Sunday, April 19, 2015

My date with Nature :)

My love for nature's beauty goes back to childhood days when sitting in the sun and relishing an orange was an epitome of a winter day. Back then I didn't realize what it was that I really cherished but there was something special about it. Having spent some time in this part of the world, where winters take up majority of the year, I would not miss any chance to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

This weekend started with a gorgeous sunny day so I planned to pick up a novel and my camera and head to the lush & pretty botanical garden in the city. The entrance was welcoming with some cherry blossoms right outside the paradise I was yet to experience. There were vast expanses of green grass which led to budding cherry trees with some in their peak. It looked ethereal even with so few in bloom, I could only imagine what the scene would be when the rows of trees are at their peak. Many people posed for pictures in front of the vibrant colors while a few of us decided to capture them up and close.

A little further down I surrendered to the inviting grass, where lots of people were also basking under the sun. Sound of chirping birds and laughing kids running around the field just sweetened the scene. The warmth, the breeze and the cool grass kept me affixed to my novel for a couple of hours before I decided to explore a little more of the beauty this place had to offer. Bushes of bright flowers and rows of exotic plants awaited to be photographed.

The highlight was what they call the Magnolia plaza and I am afraid words will fail me to express the magnificence of what lay ahead of me. Divine is almost the only word that can do justice to those pretty pink and white trees with the sweetest fragrance I have ever breathed in. I strolled around the area to absorb as much of the pulchritude as possible. The least I can say to define my appreciation of the place is that I have been looking for Magnolia scented perfumes ever since my return.

With all my senses refreshed and joy in my heart, I can only sing for you oh beauty that this year's love had better last........

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Let's be concise !

Note to self - I will only use words when essential.

Inspired by the generation of tweets, I am attempting a new series of posts where I will try my best to be concise.

My history in writing doesn't help but change is always welcome.

Let's start with a topic close to my heart - movie reviews !!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What's wrong with corporate India ?

With a smart, young and skilled workforce, India has definitely caught attention in corporates globally with special recognition in the Information Technology(IT) industry. Our Prime Minister has proudly referred to this in many of his speeches across the world. What surprises me is the accepted work culture in most of these organizations across the country.

Indian corporations take pride in operating 24x7 with an energetic set of people available to offer their expertise at almost any hour of the day through the week. I respect the dedication of my fellow country folks and the brand value they are bringing to the country but are we missing a crucial aspect ?  Yes! I am talking about the so called work-life balance. I have had so many conversations with friends and family who work in many of these organizations in India and am yet to find a good logical explanation of why there is this insanity about working 12 hour days and having a working weekend is totally acceptable.

The shocking answer that I have mostly heard is "I have to work over the weekend because everyone else in my team is working". So what I infer from this is we are our own enemies. We are mass propagating this disease of putting hours into work instead of putting work into our hours. What happened to efficiency ?

There have been others which sound like "I have too much work and my boss needs me to finish it by Monday". To this, I really am starting to question the whole concept of assigning work. How on earth did you end up in this situation ? Where are your rights to tell your boss what you can do and what you cannot ?

I know this is all easier said than done. You might lose your job or get a bad review at the end of the year if you don't work as many hours/weekends as your colleagues but honestly, what exactly are you getting from such a job ? And this takes me to the so called root cause of all of this - Money ! I understand ours is a developing country and people need to earn to survive in tough economic circumstances and to support their families. And my dear friends, the answer to this is the most important reason why I am forced to write this.
What we are not realizing is that to earn money we are staking our health and well being. By risking your own life, you are not going to be able to support your families for long. The recent unfortunate incident of Ranjan Das should at least serve as a wake up call to corporate India.

I am not asking you to be less passionate about your jobs or take the hard work out of it. Let's just try to make it a healthier environment for ourselves and our fellow workers. If you are a boss, stop asking people to work on weekends or judge them by the hours they put. Dig deeper, look into the quality of work they bring to the table. Respect their time, their health and their lives in general. If you work for someone, make sure you accept work you can attain in a week instead of killing yourself over the weekend...It is called week-"end" for a reason !

All I am asking is question the next time you are in a meeting where work is being planned for weekends or week nights. Raise your voice and question the system even if it means taking a few setbacks. I assure you it is not going to be easy but it will be so worth it in the long run. We need to change this madness and the race we are running against our own people. No political leader will be able to mandate it - it is the change only you as part of the culture can bring in.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More than half a year flew by !

So I was just browsing and thought about my blog...might as well pay a visit and that brought a realization - The last time I wrote felt like just yesterday but more than half a year has gone by. Time literally flew by without me realizing how fast life can move sometimes. Indeed this took me back to figuring out what has kept me away from sharing my thoughts for so long and I could evidently tell what that is :)

Yet another exciting hobby I'm proud to have inculcated and now that I look back I'm surprised how I did not get into it earlier ? Better late than never was my reaction to my own amazement. Anyone who is connected to me via any social media is well aware of what this new so called obsession is - yes I have joined the club of people who can be found strolling the streets with a big bag hanging onto their shoulders.

I'm now one of those who like to see the world through the lens and love to capture every possible moment. There's this passion about achieving perfection with the help of advanced machinery ofcourse. I am guilty of judging those with the camera as some kinda crazy given the amount of time, patience and energy it takes to compose those perfect frames but I totally get it now.

I wouldn't have called it an obsession until the two recent incidents where I happened to pass by some picturesque skies and regretted not having my camera with me. The phone camera does come handy but it feels like I missed an opportunity to get that out of the world picture. It is hard to express the emotions that you go through when you miss that chance or even when you get it right....I'm sure my fellow photography lovers would understand what I'm talking about here - Happy Clicking :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013...In retrospect

Before every article out there starts throwing in the top 20, 10, 5, 3 lists of the year in every possible arena, I figured I'd give it an early start. I mostly do this analysis every other year but this time I thought it's worth noting down given the mix of things in the year past. The special thing about this year was that there was nothing big or life changing yet I learnt a lots of life lessons.

The year started in my home land so couldn't ask for a better beginning. Visited some good old friends and had a blast with them making the trip sweeter. Then came a little bump with a foot injury which taught me to value what I have. Nothing major but these small hiccups remind you to cherish every moment because you don't know what the next one might bring. It is difficult to express how much more appreciative of life it has made me but I can definitely say that I look at life through a different lens now.

There has been an immense amount of energy around me this year. I've had days when I couldn't stop dancing for hours and then those when I couldn't get anything done for weeks. Random emotions, spontaneous decisions and unreasonable rage have all been a part of the fun. Also had those various professional moments of highs and lows. It seems like a lot to happen in a year yet nothing big enough not to fit into one.

Experiences are what make life what it's worth and there wasn't a dearth of those too in the year gone by. Be it some amazing get away with family or a simple dinner with friends - these pleasures came in small wonderful packages. Not that there weren't some unpleasant ones but my brain has a great optimistic filter so let's stick with the good ones.

It will be unfair if I do not talk about my cyber life given the hyper-activity out there as well. It has been instrumental in catching up with some childhood friends and of course the new found pass time of sharing pictures and enjoying the reactions that follow.

Music makes fifty percent of my life so it definitely deserves a special mention. I've fallen in love with many tracks through the months and some even stood the test of time. I could probably survive without food and water for a few days but life without music seems close to impossible.

All-in-all a great year so far with much to be thankful about including the tough times. Looking forward to many more such years that I can look back to without regrets and confidently say that I've grown wiser by a year :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A part of the world..yet a world apart !

Having lived in this part of the world for a few years now I' have a lots of thoughts to share. It takes a lot of time to really understand people, culture and appreciate it but it takes a very few seconds to form the first impression. So let's start with first impressions - this is a place with freedom in the true sense. I started as a student so it's fair to say you're free to choose what you study and how you do it. There is so much structural flexibility which is quite evident if I tell you that they have take-home exams and even open book exams :)

The part I've enjoyed most is the freedom to study wherever and whenever you like ! I've studied at every hour of the day and at every possible place in the campus - be it the bench in the park, the building stairs, the couch at starbucks or on top of the wall outside the lab. All you need is a laptop(if you're a fellow computer science geek) and a good wi-fi connection which existed every possible place on campus. It's not just the liberty that comes with amenities, there's no social one judges you or at least does not bother you with their opinion unless asked for.

Too much freedom can hurt you sometimes but I'll not walk that tangent; lets focus on the brighter side for now. This reminds me of another great quality people around here have and that is the wonderful habit to always greet with a bright smile and exchange pleasantries. It's true that most of it is superficial but you know sometimes a "Hi ! Have a nice day :)" from a stranger can make your day ! They know how to talk - they really do. It's no surprise how they make the best sales and marketing people in the world.

And yes they have an amazing sense of humour.You'll be glad to know I've recently figured out what makes them so funny - they make fun of themselves and once they have won over the audience they crack a few on the listeners as well. For example: I was at an event recently where the speaker was talking about his career and these were his exact words "I change my team every 2 years before people know what a fraud I am !". Even politicians in this country make jokes on themselves...infact they have an official dinner every year where they invite a famous witty guy to make fun of everyone including the President who sits there and laughs along.

Lastly, unlike our perception they also care and spend time with their families. They might not know every distant relative but there is a close bond that exists within their immediate family. The ideologies and customs are sure different but that's a part of the culture. At the end of the day it is yet another way of life !

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Count your blessings name them one by one :)

Life is like a sine wave with lots of ups and downs. There are times in life when you are on top of the curve and do not realize what you've got. You're happy with tons of achievements and success becomes the new normal. It is when you are on the lower end of the curve that you understand the value of the happier times.

I believe it is the balance of nature to bring you to the lows so that you can appreciate your accomplishments. Just envision yourself sitting at the bottom of a hill mesmerized with the beauty there must be at the peak. The thought of the breathtaking views at the summit can be almost dreamy and inspiration enough to keep going.

I can proudly say that I have been through a few periods of 2 pi of these curves (geeks can chuckle :P). My experience says that to make the best of the time when you are moving along the negative Y-axis is to look back and enjoy what you missed when you were busy winning the game of life. It is very important for you to savour the blessed days and stay motivated to go uphill again. Take this opportunity to thank those who have been by your side all along.

Back in school we used to sing a hymn in the morning prayers which now makes so much more sense.
"Count your blessings name them one by one....and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done"