Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Writer or a 'Type'-Writer

Writing has become my passion ever since I could start making sense of what I read. The thought process that follows after reading something that has an impact on you, is what exactly made me dive in to writing. My words started giving shape to my thought process and writing has thus become one of my identities.

Yet, I wonder at times - I say I am a writer, but I hold no pen or paper. The keyboard on the laptop punches each letter for me and completes my script. Of late, I have realised that I have lost touch with the hand-written skills that formed the very basis of my writing. It seems as though I have always been punching letters on the keyboard.

There are very rare occasions when I need to actually write with the help of a pen, yet it seems a new experience each time. It is difficult to believe that my handwriting looks no more than few letters scribbled on a page. I was once proud to receive the best handwriting award in school, used to be happy to see the 'good' remark made by a teacher for my neat writing in the notebooks.

Alas, the hand-written script has taken a back seat with the convenience that the keyboard offers. The new age writers now hold a laptop/pc/i-pads... Earlier, a pen was the symbol for writing. And now, fingers running through the keyboard symbolises it. Holding a pen after a long time today, punched my mind hard as I could barely write with the speed that I used to, when I was not even introduced to the computer-aided writing!!!

Everything around has become digitised, so has my writing! I used to hold a pen in my hand and words would flow from my mind. Today, words do flow and faster, only that I am a slave to the keyboard now.

Yet, I hope to still write back with a pen in my hand. And, even hope that it turns out to be a neat script.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Agar Biscuits Nahi Hote, Toh Mera Kya Hota...

Agar biscuits nahi hote, toh mera kya hota.... Wohi hota jo wo nahi nahi hote toh hota... :)

For me biscuits are a saviour :) Oh yes, they are! and how... When I am down with any kind of illness, medicines become an integral part to recover asap, back to a normal ill-free life, which we often take for granted.

Well, back to the biscuits. I take pleasure to write this, as biscuits save me hell lotta disgust than the illness itself! Biscuits, medicines...??? I won't ask you to do join the dots and try to find a logical connection here...

Here is what biscuits do to me :)

Illness catches me rarely,
And when it does, it drives me crazy, literally!
More than the sickness and the pain,
It is the medicines that drive me insane!

But what to do, can't stay ill until I fall,
And that's how medicines get a call!
And, that is when biscuits gain high regards from me,
After all they save me from the dreaded medicines, you see!

Medicines and me don't get along quite well,
When I force them through my throat, it feels like hell!
And then, I immediately gulp some water,
To have a quick bite of a biscuit later!

Nothing special about these biscuits otherwise,
But they are a real saviour post a dose of dismal medicines, to be precise!
They help me overcome that miserable taste of a pill,
That's how biscuits play their part for my recovery, and then I can chill!

So that's the connection between the medicines and the biscuits for me,
I have stopped wondering about the logic behind this, but I am happy :)
If it were not biscuits, I could have had a cake or something,
But it is biscuits that fill the khau cha dabba first than anything!

Tabhi toh,
Agar biscuits nahi hote, toh mera kya hota.... Wohi hota jo wo nahi nahi hote toh hota... :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Innocent Punch

Atharva, another name for Lord Ganesha, one of the most revered by many, holds a special place in everyone's hearts. Atharva, also the name of my seven years old nephew (my didi's son), also holds high regards for the elephant god. So much so, that he advocates his being a strict vegetarian, in the name of the Lord! "My name is Atharva, meaning Lord Ganesha. I will not eat meat or even eggs", is what he reiterates ever since he started getting sense of the world around. And, he has stuck to what he believes in, at this tender age! Although his parents and little-elder sister, all love to slurp and burp over non-vegetarian delicacies.

Once didi took a pastry for both her kids. They ate it with joy and didi brought the same pastry for them yet again the next week. Slip of tongue, especially at the wrong time and in front of the wrong person, is exactly what happened on didi's part that day. While chatting with her daughter Aarya, she said 'ya, this pastry has an egg content'. That was it! Atharva was just around and these words could not escape his ears. He got furious and said, "Why are you telling this so late? I have already eaten this last week! Why did you give it to me?" He did not touch the pastry this time. Didi was left with no words as she did not expect him to react so strongly. She thought it was okay to eat the pastry for him too.

In yet another instance, this kiddo left his mom speechless. He loves pets, but is not allowed to keep them at home. He had spotted a cat in his society and had made place for her in a corner. He is the cat's caretaker, he claims. Once he asked his mom for an old towel or a cloth to keep the cat from cold. She said that there is no such cloth to give. His reply was a shocker! "I knew you would say this. You have no love for animals, you only know how to eat them!"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All In A Day's Work!

Your billable hours for the month are due close of business today. Your top client has been waiting (somewhat impatiently) to see you for over 20 minutes. You had 30 days to complete a project, and your deadline is… say, tomorrow. And you are due home now for your daughter’s birthday celebrations.
Congratulations! You have entered Work Overload, the state of ‘Too Much Work, All the Time’. Anxiety, burnout, irritability, forgetfulness- all part of the clinic scenery - having a stressful day…

Seriously, how did we all get here?
We are all driven to Work Overload by our need to cope daily with clients, deadlines, scheduling conflicts, dozens (or hundreds) of e-mails, the continual interruptions of phone calls and other paging devices, and all the other demands of working.

We are stressed and we are wired! E-mail, cell phones, laptops, PDA’s- they were supposed to liberate us from Work Overload. Instead, mobile office technology has taken us hostage. Thanks to all this cool gear, we are now able to conduct business anytime and anywhere, we can no longer shut the office door. We check e-mail on the weekend or late at night, answer pages at all hours, send faxes from home, and work while we are on vacation- all because we can, and feel we have to.

Tactics to leave Work Overload behind:
The situation may seem out of control, but it is not hopeless. There are number of tactics you can use to blunt the worst impacts of Work Overload.
Don’t over-commit: Gracefully get out from under your most time-consuming and energy-draining clients. Ask yourself whether the work you are doing for the client is profitable, or more stressful than profitable. It is difficult to say ‘No’ to a client in today’s economic circumstances. But, just by relieving all the stress you are under, from one difficult client, you make yourself open and available to more of your ideal clients. And, have you noticed you are more productive and efficient when you are working with your ideal clients? Increased productivity equals increased billable hours used efficiently.

Learn to under-promise and over-deliver:
Give yourself a reserve of time. Make sure the client always feels he or she got more than expected. For example, if you can prepare the contract by Wednesday noon, tell your client you will have it done by Friday afternoon. Deliver it on Wednesday and you will be a hero! If you find that you cannot meet a deadline or deliver on time, let the client know about it immediately. Explain when you can complete the project, then get it done on time. Most people will not mind because you were honest.

Calendar everything:
When it is on the calendar, you do not always have to decide what to do next. Use your calendar to schedule appointments, deadlines (promised as well as statutory), time to actually do the work, and personal commitments. This will let you see at a glance when your workflow is headed for trouble, and allow you time to make adjustments.

Technology allows us to zip through many repetitious (and boring) office tasks. Automate as many of these tasks as possible. Start with standardized documents. Get in to ‘type it once’ mode for any standard letters, forms or notices. Use an advanced document automation system to produce or modify documents, and watch your paper workload shrink.

Tackle clusters of similar tasks each day:
Switching continually from one task to another and back makes your workload seem greater, and breeds inefficiency and stress. We all know how it is too easy to stop what you are doing to read a new e-mail. Try this: three times a day, do nothing but answer your e-mails (rather than answering them intermittently all day). If your internet connection is always on and the computer dings whenever you have a new e-mail, turn the ‘instant notification’ off. Similarly, nothing breaks concentration like having a client call about a matter unrelated to what you are working on. Set up ‘telephone free’ time. Mark off on your daily schedule the times when you accept phone calls and when you don’t. if you need to, give your administrative assistant a list of ideal clients to put through. Educate your clients on when you usually accept or return calls. They will usually call during those hours. Streamlining your workflow increases productivity with less stress and work anxiety.

Take a load off at least once a day:
Go to lunch. Take a short walk. Try to take a break during which you are not involved with clients, partners, or any work at all. If you cannot leave the building for even half hour, train yourself to step away from your desk now and then. If you need to discuss an issue with co-workers, think about having the meeting around a conference room table instead of through e-mail. Make sure your day includes some calls to friends, family, anyone outside of work who will not stress you out.

Reserve ‘sacred time’ to plan, everyday:
This means no interruptions for 20-30 minutes, so you can review your progress, prioritise work and set your schedule. It will clear your mind and your schedule.

Institute a ‘closed door’ policy:
Remember, the door swings both ways. Nothing stops unnecessary conversations like a closed door. Educate your partners on your work habits. They won’t be offended if they understand when you need to be left alone.

Turn these tactics in to daily work habits and wave Work Overload good goodbye :-) You will find you can still excel at your job and maintain a healthy professional livelihood.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Adarsh Commonwealth!!!

Our politicians make hay in their power game,
They seem to be believing in it without shame,
After all it is all about money honey,
While the common man strives hard to earn each penny!

Ministers have made it a legacy,
Scams and scandals seem to fit their policy,
Issues start surfacing and ultimately gain limelight,
What follows is the 'Winds of change' - a fake political sight!

Maharashtra is defamed as an FSI state,
Ministers have well adopted the land mafia trait,
Merely changing people for positions won't change its fate,
Good governance is what we await!

'Commonwealth' - some live up to the name,
And gulp it without a trace of shame,
Finally they have to succumb for they have been caught,
Else would still enjoy their positions - if not!

Politics is a gamble,
Where even the highest mantri may fumble,
If the party high command wants to shuffle,
No one can say a word, but to hobble!

Each minister then starts eyeing for a meaty position,
And the party has to brace itself to choose and handle the situation,
These changes are ultimately adjustments,
In the name of fine-tuning and corrections!

Yet they need to satisfy a minister's desire,
Else there is a risk of the party being on fire,
No where do they seem concerned for the common man's financial health,
Soon they will come up with more such mess, like the 'Adarsh Commenwealth'!