Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Technology Virus...

While driving to the office today, I heard the RJ of the FM channel enthusiastically promoting a Smart Watch which can use your gestures and do lot of work – turn on or turn off the music, switch off or switch on lights, fans, TV etc and that the listeners must check this watch out and buy.

I ask WHY?

We anyways have already become so lazy thanks to so many gadgets around us in the name of Technology Revolution. Now get a watch and keep on sitting on your couches and make gestures. How many new diseases and disorders have been introduced over the past few years just because we don’t get enough sun light, we don’t move more often, we keep on sitting in our chairs for long hours, we watch iPads and Laptops continuously.

WhatsApp – Almost like Oxygen for us. Think about the pros – you stay connected to everyone, share photos, videos instantly, have a video call.
Think about the cons – I btw, realized them just now.

You get a forwarded message created by God knows who. You read it, laugh at it or cringe on the ‘severity’ or ‘gravity’ of seriousness of the message, long press the message and forward it to others. How many times do we check if the message is true? We spread rumors, fear and wrong information.
What about the spoken and written English skills? Gone down the drain. Just notice next time you speak to someone in English. Most of us now use slangs and Hinglish. Why? Because, most of the time we are forwarding the messages. 

In the name of ‘staying connected’, we ‘talk’ throughout WhatsApp and at that time who cares about the grammar? I am sure this post also have lot of grammatical errors.

Do these messages convey the correct emotions at all? When I don’t want to speak something directly, simple – just send it as a message. Let the other person read it and comprehend the emotion and reply back. Then we can tackle the further conversation accordingly. Now, I have realized that change in myself. Most of the time I end up saying things differently from what I actually meant them and is most of the time mistaken in wrong way and then I fret why the other person never gets my point. It’s because I wanted to say something with a different emotion and since I am practically out of touch of etiquettes of ‘talking’, I end up saying it in a completely different tone.

My father worked in a bank for the longest part of his career. I remember him talking about his clients. Regular clients. They would exchange greetings on festivals. Now, I don’t know any of my bank people. For the sake of it, I have designated Relationship managers for each of my bank accounts but they call me up once in a year – which I think is a part of their annual process. I do get automated festival greetings from my bank but I can’t respond back to them. I don’t know them and haven’t seen them ever.

Why walk down to our grocery store when you can order things online or get them home delivered by calling them up? I remember seeing one of our grocery store man getting married, giving sweets to us on the birth of his son and seeing him growing up before moving out of my home for my post-graduation.
Birthdays don’t excite me anymore. Not that since I am growing older I don’t like them but that excitement which used to be there to wait for the post man to start delivering the birthday cards and letters much earlier than actual birthday, later people calling in for wishing – that is not there. Yes, we do get messages and cake photos but hardly anyone CALLS UP to speak and convey their birthday wishes. On top of it, I post on my Facebook wall at the end of my birthday – ‘Thanks all for your lovely wishes. They mean a lot to me. They made my day’. I confess here. I am thanking only handful of those people from the bottom of my heart. For others, it’s just a customary step that has to be done being on social media.

I laugh my heart out when I see so many younger cousins/nephews/nieces of mine who, once they get married, post such emotional and loving messages thanking the Almighty for blessing them with the best spouse in the entire world and 100s of people liking it and posting ‘awww’ and ‘best couple in the world’ comments on that. Though I really do wish that they actually mean what they are saying and that they continue having that love but sad reality is that wait for completion of one year and no more thanking to God. I have seen that most of the time, the couples who are away from the social media are the ones who truly walk the talk of loving their partners in true way.

We meet someone after a long time and end up clicking pictures in every possible angle just to post those pictures with adorable messages on our message groups and Facebook walls. That long awaited meet could be enjoyed more without the phones or cameras and with a lot of coffee and talking.

We get to see so many horrible accidents and fights on social media. Why? Because people are capturing the videos instead of saving the victims. Something funny happens all of a sudden, it’s okay to capture it. But someone being shot at, beaten up mercilessly, being kidnapped… shall we not stop that instead of pulling out our Smart phones and capturing the act?

I sometimes feel that we were okay without our smart phones and without free Wi Fi hotspots. Simple phones which were used only for calling and messaging were enough for us. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Drive safely...

So, I drive these days to my office. Driving alone is such a boring activity, at least for me. That too, on the same route daily. But not the same traffic. Traffic in terms of number of vehicles can be less or more but on the scale of how many ‘horrible’ drivers are there on the road, it’s either the same or increases every day. Yesterday I was thinking, probably it’s a problem just with me.

I might be the only one who wants to switch and come in the ‘correct’ lane much before the crossing. I might be the only one who uses the indicator to check, confirm, inform and kind of ask for permission from the vehicle coming behind me to change the lane rather than randomly putting it on while I am recklessly cutting across that vehicle. I might be the only one who is not honking the horn and restlessly jumping from one lane to another wherever I find an inch of extra space, even if that means to jump to right most lane, blocking the way for the people who have to turn right when I have to actually take the left turn. I might be the only one who don’t want to squeeze the right most lane vehicle when I can comfortably drive in my lane. I might be the only one who prefers to apply the brakes and slow down when some slow driving vehicle suddenly come in my lane instead of blindly jumping in my right lane thinking that the idiotic fellow of that lane can apply the brakes. My brakes are supposed to be used only in case of emergency.

Out of the 4 scratches that my car have got in one year, 2 were gifted while my poor rampyaari was silently standing in the parking lot of my office, while I was obviously breaking my head inside the air conditioned office. 1 was when an auto rickshaw zipped across my way coming from nowhere and poor fellow loosened his grip on the break exactly at the time when I sneezed. His auto came backwards and gently kissed my car leaving behind a scar. Wow. That rhymed. The 4th one hurts the most. I don’t have any clue of why I decided to take a U-turn on a busy junction to get into the narrow by-lanes for reaching my office when I had been going straight for good 3-4 months. But I did that since my colleague told me the previous day that those by-lanes are very smooth these days with no traffic. And the by-lane welcomed me with a traffic jam. Spoke to my sister-in-law, listened to 10-15 songs on FM, had one or two biscuits which I normally keep in my car, whatsapped in almost all my active groups and one on one conversations. Finally I was fed up. I mean, hardly a kilometer of a distance and I had been crawling on that stretch from past 40 minutes. When I arrived at the final turn for my office, I see a big car on its lane and an IDIOT biker boy with a girl trying to outsmart everyone jumped ahead and blocked my way head-on, blocking the complete traffic. Only way out was if he could politely go back from where he jumped. But that’s too much for a man and biker boy’s ego. So, he stays and signals me to go ahead since he has given me few inches by ‘adjusting’ his bike position. I knew that I can’t go but by that time I had lost all my patience and zoomed in. That first moment when his bike touched my car, I knew that I have got a scratch but I didn’t stop. I made that biker boy yell and fear and cry for the stupidity that he had done. That meant, my car and his bike, both getting a long scratch. The moment I reached my office I realized that I should not have lost my patience but what to do? I think that auto rickshaws and the bikes are like water. They will fill in every empty space on the road whether that spot is easily reachable or not.

Lot of my colleagues in my office make fun of the speed with which I drive and boast about the maximum speed that they have hit. I don’t want to die in a car crash. You have too much confidence on your vehicle, other vehicles on the road and on God. I don’t. Big deal. I haven’t been in any such emergency situation as yet which makes me accelerate at 130 km/hour speed. For them drive fast gives them a high. For me, it doesn’t.

I don’t understand one thing. Out of 100 vehicles on the road, none or probably except 1-2, have any kind of emergency. Then why are people so restless on the road? Why are they not patient enough to drive in their lanes instead of cutting across like zip-zap? What will they lose or rather what will they gain? They might probably reach their destination 10 minutes earlier. What kind of competition do they want to win? I have seen many times that the cars will keep on honking their horns till you move aside. Why? Can’t you see that there are other vehicles coming from behind and I cannot move to left lane? Can’t you wait? How do you know that I don’t have to take a right turn because of which I am in the lane where I am?

And when it comes to giving way to an ambulance, all of us think that the other lane will make the way. In fact, lot of time you can see lot of vehicles suddenly behind an ambulance because they know that somehow people will give way to the ambulance and we too can tag along. I mean, instead of tagging along from behind, come in front of the ambulance and now honk your horns to help ambulance make its way through the traffic. At least, get aside in case you don’t want to volunteer for that.

Not only the vehicles. People on foot. Why can’t you see the signal and time when you should cross the road? Why do you block half the road for the vehicles/side which have Green signal? Yes, some signals are really long but that’s because they usually have heavy rush. So on such signals, why do you want to cross when it’s a Green light for a side? I often gasp of how people can be so careless on the road. It’s impossible to have zero human error on the road or no accidents. That’s too good a situation to ever happen. But only few things people need to keep in their minds:
  • There is no race. You are not supposed to drive ahead of every vehicle. No need to honk the horns and squeeze or crush other vehicles to make way for yourself
  • You are not an ambulance or a police jeep driver. There is no emergency situation for you. Even if there is, better to keep calm. Else, you yourself are going to land up in the hospital’s emergency ward
  • Learn why your vehicle have been given the horn, brakes and indicator. Seriously. And also that why your country has marked ‘lanes’ on the roads. The government is not that fond of painting that they would make different type of white or yellow lines on the black roads. They are there for a purpose.
  • Always promise yourself that you will drive such that neither you die nor anyone else should get hurt because of your stupidity. It can lead to someone bedridden for life or even losing it
  • There is absolutely no need to honk your horn the moment the signal turns green. For the car or bike ahead of you, it will take at least 2 seconds to put on the gear and accelerate. 2 seconds to move after a green signal does not mean that the driver is stupid or his/her vehicle has broken down. It’s absolutely normal
  • There are many people who love you and rely on you. They may not scream out their love towards you or how important you are for them but be careful on road for their sake.

By the way, my husband in a way confirmed that I am probably the only one who thinks that way – refer to the second paragraph. Scroll up again!! But I am not ashamed of that. Sorry.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebrate every day

Had been thinking about this since yesterday. Why do we celebrate Women's Day? Searched on the web. Got some answers. Apparently somewhere in 1900s around 15000 women marched through the NY city demanding for voting rights, equal pay and shorter working hours (I don’t know why was that demanded, but anyways). Following year, that day was declared to be observed as International Women’s Day.

After reading this, I am surprised that apart from voting rights in many countries, other demands still are to be met. In fact, the number of demands have rather increased. Demand for equality, respect, security, freedom… Respect at home, respect at workplace, respect for an entrepreneur, respect if woman wants to take up an offbeat route of life. The reason for starting to celebrate this day might be noble but it really does not help. Organizing fun women oriented events on one particular day of the year and then beat them up emotionally, physically and mentally on all other days.

In fact, on this particular day there are lakhs of women around the world who are still being oppressed. I am not against the fact to celebrate a day but only for day is not what it should be. Every individual – man or woman, boy or a girl deserves to be celebrated every single day. Every year we wonder if there is any Men’s Day as well. Google it. It says 19th November. How many of us know that? Handful.

It’s the mindset of the people which needs to be changed – men-women alike. There are women who wants to kill an embryo or an infant if it’s a girl. There are educated men who works in corporates with female colleagues but still thinks that they (females) are not capable enough to compete with us (males) and feel jealous if they get promoted – the boss might have got some favors from her or she might have done some extra boot licking to get the promotion. There are parents who still don’t want to send their girls to school or higher studies because they have ultimately to be married off. There are people who still does not hesitate even for a moment to pass ugly remarks and stares to women or raise their hands on them. Lot of women drive cars and bikes, yet if we see a female driving a car, all sorts of jokes are cracked – hope you have the license. How many accidents you have done? Let me pray while you drive. Eyes and mouths open wide if you see a girl riding a bulky bike. And talk about Women Empowerment campaign – many women are misusing the laws made to protect them to blackmail or extort money. We talk about equality but still fight if men do not vacate a seat ‘reserved’ for females (I am not talking about pregnant ladies).

You can’t become ‘Fragile Gender’ as per occasion or situation. Apart from the basic genetic and physical differences which are there between men and women, if you believe you are equal, you are equal always.

I know I am dreaming or talking about the perfect – and so, impossible – world. But respect for each and every living being is what is required, rather than specific days to celebrate and salute each role – Women, Men, Mother, Father, Daughter, Valentines and what not. I find it very awkward to utter those three words to my Mom and Mom-in-Law - Happy Mothers’ Day. Why should I consciously make that one day special for her? Same way, why should I be treated with respect and congratulated on this one day out of 365 days of the year? On our social networks daily we see so many quotes and videos made to show some beautiful messages to respect females, to love your mothers, parents, and babies. All of us Like them and Share them. How many of us have actually changed ourselves because of those videos or messages?


I say, celebrate those specific days but continue the celebration throughout the year. And don’t forget to celebrate Men’s Day too. They also deserves to be celebrated.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hard Hitting Movies...

God Bless Internet. For a movie lover like me, not watching a movie for almost 3 years on the Big Screen is almost suicidal. During my pregnancy, I went on to watch Gravity in 3D and my mother was mad about it… ‘how can you go and watch a 3D movie with all that loud noise? It might affect the baby’… The only affect that my baby has is that she is a full time drama queen, nothing else. Post-delivery, the only movie that I have watched in a theatre is Dil Dhadakne Do. Apart from other factors adding to my frustration level, this too played a major role. So, what did I do?

Vowed to myself that I will take out some time for myself. I will groom myself, write for my blog, play with my daughter, sleep on time whenever I can, come back home on time whenever I can AND watch the good movies online… Yes. No, not the pirated versions or anything. Watch available good movies on authorized online channels. Of course, I am going to miss the whole fun of a multiplex visit but the end result is achieved – watch the movie.

Fortunately or unfortunately for me, the first two movies which I watched online made me cry and cringe at the same time – PINK and Neerja.

PINK – have written it umpteen number of times but every time I think about a rape or molestation and the helplessness of a woman or rather the victim, I cry. This movie too made me cry. So many hard hitting dialogues and sequences. You are a Woman – we can touch you, feel you, own you anytime we want and you should not retort. That fellow who was not even there on the crime scene was excited about taking the revenge just for fun – mazaa aayega. Mazaa aayega?? To rob a woman of her modesty, to make a woman stand alone in this world, to make her cry for what she did in her self-defense, to lose her job… Just for his fun. And the reason I could so believe in this movie and this lame character is that I have seen such perverts in my life. And it is always going to be so difficult to fight these people. That kind of mentality is deep rooted. My mother and sister does not drink – they belong to the esteemed family. Though, all the men drink. She drinks alcohol that means she does not belong to a good family. When I got married, it was a mild cultural shock to see the ladies of my new family enjoying hard drinks since in my family, drinking alcohol is only for male members but they all are lovely people, doing pretty well with their lives, successful in their own ways, have given strong character and values to their kids and are loved by all. But they drink alcohol. So what? But guess what. I had a mild cultural shock since I had already seen girls drinking and smoking in my college but it was so difficult for my mother to digest that. So, somewhere, even some of my family members still has that mental block. And so does many other families.

Not supporting or debating on alcohol is good or bad but only that same thing consumed by different genders give different impressions to people. Which is unbelievable. Hats off to the entire cast of the movie. Perfectly portrayed what the girls go through, how the pervert minds think, the anger boiling in within us, the helplessness and pain of the victims… Made me think for so long after watching the movie. Such crimes are committed around us every day, just that we don’t know about them. When we come to know about them, we are too quick to pass our own judgement. The girls must be characterless to have gone through this. Why should girls go out for drinks? What is the need of girls to come back home so late at night? Girls should be married off quickly, what’s the point of having a job which needs them to stay so late in office… But guess, it’s difficult to change the mindset of 1.2 Billion strong population… Unless, government makes it mandatory for EVERYONE to watch this and all other sensible movies made on the subject.

NEERJA – Probably one of the very few movies which did not show the hard-outside-and-soft-inside terrorists. Harsh and heartless – that’s what terrorists are about and that’s what they showed and by far the only movie where I loved Sonam Kapoor’s acting. Though I won’t say that she was the perfect choice for the role and no one else could have pulled it off but glad that she got this movie her way and she accepted to do it. Everyone, again like PINK, played their role so perfectly. You never know what can be going on the minds of those terrorists. When will they open fire? When will they stab someone? When will they listen to anyone? Tricky situation. The people trapped inside trying to escape the situation cautiously with no injuries without knowing what is going outside and the people outside making strategies and bargaining for more time without knowing what is going inside. I could not sleep for at least two nights after watching NEERJA. The final scene of the aircraft when the terrorists opened fire and started killing any and every one coming their way – men, women, kids… painful to even think about what those people might have gone through. Shabana Azmi was effortless in her character. She is an institute of acting in herself. Nobody could have portrayed the role of Neerja’s mother. The man who played the role of Khalil was scary. Neerja's father was so strong, all throughout. That’s how fathers are. Glad that the film did not have lot of unnecessary drama or songs but got straight to the point pretty soon.

I can watch both these movies all over again for all the great performances, screenplay and dialogues but dare I watch them again. Hats off to the people who still believes in good cinema, rather than making a movie with songs from the likes of Yo Yo Honey Singh or Badshah…

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Balancing Act...

‘Wow, lucky people’
‘I should also become a Business Analyst. Their life is so easy and relaxed’
‘So early? Kabhi toh kaam kar liya karo yaar…’
‘Aish hain’
Almost about to complete 9 years of professional life as a Business Analyst and these comments have become a part of my professional life. To be precise, after I became a Mother, Working Mother that is.

If I pack my bags and leave office by 6:30 PM IST, I get to hear all of the above comments, taunts, unfulfilled wishes of how beautiful my life is. Is it that beautiful? On face of it, yes. But once I reach home after driving in mad traffic for 45 mins, I almost immediately have to get on the calls. Sometimes for mere 30 minutes, sometimes for continuous 2 hours; while my three year old daughter at times bang my door, simply coz she wants to meet me and hug me after many hours. Then I play with her. If possible, feed her one of the meals of her day. Prepare hot chapatis to have dinner with the family. Clean up the room. Make her drink milk while narrating one story after the other. Make her go to sleep. Finally, again picking up my laptop to sometimes finish off my pending work, sometimes to get on a call with my US team working well past mid night.

So, should I wear my daily calendar when I am leaving the office at 6:30 PM? And where do I mention on that wearable calendar that I almost ruined my Diwali vacations when I visited my hometown after 2.5 years and yet ended up with puffed eyes since I enjoyed during the day and worked during late nights?
I refrain from dropping any mails or replying to any of them during those late India hours unless it is required. But if I do, next day, people label me as a SHOW OFF. Sometimes I feel like explaining them for why I dropped that mail so late in the night instead of waiting for the morning. But then I am like, what the hell? They have already decided that I was showing off and they won't understand the reason. So, I just leave it there. I am not answerable to any of them. They call it an easy life. I call it a Balancing Act. My company is not paying me thousands of rupees monthly to reach office at 11 and leave at 6:30. They are paying me for the quality of work that I do.

I remember one such incident. Normally, when I get lot of things on my plate, I have a habit of preparing a prioritized To-Do list and start working on them one by one and marking them off my list. On one fine day, I spent 10 minutes to prepare my To-Do list and found out that almost all the items have the deadline of TODAY. So, I decided that I am going to focus on finishing them off. I had no tea. Did not call my mother, as I usually do. Took minimal breaks and by 5:45 PM felt proud of myself that I had cleared off all those items from my list. Took a 15 minutes relaxed break to talk to my colleague-cum-friend and by 6:00 PM I decided to leave the office. While I covered the mere 50-100 meters of distance from my desk till the lift, I encountered 5 of my colleagues who sarcastically pointed out that I had a great, easy going and enjoyable life that I am leaving my office at 6 and I was like: ‘Yes Idiots. I can leave at 6 because I planned my day well, completed my work and no one is dependent on my physical presence in the office. You, on the other hand, are wasting your unplanned day by taking multiple un-required breaks, having that extra sugary tea and goofing around’.

If I leave by 6:30 and then login at midnight, it’s not out of choice. It’s out of my circumstances. I have a small kid to take care of, who meets me after a gap of 7 to 8 hours. Believe me, I am not just a typist who writes some stories. I am a professional business analyst, who thinks, analyzes and writes the technical document, named as User Stories. If you think that I create that junk document in mere 15 minutes, I challenge you to create that JUNK document with the same quality for me. Quality is the word. Yes, your life is tough. So is mine. The grass always look greener on the other side.

Such comments once is fine. Twice is okay. Thrice can still be ignored. But not every day. And what are YOU expecting? Are you my boss? Is your work being affected if I leave early? If yes, raise that concern to my manager or to me. I can correct that but don’t expect me to sit in the office till late in the night just because of you, your targets, your unplanned day and your incomplete work. That’s your problem. Not mine. Every such irresponsible comment or taunt kills me. For God’s sake, my parents had spent lakhs of money on my education and I can proudly say that I have burnt the midnight oil to grasp that knowledge and get a job for myself. Never ever have any of my managers called me to complain that I am not doing my work well. On the contrary, have always got the best of compliments for my work from the fraternity. Then how can leaving early be a problem for you or for me? If I sit in the office and take calls from there and then leave for home at 8 or 9 PM, does that mark me a better employee? How? I fail to understand that logic simply because we have virtual meetings. When all the people on the call can practically take it from anywhere, how does taking it from office makes me a better or hard working employee?

Your role is difficult, so is mine. Yours might be more difficult than mine but that doesn’t make my role easy. It’s just a tad bit easier. And I guarantee that if you plan it better and be more disciplined, you can also complete your work well within time and leave EARLY. You might be gauged on the hard skills of coding and testing. I am gauged on the soft skills of writing stories and communicating and managing. You miss a line of code or a test case, you are questioned and grilled. I miss an important communication or miss an acceptance criteria in my story, I am questioned and grilled. You decide to work hard to get a hike or a promotion. I do a balancing act to continue the work that I love and get hugs from my daughter.

Keep feeling jealous but don’t pour that out on me…