Aghora I – At the Left Hand of God

Goodreads rating: 4.22 Rrkreadsbooks rating: 3.5 This book has intrigued me since the time I saw it’s title in Goodreads. I knew this book would be quite unconventional and probably controversial. I wasn’t disappointed. Most of the events mentioned in the book seem straight out of a fantasy book, albeit a scary one. At times I would wonder if I am reading a book about a parallel universe or the one we are currently in. This book is loaded with symbolism and explains many concepts of Hinduism differently. As a practicing Hindu, I have grown up with a decent understanding… Read More »Aghora I – At the Left Hand of God

Uri Review

In Tulu, Uri is a word referring to the sensation of a burn! No wonder fiberals & tukde tukde gang are burning & losing their mind due to the movie Uri. Amazing movie! Yes, finally watched it. ? Hyper-nationalism? Of course, yes, & why not? bring it on!   This movie could be just an artistic reflection of what really happened, but there are times when you forget it’s a movie. Reality sucks you into its wormhole. The price our soldiers & their families paid is unimaginable. During the movie, I couldn’t even bring myself to eat popcorn without feeling… Read More »Uri Review

Petta Review

So watched Petta movie. Generally I write about movies I like. Petta is; not one such movie. I read reviews online and was absolutely not surprised by the rave reviews it got. After all it’s a Rajni movie!! normal standards of judging a movie doesn’t apply to him. But I belong to the minority that sees Rajni just like any other actor. i.e. judge an actor by his latest movie. To say that this movie would have bombed royally if any actor had attempted it would not be an exaggeration. My sincere suggestion to Rajni as a “normal” fangirl, is:… Read More »Petta Review

How two kids and a bean bag gave me the best lesson in happiness!

Have you ever wondered how kids can be so happy for no reason? Yes, no reason at all!

The other day it was great celebration in our household when we got the one thing we have wanted for a very long time (no, not a dog, though that’s still on the top of the list), a bean bag!!!

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Now traditionally bean bag is just a thing to sit on right? Yes , i thought so too , but my kids turned that notion literally over its head when they turned the simple bean bag into a wonderful happiness machine. How? Let me give you a few examples of how the bean bag gets “utilized”:

  • The Game of Turtles – I hear a voice calling out to me from under the bean bag. I go near it and suddenly the head of my child pops out and shouts “ma , look i am a turtle!!!”. I burst out laughing, had definitely not seen that coming. You always “sit” on a bean bag, who could have thought a bean bag sitting on you could be so hilarious? Just so you know, the kids spent the next hour playing turtle, turtle , with loads of giggles and fun, with the added bonus of peace and bliss for the haggard mother.
  • The Punching bag – Yes , I too empathise with the bean bag but better it than me or worse, each other!
  • The Bofa – That is , bean bag on the sofa , yes , that precarious position is possible. You will be lucky if they do that under adult supervision.
  • The bean bag couch : A couple pillows, kids tucked in with their bed sheets and there, you have a makeshift couch. Added bonus of whispered stories , giggles and yes, happiness.

So what makes them happy ? My guess, they are creative with their happiness , they have no rules for happiness. Anything can make them happy whereas only few things make them sad. Isn’t that a wonderful way to live life? Generally it is the other way around with us adults , we have such rigid rules as to what will make us happy. Anything that doesn’t conform to that makes us miserable or at the least not so happy.Read More »How two kids and a bean bag gave me the best lesson in happiness!

Why I think, behind every successful person there is a great mentor?

Do you get inspired? Are the people you are inspired of, tremendously successful? Have you ever wondered what could be the one factor that made them successful apart from their personal strengths? Dig a little into their awe-inspiring lives and you will definitely find one common thing:  The presence of one or more great Mentors. Now, I would like to emphasize my point with a story. Mythological stories are always paradoxically cryptic and enlightening at the same time. The first time you hear it, you may like it, probably you might even derive a moral out of it but that’s it.… Read More »Why I think, behind every successful person there is a great mentor?

What is the one phase in life you mustn’t grow out of? The Story phase.

Do you remember the bedtime stories you heard as a child? Do you still feel the euphoria of being pulled up into the stories and living a life very different from your own? I do.

These days, I am more of a storyteller than an audience. I think childhood is much better than adulthood because of that one unique quality where we listen more than we speak, where we learn much more than we teach. If only we could still be kids in those aspects life would be much easier.

Breaking from tradition, today, I was the recipient of storytelling rather than my kids. Today, my dad had a story to tell and I was as raptured by it as I was during my childhood days when I used to listen to stories told by my grandparents and parents. For those few moments, I was once again a child as enraptured by my dad’s story as ever. I guess parents have that power of keeping the child in you alive, I hope I can do the same for my kids. Anyway, the old Indian fable goes like this:

A guru wanted an important task to be done. He wanted a disciple worthy of doing the same. So he chose his best three disciples and gave them a test, whoever succeeded in the test would be chosen for the task. He called his disciples, gave them each a pot full of oil and said, “Keep this pot in the centre of that road. Bring it to me in the morning and ensure that you don’t spill even a single drop of the oil”.

The road on which they had to keep the pot of oil was a road frequented by cows and unlike humans you couldn’t expect them not to hit the pot in their hurry to return back to their abode (these days probably humans too won’t bother about what’s in their way)

Next morning, the first disciple came, placed the potful of oil near his feet and said: “Master you gave us an impossible task, I couldn’t do it for the fear of the cows hitting the pot”.  Hearing this the master was disappointed and sent the disciple away.

The second disciple approached him and said: “Master, I tried my best to do as you instructed, but I couldn’t save all of the oil, a little of it spilled when a cow hit the pot”. The master was disappointed but kindly let him know that he was happy that he tried.

Then came the third disciple, he promptly placed the potful of oil near the master’s feet and stood back with folded palms. The master was surprised and asked “How?” The disciple said: “Master, you asked me to keep the pot of oil in the centre of the road but you did not mention how long I should have kept it. Hence I kept the pot on the road, picked it up and went back home, now the pot is in front of you as you commanded”. The master gave a smile of satisfaction and chose the smart disciple for the task he wanted him to do.

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Idea of a Self letter : Keep it or Chuck it?

Who is the one person most unlikely to receive a letter from you? Yourself?

Ever wondered, why people write letters to themselves? Or what could possibly be written in a self letter? Or why somebody would engage in a seemingly “waste of time” activity? If the answer is yes, then this article is definitely for you.

Now for people who know what it is, have you written one? Yes? Congratulations, you have one more technique in your kitty to be Zen like!! No? Then maybe you should try it. It works for many!

Now, what is it anyway?

Self-letter is writing a letter to yourself.

(Am sure that was not very helpful !!).  Basically it’s a time bound letter you write about yourself for yourself.

Sounds fatuous isn’t it? As fatuous as watching the sunrise, enjoying a good view or laughing your heart out, but totally worth it. If you have nobody but yourself to motivate yourself, then this definitely is worth a try.15653748_923745accf_m

Why do it?

  • For clarity: All of us have been/are victims of confusion. These are times of, a galore of choices and the more choices you have the more confused you get. Writing a self-letter can clarify some things up for you. If nothing else you’ll get to see things from a different perspective.
  • For help in Decision Making: From time to time, we all undergo something called as the Decision paralysis. We block our own decisions. Most of us normal folks unintentionally depend on others for our decisions. We rarely consult ourselves on the best course of action. We ask the opinions of everybody who is anybody to us and finally take decisions based on whichever opinion is convenient to us. When things go wrong we go to great lengths convincing ourselves that it was not our fault.  Self-letters can help you avoid skirting the important process of deciding things for and by yourself.

Self-letter is not an end in itself. It is just another time-tested tool like journals, notes, diaries and so on.

How to do it?

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Pettiness: A veritable roadblock on your company’s way to a great work culture

The first sign of a bad culture in a company is: pettiness.

Yes Pettiness. Big problem because it is mostly left undiagnosed until it’s too late.

Petty gossip, petty opinions, petty cribbing all these are signs of the beginning of a bad culture. Companies must focus on nipping pettiness at the bud rather than focusing on just incorporating rules to blanket the pettiness.

Rules are good. I for one am a great fan of rules. It gives stability and to an extent predictability. But rule without a conscience is as good as having no rules. The strong good intention behind every rule must be solidly backed up by the way it is implemented. Then we won’t have to worry about the loopholes in the rule or fear it being misused.

Coming back to the point of pettiness, I strongly believe that the little things that we tend to ignore or tolerate are the things that come back some day to bite us. Pettiness is one such thing, it has a butterfly effect. One cribber is enough to spoil the morale of an entire team. One petty gossip is enough to demotivate a whole bunch of people. One petty judgment about a person lightly thrown may hurt his ego so bad that it might have a cascading effect on his attitude towards people around him and his work. It’s not the responsibility of a company to mother its employees. But when a company is laying its first blocks of culture, it must remember to handle the pettiness within the blocks of the company i.e. the employees sensitively and promptly. Ignoring or tolerating it is not an option. Judging it is even worse.

In a time when everybody is driven to reach new heights, when everybody is eager to achieve greater things, it is hard to even stop and think about how we really are growing.

  • Are we stepping on somebody else in our hurry to grow?
  • Are we burning bridges with prospective friends and allies?
  • Are we being insensitive to the point of being cruel?
  • And due to our occasional pettiness are we blocking somebody else’s path because we are unable to grow?

These must be some of the things each employee must have in his checklist for the day. Bring some perspective into work. Encourage conscious working. Appreciate good work and most important conscious work. The more good behavior and attitude is encouraged and appreciated the more it is cultivated. With more practice it becomes a habit. That way good culture is automated.

My Top tips for a good culture

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Why I think Appraisal is a necessity?

I am surprised to find that I miss appraisals.I had a checklist when I was job searching and guess which point did not make my list? Yes, having an appraisal. Who would have thought appraisal as a tool beneficial not only for the employer but also for the employee? I have not been a part of my company’s appraisal yet and I find that after my self-imposed break of 1.5 years from the corporate world, subsequent change in career choice and a new job, I am desperate to know about my performance.

According to Merriam-Webster, appraisal is: The act of judging the value, condition or importance of something. Something that states an opinion about the value, condition, or importance of something.

All these years as a software engineer I assumed that appraisal was a process for the companies to analyze the performance of their workforce. How wrong I was! Little did I realize that the employee himself could benefit so vastly from the appraisal process?

I miss the pit stops we take in the name of appraisals and the goal setting we do to keep ourselves motivated and realistic about the goals we set.

Here’s why I think everybody needs an appraisal. Self or otherwise.

  • Feedback motivates: Feedback is always a major motivator. Try to get feedback from your mentor, supervisor and anybody who is in a better position to analyze your work. Any feedback is good feedback because it always helps you grow in your area and you grow in the direction which is beneficial to you and the organization.
  • Helps you set goals and stick to them: Though I am a rookie technical writer. I prefer working with deadlines and set goals. Goals help you focus. It gives you a perspective and always indicates what is achievable and what is not. It helps you realize the worth of your work.
  • Aspiration check: Majority of us enter into a field with a set of aspirations. Appraisals are checklists that help us achieve and keep track of our aspirations.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses check: Helps you to know your own strengths and weaknesses in your area of expertise. You can enroll in courses or upgrade your knowledge based on this analysis.

Self-Appraisal

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How emotional detachment can help your workplace attitude?

I took a long break from writing. Let me clarify, it was not intentional. First it was due to me taking a break from work (intentional but definitely not one of my best decisions), then it was me having a nervous breakdown as a result of a rare and strange sounding auto-immune disease named GB Syndrome. After a series of breaking (yes, there was a day when I even broke my bones, duh!  obviously I had a fracture), recuperating and soul searching, here I am back with more health, more happiness and much more life in me than ever before… Read More »How emotional detachment can help your workplace attitude?