Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bouquet making

Bouquet of Roses : One of my favorite ways of wishing people. I always thought that Roses brought the best of wishes and expressed all the love in the world... And I know am not the only person who thinks the same.

This rose bouquet was part of a farewell wish. I had asked for a bunch of roses with a few ferns interspersed. The vendor smiled and asked me to choose a color.. I picked Red, as it is the usual routine... pick a color, choose wrapping ( bunch or bouquet), choose fillers ( ferns and other unscented flowers) , select a 'Best wishes' card and then write your name and wish in the little blank space that is available in the card.

The guy set on to work.... Not that I am noticing for the first time, the way bouquets are made, but this time, it was early morning and I was kind of focused on what he was doing, unlike other times, when I would mostly run late for the function that I was attending... So on this day, when I had lots of time before the work day began , I pulled a chair and sat there watching him work on the bunch of roses.

Till date, I had thought that it was just the sender, the bouquet maker's experience and the flowers you choose ( or get ) makes the bouquet look good.... Not really..... I just saw another aspect that made a huge difference... The kind of involvement that the bouquet maker has on the specific bouquet also adds a few points to a perfect bouquet....

If you are not able to see the point.. let me make it clearer... See, for you it is your friend and your dear one.. For the bouquet maker, it is just another customer's job entry. He would have made hundreds of such bouquets and this one may just be one more on the job tray....

This bouquet maker put in the best of efforts .....the extra special care on the satin, the wrap, the dews and the newspaper cover in the end made all the difference....every other bouquet maker might probably do the same... but there is always a difference you see when things are done whole-hearted and as part of a chore....

As I walked back with a beautiful bunch of roses neatly wrapped in a newspaper cover ( not forgetting the appreciation that he owes along with the money) and with a wonderful feeling that you know, if you have ever held a bouquet to gift someone........, I realised, routine jobs need not be boring at all... its the way you see work... :)

This vendor saw my friend's joy when he made the bouquet...he probably saw every customer's friend and the occassion and whatever else his profession involves before he started work.....

Later that day, when my friend's face lit up as she took the bouquet, I said a silent "Thanks" to the bouquet maker, the second "Thanks" for his Job... I was so glad that I had not forgotten to say "Thanks" to him in the morning when he gave me the bouquet.

Never ever fail to appreciate or thank a job well done, however trivial it might be :) is what I learnt that day. It could be a routine job that "Cannot" go wrong, still it is important to acknowledge it, because in effect you are contributing to a better performance in the next to next stereo-typed jobs of the guy, on the same day....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Hand Bag

I didn't know that my handbag was my major support when I am all by myself, till I faced a bomb threat at work and I walked out without carrying my bag....

All the time, all books and magazines have quotes and proverbs that state:You would not know the worth of things till you lose them... True, I never realised what all my hand bag meant to me, till I had to part with it for more than two days....

It had my tickets, the cash, the desk keys, my cupboard keys, my address book among many other things that made my hand bag more of a sack instead of the mere brown, unassuming, leather finished resin hand bag.

I didn't have much to do that evening when I was wading my way, wait a minute.. when the auto I boarded to reach the bus station that evening.... was wading its way through the oceanic traffic. Am so used to hugging my hand bag wherever I go, for the last few years. It was the first time when i am travelling alone, I did not have my hand bag... The bag i borrowed served the purpose of holding my freshly printed e-ticket and the generously lent out money.. still it was never the same....I realised for the umpteenth time that i have nothing called "Presence of Mind" to carry my hand bag with me.

I missed my bag...

If my bag were to speak, I wonder if it will cry out loud : Don't over stuff me with things!!!!

I loaded it with keys some of which are just old key chains now, bills that recorded my expenses, my address book that is my appointed record keeper of phone numbers and addresses, books that will either be a gift to me or my gift to someone, note pads that had a lot of scribbles that meant so much only to me, post-it notes that remind me of my to-do list when my memory wants to take a vacation,my cash that keeps me company when I am in an auto mostly, my travel tickets that are my prized possessions every time I go home, my health care easy reach essentials that helps one and all around me, my cell phone that defines me among my folks, and to add to all these, there are always one or two of the "once-in-a-while" residents in my hand bag : Water bottle, eatables, some courier that I had to post, some greeting card that I have to hunt a postal stamp for since the last week, some gift that I had to give someone, a passport size photo or two that I had taken year before last and forgot to paste on some form or other, my phone bills that are never "light" and some papers that I stuff in my bag for later reading on subject, writing, fashion and new phone service provider's advertisement( in my attempt to reduce phone bills :)

I had wanted to be methodical about my hand bag load.. but it just doesn't work well between us.. me and my hand bag.. we are fine this way :) I travelled light the other day when I had left my bag behind, but was a little too bothered about my bag more than any thing else that evening.. may be because, no one else would offer to carry all my possessions just like my brown resin hand bag :)

Jaan Pyaari Hai

That's the Hindi equivalent of "Life's dear".... True... We have all realised at one point or other in lives, but almost always we tend to forget it, till we come across another incident from which we chanced to escape by a stroke of luck.

Last week, my friend had to remind me "Jaan Pyaari hai" as we were all being guarded out of our office portals owing to a bomb threat/scare. I was very concerned.....worried.....feeling bad....completely lost.... not because I came to know that it was a bomb scare and that such news can ruin your peace of mind...... but because, I had left my dear hand bag behind at my desk as soon as I heard the announcement.....

It was a busy Friday afternoon at work and I was literally lost in a technical document that I was reading...An announcement voice said: Your attention please. You are requested to leave your work stations immediately and move to the safe zone outside the building.

I picked up my mobile on a reflex and walked out with the others. Little did I realise that it would be a bomb threat and that we would not be coming in for the next five hours. It was after all of us had walked out of the building that we came to know of the threat...

There was this guard ushering all of us to a safer distance. "The road had not been planned for such an emergency traffic", I thought(!!!!) ...I also thought that it was heights of absent mindedness or over confidence ( I couldn't tell which one dominated me that day) that caused the major flaw of life - Not carrying your hand bag when asked to leave the work station!!!!!

My thoughts when I was walking out with my thoughtful friend.....

Bad road - so crowded it is
Bad memory / commonsense - I should have brought my hand bag along
No money - How will I travel tonight?
No tickets - May be I'll take a print out.. How I love the Internet world!!! - I had an e-ticket..:)
No keys - I can ring the bell and some one will open the door..
I have not packed my baggage - That means I can't wear my favorite suit for the weekend plans I had.

I should have told out aloud one of these mind maps unconsciously, I guess..... I still remember the air of satisfaction and "Come on, get back to your senses " tone my friend had, when she said: Jaan Pyaari Hai Beti :)

The truth of it struck me immediately:

True... How many more times does nature and life has to teach people that sometimes, the very fact that you are alive is in itself a major stroke of luck? ......... while you are spending all your time worrying about what else has gone/ can go wrong, when the chances of your living on any given minute, is by itself a real GIFT :)

Well, it is not that I don't know that "Life is dear", its just that it is easy to forget it very often... :) especially when you know that "Nothing went wrong" ( when by all means it could have ) and it was just a "hoax" ( and didn't happen after all )... and that's when we complain about trivial things.

On another trail of thoughts.... I also realised that luck is not always bad on a bomb scare and if nothing happens to you , your hand bag/wallet is important anyways :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Beware of Garbage Trucks by David J. Pollay

An interesting forward I received:

Beware of Garbage Trucks by David J. Pollay
************************************************************************************************************************** How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood?

Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day?

Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly he/she can get back her focus on what's important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here's what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did. So this was it: The 'Law of the Garbage Truck.'

I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, 'I'm not going to do it anymore.'

I began to see garbage trucks. I see the load they're carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best.

Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting.

Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses.

Teachers and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you?

What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by? You'll be happier Here's my bet.

So.. Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe that everything happens for a reason.
If you get a chance , TAKE IT!
If it changes your life , LET IT! Nobody said it would be easy... They just promised it would be worth it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just do your best!!!!!!

Well, I heard this from my grandma almost always as a kid....

Next, from my parents and sister always....

From my thoughtful friends who say this when they see me all hypertensive at work....

From my managers who say this when they recruit me....

All quotation books have this....
All fiction books prove this....
All non-fiction books speak this....

A few years ago, I remember stopping by a road side board that said:

Even if your job is to sweep roads, do it in the best possible manner that no one else can excel you....- Sir Visweswarayya.

Close to the sign-board, there was a young man sweeping the dried leaves off the road. Noticed that he was doing a flawless job of sweeping... He probably does not even know that his kind of work ( literal sense here ) was being appreciated in the nearest sign-post. I just walked off amazed at the sincerity and sincerely and quietly wished him well and that he lands up in a nice job in life....Didn't have the mind back then to appreciate him out loud, which i should have, I realise now.

"Just do your best!!!" got registered in my mind I would say and is one point that I find myself drawn to.

And from that day on, I really try hard to do a good job of sweeping whenever I had chanced to sweep the floor in my house. :) :) It is quite a tough job on its own and needs its own experience :)

The essence is that every job,whether it requires literacy or no, experience or no, is considered elite or no, is highly paid or no, definitely requires the "Just do your best!!!" attitude... :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

On Sharing

It was a very early on a bright Sunday morning when we started out on a long drive. All of us at home enjoy this kind of long drives and we have fun talking about everything under the sun.

It was a little different this time as both me and my sister did not want to eat outside. We had packed lunch from home and had planned to have food at one of the fields beside a tube well.

It was well past lunch time that we finally managed to find a lush green field.After Appa spoke to the farmer,we all took our huge picnic bag and walked towards the tube well in single file... We have never walked in a field and wanted to make sure we don't disturb the work that was happening there. An old farmer remarked to Appa, " It is sometimes important for us to let our children know that rice does not grow on trees ".. It sounded an interesting comment and slightly degrading all the same, given that all of us had a flair for Botany.. "The comment was a casual passer-by comment and never intended on us" - I reassured myself.

We were very grateful to the farmers for letting us spend quite a lot of time on their fields. After a lot of playing, eating, and conscious effort to ward of the sleep that the gentle cool breeze induced in us, we finally decided to drive ahead.... We carried back an almost empty bag, except a few biscuit packets.

As we walked back, we saw a group of tired farmers and an old lady with a tea pot +a few stainless steel cups. I looked at my watch to see it was 4:00 in the evening and their tea time... Wondered how long will their work day extend to... As we crossed the clan, we smiled at them and they invited us for tea. I looked at the tea pot. It was just enough for the group, but they still offered. We politely declined saying we were too full from a late lunch we just had....

We waved them a "Bye" and walked further on. All of us stopped to look at the next person in the file, and we kind of knew that we all had the same thought in mind..

"Their hospitality is amazing and whats more amazing is the fact that they had very little to offer and still they did, with all their heart." We gave the group a few biscuit packets that we wished would "make their tea time" that day.

Back in the car, all of us sat dazed and still are impressed beyond words with the attitude they showed towards us, strangers...

Could not help contrast this with our urban behavior: We would not let any stranger in first... leave alone extend an invitation to join us for tea... They don't have much and are not bothered about sharing whatever little they have...

We have money and we would not be left without anything if the wealth gets lost or stolen... We are still are worried.. Sad, we have to do this because of the growing crime scenes in the world... is one reason we can give. So forget strangers.....Are we open to share as much or little with close folks???


With new opportunities also comes to fear and self-doubt. How can we navigate these very strong forces in order to reach our fulfillment...