Friday, November 11, 2016

Outsourcing - 'sweet & sour'

As per the definition on TechTarget, "Outsourcing is a practice in which an individual or company performs tasks, provides services or manufactures products for another company -- functions that could have been or is usually done in-house. Outsourcing is typically used by companies to save costs."

Jobs getting outsourced is not uncommon. The costs and benefits realized from outsourcing has truly brought in cultural diversity. People relocate with respect to regions, country and even continents in search of greener pastures. Such a crowd struggles to prove their worth and find acceptability in their new home along with enjoying its locales and amenities. They assimilate traditional customs of their new home while at the same time try to practice their religious and traditional beliefs. The increase in number of such hard working professionals has also made an adverse impact and impressions on the local population.The cost of such migration and assimilation is what the world is still trying work out.

The same situation is seen in the service industry where services related to machines, work etc gets outsourced. This facility has benefited the customers in terms of ease in getting things done. A faulty electrical connection or a leaky tap; gets fixed in no time, all thanks to service providers. The customer does have to bear an additional cost for the home service but it hardly matters when compared to the convenience that it provides.

The Internet Service Provider commands a special mention as this service has become a part of our social and professional life. Adults and kids, all alike would find it difficult without this addiction of social networking. Internet or gaming or a virtual personality addiction; is something that has found acceptability as a problem and will also surely find the solutions. The total cost in such cases may not be completely understood till the change of entire generation and its attitude towards the world ceases to exist.

With so many outsourcing domains, what caught my eye was the concept on 'surrogate mother'. The idea of motherhood has now been 'outsourced' to cope up with a few problems ranging from medical to personal to convenience. Its strange to read about people who opt for this procedure in order to become parents; reasons are best laid at rest. The cost of such a practice is now in the process of getting identified and laws getting written in order to cope with the issues involving this.

God has his ways of running the world. Ancient scriptures do mention about medical marvels. Modern man boasts of discovering and inventing. It is the society that has to realize the pros and cons of outsourcing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Madness vs Euphoria

Image result for zooming traffic vehicles 

I feel so much happiness within. The beauty of the world is so great. My body and soul, together is in tune with nature. The excitement brought by mother earth and nature is so much alluring.

The chirping of the birds bring immense joy that I can only feel and enjoy. The rustling of the leaves and the water flowing down the stream over pebbles and boughs, fills my spirit with music that only I can hear. This naturally orchestrated music is neither predictable nor assumed. No one knows the conductor but I can hear the enchanting music.

The mix of dark and blue sky with its shades of white and gray clouds, rising golden sun, the disappearing moon, flying birds; moisten my eyes and drown me in amazement that perplexes me and my soul.

The taste of moist morning dew on my hands and cheeks and nose, brings the warmth of water on my dry parched soul. I feel rejuvenated at being blessed with this splendid sight that I can hardly behold.

I start dancing to the tune that I hear, see, taste and feel. My joy transcends into movements and the rhythm within takes me further towards happiness. The movement of arms and feet is in tune with the rhythm within. 

"Vrrrroooommmm....", the sound of a bike and a shout, "Get out of the way, you mad man .... ", jolts me awake. I find the soft earth turning to black asphalt road, the chirping of birds changing into blaring of vehicle horns, the sky giving way to metro city line, the sound and flow of water turns to a jet of vehicles. None knows where they are going, none exhibits joy on face, none understands me; I try to stop them so that I can share my vision, but not one has the time for me. 

"Are these people mad ?", I ask.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Child Enterpreneurs

The word 'Entrepreneur' has always intrigued, fascinated and perplexed me.

1. Intrigue - it comes due to the curiosity for the word 'entrepreneur', which is used with the term 'child'.  

2. Fascination - it comes because of interest in a foreign word that has become so popular. [Entrepreneur is a French word coined by the economist Jean-Baptiste Say, and usually is translated as, "adventurer"]

3. Perplexity - this is due to the fact that a child, considered to be growing and developing is now getting identified with being an entrepreneur.

It is not everyday that we get to meet real and happy entrepreneurs. I personally do not consider the word 'successful' very important in this description as its a relative term and very contextual. I have had the good luck of meeting a few entrepreneurs in various fields with different skills who had indeed made a positive impression with their break through approach; be it in selling groceries, providing household services or professional assistance. What really caught my eye was a very young gusty mechanic boy working at a workshop near my home. He was not old enough to start working nor did he meet the minimum age criteria. 

The happy boy had a liking for vehicles and would surprise everyone with his strength and knowledge to do the heavy work. Though he was short in height, he would move the two wheelers with ease. He probably attended school too and helped his father in the afternoons. His exceptional knowledge at a young age impressed one and all. 

Being curious, I asked him one day, "How do you manage to do such heavy work ?" To this he very simply replied, "Aunty, I love to look after vehicles and I don't feel this is work". The young boy's prompt and true reply stunned me. I met an entrepreneur who worked because of his interest and love for something and not for the need. This child entrepreneur coined a new meaning to the word.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Communication ke side effects

One day, a mother daughter duo was walking down the road for an evening walk. The daughter looked preoccupied, so the mother asked her the problem.

"Oh nothing, much, just that we friends had an argument at school. Tanya is getting on everybody's nerves. Even the Class 9 girls hate her, make fun of her. Our class also tries to avoid her. But she continues to behave the same way.", said the daughter.

The mother could not understand the gravity of the matter, but her daughter's mood was enough for her to take the matter seriously. "What is the problem ? Why are senior class girls also having problems with Tanya ? Do you really interact with the Class 9 girls so much ? Why ? .... ", the list of questions seemed never to end.

The daughter forgot her main problem and started to think about answering all her mother's queries - what to answer, how to answer and most importantly - where to start etc. Tanya, her classmate, was quite a manipulative person, who cooked up stories about people and made their life complicated.

"So how does this affect you ?" quipped the mother.

"Well not directly, but I don't like her to harass others", replied the daughter.

"Why do you need to poke your nose in others' problems ?", the mother's remark was more of an advice or a question, left me confused.

"Oh ! that is why I don't tell you", the final decision from the daughter was not the first of its kind. Probably, most of us I made the same statement to our parents. The actual problem got totally sidelined and while communicating, the mother daughter actually faced a problem of communication gap.

Isn't this a side effect of communication - that of giving rise to more confusion or never ending discussion. People want to be heard and not listen to others, which possibly causes the communication side effects. Enjoy folks and learn to listen !

Happy Streets @ Kothrud

'Happy Steets' - an event started by Times of India on Sundays for the residents of various parts of Pune city; is some thing that every individual looks forward to. I was no different. I wanted to feel the event on all the 3 Sundays when it was first announced to take place in our area. The first day, I got up all refreshed and raring to go on the street upon hearing the loud music. 

The activities going on as part of the event ie zumba, cycling, football, skating, drawing etc added to the  energy of one and all. I was especially interested in zumba dance as it involved light exercise and dance movements; both. All youngsters were dancing away to glory and so I too joined them for enjoying the moment and coordinating the steps with the stage dancers. Though, I had little experience as a dancer and with two left feet, I enjoyed the jumping and movement. This activity proved to be refreshing for me as  I was required to keep up with the others and at the same time soak in the happiness all around.

Sure, people are happy happy to be part of happy streets as the streets provide for a vehicle free and relaxed sunday morning. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Rodent in Us All

Image result for brown hamster

Our persistent efforts in identifying a perfect pet for our Pune flat, resulted in we bringing home a brown colored hamster; who soon became a family member. The day started with feeding him seeds and vegetables, before actually thinking of a breakfast for us. He brought us joy and excitement and showed us to be caring and careful towards a very small animal. His small size prompted us to keep him confined in a single room so that he would have a large area to roam about and allow us to be vigilante of his presence. 

At night, we would keep a large stock of sunflower seeds for him to take care of his needs for the night. And our hamster would greedily stuff the available eatables in his mouth; which would cause his mouth to actually swell. After finding a comfortable spot, he would dump his food store to see him through the night. No matter how less his requirement, his tendency to accumulate his food was greater. 

In fact, all rodents exhibit this behavior of storing food for the so called rainy day. 'Scrat', the ICE AGE movie squirrel has become quite a hero that comes up with crazy ideas and results while chasing his favorite food. The Mickey Mouse squirrels also are shown to be running after seeds and piling it into their house. In general, the rodent den in fields is full of grains and a nightmare for the farmers. 

The same tendency is present in us humans too. We tide over adverse situations by providing for our future needs. This need varies from person to person. Few people plan for the next meal, few for another month, few others probably plan for generations by having provisions that buy food. So the rodent in us drives us to accumulate, to intelligently store for future consumption. The problem accentuates when we cannot define our wants, but we accumulate more than our need, . The definition of need or want itself is abstract. The news of black money or Panama papers or any form of swindling is hardly a surprise, anymore. Blame it on the rodent in us.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Virtual Personality

6:30 AM - Alarm rings !
Navya switches off the alarm after a minute. Her eyes are still sleepy and her mind still foggy with yesterdays' late night party. She tries to curse the alarm but her eyes take her to the glass window which is shining with the gentle sun rays. "Ah, the meeting.... an important client ...... lunch ..... dress .... breakfast ........ mobile charger ..... her whatsapp status...", her thoughts now start to get more focused on the situation and things that need to be done. Quickly she takes a selfie with the sun rays behind her. Image posted and status updated to 'woke up to a beautiful morning ! Good morning !'. She has quickly gone through the 25 messages that she received after she disconnected at 2:00 AM. The jokes though funny don't amuse her, the long forwarded messages irritate her. Eventually, the sun rays camouflage the work pressure and irritation within.

8:00 AM - Navya reaches out to the door before checking that she has all things needed like mobile, charger, wallet, meeting papers etc. Her hungry stomach craves for some food but she needs to catch her 8:15 AM local train. Anyway, her flat stomach accentuates her formal attire and hence a quick photo for her friends to see. Whatsapp status updated to 'Purchased dress from LimeRoad'. The impressive dress hides her hunger pangs.

8:25 AM - Navya is seated comfortably in the local and quickly browses her 4G mobile for messages and mails. So many mails on health and exercise explaining the benefits of home cooked simple food along with a 25 minutes exercise routine. Thankfully, a vada  pav vendor comes along and Navya is quick to buy one or else she fears fainting. Such medical emergencies are costly for a girl staying alone in a big city. The messages have made the commute short and at the same time devoid her of observing or communicating with her co-passengers.

9:30 AM - Navya is comfortably seated at her office desk. Her job as a receptionist of a multinational company, is demanding and hectic. The spicy vada pav has only added to a craving for hot cup of tea. Her mobile beeps as soon as new messages pour in. Soon other employees start coming with sounds of pleasantries like 'hello', 'good morning', 'how are you', 'hi u look beautiful', 'new dress', 'looking great', 'missed the bus', 'hi local was cancelled' and 'oh dear ! isn't it good morning'; bringing life into the low ceiling, air conditioner cooled and formal atmosphere. Her friend working in the same branch comes and pinches her arm and asks for a selfie together with her. Whatsapp status is now updated to 'received compliments' and the DP changed to the latest selfie. Her life is like an open book with much to read in between the lines.

1:30 PM - At the lunch table, Navya opens her tiffin that she orders from the local mess. Hot food at last ! Navya relishes every morsel though it is no match for the food cooked by her mother. She herself is a good cook but has no time after the office, shopping, parties, beauty parlors and movies. And to mention her friendship with the man working in another company but the same premises. Her whatsapp status is immediately updated to 'Enjoyed a sumptuous lunch'. The comparison of mess food and home food and her family brings a thoughtful expression but she soon dismisses it for she has to plan the meeting venue and get it ready in time.

5:00 PM - Navya is already packing her things for she is in hurry to catch the local and get ready for a movie with her friend. The messages received during working hours are few but every time the mobile beeps, she is distracted from her work. The latest message from her friend is about the dinner after movie. She quickly posts her message and her compulsive need to update her status gets the better of her. In a hurry she can think of nothing else so her whatsapp status is updated to 'Bye, office ! In a hurry ...'

8:00 PM - Navya is in the multiplex watching the latest star war franchise but she is already thinking about the message from her parents informing her about her proposed meeting with a rich MBA boy that the pandit has approved. She tries to concentrate on the movie but the message keeps on popping in her head. At the end, she and her friend decide upon the restaurant and move out. The bright lights at the multiplex and the joyful crowd deserve a photograph with the people concerned showing the fun and excitement they had. Whatsapp status is quickly updated to 'Enjoyed Star Wars - a must watch'; by the time the waiter brings in their order. Their excited chatter dulls away Navya's turmoil.

1:00 AM - Navya prepares for bed. The watchman is heard shouting 'jagte raho ....' in the distance. A few cars zoom past her building. All is quiet. Navya is fast asleep after a tiring day. The other Navya is still awake for the mobile is yet not disconnected from the network.  Its virtual world out there.

Makes her wonder - is world virtual or am I ?

Your intelligence is my common sense

Manasi Kolhatkar Painting

Neha's hand at painting was drawing appreciation from friends and neighbors. Even her classmates would exclaim in amazement at her abilities. Her parents were also proud of her work and encouraged her in pursuing her hobby. Neha, on her part, would look forward to her drawing classes and work on her piece with concentration and gusto. Her teacher had seen a spark in Neha for painting water color or landscapes and he would give her challenging tasks.

'All this attention and praise should rather not go to Neha's head', her parents would think. So Neha's father would enquire about others' work too. He chanced upon the fact that acrylic paintings looked attractive. So one day, he asked Neha about taking up acrylic painting so as to learn new things. Neha was perplexed at this question for she felt that she had a lot to learn in water colors. So gathering her wits and confidence, she told her father that water color requires more effort and perfection. The color shades need to be perfect and once done, cannot be repainted. The acrylic colors on the other hand require more patience and concentration. The paint has to be dry for other color to be painted on top of it.

Neha gave quite some information to her parents that day who were ignorant of these facts. But on realizing the details, Neha's father exclaimed that indeed he has gained a lot of information and become more intelligent.

"Obviously, Baba, Your intelligence is my common sense ", quipped Neha.

All of us burst out laughing and Neha got the permission to paint her room as well. The required paints have been bought by her father without losing any time. 

Did you bring the purse ?

I recall this incident that happened a few years back when my daughter was about 4 year old. Our house was located near a garden which would be full of children and their mothers in the evening. You could witness excitement and chaos with the garden full of children running, shouting and playing around. Such a situation is an opportunity for the balloon sellers as well. No wonder that there would be a few around the garden.

One evening, after playing for over 2 hours on the swing and slide and fighting with friends, my daughter finally called it a day! Deep within, I was relieved to finally get back to home, have dinner and sleep peacefully after a job and cooking and the garden part. So the two of us started to walk home. Stepping outside, my daughter saw the balloons and wanted me to buy one for her. Quickly I gave her the red balloon that she so much wanted. The joy and excitement on her face and a doubt on mine, were two contrasting expressions. I was worried that everyday this would get repeated and the talk of good parenting would fly into the air.

The next day, as expected the same thing happened. My daughter insisted on buying another balloon. But obviously, I was prepared and told her that I had forgotten to bring my purse with me. No purse meant no money and no money meant no balloon. Disappointed, my daughter looked at the bunch of balloons and we walked away. I was surprised at her understanding nature and I also gave a pat on my back for instilling a sense of money value in my daughter.

On the third day, I made some cooking arrangements and both of us dressed for going to the garden. Locking the door, I was preoccupied with thoughts on cooking that would follow on reaching home, when suddenly, out of the blue, my daughter asked me, "Did you bring the purse ?". "Yes, Of course ! Dear, why do you ask ?"

"So that we may buy the balloon !", said an excited little girl's voice.

Before I could stand my ground, I knew I had been bowled over. It never struck me that my daughter would catch me in a situation like this.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher !!

Image result for tilgul ghya god god bola
It was a very happy moment for me to receive message on Makar Sankranti, from my teacher and research guide. Although a true Gujarati, he had taken special care to send the message in Marathi language. His words were simple and jumbled up a bit but conveyed the message. The words were 'tilgul dya gud gud bolya', instead of 'til gul ghya god god bola'. [give til gul and speak sweetly, instead of take til gul and speak sweetly].

My habit of correcting, developed over a period of time as part of me being a teacher; took over me. I made a mention of this to my daughter to which she quickly replied, "Once a teacher, always a teacher !". She very nicely conveyed that it is more important to see the broader picture. We both had a hearty laugh over this.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Basking in Glory

Indians are more accustomed to hot sunny weather than the cold winters. Though with the rising temperatures, the number of air conditioners has increased so much that even hill stations boast of providing air conditioners and heaters as may be the weather. No matter what the comforts are, humans have always exhibited a tendency to want for something missing. People in cold climate value the sunny weather where as those living in warmer regions truly wish for cloudy or cool weather.

It was on one such cold winter morning in Pune, that I was on my way to the office wearing clothes for the cold climate. The exceptional weather, though welcome had brought along with it a long list of health and life style problems. To stay healthy, most Puneites were seen in warm clothing with the head properly covered to protect against the wind. With this situation, a lot of people would prefer to stand in the sun or prefer to wait in the sunny area at a traffic signal. 

My own experience has been to soak in the Vitamin D as much as possible while making chappatis. I am really glad and proud that our kitchen window opens is on the east side with lot of gulmohar trees. Doctors may come across a rising Vitamin D deficiency, but nothing beats the natural source, the sun. 

Anyway, while going to the office, I chanced to see a dog sitting on the divider in the middle of the road, soaking up the sun. The vehicles zooming past, had no effect on it, for there it lay stretched from 'paw to paw'. This was the best place for it to sleep soundly right in the middle of hectic traffic activity. The dog was indeed basking not in the sun but in the glory of its own successful life. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Success : Measurements & Perspectives

                                           Image result for professionals socializing
It is perplexing to define success. The term and its relevance, varies from individual to individual. Hence the difficulty. Most of the time, success is assessed as per present or near future needs. Students perceive success depending on their educational evaluation, professionals do so in terms of performance benefits; senior citizens consider themselves successful depending on the completion of their earthly responsibilities or their health etc. In most cases, the notion of being successful, changes or rather metamorphoses as per situation or age or personality.

For the discussion of this blog, my evaluation for success is on the basis of defining the measurements or parameters and then looking at the perspectives of others or self; depending on the situation. The definition of parameters itself is an individual opinion for what one may consider as important may not exist at all for the other. At the same time, the perspectives are also quite relative for they depend on who is it that one considers important for the frank opinion.

Anyway, to make matters short, I have taken into consideration the role that an individual has in life and family; say self, daughter/son, sister/brother, mother/father etc. as the parameters for measuring success. By perspective, my discussion has been from the other persons eyes which could be taken as opinion / judgement / study.

Childhood / Teenager : As a child, most of us remember doing good in studies, working as per parents wishes, inculcating good habits; these were seen as success. Most will consider themselves to be successful. Our family members also take pride in the individuals that we are today. And the most important part of growing up - Friends; these are the ones who though few in number, are those who take you for what you are. If one gets a chance to meet the teachers and neighbors, then they will always have pride in their eyes for you.

Profession : 'Love your job and not your company'. This saying and various factors has made people look at career and not job; as a way to grow professionally, personally and socially. Financial growth has proved successful with most of the materialistic things realized too quickly. Socializing among colleagues, neighbors, friends, family has taken a new form ie through social networking applications. Compared to our childhood, here the number of groups and friends may be large along with our inclination to live in a virtual world. This aspect of networking has just realized the dangers that most of us face.

Family : This is truly the acid test for being successful. For women, it is more to do with keeping the home and family together. Children view their mother as a confidante, expect her for good cooking, need her to be present before them and so on. Other family members keep the woman on her toes with all their demands and expectations. The woman accordingly has to take on various roles to run the house with an iron hand and warm heart. For men, the stereotypical husband image has changed drastically to be the new age man who has to learn to work in the house and look after the children too. The demand on the man of the house is more towards planning. Men and women are successful depending on the perspective. If you ask your parents - they definitely consider you successful. If you ask your in laws - they may consider you successful, probably a little more critically. If you ask your kids - they simply love or hate you depending on their mood swings.

Self : Each individual has learnt to take some time from the busy routine to call it 'mytime'. This is very important part of the life. We all try to pursue hobby or take up an interesting activity to acknowledge our need for self gratification. A well realized hobby gives rise to a secondary career too. Success in this case is truly measured as it involves only the individual perspective and nobody else's biased opinion or judgement.

Indeed, defining and analyzing success is very complex. The desire to succeed is even greater than the individual but in what is what is needed to be thought about.

God is Observer

It is probably during emotional or weak moments that one truly remembers God. Happy moments are those that give rise to the thank yous', speeches etc.

"Thoughtfulness comes only at the price of thoughtlessness."

Do we not see world summits on environments and global warming as a result of man's avarice ? Do we not question violence as a result of polarization ?  These are the issues to ponder on. At the same time mankind has made conscious remedial efforts in preserving nature and culture. These are the things that we reminisce and feel proud about. Efforts towards global solutions are a small step that give us a notion of being in control thereby making our contribution.

The same situation can be felt on a personal level which touches us the most. When one does not feel completely in control of things (the ability to succeed at our task or role or the responsibility) happening around, only then we ponder about 'who is the actual controller?' We try to remember God and put our faith in The Divine. Our prayers are at times answered and unexpected results are obtained. The delay in His intervention is seen as the need for more patience. He who has created the universe and amongst many marvels, our mother Earth, is truly Great. Even science fails to keep pace with His innovations.

As a student of science and a believer in His supreme power, I have always admired nature and our dependence on it. The law of jungle is always seen as the Will of God. It is this 'Will' that makes me think that God is observer who takes pride in His creations and let them decide or behave as per the situation or their nature, so as to be purposeful in life. Whether it is our thoughtlessness or thoughtfulness, everything happened only because God is observer. He has let his intelligent creation act, repent or respond as per man's intellect.

Hindu mythology mentions that there is God of creation as well as for destruction which interpolates itself  into nature. Life exists between these two states and for them to function, God has best kept His role as observer. Maybe He never reveals Himself for then He would no longer be observer. It is this role that is difficult to don. Young talent of today will be grateful to us for this role. A recent news about the stressful life of young students training for better career, has caught everybody's attention. I hope that we take a leaf out of God's book and try not to take control of our children's lives.