Friday, July 7, 2017

Are you busy? Umm very!

I have a confession to make dear blog – one which may seem innocuous but isn’t helping me or the world! Well, as you may have already guessed by the post title - I like many other people make grandiose statements about how busy I am. Weekdays, weekends, at work, at home, mornings and evenings. There is hardly any day when I am not busy or at least when I pretend not to be busy. There is possibly something about being busy that is powerful, self-important and that puts one on a higher pedestal, otherwise why else would the whole world claim to be in a hurry?

I am not sure when my transition from being “bored” to being “busy” really happened. Because I remember as a child I always had too much time. I was bored easily and after playing, coloring, studying and sleeping, I would still have enough time to just loiter around or daydream endlessly. It was OK to have free time, to not do anything, to not be in a hurry. But God save me, if I actually claim to have free time now - people will either judge me or write me off because if you are not busy, you are surely not up there. 

In my unconscious endeavour of being busy, I guess I became a moron, more than anything else. Like sometimes, when I get calls on my office landline – I don’t care to say hello or ask how are you, not because I am being rude but if I can finish a call in 30 seconds flat, why waste 5 seconds saying hello. Many times, in fact I am surprised at the beautiful trees and the graffiti that I never noticed enroute my home – because may be I was busy cursing the traffic?! The slight pang of shame hit me a few days ago when in three different instances – I met people who knew me.. not like know me in person but know me in the sense that I stay in the same building as theirs or they have seen me briefly at the coffee break out area of my floor in office. I was zapped out of my wits, I had no clue who they were and how they knew me. Clearly I must have been busy looking at my phone screen while I crossed them. That is when I realised I need a reset button, rather a magic wand, that takes me back to being an un-busy, un-hurried and un-cluttered person. 

A lot of people (including myself) feel that in this mad rushed world, the panacea of all problems is a carefree and relaxed vacation. While everyone will tell you how vacations help rejuvenate body and soul, there is only a small problem named Facebook and if that was not enough there is Instagram too. So even when I go on a vacation now I take all my clutter and everything just along.  But having said that, I must tell you dear blog, that I have started experiencing this massive zen like calmness, if I go for a walk without my phone or when I actually care to ask how a person is doing without sounding in a rush or when I take my time to laugh, to cry, to eat, to just be in the moment. I don't know how long it's going to last but I will try and say that I am not busy next time someone pops the question :)

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!