Thursday, November 29, 2012

SOMC - 7... Is time management a trait of boring people?

This article is originally written for the ManipalBlog under my weekly column 'Serenade of My City'. It appears here. Visit this site for wonderful articles. 

Time and tide, they say waits for none.So it wouldn’t wait for me and you either, would it? And when you’re out on your own and into a new job, time management is very very essential. We don’t realize how time passes and before you know it, minutes turn into hours, and hours into days. It just slips past you. (Unless you’re sitting idle in your workplace. Then it’s just the reverse phenomenon!)

It leaves you with no time to pursue your interests, your hobbies etc. It spares you no time to have some fun! What’s life without fun? Why do we really work? We don’t work to earn. Ultimately we work to enjoy things in life which we can if we earn. That’s how it starts at least. But soon, we forget the ultimate aim and just concentrate on making more money and stock our bank balance. Just seeing those long number of digits makes us happy. But think again, does it really?

That’s just earning and soon we find ourselves yearning for better times. And that’s something no money can buy. There’s no point waiting for a good time. You just have to take it in your hands and make the full use of it. Live like there’s no tomorrow is a cliché, but when you think about it deeply, it makes so much sense! The purpose of life for a human cannot be just money. That’s too shallow as an aim to live for. There are things, bigger than this waiting for us to explore. The things, which when you indulge in, makes you happy!

Time management is not just about being disciplined. The idea that managing time is for boring people is a myth! The more efficiently we can manage time, the more we can enjoy, the more we live. It’s not about having a rigid time-table and following it. Now that’s boring! It’s about being aware of the number of hours you have in a day, and working on how productive you can be in that time. Being conscious about time doesn’t let you waste it, because it makes you realize how important it is. Time is money, indeed.

Every morning take 5 minutes out and think of what you want to do that whole day. When we think in advance, we become more conscious and try to fulfill it. But when we just go with the flow, we tend to get lazy and ignorant. And before we know it, yet another day passes with lots of time wasted and even more time is lost repenting  later about how it could have been spent in a better way.
So why not avoid all that trouble and just be a little responsible. After all we have one life, and we really don’t know what’s in store for us in future. In fact we have no clue what is in store for us even in the next moment. A blink of an eye can change situations. In a crazy world like these, how do we even think of happiness at a later future? Happiness is not something you save for the future. It’s one feeling you should be free to exploit. Being happy is the best feeling and happiness comes at the cost of doing what you like, for which you need time.

So folks, let’s not get lost in this mad dash of people for success that is devoid of happiness. Let’s take some time out of it and enjoy, and balance our lives. We don’t want an “All work and no play” situation in our lives, I tell you!!!  Wishing you guys take some time off to leave a comment about what you think  of time management, I take your leave for this week in the Serenade Of My City! Toodles!

This article is originally written for the ManipalBlog under my weekly column 'Serenade of My City'. It appears here. Visit this site for wonderful articles.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deserted dreams breathe on me..


Still reminiscence 
Deserted dreams breathe on me
And i look away 

This Haiku is written for the Haiku Heights. The prompt for the week is 'DESERT'.

Book review - Zombiestan

Book title : Zombiestan
Author : Mainak Dhar
Published by : Duckbill Books and westland Ltd.

The War on Terror just took a terrifying new turn. It began with stories of undead Taliban rampaging through Afghan villages, and faster than anyone could have anticipated; the darkness spreads through the world.
In a world laid waste by this new terror, four unlikely companions have been thrown together- a seventeen year old boy dealing with the loss of his family, a US Navy SEAL trying to get back home, an aging, lonely writer with nobody to live for, and a young girl trying to keep her three year old brother safe.
When they discover that the smallest amongst them holds the key to removing the scourge that threatens to destroy their world, they begin an epic journey to a rumoured safe zone high in the Himalayas. A journey that will pit them against their own worst fears and the most terrible dangers- both human and undead.

The author, Mainak Dhar has succeeded in keeping you glued to the book by revolving the story around real life situations as well as spunking it up with a pinch of fantasy. The characters are diverse, which makes sure people from every age group relate to the book. The brave foreign soldier, the scared Indian teenager who turns into a Hero overnight, the helpless-yet-brave girl with her cute adorable mischievous little brother and the old lady who is a sucker for romance. 

As unrealistic as the name of this book screams, it's not hard to put yourself into the shoes of the characters in it. As you read the terror-struck state of India and the world, you begin to relate it to your present scenario, only worse. The word 'Zombie' which begins as a part of a game, takes no time in turning into harsh reality.

It's a perfect combination for a thrilling novel. There's bravery and vulnerability, there's love and hatred, there's humanity and violence, there's unity and diversity. The name of the book did not appeal to me at first, but the read got interesting right from the first few pages. The Zombies - the undead- the biters have been very interestingly and mysteriously presented in the novel. An idea never been read by me before. The whole journey of the changes seen in the Zombies as well as the people facing them has been worth the read.

Mr. Mainak Dhar has wonderfully captured the flavor of where the world is leading to in a fictional story. The book is a gripping read, but the idea of where our present worldly situations is leading us to, is not left untouched in the minds of people. I would say it's surely a different book with a unique take on zombies who wear black turbans and scream 'JIHAD' and bite people who turn into zombies in minutes! Outrageous, but interesting at the same time.

Similarly once someone sets hand on this book, it's surely gonna spread in the friend circle by the word of mouth or by literal passing of the book by hand!

Price : Rs.199
Pages : 248
My Rating : 3 on 5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book review - The Bankster

Book title : The Bankster
Author : Ravi Subramanian
Published by : Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd.

Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to destroy the reputation that the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? Is the banker at GB2 fast turning into a bankster? Or he was always one?

When Karan Panjabi, press reporter and ex-banker, digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled upon a global conspiracy with far reaching ramifications a secret that could not only destroy the bank but also cast a shadow on the entire nation. With only thirty-six hours at his disposal, he must fight the clock and trust no one if he is to stay alive and uncover the truth.

Spinning an intricate web of lies, deceit and treachery, bestselling author Ravi Subramanian, a master storyteller of financial crime and winner of the Golden Quill Readers Choice Award, returns with his most gripping thriller yet.

I have always thought of bankers to be those having a very boring professional life, but reading this book opened my eyes to those aspects of the field that i had no clue existed. Banks are associated first with money, and where there is money, there is deceit, fraud, competition, jealousy, greed and what not. Murder? Yes, that too! The fact that money is the root cause for all evil is portrayed excellently in 'The Bankster' by Ravi Subramanian.

The novel covers diverse topics. The scene of the story varies from amchi Mumbai to the peaceful Cochin to the beautiful Vienna and the dusty Angola. From high corporate parties to large scale village protests, the author manages to capture all the flavors of Indian brains beautifully while keeping the plot of the story very mysterious and brain-tickling right till the very end. Infidelity and commitment seems to be an irony at the end of this book somehow. The presence of non-Indian entities looting India, through Indians, of its deserving success is heartbreaking!

The story in most part of the book revolves within a web of many stories and you begin to wonder how all these are ever going to be related. As the story unfolds, slowly everything makes sense, things steam up and you can't wait to know what is up. This book starts a little slow and i had to struggle a little to keep the interest alive, but as it proceeded, i was hooked, and towards the end i was gripped and couldn't wait to finish it.

Mr.Ravi had a very good command over his knowledge in Banking and it certainly shows in his work. The whole book is a compilation of  intelligent and tricky moves and is also an eye-opener to people stepping into the corporate world today with whom-and-how-do-we-trust issues. Over all, a very interesting and intellectual read and definitely a book to grab from your nearest book store.

Price : Rs.250
Pages : 358
My Rating : 3.5 on 5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SOMC - 6... Of missing Manipal and facing two-faced owners!

This article is originally written for the ManipalBlog under my weekly column 'Serenade of My City'. It appears here. Visit this site for wonderful articles.

The air around me has sung a familiar tune this week. You ask why? I was back to Manipal for my convocation! Manipal – the word itself is music to our ears, isn’t it? Frankly, I wasn’t excited about the convo. What I was back here was for the feeling of being back to the place which spelled HOME for the last couple of years. Then again they say, home is where your heart is. Though my home is elsewhere now, I realized my heart had still been singing the tune of the essence of Manipal.

Spending time with near-and-dear ones in a far-and-dear place was a refreshing experience. So refreshing that I wished I never had to leave. I wished I could relive the Manipal Experience. Maybe do a few things differently. I have this idea now that if a Manipalite gets to relive their time there, they would turn out much wiser and successful, because this place has affected every life in one way or the other and taught us one too many lessons of life. Again, maybe that’s just an excuse to fall in love with the place all over again!

Having come back from heaven, Pune seemed to have lost its charm for a day or two. But then, you begin to get attached to every place you live in and the people! It’s time for some more goodbyes and Change is again in the picture. Right around the corner waiting for me. I think there is not going to be a single post in the Serenade Of My City without a mention to Change! It only strengthens what I always stress on – Change is the only Constant.

It’s time for me to shift my shelter, time to adjust to new roomies, time to adjust to the new locality and time for believing that everything happens for a reason. Sigh! Don’t you sometimes wonder how easy it would be to believe that everything happens for a reason IF we knew THE REASON?! Hmmm… Anyway, I have a new problem in hand. I’m sure a lot of people will face this problem once they are on their own. When you hunt for houses, you meet the good face of the owners. And then when it’s the time for them to return your security deposit, they seem to have chosen a new face from their own version of Face-book!

My owner refuses plainly to return the deposit in spite of having a legal agreement. How irksome is that! Having followed the rules of providing one-month notice before vacating, he refuses to even agree to the fact that he signed one. He’s either a fool, or we are losing all our money. Moreover the agent/broker who got us this contact refuses to take even the slightest responsibility. The super-friendly talks have been replaced by rude replies. So the point I’m trying to convey here is, be very wary of the people in a place that is unfamiliar to you. The meethi boli (sweet talk) can be the perfect mask for a dhokebaaz (cheater). Every place has them in plenty.

Wishing a safe money-recovery for me and a pleasant experience for you in future, I sign off. Have a happy week you guys. Adios!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SOMC - 5... All you have to do is ASK!

This article is originally written for the ManipalBlog under my weekly column 'Serenade of My City'. It appears here. Visit this site for wonderful articles.

Socializing is not a quality everyone is born with. Some get it naturally and others like me have to work for it. It takes much more than just words for these people to communicate to new people. An enormous amount of energy and efforts goes into the initial phase, after which it is smooth sailing. I like to call it the Starting Problem. But with practice, there’s nothing humans can’t conquer. And this is one aspect most of us should try to be good at, both professionally and personally.

When i joined my new workplace, everything was obviously new. New place, new people, new methods, new rules. And it takes quite a bit to get these right. There are some things you can learn by reading up, but then there are those undocumented obvious rules in the air, which everyone seems to know, but you. Only recently, i realized this is actually a problem with a solution so simple, but not so much when it comes to implementing it. The solution i’m proposing is ‘JUST ASK’.

Most matters are the ones you get to know only by talking to the people you work with. Forget socializing, asking a simple question to a new colleague can make you tongue-tied sometimes. But if you think over it, most problems can be solved just by asking the right questions. Sometimes we know the right questions, but we hesitate to ask them. Asking doesn’t guaranty positive results. But it surely eliminates the time we waste before getting to it. Sooner or later, the outcome might be the same, then why waste time! In fact if it’s a negative outcome, we’ll have more time in our hands to work on it. And if it’s positive, then why miss the opportunity waiting, while you could be living it!

At times, in a new environment, we feel hesitant to pester others with questions, considering we’ve still not gelled well and upon that, the fear of the questions being perceived as dumb or foolish is scary. But as every preacher has preached, there is no such thing as a silly question. Without questions, there will not be answers. So ask away! I was hesitant too, but what i do now when i’m faced with a situation where i have to open my mouth and ask something to someone, i imagine that someone way back in time. He/she would have been a fresher too and i’m sure they went through the same initial jitters and problems that we are going through. They evolved over the years and so will we.

My point is most of our problems can be solved just by asking. When we don’t ask, we tend to assume stuff. And assumptions, especially in the cocoon stage, can grow us the wings we can never fly with! Clearing things by asking questions is the best way to lead. Not just professionally, but in our personal lives as well!
Having said that, keep tuned to Serenade Of My City. Next week i have a personal story for you, which shows how NOT asking questions can get you in trouble… deep trouble! Till then, practice shooting the right questions in the right place at the right time. Adios!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

SOMC - 4... Tuning into your new environment made easy!

This article is originally written for the ManipalBlog under my weekly column 'Serenade of My City'. It appears here. Visit this site for wonderful articles.

Every beginning has an end. Without an end, there can be no new beginnings. But with this, comes the time to face the inevitable, that something none of us look forward to mostly – Change!  But my friends, as i always quote - Change is the only constant!

Two months back, when i joined my new work place, i met strangers, who then became friends over the span of time and now it’s time to bid farewell, to people who are not strange anymore. Transitioning to the new workplace, new project, new people – more strangers. The whole process of formal introductions, heartfelt greetings, cordial hand-shakes and not-so-accurate-judgements repeats!

As i sit jobless on my second day at work, with a system that refuses to boot, and a mouse cursor that won’t budge, i feel like i don’t belong here. A familiar feeling every time a person is thrown into an unfamiliar environment i think. But then i imagine myself here, two months from now. How’s that gonna be like?
I would probably have turned some of these people, who i still haven’t spoken to, into good friends! Every place becomes what we make it. We can’t just sit mute, and expect people to come running to make things comfortable for us. We would be really lucky if there are such people around. So it’s we, who have to take that step forward, make some efforts – go to your colleagues, introduce yourself, shake some hands and build the rapport required for a cheerful workplace!

Also something i realized is that people see and learn. But people behave in the ways that they have experienced. ‘What you know’ and ‘How you are’ are two completely different things. If we’ve been treated well, we are more likely to treat others the same way. But if we’ ve not… then… well..!!!  So next time i find a new-bee around,  i’ve decided to make an effort and make their presence felt. A simple time-to-time smile, a courteous nod, a ‘How’s-it-going’ or a ‘Need-any-help’ would surely help break some ice.

One simple typical Indian example for this is the age-old battle between the Saas-Bahus which is decreasing tremendously now. Yet, this has been the bread and butter for our TV-Shows. So well… The new D.I.L gets ill-treated by her M.I.L. The D.I.L soon becomes a M.I.L and treats her D.I.L the same way she had been treated. Why ? Only because she wishes everyone D.I.L around to face what she had to, when she was one! Tit for yet another tat! The one who breaks the chain is the one who brings harmony into the family.

Anyway, this is all that my serenade sings this week in my city. Gearing up for a week of unfamiliar notes and grilling tunes, i sign off! Have a wonderful week you guys. So long!

This article is originally written for the ManipalBlog under my weekly column 'Serenade of My City'. It appears here. Visit this site for wonderful articles.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nature hops along!

Fluttering heart beats
Swinging to the musical
Nature hops along

This Haiku is written for the Haiku Heights. The prompt for the week is 'NATURE'.