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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Home is where the heart is!

My father had planned for a vacation right after my sister completed her 12th exams. Dad wanted her to chill out after a hectic year of preps and exams and preps and exams. We were in Goa, in a wonderful villa overlooking the sea amidst a beautiful property. It was around the third day of our holiday, when we were relaxing after a para-sailing experience that we noticed my sister was slightly down. When dad asked her what was wrong, she said that she was home-sick. Mom, Dad and I were surprised and did not know how to react, considering that the very people who were at home were present at that moment. She said she liked the holiday but was beginning to miss home. 

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos
There was this friend of mine at work who never looked forward to the holidays like how other hostelers do. She had opted for an individual room and though she preferred staying away from the hostel gangs, she was someone who would keep herself occupied some way or the other. She always used to tag along with us city dwellers and despite the considerable distance involved she used to manage and ask us not to worry. She used to come with us for movies and shopping and for anything and everything. Sometimes she used to spend time by herself cooking and reading and inviting us to her place. She maintained her place very well and she took special care in decorating each and every corner. She even told me that she looked forward to spending time in her 1BHK room than her hometown because this place made her comfortable and made her look forward to going home after a hard day’s work.

Home is where the heart is. But is it your home or home away from home?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Spell of Rain, Whose Mischief Couldn’t be Managed!

I really wish I’d received my letter from Hogwarts. I know I would have had to wait for 6 to 7 years to learn to apparate, but at least I would’ve been able to fly on a broom till then. Considering the current road conditions (the small stretch of concrete or tar amidst the potholes), I’d prefer to apparate or fly rather than ride, drive or walk in/on/around Chennai roads.

When my mom warned me about the possible rains in Chennai a week back, I didn’t give that much of a thought. Riding during the first day of the rains turned out to be a very difficult affair with reduced visibility, and with the eyes constantly trying to find a way among the vehicles, pedestrians and water puddles. On top of this, care had to be taken to avoid getting drenched by the water splashes from bigger vehicles, which could have been wonderfully Instragramed through Slow-motion video in my camera. I was skeptical about riding right through the puddles since it proved difficult to guess how deep the puddles were, so I had to avoid all the short-cuts and take the main roads. Somehow I managed to reach office and vowed not to take my two wheeler to work for a few days.
Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

4 Years and Counting...!

What a journey it's been so far! :-) 

It's been 4 years since I stepped into the corporate world. I remember by first day very well. Mom and Dad dropped me at our Training Center and I stepped into the building with a bunch of documents and a truckload of dreams. And here I am, 4 years later, standing with considerable satisfaction looking back at how things have gone so far, how incredibly lucky I’ve been and looking ahead, looking forward to the rest of the journey.

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos
Over the 4 years, I’ve switched between teams and this is my 3rd team.  I’ve jumped to completely different streams, which is not quite common in a predominantly technical oriented organization. I started off as a developer in Java (hey, I am an oracle certified programmer in Java!). After a year of working in Java, as much as I got to learn I got bored because I knew I’d have to keep doing the same thing over and again and I moved to a non-technical role. I had to take up an interview and some written tests and then I was ready to become a Technical writer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Festive Spirit - Here, There and Everywhere

During the Diwali weekend, I was riding back home from work through the commercial hub of Chennai - T Nagar. As I crossed a flyover, I couldn’t stop to admire the brightly lit buildings. I could sense that festive spirit that was around. Scores of people had descended on the streets of Chennai to shop for themselves and their loved ones. The lights, the noises of the crowd and the 'Sale' signboards everywhere, did add to the festive spirit and from nowhere I had started feeling excited.

Commercialized Celebrations?

Many people cry that a lot of festivities have been commercialized. Considering that they are done to keep customers (citizens) happy, I don’t see what's wrong with that. I get to wear new clothes, make/buy sweets and savouries, watch special programs or movies and burst crackers (depending on my budget). But when you step back and take a look at the big picture, it's about sharing these moments with our loved ones that makes it all the more special. I see it as a way of expressing our love and affection for those around us.  Buying new clothes for the family and extended family, bonding while preparing special sweets or enjoying a good conversation while eating them, bursting crackers with the tiny tots and the elders; all this gives us an opportunity to spend time with our fellow beings, something which we might not be able to do on a daily basis. So on these days, when you have options to pamper your loved ones with stuff apart from your love and affection, what's wrong, I ask.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What makes you happy?

I stumbled upon an old post of mine which was written along similar lines. You can read it here. Happiness Is...

I was reading an article online and I stumbled upon this question. I assumed this question must have been for the ‘Happiness Is…’ series (of which I’m a big fan) and then I noticed that the author had asked people to list things that make them happy , without them being directly involved. I liked this train of thought. Personally, I’ve always associated happiness with things that make me feel good, or when I’m the recipient of some good deed. So it was interesting to think of situations which genuinely made me feel happy without being directly involved.

Here is what I thought of while I was riding back from work.

Happiness is … Seeing planes take off.

I’ve traveled enough by planes, yet I always get excited whenever I see a plane taking off. It’s amazing how something that was on the ground a few minutes back, just soars in the air and heads for the skies. I always relate to it fighting against all odds and moving on to pursue one’s dreams :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Article Published : Decision Awaited - Will they or Won't they?

An article that I had written here has been published in The Hindu Open Page :-)

The article is on how some people take ages to make a simple decision. You can find the article here.

Call me old school, but there is something amazing about seeing your name in print, especially when it gets mentioned in a reputed daily like The Hindu. No matter how many times it happens, every time I feel happier than the previous times.

Thank God and the person in charge for the open page articles, they had somehow missed mentioning my name in the web version and promptly updated it after I wrote to them.

And thank you dear bloggers for all your support and feedback, which has made me the person I am today.

Thank you! :-) 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Who is your Superhero?

I met a few friends last week and we were catching up with each other's lives.  We spoke about a few things and then the conversation veered off to superheroes. We weren't exactly arguing who was the best, it was more of an analysis (where the Batman always stood first!). And then people were voicing out their favourite heroes.  We were still talking along the lines of fiction until one friend mentioned a real-life person whom he considered as a superhero. We got talking along those lines and it was interesting to note how small gestures could make anyone a superhero. Later, when I was driving back, I was trying to remember instances where I really thanked God for sending a superhero/guiding angel in my way.
Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

I was 4, mischievous to the core and really gave a tough time to anyone who had to or volunteered to look after me. I was visiting a relative's place with my Grandma and my sister. While playing, I saw a hole along the platform. Curious to see what was in that hole I bent slightly to take a look. All I could see was a dark deep hole (dug for a bore well and unattended), I then knelt down to take a better look. Before I knew it I had slightly lost my balance. If not for a driver who happened to see me bending down and rushed to pull me back, I'm not sure how life would've been. At that time, I did not know why Grandma was shouting at me, and I thought she was cross that there was mud all over my dress. That driver, was an angel who came from nowhere and saved my life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Diktats for Maintaining Discipline?

(This article is based on the 'Rules for Girls' for a college in Chennai that took Social Media by storm)

(This post has been featured in Blogadda's Tangy Tuesday Picks)

You form a system, single-handedly. You ensure that you are the deciding authority. All workflows end with you, irrespective of whether they are in favour or against you. You decide what the rules are and thrust it on others. You use the word ‘discipline’ and tag a hundred so-called-rules under it. Then you proudly claim that this model works for all because no one has spoken against it. But wait have you ever allowed anyone to speak against it?

This is exactly is wrong with many educational institutions in the city. I’m not going to pin point just one or two, because this phenomenon is prevalent in many institutions. When you take a list of the rules and wonder what significance some of them might have, you would get the same answer from all sides – Discipline. I remember the Dean of a very popular college, which remains the most preferred colleges to pursue studies in the city, saying that they believed in self-discipline and not in inculcating discipline after almost 2 decades after being around. At least that made sense.

I’m not advocating that ‘Discipline’ isn’t necessary. It definitely is. But in what context and to what extent is what matters. For instance, it blows my mind to think how a girl talking to a guy can be considered breach of discipline (this rule is common across many institutions). Perhaps folks from the Neanderthal age are still under the assumption that if a girl and a guy speak there can be only one reason for it, and we say we have come a long way from then. Sigh!

To make things worse, there are a few supervisors whose job profile demands that they monitor the activities of the students. Though I appreciate the intention of the institutions to provide a job for people who would have served as good body guards (I’m being very polite), it is annoying when students are not given respect and are treated like filth by people who I’m guessing were not hired based on their education. Where did the Human rights commission go now! 

At times, such rules make us forget the very intention of someone joining the institution. The managements get their priorities all wrong and in the name of promoting quality education they do all this drama. I’d really like to ask those people, if despite imposing all these so-called rules for students, how will they allow the student to concentrate on studies, when the focus is always on a god-knows-what definition of discipline? 

The school to college transition is important. But what is more important is the campus to corporate transition. That is where people get to know what it is to be out there. These institutes claim to prepare students for the future. But wait, which corporate policy says that guys and girls aren’t allowed to speak or celebrations of any kind are banned? We do have birthday celebrations at work, with team lunches and Fun Friday activities. These are not any privileges, it’s just basic courtesy and the right way to treat a fellow human being irrespective of where the person is in the hierarchy. Do those management gurus know that?

Like someone mentioned, if you want to avoid students getting distracted, instead of banning a hundred things, just ensure that you improve the quality of education. Fair enough? Or are you trying to camouflage the lack of good standards in education by imposing all this on students?

The nation needs an answer! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Alone? Yes! Lonely? Not Really!

A few days back, the parents announced that they had to travel for a few weeks. I wasn't exactly happy or sad, but staying alone was something I enjoyed. Of course I was going to miss my mom because she is always around when I’m home, but I was ok with that. I managed being by myself on and off for a few months in the past two years, all thanks to my nephew, so I knew I could pull it off.

So, I woke up on Saturday morning and savored by cup of coffee with the newspaper. I spent almost an hour reading and relaxing because my instincts told me that I wouldn’t get this time back, at least for a couple of hours. And then the routine started. I had to prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner,  clean up the house, go to the temple, do some grocery shopping for the week and take care of laundry among the many other chores. After all this I had time to actually relax just before calling it a day.

 Why bother to remember when you can put
 them down in these cute Sticky Notes. 
Amidst all this, I received a call from a friend. He invited me home for lunch as he thought I must be missing my parents and sitting thoroughly bored at home. I was happy he was calling on to check, but I told him I anyway had to go out in the evening and had so many things to be taken care of before that so I would come home another day. But I was getting reminded of what he said about me (sitting idle) getting bored and sitting all alone.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Battles That We Fight!

A few days back, I overheard a group of girls talking about one particular girl. The news was that the girl being spoken about hated flowers. She hated the smell and sight of flowers. Initially they thought it was one of those things which people normally do to get attention, but then they realized it made her very uncomfortable. Curious to know why she was affected by something as wonderful as flowers known for its visual appeal and aroma, one of the girls approached her and asked her the reason. This is what she had said, 

‘I remember the day our house was full of flowers, that was the last day my Mother was home.’ 

Ram hated bright open spaces. He always preferred to occupy a dark corner wherever he went, if at all he went. He ensured his room was always dark, with just enough light for him to wander around without tripping over anything. Over time, he became a recluse and almost cut-off communication with others. He liked spending time by himself, staring from the balcony of his dark room. 

He looked at his wheelchair and the prosthetic legs and wondered how different life would have been had he not met with an accident. If only the light from the Lorry had not blinded him that fateful night. 

All of us have our own battles to fight almost every single day. Of course, we are all human beings and its only natural that our lives are full of ups and down. Yet sometimes we forget that others around us, have their own battles to fight and we end up with assumptions and biased opinions even without knowing the big picture. We resort to generalizations under the assumption that what is good for one, would probably be good for all.
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