Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Committment

Committment adds more value to life at large.

To have a committment means to adhere.

If you do not have a committment, you would not feel like waking up, every morning.

Rest takes meaning when you work towards a committment.

To know your strengths and abilities, get committed to a mission or task.

Principles have meaning only till people are committed to it.

Knowingly or unknowingly each of us is committed to ourselves, if not to others. If we don't, then we are probably like a ship that lost its direction.

You have no choice but to commit. If you want to live free of committments, then what are you doing here in this world?

Committment takes a role everywhere - Relationships, Work, Self-discipline, Social welfare are only a few important ones.

Have a mission, and commit to it till your last day on earth. This way, the others do not have to worry about you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

On Freelancing

- You must know to manage your time.
- There is always an uncertainty that you must deal with.

Two big truths I learnt over the last few days of freelance writing experience.

I like to manage my time and work plans. I didn't really think that I needed to work with a manager. As it happens in a work place, you are generally assigned to a manager and you have to go with the hierarchy. Over the years, many managers have taught me a lot on work and people management, but to appreciate all of that, I needed to see this day.

I have no manager to boss my work, no office to keep the peer pressure on, no team to chat with, but I have immense responsibility than ever before, in the form of my own work committment. No matter how careful you are when you respond to an assignment, no matter how much regular work experience you have, it still is not easy to work as a freelancer. It is easy to get distracted or too engrossed when you are working from home as a freelancer.

The idea of managing your own time at work and home is quite an art, and I am trying to learn that.

My encouragement quote today : No one said, it is easy; They just said It would be worth the effort.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nothing comes for free!!!

I saw this advertisment that has a child talking about the free things that you get along with the childrens' health drink. So, the idea of buying that health drink is to get that Free of cost item? At least that is what the advertisement seemed to say. Made me wonder.. Why start educating the children about the free-of-cost things, so early in life? This generation will grow up with the same expectation..of trying to pick the easy way out in life, trying to get maximum benefit without spending any of their resources. The idea of promoting a product using this 'Free-of-cost' strategy by the marketing folks has penetrated so deep into the markets, that it almost drives me crazy to see people buy 24 bottles of sauce and cartons of biscuits just because they sell it at a lesser rate or for free.... The same concept takes a slight make over in different walks of life. In work places, people expect high paying jobs, but do not want to work hard. In restaurants, people expect high standards in ambience, taste and hospitatlity, but do not want to pay good price. Everywhere you go, you see that people do not want to do their part, but start expecting the results. For some reason, I feel that this attitude that is so widely prevalent among most people has its roots in the marketing strategy of giving things 'Free-of-Cost' and in 'Discount' sales. Wonder when will the world understand that NOTHING, just NOTHING comes for free. There is always a price to pay for everything you do, say, buy, receive, under the sun. Just that, all prices may not be payable in terms of money or comprehensible that very minute. Let the advertisement funda remain where it is, and lets ensure that it doesn't get to us and spoil our brains. Lets register, You have to do your part to reap benefits. Lets teach today's younger generation the truth whenever we chance to.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A fresh start....

My writing has taken off again as a freelancer. I have not yet got too many projects to work on, still, it is definitely nice to get back into writing.

A nice lesson in this journey of break and make in my career :

When you are feeling bored, go on a holiday or simply switch off your computer for a few hours. Often we do not know how important or interesting a job actually is until we take a break. I had needed a break badly, but I didnt quite know. There were times I had felt super-bored at work, but with timelines and meetings and planning hovering above me all the time, I didnt have the time to realize that I needed a break.

One of life's interesting moves gave me a break from work. I moved to a new country and took time to settle down. It was then that I realized that I was missing something.. Started trying to find projects on my own and didnt see much progress. Then, some friends gave their helping hand and I finally got back into writing again.

It surely feels nice to be able to write again. I am not too busy yet, but I like the present state of being able to do what I can with the average writing skill that I have.

This idea of taking a break is important for other walks of lives too. I realized in other situations.

So people, take a short break if you must... else you will probably never realize some of what you have and will never get to value your prized possessions - talents, people, to start with. Oh well, I dont mean you must quit your job to see my meaning, you could probably take off on that long planned, well deserved vacation with your family, or watch that long pending movie, or make time for a drawing or something just like that.. The idea is do not think of office for a day. This day should not be your weekend. It should be a work day!!!!

Take a break, It is so much good for the rest of the journey and for a fresh start!!!!.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Did you love money before?

And along with this question came up another: Can you give away money just like that to someone?

I went to the temple with my sister-in-law and two year old nephew. Just as we were entering the temple, an old lady was distributing Mango Bite candies to children. My nephew was happy to receive the priceless Mango Bite. The smile and cheers on the child's face was priceless for us onlookers. He gave the candy to be kept inside his mother's purse until after he finished his prayers in the temple.

After the joyful and cheerful Darshan of the Godess Devi, we sat on the alloted bench, as per the customary practice in the temple.My nephew suddenly recalled the candy. My sister-in-law gave it to him immediately. She pointed to another kid who was watching us, and asked my nephew if he would give away the candy to the other kid. You must have seen the reaction on the child's face. He was totally confused and definitely didn't want to let go of the candy.

I don't remember seeing him that perplexed in all the days that I spent with him. But a nice child that he was, he simply said, "I want to keep it." And we both offered to buy him more candies if he would walk over to the friend there and give the candy to him. We intended to teach the child the habit of giving and sharing.

My nephew seemed to be convinced about the idea of more candies if he can give away what he has now. He took the first two steps. The friend on the other bench was looking our side too. He obviously didnt understand what was happening, but as is the habit of children, he just looked towards another child of his age. That's all. Both the children looked at each other. Then my nephew turned to us and asked one simple question : "Amma, why don't you give him some money and let me keep this candy?".

Brilliant question that left us speechless. The child valued the candy more than money. And he didn't want to disappoint us. His answer was more like saying, "if you are so bent upon giving him something why dont you give him some money". How many of us here would be able to do that? That made me ask the questions : Did we love money before? Can we give away money to someone just like that without a second thought? Are we good at negotiating small things like this child? The answer clearly is a NO.

That is part of being child-like and somewhere along the path of life, we all lost it to some extent. We do give money to others in the context of help, but then we remember too well. :-) We want it back. We are assertive and sometimes insensitive to others' thoughts.

I am not saying my views are correct or incorrect, practical or impractical, possible or impossible, but its just that the child and the minds of children are better than ours. With all innocence when my nephew asked the question, I couldn't help wondering, whatever happens to the noble thoughts when we grow up?

And strange, we were teaching him the practice of sharing and giving, while he taught us a little more. For argument sake we might say, its just a child's innocence talking here and that when he grows up he will probably not say the same. I agree.. But the point here is : Are we ready to give less importance to money? Are we ready to give away money to someone without expecting any returns including the credit of having done a good deed? Are we good at negotiating without hurting? Not sure.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Incomprehensible.....

Death : No matter how much you know the practicalities, no matter how old the person is, no matter how much you are attached or distant, the saddening feeling inside you, when you hear of a death, is incomprehensible.

Just heard of one such news and the incomprehensible feeling is prevalent.

Not that this is happening for the first time, but every time, with the intensity variations, the feeling still keeps coming back. While the practical mind says it is inevitable, the sentimental mind makes you feel at loss.

Whoever comes to this world MUST go is the norm, the practical mind says.
Whenever it happens, wherever it happens, however bad a situation the person is in, the sentimental mind says, "It is not fair".

Makes me question, Has life seemed fair all the time ? Is that why death also seems unfair? Incomprehensible.

I am going to pray for the departed soul. That is the best I can do, from across the miles. They say, prayers give strength to everyone of the departed's dear and near. And of course, Time is a wonderful factor in life. It heals almost anything is a hearsay.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

சிறகுகள் - திரை விமர்சனம்

சிறகுகள் - ஒரு அமைதியான அருமையான திரை படம்.

விக்ரம் மற்றும் ராதிகா இருவரின் நட்பு,
அதை நிச்சியமாக புரிந்து கொள்ள முடியாத இருவரின் வாழ்கை துணைகள்,
அந்த நட்பு நீடிக்க வேண்டும் என்றும் என்று நினைக்கும் இருவரின் குழந்தைகள்,
எங்கோ ஒரு மூலையில் தனது நட்பு காதலாக இருக்க கூடுமோ என்று கண்ணியமான தோரணையில் நினைக்கும் விக்ரமின் கதாபாத்திரம்,
தனது கணவர் திருந்தி விட்டார் என்று ஒரு நிமிடம் பூரணமாக நம்பும் ராதிகா,
ஒரு ஆண் ஆதிக்கவாதியின் 'சிறகுகள் வெட்டபட்ட புறா' போன்ற மனைவியாக இருப்பதை விட தன் குடும்பத்துக்காக நிமிர்ந்த நன்னடையும், நேர் கொண்ட பார்வையும், நிலத்தில் யாருக்கும் அஞ்சாத நெறிகளும், சுதந்திர சிறகுகளும் உள்ளவளாக, தன் குழந்தைகளுக்கு என்றும் ஒரு சிறந்த தமிழ் அன்னையாக இருக்க எடுத்த முடிவு,
விக்ரமின் மனைவி திருந்தி வீடு சேருவது,

இவை எல்லாம் அற்புதம்.

இந்த கதை லண்டன் மாநகரில் படமக்கபாடுள்ளது. அதிகமான கதாபாத்திரங்கள், கதைக்கு சம்மந்தம் இல்லாத நகைச்சுவை காட்சிகள், தேவை இல்லாத நடன காட்சிகள், இவை எதுவும் இல்லாமல், குடும்பம் கட்டு குலையாமல் இருக்க கணவன் மனைவி இருவரின் பூரண ஒத்துழைப்பு தேவை என்று மிக அழகாக, ஒரு படம் எடுத்து இருகிறார்கள். இது என்று வந்த படம் என்று எனக்கு தெரியாது. சன் தொலைகாட்சியில் நேற்று மதியம் கண்டேன்.

சிறகுகள் - பார்க்க வேண்டிய படம்.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

அழகு

அதிகாலை வானம்;
இரவின் விண்மீன்
காலை சூரியன்;
சந்த்யாகால நிலவு
மழையுடன் கூடிய வானவில்;
பனித்துளியுடன் காணும் புல்தரை
மலர்கள் நிறைந்த சோலை;
பாசி படர்ந்த பாறை
இளமையின் வேகம்;
முதுமையின் அமைதி
குழந்தையின் சிரிப்பு;
அதை காணும் பெற்றோரின் முகம்
தமிழின் பண்;
அதை ரசிக்கும் மண்ணினம்
அன்றும், இன்றும், என்றும் அழகு.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If I cannot, you probably can...

What we cannot understand becomes known as nonsense
What we cannot perform becomes known as impossible
What we cannot be becomes known as eccentricity
What we cannot follow becomes known as philosophy
What we cannot practice becomes known as theory
What we cannot believe becomes known as non-existent


What we sometimes fail to notice is that : "It is just us.. There are others who can understand,perform, be, follow, practice and believe things that we cannot".


In their specific situations and contexts:


They can understand things.
They can make it possible.
They can be sensible.
They can follow philosophy.
They can practice.
They can believe.


'Cannot' and 'Can' can co-exist where many minds are working their way through the maze of innumerably paramertized life. It is perfectly okay to disagree with things but definitely required to give the other side, a thought too. Just because you disagree, you cannot rule out the existence/possibility of the controversial view point.


Finally it all settles down to what works for you and what does not. Its best to remember always: It doesn't work for me, but may be it will for others. This way, we may tend to pin-point the faults of the world lesser and get to be much happier.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Women

It has always been nice to receive a 'Happy Women's day' wish on this day, the 8th of March. Never stopped wondering why declare a special day for Women, given that the world would not exist without women.

Reminded of one song in one of the Women's day celebrations :

Lately I've been wondering whatever could we do, if we hadn't any women in the world..
Every blessed fellow would be looking very blue, if we hadn't any women in the world..

True.. the world will cease to exist without womenfolk.

There have been umpteen write-ups, forwards, poems, and stories on the various achievements and capabilities of women. We have all known, seen, heard, read, and probably realized too.

I had one such realization recently. I was on a train to Mumbai from Chennai. I love train travels for the reading, the chips and snacks, the window seat and the beautiful scenic views that sweep past you in a bearable speed that makes the train travel totally worth every minute.. And most importantly trains give you scope for observing people and people interest me definitely.

I started off with the Danielle Steel I had in my hand. I picked up the book because it was voluminous enough to be giving me company throughout the 24 hour journey of which 16 hours actually count. I looked around to see that everyone around me was a woman. It was a nice feeling. Two of them were college graduates working towards their placements, one was a grand mother of two but didnt look old for her age and the other was a doctorate holder. The remaining seats were free. After thirty minutes of reading, I put away the book and looked around.

As if it were a coincidence, my friend, the doctorate holder ( she told me later) looked up from her Agatha Christie. I have not read many of Agatha Christie, so just out of curiosity asked if it was an interesting book. My idea was to note the name and pick it up at the store later sometime. She said, 'I like these kind of stories'. And I didn't know what kind, but with my basic knowledge of books, I knew it was a nice mystery. I love mysteries too. So, that was the starting point of the discussion.

All I remember is this conversation that started off our journey of thoughts.. I was lost in my own world for a while and after a while, slowly the whole clan of women in the compartment started talking. Topics just came up and we became engaged in a nice conversation. I didnt fail to notice a thin line of 'something was just not right' on my friend's face. Yet, you can't ask much, can you? I intended to be a nice traveller companion, so I preferred to leave it aside and continue our conversations on jobs, career, places, weather, travel and many more. For dinner, we shared food that we all had brought along. It has been quite a while since I had this kind of a friendly group of co-passengers. It was a nice feeling. I didn't think of my book at all that day.

After a game of Antakshari ( a game of songs threaded in sequence, based on the last syllable of the previous song) in three different languages - Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, we decided to retire off for the day. I dont sleep like a log usually when I travel, so I did get a chance to notice that my friend was not feeling very peaceful. I just hoped that all was well with her. Somehow, for someone whom I did not quite know well, I felt that she needed prayers.

The next day, the girls and the old lady got off at Pune junction,three hours ahead of us. At some point, I noticed the tear waiting to get out of my friend's eyes. I just touched her hand slightly and the tears rolled off.

After she told me some of what is going on in her mind about life's practical issues that one and all would face at some point of time, and the pressing need to take decisions, and the emergency of visiting her bed-ridden mother immediately after the present trip to Mumbai, I realized that only some women like her can keep their calm, when all around them demands their attention. She just cannot rule out anything that is going on in her mind. Her situations had me locked in silence as I sat shocked and surprised all at once.

It was very surprising to know that a lady with so much going on in her head had been able to adjust with the environment around and was nice enough to participate in a game of Antakshari with a group of youngsters.

A lot to learn from her that day for us youngsters:

1. Whatever it is, you must face it.
2. What lies ahead, you dont know, but you surely know the moment now. So be there. [ That's what she did - played Antakshari with us and conversed on generic subjects with us all.]
3. There is so much to go, so also, so much has gone by. You'll see through this as well.

These were the messages I learnt from her.

I was not particularly thinking about anything serious, but then I was not exactly sure I understood the idea of moving away from your family. There were so many people giving farewells in the station when we left, and I just could not take the idea of moving far away from our near and dear. And we keep making new relatives and friends and keep moving close and away from them. When the train started from Chennai there was a vague feeling that 'Something was just not clear' about the idea of why we need to move away as often as we do, from our close folks... When the train reached Mumbai and when my friend said her 'bye' to me, I knew the answer.

There is a norm of life for women. They must light up the places they get to be in.

It can be home, a train, a school playground, a college dormitory, a marriage relationship, a market or just about anywhere. They have the ability to light up someone's life and be fruitful to others. Everyone has the ability to be of some use to others, but then women are beings brought to this world just for that noble cause. She can be everywhere, everytime, and is capable of giving her consistent best to everything she does.

This lady I met, has so much running in her head, all of which has to do with her role for her folks and there was never a mention of her 'self' anywhere!!!!!

Figured out that, per the norm of life, a woman makes life complete for all around her in various roles - Mother, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter. Each of these roles need different abilities and all women have it. How many of us exercise it to the best of our self, is yet to be analyzed, but then a woman surely has them all.

I am not sure if I will get to meet her again, but then surely would want to let her know my thoughts about our travel together. I chose to write about my realizations on this day and wish her and a lot of women like her - young and old - a very Happy Women's day.

[For women who are so capable, one day is not enough, but at least a day to appreciate womanhood makes complete sense, I believe. Else, they don't take time for themselves at at all - to appreciate themselves - after the initial phase of make-up and playful times in life.]

Let's just cherish the idea of being a woman, inspite of all the challenges womanhood has to offer us. They are there, for us to know what we can be, if we handle them all well. All men who read this, take a minute to smile. That's the best appreciation to all the women in your life - past, present, and future.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

On Keep it up!!!!

Keep redefining your identities;
Discard what is not very much like you;

Keep up your principles;
Discard what doesn't work for you;

Keep your inner self;
Discard what is disturbing your peace;

If all these sound complicated, here is a simple trick to keep up with these principles :

Just be yourself as long as you know it doesn't hurt someone else.

Well if it still hurts them, remember to be as nice to them as possible.

This came up as an after thought of a recent discussion with a friend. Thought the talk was worth my while and hence put the content here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bathtub Blues!!

You must be wondering whatever could be making me write the title as Bathtub Blues!!

I have always liked the idea of a Bathtub. Never stopped wondering why there is no standard practice of a bathtub fixture in Indian bathrooms. Again this never mattered really because, I never got a chance to see one in most houses.

Our house in Muscat presently has a bathtub. Wow!! was my first reaction. Then, when it came to the practicalities of filling up the tub with unimaginable volumes of water, we decided not to use it at all. When you live in places where water is billed, you must understand that it is only prudent to use resources frugally, especially resources like water. It may seem like we are contributing to keep treated water resources intact for the country, but honestly to spend on water ( still unbelievable) is very difficult for us India-bred people.

So, that said, the bathtub remains where it is and we are going about using the rest of the fixtures in the bath room. One day, I looked carefully ( for the first time) to see that there were a lot of brown patches in the huge bathtub. The rest of the bathroom looked spic and span and for some reason my eyes didnt mind this brown color all these days, I guess. On a close look, I figured out that though unused, dirt patches do get accumalated in the bathtub.

I set out cleaning the bathtub. It seemed larger than I can handle and the effort seemed too much at the first look. So, I scrubbed one half of it and finished cleaning it. The feel-good factor was good. The next day, did the second half. The feel-good improved. It is not complete yet because the brown patches keep coming back and it is not practical to spend lots of water on cleaning a tub that you do not use at all. So, I have decided to do this thorough scrubbing only once a month and as part of the everyday cleaning, I pour plain water with Antiseptic to keep it germ free.

After I was finished with the seemingly toughest task,I wondered why I was feeling like I have done the major task of the day.

Answer was simple: I am paying heavily for what I have not done!!!! We all hate to be blamed or punished for what we are not responsible. Isn't it true? That is exactly the case with the bathtub. I clean a bathtub that we don't use.

If I can accept cleaning an unused bathtub for my own home-making policies and hygiene reasons, why do I hate to be blamed/punished for what I am not responsible? Wonder why there is no acceptance in such cases with all of us?

Bathtub Blues ended up as a major question mark in my mind. I guess, the next time I am faced with any situation where I have to take a blame for something that I have not done, after an initial effort of convincing people, I guess I will remember the bathtub and keep quiet. Sometimes we need to do certain things just to keep our policies and personal hygiene ( read mental hygiene here).

As an aside, I wonder why in places where water is paid for, people have such resource-wise expensive bathroom fixtures? And why in countries like India, where water was an easy-to-get resource in the past, bathtubs have never been in practice?

What is permanent??

Permanent is one word in English Dictionary that probably needs a revision. The Pink Frock, The Sapphire stash, The athlete win, The m...