Monday, December 21, 2015

Cockroach Theory - by Sundar Pichai

I normally don't post something written / spoken by somebody else in my blog. But just read the below on Facebook and it struck an immediate chord. Cannot be better said than this -

Cockroach Theory 
A beautiful speech by Sundar Pichai - an IIT-MIT Alumnus :
The cockroach theory for self development

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.

She started screaming out of fear.

With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.

Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.

The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but ...it landed on another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.

The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt.

When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach, that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it's my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.

It's not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it's my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story:

I understood, I should not react in life.
I should always respond.

The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of.

A beautiful way to understand............LIFE.

Person who is HAPPY is not because Everything is RIGHT in his Life..

He is HAPPY because his Attitude towards Everything in his Life is Right..!!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A stranger to my toddler

This post is dedicated to a friend of mine who inspired me to write again, to write a lot, to write to express myself, to write because at least he cares to read!

It has been a while (two years he reminds me) that we had not met. However even though we were meeting after such a long time, it did not feel even a bit formal. With a cranky 18 month old (who did not have her afternoon nap), I was all preoccupied trying to satisfy her high demands for attention. To make matters worse, she did not look immediately comfortable with him being around – stranger anxiety. She was seeing him for the first time, occupying her personal space – her home. He figured out the trick to make her comfortable around him is to ignore her, not give her the attention which upon getting she reacts with a bad “dry cry” as his girlfriend remarked! He instead played beautiful synthesiser for her without looking directly into her eyes. She would stare at him from the corner of her eyes admiring him for the beautiful music, but then he had not done enough yet for her to openly give a nod of acceptance.

We spoke about a gamut of things. It is so amazing to see that even after such a long time we could just talk about a wide range of things with great élan Рbe it the IS, the somehow-managing-to-come-together Greek economy, of course my writing which he has become a fan of, babies and work-life balance, their career and plans ahead, dreams and aspirations and the upcoming holiday plans. Really so much packed into the less than a couple of hours they stayed at our place along with a not-so-happy toddler around. Just shows how much we are in sync with each other to be able to fit in that much content.

People often say that birds of the same feather flock together. However, here is an example where we belong to completely different cultures arising out of completely different geographies – in every sense – appearance, food, language, faith. What binds us is the fact that we are just human beings who are good natured with strong values. We are mentally on the same platform which means that we could be done with talking about topics within minutes. I don’t get this level of comfort even when talking to many people of my own herd. There is so much of talk about radicalism in this world where we are reaching out to kill others because they don't belong to our herd, but then the question is how far does it have to go before it ends. For now the criteria is religion, tomorrow the criteria will be attire, language, food, dreams, everything. Are we only going to stop when we all become robots - exact replicas of each other with no brains to have any divergence of thoughts. At that stage the only way to end ourselves will be to press the self-destruct button on our robotic motherboards. 

I don't want to live behind such a world for my daughter to grow up into. I want her to feel even more comfortable than me mixing with people from different backgrounds, different lineages. The only way to a successful livelihood is by having the openness in your heart and mind and appreciation for everybody. We may have our favourites, but that should purely be based on compatibility of thoughts - not on the basis of parameters that humans have created, including religion. 

By the end of the almost two hours, the friend was no more a strange to my daughter - but somebody she was comfortable to share her toys with. I am sure she would love to meet him the next time he shows up, including being keen to show him her keyboard skills!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Moves On for Zara

I know Zara since childhood. She has been a coy girl blushing out at every small remark about anything related to her. She is a nice person who is completely in love with human kind in general, and she can never harm anybody. The motto of her life has been to bring smiles to as many faces as possible. She loves the small little things in life, she loves playing around with her younger brother, and she enjoys playing the doll game with me. We have grown up together, so I know her each emotion, her each unspoken gesture so well by now. If she ever falls in love with a guy, I am sure she does not need to tell me that, I will be able to read her.

And thats what I have recently come to know. Looking at her facial expressions when I spotted her with a guy last evening, I was certain that she was madly in love with him. He seemed to be one of those decent guys, those take-home-to-mumma kind of guy. So I felt quite happy for her. But then all that seems to be glittering is not gold. There are complications in human emotions. She is totally in love with the guy, but doesn't seeem to be too comfortable telling him how she feels about him.There is something that stops her from being that intimate and comfortable with him. She told me all these after a lot of pestering yesterday late in the night when she was in my house for the usual after-dinner talks that we share! She tried to conceal it as much as she could but then I finally had my way. There is something we share between us that compels us not to lie to each other. We know each other's secrets. Secrets we would never dare telling the world (including our parents) but to only each other. 

She told me everything about her feeling for this guy. Obviously I knew about her meeting him in college a couple of years back and of the general conversations she had with him. But I did not anticipate for it to have gone this far. All those chit-chats always just gave me a feeling that they are classmates and that he is a decent boy who just loves talking. Lot of girls in the class seemed to have a liking for him. He was academically very bright and enjoyed spending time talking to girls during breaks between classes. I was shocked to see my dear friend to have fallen for him so badly - just through those small break time conversations! But the fact that she took two long years to decide if it was actually love or just infatuation, meant that I needed to consider the situation quite seriously.

She opened up to me to reveal that those break time conversations had also at times gone to the extent of going for movies on days when the teachers did not turn up or classes were sparse. Although they would go for such movies as a gang which would include other girls and Zara being one of them. She would spend most of her time watching him over the shoulder of the girl sitting next to him instead of the movie. The joy on his face, the smiles and laughter coming from him would make her enjoy the movie. She also revealed how once on way back from the movies to the college, they struggled to find a cab. They all had to walk down and she walked behind him with another girl. They were all chit-chatting, but her thoughts were fixated on moving between checking out the sides of his eyes and his well-shaped buts.

As Zara was telling me each  and every detail of his love for him - all I could see was how her infatuation towards him was gradually turning into an obsession. She was getting pulled into him like a magnet, whilst I felt that probably he had no idea about all this. Yesterday when for the first time I saw them together outside an ice-cream parlour, what I missed out on seeing was that the other girls who would also hang out together with the two of them were inside the parlour getting their ice-creams. Zara did not want one and the guy was the first one to get his so they both were outside waiting for the others to join. However, whilst the guy was busy attacking his ice-cream, I noticed Zara's eyes staring his lips and his tongue coming out to lick the cream. Their was a faint smile on her face, a happiness coming from standing so close to him. This whole setting of the two of them together, smile on Zara's face, him enjoying the ice-cream, painted a picture that they were a couple - although it was in reality far from that. I confronted Zara with the direct question of whether she had spoken to him about how she felt about him. As anticipated Zara replied in the negative.

Obviously as a friend I want to help Zara, so I could not possibly tell her how stupid she has turned herself into. I had a plan instead - a plan to help Zara confess her one sided love to him. A plan for him to hopefully fall in love with her too. This story will be continued here... as Zara's life moves on...

Journey of being a working mother

We recently went on a trip to Blackpool. This has to be one of the most memorable trips I have had so far. The first proper trip on our own with our new born who is soon going to be all of 15 months. Really time has flown so quickly that I have lost track of what all it entailed. The last clear memories are of the last day at work with the cake, the speeches and the card with lots of scribbles wishing good luck. And the uneasy feeling of what is there to come. After I said good bye to work to embark on a new journey of motherhood - life has been on a roller coaster ride, memories of which are now gradually fading already. Just within a week of bidding adieu to work, I delivered a little princess.

As seamless and joyful were the 9 months of pregnancy, my delivery was equally straightforward. Obviously at that time it did feel like the most arduous experience, one I vouched I will never tread on again. But with the passage of time and having heard of other more painful stories, my discomfort seemed minimalistic. My life was getting filled up with the joyous feeling of being a mother. The first three months are the toughest in terms of raising a child. From being someone who learnt everything from how to hold a baby to changing nappies in an antenatal class, I was gradually becoming a mother - one who knows how to breast feed, is able to understand and differentiate between the various baby cries, make baby burp and wee and poo, sooth her to sleep etc. It is hard work, but unlike corporate hard work where rewards are quantified at the end of the year, nature of reward here is quite different - instantaneous gratification felt at an emotional level.

The 6 months following the most difficult first 3 months were very easy - I went back to India to my parents with my new born and had the comforts and support of family back home. These 6 months flew as if in 6 hours - one of the best periods of my life. My mother was taking care of my daughter and I was taking care of the rest - which included getting 2 hours of body massage every day, getting involved and sorting out any teething issues in my father's business, renovating the house to prepare for my brother's wedding and finally actually attending the Indian wedding. It had everything I could have wished for. Before coming back to London, we decided to go for a short trip to the south of India, covering Chennai, Vellore and Pondicherry. Although exciting in its own way, it was a good lesson on how to take care of a baby on our own. This was the first time we were on our own with our 9 month old daughter and don't think we did a very good job. She fell sick, she became very weak as we did not feed her enough and was taking strong antibiotics. So much so that when my mother saw my daughter only for a night before leaving India to come to London, she got too worried about how frail she had become. In a night, whatever she could, she did to bring my daughter back to normal - this included giving her something to eat every hour or so. We just had not done a good job with regards to her food.

Coming back to London with a 9 month old with the experience and lesson learnt from the Chennai trip meant that we were better prepared and did not take anything for granted. After some initial hiccups I managed to find an amazing child minder who helped us out with taking her regular care. We started very gradually, a couple of hours initially going up to a full day in her 11th month. Once settled in with her, I started exploring joining back to work. I did not want any sudden changes in lifestyle - either for my daughter or for myself. Therefore getting back to work was also in a phased manner including moving my daughter away from breastfeeding to bottle feeding. I wanted to make sure that she was more independent and that I could trust somebody to take care of her when I am at work.

Life since then has been quite routined. She goes to the childminder Mondays to Thursdays and I take Fridays off (a clever tactic I used to not use up all my maternity leaves in one go, but spread them over throughout the year by taking a day off in the week and spending with the little one). Going back to work has been a brilliant feeling after a long hiatus. New and increased challenges have kept me busy so far. I have a busy day at work and busy evenings at home with the little one. I do sometimes miss not having the me-time, but then when I see the smile on her face for no reason or an un-demanded hug from her, all such wants disappear and I feel like spending each and every moment of my conscious self with her.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A decimated legacy

A synonym for decimation these days would be the Congress party in India. Whether it be the national parliamentary elections or the State level assembly elections, Congress is shrinking quicker than comprehensible. Dynasty stuck sycophants do not even realise that their Gandhi obsession is only going to take the party further downhill. Indian voters now demand quality in their leaders, they are looking for fellows who can mobilise masses, lead them, talk to them and act on their requirements. I have always liked Rahul Gandhi - more because of his looks than his political skills though. However these days I look at him and "women emancipation" (from the interview on Times Now with Arnab Goswami) comes to my mind. I don't think Congress will go anywhere if they continue with their obsession with him. Give him a break, let him contemplate, learn the skills needed in this trade and come into it with sharpened weaponry.

For now, the only person who manages to keep the Congress hopes alive in my mind is Shashi Tharoor. I like his demeanour, his oratory skills. Keeping aside the issues surrounding his personal life, Shashi Tharoor has the credibility to become an important personality in Congress. To my mind he is the last hope for the survival of this sinking ship. However, Congressmen look in no mood to shop around - their street starts and ends at the Gandhi house. I will just wait and watch to see how the party revives itself!