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?’. πŸ™‚ 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.





Sun Signs..

2 04 2008

It was just yesterday when the entire dinner table conversation was hogged by sun signs. πŸ™‚ I have always been agnostic to the power of what stars have conspired over in sky, as I do believe that I hold my destiny in my arms. Yet, its always intriguing to learn what each sun sign has to say even if its just to whet my curiosity, as long as it spells a few good things of my pals which I accede to or differ with. Yes. I love Linda Goodmans and must have read those descriptions a number of times, for I loved the way she expressed the idiosyncrasies of those sun signs. I really wouldn’t care the veracity of her claims as its a fun read! Those who has read her book would know what I mean.

I guess every person’s personality would depend on the environment in which he grows up and the way he lives through life’s experiences. A little bit of pep talk, some feel good factor and a tiny dose of introspection never hurts, right? Yesterday I was surprised to realize how much aid they can be in breaking the ice with strangers. We could hold the conversation about the sun signs for almost two hours where I branded myself as an expert realizing that others were as clueless as I am. πŸ™‚

Matching the traits of the Sun signs with our own, taking the opinions of others, musing through the compatibilities really makes us create that connect or belongingness. As long as we don’t hold fast and take to heart what those sun signs spell and reserve them for a great and light coffee time conversations, I guess we can assure ourselves of some cheer and fun!





Indian Eccentricities..

27 03 2008

Another in series of forwarded wisdom – titled “Some Facts about an Incredible Indian”.. Some of them are really intriguingly true. πŸ™‚

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1. Everything you eat is savored in garlic, onion and tomatoes.
2. You try and reuse gift wrappers, gift boxes, and of course aluminum foil.
3. You are Always standing next to the two largest size suitcases at the Airport.
4. You arrive one or two hours late to a party – and think it’s normal.
5. You peel the stamps off letters that the Postal Service missed to stamp.
6. You recycle Wedding Gifts , Birthday Gifts and Anniversary Gifts.
7. You name your children in rhythms (example, Sita & Gita, Ram & Shyam, Kamini & Shamini.)
8. All your children have pet names, which sound nowhere close to their real names.
9. You take Indian snacks anywhere it says “No Food Allowed”
10. You talk for an hour at the front door when leaving someone’s house.
11. You load up the family car with as many people as possible.
12. You use plastic to cover anything new in your house whether it’s the remote control, VCR, carpet or new couch.
13. Your parents tell you not to care what your friends think, but they won’t let you do certain things because of what the other “Uncles and Aunties” will think.
14. You buy and display crockery, which is never used , as it is for special occasions, which never happen.
15. You have a vinyl tablecloth on your kitchen table.
16. You use grocery bags to hold garbage.
17. You keep leftover food in your fridge in as many numbers of bowls as possible.
18. Your kitchen shelf is full of jars, varieties of bowls and plastic utensils (got free with purchase of other stuff)
19. You carry a stash of your own food whenever you travel (and travel means any car ride longer than 15 minutes).
20. You own a rice cooker or a pressure cooker.
21. You fight over who pays the dinner bill.
22. You live with your parents and you are 40 years old. (And they prefer it that way).
23. You don’t use measuring cups when cooking.
24. You never learnt how to stand in a queue.
25. You can only travel if there are 5 persons at least to see you off or receive you whether you are traveling by bus, train or plane.
26. If she is NOT your daughter, you always take interest in knowing whose daughter has run with whose son and feel proud to spread it at the velocity of more than the speed of light.
27. You only make long distance calls after 11 p.m.
28. If you don’t live at home, when your parents call, they ask if you’ve eaten, even if it’s midnight.
29. You call an older person you never met before Uncle or Aunty.
30. When your parents meet strangers and talk for a few minutes, you discover you’re talking to a distant cousin.
31. Your parents don’t realize phone connections to foreign countries have improved in the last two decades, and still scream at the top of their lungs when making foreign calls.
32. You have bed sheets on your sofas so as to keep them from getting dirty.
33. It’s embarrassing if your wedding has less than 600 people.
34. All your Tupperware is stained with food color.
35. You have drinking glasses made of steel.
36. You have mastered the art of bargaining in shopping.

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Some Reason to Cheer

5 03 2008
Its rare for some mail to light my face with a ear long grin and a hearty chuckle. This forward managed to do just that. πŸ˜‰
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Her Diary

Today night, I thought he was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a cafe to have some coffee.

I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment. Conversation wasn’t flowing so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk, he agreed but he kept quiet and absent.

I asked him what was wrong – he said, “Nothing.”

I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said it had nothing to do with me and not to worry.

On the way home I told him that I loved him, he simply smiled and kept driving. I can’t explain his behavior; I don’t know why he didn’t say, “I love u, too.”

When we got home I felt as if I had lost him, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there and watched TV.; he seemed distant and absent.

Finally I decided to go to bed. About 10 minutes later he came to bed.

I decided that I could not take it anymore, so I decided to confront him with the situation but he had fallen asleep. I started crying and cried until I too fell asleep.

I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else.

My life is a disaster.

His Diary

Today India lost the cricket match against Bangladesh . Damn it!

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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! πŸ™‚ 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.. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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’. πŸ™‚ It’s tough to make sense of what makes a leader tick. If I missed anything, let me know.





Moment By Moment..

2 12 2007

Thats the way to take life I guess.. I never can claim that I lead a perfect life, yet yes, I acknowledge the existence of some perfect moments as and when they happen.

This Saturday was really like some pot luck where one discovers all his favorite dishes at one go. Ever experienced this wicked glee on your face when someone sings aloud those melodies that are lingering in your thought? Ever cribbed to God about something, and saw your choicest desire taking shape in an instant? Ever longed for some soulful company and saw your best pal calling you that very moment.. All this and many more brightened my joy to the hilt..

Am just counting my blessings, moment by moment. πŸ™‚





Ladies Day out…

25 11 2007

Mmm.. that was fun with my colleagues at Accenture at the Royal Orchid Doddi’s Resort in Bangalore this Saturday. They say that the journey gets most exciting when we don’t know where we are heading. I could easily relate to this during this ladies day out. We are all just a bunch of 80 gals from different projects joined together for an all day party. We played some interesting team games during the first half which included filling the pitcher, passing the hoolaloop, and making a human machine. It was interesting to watch to see the evolution of team dynamics along the event, and ofcourse being a part of the game. πŸ˜‰

It was amazing fun to make pals with colleagues whom I have never met before. Fun to be absolutely careless and carefree after a tiring week with a bunch of strangers! We have played, pooled, sang and danced all day and shared some perfect moments with one another. Its not about the resort, or the facilities but more about the experience. Met some amazing people and made a couple of pals too.. After all, why should guys have all the fun? πŸ™‚