Tag Archives: Life

Holi- A Festival Lost in Colours

I was asked by few of my colleagues to write and recite a poem on the occasion of Holi. I am sharing with you the poem I wrote. I did realize that a lot of people didn’t understand Hindi in my office and also did an english poem translation. The translation is added below the original poetry.

Holi Hindi Poem

My friend when you put the colours of the Holi on my face, I relived the times of my childhood

The sense of being carefree, the essence of friendship were all conveyed only as those colours could.

Those colors narrated stories of growing up around my home and those quaint by-lanes,

The sweetness of those little gujhiyas made by my mom in that gulal refuses to faint .

In this era where the country is struggling with the Saffron and Green.

The memories of Holi schooled me on the importance of the Red, Yellow, Orange and Cream.

My friend when you put the colours of the Holi on my face, I relived the times of my childhood

The sense of being carefree, the essence of friendship were all conveyed only as those colours could.

 

Today on this festival of Holi I find myself in a fix and bind,

No colours around, only the Instagram filters I find.

The fun and the quest of long lasting colors which were almost contraband,

Lasting twenty four hours Holi on such Snapchat messages is what I fail to understand.

The evil in Holika which got charred, the divine in Prahlad did survive,

Such deep sentiments from “Sefie with Holi Fire” on social media I fail to derive.

The holy pyre which is meant to burn away all the animosity, evil, jealousy and greed,

I fail to understand that with five thousand friends on facebook, but no one to speak to indeed.

I don’t know if this is the trance of the Holi, or the slight winds of Phalgun in the woods,

But my friend when you put the colours of the Holi on my face, I relived the times of my childhood.

 

Leading vs Performance

I had an interesting conundrum last week at work. Something which left me with this dilemma. It was the kind of question for me which impacts you as a person, questions your beliefs and core principles. I did took a decision and went ahead by it, I still probably would take the same decision in the similar circumstances but I am still not able to shake that feeling if I did right.

We had a small professional competition in office where I participated. The competition required us to form a team, we sent in the team nomination with some members and some people who were interested were assigned to our team. At the end I had a fourteen member team which I was supposed to lead in the competition. The competition was a long one with 6 weeks of timeline, requiring the teams to submit professional documents at the end of every week and finally ending with a presentation at the end of the contest. All of this was to be done over and above the regular working hours and deliverables we all had.

We started at a positive note with enthusiasm and everyone interested. We divided work and went around with our deliverables at the end of the first week, the enthusiasm continued till the second week. At the end of the third week the quality of the work started coming down, some of the team members stopped showing for the meeting without intimation, while others expressed inability to contribute further citing the workload. We finally moved to fourth week and there was further cutting of corners and general lack of interest by the people. The deliverable at the end of the fourth week end up in a situation where some of the people had just copy pasted stuff without even reading. By the time we reached five weeks we had reduced the number of contributors to eight from the initial fourteen. The eight folks kept at it picking up load on weekends and pulling late nighters to ensure the quality and the timeliness of our deliverables.

Our final presentation was good and we were happy with our effort. That is when the dilemma started. The organization leadership was a part of the panel judging our efforts, based on the number of people they saw in the final presentation they had a question on folks who had actually contributed. Since, I was the leader of the team I was asked this question. Apparently we were a part of the top 3 winners and they wanted to acknowledge and reward only the people who had contributions across all the stages but the final decision was with me. My first reaction was that as the leader of the team I should not discriminate between the members. It was a team effort and the entire team stands to win or lose, it would be opportunistic to drop people when we were winners. On the other hand, the contrary thought process was that this was a corporate competition with an idea and spirit to identify performers, reward people who can deliver. Why should the rest of the people who contributed far more significantly should carry the people who didn’t keep this work at the priority. At the end of the day entire team gets the credit for delivering, so people who didn’t contribute significantly throughout shouldn’t get the benefit of the victory either. When one deprioritsed the work, he/she let the rewards also to be forfeited along with the decision.

In the end I gave the eight member team pruning the list to people who contributed throughout the six weeks. I am still torn between if I made the right decision. Was it correct on my part to let go of the people who didn’t contribute when we won. Had I failed as leader when I chose to disown the people from my team? If I had I taken the other side would I have been unfair to people who spent working on weekends and late nights to ensure the work gets completed on time with winnable quality while their peers focussed on more important and personal things otherwise. Do let me know what you think?

Thanks for Letting Me Win It

I have never been good at sports, and probably my lack of ability to play them well actually drove me away from them. It was only a lot later in life some where in my late twenties I realized there is a lot more to sports than just playing them, being good at them and winning them. Since then I have consciously tried to play some sports, watch some or at least follow the news etc. There are three sports which kind of got me interested Cricket which I like to watch live or on television, Squash which I learnt to play a bit during my days at Infosys and Lawn Tennis which I have only followed but have been greatly influenced by it. So tonight when the Wimbledon final was on, I was following it. The Men’s singles match was a great one between Roger Fedrer and Novak Djokovic. It was a very tough match where it was extremely difficult to choose favorite. Finally Djokovic won the match in a very closely fought contest. Surprisingly, it was nowhere within the play that was my favorite moment of the game. It was during the victory speech by Djokovic which brought a lump in my throat. He said for Roger Fedrer “He’s a great role model and a great champion & I thank him for letting me win today.” while Fedrer was smiling at his comment no where reminiscent of the fact that they have fought every tooth and nail for the world’s most prestigious trophy in lawn tennis. You can see the entire video below.

His words again reminded me that sports are not only about winning, they are about being respectful to your opponent against whom you scored your victory. They are about being humble about your achievements. The power of hard work determination to achieve your goals. And it was not only Djokovic today who won my heart, it was also Fedrer when he claimed his runners up trophy he said “Definitely I felt the love out here again, I’ve enjoyed myself a lot. See you next year”. The man is simply an epitome of enjoying the experience of playing, enjoying the journey more than the result. The man is a promise of “I will work hard and try to win it next year” and that is what makes him such a legend. My heart has always rooted for Roger Fedrer, and it felt bad that he lost, but the attitude and humility of both the players reminded me that at the end of the day the game of tennis is a winner and the whole humanity is a winner.

A sincere thank you Djoker & Fedex for giving me a lesson in life through tennis.

 

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Slim Fit

Before I write this post out, I want to clarify that I am a huge guy. When I say I mean literally huge with 6’3” in height and weight crossing over the century number. It is not that I am not aware of the ill effects of being obese, but over years I have realized one of the toughest things to be accomplished by a person is to lose weight and I have grown an immense respect for people who have managed to lose weight, something I have been trying hard since last few years.

But this post isn’t about being overweight; it is about one of the problems of having a huge body frame. The problem is buying clothes, for one the large sizes are extremely difficult to find. You go to a showroom, ask for a jeans with the waist size of 32 and there are at 50 different pieces will be floated around you to choose from. The moment you utter 40 they take 2-3 pairs and that’s all you get to choose from and the irony you would already have those pairs in your wardrobe.

If that was not all, I believe the sale season is one of the most discriminatory practices in the Indian free market. You hardly find any discounts on the clothes for extra large sized. I went to the Levi’s store which had a tempting buy two get two free sale on jeans. After half an hour long ordeal of trying through all the stock they had in stores for my size I managed to select four pairs (2 of which were almost similar to what I already had), when I went to the billing counter the sales girl tells me “Sir no discount on XXL size”.  There is nothing which infuriates you more when you have wasted your time in the claustrophobic trial room and then finally somebody tells you that you will be paying extra as compared to rest of the world.

As if all these tortures were not enough, the fashion designers the devious of the lot have been conspiring the so called “Healthy” people. Can you believe when you go and ask for a 44 size shirt and a 40 waist jeans and they show you a “Slim Fit”. In what parallel universe a guy with that kind of frame needs a slim fit? A 40 waist slim fit isn’t it an oxymoron? I sometimes wonder what these designers are thinking when they design clothes, you make a shirt of size 44 it means that the chest would be around 48-50 inches. Now by what law of probability will the waist/stomach will be 43, for god’s sake at least make clothes which probabilistically going to sell more.

I think enough of these moronic brands and their designers, it is time to find out the good old tailor who will carefully measure you and make clothes that fit all without being judgmental.

Report Card 2013

I am glad that 2013 is ending, while this has been quite an interesting year but somehow it has been tangential to what I thought I was heading towards. There things which I probably did well and some things which I didn’t. Before I put up what I intend to do in 2014 there are quite a few things which I graciously screwed up in 2013. So it is the time to publish the final report card and own up some of the things which I didn’t do effectively in 2013 and some things where I have managed to scrape through. So here goes a laundry list-

  1. Working Out– 2013 has been an exceptionally worse year as far as working out was concerned. Previously I used to manage 3-4 months of some form of workout, exercise or sports as bare minimum. This year the figure wouldn’t have touched even 30 days in 2013, I managed to gain back the weight I had lost last year and I would be posting a really shameful record for Biglsr which I am participating in. This has been one of the worst year as far as investing time on my physique and general well being goes.
  2. Maintaining Personal Relations– I have been really stingy on managing the personal front. There have been multiple times when I have not returned calls from people who mean a lot to me. I missed the wedding of one of the closest friend/brother I have and I cannot even say how sorry I feel about it.
  3. Wasting Energy & Time on Sinks– I have always managed to balance my time between productive work, effective personal time and indulged in time sinks, things that just consumed time to waste. This year the balance has really gone for a toss with hell lot of time being spent on the time sinks, majority of them being Facebook (I am bordering addiction and have serious risk of withdrawal symptoms if I quit), Candy Crush (I can, actually I will write an entire blogpost about how pathetic is this game) and Online Deals (Countless hours of tracking deals online for the products which I was never going to buy in the first place).
  4. Lack of Reading– Over the years I have generally averaged reading 60-80 books in a year. This year the number has been embarrassingly low at 32 books which I believe is a result of all the time waste I have mentioned already. Hopefully this number will improve in 2014.

 

Now to talk of things which I feel I have done well this year-

  1. Professional Learning– 2013 was a year of great professional learning and experiences. The year taught me how to take risks and decisions under extreme pressure and hostile circumstances. Hope that this streak will continue and my decisions will pay off in 2014
  2. Taking Time off– This year I did manage to take time off from work where I managed to take a few vacations; visited some nice places like Munnar, Mt Abu and Udaipur. And as I write this on the last day of the New Year I am in Hampi for the celebrations. 2013 has been a successful year as far as travelling and vacations are concerned.

So this is my report card of 2013. How did the 2013 went for you?

 

Thanksgiving, I am Thankful for II

Today is Thanksgiving, and I have earlier blogged about how I find the festival interesting and relevant. No and it has nothing to do with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on gadgets and friends and relatives coming back from US in December holidays.

The associated tradition with the festival where you have turkey for the meal, I won’t be able to do that due to my vegetarian self. Probably to compensate for the turkey bit I will have some Turkish coffee, which I am sure will more than make up for it. Coming back to being thankful, here is the list for which I have been thankful for a year-

1- Some of the recent changes at the work place and my profile have made it a lot more enjoyable and fun for me. I am thankful for the place I am at my work today which makes me want to go to the office every morning weekday. I hope this positivity continues for the years to come. I am thankful for these changes which made me a better professional.

2- I am thankful for this blog and the friends I have made through the blog, even after a huge gap and complacence on my part there were comments, emails from people on posting of my blog wishing me and my writing well. It feels so blessed to have interacted with such a caring and positive bunch of people in this vast world of internet. If you are reading this, I am thankful for the time and faith you have put in me.

3- I am thankful for the greatest people who thought I was good enough to be friends with them. People who have stood by me through thick and thin, who have supported me, enjoyed with me and are an inseparable part of my life. It is rare to be blessed with such love from people and I am extremely grateful for that.

4- I am thankful for the greatest family in the world. The ‘bestest’ of parents who didn’t disown the son who could put biggest sitcom bloopers to shame. A loving wife who despite the 4 years have managed to live by my side without killing me. An extended family which I can blindly depend upon to take care of things lest something happens to me. I am thankful to be share my life with the most wonderful people.

5- I am thankful for the life I am living, a comfortable and cozy life without having to worry about a lot of basic needs and some luxuries which at most time I take for granted. There is quote by E.E. Cummuings, “The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.”; I am thankful for a life where I have the liberty to be myself.

Image Source: Google Images

And with this I will be signing off wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Do share how was Thanksgiving for you?

C’est La Vie

And I am back again with a long hiatus yet again. I have to be ashamed with my lack of drive to post things on this blog. There are two things which I have kind of procrastinated for more than a year the first being updating regularly on this blog and the second obviously being to start working out.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about, there is politics where we are still living in the world full of comical entertainment, then there are short stories and poetries ideas which come to my mind but are killed by procrastination and then there are general happenings in my life which mostly wife inflicted torture on yours truly with television shows like “Big Boss”, “All Random Singing, Dancing, cooking reality shows” all reality shows. To be honest I kind of stepped into the rarified bubble of corporate workload driven self worth, not that I have stepped out of the bubble now but then kind of realized the existence of the bubble and acknowledged the world beyond it yet again.

Surprisingly this year 2013 has flown by so fast that I couldn’t even start going to gym which I could stop later in the year.  For a person who hated Hum Apke Hai Kaun from the bottom of his heart, I kind of live in an extensively large Rajshri production kind of environment where another family function/event engulfs you before the first one is over. For the uninitiated this is more tiring to attend to than a 60hrs+ work week and in some sadistic turn of events I am subjected to both.  I don’t know why but I have hardly watched any movies in the theatre since June, which is kind of record of sorts for the person who even watched Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag (If you are not aware of this movie, I would suggest you buy the DVD as it will serve well for your private torture chamber).

As I write this the New Year is less than 6 weeks away, the 2013 will become a leaf in history. I have had a good year with some significant landmarks but wish I had achieved some more and not at the cost of losing my joy of writing and reading, losing the spiritual side of me in the humdrum of extensive work. No point crying over the past, time to set ourselves to the next set of goals and the plan to achieve them.

Before closing this post it has been more than 8 years since I have been blogging and 8 years of Ginger & Cardamom. How has your 2013 been till now?

Alarming Optimists

“The setting of the clock every night is one of the most optimistic acts possible by a person.” I don’t remember where I read this quote and when. The thought behind the quote somehow refuses to leave me and every night as I set my alarm for the next morning I smile thinking about it. Not because how I will switch off the alarm and slide into slumber again but for the fact that how granted at times we take our lives. Setting up alarm for next day when I have no surety that when I will sleep tonight I would wake up next morning but I still set up the alarm for the next morning. Leave alarms I also set up reminders for credit cards, electricity, and telephone bill payments each month.

It is amusing that I have taken the life I am living everyday for granted. Some days like today when I think about more important yet ignored things in life. I feel thankful for the life I am living, a wife who beats the crap out of loves me, parents who are there to bless & guide me, friends and family to enjoy life with them and work which pays me barely enough to show up in office on Monday to give me a sense of purpose in life. I am grateful for things I have to look forward to tomorrow morning and in the week, months and years to come.

I am glad that I need to put up an alarm early in morning when I hate to wake up, but for now I am grateful that I have to put that alarm and it does disturbs my sleep. It feels good to be an optimist, specially in the recent times where there have been a lot of negativity around. And for all those like me who are bothered by all the negative news and energy around in the news papers these days a though to ponder.

“Who is the person who should be most worried about the drastic fall in the value or Rupee against the US Dollar?

Manmohan Singh? No

P. Chidambram? No

Sonia Gandhi? No

It would be Barrack Obama as IT outsourcing to India is effin’ whole lot cheaper now. “

Why Are We Such A**holes?

I sometimes wonder that what is it about us that make us Indians a pathetic bunch of people we are. Is it in our genetics or in the method we grow up or is it a part of our culture? I know a lot of people will disagree with me but if you are going to put a nasty comment before reading the entire post then I am sure you belong right there in the title, you know between those stars and the hole.

Coming back to the point, what is it that Indians in India are stickler for not following the rules at the cost of fellow human beings, citizens, and neighbors? Think about how many times you find that you are in a queue for billing, buying a movie tickets getting in the trains and people will treat it as their right to break the queue. All the more funny is at places you will find that there will be a queue or a file of single person, after 5-10 people it will become two people queue converging to a single file and then 3 people queue and this goes on till at the end of the queue you have a large chaotic crowd.

The situation becomes all the more funny when you are on road stuck in the traffic. Imagine a two lane road, one for incoming and the other for outgoing traffic. Now some block/traffic signal/accident happens and the outgoing lane is stand still for some time. What makes us think that in such a situation the best solution is to take the incoming lane and drive on the wrong side while blocking the incoming traffic too. Why is it people driving expensive cars, speaking impeccable English, well educated and employed in honorable jobs also do that? What makes them think their time is more important than the others? The fact that they are intelligent and responsible for handling businesses of major corporations but they fail to see that their acts on the road are only going to make the situation worse.

What is it that we find an unruly child of someone else a nuisance and when our own child creates a chaos he is small, innocent and naïve to understand and correct his behavior? I was once in a meeting with the India CEO of one of the most prestigious companies globally where he mentioned an incident. In an informal discussion the senior management of the company was complaining to him about how the youngster today are not hardworking and do not put in enough efforts. There was a general perception that the entry level crowd was unruly and over smart in attitude. The CEO then asked “Do you think same way about your children who are of similar ages?” and the answer was no. We have a different yardstick to measure people working for us as compared to people who are close to us?

I wonder what is it about Indians that make us the kind of A**holes we are, when I look at the Indians travelling abroad I feel that it probably is the air, water and climate. You hardly find an Indian on the wrong side of things when they are outside India. I kind of agree with our current Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shashi Tharoor when he says “India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay.”

Ranbaxy Saga What Happens to the Indian Consumers

The newspapers these days are absolutely filled with negative, depressing followed by more negative and more depressing news. There have been scams, controversies all across India, but there has been one controversy which has been subdued in India, where the focus is currently on the IPL spot fixing, and Phaneesh Murthy controversy. The controversy which I am more worried about is the fact that Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs that didn’t meet specifications. The US courts have fined Ranbaxy to the tune of $500 Million for duping the American consumers with the adulterated drugs.
I have always felt the healthcare business is one which runs on faith and the people in this business are no lesser than gods when it comes to patients. Imagine you are suffering from a fever, ache or any other ailment and you visit a doctor who looks at your symptoms and prescribes you some small tablets. These tablets work as magic inside your body and in a few days you find yourself cured. When a company which makes these drugs indulges in action like these you tend to question that faith. Personally speaking whenever I play squash or go for a run and there is an ache I use Volini spray which is a product of Ranbaxy and now I question if the product is authentic, does it really works on my ache or is it my body itself recovering? I don’t even know how many times doctor would have prescribed me a Ranbaxy medicine and I am not sure if it worked.
My heart goes out to people who had critical diseases, who lost out people because the medicines they trusted on were adulterated and the company sold them in the market faking specification. The fact that they were are penalized in US for the malpractices; I have my doubts if anything will happen to them in India. The people in our country who suffered by their lack of ethical practices will never get justice or even understand what has been done to them. At times when all the media is talking about other controversies I am wondering is there an enquiry happening on what Ranbaxy has been selling in India. Are there steps being taken so that until things are cleared people don’t use adulterated and drugs made not up to specifications?

It is high time government and the Indian judicial system takes up the task of delivering justice to the common man against corporate greed and unethical practices.

You can read more about the controversy and the case here.