Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Blessings...

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... are wished for you and your loved ones. Thank you for being a part of my blog and for sharing my journey, dear readers. Happy Christmas!

Our li'l Christmas tree

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rick-rolled! 7

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While this is *not* my current state of mind, there have been some things over the past few months that have bothered me a great deal. 

  

To those irritants - people, events, circumstances - the clear and graphic message on the rickshaw above is dedicated to you. Cheers!


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Time to get creative!

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There was a time when I took the trouble to 'make' stuff like simple greeting cards and bookmarks or recycle things. Like the one time I made a funky pen stand out of half a coconut shell. Or little boxes out of old greeting cards (really easy to make). Over time, being busy or lazy stopped the creative juices from flowing. 

So, I've been thinking of reviving the arty-crafty side of me. Over the past few days, I made little birthday greetings on plain paper inked with a black marker for colleagues. These could be pinned to the softboard, so they weren't made like typical cards. I can't draw to save my life, so stick figures work for me. Also, I'm quite fond of doing the block lettering. [Psst, it forgives uneven writing.] :-)

Today, I made the following greeting for a colleague from a small sheet of paper, a black marker and colour pencils.

The basic sketch done in pencil first, then outlined with a fine tip marker.

Final look created using regular colour pencils.
Will try and post some ideas often. As always, feedback is welcome.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I know.

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And I wish you both the very best.

...
Did you write the book of love,
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock 'n roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you're in love with him

'cause I saw you dancin' in the gym.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.

I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck

With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.

Lyrics courtesy: Don McLean, American Pie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On my mind...

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So many things:

Desperately need to hire talent. Good Great talent. People who can write... Write well. Without silly mistakes. Grammatically correct sentences. No typos. Relevant punctuation.

Find my life's calling. Or have I found it already?

Travel. A bit of a distant dream at the moment, but need to plan and figure this out for 2012.

Write. Nay, attempt serious writing. About experiences, work, business, social media, my observations. Too unsure about this.

Travel *and* write?

Get going. Make the time. Take a leap of faith.

Get rid of the exhaustion.

Meet more people. Learn from them. Look for alternatives. Turn those crazy ideas into actual concrete plans.

Words swimming in my head. And these words need to become actions. Strong actions.

No apology. No regrets.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rick-rolled! 6

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Rick-rolled returns after a little over two months. And this one seems like a continuation from the previous Rick-rolled post


This one also says, "Shararat Mat Karna" and that bare leg was quite a tease against the copy. What do you think?

Monday, October 31, 2011

From Mondy's to Monday

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Here's a little postcard from Cafe Mondegar's, or Mondy's as we lovingly call it. 

I was there on Friday evening with a great bunch of folks, and guess what? I drank a full mug of beer for the first time ever. Not bad considering I'm not a beer guzzler at all.

The artwork on the walls capture the world of celebrated cartoonist Mario Miranda. Absolutely love those drawings.

This past week has been excellent. Just three working days, but some great insights are being worked upon. The Diwali holidays helped in relaxing the mind, and meeting a bunch of lovely people at a house party, over coffee/kebabs, over double peppermint chocolate, over beer (!), and at the warm Le Pain Quotidien (photos coming soon)... Ah! So much conversation and laughter with excellent company. 

Have a great week, everyone.

~j~

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shoe stopper!

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My no-shopping vow has taken a terrible beating the past few months, especially because of the ease and convenience of online shopping. Sample this: a watch, books, a pendant, more books, shoes, silver earrings, a bath towel (don't look surprised; it was from the Wimbledon tennis range), some more books and now... just look at these beauties that I picked up at the Aldo sale:

 
Even after discount, they cost me quite a bit. But, but, but... look at them. Sexy, no? Now I have to find the perfect outfit to wear them with. Sigh. Don't remind me of my credit card statement now. Please?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekday rambling

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All I really want to do tonight is write a long rambling pointless post. Just like that.

But I must share... I had such a fun Saturday night - which technically lasted just two hours and the rest of the nine hours were actually part of Sunday (pointless information, I know). There was a house party at a friend's since her folks were off on holiday. And what a partayyyyy it turned out to be! You had to BYOB (bring your own booze). And there was tons of food. Everything was super! But the entertainment that happened thanks to the boys doing a song-and-dance was just hilarious. My jaws were really hurting with all the laughing that ensued. Imagine watching three grown up fellows doing crazy steps to Quit Playing Games by the Backstreet Boys! Yes, exactly my reaction. *grin*

Oh, and I made a little experimental chocolate fudge and took it to the party. Most people who had it said it was nice. :) So, I'll try and blog the process in another post and maybe you could try making some at home. It's quite simple actually.

And today, Monday, wasn't that bad. Plus, I got to meet two of my favourite people over Barista coffee and seekh kebabs/baida roti from Nice Fast Food Corner. If you've never been to this place, shame on you! It opens in the evenings (probably after 7), and shuts at 11.30pm, but I would advise going there before 9pm, so you don't have to go back without food. Do try the seekh kebab, baida roti (chicken and mutton) and the mutton boti. Wash it all down with a mini bottle of Thums Up. *burp*

Time to crash. Someone, please figure out fix my sleep cycle. :-/
Good night.

PS: This Diwali week is going to kill my productivity. Monday-Tuesday are working, followed by a holiday on Wednesday, again work on Thursday, and then an extended weekend with a holiday on Friday. Hate it!

Bucket List revisited

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"Kolkata for Durga Pujo. Shantiniketan. Eden Gardens. Mother Teresa. Puchkas and roshogullas."

Just striking off one teeny tiny thing off my very brief bucket list. I would have really liked to actually go inside the Eden but... next time, maybe.


This post will be revised. Watch out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turn out the lights

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"Go for hurried baths, and then forget all about hurrying. Take midnight showers. Turn off the light and stand in the water."

These words by Natasha Badhwar in one of her parenting columns keep turning up in my head every now and then. Even though I'm not a parent, I love the way she writes and I can still relate to most things she writes about.

Coming back to the quote above, I generally end up taking midnight showers because I get home quite late and I quite like feeling clean before I can nod off to sleep. But tonight was only the second time I switched off the lights while taking a shower. The first time, it felt great, peaceful and relaxing. And last night as well. Except that I had an A-HA moment too where I learnt...

1. The darkness reduced the noise which all that artificial lighting brings. The only light I had was the hazy streetlight outside diffused by the frosted glass strips on the bathroom window.

2. I felt more aware of where things were, how to control the temperature of the water...

3. It was almost like meditation.

4. Finally, the most significant learning: no information processing. With the lights off, I wouldn't have to look at the labels around me for damage-therapy shampoo or blemish-fighting apricot scrub or thermal massage shower gel. I didn't read the labels, so I don't get reminded of how old and tired I've become. I didn't read the labels, so my mind did no info crunching. And I didn't look in the mirror and go "WTF!" and "Damn! I need to get my eyebrows done."

Total peace. Even if for just 15 minutes.

I slept for just 5 hours, but that peace made those 5 hours restful. Thanks, Natasha. More power to your pen.

To read her column which inspired this post, click here: Be inefficient, take midnight showers.

Sent from my iPod Touch

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Kol-katha: South Park Street Cemetery

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A visit to South Park Street Cemetery, Kolkata (estd. 1767) turned out to be a super lesson in history and a serene experience. The pictures below are of actual memorials/graves built as far back as 1768.





 More photos and posts later...

Postcard from Kolkata

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Nomoshkar from Kolkata... I really wanted to blog a few highlights of my trip so far, but it has been a bit tiring and hectic. Two days and lots seen/eaten/experienced. I have to run now for another round of pandal-hopping. So, here's a little picture postcard for you. Happy Ashtami, people!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Anyone can say Nope!

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A few weeks ago, I learnt a new term thanks to @mehulved: "TIL", which was basically an abbreviation for "Today I Learnt" (shouldn't it be "Today, I learnt"? Sorry, I'm just being a Punctuation Prude with that comma! :P).

So, in that spirit, I'm going to tag all posts related to random web surfing finds as TIL. I had done a few posts like that before. Remember? One was about a brilliant video on The Girl Effect, and then another on a text word art creator Wordle, and more recently about Picnik.com's photo editing features.

And... TIL about this fun NO-chart you can make and it's brought to you by the good people at GOOD. Just 3 clicks are needed:
1. Upload a photograph
2. Write your own question
3. Save and share the result

<--- See what I made.
You also have the option to share your work with a public gallery or keep it only for your own reference (a link is generated). Try it out yourself by visiting Good Labs' Make Your Own No-Chart page now.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jesus, take the wheel...

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Growing up as a child and as a teenager, I always had a strong sense of my religious obligations. I was an active participant in church services, attended Catechism class with much enthusiasm, took initiative with organizing programmes for others, and in general, was considered a "good girl". While I didn't exactly turn out to be "bad" in any way, my spiritual connection with the Almighty has been on a massive decline since a few years now.

Make no mistake though. I still believe in God. Or rather in the idea of "God" - someone out there who's all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and who we can turn to in life's joyous and sorrowful moments. What I've experienced in the last few years though is a sense of discontent, a disconnect from that omniscient force. And it's only because I started questioning what happened/happens around me; why we blindly follow certain rituals, why we are so concerned with getting others converted to our beliefs, why we go about these obligations without much thought, why is it so male-centric/dominated... and so on. Why do we have to make "faith" into this series of tasks? Why not adapt to the changing times? Such doubts and questions only fuelled my stubbornness in refusing to go to Sunday Mass or to events like the neighbourhood Rosary in May or October. There'd be months at a stretch where I wouldn't bother attending Mass, only visiting the church when I felt like it or if there was a funeral or someone's nuptials (either of which had to be of close friends or relatives for me to make the effort). My parents, after the initial nagging, finally gave up and stopped telling me to go to church. I didn't see anything wrong with my lifestyle, with my skipping of prayer-time, with my I-don't-care attitude. But tonight, something made me want to write this post.

I've been upset about something. In the larger context of the world's many problems, mine is an insignificant issue. Yet, it bothers me and so much time was spent in moping. While chatting with a friend about it, I realized how I never prayed or at least tried to pray to see if I could achieve some peace within. Not for the said problem alone, but in general.

Father RT, a priest who's also a friend, had sent me this text a few days ago: "Prayer is the place where BURDENS change SHOULDERS. Never underestimate the power of prayer today and always!" And somewhere at the back of mind, the words kept playing on and on. Add to it, I listened to Carrie Underwood's Jesus, Take The Wheel continuously on loop yesterday, and it has left me thinking hard again. I felt the character in the song was me who was...
"running low
On faith and gasoline."
And it made me want to "throw my hands up in the air" and just surrender myself to this higher power that I have no real knowledge of.
"... And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I'm sorry for the way
I've been living my life

I know I've got to change
So from now on tonight

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus, take the wheel."
As I go to bed tonight, I want to believe there is a force out there that looks after me. Or at least one that wants me to look after myself. I've been believing my doubts on many fronts, and they are just making matters worse when it comes to tackling issues everyday. Maybe by letting go in complete surrender, I can try to find that balance my life needs. But praying doesn't mean sitting idle and letting things spiral away. I've always believed in service being a form of prayer. Karma really comes back to bless or haunt you, no? Another one of Father RT's texts said: "Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel at times!" 

I'm off to look for *that* shovel.



PS: Do read Henna Achhpal's thoughts on her Vipassana experience here. This is one thing I want to encounter myself in my own spiritual quest. Ten days away from people, phones, email? Tough, tough, tough!

PPS: This is a personal post, and does not endorse or promote any religion whatsoever. The photo above was taken a long time ago and was posted here originally.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Confused

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I don't know what I'm doing here by trying to write. This week has been mixed. More 'down' than 'up'. And tonight just killed the little excitement I had for my upcoming travel plans. No, I don't want to talk about what really happened. Because, frankly, I do not know what it actually is, and how it came to be. In the space of a few minutes, opinion has swayed, known people became strangers, loyalty is being mistaken as rudeness. And all this is just not making sense. I've always strived to put others in the foreground. I hate the spotlight. Yet, some accusations were made which have left me terribly upset. 

So, I'll try to sleep it off. The television's on, but there's nothing worth watching. Maybe I need to remind myself about the sun... it sets in the evening to rise the next day without fail. With vigour, with hope, with peace. Good night.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dravid

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Beware, this post is a bit of a ramble. Not sure where it's headed.

So, 16th September 2011 will be remembered as the day Rahul Dravid, one of India's best batsmen, bowed out of the limited overs version(s) of the game. Paeans were written before and after the 5th ODI versus England at Cardiff. Unfortunately, the Indian team couldn't seal a victory capping off an extremely tough and a winless tour. Dravid, along with Virat Kohli, managed to get an excellent partnership going and their efforts helped the team go past the 300+ run mark. Captain MS Dhoni also scored a quick knock but England has had the upper hand throughout this tour and emerged victors in a rain-marred game.


Anyway, I wanted to blog about Dravid. Hopefully soon. For today, presenting just the image above. There never will be another one like you, Rahul Dravid. Thank you for the wonderful memories.


PS: Please excuse any typos and weird sentences. I'm way too sleepy. 'Night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tired...

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... of being brave.
... of having to tackle so many different things AND being expected to succeed at all of them.
... of expectation.
 
... of no expectation.
... of being the go-to girl.


... of the potholes in Aarey that make my back ache.
... of noise, pollution, filth, humans.



... of not being able to run for a train like I used to since three and a half months.
... of feeling too scared to walk quickly, leave alone run.


... of being taken for granted. Every effing time.
... of playing too safe.

... of making travel plans in my head. 
... of dreaming too small.
... of giving. And forgiving.



... of well-meaning "advice" (go to the ortho; get your thyroid checked; lose weight; stop eating junk; don't work so many hours; don't socialise so much; save money; get married).


... of life. Soon.






Sent from my iPod Touch

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Going on a Picnik...

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I've been trying some online resources for photo editing, especially since I'm Photoshop-challenged. 

One of my favourite sites is Big Huge Labs.Their tagline is simple: "Helping you do cool stuff with your digital photos since 2005. :-) Have fun with your photos!". You should try it sometime.

Another one is Picnik. I had checked it out ages ago and was very annoyed with how slow the site was. But then, I rediscovered it recently, and while there are quite a few of their features for premium users, I still think it's a good bet to do something fun with your photos. Earlier in the blog, I did try the Polaroid (in Frames) feature with a photo. This time, I tried the Sticker (speech bubble) and Text (Eat me!) features. The result? Quite nice, I thought. See:


I went to Frames and chose the simplest one after selecting the colours for the two borders. 

The downside? You need to sign up for an account and as a 'free' user, you can upload just 5 photos at a time. And you need to pay for premium features. But those reasons aside, the time taken for photos to upload is a bit much.

Have you tried Picnik.com? What's your experience like? Are there other online resources like this and BHL that cater to photo-fun?


PS: I really love Picnik's pre-loader. It's simple but so creative. The copy, that is:
Blooming blossoms | Warming breeze | Growing grass | Buttering sandwiches... and so on. Puts a smile on your face while you wait for the site to load. :)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Bucket list

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Just realised I've never really had a bucket list. But then again, I'm not the kind to go about making and ultimately sticking to resolutions. (Horrible, I know!) It probably stems from my lack of serious ambition.

So, I thought of listing down all that I must do, experience, see, eat, drink, make, travel to before I, errr, kick the bucket...

1. Learn to code. Nothing elaborate, just one line of something. Any language. I never liked studying 'computers'; neither did I ever take up programming at any point in school or college. The only reason I did opt for the subject in school was because it was a choice between that and needlework (ugh!). Maybe I should ask Dan to help me with this. She's the smartest coder I know.

2. Travel the world. More realistically, India. Some places to explore in the immediate future include:
Old Delhi for its history. And the food.
Hyderabad for biryani.
Kolkata for Durga Pujo. Shantiniketan. Eden Gardens. Mother Teresa. Puchkas and roshogullas.
Madras. For the Chennai Open (tennis) and hopefully, watch Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi win.
Wai. And Jejuri to re-live Arun Kolatkar's poetry.
Dalhousie, Darjeeling. Dharamsala to teach as a volunteer.
North East India. For Cherrapunji, Kaziranga, Shillong Chamber Choir.
Pondicherry. To feel French.
Goa. To give it another chance. For its churches and sausage-pao. (Maybe Lo and I can go here together)
Internationally: Bhutan, Turkey, Cambodia

3. Cook a proper meal. Not just a dish, but the works. Actually, signing up for cooking classes seems more doable at this stage. And maybe learn to bake a cake or something. Sheesh, I'm indecisive about this.


4. Learn to cycle and swim. Hmmm... a tad difficult as I'm too self-conscious.


Man... this is tough... I can't think beyond. I'm appalled. :(

Thursday, September 01, 2011

September...

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It's curtains for our August Blogging Challenge or ABC (Isn't there a Bieber song called ABC?). The idea was to get going on the blogging front on a regular basis, and I'd like to believe that having a challenge helped to a large extent. I'm quite sure I will be posting regularly even after this challenge has ended. And even more confident that Lo will not disappear from the blogosphere. She totally aced the challenge, no?

To the tiny number of my blog readers, first of all... SORRY for the sometimes random posts when I was bereft of ideas. I tried to cheat a little by posting photos, YouTube videos, writing about my frustrations, and just about anything that caught my fancy. 

Second, if you're still reading my blog, THANK YOU. Your encouragement and support mean a lot. Special thanks to DeeSeelicious who enquired one morning on Twitter about any new posts. It didn't really hit me till then that there were actually a few people (other than myself) reading my stuff. Also, @DanielDmello who silently 'liked' some posts in his Google Reader. In case you still want to go through my 31 posts, click here. Feedback will still be appreciated. 

What's next? Well, I hope to do as much "writing" as possible. Will definitely aim at doing atleast a hundred words per post with more meaningful content. 

I'm definitely going to continue my Rick-rolled series. So many rikshaws and their awesomeness still waiting to be discovered :).

Work has kept me busy and will continue to be that way for a while, but I know I can make time for a blog post once in a while. Some of the blog ideas came from what started as tweets. I stopped before hitting 'send' and gave the thought a better chance of finding expression. I mean, look at the post on the Mohammad Ali Road feast. A few tweets about that would've been lost in the vast black hole called the Internet. Here, I wrote a little about the experience, ensured the photos went with it, and now I can relive those moments anytime I want. Also, I'm tweeting less which has really helped in some ways.

To cut a long story short, I'm happy with my ABC experience. And hope to make this blog better as we go along. Here's some pointless trivia: The year 2005, when I started blogging, saw 21 posts in all - 10 less than the number of posts in August 2011 alone. :)

Cheers!


PS: Di, I hope you find the inspiration soon to get on track with your blog.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Insecurities

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So I gallivanted from Borivali to Bandra today. I had an off because of Eid, and besides a family engagement in the morning, I had pretty much nothing to do. Spending a couple of hours at HyperCity was a good idea while I waited for a friend to confirm if we were to meet. 

Armed with a bagful of home essentials, I headed to Bandra. Much traffic later, the rikshaw dropped me off at the friend's place. The idea was to drop my stuff there and then grab a cup of coffee and those fast-disappearing jelly squares at Candies. And we did end up going there. 

Which is when the floodgates opened.

The friend is married with a child. And felt her husband was adding to her own insecurities. "I'm fat" kept getting thrown at me when I was trying to explain to her that she isn't fat. Was desperately trying to tell her that just a little belief was required in her case. She refused to accept any view or advice. Her severe body image issues got me thinking. Is it really *that* bad in the world? What legacy are we leaving our children? It's pretty scary to just see how a friend who has been the epitome of self-confidence can also fail miserably. Another thing that bothered me is her marriage. What kind of foundation is this? Your husband feeds into your securities and you blindly just allow that to happen??? I was unable to do much except offer a listening ear.
Should I be glad I'm not married?



#ABC POSTCARD 31/31 :)

Sent from my iPod Touch

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We could have had it all...

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My song of the day: 


"The scars of your love remind me of us 

They keep me thinking that we almost had it all 
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless 
I can't help feeling 
We could have had it all 
Rolling in the deep

(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep) 
You had my heart inside of your hand 
(You're gonna wish you never had met me) 
And you played it to the beat 
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep) "



What a voice! 




PS: DeeSee - you better not make fun of her again.


#ABC POSTCARD 30/31

Monday, August 29, 2011

Breaking a myth

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The following conversation happened one morning last week on the office shuttle*:

Colleague (sitting behind me and pointing to my hand): What book is that?
Me: *shows the cover of the book without saying a word*


Colleague (surprised look): Oh! Why this?
Me: Why not?
Colleague: Yeah, why not.
Me: *smiles*

After a full 60 seconds, as if hit by a brainwave but still a little puzzled...

Colleague: Are you getting married to a Hindu?
Me: Bwahahahahahahahahaha... :D


* Shuttle = a mini bus that ferries us from the railway station to the office in the mornings, and the other way around in the evenings.

PS: Let me know if *this* font looks better with the blog. Fonts are the only thing bothering me about this blog template.


#ABC POSTCARD 29/31

Rainy Days & Mondays...

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...always get me down.

So you'll use Facebook and Twitter and sms for a *belated* birthday greeting, but you won't pick up the damn phone and actually voice those wishes. If that's what I get for investing wasting my time on this friendship, then I totally deserve it.

Thanks, but no thanks. 

And yes, it bothers me. Simply because you don't care as much as I do. 

#ABC POSTCARD 28/31

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Watch this space! (updated)

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So, the unintentional social experiment worked. - or rather, is working. More details later. Will update this post by the end of today or tomorrow morning.

Till then, watch this space.
I had turned off my birthday information on my Facebook page last year. Two reasons. One, the sheer number of messages that came in on FB directly, and then because of FB on Twitter or via sms. People got a 'reminder' and hence, an obligation to wish. Never mind if you've not spoken to me in years, or don't know what my life is like, but a FB wish toh banta hai, boss. Plus I don't do a generic Facebook status saying "thanks", so it meant fewer people to respond to. 

The second reason for turning it off was but obvious. Getting older is getting progressively depressing - the age factor was looming over, people reminding you that you're not married yet, and worse being wished that "hope this year your happy day arrives". I mean, what the fuck! And yes, I just used a profanity on my blog. That's how frustrating it really is to counter morons of all kinds on the one day in the year when they are supposed to be nice to you.

So to all those who wished me on FB or called or texted because you remembered without a notification, thank you. To all those who wished me because the office birthday mail reminded you, also thank you. But the biggest thanks goes out to those who didn't wish me. I'm not being sarcastic. I'm just happy that we don't have to pretend that we're *that* interested in each other's lives.

Sorry about rambling. But the incessant rain in Mumbai this weekend has put a dampener on any plans even before I could think of making some. Happy birthday to me!


#ABC POSTCARD 27/31

Friday, August 26, 2011

Addicted to...

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"Technology addictions can lead to increased stress-levels, shorter attention spans (especially in kids), irregular sleep-patterns and poor sleep, to name but a few."


EEEEEKKKKKKKS! The article from where the above line came from actually made me shudder. Looks like I have way too much dopamine in my brain. Now that explains my poor sleep patterns and wavering attention span. It goes on to say...


"To give a real-world example: when your phone receives a text, it beeps loudly, and we suddenly feel the urge to check the message. Dopamine (which is especially wired to cues like message alerts) is the cause of that urge."


"And so we enter the ‘dopamine cycle.’ Want to know what the capital of Chile is? It’s just a Google search away. Want to know if your friend has sent you that funny e-mail he told you about? Refresh your inbox. Want to see what your friends are saying about the new Harry Potter movie? Just hop onto Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes, blogs or Bebo. When it comes to social networking, our dopamine receptors are spoiled for choice, much like a kid in a candy store."


Yes, I'm hopelessly addicted to the world wide web. Too much dependence on technology to keep myself updated. 


Goodness me! *logs off*




#ABC POSTCARD 26/31

Do what you love or love what you do

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This morning on my way to work - while stuck in terrible traffic - I got thinking about my work years. In January this year, I completed eight years of slogging it out across three companies (four-and-a-half of those years at the current company). And the only thought I had was: "What if I had another career? An alternative profession?".

My primary role has been in the Human Resources space, and more significantly into recruitment. Not the easiest or the best job in the world, but somehow landed myself doing something not by choice. One of the questions I'd ask any young candidate is: "What's your dream job?". Many would give boring and stupid answers. "To become a manager"; "to lead a large team" and so on. Very rarely, someone would have an idealistic "to have a job that pays me to travel - photography, blogging". And the sometimes enthusiastic "to report from a LIVE Formula One race" or "to interview the biggest names on the world map".

So what would be my dream job? And it pained me to think I never ever had a "dream job". Sure, I've had plans to become a teacher, a nun (omg!), an air-hostess, an actor-dancer (totally closet, can't act-dance to save my life), and various such random roles. But nothing that I yearned for. Also, I had never really held a summer job or an internship, except for working with Akbarally's (a 3-outlet chain of department stores that existed before malls became a reality in Mumbai. By the way, the place has shut down now) as an 'announcer' (or 'voice-over', if you prefer). Those three months were fun, especially since my work day started only after 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and I was paid a princely sum of Rs. 3000 monthly way back then. I had to quit because I had enrolled into a fulltime management diploma (again, not my choice. But grateful to my mother who thought it was important then.). 

January 2003 marked my first job. At a recruitment consultancy that had started a specialised BPO arm to counter and cash in on the 'call centre' boom. That job paid poorly, but I couldn't complain considering I was unemployed for four months thanks to a mini-recession that did not throw up suitable opportunities. While I didn't particularly enjoy my work there, I don't know what I'd have done without that experience. I interviewed tons of people day in and day out over the phone; conducted walk-in interviews; coordinated with nasty clients and still had nothing to show in the 'results' column. Simply because the attrition rate in the call centres was ridiculously high. I would 'close' a candidate and the next thing I know is he has decided to join some other place for more money. Frustrating!

Soon, I had to move on. Things were just not working out, and I wasn't even able to focus on a proper job search for myself. About a month later, I found myself working for an actual company. The day I joined, we were 206 employees, and I was to assist the HR team with the hiring function. The advantage I had here was that I was no longer an external recruiter, so I could call candidates with more confidence and 'sell' the job better. Also, I had a great boss. She would stand up for us as a team, and was always encouraging of my efforts. The colleagues - except one - were quite nice too. And then a new manager was brought in. I had to report to her and I really couldn't stand much of her. Oh, but she desperately needed me to be on her team even when the opportunity for me to move into a generalist position arose. Anyway, I still value the experience I had here, and most importantly, the friendships that were formed. Some of the people who worked with me there are very dear to me. 

Work Desk No. 4 - been moved around to 5 spots officially in as many years 
After more than 2 years, I decided to move on. Two reasons: one, I was saturated and couldn't see any growth beyond what I was already doing. And two, the next job offer was attractive - not in money terms, but in terms of the challenge. And so I quit an 800+ people 'growing' company to join a small 30 people 'growing' firm. Call it a leap of faith or just plain insane, the truth is I knew who ran the place, so had a level of comfort getting into this. 

Finally, here I am... Four and a half years down the line, this has been some journey. I can't even begin to explain what I feel for this place and the people. Yes, there have been some lows - but that's a given for the time (and not just in terms of years, but actual time) spent at the office. Also, I have a very emotional bond with the company which is very hard to describe, and also the worst thing to have. 

Somehow, I always knew this would be for the long haul. Until a few months ago. Today, I no longer work in the HR space. It wasn't my decision, but keeping in mind the company's growth plans and what my skills could offer, I took up the new role. A *challenge* really considering it involves a fresh set of responsibilities; a large-ish team that reports into me; some new areas that are completely intimidating. And the weight of expectations which scares me. Even today.

This week has been good. I've been able to put my thoughts together on certain pieces. Plus the boss has been kind enough to grant me an audience and help me with prioritising my tasks. He is kind, no?

But the biggest achievement yet? I've never regretted working here. NEVER. And I hope it stays that way for as long as it can.

PS: Had written most of the first half in the first week of January 2011, and I just discovered it lying in my drafts. But I guess the sentiment is still quite relevant. Edited to keep it more current. Hopefully, I will live to blog about my fifth anniversary on 8th January, 2012. :)

#ABC POSTCARD 25/31

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rick-rolled! 5

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This rikshaw has a message for all you mischievous boys and girls...
On the separator between driver and passenger
Translation: Don't be naughty! 

*winks*

#ABC POSTCARD 24/31

Anna-ther farce?

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Anna-ther hoarding outside a railway station.
Wonder if they have permission to put this up.
I'm neither a political expert, nor an activist. The past few days have witnessed a frenzy in this country. People are likening the whole anti-corruption crusade by Anna Hazare (or rather Team Anna) to a second freedom struggle. While I understand the sentiment behind this, I certainly don't think you can compare this movelment to what transpired in the lead-up to that August day in 1947. Also, I'm totally against the idea of deifying (is that a word?) a single man just because he has decided to take up a cause. Hundreds and thousands have undertaken causes that never feature in the media spotlight. The media focus on this is another thing. If you have watched the film Peepli [LIVE], you'll understand what I'm trying to say.

Can any of us truly say that we will never be involved in any corruption? What about those fake rent receipts or medical bills you got made to ensure minimal tax deduction? What about greasing the cop's palm so as to not risk losing your driver's license when you get booked for speeding? What about paying ridiculous amounts of money in the name of "donations" for your child's school or college admissions? What about the wads of notes that you need to stuff into hands at the municipal or passport offices just so your "file" or application moves to the next step? Even to get a birth or death certificate? A gas connection? You won't do it for your loved ones?

My motto is simple: "Think global. Act local." Let's clean up our own homes and surroundings of this corruption menace, then talk about eradicating it with legislation. Simple things like wearing a helmet while riding your bike, and not over-speeding or honking. Don't hire children as domestic help. Don't litter or spit in public places/transport. Stick to the 10pm loudspeaker deadline. Respect all communities/faiths/groups and their freedom. First, do the little things that matter. Teach our children the importance of abiding by the laws of the land and by the spirit of freedom. We have rights, but we also have duties. Freedom's not a one-way street.

As @69fubar tweeted last evening, "Everyone is corrupt. That'll never change. Its human nature to take the easy way out." So true!

Time to rise above the petty, and make a real change. But stop and think. Pick your battles wisely. And go for it.

#ABC POSTCARD 23/31

Wake up, and smell the coffee!

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The exhaustion from all the Sunday packing and shifting has taken its toll - been rather low and under the weather since the weekend. This morning was a real bitch... Imagine waking up with a pinched nerve in the leg! The pain was unbelievable. Add to it the fact that the home Internet connection has been disconnected and I'm grumpy about that. Now imagine living without the www!!! 

I mean, I barely get home around 10-11pm, have dinner, take a shower and sleep. The television remote is not under my control, and everyone gets pissed off if I stay up late to watch something that I want to. You see, the light (and not just the sound) from the TV disturbs everyone. So I've given up on most of my TV-channel-surfing. The Internet is my only saviour for any entertainment! But now, even that has temporarily betrayed me. Using my phone's GPRS is a solution, but trust me, once you get used to tweeting/facebooking/emailing/etc using a wifi connection, life's not the same. Worse, my phone does connect to the wifi signal, but strangely never works. 

Cappuccino, blank pages, a pen, music while waiting at CCD
On Tuesday evening, I happened to leave office at the dot of 6pm. I was a bit irritated that the two meetings scheduled that day had to be cancelled. Plus I had managed to be at work on time that morning inspite of reaching home only around midnight and then just clocking four hours of sleep on Monday. So, I left office and decided to gallivant someplace. Out of the blue, a friend called and said he was passing by the place I live, and would like to catch up. Excellent! 

After fixing the spot and time and braving traffic and a crawling train, I reached the coffee shop and waited for a bit for the friend to show up. He did turn up and that conversation over coffee lasted for almost two hours. There was a lot of pent-up anger about something I had blogged vaguely about a few months ago, and I was able to explain to him why I felt what I felt. Considering he was familiar with the whole story, I felt quite relieved to just have someone listen to me, and not offer advice for the sake of it.

That evening has accelerated my heart's healing process. And while I know it's still not that easy to let go of some people, some emotions, some memories... I will still be able to move on a little.

Thank you for coffee and the conversation, friend.

#ABC POSTCARD 22/31

Monday, August 22, 2011

Down memory lane

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I had a few ideas for a couple of posts - one definitely on Rahul Dravid's batting prowess over this past weekend in the 4th Test (or rather what this amazing cricketer means to me), and the second which was more personal about friendship and its changing nature. Over the weekend though, I couldn't do any writing as the Saturday was spent in rest (which is a good thing, no?) and Sunday was crazy with packing up all my stuff to shift into the neighbouring flat as we're getting some basic fixes and painting started tomorrow. It was bloody painful packing and moving stuff around. And worse when you end up with sixteen bags of your things. Yes, sixteen, belonging to just one individual - ME. 

Time to de-clutter? Hell, yeah!
In the process of all this packing and sorting, I did get quite nostalgic as I came across certain items which brought back a rush of memories. Maybe I should've snapped some photos of those things so I could've added them here... but hey, I wasn't planning on writing this post. And most of my posts in this #ABC have been written as soon as I open the Blogger editor - a very stare-at-a-blank-page-and-write kinda random approach. 

So anyway, I did tweet about those things that made me feel so many emotions with a hashtag #housecleanup (sadly, if you search this tag a few days later, none of the tweets will show)... Here's a list of those

# Scraps of paper with Dravid's scores from Australia/New Zealand series in 2003-04. No internet access at home meant keeping my own records of his scores.
# My school's 'red house' badge that used to be pinned to the tie. Awww! I think it should go onto my office lanyard which has various pins on it.
# Found two ancient cameras. One's a Yashica Kyocera DX, and the other's a Minolta Pocket Autopak 430Ex. The latter is a mystery. Don't even know how it was in our home. Must do some research on it. Also, must check if they are in working condition.
# An Atomic Kitten CD. I think it was a prize from a radio or newspaper contest. Hahaha! 
# Really bad poetry scrawled in old class notes by me out of sheer boredom during some post-grad diploma lectures. Will try and publish on the blog sometime. And you've been warned - it's really awful. :D
# Tons of paper clippings from the time I was unemployed - job openings, career advice, even entire classifieds sections, etc. Humbling experience. And a lot of them were call center vacancies - the boom was on then.
# An Anthology of American Literature (1890-1965). Poetry by Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound and more... Also, plays like The Glass Menagerie. A book that was rescued from my grand-aunt's place when they did a house revamp years ago. Something about it keeps drawing me back to it.

Sigh! 

There was more stuff discovered. Maybe I'll do a follow-up post - when we're shifting back - of things that may not be saved. I seriously need to de-clutter. I mean, sixteen bags! Insane, right? Time to leave memory lane and get on the road to minimalism!

#ABC POSTCARD 21/31

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