrance enveloping my senses. That’s when I succumb to those feelings of contentment and joy.





My Observations with Dieting

23 02 2008

I have had my share of experimentation with all sorts of diets. Going through this GM Diet made me shed some years and revive some memories..

SSY

Guess my first brush with dieting came some ten years back, even before entering my Engineering College. I tried out the SSY programme in Rajamundry, as my mama was a fanatic that time and I had little choice. That’s a 14 day programme clubbing yoga, pranayama, meditation, raw vegetarian food, and community prayer which is followed by a 3 day external outing where you eat almost nothing, sleep not more than a couple of hours, take a mud bath, dance and play most of the time. Yet, that was a great experience at that time. I ate only raw vegetarian food, flavored with lemon, nuts and some masala for the whole of 14 days and guess it worked because of it being a community experience. I never knew that will power, and quality of life can draw strength from such little sustenence and yet leave you so energerised.

Yes, weight loss was noticeable, but then, it was not the goal of the programme. I became more peaceful, and could control short temper that was so typical of an adolescent kid.

What I liked about SSY

1) The Carefree atmostphere of the group, and the candid discussions
2) Interesting raw recipes which were easily edible. (Thats the first time in my life when I had raw greens)
3) I felt lighter and happier and I had my first lesson on restraint and patience.
4) My first and the only real meditation experience for an hour of their ‘So Ham’ meditation technique

What I hated about it

1) After 20 days of such diet, I couldn’t digest any cooked food at all. Even a little bit of it could fill my stomach. It took me 3 months to even taste or touch non vegetarian food as it used to feel so heavy!

Probably that was the reason why I left that lifestyle, as I forged my bond with Osmania University hostel for four years during which I had exposure to some real atrocious and lethal stuff cooked out of our mess. Yes, Hostel food really prepares you for the world!

Gymming and Exercise

This is a consistently inconsistent part of my life. Either I get my long walk of around 40 minutes on a daily basis or I head to the Gym for some chat, and exercise. But I can never combine gymming with dieting as that can lead to a fainting spell on a treadmill. (Speaking from experience). So far, I never had a noticeable change in weight due to exercise, gym or walk. They help me maintain my weight and make me feel fit. And yes. All those endorphines that spring to action due to physical activity make me happy.

Crash Dieting

I had to do it for one simple reason. Weight Loss. I became rotund and inactive and that did little to my ravenous appetite. Finally I ventured to discipline, when the things were getting out of hand, and my sedentary lifestyle did little to help it.

I started with an objective: To loose 8 kilos in the fastest way possible. One goal every day- to limit my daily calorie intake to 600 cal. One simple arithmetic. I pretty much counted everything I ate, did a lot of exercise and survived on lemon tea, water, curd and idly. And that helped big time. I lost around 7 kilos in a month and never regained them.

What I liked about it.

1) As it was self imposed, It was quite flexible. I could try a lot of variety of foods, like fruits, nuts, bread, tiffins etc. Since it was self designed, I allowed occasional binges, like a treat on weekend or a Chinese meal for dinner.
2) It had to do with a lot of mental training and will. Call it stubbornness or resolve, I felt no hunger pangs.
3) There was an instant gratification angle to it too. You can see a noticeable weight loss resulting in you due to the manipulations you do. Thats what I called experimenting with myself in true sense.

GM Diet

I tried it just for the sake of it. Mere curiosity. And probably the guilt of emotional eating and all that binging that I did during the past two months helped me hold on I guess.

What I liked about the GM Diet

1) I have become conscious of the water that I take, so much to the fact that I have started counting the no of glasses I drink.
2) Surprisingly there is no craving for sweets, namkeens or junk.
3) I feel lighter and smarter (*wink*)
4) I really learnt restraint. Resisting the temptation during the starting days was quite tough. 🙂

What I hated the most about it

1) The signs of weakness that I experienced during the process (Headache on Day One, Nerves Pain on Day 3 and 4.)
2) No Inclusion of Yogurt or Nuts at all in the diet.

Bottom line of GM Diet is that it works. Its a quick and dirty way of loosing a couple of kilos in a week. And guess its easy to follow as the plan is already laid out.





Living Through The GM Diet..

22 02 2008

15/02/2008

It all started with a seemingly innocuous lunch conversation yesterday. A lot of guys expounded on the benefits of dieting, GM Diet, cleaning system, and what not. I sat there listening to all arguments and thought of having a first hand knowledge. So here I am, going through an unlikely experiment of GM Diet. Its kind of a tough resolution for an emotional eater like me, let me see how it goes. 🙂

Day ONE: (Only Fruits Except for Banana)

Had a couple of Strawberries in the morning and a fruit chat at 4 PM. My head is throbbing like hell in an hour and I resisted the temptation of the Cappuccino lingering around in the meeting. Had a china pear for dinner and that numbed my head ache. Like a true Andhrite, I promised myself a grand Hyderabadi Biryani, if I survived through this diet. See my gluttonous wishes haven’t changed much since college days. 😉

So far, it feels easy. My tough challenge would be wading through the weekend.

Day TWO: (Only Vegetable with a cooked potato for breakfast)

So today is a vegetables day with a potato for breakfast. I hunted the kitchen to discover a tiny potato and steamed it to heart’s content. Probably it must be the first time in my life when I relished a cooked potato sans seasonings. Indeed a lifetime experience. Then tried to play the rabbit by munching on to the carrots and peas. 🙂 I felt that headache returning to me by evening. Had a lemon soda and saw that ebbing away. Silently I added Chinese Hakka Noodles to the self promises, I I stick around this diet till Day Seven.

I checked my weight today – 58.7 Kg

Day THREE: Fruits and Vegetables (No Potato and No Banana)

I woke up at 7:00 AM as hunger pangs hit my stomach. Man, what a self imposed misery it was! Thankfully I found grapes in the kitchen and almost finished half a kilo of them in the early morning for breakfast. Who called this diet, anyways? 🙂 Steamed Ridge Gourd, Tomatos and Garlic together with some spices and had it for brunch. Sipped lemon juice (no sugar) while watching Jodhaa Akbar and ate amla and fruit salad for dinner.

I checked my weight today – 58.4 Kg – – No major change from yesterday

Day FOUR: Bananas and Milk

I can claim myself a milk allergic. 😦 So That leaves me with bananas. Am actually considering substituting Yogurt for milk. Lets see How it goes. Yesterday I shopped for the largest bananas ever found in the market and bought three of them. Had a nice cold badam flavored milk for dinner. I had a tough timing sleeping today, as I felt a tinge of nerve weakness. My entire lower body ached in minute ways and most of the sleep time went in discovering new postures for comfort. No Jokes, I hated this sign of weakness.

I checked my weight today – 57.1 Kg – Voila A Whopping change!

Day FIVE: Beef and Tomatoes.

I woke up early morning, with a gnawing hunger and looked at Tomatoes with revenge. Steamed five of them along with pepper and salt and had some real trouble eating them. Now that was a real proof for my culinary abilities. 🙂 I still haven’t figured out what can I substitute for Beef. I had around 50g of steamed chicken for lunch and by evening, my knees started aching. So I didn’t stick to rule book today. Had a couple of pieces of Guava fruit, one lemon soda, along with one phulka and 100 g of dal instead of the lean meat that was advised.

For those who are looking for vegetarian option, don’t plainly substitute rice for beef. Instead, to replace a 3 oz (85.05 g) serving of meat, use:

* 1 cup (236.59 mL) cooked dry beans, peas, or lentils.
* 3 oz (85.05 g) tofu (soybean paneer).
* 4 Tbsp (59.15 mL) peanut butter.

I checked my weight today – 56.9 Kg – No major change from yesterday

Day SIX: Beef and Vegetables

I experienced a fleeting sensation of fainting problem. Since Beef was out of question, I had a single phulka with steamed carrot in the morning. This time I am not going to miss my lunch at all. Had 10 oz. fried chicken for lunch. And I took a bowl of steamed and spiced carrots and peas for dinner. No Signs of weakness at all. I guess the worst is over by Day 5.

Day SEVEN: Brown rice, fruit juices and vegetables

Finally the last day and the easiest one too! 🙂 Had a bowl of vegetable rice cooked with Potato, Onion, Cauliflower for breakfast and lunch. Dinner saw me gulping two glasses of watermelon juice.

Finally I lived through the GM Diet schedule. Yes, there are slips in certain days, I do acknowledge humbly. But those slips did indeed make a positive difference. I lost around 5.5 pounds, but thats not all. My observations and cribs would call for another post as I don’t want to spoil the joy of this experience with analysis. 🙂

Update: Looking at the tremendous amount of attention this post has received from people scouting for information on GM Diet, I couldn’t help but recommend these posts here. Worth taking a look.

My Experimentation With Different Types of Dieting

Some Food For Thought here for those who are forced to do this.





Mirror Talk..

8 02 2008

Have you ever tired doing it? It helps me ease any sort of pangs any moment. And no stop that chuckle, its not my feminine vanity which makes me say that. 🙂 Especially, when life is like a gloomy cloud casting a dark shadow on your spirits, a little Mirror talk always helps.

Misery loves company. Sounds rather like a worn out cliche right? Yet, how true it is! Misery eats mind like a worm and creeps in soul like a surreptitious cancer. And may be that’s why we indulge in the sheer drudgery of misery as it invades our senses.

Ever looked within when you are desperately dull and down? Life may look like a bottomless pit then, all it needs is a change of perspective to look at the brighter side of things. Everyone needs a mirror at times. What do you catch in those deep reflections? Some impressions are so deep that only lonely sojourn can help you find them. Walk to the nearest mirror, make all sort of antics, flush sadness with vehemence, pat your shoulder for this wonderful chance and thank God for all the love you have in life.

In one of those insightful conversations I had, One of my pals gave this beautiful example -“They say that the early bird gets the worm, but why don’t they realize that the early worm gets caught? Decide whether you are a worm or a bird before waking up and act accordingly”. May be all that misery of the moment can be swept by a fresh perspective or a different mood. May be all that was needed is a change of mind or a new look with pinked tinted glasses. 🙂





All Motion Is Not Action..

7 02 2008

Something that I heard from a Colleague today. Made perfect sense!

Yes, indeed smart work counts.





Devil’s Most Used Instrument…

29 01 2008

This little story is most profound as it sinks in the thought. I couldn’t help sharing it!

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It was advertised that the devil was going to put his tools up for sale. On the date of the sale, the tools were placed for public inspection; each tool being marked with its sale price. They were a treacherous lot of implements… Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Deceit, Lying, Pride, and so on.

Laid apart from the rest was a harmless looking tool, that appeared to have been heavily used, and was priced very high.

“What is the name of this tool?” asked one of the purchasers, pointing to it.

“That is Discouragement,” replied the devil.

“Why have you priced it so high?”

“Because it is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside people’s hearts with that when I cannot get near them with my other tools. Once I get inside, I can make them do what I choose. It is badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since very few people know that it belongs to me.”

***************************************************************

There are some stories which require a moment to read but a life time to comprehend. And discouragement is like a slow poison. Who says language doesn’t matter? One word can lit someone’s face and one moment can change somebody’s life. We love, live, cry, smile, share and care through it. So be careful while using it. Hope you would remember this little story next time when you are tempted to indulge in destructive feedback.





How To Be A Good Leader..

18 12 2007

Now that’s a question that rings in my mind quite often, since I joined the corporate world. Am trying to capture some reflections and experiences here, distilled from some real life’s learnings. Its tough to be a good leader or a boss, and its even tougher to acknowledge our weaknesses and the impact that we have on others. Yet, the more we grow in age, experience and cadre, the more our efforts and work is dependent on the contributions of others.

Now, what are the personality attributes that can make someone tick as a good leader or boss? They are pretty much visible to commonsense and are for experience. Tell me how many good leaders have you met in a daily work life context? Yet, there are some real qualities that differentiate them from the common managers and leave a lasting impression in mind. Here is a collection of some of those in an effort to identify, acknowledge and probably inculcate them..

Humility And Courtesy

Ok Ok.. That was pun intended! 🙂 yet, On a serious note, see most of the people who are in influential positions to be most humble and open to people around them. In any knowledge and people intensive industry, what differs one from another is how they apply their uniquely gifted talents and skills. No one is superior or inferior to another and the more we acknowledge this, the more enriching we become.

In fact, those guys who are most likely to throw their weight around are typically in the middle management or in support group as they are often responsible for executing decisions taken by others whether they agree or disagree. Hence, the craving for false significance which reflects in the demonstration of pseudo authority through bossism and shortsightedness. Watch out if you are indulging in this. This behavior can help you get along the day, but not far.

Celebrating Success and Credit Sharing

Celebration is fun. Sharing the success and joy builds the team spirit and unity. Celebrating successes and failures is the essence of life. Don’t you think so? Yet, so often, going through the rhythms of the corporate mumbo jumbo, we often rarely stop for that little pat on back. Hold a little party, acknowledge others’ contribution and live up to the saying-‘one for all and all for one’. Everyone loves to feel important and wants their work to add value to the organization and team. Be genuine and say thanks to all those who made your graphs sparkle in whatever minor way.

Sense Of Humor and Fun

Quite needed in high pressure environment. Humor brings in fresh perspectives and makes us more open to challenges and other possibilities. Added to that, a sense of fun energizes workspaces and makes us more productive. Life is a huge practical joke. Identifying the humor and playing along can really soothe nerves. Don’t wear sleeves on heart, try the vice versa.. 🙂

Staying Calm And Leading By Example in Moments of Crisis

There is no fun in scrambling around and getting worked up on minor crisis situations at work. Accept it. Risks and failures are a part and parcel of life. Its no fun indulging in blame game and taking a free ride on the tension swing. Stand for oneself and for the team and show that you are there and you care. Be around like a breather or a tower of strength in moments of crisis and exude confidence and positivity. Tough call? Indeed. It requires continuous effort.

Being Flexible And Playing The Good Listener

Are you that kind of boss, who stares at the laptop when your teammate drops in for a quick chat? The most vital part of leadership is to acknowledge that people have different priorities and your task list may not figure out on the top of theirs. Acknowledge their personal priorities, be flexible to work out win-win options and always be open, approachable and listen to what others are saying or not saying. Be a people developer and lend an ear when needed. Life may seem to be measured on how many millions we made, yet what counts in the end is how many lives we touched and how many smiles we spread.

Clarity and Expertise in Work

Be sure of what you are talking about and what you want to achieve. Most of the bosses I know falter at this. Often the delegation looks like this.

If you are not sure of what you want, not even the best of the world teammates can help you achieve it. Have clarity on what you want to achieve and then communicate it effectively to your team. It can do wonders.

And, trust me, no one wants to work for a dull head. Never stop learning and understand the significance of the contribution that you are making. Do you think only talent shows? Stupidity is even more tantalizingly evident. Don’t make suggestions under the pretense of adding value. 🙂

Trust and Motivation

The last on my list and the most important one. Believe in team, assert your trust, enlist them in your mission and give them space to carry on. That’s what is called effective and efficient delegation. Noone really wants to work for a boss who don’t trust their capabilities and hovers around like an intrusive security camera. Ask the one who tried. He probably doesn’t have a team now.

As beautifully put by Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

“If you want to build a ship
don’t herd people together to collect wood
and don’t assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the
endless immensity of the sea.”

Ultimately, it all boils down to this. People are leaders because they choose to lead. Else, they stay managers.. Now I see why this became a huge article! I can actually title this as ‘7 habits to be a successful leader’. 🙂 It’s tough to make sense of what makes a leader tick. If I missed anything, let me know.





Don’t Giveup On Faith..

16 12 2007

Came across this quote on the wall which made me pause by and think.

“A faith that can not survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.”

How true!

I always have this concrete belief that most of the vital and important things in life are run on trust, faith and all those intangible things that can only be felt. Many of us go through a lot of suffering and pangs as these convictions go challenged, yet guess thats what life is: adding new dimensions, new perspectives and enhancing our outlook while holding on to faith. What makes us more human is that pathological need to hope and long for all those rational and irrational things on earth while baring ourselves open for those logical rationalistic reasoning attacks. I for one, is of firm belief that I may not remember what logic I applied to sort something out, but would sure be able to expand on those moments that touched my heart. I can be quite verbose, trust me! 🙂





Jadoo Ki Jhappy..

12 12 2007

Dunno why my heart longs for this from the loved ones today. A real chilled morning and I can feel the cold seeping into my soul somehow.

I dream of being perfect in everything I do, trying to put a piece of my soul in every activity. Sometimes, it feels so close, that can I become that little Ms. Perfect. Yet, if I have to be totally realistic, I would like to be really good in everything I ever did or do. And for what sake? To be loved a little more.. Is it what am looking for?

Sometimes, guess this choice always hangs around. Having the courage to quit and bear the tag of loser for being true to oneself or sticking around betraying oneself for the sake of society. These are choices we all have to make at some point in our life. Hoping that I have enough spine to stand up for myself in things that I truly care. In those rare low events, let me pray for some jadoo and some jhappy to last for the life.. 🙂

A little greed doesn’t hurt anyone, does it?





On Possessiveness and Love…

7 12 2007

There is once a popular song in Hindi that sings that ‘Life Is A Song Of Love’.. Always made me pause and reflect. In our attempts to discover and reinvent life through the journey of love, guess many have been tugged by this emotion of possessiveness sometime. I hear many times about this rolling out as a candid confession in conversations. Guess everyone might have heard of this perspective, but when I came across it in my mail box, I couldn’t resist posting it. Coz, there are certain lessons and learnings in life, that demand conscious effort from our side to put them to practice.

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I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me. Once when we were sitting at the edge of a swimming pool, she filled the palm of her hand with some water and held it before me, and said this: “You see this water carefully contained on my hand? It symbolizes Love.”

This was how I saw it: As long as you keep your hand gently open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there. However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to posses it, it will spill through the first cracks it finds. This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love. They try to posses, own, demand, and expect… and just like the water spilling out of your hand, love will retrieve from you. For love is meant to be free, you cannot change its nature. If there are people you love, allow them to be free beings.

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Sounds such a simple perspective, but how difficult to internalize! I have seen relationships collapse due to a possessiveness overdrive and power struggle. Well, we can never reason out our actions in relationships, but awareness always helps in defining our perspective. Love like joy and cheer is meant to be shared and isn’t limited like a piece of cake. Still, we feel as if we own the person and haggle for our share, how strange!





Some Thought..

6 12 2007

“Whatever we never seem to learn is that the world runs on a few dozen cliche’s. We spend our lives repeating ourselves..”

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Thats the SMS that I received over my mobile from a Pal who loves to capture the beauty of expression from the books he engages with. What struck me is the potency of the thought in that simple statement. How true!

Many a times we are challenged by the circumstances to be true to ourselves.. Though the lessons and knowledge are universal, and we are equipped to deal with the world with enough cliches since childhood, the choices that we make in those moments of life are intensely personal. Choosing right over convenience, love over hatred, sharing over selfishness and honesty over deceit.. These are the choices that make our journey of life intensely personal.. These are the moments that ascertain our purpose of life and define its direction. We indeed spend reaffirming ourselves though the choices we make..

Indeed, life rolls in patterns!





Management Failures..

5 12 2007

Ever wondered what would that mean? I had a brush of it in the corporate context. I have seen some great teams collapse due to sad leadership. I could see some real gem of talent migrate to greener pastures and some great ideas being nibbed at the start due to management failure or ego hassles. Sometimes it feels hopeless to see all this wastage and negative energy happening around just due to the dearth of management and leadership skills.

Why is it so difficult to sense the potential of people around us, how difficult it is to give credit to people for what they have done, and how much time does it take to acknowledge someone’s contribution? All it needs is a little bit of listening, a modicum of concern, enthusiasm, energy and genuine warmth, which became like a rare phenomenon in today’s context. Placing trust has become so difficult on today’s managers who are driven by their goal sheets and checklists with little concern to the people reporting to them. Probably being a part and parcel of knowledge intensive industry, I can see how the manipulation of energies of the people can make or break businesses in the current day context.

What an intoxicator power or authority is! I saw it change sweet smiling people into work extraction units. Yes, I understand professionalism is about of focusing on outcomes, and being work oriented but why cant we have a sensitivity to the expectations of the people around us? Just because we have an authority to wield the stick, we can’t really expect to get the work done by throwing our weight around. I see a lot of intellectual racism in action with a lot of unproductive team meetings, where people engage in blame game due to lack of time management, role clarity, and lack of trust and focus from management.

I see different types of managers around me, but those who work on their personal learning while aiding to the professional growth of their team are quite rare. What I see are those people who engage in politics and credit snatching, those who rest on the shoulders of their team and hammer them down to rise taller. Guess one of the toughest challenges of the current organizations is middle management. And I cant deny the importance of organizational culture in developing team, people and management skills. We talk about business continuity, right? How much onus are we placing on the leadership for talent migration, team failure, productivity concerns and team motivation levels? Guess we need some soul searching there..





Credit Sharing…

30 11 2007

Am just back from a little crib session and this was a hot topic there. How surprising it is to see this issue popping up in so many conversations. Credit Sharing is an important aspect of managing any team structure and I am sad to see many ignore it in their way to glory.

I am not trying to bring in Ayn Rand philosophy of selfishness here as in the current organizational context, in Indian industry, we work with people and the more we grow in our career, the more our success is dependent on the inputs and support offered by the others. Especially in IT industry, where a lot of work is structured around groups and teams, it is even ridiculous to ascribe the credit to a single person in the success of a project. Yet, I see this phenomenon of credit snatching and credit hiding instead of credit sharing. I don’t see any logic in blaming team for failure and appreciating manager for success.

In fact, some of the best leaders I have met in the industry are successful in their career are those who realize the potential of the people working for them and put it to effective use by aiding to their professional and personal growth. Though I hear some say that don’t mix up emotions in professional life, how can it be possible that we are emotionally insensitive to the people around us?

I can sense that people follow leaders, not the rule books. Please be the guiding hand to those you work with, making sure that they don’t need anything instead of dictating their lives and taking credit for their efforts. A little bit of recognition can do wonders for motivation levels and the work environment. And all those entry level people, it also means acknowledging the existence of the security personnel or those receptionists instead of treating them like pieces of furniture. A little pat on the back, a gentle smile or a small nod can do wonders, trust me.





Reasoning With Life..

16 11 2007

Sweetheart.. Reason it out.
Be Sensible. Apply Logic.

Does these terms sound familiar? I guess many of us prudent individuals have heard or said this quite often at times, however so futile the situation may seem. Let me be a candid confessor here. I have given up on logic in personal space. However mature I may feel or behave, I know that nothing works on reason or logic especially in relationships. Emotions stand for no reason and love heeds to no advice. Somehow I enjoy that drama that unfolds whenever we deal with relationships. Guess that sheer touch of madness is what makes us sane otherwise.

I have seen many individuals make a fool of themselves in their pursuits. And many more who build ego walls based on false premises to battle their affections. I wonder how many would ponder over this fact.. But when the judgment day arrives, we still count the number of lives we touched or the lasting bonds that we built as our accomplishments. Guess being on the top holds no worth if there are no one around to share the joy.. Yet, I guess our typical tendency is to pursue unworthy things with all fervor with disregard to those pursuing us. Hmmmm.. Reasoning with life never works..





Work Life Balance..

7 11 2007

One of the most quoted phrases in HR lingo.. And what a powerful myth to dream about! Balance.. Hmm.. Isn’t work a part of life? And how easily we use this, as if we can apportion our time between work and life. Somehow I have always felt that the more I call something work or job, the less I am interested in doing it..

Whenever I think of this phrase in particular, some of the assignments that I did as a part of Indigenous Management course in IMDR flashes in my mind. I have interacted with a lot of people in indigenous industries and its impressive to observe how their work is entwined in their life. When we bunch of students went and saw their work locations, what caught out eye was the pride that radiated in their faces when they were displaying their wares. What struck me was how much love and purpose they could sense in their life and how closely connected are their personal and work lives. Their career instills a sense of purpose into their personal life.

How much ever I wish to compartmentalize my life, its not always possible. Whatever tensions I face in my professional environment rubs off in my personal space. I never seem to attain that magic balance. Life for me is intense and I plan to explore it to the fullest. Work is fun and focus. Either I love the work I do or do the work I love. Period! And where there is love, fun and a sense of enjoyment, there seems a lack of caution, control and balance.. Don’t you think so?





Skeletons in The Cupboard..

8 10 2007

This is one of those persistent echoes from one of those intellectually stimulating conversations that I relished and indulged in grandeur. How do we deal with broken dreams, unrequited love, and breach of trust? How do we handle with that muted voice of the Maverick that lies with in us? We all have our own little skeletons in our cupboards from past. Everyone emerges different from similar experiences depending on how they chose to deal with them.

One of friends’ shared with me his perspective one day. Since I know he wouldn’t mind, am quoting him verbatim.. “Heard “Ekla chalo re?” All of us are individuals, responsible for the fruits and pitfalls of our individual actions. Ever since I was a young, I hardly remember a time when I didn’t suffer from crush pangs. Grew up like that, got ditched a couple of times, but picked up the remnants and carried on. Anyway, you never know who is trustworthy and who is not. I trust everyone and no one. Even if I get ditched, I’m not affected, and if I am not, I’ll have won over someone. Life doesn’t play safe. You’d either be endangered or as safe as in Fort Knox.“

Some choose to live in profound confusion and conflict quagmire, finding it hard to let go of past and some are able to pick up the pieces and move on savoring life moment by moment. Whatever that we choose to do and how would we deal with the skeletons in the cupboard in the end is our personal choice. It’s about being comfortable with our thoughts, value systems and ourselves. What’s life if it’s not spiced with joy, mirth, sorrows, complexities, love, fun and friends? We all have our own wars to fight, storms to rage, dreams to conquer and dragons to slay. Sometimes we may end up with terrible wounds, raw pain, and shattered dreams. I heard someone saying Pain is Gain. How true! Life is a learning process for sure. Hold on to that inner spirit and enjoy the ride.





Streamlining Life..

30 09 2007

That’s the phrase that’s apt so far for my stay in Bangalore. Even as I am typing the title, it sounded awkward… Yet, this title is resonating in my mind since morning and I have to let it out! 🙂 Is that what’s happening with me? There are a lot of changes that happened in my life in the recent times.. So much has changed, yet as always, so little out of it has actually mattered.

I have had hectic travel, a tiring house hunt session, suffered a lot with pangs of relocation and loneliness, cursed fate, bid goodbyes to some close friends, fought with loved ones, experienced breach of trust in a big way and I couldn’t shield myself and my family from wasting emotions for some people who weren’t worth a dime.

On the positive note, I thought a lot on the utility of spine, marriage, trust, values, and all sorts of cosmic questions :-), did a lot of mental training and my part of lending an ear for a couple of friends, met a couple of online pals for the first time, shed laziness and became a regular to gym, enjoyed a couple of angel dreams and poems, rediscovered the solitary solitude of long walks (now am walking a minimum of 5 km every day, and no am not counting treadmill! :-)) and yes the best part now is home food and the aloo parathas, as they sound blissful after eight years of binging out! (Cooked by our cook of course, as my culinary skills are not that appetizing).

They say that life is the toughest teacher for it takes the test first and offers lessons later. Reflecting back, the biggest lesson in this past one month is that no one ever does anything uncharacteristic of what they are. Either they inherit those values or they don’t. It is sheer foolishness to offer trust and do an emotional commitment on spineless souls hoping they would change some day.





Health And Fitness..

24 09 2007

I was comfortably numb in Chennai, having become a little cozy with the desk bound role and hectic weekend partying. I stopped the regular dose of exercise, went on a binge, loaded myself with Chinese, Moghalai and Punjabi fare, and became a mobile restaurant guide for friends. I bought myself a backache by the slouching couch potato posture in office. That phase lasted for over three months till an Aha moment nailed me in my head that I have become horizontally endowed. There started my bulge battle and I dieted perilously to loose almost eight kilos.

Since dieting worked for me, let me give you some insight into it. I tried gym for about three months to shed those additional pounds, but mostly I did weight training. So I managed my weight around 65, which is rather on the higher side. After hearing my mom complaining, I did my research and went on extreme dieting. I counted everything I ate, drove myself to the verge of starvation by surviving through out the day with lemon tea and a fruit, mentally trained myself to ignore hunger pangs and lost eight kilos over 40 days to reach my current weight of 58. But what I consciously sacrificed through that is stamina and that’s a big thing for me as I never planned to be a delicate swooning swan.

After coming to Bangalore, I have discovered to my delight that there is a Gym in the office campus. So the regular slapstick excuses like playing the busy woman didn’t work, as I can always find an hour with in 8 to 8 regime. I literally drove myself to gym as I could realize that my stamina has come down in a hard way with the careless experimentation that I did with myself. In spite of my prejudice towards treadmill, I started loving the regular routine of good exercise pepped up with groovy music and after a month, I can comfortably claim that I had reinstalled fitness regime as a regular habit. The first benefit of regular exercise is happy state of mind. It makes me feel active, fresh, energetic and alive. Thanks to endorphins, they leave me in a heady and happy state. And that adds a holistic purpose to life too. I feel and look fit and this post is for that little pat on my back and to confess all that mess up I did after I set it right!.:-)