Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fear Fantastic

Fear is a very visceral emotion. It grips your gut before you know it. Even when you know it, it’s too late. Your body’s already reacted sharply. You break out in a cold sweat, you become breathless, your heart starts racing and what not.

I studied in Psychology class in school that there are two basic fears- fear of the darkness and fear of heights. I’ve never been afraid of the dark. Metaphorically, that aligns to fear of the unknown.

As Anne of Green Gables says, I like bends. One never knows what lies around the corner. It’s only when things don’t go your way that you start to worry. I took a risk in changing my field of study from English to MBA.

Many people tried to dissuade me, including someone who had done exactly the same. I was apprehensive too. I hadn’t studied math for five years. Still, I thought it would be exciting.

Well, it was too exciting. The naysayers were right. I was a fish out of water. I took a while to grow shark fins, but they did sprout eventually. I’m glad now that I took the plunge.

As Nietzche said, what does not kill you , makes you stronger. Well, it did come near to killing me emotionally- the difference. Still, I survived. And felt the fitter for having done so.

More than the alien subjects, it was the alien environment. People with different priorities, different worldviews. Immensely practical people. Well, I like to think a bit of me rubbed off on them and a bit of hem definitely rubbed off on me.

There were days that I cried. Days I couldn’t sleep. But with a little help from my friends, I scraped through. Even did well in some subjects, inside and outside of class.

Sticking to one’s strengths is important. So is being true to your USP. That’s how I remixed the Bard’s line, To thine own self be true. Too often, in playing it safe, in staying in our comfort zone, we get bored. We don’t grow. We don’t challenge ourselves.

Being in an adventure might seem glamorous while reading about it in your armchair, but it can be nerve wracking actually being in it. Still, that’s living.

B-School may have lasted for a couple of years, but the lessons lasted longer. Not the ones in class, but the ones outside. How to make a CV. How to present yourself. How to get work done. How to adapt. How to assert myself.

That confidence helps me even now. Any time I feel fear, I take a deep breath and remind myself, if I could get through that, I could get through anything.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Top 5 Places in Europe I've got my Eye on


I’ve always wanted to go to Paris. I even went to the UK, but because of  visa issues I couldn’t go to Paris. Someday…Now, when I see London in Sherlock, I remember those places. Even though I’ve seen Paris in the movies, I want to feel it. 

This place looks like a good one to stay. I want an entire place for privacy. The checked floor is really cool. Paris is small- so will have fun walking all over the place to museum hop! La Giaconda, I’m coming J

I love history, and I’ve grown up on Greek myths. I recently went to the Elephants caves, which are 1.5 times the size of the Parthenon. Still, I want to see the Parthenon.
The sea looks really blue. Would be great to dip my feet in, or loll on a deck chair inhaling the sunset. I like Greek food too, even though it’s got a lot of baigan!
This stone house looks different. Would be great to be like the little pig who lived in one.  Looks like a great romantic getaway! The night view with these soft lights would be out of the world.

This treetop apartment looks so inviting, I may never leave. I love nature, so would be great to have a view and be able to touch a plant while sitting next to it. Would love to see the Colosseum. Would also love to go leather shopping. Wonder whether Italy would look like a boot from the air, or is it just on the map?

Mmm…Swiss cheese. Swiss chocolate. That blue picture post card lake view. Skiiing. Or at least trying to ski. Snow. The Alps. Train through the mountains. Basically Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Fondue. Yes, back to food. I like rooftop apartments. Some of the best times of my life were in one. The view, the air- everything’s just better up there.  Hence, this is a good bet.

I had a diary with photos from Germany when I was a child. Bee-yoo-tiful scenery. German cars. Bavarian Gentians. Had a poem on those mysterious blue flowers when I was in school. Would love to see them in reality. And the Black Forest which I love to eat. So this looks like a good option, amidst the forest.

The good part about holidaying in Europe is that one can easily hop from one country to another. Still have Disneyland on my to visit list, an island where I can see water all around- not like the UK! Would be awesome to go trekking in all these places, stay for a few months in each and just let them become part of me!

Here’s my referral link. Use it so that we both get credit! Here’s my Wish List of places I’d like to stay at on AirBnB.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What is needed to clean India?

Cleaning your house is easy. Well, not really. You probably outsource that to a bai. What happens when she doesn’t come? You either wield the broom yourself,  grumbling all the time, or you resign yourself to a dirty house for a day.

Sare Jahan se Acha- par Swacha?
Let’s extrapolate this to India’s situation. That’s our home too, right? Those countless Hindi film patriotic songs, that we hum come every Independence Day? There are no bias to clean India. We have to at least take care that we don’t dirty it, even if we don’t clean it.

Would you clean up after others?
I remember reading a Reader’s Digest article when I was a kid, about a man in Bangalore who would sweep the footpaths outside his house.  If we have a problem picking up after other people, at least we should not be one of those people.

Why aren’t we clean?
So let’s examine why people don’t think it necessary to keep India clean. What’s one more wrapper? What difference will one person being conscious of not littering make?

Court to the rescue
Just read that the Delhi High Court is pulling up municipality workers for not keeping the city clean. It is taking the KITA or Kick in the Ass approach. If they can’t keep the city clean, they should be fired.

The judiciary has always been one of the hands on arms of the government. Seen as impartial, it is perceived as an organ that gets work done, rather than dither due to political motivations.

So, if this judgment catches on, it can have far reaching implications. It can set a precedent. Other cities can follow suit. Accountability is key. As it rightly points out, if there is a cleaner appointed for each area, then why is the city dirty? By demanding details of the area cleaned, work will get done.

We who work know that the only way to get work done is to keep following up with the person concerned. Naturally the worker will have to work if he has to give details of the work done.

India Inc is cleaner
Cleaners in the private sector clean all the time. It would be great if we also had workers round the clock for this.

Swach Bharat Abhiyan is catching on
What seems different about Swach Bharat Abhiyan is that it has captured the imagination of the people. From school children to celebrities to courts, everyone is pitching in. So, we might very well see a clean India.

That would be great! We can finally then tell snooty foreigners who whine about India being dirty to take a walk. Literally. And those Indians who go abroad and then turn up their noses when they come back home? Them too.

So let's speak up like Montu, of Strepsils. It's a pretty cool campaign to make people think and share about this issue. #AbMontuBolega #AbSabBolenge #AbSabKarenge

Friday, November 28, 2014

Close Shave

My husband told me that he once did not hire a candidate because he was unshaven. I don't know why men don't bother to shave.

Excuse 1- It hurts
Pain. Maybe that’s why men shrink from shaving. Maybe they think it’s inner beauty that counts. Well, tough luck. If you don’t bother about yourself, no one’s going to bother about you.

Excuse 2- Work is worship
Or does it symbolize that they are working so hard that they don’t have time to shave? Considering they have time to yap, smoke and do other unnecessary things, even that excuse seems flimsy.

Excuse 3- I don’t have to look at myself
Seriously. There should be like a mirror which they have to follow wherever they go. Once they are also subject to the visual pollution they make others go through, they might change. I doubt though.

Carrot 1- Positive reinforcement
What about compliments? Do they work? No. The fun of laziness makes a compliment on a clean shaven look a distant memory. Don’t they realize if their laziness is so obvious, it’s going to affect how they are perceived at work?

Carrot 2- Get the girl
What about those lonely single guys? How do they think they are going to be able to change their status if they look like walking haystacks? Or do they really think that women go for character and men for looks?

Stick 1- Pay for it
Like at school, where you were penalized if your shoes were not shiny, there should be fines for unshaven guys. 

Stick 2- Scissorhands
Take a leaf out of Bobbit’s book. Just hack when he is asleep. If he wakes up, so what? You’re the one with the weapon :)

'This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity 
at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Touch me not

As Yash reached for Rashi, she slapped him away. “You just have one thing on your mind,” she yelled. Yash grinned impishly and replied, “Guilty as charged. I am a guy, you know.”

She hmphed and stalked off. Only to nearly bump in Yash, grinning, who once again made a grab at her. Rashi made a pained expression and drew his hands away.

“I have to pack, I’m going home,” she announced, pulling down a suitcase.
“This is your home,” said Yash.
“Whatevs,” she replied as she opened her cupboard and began pulling out clothes.

As Rashi landed in Delhi, she thought,”I’m finally going to see mom and dad after a year! It’s going to be great to meet the girls again too!”
A month slipped by, full of laughter, sumptuous meals spiced with love, revisiting old haunts, heart-to- heart girl talks with the gang.
She sighed. “It’s time to go home.”

This time, Rashi was the one reaching for Yash at the airport. “I missed you,” she cooed as she nuzzled his ear. Yash tried to play hard to get, but he couldn’t. He was a guy, you see.

A night of passion seemed too little to make up for that month apart. “It feels like Bali again,” thought Rashi as she snuggled closer to Yash. “What happened? Life got in the way, I guess. Housework should be banned! There’s never been a bigger mood killer,” she burst out, not realizing she was no longer thinking silently.

Luckily, Yash was fast asleep. Rashi traced his face as she promised to herself,”I’m going to try and be more of a guy where this touching thing is concerned!”

Yash’s eyes flew open as he reacted,”Are you a man trapped in a woman’s body?”

“No, silly! I just…forget it,” Rashi smiled as she closed his lips with a kiss.