Sunday, February 12, 2012

Just in Jest

Office gossip has its unique charm. Before I proceed, let me call out that all characters in this write up are absolutely fictional. Any resemblance to anyone in and around your cubicle is absolutely unintended!!

Shy new girl at work meets Boss in the cafeteria:
Shy new girl at work : “ Hello Sir, out for a break?”
Boss: “ Yes had a tiring day, you look beaten too, maybe you should go home early, I am going to do that too”
Guess who passes by?? The office Gossip Carrier. This conversation is being shared by the Carrier with some other cronies in the cafeteria later that day.
Gossip Carrier: “Guess what? Boss has a crush on the Shy new girl at work”
Cronies: “Really?? Tell us more!”
Gossip Carrier: “ He actually asked her out today, watch out both will leave early today”
Well, they did leave early and both Shy new girl at work and Boss did not know why people gave them suppressed smiles when they got to work the next day.

Shy new girl at work has a one – one conversation with Boss. Conversation was around goals and priorities for the year.
Boss is very pleased with the performance of the Shy new girl at work for the first half of the year.
Boss: “ I am very pleased with your work so far, you have so far exceeded my expectations as far as meeting goal targets are concerned. Well Done!!”
Shy new girl at work “ Thanks Boss, I am glad I am able to meet expectations”
Boss: “You did good, I will need to get you into special coaching sessions to take prepare you for your next career move, please schedule a regular weekly meeting for us to take this forward”
Shy new girl at work “ Sure sir, will do”

Gossip Carrier meets other cronies at the smoking area. Has some juicy news for them.
Gossip carrier – “ Guess what, Shy new girl and Boss have decided to meet every week. They have long conversations every week”
Cronies with eyes popped our – “Really!! Knew something was brewing!”

Next day Shy new girl at work achieves a big target. Gets a huge appreciation from the customers. Boss decides to wish her on the floor. Walks up to her and says:” Great job!! You deserve more than a mere pat in the back. I am going to recommend you for the exclusive award this year, you truly deserve it”

Gossip carrier is eager to carry the message to the Cronies. The Message –“ Boss said that Shy girl at work deserves more than a pat… could he have meant she deserved a hug??” Cronies agree and go “oooo…aahhhh”

Concerned Friend overhears this conversation and passes on the rumor to Boss and Shy Girl at work. Boss is bewildered!! Shy new girl is confused.

Shy girl at work decides to limit her conversations with Boss through email and IM.

The next big news for Gossip carrier – “ Shy girl at work and Boss have so many personal things to say to each other that they both only email and IM. They cant talk aloud”

Are you still wondering why Shy girl at work decided to quit the job and look for better opportunities outside the current team? Boss is confused at this sudden decision. Gossip carrier is shattered, now that the focus needs to shift and a new story needs to be developed!

Despite all this, light humor and small talk always lightens up the atmosphere at work. As long as you are not the protagonist it should be fine :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Haunted" - 3D Scare or 3D comedy?

What better way to enjoy the "boss's" absence then by sneaking a few hours to watch a movie? Well thats what we did. All of us really wanted a good scare. Going by the name and the posters we really believed that this movie will give us the fright we were looking for.

Slipping out of work is not a very easy thing to do. It takes a certain level of slickness that we all lacked. None the less we managed to sneak out and reach the theatre ontime for the show to commence.

From the frst shot what we all noticed was a confused expression on the hero's face. From then on reel after reel we were never short of being amused. One scene after the other passed and all of us were left waiting for the "haunting" to begin.

We learnt a lot though.... like some ideas on spirtis getting most strong at 3AM and being the weakest at 3PM. We also learnt that through the cigar smoke of a vagabond, one can be trasported from 2011 to 1930 ( what a fool that was who made the time machine!!) Call it history repeating itself, but literally in this case. The story has no basis, no truth, no scare very obvious scenes and the last 20 minute drag to get the movie to complete the 2 hours 30 minutes timeframe.

I would definitely rate this one as a comedy rather than a horror movie. Infact we enjoyed the comments from the back rows more than we enjoyed the movie. But hey, not all is lost, there is just one wee bit of silver lining. The hero is shown running for most part of the movie. Every second scene has the hero running. Maybe it would be cool to enroll him in the national level athletics team. He might just do well with all the practice he has had through this movie!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My unsuccessful driving lessons!

My driving / riding phobia dates back to the period when I was 10 years old. While most 10 year olds would be excited at the prospect of getting a new bi-cycle, I was terrified. My dad did his best to pick the most toy-like, extremely safe BSA SLR He took enough trouble to get it into the garage secretly intending it to be a big sweet surprise for my birthday. I was surprised though, not pleasantly. I just could not get myself to sit on it and attempt to ride. I did pose next to it and take a couple of fabulous photographs though!

I vaguely remember my dad coaxing me to just try it once promising that he will hold on and not let me fall. I also remember him holding on to the bicycle and pleading with me to push the pedals and move ahead. All this effort resulted in nothing.. I just could not get the confidence to pedal on my own. My father decided that instead of running behind my bi-cycle it would be better to offer me a lift if I needed to go anywhere.

I never ceased to admire those who could cycle on their own. I kind of hero worshipped my friends who cycled to school. To me that was as close as flying a fighter jet or something! I still relied on my good old dad for dropping me and picking me up where ever I needed to go. My father got tired of ferrying me around, probably fed up with the giggly teenager friends of mine and generally upset that I never had the motivation to go around on my own.

He tried to introduce some excitement again when I joined college. He brought home a Bajaj Sunny ( again a safe, low weight, easy to handle two-wheeler ). He was growing older and could not run behind the Sunny as efficiently as he ran behind the bi-cycle. The results are not too hard to imagine. My first trial resulted in a bruised knee and a bruised Sunny! There ended my attempt to skip the cycle and learn to ride the bike.

Fathers don’t give up that easily. He waited until I finished college and tempted me with a small car ( the very safe and snug Maruthi 800). He even got me enrolled into a driving school. The instructor tried to be as patient as possible. I somehow could not get it… the difference between the brake and the accelerator. Every time I changed gears, the car had to be re-started. After a couple of days the instructor started losing patience and I started making excuses ( feeling sick, special class, very important audit, etc., ) The results…. Another 2k paid to the driving school, down in the drain.

I have to admit, somewhat shamefully that I still haven’t been able to grasp the skills of driving. I was hoping that my kids don’t take after me. I am glad that my son’s excitement at getting a bicycle for his birthday was real. He can ride bikes with ease and has even tried driving our family car in the empty ground near my home. He is all of 12 years and has been able to subordinate the bikes and cars. I am relieved!

All I have to do now is to wait for him to turn 18, he has promised to drive me around when it would be legal for him to do so. Meanwhile I pray that he won’t change his mind!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another New Begining!

A new year brings new hope, new light and promises a new beginning. I am so looking forward to the “New Beginning”!

Last year was perhaps the worst in all my life. It was plagued with problems that came one after another and sometimes as a tirade all at once! I was literally buried. Obviously I blamed everyone else for my bad state, but myself. I have read great books on how to deal with problems, but none of them seemed right for practical application.

I ended up walloping in self pity, blaming the creator for having been so merciless, made myself miserable and surely passed on the same feeling to those around me as well. I gave up writing, reading, talking to friends, responding to emails, attending functions or parties, participating in outings and generally stayed disconnected from all those who really cared for me. What this really did was magnified all the issues and made it look even scarier.

One day, as I was cleaning up my book shelf, I noticed one of Robin Sharma’s book “ Who will cry when you die?”. In this book, he talks about setting aside a time for “Worrying” so that we don’t end up spending a lot of time on it. Worrying is definitely not going to improve state of things anywhere. I tried to become a little more practical or realistic with what ever I was worrying about. No doubt some of them were really big issues that would have a major impact on my life, however when I really looked at it more closely, the probability of something that big happening was maybe less than 1%. I had to work hard to pull myself out of the shell that I had forcibly put myself into and step out into the sunshine.

Suddenly, the whole world looks more beautiful now, the morning mist seems so pleasant and the constant chirping of birds is not irritating anymore. I have a strong realization that I have wasted one year of my life, and am convinced that I am going to make up for it!

I hope everyone is blessed with a lot of good health, peace and general well-being all through this year!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean??

A timely forward I thought I could share...

You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again. A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, Mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. "Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them? ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Learning from the little one...

I did not realize that it is already four months since I got to pen a few lines. Guess I have lost the luxury of time to "reflect" or simply that I was too confused in running the race of life that I forgot to pause and think!!

Here's something that happened today, that set me thinking...
For want of some topic to talk in an attempt to keep the kids from watching television, I popped the question "If God granted you three wishes, what would you ask from him?"
" I need some time to think mom, its 3 wishes and it should cover all that I need" said my daughter, my son just smiled and continued playing with his hand held scrabble game.
"Ok you have five minues".. I said and waited.
After a couple of minutes, my daughter said, "Well I think I will ask God to make me fair" ( She is very concerned about her complexion, though she looks extremely pretty as she is, she always wanted to be fair), " I will ask for another barbie doll and for the last wish, I will ask for three more wishes" she said looking extremely pleased with her choices. My son was still uninterested in this coversation and kept playing his word game.
"Silesh, what will you ask for?" I prompted. He looked up at me and simply said "nothing".
"Nothing? are you sure, God will grant whatever you ask for you know" I said, now completely curious about what he might want to ask.
"Yeah I'll just say Thank you, I have everything I need and I'm happy just as I am" he said simply and continued with his game!

Its hard to find happiness with what we have, there's always that one little ellusive thing that we wish for to brighten up our lives. Here's one kid who seems to be happy with all that he has!!
I hope he will always be happy recognising and appreciating what he has instead of feeling miserable about what he does not have!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The power of Gayathri Mantra

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed"

One of the most mysterious things that I have experienced is the power of the "Gayathri Mantra". From times immemorial, this mantra has been used as a medium for medidation to bring peace and sanity to the mind and body. I must admit that I do feel a strangely at peace while reciting or while listening to the recitation, and completely rejenuvated later on.

So, what is the Gayathri Mantra? Our very own Google provides the answers...

OM Bhur-Bhuvah-Svah.
Tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasva dhimahi.
Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat.

'Gayatri Mantra', the ultimate Vedic prayer to awaken the intellectual powers of a person, first found its reference in the 'Rig Veda' believed to be the storehouse of all Divine Knowledge and the most ancient scriptures known to mankind. It is an invocation to the Sun-God or "Savitha", the life Giver on earth. Goddess Gayathri or Annapurna is the Mother-God.

The essence of the Mantra can be stated as follows - 'Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.'

Om: The primeval sound that represents Brahma,
Bhur: The physical world that embodies the vital spiritual energy or 'Pran',
Bhuvah: God who is the Creator and destroyer of all sufferings,
Swaha: The celestial and spiritual world that embodies happiness,
Tat: That or God, referring to transcendental Paramatma (Ultimate Spirit),
Savithur: That creative principle of light manifested through Sun
Varenyam: Best or most adorable, Supreme
Bhargo: That light that bestows wisdom, bliss and everlasting life
Devasya: Divine Deity or Supreme Lord,
Dheemahi: We meditate upon and take in,
Dhiyo: The Intellect,
Yo: The Light,
Nah: Our,
Prachodayath: Inspire or Enlighten.

Thus, the Gayatri Mantra can be translated as follows:

We meditate on the glory of the Creator; Who has created the Universe;Who is worthy of Worship; Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light; Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance; May He enlighten our Intellect.

This Mantra is not associated with any religion, sect, time, place or person.

'Gayatri' is not actually the Goddess, which sounds surprising but she is held in equal reverence because she is the mother of the Vedas or Divine Knowledge. The other two forms of Gayatri are Savitri and Saraswathi and these three are said to be present in everyone, in which - Gayatri is said to be the one to control the senses of a person. Gayathri is also referred to as "Panchamukhi" which directly refers to the five senses. Savitri controls the Prana or the Life Force of a person and Saraswathi controls Speech of a person. Thus, the three together represent the purity in thought, word, and deed. In the same order, Gayatri is said to enhance one's intelligence and intuition by recitation of the mantra, Savitri is said to protect the life forces and Saraswati is said to guard one's speech.

The correct recitation of Gayatri Mantra in the right accent as described in the Vedas produce certain vibrations that make the surrounding atmosphere visibly illumined, which is described as the 'Brahmaprakasha' or Effulgence of the Divine by more staunch believers. As prescribed by the Vedas, Gayatri mantra must be chanted at least three times a day during morning while taking bath, noon before eating lunch and evening at the time of sunset to cancel out all the sins that one may have done all through the day unknowingly. However, it is best to recite Gayatri period during the 'Satwik' or 'pure and serene' period during the day from 4 am to 8 am and 4 pm to 8 pm. The Gayatri Mantra should be recited while meditating upon the fact that everything is within oneself and thus, we should keep and develop confidence in the Self.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Appraisal Story... A neat one!

While some of us work really hard and challenge ourselves to reach new heights, there are always a few lucky ones who always do nothing, but get a "meets requirement" rating year after year followed by a standard increase in compensation. As I read this forward, I thought it would be good to dedicate this piece to all the "fellow donkeys" ( no offence meant, read along you might be nodding your head as you reach the end!)

Have you heard the story of "The Washer man and the Foolish Donkey" ?To refresh your memory, and for the benefit of those who have not grown up listening to this moral story, it goes like this...There was once a washer man who had a donkey and a dog. One night when the whole world was sleeping, a thief broke into the house, the washer man was fast asleep but the donkey and the dog were awake. The dog decided not to bark since the master did not take good care of him and wanted to teach him a lesson. The donkey got worried and said to the dog that if he doesn't bark, the donkey will have to do something himself. The dog did not change his mind and the donkey started braying loudly. Hearing the donkey bray, the thief ran away, the master woke up and started beating the donkey for braying in the middle of the night for no reason.Moral of the story "One must not engage in duties other than his own"

Now take a new look at the same story...The washer man was a well educated man from a premier management institute. He had the fundas of looking at the bigger picture and thinking out of the box. He was convinced that there must be some reason for the donkey to bray in the night. He walked outside a little and did some fact finding, applied a bottom up approach, figured out from the ground realities that there was a thief who broke in and the donkey only wanted to alert him about it. Looking at the donkey's extra initiative and going beyond the call of the duty, he rewarded him with lot of hay and other perks and the donkey became his favorite pet. The dog's life didn't change much, except that now the donkey was more motivated in doing the dogs duties as well. In the annual appraisal the dog managed a "meets requirement". Soon the dog realized that the donkey is taking care of his duties and he can enjoy his life sleeping and lazing around. The donkey was rated as "star performer".

The donkey had to live up to his already high performance standards. Soon he was over burdened with work and always under pressure and now is looking for a job rotation...

Disclaimer:All characters in the story are not at all imaginary. Any resemblance to person living or dying of work is purely intentional

Monday, July 7, 2008

Keeping our Country clean is Our responsibility...

"Hi.. I'm XYZ", said the young man as he seated himself in the center seat of a rather crowded international airline. I responded with a tired but enthused "Hi". I was returning from a rather stressful business trip and the first leg of the Journey was equally bad, but I was returning "Home", that was reason enough to be cheerful. I was fortunate to get the aisle seat but traded it for the middle seat (yes!! sometimes I act like a Saint! ), on sensing the extreme discomfort of the rather tall young man. I don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but the act somehow acted as an ice-breaker and started off a rather long conversation.

Normally all I do in International flights is dive into a book or into deep sleep! The conversation irritated me, but I had to live up to my Saintly introduction. I was told that this young man was a resident of London and a doctor. He had been living in London for the last 12 years, and was an Indian by birth. In the next hour he had told me all about his family, his kids, his house and work, pausing only to take a sip of scotch now and then. I listened half-heartedly until he began comparing India with London. He spoke of London as being a place of educated well mannered people, not to mention the cleanliness of the surroundings and the superb infrastructure. He spoke at length of the clean cities in the world, of Singapore banning chewing gum from their Country with the intention of keeping the Country clean, he spoke about the heavy fines for littering and said that similar things should be done in India too. I began losing interest at the constant babble, and hoped he would sleep soon, and he did sleep for the last 3 hours of the flight.

On alighting at Bangalore international airport, we parted ways, but I kept noticing how he sulked and stared at the airport (this was the old HAL Airport), not forgetting to mention that the airport was not at all up to international standards. As he walked to the immigration Q he picked up a toffee from his coat pocket and threw the wrapper on the floor! This was followed by the incorrectly filled immigration forms which hit the floor too! I walked up to him and said" Would you dare to do that in London, doctor? Keeping the Country clean is everyone's responsibility. If an educated person like you can do this, what do you expect from a poor illiterate man, who worries about nothing but his next meal?" Saying this I picked up the toffee wrapper and the forms that lay on the ground and put them in the dust bin (the ‘Saint’ in me was really at its best!). I will never forget the look of shame in the young doctor's eyes!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Prepare them for Failure... and Success!

We all spend sufficient time and effort preparing our kids for success, but there is another face of life that they should be prepared for..."Failure". Do we spend equal time preparing our kids for this?

The current trend is of proud parents boasting of their kids special abilities and all their victories, but amidst all this, are our kids really prepared to face failure, especially when they have been successful long enough?

My niece did not call after getting her 12th board exam results for two full days after the results were out. Apparently she had been crying all day cause she had scored only 95% while her cousin had beat her clearly with a 98% aggregate. She was not prepared to face this, she skipped meals cried all day and refused to get along with life. It took a lot of coaxing and cajoling to get her to look at her further studies and her future, putting her past behind her. Why cant she feel good about her achievements without comparing herself with someone else, who probably has different set of abilities? If it was indeed a challenge, why was she not prepared to accept failure?

Just as we should be humble when we succeed, we should strengthen our resolve with a failure. In today's world, where kids are born talented and bright, we should teach our kids to fight till the end, rather than cheer them only when they win and rebuke when they lose. For kids who have been successful consistently, we should teach them that one day they will meet someone who is better than they are. They should be bold enough to acknowledge the fact and move on.
The other day, my husband was hitting the ball really hard while playing tennis with my 10 year old son. " Come on, you are playing with a 11 year old... maybe you should slow your pace" I said looking at my tired son. My husband replied "I lost the last 2 games to get him to feel good about being successful, but I want him to face failure too, he should not think that he is the best." True enough, my son lost the match, but when he came back from the game he was bubbling eagerly telling his father that next week he will win all three games. He also told "Dad played really well, I need more practice, but wait until next week!" That was a nice lesson to learn.

Today during lunch, my daughter said " Mom, I think I am going to be 4th in the singining competition this year, there are 3 new girls who have enrolled and they sing so well." My Son remarked " But you always comes first!" I was surprised when my daughter said " Ya I know, maybe I will scrape a third this time, but next time, I will make sure I practice more and sing better than them, but this time I think they are better"

I hope they keep the same spirit as they grow up, and as the competition keeps getting tougher and tougher. And for my part I keep reminding them that "for every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour!!"