Saturday, April 1, 2017

Thank you Vicks.

A lot of you reading my blog today may have already seen the heartwarming video that Vicks released yesterday. It made me emotional and made me pick up my iPad to scribble. The video talks about two very important but neglected issues of our modern day society. The first being adoption and the second - rights of transgenders with an overarching theme of caring for everyone. While this one is already an internet favourite and being shared by lots of people I know, what is possibly more worthwhile is how we embed our society with positive stories, how we teach our next generation to innately be good and compassionate young people.

This is not the first time a brand has taken up a social message and stirred a few emotions. Only a day before, I watched a video by Asian paints on how they got their first all women applicator team and if I recollect correctly, there was another adorably sweet video by Surf Excel Pakistan on how a child helps an old man sell his sweets on Ramzan.

Internet, cinema, television - we have everything today to do more good than ever but unfortunately it is rarely that the opportunity is utilised. Of all the movies that I watched in the past year, some of the most impactful ones were Nil Batte Sanatana, Dangal, Lion and Dhanak. No introduction is required for Dangal and possibly Lion however the other movies barely made it to two weekends if not just one. We need more movies like Nil Batte Sanatana - simple, beautiful movies that talk about the need of education and equal opportunities for all. We need to be more inclusive, more open and more forgiving than we currently are. From slamming a celebrity wife to a young student, we have done it all and with fair bit of prejudice. We need to move beyond writing blogs (note to self), sharing videos, watching news channels and reading stuff on the internet that portrays everything that is wrong with the world.

For today and always, more power to the good things, positive stories and a new better world. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Errr, I want to leave at 6!

I rarely write about workplaces primarily because workplace is a small constituent in my overall scheme of things and more often that not, it doesn't give me interesting, inspiring perspectives to write about. I often stumble onto beautiful places and people who are far away from where I work and so it gives me little opportunity if at all to write about. Today, I am making an exception because I have something to rant about. Let me at the outset tell you, I absolutely love working and a few days off from work makes me cranky and irritable, but having said that I am also someone who is a sticker for time, time of leaving office.

Yes, the oft repeated debate about when one should leave office. Very early in my career, I figured that I am not going to pull off late working hours, I knew I didn't like to hang around coffee places or idle gossip during the day if I can't manage a free evening. And so began the constant tussle of my leaving office on time and for others to pull me down. It has been the strangest thing I have ever felt - colleagues, friends, bosses or key stakeholders, they have at some or the other point commented sarcastically on me being away at the tick of the clock. It's strange because most of them propagate leaving office on time and yet pass on the taunt whenever they feel like. I have been fortunate in the sense that none of it impacted the recognition or the growth that I got wherever I worked. However, as a HR professional and someone pretty much passionate about her work, there is thing I would like to pen down. If a colleague is leaving office at the hour you can't manage to leave, then you should be the one feeling apologetic rather than the colleague who is rushing to play with her child or going for a zumba class or has a doctor's appointment or who simply enjoys her chai in the balcony where she can see her plants grow! Are we really saying that a person who has been in the office for 12 hours is more productive than a person who has had the time to go for a long walk and then sleep blissfully. Why is that employees smugly boast about night outs, skipping important family events, forgetting their loved one's birthdays but never taking a pause and feeling sorry about it. Why is is that I know no one, who can hold her neck high and say that for the past one year, I have never stayed back late at work or I have never missed my guitar lessons, case of misplaced priorities huh? Believe me you, I have nothing against people who like to give their heart and soul to work but well I am not that person and I would rather take pride in being who I am than being sorry for who I am not.

Workplaces need correction and that will happen when everyone makes a concerted effort to put away the bias that tells us 12 hours is better than 8 or that a person who has nothing to say apart from work is better placed for a promotion than a person who reads, writes, dances, paints and runs. There was a reason why we had extra-curricular and sports being emphasized in school, it's time that workplaces re-do their strategy or be content with robots replacing wonderful human beings they once hired!

Here is to a life full of everything and a little bit of work :)



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love dear love!

There is something magical about old love,   you know the love that is wrinkled in places but still pink with glow. I am a sucker for such love dear blog. How I get all teary, starry eyed whenever I get to see a glimpse of old love. Not to say that I don't love the young love. The magical, tender, new love. The oh-so-delicate yet real love. Lucky is a person who gets either and blessed the one for whom one merges into another.
There is a third kind of love as well, the hard love. The love without roses and songs, the one that comes with thorns and  forlorn. I, in the knowledge of my limited circle started to believe that hard love doesn't exist anymore. I thought, its the era of bygones, and in the world connected with watsapp, FB, emails, calls, agreeable parents one possibly couldn't  experience the hard love. But well, could I be further from the truth!
We were in Kutch for a short trip and there we hired a cab and along came a happy driver. Eager to take us around, be our guide and always ready to go an extra mile. He told us many a tales about the lives and people of Kutch but nothing as fascinating as his own love story. It started eight years back in a mela in Kuchh. He met a girl and fell in love. They started dating in the limited means of a small town life. They confessed their love for each other but soon hell broke lose. He is a Muslim and the girl a Hindu. Need I say more or I could just let you guess. The girl's family did everything they could to get the driver boy out of their way, which included putting him in jail for two nights. But the love survived because the girl didn't shy. The Nikah took place in December and now they are together. I almost clapped in joy, for such love is not just hard to find, but harder to survive.
For today and forever, this one is for all those who made it happen, for the ones who didn't take the easy way out, for the ones that stuck their neck out. May you never outgrow love and may you experience the bliss of love forever.
To our happy driver and his new wife. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

One sport at a time

Over the few years dear blog, I picked up a few hobbies here and there, you know like reading, blogging, cooking and gardening (very recently). All these of course, cannot by any means be called passions but they help me unwind and de-clutter. I was confident that any well-meaning individual does not need any more in life to thrive and sustain. But well, like always I was wrong. This revelation happened suddenly, in the last month or so when in our new society, a sports fest was underway. There were a host of watsapp groups, posters, discussions regarding rules, individual sports, team formations, strategy, practice sessions and the like. I told myself, it isn’t my cup of tea, not my kind of stuff, so I ignored everything and got back to my regular routine. But then, you know how some events get the better of you and so did the Sports Fest. Every-time, I stepped out of the house or glanced at my phone, someone would casually ask “hey, do you play this” and I without an iota of shame, said “nope, never”.  In my mind, I laughed often on the enthusiasm and the seriousness with which the list of events was planned – football, throwball, volleyball, cricket – men and women, badminton – men and women, table tennis – men and women, dodgeball, chess, carom, pool and many more. I thought what a spectacle it would be to watch a bunch of women and men play these sports, it would be spectacularly funny, if nothing else. But alas, could I be more wrong than that. And thus one fine Friday evening started the Sports fest, with much fanfare, amidst chaos and loud cheering. 

The start was slow, sluggish and I smiled to myself, I told you so. But dear blog, over the next few days, was I amazed, inspired or completely in awe. It is difficult to pin point what made me look forward to the sports that I never cared for. Men and women of all ages came together and gave such a fight to each mother. New mothers, middle aged men and school going children none of them shied away from being put in the spot. They fell, they fought but they competed with all their might. It was super impressive, for many people participated in a Sports fest possibly after at least a decade if not more. 

In our country, sports is so underrated that hardly anyone thinks of picking sports up as hobby, forget career. If parents or adults have to choose between a regular job and a shot at say a football career, majority will go with the former thus squashing a budding footballer into nothingness. When in a housing society of only a couple of hundred people, had so many excellent players, how would it be if the base was larger. Believe me you, dear blog the Sports Fest really helped people know and uplift each other. It was heartening to see the men cutting down a few working hours to help the women bowl, bat and field. While a lot of people had bruises, muscle pulls and body aches, it was all worth it for it involved adrenalin rush and challenging oneself.

All of us at some point, get inspired by stories of the now famed Geeta-Babita and the forever champions Roger-Rafa, but my inspiration has come from the stellar women and men who I saw live in our sports ground. No no, don’t get me wrong, I have no fancy plans and if you would have seen me running a 100 meter relay you would realize how I should not even think in that direction. But I want to pick up a sport this year, for the thrill, the joy and the hard-work that it entails. You may see fewer blog posts but definitely a bigger sports lover. To being wiser and fitter. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Har ghar kuch kehta hai

You remember dear blog, from a few years ago there was this tag line in a TV ad campaign. Asian paints had these really cute stories and end of it, they would say "har ghar kuch kehta hai". I found them extremely adorable specifically the one where two little kids are putting all kinds of cuttings on the walls and making their house look like a zoo or a sea. It's amazing you know, how you turn a house into your own little beautiful world.

As you may have guessed by now, we moved into our home about 3 months back and let me assure you, it has been the biggest project of our lives till date. Not just because, you are constantly bombarded with ideas of how to do up your house but because you finally call something your own. A home is that place where you will possibly create memories and meals and everything else. There are so many people, who will tell you, don't buy a house, rather invest in travel or experiences, but I am going to tell you to buy a house and make it your home. It's an experience, it's a journey of how you create it from scratch, how you turn it into something real, how you love coming back to this place called home.

Homes are not just pretty walls and exquisite furniture and lovely decor, it is really the warmth that makes it worthwhile. It's the constant laughter, chatter, meal times, messy rooms (once in a while) that makes them amazing.  I am very traditional you know that way, I always tell my friends to fall in love, get married, settle down, make a career and now of course to buy a house. Isn't everything that we do dear blog, is to become a better version of ourselves and what could be a better way than to celebrate the triumphs and tribulations in a place called home!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

For the love of yumminesss

You know dear blog, how I am constantly obsessed about what is cooking at my place, no not like what's up at my place.. But more like what is the next meal going to be. I am either telling my cook what is to be cooked next or nagging my husband about what he wants to eat next. I am not even as much a foodie or so I believe, but my obsession is unparalleled. I used to always tell my mom, how can you be asking about the next meal when this one is yet to get over and she would just smile indulgently. That smile, now I know, meant.. lets see if you will turn out like me and Whoa I am such a replica.

Food really connects one to the soul, I mean, look at the colours, the produce, the aroma, the tingling of the palate, the happiness of recieving and giving a compliment based purely on the character of food. Shows like Masterchef Australia and other desi channels like Living foods and food food only add fuel to the fire. Over the past few years, the craze has just increased, novices like me put up every plate of food on Instagram accounts, marvelling at how beautifully this one has been created. Selfies on dinner dates have become a second fiddle to the gorgeous food that is served. My husband is mostly complaining, can we start eating if you are done with food photography and I am like, no baby no, not yet ;)

On the lunch table in office, the bunch of girls that we are, are either sharing recipes or discussing about eatery recommendations. And we are from all over the country, there is Maharashtrian food, Gujju snacks, Bong dishes, North Indian tadka, delicacies from Bihar and other places. The best thing about food is, it's not racist. Like you can go wrong in a fancy restaurant with elaborate descriptions or go gaga about the small joint which gave you lip smacking food. All the hardcore foodies I know, do not differentiate between a 100 rupee snack meal or a 5000 rupees degustation. It's a wonderful world for foodies, an amazing time to do culinary experiments.

Since I am on the topic, I realised that while we revel in the lip smacking food, it is our responsibility to not waste, for there are hundreds and thousands who still await their square meals a day. In our office, a month or so back, just outside the canteen, they started putting a board with the wastage in kilos and how many people it could have fed. The wastage has drastically come down, but we have a long way to go. Before I close this post, I am sharing this wonderful initiative for anyone who just happens to hop over my blog :)

More yumminess and smiles to all! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Growing old, here and now.

A very close friend sent me an article about how 30s are going to be the best time of our lives. I read the article a few times and I could relate to most stuff about how you change when you get into your late 20s. You know like subtle changes, changes that don't happen over night but they do, quietly without making their presence felt.

I got thinking and I felt how much have I changed from being a naive 21 year old to date. For starters, I accept myself the way I am, no constant need of having people around or getting everyone's approval. I can candidly express myself without thinking of how I will be perceievd. Being self aware, being health conscious, being able to read your own body and emotions. It is incredible how one mellows down, how the vulnerabilities are not a big deal. Like 5 years back, if I didn't know a word or a topic, I would be ashamed to ask, but now the question comes naturally "hey, what does that mean" plain and simple, no pretense. You want to hang around with people who are real, you know with whom you don't have to put up an act, no farce, no mask. Real people, real conversations, real laughter, real tears.. You want to get back in touch with friends not colleagues or batch mates or seniors, because the whole point is that you have got this wonderful time, that you would rather spend with people who you care about.

Getting into a relationship also changes you in ways more than one. You are at peace, like being at home. You can go anywhere in the world but you want to get back home, that's what a relationship does to you. As you grow, you don't just care about yourself but your partner and not in a way that is selfish but in the most natural way. Like encouraging each other, helping each other, appreciating small gestures, taking interest in your partner's hobbies, letting go off the annoying habits, letting go of disagreements.

Time has its own ways of teaching you stuff. Your life-plans don't work, career takes its own trajectory, people change, friends become distant but yet, you keep going on. There is a new found awareness of life choices, consequences of decisions, things that matter, people you love and the way you want to spend your life. You don't make delusional statements anymore like - "this day, this year I am going to be the Head of my company" or "you are my best friend for life" I don't remember when was the last time I used the word best friend, because I don't want to trivialise these things. I will say close friend or dear friend or just a friend. A natural transformation  from an aggressive, I-know-it-all person to a stable, subdued individual who is happy for other people's success and grateful of His blessings.

The most real change happens when you see your parents after a few months and they look slightly different. It was my dad's birthday and retirement a week back and it just hit me. They are not as young as they were when I was in school or in college. Its strange, you just don't get to know where all these years have gone by. You suddenly don't want to fight with them, you just want to be around and available. It really happens. I made a small video for my dad and there were pictures of him from his very young days till date and yes, he has changed. Its weird, you are so busy growing up, that you forget your parents are also crossing life-stage milestones.

I have a lot more to say but may be a small note says more than a long essay.  Here is to growing old, to growing wise, to becoming a better person.

Love and luck.