Friday, January 29, 2010

Reply All

In the corporate world, emails are common, so is the 'Reply All' syndrome. This post is inspired by a 'Reply All' email that said, "Unable to access the files" in response to one of yesterday's emails.

I am not in the management ladder as yet, but work has been keeping me very tied up for the last whole week. This morning, I logged in to quickly check my emails and see this very IMPORTANT email. [ Sorry about being so loud.. I really did not think that email was important.]

I glanced through the thread briefly and understood that some files were posted yesterday and an email has been sent to all the concerned people, including the members of the senior management who really do not even have time( is it 'take time??'.. lets rest this argument for the moment...) to eat three meals a day and have a good night's rest.

One of the recipients has attempted to access the file immediately after seeing the email and found an access issue. So, he has just clicked 'Reply All' as is the practice in corporates for all emails that involve some discussion or decision. [For most job profiles in software, email shuttles and automated email notifications make or break your day to say the least. If I had any doubt about 'Habit is second nature' proverb, it gets confirmed by such simple instances in a single work day. ]

Ideally, this person must have written to the sender and the sender could have sent another email to the same group with the correction in the file location, if that was what had caused the access problems. Well, there is no " Must have" or "Could have" in life, and I guess that is why I am writing this post.

Although it seems like we know emailing from the time we got introduced to the Internet, I guess, it does need some decisions in place before we hit the 'Send' button.

Here is one point I can think of right away.

Does the world need to know about the message you want to convey? If and only if 'Yes', click the 'Reply All' button.

All your recipients may be occupied much more work and thoughts than you think they are. Although it just needs to be deleted from their mail box, if it is not a very important keep sake message, it DOES take that half a second time. I agree people are comfortable spending (wasting, if I may say that) a lot of time, I am not sure if they will be happy to read an email that is totally pointless to them in the given context.

In the file share case that we are talking about, none of the management team needs to really know that the files are not accessible. There are about 30 people marked in this email; Only one person can really do something about it.. that is the sender.

The next time you write back to an email, think twice if you need to 'Reply' or 'Reply All', to thwart some corporate fireworks in some people's minds on their relatively 'not-so-good' days.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Handwriting

I used to have a good... no.. very good handwriting when I was in school. This statement, I am constantly telling myself to remind me that I can write neatly.

Why??

In college, the dutiful and sincere student in me started writing a lot of notes in class for the first one month. I think, that's when I lost my neat handwriting. Never written like that ever. Or may be its because of the voluminous engineering exam papers that we had to write in about three hours time to secure a grade in the university. Close to 40 theory papers, averaging to fifty pages each can tell you the volume of effort that has gone into spoiling my neat handwriting; not to mention the siren kind of bells that mark the close of the exam hour.

Some of the other reasons I can think of for this dramatic change of my handwriting into a totally incomprehensible doctor's prescription strokes ( definitely intended comment.. I have not seen too many clear doctor's prescriptions till date... often wonder how the pharmacist can figure out an l from a t in a medicine's name.. Doctors should have a handwriting class) kind of a handwriting are:

Thanks to computers, I never really had to write a lot on paper except forms and forms unlimited for everything under the sun.
I do not write letters very often.
I do not own notebooks.
I do not have homework that requires some writing on paper.
Stopped sending greeting cards like I used to.

In the computer and mobile world, I can text at the rate of two hundred characters in less than two minutes..and type at the rate of 46 words per minute.

I did not learn typing and was very happy about my achievement till I had to write a complaint letter to an officer in the telecoms office. I had to just write half a paragraph in the usual letter writing standards. When I was done with the letter, it looked like a scribble and nothing more than that. I attempted to rewrite it so the officer understands my script - I did manage to hand in a legible letter, but still makes me wonder how much things have changed... My legible and cursive typed hand writing once won a lot of appreciations and now, I have brought it to a state that I am myself unable to accept.

Bought a note book and started handwriting practice :) As it happens and as you see, I am typing away to glory here continuing my type-writing practice... :) Will I be able to get back my signature style of writing??!!!!?? For that matter, will any one out there be able to regain your once legible hand writing?? If you manage to win, let me know.. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Simple courtesies

It was unusually crowded in most buses this morning. I knew I had to travel as a 'standee' today. With my laptop ( less than 2 kgs for sure) , it was a little difficult, but then it's just for today. I decided on Swalpa Adjust Maadi and bought my bus ticket.

What amazes me in bus travels is that although the bus is packed, at every bus stop at least one person boards the bus. Mathematical mind says, so also, at least one person alights at every bus stop. In spite of all the Maths, I would still say, when my bus stopped at KR Puram stop, the bus was packed. A young woman who is expecting a baby in say, less than a month's time ( from my judgement) boarded the bus and I wanted to say " Excuse me, why do you have to take this bus when it is so crowded?".. but I assumed that she has her own reasons (bad boss, late start, and crazy work load) and did not say anything.

[My take would be.. No matter what, do not get into a crowded Bangalore Metro bus.. with the bumpy roads and haphazard traffic and innumerable sudden breaks, you never know- there might be chances of having the baby right there in the bus].

My attention shifted to the girl sitting in the first row. She saw this would-be mom getting in, but did not think of giving up her the seat. I wanted the lady to be given one seat and no one moved. One of the older girls finally asked the girl in the first row to give her seat to this lady. The girl was not exactly convinced, but since the rest of the world wanted her to give up her seat, she did not say anything.

In a crowded bus, how can you not think of get up when you see a pregnant lady? I am wondering if basic niceties and courtesies are all lost these days? Totally unimpressive!!!!!

Do you think there must be a clause written somewhere that pregnant women, physically challenged people, and old people need to be given a seat in any public transport? Are we not supposed to know that from our basic education??

What is the point of holding an educational qualification, a job and a social identity when the basic sense is lost?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Celebrating 60th Republic Day!!

Tomorrow, the 26th of January is the 60th Republic Day in India. A little bit of history here: On this day, 60 years ago, Constitution of India came into force. Google for more details.

I am seeing emails and posters alerting security all over the place. All of us have been asked to cooperate with the security guards in case they conduct any surprise checks. All train stations and other places of public resort have been heavily guarded.

Sixty is a nice long period to celebrate all the achievements of the country. Over the years, every aspect would have seen a lot of changes, both plus and minus - all of which is nice to recall and learn from.

At such an introspective moment, here we are, worried about terrorism and other potential, unforeseen problems that can strike tomorrow. Why is this happening? On any national holiday that involves the government, there is at least a strike some where in the country to say the least. Other issues - I don't want to google it for you. We have all read it in papers soon after every national holiday - sometimes includes festival holidays too.

A lot of things are not correct about India. If you take a list of what is correct, then again, there are lots of things that are correct in India. Its just that, these days, the 'not-correct' list seems over-emphasized, leaving no appreciations for the 'correct' list.

For most people, Republic day means getting to watch a lot of movies on the television. If you are talking about flag-hoisting as an idea, check what I have to say about that here...

Going out on Republic Day to a crowded place in Free India is becoming very difficult because, although we are free, we are not feeling safe. That is the message I got from the emails I received in the morning.

If this is the state we are in today, then what is the point of celebrating the Republic day at all??

A Saree Shop Advertisement

I happened to see this banner advertisement outside a saree shop. Cutting all the artistic(!!!!!!!????????!!!!!) details that I do not want to explicitly lay out for you to imagine, I'll simply say that the advertisement seemed like it was for the girl in the picture and not her saree.

I think its easy for any one who drives on the road to get distracted looking at the picture of this well-photographed, super-model, good looking girl. That is besides the point.

There are at least three different posters that supposedly were displaying the exquisite artistic work on the saree and its borders. I could not see the art in the saree.

My question is very simple: If you are advertising for a saree, why don't you think about having the saree draped as beautifully as possible, on a beautiful girl and take pictures that portray the art work in the saree? A well-draped saree will surely make the girl look extremely beautiful. This is a known fact.

I am wondering if the advertisers would take time to think when they shoot disturbing pictures for an ethnic outfit like saree which is supposed to speak Indian tradition. Also makes me wonder if girls lost their sense of 'sensing the woman within' and the 'common sense' in them in the name of 'career' and 'being modern'. Wonder why??!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Your thoughts on your birthday

Have you attempted to say one line on your birthday that describes your mind state?

Here are some of the responses I have heard:

Getting too old to celebrate...
Getting older...
Getting older and getting wiser too...
Time to think of wedding...
Don't put candles on my cake to remind me how old I am...
Time to wear a shorter dress just so I don't feel too old...
Don't even ask!!!!
Yeah, its just like any other day... Who ever said it is special...
How long do you think I must celebrate this day... I am getting older...
We are just planning a dinner outing this evening.. Nothing much.. Its just any other day...
Yeah, lots have changed, learnt quite a few things.. lost and gained some sense :)

Now, that is the usual routine note of responses that we would hear...

Yesterday, at office, we were celebrating a friend's birthday. Cake, Samosa and coffee to keep it simple and quick. When the initial round of cake was over people shifted focus to the birthday hero.

We wanted to hear a few words from him on his birthday. [in the typical corporate way, where, in any gathering, no matter what the purpose/context is, someone has to talk in a tone that addresses the gathering seriously.. :)]...

And usually when you are asked to talk, it takes at least a second to collect yourself from wherever you are and start talking, but this hero friend immediately responded with one extra-ordinary enthusiasm and energy saying:

Birthday.... One more year close to marriage!!!!

Brought an instant smile, loud cheer and lots of enthusiasm in the crowd. That's a positive note, a note which none of us ever heard so far. I guess, we must learn to look at life this way, on our birthday.. One more year close to spectacles is much better than Getting too old, need glasses soon.

It seems that mental word play defines life much more than we want to admit... :) Thanks to the Hero for instilling this thought line for us to read about and learn.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Do we want to learn English Alphabet all over again?

A for Apple..
B for Ball..
C for Cat..
D for Doll..
E for Egg..
F for Fan..
...
...
..
.
.

This is how our schools have so far been teaching. Right now, I know the alphabet is being taught with phonetics associated with the letters, so when the children speak the English language, there is no need to correct the pronunciation.

At one of the bus stops day before, I saw an advertisement from Aircel for an Internet card that you can use on your mobile phone and connect to the Internet. Applause to the creativity involved in the Advertisement.

This is what it said:

A for Address..
B for Blog..
C for Chat..
D for Download..
E for Email..
F for Face book..

and I went on to continue..

G for Google
H for Hot mail
I for Internet
J for Jabber
...
...
...

I am sure, given some thought we could make a complete new, modern, trendy library of words for every letter in the English Alphabet. I would not be surprised if the schools adapt to this library soon.

All the children start-off their play time in life, with their parents' laptops or mobile phones or desktops or TV remote controls. Wonder where this is leading?

Are we rushing the children to grow up faster than their own pace? It seems so, but I do not know. I think I have had a great time in my childhood playing outdoor games with children of my age group, something I can never do today.... Even if I get a chance to, it would never be the same kind of fun.

Glue the kids to computer and television at a very early stage in life , and they will never get to be children again to know what it is like to play with friends outdoors, make a sand castle, and soil a brand new white dress. It may not be exciting to wash the mud and the stain off the dress for the parent, but I think it is a must-enjoy experience for a child.

Internet, Email, Computer games, Television, PlayStation games, Cartoon channels, all these can wait!!!!!! in my opinion. I like the advertisement a lot, but wonder if this is reflecting the current trend and lifestyle in Indian houses??

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tirumala Tirupati Lord Venkateswara

This is the very first time in three years that I am touching religion on my blog post. Though I agree that all of us can have varied opinions on this post, please ensure that your comments do not hurt the believers and staunch advocates of the Good God. I also wish to express that this post is definitely not open for any argument on this blog site. :-) We respect every fellow reader/writer's opinion and freedom of right. Your comments will be accepted only on this understanding. Thank you.


Last week, I had a chance to visit Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh, India. I strongly recommend you google for details on the temple if you have no clue what I am talking about. The intent of the post is purely an expression of what I noticed.


Most believers know that it is not the Darshan(chance to see the deity) which you plan but it is the Darshan which He gives. I had heard that, but read this in one of the local restaurants in Tirupathi. Although it does not sound true enough, it is very true. You could be living in the neighbourhood but would not get a chance to visit the temple. There have also been instances when people have gone all the way up the Sapthagiri ( Seven Hills) and have returned with no luck to see the Good God in the Sanctum Sanctorum. I believe this is true of anything special that happens to us in life, and more so when it comes to visiting temples.


As a child, I had a lot of complaints about having to wait in long queues to see God. I remember expressing it quite often while in the queue to see Lord Venkat, the last time we visited Tirupathi. I used to think that there is no point in waiting in a long line, stressing yourself so much for hours together, putting up with the crowd, the sweat, the ache in your feet, the hunger and the boredom that comes soon after you are done with praying for a good score in the upcoming half-yearly exams. :-)


May be this was loud enough, so I never had a chance till last week to visit Tirupathi. May be because times changed as much as my opinions and perspectives, so I got a chance to visit Tirupathi again after many years. I was and am super-thrilled at the idea.


The thronging crowd of devotees,the clean roads, the systematic arrangements to handle the crowd, the amenities required, the easy reach facilities.....
The beautiful scenery, the dense forests, the winding roads, the biting cold breeze....
The busy traffic, the half a dozen languages that you get to hear, the exquisitely done art pieces of the Lord Venkateswara, the varying prices, the smart business men....
The non-stop chanting of the Lord's name, the festivity in the air all the time, the energy levels at any time of the day, the people of varied age groups that you get to see....


All these caught my attention and I saluted the Good God. All for the love of the Good God, the omnipresent.


We continued waiting in the queue. This time I did not have any complaint because my only motive was to see this great deity. I had chanced to draw the picture of Lord Venkateswara five years ago and wondered how long it would take the priests to decorate the deity the way they have been doing over the years. I have heard accounts from people about the long wait and finally when they did get close to the sanctum sanctorum everything about the wait faded in their minds.

The different queues merged at one specific spot and from then on, you are not on your own, because the crowd pushes you and strangely I was not angry, but was very amazed and amused at the eagerness that all of us shared to see the deity.

From my past visit, I was expecting to be able to go as close as possible to the sanctum sanctorum. This time, the queue was stopped about three rooms' distance away from the sanctum sanctorum.

When our turn came, I knew what pushed people to push everyone around..

For the fraction of a minute that I chanced to get to the front of the queue,

I almost lost my grip...
forgot where I was...
everything around me faded...
the crowd did not matter...
there was no ache or pain...
all the complaints vanished...

Nothing, just nothing can equal the grandeur, the sanctity, the divinity, the beauty, the sense of satisfaction, the bliss, the graceful feeling, and the inner sense of happiness when you get a split-second glimpse of the Almighty, Omnipresent Lord Venkateswara's deity at the Tirumala Temple.

When I was guided ( read it as pushed) out of the queue onto the temple courtyard to look at the rest of the grandeur in the form of the Golden Gopuram ( google for this please ), I felt like this whole darshan was an illusion... it was more of a divine picture painted on space as a canvas and wiped off in a magical moment...

I had a glimpse and the illusory effect I have in my mind is never enough to take in all the details of the unreproducible, decorative, supreme, and divine deity in Tirumala.

I want to term this Tirumala Magic. If you get a chance, you are lucky. If you have been getting this chance often, I am sure you will agree.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Attention: Swalpa Adjust Maadi - Just adjust a little..

I had attended a workshop in early December on Technical Writing. In response to a particular question around writing, the speaker said, "There is always a simple rule to handle some situations; They say,"Swalpa Adjust Maadi" in Kannada. This translates to "Just adjust a little" in English."

This one fragment got rooted in my mind. For the last one month, I have said this phrase many times to myself to ease simple, common, unnecessary stress that we all face each day. I just thought this whole idea is worth a post.

More often than not, it is the trivial commonplace events that cause more stress [ small unnecessary stress usually cascade through the day and lead to bigger problems] to us than the relatively serious ones.

Here's one to help you visualize better: You are driving to work. You had set out well in advance from your house and you have had a great start of the day and your feel-good factor is good enough. Your favorite melody is on and the traffic signal is not a problem today for you, because you had started off early and you are quite confident to reach your office well in time for the day's first meeting.

You get caught in traffic. After some time of cool wait, you still find no progress. Honks around you send waves of tension, so you start honking too, but nothing works.

It is as simple and plain as : You are tangled in the traffic web. Not your fault and the tension that you take at this point is totally pointless.

Now, if you are going to take the tension, turn red in face, pick up that phone and yell at the next caller, and blame a bicycle rider who has the advantage of threading his way through the traffic, and cursing your luck or time or whatever, just because you could not make it to the "All-important" meeting, is not at all helping your heart or the situation. This hypertensive reaction will percolate to the security guard at your office when you get in, to the receptionist, to the computer's plug point, to the phone, to the email box and in effect to the people you write to, to the meeting attendees, to the decisions, to the discussions, to the phone calls during the day... and may be into your home atmosphere later the same day... All these things/people are totally unaware of your paramount problem of traffic jam early in the morning. They don't deserve to take a hit. Your attitude will be seen as strange and may affect you in serious ways that you would have not even thought of. You'll forget the traffic jam and the way you reacted towards things and people, while everyone else will remember the way you made them feel on that, supposedly long-forgotten, day.

Here is where you must say to yourself: "Swalpa Adjust Maadi".. Trust me, it will bring a smile immediately. Stress is relieved and you can think. Even the worst situations always have an alternative or workaround. Use your time to see how to reschedule things at work and ensure you communicate your inability to make it to the meeting. Save your energy for constructive work.

A major situation that the speaker highlighted:

In marriage, go by this rule: Swalpa Adjust Maadi with people and attitudes, you think you are not used to.

Other trivial situations I can quickly think of, where Swalpa Adjust Maadi helps:

If you just found out that a favorite movie show got cancelled, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If your favorite eatery is closed today and your lunch plans changed, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you got a lower score than what you expected, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you chose the most strategic seat to watch your favorite theatre play with your best friend and a tall man occupies the seat in front of you, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you are wearing your favorite dress at a party and something spills on your dress, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you decided to buy a designer piece and later find out that it is not for sale, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you ordered for Paneer Butter Masala and the server gets you Peas Paneer Masala, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you wanted a window seat for travel and did not get it, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you ask for Gulab Jamoon and get Chocolate Cake, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If a dish that is supposed to be tangy suddenly tastes sweet, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you are planning a quiet evening and a group of people turn up at home, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you have a party and your hostel warden does not permit, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.
If you get what you must and not what you want, Swalpa Adjust Maadi.

These are some trivial situations that I have seen and faced and seen other people dealing with, in a way that its spoils the day. At the end of the day, the trivial problem gets recorded as a thought rather than the other fond thoughts that could have taken the same space in the mind. All these trivial problems/situations have solutions/workarounds/alternatives.

"Swalpa Adjust Maadi - Just adjust a little" does not mean "Put up with it"... it only means try and think of a better way to deal with it and be a little flexible.

If things don't work your way, see if you can say to yourself : Swalpa Adjust Maadi. When you have to tell the same to others, don't fail to. :-)

Life is all about 'Swalpa Adjust Maadi' and 'Enjoy Maadi' :) He who uses the formula, "Swalpa Adjust Maadi" enjoys life better and is happier than most others.

Important:
You also have to know when NOT to follow Swalpa Adjust Maadi :) If the adjustment affects your principle that you know works for you or hurts your self-esteem, then do not go by the formula of Swalpa Adjust Maadi.

Extra-terrestreal estate

[ Disclaimer : This reaction is as on the date of this blog.. You never know what I will write about it tomorrow, if they indeed prove that life in Moon is possible and there is real estate space available for sale there... except the paper work that might bother me, I don't think I will have a problem signing up for a space on Moon, given that the investment is worth my money.]

'Extra-terrestreal' estate!!!!!!! Definitely not a misspelling :) Real estate is really getting into extra-terrestrial space making it extra-terrestreal estate business...

What else would you say if you receive this link on email:
http://excitinglives.com/experience/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=213

This talks about gifting some space in the Moon for a friend. The cost would be Rs.1650 for a definite area of the land in the moon.

Years ago, I remember reading about the fact that some people had claimed to have bought some land ( Is the land on the moon called land or would it be appropriate to be called terrain or some such word?) on the Moon. It was very unbelievable and I dismissed the thought. After I read this link today, I surfed for two minutes online to find these snippets:

China is the eighth country to have a Lunar Embassy office, according to the China Daily - after the US, Germany, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Lunar Embassy Office!!!!!!

"....the salesman said he had sold the first lots to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and that they went to the Moon to inspect their properties".

Didn't know the deal earlier!!!!

There are a lot of journalistic and legal arguments floating around on the validity of the idea of owing some section of the extra terrestrial space. Let's leave that part to the lawyers and the news makers. I cannot react properly to this kind of a totally unfathomable and irrational craze for owning things and the world at large and in this case to own an extra-terrestrial space.

I have some questions in mind:

Why are we not happy with our earth?
Is it because there is no single square foot of land that is free to be bought on earth that the idea of the extra-terrestreal space came in?
Are we done with spoiling the Earth that we now want to move ahead ( in this case outside) in life?
Suppose we have a relative or a friend living in the Moon, would there be an organization that provides us an extra-terrestreal Visa to visit space outside Earth?
What after the Moon? Would it be Venus or Mars? Which one would be the first to be chalked out as plots?
Is our aim to own a whole planet?
Would there be a special interior designing course to design houses/indoors in the Moon?
Would there be a new Engineering course called Extra-terrestrial civil engineering in every institute on Earth?
Would the NASA and ISRO do a joint venture to fund researches on the building construction and courses to handle the infrastructure on the Moon and eventually on the other planets that we choose to buy?
Do we also want to think about buying the oceans? If that is not exciting, I will spell it for you. How about owning a section of Pacific Ocean? Wonder if we would be interested in owing the Bermuda Triangle?? ( Just Wiki this word and really see for yourself to know what I mean...)
What is the ultimate goal in life? Each one has different thoughts on this one, but I really want to know what is the ultimate goal that drives people to even think of buying a part of the Moon?

All said, I still think, it is a super-creative idea to real estate out the Moon.. :) If I have to be optimistic here I would say there will be a lot of new jobs created on Earth.

What I don't understand among other things is that, while there is a lot that we can contribute to our Earth and the wonderful creations in it, to our people and their wonderful feelings and to ourselves, why are we trying to leap up to the Moon. Did we misunderstand the saying: Aim at the sky, you will reach the tree top. or this one: The sky is our limits!!!!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Welcome

We've heard this word quite a lot of times till date, haven't we? Welcome is used so often that it seems to have lost its importance.... but then, there are some Welcomes that we can recall even after years later...

The freshers' welcome party in college...
The Seniors' welcome party in hostel...
The wedding welcome party...
Some airport/train station welcomes..
...
...
...

We also recall a lot of not-so-welcoming tone/note of welcomes... that's something we park aside, never to pick up again.. :)

When I was writing "See where life takes you" I recalled a hearty welcome I had three years ago, on the same day. It deserved a separate post and that's what this post is about.

January 8th 2007. It is a very important day for me.

First, because I am joining one of the biggest companies that my mind could imagine, till then. I mean, I never even opted to attempt a test or an interview in this company till three months ago.

Second: I was hit strongly by a wind of culture-shock in Bangalore for the last 26 hours of my stay in this city and I was not sure till the last minute, if I should join the new job.

Third: I had not met anyone in my new organization till then - All interviews were over the phone and the tests were over email.

The honks, the traffic jam, the dust, the auto drivers, the language, the route confusion, the day long joining formalities, the posh building, the security guards, the play area kind of a vast, and empty ground floor ( I don't understand why all office buildings waste so much of space), the floor confusion and the "Good evening" smile from the security... When I finally reached the floor where I was supposed to meet my team, my face must have shown the reactive responses to all these.... I am sure... I was not definitely wearing my best look on my first day at work...

So, there I was, in the reception desk of one of the best companies I had ever known till then, waiting to be be escorted in. I did not have an identity card yet, so no access to the office. As I walked up to the reception desk to ask for my manager's name, I heard a very warm, bright, and cheerful " Hiiiiiiiiii, you must be Deepa.. A very warm welcome to <<>>" Then, we spoke a lot, but what mattered was just that tone and cheer in the voice.. It was 4:30.P.M and later, I came to know that this manager's day starts at 9:00A.M. So, at almost the end of the day, the cheer that she carried in her voice was unbeatable. It was so very important for me, because I was totally tired of the very idea of a huge corporate and this city that day.

I have not forgotten the Hello, the bright yellow and black saree, the elegance, the grace, the cheer, and the strength in this manager on that very important evening. I don't think I will ever be able to, because, I have heard a number of welcome notes, but not even one of them could match this one. That welcome note made my day.

On this date, when I think of my first day and the welcome note at this place, it still makes me feel good. I guess, that is the trick here. Make your new-joinee feel good and special.

You might have had a 'not-so-good' day, but what matters most is that the new-joinee is just starting her day in your company. The least you can do, to make her day is to Say a Hello and welcome in a tone that would really cheer her up.

Any welcome reminds me of this one, and immediately brings a smile... It is quite an art to welcome someone into your clan - Be it home or Work. And it is an art that can be worked on.

Welcome would remain just a word without the feeling of warmth and joy and cheer that we are capable of infusing into it. Let's remember to give the word a meaning from now on.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Splash on Leader

Thanks to my friend, who sent a very thoughtful forward. These thoughts are after-effects of that useful read :)

A leader knows when to let the other person take the lead.

Leadership and management are two different things altogether.

You don't have to be a manager to be a good leader.

You have to be a leader to be a good manager.

The extended basics of leadership - Work hand-in-hand, Give-in once in a while, Be responsible for your decisions.

A leader must be able to appreciate a good job in front of the world.

A leader must have the courage to call a spade a spade.

A leader keeps the not-so-good feedback between the subject and self.

A leader who is an expert, admirer or an aspirant can appreciate a good job, well done :)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Three Idiots

Finally... after the world has watched the movie, I got a chance to write about the movie... Three Idiots, a Vidhu Vinod Chopra movie.

It is a must-see movie, so I won't detail the story or characters or the artists or the music or direction. All these is for you to find out from the reviews on the Internet or the movie itself.

All thanks to Chetan Baghat's characters in his first book, Five point someone. It is a hilarious and sensible account of three friends in IIT. The movie has taken its base characters from the book and the story takes a cinematic turn which is perfect for a movie.

Some major take-aways:

- All Is Well.
- Focus on Excellence, Success will Follow.
- In most situations,'Do whatever it takes' .
- Notice small niceties and hidden talents in people.
- Take time to be attentive to words and feelings.
- If you can encourage someone, just do it.
- You do not have to stand first to win in life.
- Be a friend.
- Success is relative.
- It is not bad at all.
- What matters to you most, may not figure in someones priorities.

Five days after watching the movie, these points stayed in my mind. Frame by frame, if I get to watch the movie and write a moral, I can still write. The credit goes to the movie makers and the movie crew.

Minus point was the suicide attempt and the suicide case. Unsure what kind of impact this might have on the younger crowd who have not yet seen college life. That is something which bothered me a bit, but yeah, I understand why the scene was required in the movie. Most popular institutes tax students to a level that the students cant manage and resort to extreme measures. The movie goes to say that it is a flawed system and a flawed logic that we all are inclined to when it comes to education systems and evaluating top colleges. Handing emotions is another dimension altogether. We are yet to learn to take life light especially when it comes to education,, though statistics say that people are doing better in this regard, these days.

One word : Worth your time and money, Different from the rest of the movies, Brings back your college memories, and Makes you spread the word about the movie.

Three idiots - Totally sensible.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Mind Map

Its all in the mind. We hear it most often from most seniors. Give it a careful thought and you will know that it is your mind that decides anything you do or say.

And how often do we take those decisions? Every waking moment we keep taking decisions - major or minor. It is the mind that decides to wake up early in the morning and practice an exercise routine, and the same mind that decides to let go of the thought and continue the early morning sleep for another hour.

When mind can have so much control on this simple decision of waking up early in the morning for an exercise routine or not, don't you think, it can have a better control on the way you work? In my opinion, one of the Job Descriptions of the mind, personified as a Manager here, is to take decisions.

This all-powerful mind needs a break once in a while from its train of thoughts. On a bad work day, when it comes to action, there are times when we decide to walk around the problem,mostly tend to take up the external suggestions, points that don't quite agree with us, and continue doing what we are doing, only to worsen the effect of the already worse situation - headache, out of focus, bad day...

Incorrect approach!!!! Don't wait for your mind to scream "Give me a Break" with a splitting head-ache.

I had a not-so-good work day. Here are some lessons I learnt today at work on these lines, that I thought I must write about.

When things don't go your way, you could just decide to:

*Find someone to talk to. You can think better when you talk it out.
*Sit back and do a totally unrelated work assignment that has been pending for a long time.
*Rationalize the situation in your opponent's favor for a while.
*Completely support yourself. Believe that you are right, but never say that the other person is wrong. You only have a decisive say about your side of the story.
*Walk over to a friend's cube to say 'Hello' and discuss nothing in particular.
*Eat what you like. Good food and chocolate can do wonders.
*Pick up that phone and dial a friend to say "Hi".
*Go for a quiet walk.
*Keep quiet for a while.[ Was tough for me, but I resolved to keep quiet and it did help my temper today.]
*Believe that all worst case scenarios come with an expiry date. So, you will be able to get over it in a while.
*Remember the lessons and never repeat mistakes on your side of the story.
*Just chill. It cannot be so bad after all.

If all else fails, just shut down your computer, take the rest of the day off, and sleep for an hour. I didn't have to do this, because, I could recover faster than I had expected.

Its a mind game. Play it the way you like it and in a way that works equally well for you and your people.

After thought :
Mind mapping is another recent theory that is becoming popular. I have not learnt all about it, but I am using it extensively in my job as a technical writer. Someone said, I can do my financial planning and career planning and such serious things using a Mind mapping software. I did not get to work on it yet, but if you wish, you could try to Google for the software called FreeMind to see what this might mean to you.

See where life takes you....

That is from a recent email conversation with a college friend, yesterday.
The line made me think.... It is nice to see where life has taken you from whichever point in time to the present. It is exactly three years since I came to Bangalore. It has been an interesting journey so far.. Over the last three years,

Some strangers became friends..
Some view points changed..
Some attitudes improved..
Some experiences became lessons..

Professional circles changed..
Pay check changed..
Close friends became closer..
Personal policies remained..

Smiles increased..

This is a very short, generic list that I have written. To be honest, it is interesting to note how life has changed course for us from a point in time till another point in time.. When I did, I could appreciate a lot of things and realized it is important to be thankful for what life brings to us each day.

I thought this statement 'See where life takes you..' is very thoughtful, although it was a very casual remark from my friend. Once in a while, let's stop to see where life has taken us so far and wait to watch the next action field that unfolds in front of us. So, here is my wish for you again : Wherever life takes you this year, may it work well for you.

Happy New year 2010. This year, let's think and thank a lot :)

Happy 2010

Hello Readers,

I wish you and your family a very happy new year.

I know this wish must have come in a little earlier in the year, but could not manage to get my space to write down my thoughts till now.

Thank you all for all the support that you have extended so far, for my blog and me. Without your comments and readership, I know I could not have reached this far... I am very happy about breaking my own record of the past years in blogging. My blog has seen 104 posts from me in 2009. This is the highest I have posted in the last three and a half years of blogging. Thanks, one and all.

I hope to be able to continue to write my thoughts and to receive your comments on my opinions. If there is anything specific that you want to see me writing about, I would like to know your views. Please post a comment on this one to say what else you would like to hear about. If the topic is something I can write about or feel like writing about, I will surely keep it my mind and will write as and when I see or hear something on the same lines.

Thanks once again.

Best Regards,
Deepa

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