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Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Blues: Make a list

Every second, every hour, every day we are running. Running from responsibilities, running from work, running from deadlines, running from people, running from goals, running from ourselves. And we keep running because we do not have reason to stay committed. Like I was running from this blog. I can give you enough reasons bu there is frankly none. So here it is back on track.

Do you run away from your responsibilities and your goals and work? What about relationships? It is essential that you look up once in a while form your busy schedule and actually see if you are busy and if yes, are they for the right reasons. If you are busy for the right reasons, nothing like it. If not, time to take a break and re-evaluate and make a priority list. Yes make a list.

When you wake up from the rush and make a list of your priorities make sure you have your family, your loved ones and caring ones with you in that list. Because you can earn as much as you want but you can't eat two biryanis. 

Life is what you make it, but the choice should make that happen. When you wake up in the morning to head to work, it should be with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. If not you are not doing it right. So go brew a great cup of coffee, make that list and then press play!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book Review: Alphabet Soup for Lovers - Anita Nair

Not everyone loves a chilly morning in a wet countryside with laziness clinging to your side. You don't want to shake it off as the warm comforter refuses to let go. But then you need something that puts you out of this pleasant misery. A good cup of hot tea can do the trick but a hot soup is my favorite. A hot steaming soup that slowly crawls into your mouth greeting your lips, lighting up your palate, clearing your windpipe and literally waking you up is the one we love. Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair one such wake up call for all our settled lives. 

Set in a picturesque backdrop of a tea estate around a majestic house built in British architecture and lots of openness that lets you explore, implore and gives you the space to relax, think, evaluate. For hosts you have the young accomplished lawyer - KK, his wife Lena who finds it interesting to follow her own pursuits in decorating, teaching, taking care of kids at the crèche and finds peace in her routine walks. Everything is wet, warm, damp, cozy and comfortable in its own way. 

In comes the superstar who wants a break from his exciting routine that came to irritate him and finds this place offers him exactly that. At least that is what he was expecting. What happens next is what you need find out in the novella. Set to the theme of food and following what seems to be a trail of alphabetic order, the story presents you chaos in a warm tea cup. Many a time we choose to ignore what is there for us and take things for granted. This story narrated by the elderly, all observing Komathi who is fierce, motherly yet handles her role of the self-appointed caretaker well.

The story is narrated in quick matter of fact way but with the right ingredients of love, passion, beauty and what nature can do to you if you allow it to play with your emotions. Something as morbid as a cemetery can turn into a cauldron of inhibitions and enormous possibilities. The fallen angel in a calm cemetery speaks volumes of the state we are in sometimes. Some dishes are to be relished when hot and can be tacky when they get cold, old and forgotten. The story of Komathi and Rayar is one such tale of a spicy beginning yet calm eternity while Lena chooses to add tadka to her life in her own terms. 

While this can be called another love story, Anita chooses to add spice to an exciting Malabar sojourn in a sweet way. The reader is left guessing for his own interpretations of the story and characters and where they would end up. The flow is smooth and creamy while the protagonists choose to stand out with their own textures adding character to this hot bowl of soup. At the end you are left refreshed but wanting for more. Say hello to possibilities and second chances.

Pick it up today from here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Blues: Skip bath today

Let us be messy. Yes you heard me right. Let us be messy today. Skip bath (not literally). I know you have done it. I have done it too. Once in a while relax. Don't be a perfectionist. Don't want you to be that ruly, strict, uncompromising, cleanliness freak that you are and relax. 

Not everyone carries your energy levels and cannot compete being at your level all the time. It is essential for you to understand that you carry a higher level of energy and are okay with it but when you have a team, family, colleagues, support staff who don't always be on that level. So it is good for you to calm down a bit today. Give some leeway. Just for today. It is okay. Say it loud. Yes, you say it loud. It is okay. Thank you.

So skip being an autocratic person and be a normal one today. It is okay. Have a great Monday.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Blues: Be An Angel

If their smiles could be the reflection of what is going on in their little minds you would be misled. The chirpy naughty childish innocence is just a mask to their troubled homes, broken families, and suppressed hunger, wiped away tears that still have their stains on the little cheeks that are subject to abuse, lack of basic amenities and sheer helplessness.

I met these young children selected by World Vision to be sponsored in their Child Sponsorship program. They had dressed up in their best and assembled in their school for me to come and interact with them. The agenda of the meeting was to get to know these kids and see what they were now from where they had come from. The naughtiest bunch of kids I have seen in a long time and it has been long since I was in school. Their energy levels and bubbly attitude was contagious and I was upbeat in no while.

As we warmed up to each other and started talking without their teacher hovering over them, the real stories came through. I am amazed to see how they could maintain such a positive attitude when their tomorrow is doubtful and they know now where their next morsel would come from. Their guardian angels are not very rich or powerful but their will power is amazing. These kids were sponsored children. Children sponsored by normal people like you and me. The group consisted of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and other religions. Without any discrimination, they were blossoming as flowers of the same plant. This was amazing to see.

World Vision's Child Sponsorship is a unique relationship between you and your sponsored child. When you become a World Vision Child Sponsor, you will help a child break free from the clutches of poverty and gift the child a future full of hope. It is also a relationship that extends to the child's family and the community. For just  Rs.1000/- a month, you can make a lasting impact. 

Your sponsorship with World Vision will provide a needy child, life's essentials like education, safe drinking water, basic healthcare, food and immunization against killer diseases. A small contribution of Rs. 1000/- or  $ 20/month would transform the needs of a child and give them a chance to look beyond their broken dreams, financial troubles, drunk fathers, old tattered clothes that are held by safety pins and encourage them to dream. To dream bigger of a brighter life and give them a chance to transform their lives to a normal one like you and me. A life where they have enough food to stay alive, decent clothes to wear, money to pay their fees and let them concentrate on education, having fun and play - exactly what a child of their age should have. You have an option to change few lives or at least one. 

World Vision has committed staff who wake up everyday to make a difference in the lives of these children, are very passionate and love what they do. I simply fell in love with their enthusiasm and their connection with their children and their problems. You need to see them interacting to believe it.

Take up the child sponsorship today. Donate that pizza money or the coffee money you have and let a child have food and thank you and bless you. Give them a shot at being normal, being equal, being positive. Skip that pizza or new tee and be an angel for someone. Would you do that?

I am covering some stories from this group for Talk To Tiger and you can check them out here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The first person I can think of who is #MadeOfGreat

Made of Great! Well, I know someone who matches this description. While I have heard some stories about what this person used to do, I have seen on multiple occasions how he influenced me and changed how I felt and what I did. He has been an inspiration not just because he is related to me but because he is a good human being. Let me list out some of the lessons he taught me over the last few years.
  • Be passionate about what you do: Born into a farming family, he was educated on his own and has been able to achieve what very few in his generation could. He had more than 7 job offers in hand (When getting one itself was an achievement) and chose the one he felt would let him help others. He takes pride in work and I have on many occasions seen people thank him from their heart for his guidance and help. He still goes to work much earlier than others and gets more work done than the youngsters half his age. 
  • Keep learning: Regardless of being at a very high post in a Government firm, he still keeps himself updated and never says no to learning. He is an avid reader and motivational speaker himself but still is always game for learning new things.
  • Being compassionate: Despite his busy schedule, he takes time to help others, guide in business, life and is deeply compassionate. I remember him donating most of the salary to others when we were in dire need and would just smile when people told him that he was not doing the right thing. His philosophy is that God is compassionate to people who help others. We can't eat two biryani's for dinner, right?
  • Being Simple: His dressing, hair style, food habits and many other things have not changed in the last few decades. He follows a clean strict schedule and is never too demanding from his wife or son and always asks them to be simple and go easy. I still have to learn this from him.
  • Having a clean conscience: One of the things he has taught me is having a clear conscience. Never go to bed with anger and wake up the same person. Mend the bridges as soon as you can and forgive or seek forgiveness if needed. I don't know how he can be so patient but I guess it comes with age.

I can continue all night listing more lessons but when I saw that Tata Motors has signed on Messi and the tagline of #MadeOfGreat I couldn't stop thinking of the one person who has influenced me the most in my life and am proud to say I am his son. I can trust him blindly, count on him, seek his advice to be the strong pillar of strength and courage. Thank you Dad for being there in my life. 

While Messi has been an inspiration for us all, Tata is the sign of trust and respect for over the last few decades. An awesome winning combination. Do you think Tata Motors' vehicles are as deft and sturdy as Messi's maneuvers. 

What do you think of Tata Motors'association with Lionel Messi?
Do you have an interesting answer for this? I get to give away a Rs. 750/- coupon from #Amazon for one of you. Do comment below and you never know!