Friday, April 30, 2010

Know if you must take help.....

I smiled because for the first time I could identify a car as 'Ford' without trying to read the front or the rear of the car. Years of practice automatically drew my eyes to the front of the car to read the make, but from the Volvo seat where I sat, my eyes stopped at the lovely dress I could see. The lady's dress sense was excellent. Sometimes, we cannot help applauding some people's dress sense.

Then, attention shift again; the hands that drove the car seemed a little unsure.. I looked around.. Obviously, Bangalore peak hour traffic. Its difficult to be sure, but I always believe drivers do not have an excuse to lose focus.- Ever.

As my bus moved forward, I finally got to see the face of this best-dressed lady with the unsure driving sense. One quick look and you could say that she was very disturbed. Her eyes showed restlessness and her hands were quivering a little, the car was snailing its way and also looked a little less majestic ( driver's hold determines the way the car looks) and there was a flash of total helplessness on her face.

The picture keeps flashing on my mind... Stress is the word, I am sure. What is the cause or how can it be eased are things that I do not know.That she might not know driving or her car might be out of fuel is definitely not the reason for the look on her face.

If one of these is the reason, then I can say she is getting over stressed for small things.. If these are not the reasons, then I must say, people like her should take help from someone or choose another means of transport to get to office. Such drivers ( women mostly) with not a very stable mind state can be the cause of major traffic incidents and accidents.

It is important to know if you must take help. Its just okay to 'not drive' on a not-so-good day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Common traits in corporate

I was still thinking of the unusually pathetic taste of the Channa Masala side dish, as I was putting away my used plate. Wondering how easy or difficult it can be to spoil such a nice dish.

"Yeah, File A is fine.. but unless the script 'whatever' had taken 'whatsoever' parameter into consideration at the time it gets invoked....."

the noise seemed to fade now, because I was rushing out of the zone and from these dangerously workaholic people. When you are at the cafe discuss everything other than work, please...... I wanted to yell!!!!!

Made me quickly jot down a few traits that I have noticed in the past those can be stamped: "Unmistakably Corporate".

My observations are limited to IT corporates only, as my work experience is limited to IT industry:

  • After the first five minutes of any casual meeting, a topic about technology starts.
  • Almost always there is the office identity card in the bag, whether it is a casual evening outing or a party.
  • Laptops are considered among the list of 'most essentials' in the house.
  • Java code and product releases get discussed round the clock, 365 days a year.
  • Any discussion with an IT engineer shows inclination towards networking than friendship.
  • Festival day is just another regular work day.
  • Birthdays are party times.
  • Corporate people can very rarely write a heart-to-heart friendly email.
  • Lot of please, thank you and sorry words will be used in a span of fifteen minutes of any casual discussion.
  • If you see a scent of elegant gossip, then you are definitely talking to someone from the IT sector.
  • Even to have coffee, an IT professional sometimes needs a reminder on his Outlook calendar or mobile phone.

If I spend a little more time, I can write more, but will stop here, as a dutiful IT professional who has to get back to work. A reminder is just flickering on my desktop.

Hail IT world!!!!

I am sure the same is the case with other sectors where workaholism prevails. Let's take care to be aware of these traits that brand us different from the rest of the herd.

Awareness is the first step towards correction of mistakes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Physics or Practical Philosophy?

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
- Newton's third law of motion.

Recall your Newton's laws lesson from Class Seven Physics Book.

I think this is one law that drives not only two forces but also life. He must have done quite a lot of research and analysis into why he said what he said, but then don't you think a lot in life is governed by this principle?

We tend to react to people, situations,events based on what faces us or how we perceive them. The reaction can be good, better, best , bad, worse or worst based on how good or bad that event, person, or situation made you feel.

Makes me wonder if Newton was a Physicist or a Practical Philosopher.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lot of noise about Silence

... in my mind, for the last few days.

Yesterday, I was in a car with one of my nieces. One of her favorite dance numbers was the background music as I was talking non-stop as usual about something. The child gave me this 'Oh..Please....' look and said, " Chitthi, I want to listen to this song, please.."

For the first time, that request seemed sensible to me. I stopped talking till the song got over.

Later yesterday evening, when I had some quiet time for myself, I debated silence in my mind. Oh yes, if you are quiet, it does not mean you are silent.

I was not talking but worse still, was debating silence in my head. Debates can cause stress and talks relieve you of stress. Its amazing how both these involve the same talking on a different stage with a different mind set.

After a varied levels of arguments in my mind, as on date I can conclude that:

Being Quiet is important when:

- writing an exam.

- in a pointless argument.

- uttering one word can cause disastrous turn of the already serious situation.

Being quiet just means 'not talking'. It has definitely no other relevance and mostly to do with protocol or decency that you choose to respect.

Silence means to attempt to keep your mind quiet and focus on what is happening within or in front of you. Silence can mean introspection, bring inner peace and comfort and equals a meditative mood, most of the times.

Being silent makes sense when:

-listening to someone speak their heart out.

-lending shoulder to lean on for someone who needs support.

-in a condolence meeting.

-a baby is sleeping.

-art has you completely fascinated.

-you are in the company of a beautiful natural scenery and a companion.

These are some of the moments that I think silence makes sense.

Often I see dictionaries and people equating silence and 'not talking'. They are two different concepts altogether. I believe that Silence brings peace whereas Quietness can bring turbulence to some people.

A talkative person need not be turbulent in mind as is the popular belief.

A talkative person is more silent in the mind because he/she has less to burden the mind and is eventually at a better position to handle blood pressure + inner peace than the quiet person.

This whole post is with due respect to and in complete agreement with the saying : Words and eggs are to be handled with care, for, Eggs when broken and Words when spoken cannot be repaired.

This whole thing about Silence was nagging me for the last few weeks and I felt it important to write it out here. Share your views too. Would love to know what you think.

Friday, April 23, 2010

News and self

IPL and cricketers and politicians and politics and movie stars and fan clubs and cricket lovers.....

Volcanic ashes and airports and travel reschedules and never-ending waits and missing appointments....

Accusations and trials and sentences and law points....

Elections and votes and seats and promises and social welfare talks....

Earth Day and Global Warming and Weather forecast and traffic jams.....

Exams and tests and admissions and marks and vacations and summer camps and troubled parents.....

So much is happening around and much more is telecast as prime time news each minute on the media.

Whatever happens, there is always a whole list of things to take care of in our personal lives... wonder why and how we spend so much time and energy worrying more than we should, about the rest of the worldly happenings, whether or not it is of some importance and relevance to us and our community... If at all we happen to hear something relevant to us and our community, most often there is no point in taking it too much into ourselves. If possible we need to contribute to the cause, learn something from it, else just keep moving on instead of wasting all the time we have in hand discussing about it or in some worst cases, worrying about it.

I am not being indifferent to the worldly happenings, but I do see a psychic effect in some of us towards some of these news casts. The constant follow-ups and talks some people get into on one or more of these news gossips, makes me wonder if watching news is to just take time off one's own real life for a few minutes....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pehla Nasha, Pehla Corporate Job,

Yesterday morning there were quite a few delays. It was late when I reached the bus stop. I waited at the bus stop for over ten minutes and decided to hop on to the Airport local that is a little expensive to travel in, than the usual buses. I wondered for a minute, why I was paying a little extra for this ticket, but then the cool conditioned air and a comfortable window seat and a nice Hindi melody made me smile.

The girl sitting beside me was all covered in black overalls, per her faith, except her eyes. Her eyes looked pretty and was forever searching for something around. Although I was tempted to know if I could help her with something, I decided to keep quiet. These days I offer help only when asked for. Don't know how this change happened, but that is what has been happening for quite sometime now. I turned to the road and started humming the tune of the song.

My world of musical notes was disturbed when I heard the noisy struggle of a plastic cover nearby. I turned to see that this girl was trying to read a few leaflets from a stapled bunch of complicated text. My line of sight said, it was an appointment order for a job and that she was trying to read one of the clauses written in it without taking the paper bunch out of the cover. She pushed the papers back inside, sat back for a while and then the covers spoke again. This time she was trying to read again and her eyes continued to search for something in the paper bunch.

I smiled.. I guessed it was her first job and wished her well quietly. This scene brought back memories of my first ever job back in 2002. It was August 24th 2002. I was also on a bus trying to place my foot on the foot board of a overflowing bus that almost was bent in obtuse angle on the road. I had let five such buses pass by and with no option but to get into the sixth one, I boarded the bus. I had my certificates, was wearing a new dress, was attempting to reach office on time because it was my first work day, and the office had moved to a new location between my interview date and the joining date. It was one experience that I will never forget. The fact that I stepped on to some one's foot instead of the foot board and that I got shouted at in a special dialect that is understood only in Chennai is a different story of painful smiles altogether.

When I was lost in this ruffled memories of the past, this girl asked me if I knew where she had to get down if she had to go to IBM Global, Whitefield. I told her and started a dialogue. My guess was right and she was joining her dream corporate job in IBM Global, Bangalore. It was her first job and she had finished college recently. Her eyes which looked at me now spoke a lot of - confidence, hope, dream, strength, humble pride and joy - the kind that you will notice only in an aspiring fresher who is entering the corporate world with wishes of success inscribed on the mind. Do the corporates know this???

When she had to get off the bus, I wished her : "Many Congratulations and All the best with your first job. Have a successful career, and never quit your job unless absolutely necessary." It was nice meeting her and her joy of a new beginning was contagious. Contributed to my cheerful work day yesterday. Its nice to see the *Pehla Nasha always, especially in the eyes of someone who is joining her first job.

It seemed like it was worth paying that extra ticket money to wish a fresher on her dream journey of corporate life.

Pehla Nasha - First Intoxication

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An 'Eda' and the little girl at breakfast

I was having a quiet breakfast in the nearest eatery this morning. A chatter that seemed distant, slowly became more audible and sounded very close.

Eda, Can you ask for *Dosas please?

m.. you sit here, I'll come soon.

I felt compelled to turn and look around to place the voice to the face. A very cute little girl ( my guess is three or two years old..) was sitting on a chair trying to keep her hands on the table which she cannot even reach. She clearly was enjoying herself in this busy eatery where a lot of people were asking for a lot of things across the service counter. Her Dad took her preference of *Dosas and walked over to the counter too. This kid was staring at nothing in particular ( that's what I thought) and suddenly yelled:

Eda, can you order for *Pani puris too??

Her dad looked around and waved a 'yes' with his hand and had to confirm it once again with a nod.

I turned back to my plate and continued eating with my ears still perked up for the next statement from this child. She started singing something and then yelled again:

Eda, coffee too please??

The Eda made me smile every time... That is a *Malayalam word, used in addressing a someone in a *Malayalee family. Next, I wondered how does she rattle off *Pani Puris and *Dosas and coffee all of a sudden. She doesn't look like she wanted or will eat anything of those. Then I looked at the colorful photos of all these dishes lined up in a well-lit space on the walls. So, that's where she must have picked up her choices from!!!.

Amazing how much children notice... and how much they remember.. and how much they grasp.... The next minute, she was sitting on a different chair and started watching the road; of course songs to keep her company, till her father gets back to her with all that she asked for.

As I finished my breakfast and walked out, I heard the child asking her father if he asked for the ice cream too?? The last counter in the shop sold ice creams in the evenings and the photos on the display panel had a lot of yummy looking ice creams printed on it.

May be there was an emergency situation at home and breakfast had to be ordered from outside, but then if the child is not used to such eateries, she cannot feel as comfortable as she looked.. So, I am sure this was not the first time that the Eda and the little girl were ordering for food from an eatery.

No comments.. Just my observation.

From now onwards, I wont blame the children if they love to eat out very often. It must have started very early.... as early as three years of age...

*Dosas and Pani Puris are Indian delicacies.
* Malayalam is a South Indian Language spoken in the state of Kerala, India.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dear Deepa Aunty

Oh Yes, I love being called Aunty by my friends' children. I do not accept any other way of addressing me, except of course my name.

I insisted that my friend introduces me as 'Deepa Aunty' to her six year old daughter. As is usually the case with me and children together at any given moment, any given time of the day, it did take the child a while to know that she can actually make friends with me.

We spoke about her school, hobbies, interests, achievements, friends.. yes, that is a huge list of topics that only a child can talk to you at the first sight. It is sad to note that as we grow older, we lose this habit of candid talking.. Wonder how? Wonder why??

While I was still marvelling at the very idea of 'being a child', she ran off to fetch a paper and pencil and then found a quiet corner for herself, set rules that no one in the house should try to read her work for the next few minutes. Her sister stood beside her anyway.. Brought smiles immediately as I could relate to the scene. Sisters do have the rights that not many people have.

Then she came over to me with a folded paper addressed to me as :

Deepa Aunty
( I also noticed the semi colon like you just did!!!! How does a six year old know so much??)

Okay, now, the last time I received such a note in my life was way back in college when I used to receive letters from my friends.. After that, there has never been any personal note to me on paper. Thrilled beyond comprehension and expression, I opened the paper to read this:

The Sun and the Moon - By Samyuktha.K

The Sun shines bright,
In the Sky.
In the day,
When we come out and play.

The Moon very white,
In the Sky.
At night,
When we go to bed.

The Sun and the Moon
Together make
The world colorful.

Lovely poem, isn't it?I noticed, creativity, observation skills, writing skills, expression of love in the child.

How much do we as grown ups express affection to people we do not know much?? At which point in life do we change from the child's unconditional loving self to what we are today?? Not sure if I want to get into the what and why of us, but surely the poetry and the very idea of expressing it to a new friend brings smiles.

The child had written this for a school magazine and it didn't get posted. So, I decided to give it an applause on my blog with a post like this. It is a wonderful feeling to receive such a beautiful poem as a gift.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bangalore last evening

Bangalore heat was scorching yesterday afternoon. No complaints because it was our choice to step out at Noon on a Summer day. With that said, it is definitely surprising to get out of office to be greeted by cool rain drops on your face.

Sometimes we don't know what we are missing when we are lost in work within the closed air-conditioned office buildings. We have all missed the beautiful scene outside. I was glad I got out in time to experience the rest of the weather marvel.

Cool rain drops on my face... I loved it, but then just because I was carrying an umbrella and just because I knew for a fact that getting wet in the first rains of the summer can take me to a doctor's clinic instead of home, I opened my umbrella... I took in all the beauty of the flowers and bushes in my office campus. They all seemed to be as happy as I was about the rains. There was a slight warmth in the air ( refer a science text to see why, don't ask me please...) that was nice. The clouds were not too dense or too sparse, not too dark either.. so in all the gray shade on the sky made the place look like it was 6:30 P.M. My watch showed 5:00P.M.

I was walking with a friend enjoying the background. Stepped into a local Volvo bus and heard the most romantic piece in Kannada..Mungaaru malaiye... It was the first song that impressed me in my early wonder days in Bangalore.. so it happens to be my favorite... Was humming along, turned towards the window to see the pseudo night fall at that hour of the evening, the rain droplets on the glass windows and the well-lit Bangalore shops that gave a painting effect on the glass windows.

Unconsciously I smiled, (Art and climate do that to you...) and a lightning flashed in the sky; It felt as if God took a photograph of my mind and face and the mood in general. It was a lovely moment, worth a picture and was totally blissful.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are birds Civil engineers?

Summer rains in Bangalore have started. My friend had stepped out for a quiet morning walk and came across this lovely nest in her garden. The rains must have been too harsh for the nest and it had fallen off the tree.

On a closer look, it was a Kite's nest. I understood her description like this:

Long strong twigs were placed neatly at the bottom. Then twigs of similar strength were placed over the base twigs in an angle and order which only the Kites knew how. This whole arrangement made a casing. Inside the casing, coconut shell's fibre was placed to make it a soft cushion at the base. The whole nest seemed to have been done in a very carefully thought-out engineering design.

Made us wonder : Who taught the Kites ( for that matter any bird) to make a nest? Imagine the kind of effort involved to find the right twigs and fibres and transport it to the same tree ( in a forest where five trees of the same kind are seen, I am not sure, if I would be able to spot the right tree after I wander around the place for a while..) and get into the job. There is one beak to do it all.

A sharp contrast to a construction project where hands and feet and cranes and tongues and minds and blue prints and machines..... and many other things I probably do not even know are employed.

Who taught the birds? How do they sense the right twig? How do they choose the right tree? How do they remember the chosen tree? For all the hard work that they put in to build a nest, there is really no insurance!!!! They live for the day and their life is all about survival.

A sharp contrast to man's life: We always live for tomorrow or ponder about yesterday.Man's life is always about struggle, or so we say!!!!! Are we struggling more than the birds? We wont know, till we become a bird and get to experience and express how we feel!!! but then we can clearly say we do crib a lot about whatever gifts we have been given and whatever additional means we have access to.

Birds are better than Man in most aspects : Patience, Silence, Artistry, Methodical, Sincerity, Hard work. Lastly, they are go-getters while most of us human beings are not really. May be the people who know the language of the birds and do research on birds, can say better.

Enjoy simple pleasures

Watched a movie that had this lovely scene about simple pleasures - Admiring the moon rise, Dancing in the rain and playing with little children...

The twosome were trying to escape the gangsters who were literally after their lives; still it was nice that the director had this segment of them enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Whatever be the situation, after the first shock or anger or anxiety or horror of it fades a little and you have life to get on with, it is these simple things that give you a chance to smile and generally forget the nightmarish thoughts for few moments.

I think it is important to habitually make time to cherish and enjoy simple pleasures in life - enjoying an ice cream candy, watching the moonrise, making a sand castle with a child, smiling when you see a child, feeling the wind on your face with closed eyes, listening to soft music when you cook or eat, dancing in the rain... the list can go on...

Do not forget the simple pleasures in the mad rush of life's countless demands that face you each day. - Staple thought

Effective Prayer

In life, always pray for Right Decisions at the Right Time and Right People at the Right Places.
- Staple thought

This is an extrapolation of the quote my father always says : Pray for right decisions at the right time.

Sometime in the recent past, I realized it is also right people at the right places who add value to life.

Just Chill

When a cold rain droplet touched me today, it seemed to say 'Chill Maadi'.

We hear this often in Bangalore : Chill Maadi... means Just Chill.

It is better to practise taking things easy, because taking things too serious is not going to resolve the problem anyway.

This thought is worth a soft-board staple at your work desk or dinner table at home.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Work while you Work

There is a quote that we've all heard : Work while you work and Play while you play.

The movie ended when the hidden love was finally found and everyone was generally happy that the director let the pair be happy at the end of the story. When I stood up to leave, a bright rectangular frame of light caught me. I took another step closer and saw that it was from a laptop screen. I could see this casual software engineer with a laptop displaying programming codes and he was on the phone talking to someone about the code.

Unbelievable!!! Saturday afternoon. Multiplex theatre. Bangalore City. After a long time, a nice Tamil movie in town. Wonder why he brought his laptop to the theatre?? May be he was planning to go to office from the theatre, but that should be after the movie, why keep the laptop open and look into the complex code when in a movie theatre??

When I told this to my friend, she said, "I saw the laptop right from Scene One in the movie.... I just don't understand these software engineers and their heights of workaholism sometimes....

If you are working on Rocket science, Surgical Medicine, and such life-threatening crash-prone applications, then I understand you must be hooked on to your laptop all the time... Even that said, such engineers wont spend time in a movie theatre with a laptop switched on. Whichever way I try to rationalize today's scene, I am just not able to understand.

Will the computeraholics change for their own good??

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Splash on positivity

  • Never underestimate the power of positivity.
  • There is no superlative or relativity for few words in life; Optimism is one of them. There is no less optimistic view or more optimistic view or most optimistic view; Optimistic simply stands as strong as it is.
  • If you can believe, you can achieve it too.
  • Working backwards from the success platform, an achiever is first a believer; a believer is a dreamer. Start dreaming of yourself in a success platform.
  • Negativity does not resolve anything........ so even if it seems pointless to stay positive, why not stay close to the positive notion of things? At least, you save your mental health.
  • Positivity is the first seed that you need to sow to see a possibility or opportunity.
  • There is a lot of difference between the word 'wrong' and 'incorrect'. 'Wrong' rules out the allowance to learn and 'Incorrect' encourages to learn what is correct.
  • No one can encourage you to win, if you do not allow positive words to sink into your mind.
  • Acknowledge the presence of this entity called circumstance; Life tastes better.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A lot can happen in a week's time

I was away on a week-long vacation and see that so much has happened in my blogger world. On my blogger watch window, I see that some books have been reviewed, some nice pictures posted, some interesting notes listed, some new publications, some poetry, some short stories, and of course, some people have posted comments on my latest posts too.

One week of me not writing anything at all is so unbelievable according to me. One week of not opening my email box has not happened in a long time. In this one week, I realized that my world of emails, phone calls, people, and work have been playing an integral role in my life.

I happened to be the silent spectator ( Trust me on that, I really was a silent spectator for a while day before yesterday...) watching a group of old people's happy and cheerful greetings to each other.

They did not carry a mobile phone;they didn't know anything about Internet or email; they met only in gatherings; they needed someones support to help them sit on a chair and help them stand up or walk. One old lady called me over to her side and asked me if I knew her. That's a very common question that one gets asked in most South Indian functions. Over the years, I learnt to tackle it fairly well - Its important not to offend their confidence that they know you and its easy to say I don't know you at all. - So I said, " I do not remember your name, but surely, if you are from this place and know my grand mother, I would have heard about you." [ Totally satisfied with my answer.. as these questions are tougher than interview questions, where the interviewer is nobody to you and you do not have to worry about hurting the interviewer's attachment for you or your folks.]

As it happened, she knew my grand mother and my grand mother did tell me a lot about this lady, who was a very good friend of hers. I knew they used to meet in weddings and functions. When my grand mother passed away, word spread and this lady also came to know about the loss. They did not have orkut, face book, email or mobile phone to stay in touch.. they did write letters to each other till their hands were stable enough to hold a pen. Such letters were rare and very dear of course. But that was all...

It was so nice to see her at the gathering. My grand mother was not physically present there at the gathering, but I did see a lot of people of her generation, all of them talking to each other and glad at having been able to make it to the gathering...

One thing stood strong in my head.... For every function, we must ensure that old people are invited and if their health permits, they must be accompanied to the venue. They miss a circle and they miss their people and there is no way they can stay in touch; at least for most oldies it is like that... and they do not know when they will meet their folks and there is no promise of staying in touch..

The disconnect with the web world for a week made me write the title, A lot can happen in a week's time...for these old people who rarely get to meet their friends and relatives, wonder what their minds will say at every gathering when they get to meet their friends and relatives..... A lot can happen in life??!!!!??

I really wonder and I think we must make the best use of opportunities that today's world has given us to stay connected with family and friends... There will be a day when our eyes will not take any more of the computer monitor's brightness and ears wont co-operate on the phone and hands wont be able to write out the alphabet strokes - which practically means we cannot stay in touch unless someone comes to visit us or we go somewhere to meet someone. I did see such instances day before and I am convinced that a lot can happen in life!!! :-)


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