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Ash. Spiritual. Happy in my own way. Writes Random Stuff. Ice Cream. Night owl. Ice Cream, again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Celebrating 8 Years of Blogging!

My blog turns 8 this month.

With four years of random blogging and four years of regular blogging, my blog crosses another personal milestone. This was an equally remarkable year as my blog was featured in the Top Indian Blogs and among the Top Bloggers in Chennai and a weebly interviewed me (I loved answering their questions). And also, thanks to an internal forum at work where we’re allowed to write, a lot of people have been reading my blog and giving me their feedback. One random person at work (who had attended a session of mine) came up to me and said she read my blog. I’ve still no idea how she found out it was me. The highlight of all this was when someone I admire (a celebrity of sorts), happened to go through my blog and spoke with me for almost an hour when we happened to meet. My happiness knew no bounds and I’m sure that my blog was happy too :-)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Choosing the Right One!

I’m not sure if it has anything to do with my OCD, but I can never leave a book half-way and go on to read a new book. It’s not possible to judge a book by its first few pages, so I proceed with the hope that it would get better. What if the story had a good twist, and what If I missed it? Sometimes it gets better, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a risk that I know I have to take. And a good book, makes it worth the risk.

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos


A friend of mine, who is also a voracious reader, sets a book aside the moment she loses interest. Even if it’s within the first 20 pages. When I happened to talk with her about this habit of ours, we realized that both of us were at two extremes. We joked about how each one should have a threshold. She said that the threshold should be slightly higher for her (so that she doesn’t miss a book that might get better with the story) and slightly lower for me (so that I wouldn’t have to waste my time reading not-so-good books), considering our reading habits. Fair enough! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Breaking Queues

It’s funny how some people always want to follow the rules and are often the first to break them.

Take littering for instance, some people go at lengths to talk about how people don’t have civic sense. Later they end up throwing a banana peel from their window. Another thing is how we aren’t good in forming queues. During my first trip abroad I was amazed at how people formed a queue without being asked to do so. No rushing, no pushing, no fighting. We talk about standing in queues, but sometimes it just doesn’t work for us.

A few days back, I was at the supermarket doing my weekend shopping. I was the second in line and waiting for my turn when an old lady stood to my left. When the previous person had paid and left the old lady asked the person at the counter to bill her purchase. When the billing lady pointed out that there was a line and it was my turn, she immediately apologized and offered to stand a few places behind me. I realized it was a genuine mistake and since she was old, I asked the person at the counter to bill her purchase first. The old lady said thanks and left.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

'Do you have a Problem?' 'Me too!'

When someone is upset, we try to cheer them up. It’s not that we are trained that way, but if you notice we often try to share positive thoughts and perhaps even our own experiences, give them some encouraging words and make them feel optimistic.

This is what I used to do, till an incident changed my approach.

I was casually talking with a friend about how life had changed a lot since college. I’m not sure what exactly triggered that thought, but my friend started pouring out her problems that started shortly after college. She was venting about how everyone around her was being unreasonable. Nobody cared enough to understand what she was going through. She went on and on, and I didn’t interrupt her. I felt she would be better if she spoke about it.

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

After she stopped speaking, for almost 5 minutes none of us spoke. She then felt guilty for burdening me with her troubles. I told her it was fine, because I was going through some problems too, both personally and professionally, and that I could totally relate to her. She was shocked. I was surprised at her reaction. For a minute she left all her problems and asked me in a sarcastic way what could possibly be wrong in my life. I was slightly annoyed and asked her what was wrong if I had problems.

Doesn’t everyone have problems to deal with?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The 'Life-Work' Balance!

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with a few like-minded bloggers. We were brainstorming about a new initiative which we had in mind. At one point we happened to discuss about Work-Life balance (You know when you're talking with a group of bloggers, you end up talking about everything but the intended topic). People spoke about how work-life balance was critical and even if the scales tilted slightly to any one side inadvertently, things might not be smooth.

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

At this point, a senior in the group asked all of us to define what work-life balance was. We knew things were bound to get interesting and waited for people to give their own views.

Of the many versions of the definitions that we heard from others, the most striking one was given by the person who asked all of us the question, 

'Life-Work Balance : When you can talk about yourself for 5 minutes without mentioning what you do at work, you can conclude that you maintain a very healthy balance.'

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Art of Small Talk.

Thank you Blogadda :-)


A few weeks back, I conducted a session on Client Communication for a group of associates at work. The session contains a slide on Small Talk. So before proceeding with the agenda, I tried to engage in small talk with the participants, without mentioning why I was doing so. There were about 15 people who had turned up early. I spoke about how it was nice to see people turning up before the session started, and how the system was taking all the time to boot. I tried to get into a conversation, so I looked at one lady and told her that I’d remembered seeing her previously. I asked vague questions about with Block she was from and she started responding. 

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

After this small exercise, I proceeded with the agenda and when it came to small talk, I reminded them of the conversation I’d tried to initiate earlier. I was trying to convey the importance of small talk and what topics one can opt for when one of them said it was practically impossible to know what the other person might be interested in talking. Apart from general weather and non-controversial topics, I tried to explain that it wasn’t that difficult and we would probably need a few basic questions to get through. He wasn’t completely satisfied. So, I told him I could initiate a conversation with anyone in the room.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Confession Box.

I was reading a book, when I came across a point where the protagonist goes to a church and heads to the confession box.  That’s when I kept thinking how easy things are for those who go to churches. Not that we can do anything and then confess about it, but there are certain things, which might seem trivial, which are better off shared with someone rather than keeping it to ourselves. But there is a problem here, whom do we share it with?

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos
You might wonder why this such a big deal.  We have friends and family and there will be at least one person with whom we share a good rapport and a comfortable equation. But the problem is, people judge us or we are scared that people will judge us. Not in the wrong way, but we’ve come to a point where people around keep evaluating us. We are aware that the moment we open our eyes and take a step forward, people keep watching us. This includes our close family members and friends too. Sometimes we might not want to, but inadvertently and subconsciously we end up judging others. Not for each and every simple thing, but you never know.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bye Landmark!

If you are currently in Chennai and a person who loves reading books, chances are that you would’ve spent your weekend running around Mount Road. Thanks to the Chennai Book Fair at one end of the Mount Road and the 90% Clearance Sale at Landmarks, Spencers Plaza at the other end, I’m sure even those who use only eBooks these days would’ve been tempted to pick up a few books.

I got to know from a few people in twitter that there was a 90% discount on selected (most) books at Landmark. I had just got back from the Book fair on Saturday, so I made up my mind to visit Landmark on Sunday. It was very important for us was because we knew Landmark was shutting down (for now). So we wanted to make the best use of the books available there, one last time.

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

When I heard a few months back, that the Landmark outlet at Apex Plaza was closing down, I was surprised. I thought ‘Why would anyone want to close a bookstore which every Chennaite had fond memories of.’ There were many more outlets in the city, but somehow this was one close to my heart as I remember spending very many Sunday afternoons here. My dad, sister and I used to come here and spend hours reading books. After a while we would go to the stationary and buy different types of pens (My dad and sister had a big craze for pens).Then we would go to the Music section. We had the option of listening to music in certain corners and we used to pick up cassettes and CDs. Archies Greeting cards used to be available there, and irrespective of whether we needed them, we used to go through the cards. We would leave after a while only to come back in another week or so and carry out the same ritual. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

So, What’s New?

Are you still wishing people for New Year? It already seems like something from the past for me. Today when an acquaintance wished me for the New Year, my immediate reaction was ‘Wasn’t that long back?’ Though it’s just been about 10 days since the year started, things are so hectic here that only now I realized I hadn’t blogged this month so far.

So 2014, was an interesting year for me. Taking a step back and looking at all what I did (and wanted to do), I wonder from where I had the energy to do so much. Most often my energy levels oscillated between I want to spend every minute doing something to I want, to I want to just eat Lays and watch Friends again (and again… and again…). I did waste time doing nothing, but I did do a lot of stuff. So when people who read my blog asked me what plans I had for 2015, I felt I had to take it slowly.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - The year that was!

Wait wait wait!

As far as I can remember this is what I've been saying all through the year. I'm not sure if it's just with me but with every passing year, I feel the days keep flying quicker and quicker. 

Like every other year, 2014 has been a good year and special in many ways. I wouldn't want to insult it by comparing it with its predecessors. I know I'm going to value the lessons I learnt from the good and not-so-good experiences, from the good and not-so-good people. And that's what matters to me!

So here’s what 2014 was all about, for me.

This year, I did take up a resolution to do something new (In other words, to make my life interesting).I also took up the GoodReads Reading Challenge (24 books). So for the first part of the resolution, I started baking. Initially it was an experiment and then I sort of got addicted to it. I baked almost every week during the second half of the year. Next, I ran 2 marathons. I was never the kind of person who would run. It was a fraction of a second decision, after a friend inspired me to take it up. Now coming to the Reading Challenge, I read about 14 books (of the set target of 24). During the second half of the year I had too many things on my plate and too little time. I wish I'd completed the challenge, but I'm happy I got to read so much (In my defense, almost all the books I read were 300+ pages). So to make it up, I'm taking another awesome Reading challenge for the next year :-)
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