Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Attributes your Boss will notice

Impression is all about getting it right, on the outside first, moving in, bit by bit. 

Joining a new employer, moving to a new team, or getting a new senior(read boss) in the same old team are some of the events which will land you in a situation when you will be under scrutiny, for some days at-least, to start with. The impression you will leave will remain so for the rest of your relationship, and it is always better to leave a correct one. After all, work is our 50% of life.
  • Dress Smart, and for Work - While most companies boast of business casuals, the term has been abused and beaten badly by most employees. Even a Friday cannot justify wearing slogan t-shirts to office or dangling earrings, which are best reserved for weekends. Dress smart, formally. The best way to do so is to assume your client could surprise you today with a sudden meeting.
  • Confident Gait - You cannot choose your body, but you can choose your posture. People who stand and sit straight, and have a brisk, confident walk are viewed as sharper resources by one and all. When in office, stand straight (like you would in the the sports day drill at School) and walk briskly.
  • Climate creator, and of which type - Now no one is going to say this in your face but every person brings in a certain energy to the team. You could be charming, friendly, unapproachable or that constant cribber. Even before you know it, your boss will note this about you. And (as we all know), being in the best books is the safest option.
  • Response time to a query or task - When given a query or a task, what is your response time to follow up or finish on the assigned work. Do you postpone work for a coffee break? Or is it the other way round? The latter is my style, how about yours?
  • Attitude towards sudden or unexpected Work - There will be times when some bit or may be a lot of unexpected work will come your way. Do you see it as a fresh change from the daily scenery or do you crib about it to everyone you meet till calling it a day? Former may get you some brownie points in your appraisal. The latter would only malign your reputation. Why? Refer to Point#3.
  • Time Discipline  - Many organizations now adhere to flexible work culture, in reality, it is never so. Sticking to some time discipline will give out an image of you being a dependable employee, and let others know of when to count you in.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Side effects of the Wedding Season

The Wedding season in India and I have a lover's quarrel. While I would miss out on the zing weddings bring to life's otherwise mundane routine, there are many other side effects which are very tough to put up with. Here is a look at each of them, one at a time.
  • To get a Salon appointment is an achievement
  • And so is getting your laundry from the dry cleaner on time
  • Higher car spend  - sum of both fuel and car washes
  • No Much lesser Me-time, thanks to the amount of preparation that attending a wedding takes
Is there any other way in which the Wedding season gets on your nerves. Share with me how. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Winter Care

Hands are drier, lips are chapped. The heels seem rough, and each time I am out in the open, a light cardigan is missed. Winter has officially begun. While the weather is perfect for eating al-fresco, or sipping on coffee, it is quite a task to tend to appearance in winters. Clothes need more care, and so does our body. Here are some tips to let you gear for winters.

Tend to your heels - Mix glycerine and rose water and apply on heels before sleeping at night. It is best to sleep with socks on to seal the moisture.

Protect Lips - Chapped lips are everyone's pain area. Keep a chap-stick or lip butter handy, and make it your best friend for next few months.

Cold Cream - Massage on face at night in upwards motion. Dry skin will soak in most of it. If not, wipe with a warm towel, for a glowing, supple face next morning.

Oil Hair - Washing hair with warm water can result in a flaky scalp. Use warm oil to fight any scalp dryness.

Spare the Nail Paint - Just like the rest of the body, our nails need to breathe too. If closed shoes is what you stick to, then sparing your toes of enamel can be a very good idea.

Sunscreen - Just because Sun seems less harsh does not mean it actually is. The UV rays, the tan, spots - everything every sun related problem remains the same despite the weather. So don't forget your Sunscreen.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bring in the Festive Spirit

The festivities have already begun. Dussehra is already done with, and it is less than a month to go for Deepawali. Let us take some extra steps this festive season. Further to decorating our homes/offices and dressing up, let us do something from within.
  • Resist from buying that one (very) tempting thing that you would not anyway use (even for a day).
  • Use that thing you bought some six months or more ago! May be that iPod (or the lipstick or similar) you bought with so much excitement?
  • Stop using your credit/debit card for a week, except for food. Of course, we don't want to see you starve. 
  • Resist from watching any movies (or Saas-Bahu TV serials) for a week! You won't miss much, trust me.
  • Say hello to your neighbor at office or home, who you usually just walk through.
  • Finally, look at yourself in the mirror, take a deep (very deep, let your lungs fill up to the fullest) breath & smile at yourself. :-)

Today's guest post is brought to you by my mentor, Prasanta. He is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, and was lucky to be his trainee in my early years in the IT Industry. 

A great sense of humor camouflaged under witty sarcasm, he exemplifies 'simple living and high thinking'. Welcome Prasanta, it is an honor to have you write for AllThingsSixx. :-)

Every Sunday, the forum is open for you all to share your views to the rest of the world through this blog. The arena is unlimited, the theme similar - anything that touches you, and can help someone else, in six points should make up a post. 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

DIY Files - Part II

The festive season has already started in full flow. This time around, there is more time to clean, decorate and thus prepare home for the biggest festival in India, which is Deepawali. As the name suggests, Deepawali is all about a line of lights, and that is what exactly is the theme for this time's DIY  - Rangoli for the naive.

For anyone who may not know what Rangoli is, this is at your service.

If you are like me, which in this context means very naive at creating anything artsy, and have not got the art of Rangoli making in your genes, this post is for you. You will need these - 

  • Make a slightly viscous paste with vermilion and water.
  • Mix rice well into it, so that rice is uniformly colored red. I choose red because I <3 red. You may choose any color, or even many different colors.  Turmeric for Yellow color, or Indigo powder for blue color are the ones easily available at home.
  • Spread the rice on a newspaper and let it rest until the rice is totally dry.
  • Make a grid on the designated area with the help of rice, something like a grid of the tic-tac -toe game. You can draw the grid and then place rice over the line. Or make a line directly with the rice.
  • Place the nine tea lights in each of the nine grids. Use tea lights as they're uniform in shape and size - take the colored variety for a brighter Rangoli.
  • In the day, let the tea lights be unlighted. Light the candles at night for a wonderful effect.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight

The author, Rujuta (Ru from here on) claims to be the consultant for Anil Ambani and Kareena Kapoor amongst many others, and motivates people to move towards a healthier lifestyle in general and thus get fit. 

The book is a very simple read, and is quite practical. The author acknowledges that cooking in an average Indian household has reduced owing to fast lifestyles, and people rely of off the shelf food for most of the weekdays. 

She ridicules all most of the diet programs ever heard of, and says that eating everything, but at a right time and in the right quantity is the first step to fitness.
  • Food - Eat everything that your genes have been accustomed to since childhood. Ru says that day should be a mix of both heavy and light meals, from morning to evening.
  • Timing - Eat something within 10 minutes of waking up, and have a hearty breakfast one hour later. This, as most of us by now know, is because there is a drop in the insulin level in blood as the body has already been starving for many hours. Ru says it is important to have something to eat every two hours(keeps your brain active), and water throughout the day.
  • The Dessert - Yes, she advocates it. But not with a meal or after it. Ru asks you to eat a dessert like a small meal in between two big meals, and restrict the frequency to once a week.
  • Quantity - Because your stomach is about the size of your hands cupped together, the maximum size of a one-time serving should be just as much. Makes sense.
  • Procedure -  When having a meal, start with a glass of water. Eat cross legged or at least with legs raised (to let blood flow to your stomach to aid digestion). Eat slowly - to ensure optimum speed, don’t prepare the next bite before you have swallowed the previous one. 
  • Exercise - There is no substitute for physical activity and exercise. Ru asks you to make it a no-compromises aspect of your life. She adds that within 20 minutes post exercise, you should have something to eat.
Other than these main tips, there are various other interesting things like managing small meals in middle of a busy day, meal options (both veg and non-veg), safer ways to have your wine (yeah!) and the importance of squatting. She adds that you can eat more or less depending on the activity level of the day.

I will give it a 4 on 5 - it is worth having a copy if you (like me) count your calorie intake.

You may buy the book here.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Hidden CTC

When accepting an offer, many times, we mistake a rise with only the numbers. An offer may or may not satisfy  our expectation, but may have some components which may mean much more than a single digit deficit. Here is looking at what are those components that go a long way in defining how much you earn and spend at a  job, and should influence your decision in deciding how good or bad an offer is.
  • Paid vacation - while most of us would take this for granted, not All organizations have the same number of yearly paid vacations. Inquire about the vacation time per year, and check if it is same/less/more from your current organization.
  • Sabbaticals - for study/child care/volunteer work is becoming has become a topic of envy for those whose friends or knowns get in at their workplace. If you have plans to further study or may need a sabbatical out of interest or for personal reasons, a sabbatical may be the boon you may just need.
  • L&K resources - Almost all the companies do have a Learning & Knowledge division (the name may vary), the key is in knowing how extensive it is. Many companies have sign-ups with sites like Safari and Books 24*7 which will let you download free e-books on varied subjects. Some companies also sponsor certifications or provide a waiver for fees for courses. All these are your CTC. The company is spending it on You, for Your Benefit. 
  • Subsidies - While providing free food and transport is almost all extinct, even a subsidy on any of these is wonderful and will save you a lot more than a mere penny. Free parking is another thing which should not be taken for granted. (While I was paying a hefty amount to park my car in the previous office, my current office has ample parking space for free. +1, don't you think!)
  • Tax friendly package - Now we all know how the tax slabs peek with a rise in salary. Inquire about the breakup early and find out how much of it will go in taxes. It is quite a possibility that an organization has a flat pay structure, and a major chunk of your salary goes to the government. (Now, I am a good responsible citizen who likes to pay taxes accurately and in time, but I would like if I can get a waiver on the petrol that I am using to get to work. Won't you?!)
  • Flexible work arrangements - Life is unpredictable. There may be times when you would want to work away from the office premises. A birth in the family, an illness or many other more predictable and unpredictable events may need you to work from your home instead of going to office. It is advisable to ask in the early stage how open (or not open) is the organization to such needs.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Squeeze out more from your Time

More and more people (around me, including yours truly) complain how there is just no time that they have for themselves. Work takes away all of their week, and chores make up majority of the weekend. Here is my list of things which will let you manage your time better, and may be have some time for yourself.
  • Separate tasks under Weekday and Weekend categories - tasks like visiting the dry cleaner, refilling the kitchen store, getting your vehicle pollution checked are best done over the weekend. Weekday should be reserved for indispensable tasks that need to be done daily.
  • Few activities can be combined with television - such as chopping vegetables, catching up on social networks, sifting through the Page3
  • Make use of internet for banking and bills - even now, many of us line up the bank or bill payment queues for simple tasks. Update yourself periodically with the services that your bank or service provider caters online (Yes, those guys too are getting better - what was not available online may be available now.) This can save you a lot of time and hassle.
  • Overlap social phone calls when waiting on something - and here, I do not mean while on the road. That is a strict No.
  • Group tasks in similar travel directions together. Both cost and time effective.
  • Plan weekly things on Sunday evening - such as probable work wear for the rest of the week, your lunch menu, any important thing you may need during the week.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Yash Chopra – The King of Romance

When I heard that Yash Ji is no more, I was dumb struck.  A sense of a permanent loss to the Indian cinema engulfed me, a sorrow that a genius is no more.

Not only did Yash Ji give Indian cinema two of its most successful stars (Amitabh Bachhan and Shahrukh Khan), he also enriched us with some of the most romantic songs which can stand the test of moods, generations and genres. 

Since Sixx cannot suffice for my favorite of his movies, I list some of the very romantic songs his movies had, touching on their respective blockbusters.
  • Trishul – This multi-starrer movie launched Amitabh Bachhan, as a wronged illegimate son, and his jouney to be accepted and known by his father(played by Sanjeev Kumar) and his family. Though this movie had very few bits of romance, "gapuchi gapuchi gamm gamm" is the perfect song for teenage kind of flutter a heart in love experiences.
  • Silsila – A bold movie for its time, the movie gave reality a stage with Amitabh and Rekha been showcased as stuck-in-separate-marriages-but-still-in-love couple. Jaya Bacchan was taken to add more realism as AB's wronged wife. I still wonder how would Yash Ji have convinced Jaya to play her part. My best guess is the way this movie ends, with the institution of marriage winning over infidelity. A very strong story, today, this movie is remembered for Rekha's halter neck blouses in plain, deep colored china silk sarees and the romantic soundtrack. Even today's generation cannot help but feel love when it first hears "Ye Kahaan aa gaye humm".
  • ChandniKnow about it here. The complete soundtrack of the movie is delicious, my personal favorite being "aa meri jaan".
  • Dil To Paagal Hai - Aiding to the current generation, this is one movie which is best remembered for its soundtrack. All the songs are listener's delight, do listen to "Arre re Arre ye kya hua" if you are just beginning to fall in love or "Dholna" if already deep into it.
  • Veer Zaara – When I first watched Veer Zaara, the movie progressed without impressing me. It was good, but not in the Yash Chopra way. This is the feeling before the last twenty minutes of the movie. It is then when "tere liye hum hain jiye" comes in. The song, the way its shot, its depth, everything will move you at the core. The kind of love which all of us can probably only hope to experience, the true meaning of love, which is living, not with, but for each other.

Dear Yash Ji, Rest in Peace. I will make sure the next generation watches the masterpieces you created for all of us to cherish.

I became a fan of your movies as a kid, long before I even knew they were yours. Most of your movies, I have seen at-least ten times over, with the exception of Waqt and Trishul, both of which I have seen for more than twenty times each. The teeny-weeny bit of romance that resides in some minuscule corner of my heart  invariably grows larger not one or two but many times while watching the movies you made, the songs sequences in them, and the depiction of various forms of love.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Drive your way to Safety

Personally, am too fond of driving and for obvious reasons this has become an inseparable part of my life as I drive to and from Gurgaon, which is about 60 kms(~35 miles) from where I stay – Every F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G day.

On any given normal day you are bound to encounter at least one crashed vehicle, irrespective of the magnitude of damage, you’ll surely find at least one. Based on my daily observations, enumerated below are a set of six things which if avoided can certainly help reduce such scenes on the road and thereby making them a better place.
  • Phones: You can’t control all those beautiful and not so beautiful women out there nor those handsome guys around(for all you beautiful ladies). But you can definitely avoid your cellphone. Statistics reveal smartphones related accidents are increasing by the day. And trust me these phones are smart enough not to let your messages vanish in the air and keep the call details if missed. So avoid using the phone while driving.
  • Drunken Driving: Once again the most common reason for chaos on road. Being drunk and driving, no ways certify you are a great driver. All it certifies is you are a callous human being. Be responsible if not towards yourself towards the people on the road at least.
  • Being a Spectator: This is the funniest thing that you get to see on road. When you don’t intend to help, how will it make a difference slowing down and looking out of your window trying to manipulate “What could have been the reason for that accident on roadside”. Rather concentrate on your vehicle, you might just end up giving the same breed of spectators two reasons to ponder about.
  • Driving too slow: Traffic hours is no time to learn/practice driving. If you aren’t confident enough to maintain the minimum basic speed of 50-60kph on a clean road, better stay off it during peak hours. You are just adding to the agony of those already suffering on the road.
  • Smelling the bum: One of the prime reasons for most deformed bumpers, broken fog lamps and twisted front grills. Let your car breathe fresh air than the exhaust of the car ahead of you, driving too close will only reduce the time you have to react. I read somewhere, if while passing a static object the time difference between you and car ahead of you is less than 3 seconds you are too close. Make that six in bad weather.
  • Zooming at the sight of green: Will the real Usain Bolt please stand up!!! Traffic signals are no sprint races that you have to zoom at the very moment the starter pistol is fired. Be a bit more watchful as you move off a traffic signal. For this one point, you can safely assume all others on the road to be idiots who might not be following the signal properly.

Even after all of the above if you happen to bang your vehicle, fighting on the road won’t get that dent off your car. Trust me it wouldn’t but your insurance company and service guy might certainly be of help. So just LET GOOOOO GUYS ('n GALS ;-)).

Today's guest post is brought to you by my friend Mayank. He sure has a great sense of humor, and loves to sing and write. He loves to drive, as he already told you. Welcome Mayank, to AllThingsSixx! 

Every Sunday, the forum is open for you all to share your views to the rest of the world through this blog. The arena is unlimited, the theme similar - anything that touches you, and can help someone else, in six points should make up a post. 

I will look forward to your emails to keep the guest series going.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Women type things to not forget

  • Accessorize, even if it is just a tad bit 
  • Brighten herself up using makeup alone 
  • Keep her hands clean and fragrant during the day
  • Know one hairdo to fix a bad hair day when frizz is all over 
  • Wet tissues for quick fixing the day in case of sudden evening plans
  • Lip balm for your lips (it'd double up as an eye highlighter too!) 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Turn your day around

Like everything else in life, there are good days and there are not-so-good days. While I have already talked about how can you light up some one else's day, there is a fair chance that no one around is able to lift your day up (or worse still, is even aware that you are having a bad day). What can you do when you have no one to make you feel better? Don't do nothing. Take it on yourself to make it a better day. 
  • Wear brighter shades such as yellow, orange, red and pink to look happier as wearing a dull color will only pull you further down.
  • Listen to some peppy music as music is an instant mood booster.
  • Tongue tingling food actually is a mood buster, and can help you forget your troubles instantly.
  • Stick a smile, even when the inside feels all grey. Eventually, in only a couple of minutes, you'll feel much better.
  • Connect with people around you - any topic, any useless chatter, would let you concentrate on them, making your self and associated troubles smaller or insignificant.
  • Make water your tonic and make up your friend, specially for a low day. Water simulates the brain, thus washing away a fair bit of negative thoughts. Makeup will make you feel prettier. Same as point #1.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Work up a Great Appraisal

Appraisal time is the most looked forward to seasons in the corporate world. The year has ended, and it is time to know how have you fared. It is the Report Card time. Most companies these days have the system of Self Appraisal, or something similar to it, in which you write all that you have accomplished in the year gone by (basically, beat your own drum), and let the upper management (the boss, the boss' boss, and so on) decide how much was it worth. This makes it a bit of a marketing game - you need to sell yourself. And just telling the world that you're good, is not good enough. You need to have tangible parameters to prove how good are you. And we know that anything which is sell-able, like Rome, was not build in a day. So here is a list you can refer to through out the year, which will make your appraisal process much better than before.
  • The core of the appraisal is Work. Be a dependable employee. Know your job responsibilities well, and deliver work.
  • Enroll yourself in any one Company-wide Initiative (the food club, the CSR unit or the transport representative) - this will showcase you as a loyal employee.
  • Play a Mentor - directly, within your immediate and extended team or indirectly, by contributing to the Learning-Training-Development team.
  • Innovate - look for opportunities of improvement within your team/project/account, and bring about change. Setting up simple protocols like birthday celebrations and monthly potlucks are good team building exercises which can be started at zero or very little cost. Taking the first step is the differentiator.
  • When writing an appraisal, write about the work accomplished, with a clear timeline mentioned - you can look up the office mail box for an exact account of work with time.
  • Highlight your work and achievements using the nouns from company's core values. Because marketing it right, is as important as doing it right.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Connect without Facebook and Twitter

A friend last week mentioned she wishes to join Facebook Anonymous. She mocks herself that the site is open on her laptop, and its related apps too are active on all her iDevices and their cousins. She, as is easy to guess, is not the only one. Many others (myself included), are in the same boat, where we feel that the pie called social networking is getting too big to bite. That we need to connect lesser number of times, with lesser people. Let life happen in reality rather than virtually. Take in the moment actually, and not think about clicking it and sharing it first. 

I myself have taken a social networking sabbatical back in 2010 for a successful ten months (Yayy, to that!), and even after I went back, set some strict discipline for the online world. (But that my friends is another post altogether!) . Today's post is an extract of my personal experiences, on how I remained connected during my sabbatical from the social media scene - 
  • Remember the good old alphabetically ordered telephone directory our parents maintained in the landlines era? A similar master contact list of friends and knowns is a good to have. Make it exhaustive, list people from all the places you studied and worked with. Include relatives and distant cousins too.
  • Send in your new year greetings and wishes for other festivities in an email - it seems a lot more personal than wishing them in a general status update.
  • Take a note of important events (such as birthdays, anniversaries) for the people who mean to you, and wish them over the email. They will be happily surprised.
  • Changes can happen in your life too - let your contacts know of significant events in your own life (like getting married, becoming parents, moving cities). This will keep people informed on the happenings of your life. 
  • Backup your phone once every fortnight to avoid loosing connections as a result of a crashed or a stolen phone. This advice comes 'direct, dil se', straight from the heart in English.
  • You love random phone calls which last more than expected. Everyone else loves them too. Call your friends once in a while to connect on a one to one basis.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Handling a Breakup without breaking down your Life

Given that I am in my late 20s already, I do acknowledge that this post may be coming a late in the day. Most people know how to deal with such unexpected throws of life by their twenty fifth birthday. However, no one can deny that the wisest, the smartest, the coolest people (men, included!) transform into the worst of their avatars when it comes to dealing with a life post a breakup. After all, moving on is not an easy task, and actually takes a lot of effort.
  • Rule number One is to disconnect from your ex  absolutely. Staying 'friends' seldom works and even if it does, comes with a lot of baggage. Cutting off in today's times can mean a lot of work. It is best to block them - from all social accounts, your email box, your phone list ( BBM, and What's App too). You will take twice as much time to move on in case you do not. Trust me, you will. 
  • Rule number Two is to find yourself some new places to hang out with. Our thoughts have a strange way of weaving the net, and you will never really stop missing the person if you keep frequenting the same places you did as a couple. At least for a while, you need to strictly avoid the places that know you and the ex as one.
  • A fresh hairdo (or a new adornment like a tattoo or a piercing) is Not over-rated, and can really work to make you concentrate on your self for the time being rather than your ex. 
  • Physical activity can help bring in some positivity to the crumpled heart. Gym, Swim, Dance - whatever is your calling. You can end up making some new friends too.
  • There are bound to activities (such as reading, playing games) which you would have left behind for the lack of time which a relationship demands - picking those up can be a good idea.
  • Connect with friends and family - make actual effort to rebuild old associations and new friends.
There is a group on Facebook named "He's just not that into you" (yeah, after the movie). Its tremendous fan following by women of all age groups has been a strong motivation for me to write this post.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Pleasures of Life

Oscar Wilde knew it all when he said “I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.
  • Travel: I would most certainly die if I stuck in one place all my life. A lot of people go by life without having set foot outside their city. They don’t have any idea what they have been missing out on. Seeing new places, getting to know exotic cultures, experiencing something breathtaking is what makes you appreciate your life even more. It broadens the horizons and opens up newer perspectives.
  • Books: Each book is a door that opens a whole new world where one can escape all the problems and complexities of everyday life. One has a chance to also pick up wisdom and sometimes even answers that one is seeking to in books. Over the years, books have been good friends to me on planes, trains and every other odd place where I would otherwise have felt alone. Life they say, books are your best friends.
  •  Music: Soothing music has many positive effects such as calming one down, bringing happy thoughts and memories to resurface. Fast track music with its hypnotic beats brings one into a frenzy where one release energy by just swinging to the rhythm.
  • Food: If you have met me, you know that I am a foodaholic! And I definitely don’t recommend becoming one. But enjoying good food with good company or cooking food to entertain is therapeutic. One drifts away in the aroma, the tongues tingle and there is a direct connection from our taste buds to our heart. 
  • Tea: A good tea can make you feel warm and cozy when the weather is grey, or the heart needs some soothing.
  •  Sitcoms: After a long day of work, flipping channels on the television is simply too disturbing as I am then caught unaware by something that I wasn’t prepared to see or hear. It leaves me even more unsettled. A good sitcom, is a story that develops with characters that I have come to know closely. The relaxation that comes from laughing and crying with characters that you will then soon forget helps one’s emotions breathe. Some see it as mindless television, but it is a sure way to help you relax.

Combine travel with books and music, and sitcoms with tea and food, to make it a good life! I personally can forgo expensive clothes, makeup, even a good glass of wine to buy myself vacations or simply a good book. The point is not hoarding material things but taking pleasure in experiences that are going to stay inside for a long time. 

Today's Guest Post is brought to you by my childhood friend Roma. Roma believes in living life to the fullest, testing all its colors, and that is what she tells you all in her post too. She is a Journalist, and lives in Bonn, Germany.

Every Sunday, the forum is open for you all to share your views to the rest of the world through this blog. The arena is unlimited, the theme similar - anything that touches you, and can help someone else, in six points should make up a post. 

I will look forward to your emails to keep the guest series going.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Keep you Wallet Clean

How many of you have encountered the situation when your wallet falls down, slipping away everything outside, giving the world a chance to witness your  unorganized ways. I have. Some five years ago. And it is one of the most awkward situations to be in, specially if you are at work and surrounded with seniors, or elsewhere with the elders of the family. Or worse still, if you are with someone new.

To save you from all the said and unsaid emotions that such a situation may bring, here is my list of things you can do to keep a clean wallet - 
  • Many people I know do not accept soiled notes. While this option may not be always available, it is better to spend the soiled notes first, because they are anyways going to grow fragile by the hour, resting inside.
  • Keep the coins separately, that's what the little zipped compartment is for. If your wallet does not have this wonder pocket, investing in a coin bag is a good idea.
  • Wallet is for money - scrapbooks are for pictures. Remember this simple rule. Do not make your wallet a family album by storing old pictures in it. Now, with today's smartphones, this one should not be difficult to achieve when you can store so many pictures on your phone.
  • Keep only the cards that you use. It is safer too. Shopping cards can be kept in a separate cards pocket, and carried only when need be.
  • Sort the bill receipts on a weekly basis. Nine out of ten people stuff all kind of papers into the wallet - ATM receipts, parking tickets, food bills. While it may be the most natural thing to do, sort them once a week to throw away the ones you'd never need again, and file the ones that you would. This will also ensure that you will find them on a later date, in a readable state.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Spend the Weekend on Budget

With weekend round the corner, a silent sigh of relief escapes my soul.

It is often a topic of discussion how the monthly budget slips the most over the weekend. Whatever be your weekend mantra (shopping, movies, eating out, all of it), the weekend is when the consumer contributes most to the country's economy.

There are some fateful weekends which we wish to keep subtle. When we do not want our bank balance to shrink, and still feel recuperated for the coming week in office.

Here is my list of things that you can take up for a weekend-like-that.
  • Check the newspaper for television listings and catch up on stuff playing on the television ( I am personally a movie marathons person, thanks to the new age time-shift television)
  • Pick a hobby - something you can do on a recurring basis, and needs little investment, like photography, gardening, cooking or dancing.
  • Organize (or clean) those corners the neglected areas in your home - these are usually the ones which belong to no one in particular and are not in everyday sight. Like the storage cupboard.
  • Give your maid an off, and cook. Cooking gratifies instantly, and your family is going to love you. If not, you can kiss your own hands. 
  • Volunteer for something you feel deeply for. Teaching your domestic helps' children can make a big difference to their lives.

    Wednesday, 10 October 2012

    Running Great Meetings

    There are meetings that make you cringe. Make you think of procrastinated work , that
    your heart wishes to make more urgent. And then, there are some meetings that you forward to. That you want to be in time for. Don't you wish you could run meetings like that? Meetings everyone compliments are uber smooth. This is what you can do.

    • Agenda is the key. Announce the agenda at start, stick to it during the meeting and conclude concisely at the end
    • Timing sets the mood. Good meetings start and end in time. No one likes to waste their time waiting for late comers, don't you think.
    • Moderation should not be left to maturity of the participants. It is an important task, as much as the note taker, and requires conscientious effort. Assign a moderator at the start of the meeting (it could be the person presiding over the meeting) or anyone else. Make this person responsible for mitigating differences in opinion, and moving on to the next agenda item without beating a dead horse.
    • White boarding an idea, a concept or a topic of discussion works best to look at it in a breadth first, depth later manner. It works well specially when audience comes from varied contexts and backgrounds.
    • Breaks are essential in mentally engrossing or long discussions. Ordering lunch if the hour demands so or giving participants a breather for coffee is good.
    • Minutes offer a feeling of accomplishment to everybody, of work done during the involved hour. Follow up with Minutes on the same day, or the next morning if the meeting ends late in the day.

    Tuesday, 9 October 2012

    Sundae your Ice Cream

    Doesn't this shift is season makes you miss the Ice Creamy evening promises that summer brings along? It does for me. 

    You can save these add-on things for the next season, or try it right away while you still can. Add any or all of these to your ice cream, and let yourself melt in bliss.

    • Flavored Corn flakes - there are many varieties available like Mango, Strawberry, and Honey
    • Nuts - Almonds, Walnuts, Raisins, Peanuts 
    • Syrups - Chocolate, Kiwi. You may use honey too.
    • Gems (Indian version of M&Ms), or grated chocolate 
    • Fresh fruits  
    • Dry Cake (Plum tastes wonderful)

    Monday, 8 October 2012

    Questions?! – Run, for your life.

    Have you ever been bombarded with questions? Questions to which there are no correct answers? Questions which are repeated so often that they now make you sick in the stomach? Or better still, yawn? Questions that, answered or unanswered, will make no difference in anyone’s life? Questions such as these?
    •  What’s new? Dear known, my life is no Sitcom. It is an average life - I work for a living, have a family and some friends, domestic chores to complete, social obligations to meet with, and some personal time in which I tend to my mind and body. In a day’s routine, nothing changes too often (Thanks God for that). And being stuck in a jam or watching a new movie does not make breaking news. Please ask me “how are you instead”. Sounds much more personal, mannered too.

    • When is the good news? Now, getting a great job or buying a new car is not good enough news. It has to Always be “getting married” for poor single souls (like me) or pushing out a pooper in case it were a couple. People, get a life. No one exchanges the wedding wows, or bears a baby without the world knowing. You Will know when it happens. 

    • Is your office nine to six? The voice in my head politely - Oh yes, it is. Did I mention about this Superman/Superwoman Cape I was born with? It lets me take off from my office terrace to land right at my house, in ten minutes straight. Traffic, what’s that?

    • Do you drink? Time has taught me that this question is best left answered. 99 percent of the times, the person asking such a question has already decided whether you do or you don’t. And answering any which way will not make them change their opinion. Why bother to answer. 
    • What’s the weekend plan? Playing maid, folks, playing maid. And if the maid is being kind for a change, playing driver. 

    • Where did you buy this? Once upon a time, there was a simpleton (aka Me) who would tell the exact place, time and price of the buy. But then, comments followed. Oh, you go that far for just shopping. It is not rightly priced. It is not classy. Oh, it does not look so old (thereby calling me of liar). And thus, the simpleton in me died, and I moved on to “I don’t remember.” Never fails me. Finishes the topic there and then.

    Sunday, 7 October 2012

    Make yourself a life beautiful

    • Treat yourself to a large smile in the mirror, the first thing every morning. This will kick start your day positively, and make you feel fresh and energetic.

    • Appreciate people around you – be it for their sense of dressing, their attitude or any other quality that they may be bestowed with, each one of us has something within. Boost their ego when they are having a low day, it can work wonders to them and the relationship that you share.

    • Try and alleviate others' sufferings, specially the lesser blessed people around you. Lend your ears to them. Counsel and advise them if need be. Offer every help, which could be monetary or physical to them. This is sure to give you inner peace.

    • Always feel blessed. The world is full of sufferings. Whenever you experience pain, emotional or physical, attribute it to bad karmas of the past.

    • Always remember God. Count only your blessings, and remember to thank God for the good time. Spread happiness wherever you go.

    • Daily give half an hour to your body – it could be walking, yoga, or any other activity. Relax by sitting at the floor level, on a rug or a carpet. Take conscious note of the food that you consume, and make sure it meets or is close to your daily nutrition requirements.

    Today's guest post is brought to you by my best friend, and my favorite teacher, my Ma. She taught me to read, write, walk and finally drive. She taught me to think, wonder, appreciate and let go. She also taught me the impact of choice, the strength of forgiveness and importance of time. Ma, I love you.

    Saturday, 6 October 2012

    Why OMG is totally OMG!

    • A simple plot which remains centered throughout, it showcases a man questioning beliefs (rather misbeliefs) around religion in today's society. A welcome change from the usual boy-girl thing which sits at the heart of Indian cinema. 
    • After long has a movie come which will make you laugh without using visual or verbal vulgarity. Its high time a lesson is learnt. Standing ovation to Parish Rawal for his work, and dialogue delivery. An absolute ZERO skin show makes it a comfortable watch in any company.
    • Highlights how religious leaders have made religion one of the most prosperous professions in the country. Also conveys that such leaders thrive and rise due to people's baseless fears, and it is an addiction in the name of devotion.
    • Portrays all religions alike, the teachings in each similar and equally great, and emphasizes that we are all essentially human beings first, and a certain section later. Brings forward some bitter truths to which eyes have been closed to too long now. A glass of milk poured over idols would be better used to feed the hungry. The movie says that God does not want people to spend money on him, but practice his teachings in daily life. Claims that God is not in a single place of worship, but in every human being. That God is your friend, and not your father.
    • Showcases important moral values like planning against risk, fighting for your rights, and sticking to your beliefs when everyone but you has little faith in the outcome. Emphasizes that God or religion can only show you the way, the journey is still for you to make and cover.
    • So much woven around an interesting court case of Man against God, what could be more innovative. 
    Well, well, well. Can I say it anymore that I don't do movies at the cinema? I guess not. Box office addict or whatever, I think OMG is one of the best movies I have seen from this year and last. Loved every bit of it, in totality too.

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