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

Saturday, May 2, 2015

When Lord Shiva granted me a boon!

Last night I had a dream. I was standing somewhere in the Himalayas and doing some sort of a penance. When Lord Shiva (I think!) appeared before me satisfied with my performance, sorry penance (appraisal terms are hard to forget) and asked me for a boon, my happiness knew no bounds. The winds blew violently, the birds sang happily, the temple bells rang loudly to celebrate my happiness. Without missing a beat I said,

‘Thank you Lord Shiva! As for my boon, please make people respond to my mails.’

Lord Shiva was puzzled at something which he thought was too simple to be worthy of a boon. He repeated what I said and asked if I was sure about what I wanted. I reaffirmed and briefed him about my experiences.

Some people consider themselves way too important to respond to a mail immediately. It is considered good manners to respond to an email at the earliest possible. So naturally not many respond. It would take about 4 to 5 carefully timed reminders, luck and some black magic to get them to respond. And if they don't provide adequate updates, we need to mail them again and start praying.

Friday, May 1, 2015

People and their Bizarre Ways!

A few days back I had to interact with someone for some work that I had volunteered for. As luck would have it, we did not exactly get along well and both of us were clearly annoyed by what each had to say. I tried not to take it personally, but beyond a point it was getting over me. I kept myself in check because my priority was to get my work done and a many were dependent on me for this.

During one of our conversations (read arguments), the other person who couldn't tolerate my incessant questioning, tried to scare me (I guess that was his intention) by saying that he had the power to escalate the issue to some senior and left the sentence hanging abruptly. I gave a relaxed 'So, what do you want me to do?' reply. He repeated his words and waited for me to react. He had carefully told me that he had the power to do it and he did not say that he was actually going to escalate the issue. I calmly asked him to go ahead and told him that I wasn't going to be threatened by that. I also added that it might give me a chance to take it up with the seniors too and give them the complete picture as to what was happening.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Does 'Popularity' play a bigger role than 'Content' ?



I Google for the most random things. That’s how I stumbled upon an old blog post by someone who had ranted about how a popular blogger (a decade back) had been receiving a lot of attention for some badly written post. According to him, the post was one of the worst attempts by the blogger and he couldn’t understand how people (a lot!) were able to appreciate the blogger for the attempt.

What was interesting in the post was the Content vs Popularity that he spoke about. He argued that sometimes when a person is popular, either because of their blogs or because of some other reason, their posts are always a hit, irrespective of the quality of the content. That got me thinking and I paused for a while to see if I had witnessed something similar in the Blogosphere.

Despite what everyone says, ‘Is content always the ‘King/Queen?’

Not always, would be my answer. 

I'm not generalizing, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it was true in some ways.

Thanks to the many blogging forums, I try and read as many blogs as possible when I'm bored. There have been times when I've come across some wonderfully written poems or a well-balanced article and there would hardly be any comments appreciating their efforts. Or worse, it would just be a 'Good one' comment. You might probably say that the blogger wouldn't have promoted the post well (apart from blogging forums). I agree. But doesn't that stand testimony to the viewpoint that content isn't *always* the king/queen?

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.
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