Monday, December 30

Time up - 2013 !!

What’s all this mad banter about Devyani Khobragade?

If we’re only looking for a ‘feel-good’ excuse that protects our belief of self-righteousness and dignity, then we’re sadly mistaken. This issue has been blown up immensely and has zero worth in my eyes.

We’re all worried about how our Indian naari is being treated in the US despite her diplomat status. Headlines are created without using the head. Exactly how stupid is this? And how much do we respect our own countrymen anyway? We hate each other and we discriminate against each other right in our offices and streets. Why then are we so incensed about this incident abroad? Merely to make a political issue out of it?

If we really want to assert our pride and dignity, we should object to China’s repeated invasions. Then we do nothing. Yet a maid in America piques our interest. It’s so depressing. Arvind Kejriwal getting sworn in as the new CM is a news to celebrate, but everything else about India and politics is a sham.

Speaking of naari’s and shams, the 7th season of Bigg Boss is over – one thing less to talk about at meal times! Gauahar Khan has won it, which does not come as a surprise at all. She was an independent and smart woman throughout the season, and she played it well. Kudos, woman power. A lovely article to underline this victory – Time to rejoice and break all the dhakiyanoosi  bonds of traditionalism and conservatism. Read this - well said, indeed it is a brave new world.  

Today is  the last Monday of the year – how crazy is that. 2013 is almost up, and it’s been a whirlwind of activity from all quarters – professional and personal. Completed a year and half of marriage – loads of bittersweet memories. Purchased our own apartment, holidayed in Kerala, Goa and Matheran. Quit my job at IBM and joined Hitachi Consulting – joys and sorrows galore.

I would like to believe I’ve become a better person than I was, my faith sure has increased manifold in myself as well as my family and God (not in any particular order). Life’s good. I hope 2014 will be better. I really want to get a better grip on my temper. If that works, my entire life is sorted for good…

I watched Dhoom 3 and got disappointed, just like Ram Leela bombed my hopes. Can’t imagine Aamir Khan would take up and execute something so  trashy. Dhoom 1 and 2 were so much more interesting and glam. Even Katrina fades in front of Ash (oops, saasu Jaya does not approve of her bahu Aishwarya being called thus!) All said and done, it’s been a poor year for Bollywood as far as success is determined by an intelligent script and not merely box office collections.

On that note, let’s say goodbye for this year. Have a fab new year eve and be safe! Don’t drink and drive, and aim for the best :-)


Cheerio!
Princess

Friday, December 27

Letter To a Lonely Heart

This is a really ancient post... and considering that the person I wrote it for is neither in touch nor will ever be, I think it's okay to post it, as fiction if we're not comfortable with owning up to its reality. 

Just to let us know that people who don't deserve love need it the most, and people who seem tough outside are really warm when you get to know them... So give everyone a second chance... And for some, give them at least one chance rather than staying hard and haughty. 

***

Hey XYZ,

We haven’t been talking for some time now. For reasons best known to you and not completely unfamiliar to me. But that doesn’t mean you’ve been off my mind. Though obviously I’ve not quite figured in your scheme of things. The happy-go-lucky and pragmatic chap that you are…

However, the last time you really opened up to me remains etched in my memory like a scratch on a rock. You told me about yourself. About who you really were and what you’ve been through.
I remember you asking me once whether I’d had a difficult childhood. I got offended; it was a pathetic joke. Never quite appreciated your scalding sense of humor and your habit of cracking up at others’ expense and on their weakness. In turn, I asked you if your childhood was troubled… And you said yes. Simply that one word… Yes.

I’m not one to judge people by their past or reputation. I don’t think that’s fair. People change, life changes and one can never have seen or learnt everything in life. Yet your story made me sensitive to the fact that you’ve been through hard times, and if that can’t justify your bitterness, it can at least give you the benefit of a doubt. After all, a divorced mother turning her elder penniless son out of the house must have been a tough situation for the both of you. And why? 

Just coz the son was tired of cycling endless miles day after day and his estranged dad suggested that he buy him a motorbike. Not fair. I wonder what reasons your mum had for taking this ruthless step, and never turning back…

You said you stayed at the bus stop for four days, as you had no place to go and no one to turn to. I remained silent. You told me you rationed out peanuts as you had no money even for a bite or for a hotel room. I was quiet. You said you somehow found a job, and started your life afresh. I was still speechless. And then, you helped your mum and sibling in times of need, without being appreciated or respected.

And still I could not say a word.

I was very touched, let there be no doubt about that. I could feel what you’ve felt. The pain I experienced sitting on that chair in the pantry at work was as intense as the hurt you went through at the bus stop. You know, it doesn’t always need a person to experience the same things physically to absorb how they would feel mentally and emotionally.

My eyes were moist as I clung to every word you spoke, yet my lips were mute. I did not want to insult what you were sharing with me, by saying something that you would find inappropriate or demeaning. I did not want to offer empathy; I wanted to applaud your strength and bravery. I could not react, I was afraid I’d do something that would make you clam up and end your narration. I certainly knew you wanted no pity, but as much as I wanted to place my hand on your arm or hug you, I felt that wasn’t right either.

I’m sorry. I feel stupid that I just sat like a dumb duck while you spoke.

But I care.

I hope you know that.

I thank you for trusting me with your story and allowing me to sense your vulnerability. That’s a courageous thing to do. More so, because I know that you did not do it with the intention of garnering sympathy or boasting.
I just have one thing to tell you now that I’ve made my sentiments known - Don’t let the rancor of your past ruin your or someone else’s present. Don’t wreck your relationships showering your hatred or hostility on those who do not deserve it. And also don’t rush to those who only pretend to be loving and supporting you.

But of course you’re smart enough to figure that out for yourself.
Take care.
Princess

(In case XYZ continues to visit my blog and reads this, hi you and hope you're doing fine. I wish you well always, even though you really hurt me so many times. I feel a special bond with you, no clue why. I guess lonely hearts connect in weird ways. Goodbye and good luck.)

Happy New Year All... Ho Ho Ho!!

Cheerio!
Anuja

Tuesday, December 17

Happy Holidays and Occasions

Hi My Lovelies,

The festive season is here and most of you must be having a gala time enjoying the winter (if you're on this side of the globe). Pune's freezing and sultry at different times of the day and night, but overall it's a fairly pleasant phase of the year. Christmas and New Year is around the corner. I wish you loads of luck and laughter all the year round!

On that very formal note, let me also tell you that my Uncle (Abba) celebrated his 67th birthday last week. This wonderful occasion was also complemented by his housewarming function. To express my love and gratitude, I wrote a poem for him, which I shall share here: 

A birthday is a special day to celebrate,
All the good and better things that life has bestowed on us.
But it is made even more special,
By stepping into a house made with a lot of hope and a little fuss.

I see you and your strength,
And I know there is a tender man within.
Somebody who had made me who I am,
You have been a father and guide to me through thick and thin.

All those precious moments,
That I spent with you laughing, fighting and learning;
Shine like sparkling stars on my mind,
I thank God for you, you’re my superstar, youthful and rocking.

As a child you taught me to read,
You nurtured my passion for books and education.
I cherish you with all my heart,
I can never forget your kindness and motivation.

We have had our ups and downs,
Strong bonds have times of quiet and noise.
Your successes have been mine,
And yours have been my joys.

I can’t promise that I will always make you happy,
There will be new reasons to rejoice and argue every day.
But one thing is certain, I shall adore you,
Even though our feelings we may not say. 

I wish you all the happiness,
On this day and forever.
May your heart be filled with satisfaction and peace,
My prayers are with you ever after.

More than comforts, I wish you care.
More than pretty walls, I wish you a life fair.
More than fancy accessories, I wish you success.
More than decorative paintings, I wish you happiness.

Make your new home your castle,
We hope you now relax and put your feet up.
You deserve it!!


Happy Birthday and Merry Housewarming! 

* The last 2 paragraphs were inspired from the net and edited to suit the context.

Needless to say, everyone who read it loved it. I haven't written poetry in donkey's years - just don't get the time to write anymore - call it laziness or busy-ness. But this special day sure required me to let my creative juices flow. After all, he was the one that encouraged the budding poet and writer in me.

Wish him a long, healthy and happy life... and wish you all the same, too!

Cheers and see you soon!
Princess 


Tuesday, November 26

Better Left Unsaid

Silence is golden, we’ve heard and read this since times immemorial.

And yet, I realize that not many of us practice this maxim. Not pointing you out alone, even I don’t occasionally. Oh the number of times I could have been a better and stronger individual had I kept my trap shut!

But speech is silver. So that’s good enough… Maybe… At least I am glad I am not as patient, tolerant and generous as my mom and some other folks – people tend to walk over them with total disregard for their sentiments and expectations. I am glad I am able to stuff some sense and teach politeness, humanity and etiquette to deserving (or undeserving) individuals.

The point being, a lot of people only love to yap and never shut up.

Especially when it comes to feedback; people want to give it but few would be willing to receive it in the right spirit. And that’s the most annoying bit.

Not once but twice in the past week, I have been exceptionally surprised and upset when people came to me with gyaan. I took it well externally, but inside, I was furious and hurt. Let me tell you why in detail below…

The first situation happened at work when a colleague wrote me an email stating that something I’d written in my previous mail bothered her. I would probably have not felt offended had she picked up the phone and spoken to me directly rather than typing out emotion-laden words on Outlook. What definitely made it worse was that she marked my supervisor on the mail. Now that’s certainly no way to build bridges and relationships. That too when we’re on the same team!

She quoted me and stated how it was incorrect the way I’d responded to some aspects of the email. While she was in the process of evolving me, she herself did not pay heed to the insensitivity of her own words. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Extremely heartless it appeared to me. And then my sup said she was a very sensitive person and that she had guided her on how to draft this email to me. I mean hello?!! Are we conspiring on something as small as this??

I overlook a lot of things that happen to me at work and outside. I don’t raise a hue and cry about everything that goes against my principles and perspectives. I take interactions with a pinch of salt and I moderate my tone even in the fieriest circumstances. Why then was I being exposed to too much feedback and that too on such trivial issues? It did not strike me as right at all. I did not approve of this method and response. But hey, I know people are different and I know that I cannot control everyone.

So be it. What’s done is done.  I choose which bones to pick and leave unattended and I also know that sometimes you need to lose a battle to win the person. Owing to these values, I often let people think they’re right and not debate over tiny topics. I call it sensibility, but obviously smart asses think they’re the sensible ones and I am otherwise. My behaviour and attitude is targeted while their own is justified and forgiven. Bah!

I responded very positively and humbly, too modestly for my liking, actually. I did not want to prolong the discussion any further or allow it to have any negative consequences on my tenure and relationships at work. I carried the bitter taste in my mouth and kept a sweet face on display for all. I was seething inside, but I knew I would achieve nothing if I reacted any other way. She thankfully had the decency to acknowledge that and that was the end of this story.

The second encounter was at home with my uncle’s friend. Now this man is a big-shot and blah so obviously he enjoys tremendous respect from all quarters and a fair share of flattery and ass licking. While I do nothing beneath my (high) standard, I treat him with dignity as expected for an elder and a family friend.

Imagine my chagrin then, when he called me on his way back home after our chance meet at my uncle's place, complaining that I had been grossly indecent when I said his wife was looking thin!

Huh?!!

Exactly. 

To be told she looks thinner - Isn’t that supposed to be a compliment of the highest order for most women?? And to top that, the manner I had said it in was undoubtedly positive and appreciative... Despite the fact she had not really looked any different (maybe fatter if anything!)

Let’s look at this with a fine tooth comb,shall we, Mr. BigShot?

One, I will not be seeing you in the next 4-5 months just like I hadn’t met you in the previous ones. Sharing feedback with me on anything is an absolute waste coz you have no clue when we will see each other next. Two, if your wife is silly enough to quiz and torture you on such a random comment, then you possibly need to counsel her and not share feedback with me. Three, there is a way in which you describe things. Saying “what if I tell your mom…..” is utterly pathetic and unacceptable. And four, who are you to teach me about women psychology? Are you forgetting that I am a woman first and foremost and a Psych master at that? I have ample education and experience in all possible ways and I do not need advice from a man who when incensed does not have the decency to speak properly to an unfamiliar woman. What if my husband were to call you now and reprimand you for doing what you did? Tit for tat is right, right? But no, we're mature and calm folks, so we shall spare you this encounter. Which you could have, too.

Turns out age does not really guarantee wisdom, nor does success. This was a mighty poor example of the high standards you set for yourself and others. Shameful to say the least.

Again, I thought I’d be the bigger person and I accepted his words and apologized as appropriate. I tried to explain my point of view, but how the hell did it matter? All that he was concerned about was having his say and showing his (absent) wit. 

So you see, two incidents and both where I behaved marvelously well in spite of the other person’s stupidity. I pride myself on my mature responses, but both these people and experiences have left me shaken.

Shall I also start terrorizing others this way for my feelings? Do I thrust the responsibility of maintaining a good relation entirely on others' shoulders no matter their age or designation? I used to think it works both ways, but now I am not so sure. I’m done being nice and understanding. Time other people were a little careful too.

I’ve come to a point where I do not know what to say or write anymore. Anything can be blown out of proportion by any person with any age, education or background. Children these days are more reasonable and sensible than elders.

Can I make an appeal to you? Don’t abuse your power or status. Just because someone respects you and bows, don’t shove your ego down his or her throat. If someone accepts your feedback, thank them (and your stars) for it and ask in turn if there is anything that person would like to share with  you.

Be wise, dudes and dudettes!

P.S – What I’ve written above is by no means fictitious, it bears complete resemblance to people and situations. I don’t know if these folks might comes across this post, but I pray that they do, coz I left a lot of things unsaid. Guess they could have done that too… and not given me this compelling reason to write. 


Cheerio!
Anuja

Thursday, November 21

Sweet November

And we’re back!

Gosh, it’s been a while. One would almost presume that since the number of visitors and followers on my blog has increased, mere bhi bhaav baddh gaye (=I’ve turned pricey).

Let me assure you that it is no such thing. Abundant apologies to you, readers. And loads of belated Diwali cheer as well! Hope you had a blast eating and shopping and celebrating, without blasting noisy crackers. I did… rather had to… coz my husband and brothers-in-law forcefully had me setting off rockets (that landed in a neighbour’s house) and anaar’s. Crazy, ziddi boys!

I’ve been busy settling into my new job, there’s loads of things to learn and so many people to meet, weeks passed by in the blink of an eye. I’m one month old here already! Making heaps of mistakes and getting a little better every day. Now that’s what life is all about, right?! I’m having a gala time too with the Annual Day Celebrations in full swing here – our team stood first in Dumbcharades (I was one of the smart and talented participants), and we had a blast in the Hawaii and Halloween dress themes. Turns out our team Black ‘Pirates’ is leading the charts. Hurray!! Antakshari and a lot of sports events  in progress as well, tough to reckon when it turns 6 pm and time to head back home... Though the getting up early bit is a tad tiresome on chilly mornings!

On the domestic front, hubby darling whisked me off to watch Krish 3 on Diwali night, it’s not as great or as horrible as people claim. In fact, it was a 100 times better than that pathetic Ram Leela. Darn! Sanjay Leela Bhansali making such a horrible movie is unthinkable and unbelievable. What made Deepika commit this blunder? The only one who redeemed himself through his great acting was Ranveer Singh. (Psst – he was born in the July of 85, just like moi. Maybe that explains his dashing attitude and charisma. Hee hee hee.)

The first one hour was nothing but Chitrahaar in a medley of colours. Hansaa of the Khichdi fame has done well as Dhankor, but everything else falls flat including dialogues, plot and script. You’re left haping and wondering multiple times at the senselessness of the script, and not one viewer has appreciated this film. So take a hint and give this one a royal skip. Please. Just don’t punish yourself this bad.

Bigg Boss and Masterchef are engaging me to the hilt me, and I've taken a fancy to games since I bought my new LG G2 mobile phone. Become quite a couch potato these days, your truly. So much so that I haven't totally given up on reading and blogging. Sigh! But hey, Sophia sucks in BB and my enthusiasm for MC has reduced coz I inadvertently checked the winner and it wasn't my favorite contestant. Double sigh....!!

Pune’s getting nice and cold, come December. Time to get the bright woolens out of the closet. I’ll be traveling a few weekends for family commitments, so apologies in advance, but you’ll have to keep browsing my archives until I publish something nayaa tazaa :-)

Also, here is a link that I checked out and liked. Hope you enjoy it too!


 Rest is best, you take care and have fun!


Cheerio!
Princess

Sunday, October 20

Travel Time

The giant metallic bird takes off into the sky sealing our individual destinies together only for a couple of hours. We come together and become one, united in this journey - somebody's first and maybe someone's last. 

What's to come, who can say? All we can do is hope to be safe and secure. As safe as we were before  the trip, and as secure as we plan to be once we set foot on land again.

Oh Pune, you're so pretty from way up above. Way more than you actually are down below! My heart goes out to you, and you charm me all over again, my hatred for your traffic  and roads falling away into oblivion as the altitude rises. I've not even left you technically, still flying in your boundaries. And yet, I can't wait to be back, I miss you already...

Floating above a sea of clouds, not even the flap of wings to show flight and motion. Time passes and hundreds of miles fuse and disappear, taking us to destinations far and strange for work or leisure. A neighbour reads a book I know to be boring and untrue while the passenger behind me snores away  to glory. Thankfully no children bawl to make the journey difficult and the sun rises crystal clear, all geared up to spread enthusiasm and hope.

That the airplane itself is like an Asiad bus (the semi luxury ones that were considered preferable to the regular ST buses earlier) is little joy and hence I keep my eyes closed and try to catch some sleep. When that plan fails, I  gaze out the stained window catching my fill of my rainbow hues at dawn. It's about time we reached Hyderabad.

... Just a few lines that came to mind while I was travelling for work earlier this week. Shall be back by next weekend. For now, it's a whole lot of learning, un-learning and re-learning. Such is life. You gotta do what you gotta do. Stay away from your spouse and parents, get used to new people and processes, miss your folks and sleep well without worries of waking up and doing household tasks. 

Signing out from the land of Nizams and biryanis... 

Happy weekend and howle jaisa nakko karo. 

Cheers!
Princess


Monday, October 14

Naya Job, Naya Phone... Super Baddhiya!!

Hi fellas,

Happy Dushera! May all evil in your life die and goodness and success persist :-) 

My life at work was nothing short of torture these last few months. While professional ups and downs are common in every working man/woman’s life, not many lows last as long as my last 1.5 years. All thanks to a horrible manager who I shall not name here, but let me assure you, no matter how bad yours is, mine was worse.  

Am I glad to say it’s over!

Despite my getting promoted to an Assistant Manager level, my work at IBM had become mundane and the policies and environment were no longer favorable for my career growth. I’d started off as a travel executive with Optimos and later became a part time language instructor at inlingua. Armed with a masters in Psychology, I knew training was my calling and I took up training and consultant positions at Alchemy and Yellowbox. A break in IBM was too good to be true and I accepted their offer as a Learning Facilitator primarily in the VnA and communication skills domain. My final goal was the LnD department so I took up projects and stretch assignments in Learning and OD. A lot of initiatives and hard work got me excellent ratings throughout, but my ambition remained beyond reach. Apart from that, I was at the receiving end of a lot of warm wishes but more envy and hatred. It took its toll on me; I am a very sensitive person and I get attached mighty quickly. But well, here we are – a dream opportunity arose with Hitachi Consulting, an IT firm in Magarpatta and I grabbed it with both hands. Only time will tell whether my decision was right or wrong, but for now, two days later, I am a happy professional. Touch wood!

(And a big chunk of that merriment goes to a new LG G2 handset that I have bought and my new employer will sponsor... Killer, innit?!! Loving the new phone... and learning its myriad functions!)

Between IBM and Hitachi, I had a nice 10-day break.

Initially, it seemed like a heavenly and welcome lengthy period and I was elated at the prospect of having over 200 hours all to myself, do the things that I long wanted but never could for various reasons. As I’ve said before, 24 hours in a day is not enough. With handling the house as well as going to work full time, along with keeping family and personal commitments, there is no space left for leisure or relaxation. I was looking forward to catching up on my reading, sleeping, watching movies and TV shows.

And yet, as the 10th day drew to a close, I realized that I’d not done half the things that I had planned. Though I managed to finish John Grisham’s The Racketeer (a fine book with great narration) and commence Ramesh Menon’s Siva (fantastic so far), others like And the Mountains Echoed, Inferno and several Readers Digests remained unopened. I’ve seen a few of the latest movies (reviews up on the blog already) and I’ve also watched my favorite (Anger Management, Two and a Half Men, Comedy Nights with Kapil, Masterchef) and not so favorite (Bigg Boss, WWE) shows. However, my Disney cartoons and movies on the laptop stay untouched :-(

All in good time, I guess. I shall have the evenings all to myself going forward so I still have a chance to complete all the pending stuff listed above. Unfortunately, I will have to be an early bird, contrary to my night owl lifestyle of 3.5 years. Let’s see how these changes agree with me...

What’s up next? A lot of learning so that I can start performing my AM in Learning and Development role with poise and efficiency. Travel as well, to get to know my professional network and team. Our new house is almost ready so we need to get started on the interior work. Also, a trip to Tirupati and my native place is on the cards. October and November will pass in a the blink of an eye, and come December, we’ll be getting ready to welcome the new year with new resolutions and plans.

What’s ticking at your end? Diwali plans and cleaning I suppose... Wish you a wonderful festive season!


Cheers!
Princess  

Tuesday, October 8

Faith and Fortune

Hello readers,

First of all, wish you a very very Happy Navratri! May the Goddess bless you and shower you with love, luck, laughter and success, satisfaction, strength.

A lot of you (112 followers now, and at least thrice more nameless ones that read in secret) have recently walked up to me or pinged me on various social networks saying that you read my blog. Thank you so much! I am glad you are able to relate to what I write and I love that you like what you read. Of course, I have some cartoons who have chosen the "Yawnnn" option multiple times on recent blog posts. It's so cute, I am not annoyed at all!! The fact that you keep coming back to click that zzz button itself shows you cant stay without a peek at my blog. No offence taken, you're cute! :-)

Life is so full of fun and fuller of troubles, right? Every day seems to bring new joys and the same old sorrows and disappointments. People hurt you, some make you jump with delight. Things work out, sometimes all your efforts fail miserably.

I just want to tell you that you're not alone in whatever bliss or agony you face. I know life's challenges sometimes seem unsurmountable. But trust me, and I say this from experience, everything turns out well in the end. You will survive, and if you act sensibly, you will come out stronger with a valuable lesson.

Problems with family, issues with lovers, crappy work and disgusting people, unusual accidents and daily chikchik - it happens to the best of us. There will always be someone who is jealous of you and who wants you to fail. But there are also those who wish the best for you and rejoice when you succeed. As a colleague recently told me - Its not necessary that those who are not with you are against you... Wise words! Just keep calm and have faith in yourself. Many a times, that is what is lacking in a situation. Don't let anyone make you feel like shit. You may not be the best person in the world, but believe you me, there is always somebody worse than you ;-)

I have learnt so much in my (let me count) 28 years on earth. Quite a lot of it has been during my tenure at IBM. I worked hard, and I hit hard bumps. I had people who supported me and those that made life hell for me even though I was harmless to them. Maybe they saw me as competition. Maybe they were just depressed in their own lives and hence gained some sadistic pleasure through my pain. I shan't name them or pass judgement. It's not my task to do. Destiny keeps a tab of everything that happens down here and the best part is, we all pay for it here itself. There is hell and heaven, but it's nowhere up above - it's all here, while you're alive and breathing. You give someone tears and they will come back to haunt you in your own peculiar style. But the good bit is, if you make someone smile, that comes back to you as well. I call it the boomerang effect.

At times, you might wonder why things happen to you - especially the bad ones. (Noone seems to question or complain when they are hounded and surrounded by good fortune.) Deep inside, you will know exactly why. And if you think that it's a mistake and you haven't possibly done anything so revolting, then maybe it is the other person's karma. Let him enjoy the moment, but your scores will be settled with him later. Mind it. That goes for you, too. So be good. It's the easiest thing in the world. Being mean takes effort. Avoid. Spread the cheer. Life's a bitch anyway, so you don't be one.

One thing that gives me enormous strength is my faith in God - I know he will reduce the intensity of everything bad that is bound to happen to me. He protects and saves me. I fight with him and I plead with him, but I never forsake him. I don't really chant his name or do any rituals as a habit, but I just carry him with me everywhere I go. Call out to him whenever I want, he's always near. And that way I don't blame fate.

Speaking of IBM and fate, I've already told you that I've moved on from IBM GPS (formerly IBM Daksh). I now will take up a much awaited LnD role in an IT company called Hitachi Consulting. It seems all positive now (as it always does) - day shift, desired job profile, non-BPO company, good package, great location and so on. Everyone I know is upbeat about me bagging this opportunity. Little do they know how much I've been through prior to this windfall!

More details when I finally set foot in the new firm. Until then, thanks for all your love and prayers. They keep me going. They make me who I am. And I try to be a better person everyday. Pardon me if I've hurt you in this journey.

Keep reading, and do drop a line to let me know your thoughts on anything under the sun!

Cheers!
Anuja

Wednesday, October 2

The Bullies and the Bullied

So you must have heard that the world is made up of two kinds of people - the have's and have-not's.

Well, let me enlighten you on another differentiating factor - These are the bullied and the bullies.

Etymologically,a bully is someone who hurts or frightens someone who is smaller or less powerful than them, often forcing them to do something they do not want to do (Cambridge online dictionary). While this definition seems more relevant to schools, it is not unusual in the corporate or domestic world.

The rule is simple - either bully someone or be bullied. That's how the world operates. There is no room for co-operation and negotiation. Those in power will command (the decent ones might ask 'favours'), and you cannot refuse or argue. You gotta do what you gotta do. Else you must put up with the consequences which could be corporal punishment or worse, mental and emotional torture. Either way you're helpless and most people bow down to the pressure. Get it over with. Make peace with your demons and go with the boss wants.

However, once a bully is not always a bully. He could be bullying Mr. X but then there will be a Mr. Z that bullies him in turn. And he gives in. And probably dishes out even more to Mr. X since he has to vent somewhere and dominate someone. Just to make him feel good about himself in a bid to forget what a loser he actually is.

And then there are those like me, who speak up when they are bullied. I refuse to be pushed over and walked upon. I give it back, and how. Not only when the topic concerns me directly, but also when someone else who isn't brave enough is suffering at someone's hands. This gets me into a lot of bad books, but as I keep telling my mom, you can't be liked by everyone. And that shouldn't be your aim anyway. Show me one person who can please everyone all the time and I will prove you wrong.

Even people who love each other tend to fight and assert their supremacy. It's not unusual. The desire to make someone obey you meekly has crossed many minds and hearts, not necessarily evil or wicked. And as my boss once told me, it's not really that bad to be dominated once in a while. I'm still not done digesting that fact completely. The point I'd like to make is, you got to know when to stop. The perpetrator as well as the victim. If you let the bully walk over you all the time, you indirectly motivate him to do it more and you deserve it. However, if you set expectations about what is right and what is unacceptable, then there is a fair game. As they say in the soft skill world, 'assertiveness' is more effective in the long run than either 'submissiveness' or 'aggressiveness'.

I am a very inquisitive person. I love asking questions and understanding people, motives and needs. Blame the psychology streak that had me fetch my Masters with top honours. Frequently, my curiosity is perceived as resentment, disagreement and denial. I don't know how to fix that, so I tell people I am not against the view but I only seek to grasp it better, in a more holistic way since I am very uncomfortable with ambiguity and need a background and way forward to most things in life.

Anyway, after all that long winded monologue, here's what prompted me to write about bully-ism in the first place. One of my relatives hates being questioned. He takes it as an affront and becomes extremely hostile and rude. And I invariably end up being fierce myself in a bid to kill his arrogance and make him see light. A flaccid conversation ensues and I'm sure both of us end up angry and upset. The solution: control your emotions, don't get personal and over sensitive. I forget this when I am stirred up. Hopefully you can put this advice to some use.

To sum up, don't be a bully, and don't get bullied either. Live and let live. Give respect and get respect. Over and out.

Here are some interesting things I read on the web recently:
The first one is not surprisingly about rape. People generally have a hundred tips handy for the victim, but nothing to say to the criminal. This article talks about what the rapist ought to do when he feels the "need" to molest a woman. Absolutely brilliant - http://canyourelate.org/2011/05/24/rape-prevention-tips/

The second one, to make us all feel a little more hopeful in our rape-ridden country, is this proud achievement where Mumbai was named the second most honest city in the world behind Helsinki and ahead of 14 others... Way to go, Mumbaikars! Read here and rejoice - http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/mumbai-named-world-s-second-most-honest-city-survey-113092600609_1.html

And the third's related to the world of bosses and reportees. Some things that you may sometimes feel but you should never say to your boss - http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130923134035-15077789-17-things-you-should-never-say-to-your-boss?trk=tod-home-art-list-small_1

God bless ya guys. Be good.

Cheerio!
Princess

Wednesday, September 25

Filmi Reviews and News

Now the self-proclaimed movie critic that I am, I feel it my absolute responsibility to update you on the movies I have seen and my opinion about them.

(Tired of such posts. Guess what? Don't read. Scroll down or to the next page. Coz this is MY blog. Buhahahahaha!)

(Sorry, that's not nice of me. I know. Just find me a job that pays me to write reviews on tourist destinations, movies, restaurants and all things heavenly and nice, and I promise to stay off your back. Buhahahahaha again!)

So, the movies facing judgement today are: We're the Millers, Grown Ups 2, Phata Poster Nikla Hero (PPNH), Horror Story and regrettably, Grand Masti. You might recall that I'd named these very same titles in my previous post, and I fulfill all my movie vows with utmost sincerity and dedication.

My dad says that movie-makers spend umpteen crores to make films so it is our duty to shell out 100 bucks to watch their creations. Unfortunately, going to a cinema hall no longer is a luxury available at INR 100 unless you go for a day show in a second-grade theatre. Which is precisely why I thank God for our Reliance high speed internet. Films are downloaded in a few hours flat, and I have plenty stored for a rainy day (or for a dry one when I plan to stay indoors and not move my lazy a$$).

So, while Horror Story and PPNH were fortunate enough to be watched in movie halls, the rest were all viewed at home on my Dell laptop (which has been acting up since hubby dearest had it repaired at some shady techie shop).

Nonetheless, he's also the one that got the internet resurrected. It's even. Maybe.

Horror Story had nothing horrible apart from the acting. All the newbies (which I am not taking the pains of introducing) are a pain to the eyes and ears. The characters are far from effortless and novel. Same old ghisa-pita shit about a haunted hotel and silly youngsters who want to make their last party together unforgettable. The ghoul (who looks like Helena Bonham Carter aka Bellatrix Lestrange of Harry Potter fame) is a madwoman who died in a mental hospital which is later rebuilt as a hotel. The story has its nail-biting moments, but they do not justify the length and necessity of making a full-blown Bollywood flick. I had greater expectations from Vikram Bhatt of the Raaz legacy. I dragged my poor husband to it. For you, my advice is please avoid. Don't waste time. Take your dog for a walk, re-watch Pet Cemetry or Conjuring. Doze off. Do anything else. Just don't watch Horror Story. You'll regret it. Right down to the silly actor Achint who has a "s / sh" sound swap and the witch that keeps singing "Ring-a-ring-a-roses"...

Ditto for Grand Masti (GM) 2. It is disgusting. I would rather watch a porn movie followed by Comedy with Kapil if I wanted to LOL. GM fails miserably at both purposes - does not tickle the libido and does nothing to exercise your jaw muscles. I wonder how people can make pathetic distasteful films like these and not only tarnish the prequel but also hint at producing a third washout. Aftab, Ritesh and Vivek have a few funny scenes and dialogues but overall the movie is an abomination. And I'm not saying this coz I'm a girl, even boys have hated the sick humour. It stinks!

We're the Millers (WTM), Grown Ups 2 (GU) and Phata Poster Nikla Hero (PPNH) were way better than all of the above and definitely worth a watch.

WTM has four almost strangers - Jen Aniston, Jason whats-his-last-name alongwith Emma Roberts and Will Poulter playing the Miller family as they have to smuggle narcotics to America from Mexico. There are numerous gags that have you ROFL as each of the characters has their own personality and whims. How they come together and how the task is carried out makes for an entertaining 2 hours. Do download and check out.

GU 2 is good, though not as great as the prequel. All the actors and characters are interesting and hilarious. Jacob from Twilight (Taylor Lautner) is the bad guy this time around who bullies the wimpy seniors and needs to be taught a lesson. Adam Sandler is just too cute and his daughter's as adorable as ever. Perfect for watching with friends and family or even alone. Don't miss this!

And finally, Phata Poster Nikla Hero. PPNH is surprisingly brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie right from start to end. Shahid's entry is fabulous and his dialogues are mindblowing. What else do you expect from the person who wrote for Andaz Apna Apna? Rajkumar Santoshi has unleashed his magic once more. Uptil the interval, there's not one dull moment. I did, however, find myself wishing that there were fewer songs and even fewer romantic scenes. Fun is the USP of the movie, and they should have stuck to that. But I guess Ileana D'Cruz would have little to do then. So be it. While the climax is nothing extraordinary, the actors have certainly done an appreciable job. Do go for this one, especially the "Main tere agal bagal" track :-)

Having said my say of filmi gupshup, let me fill you in on some gossip. There are stories about Hrithik Roshan and Suzanne getting divorced. While some say this is a publicity stunt for Krrish 3, most people are denying that this is true. Married a good 13 years ago, the couple have beautiful kids and it would be a shame if they broke up. Separation is always ugly. In my world, divorce is not an option. Once married, you're hooked for life (unless of course, there's violence and adultery involved). Let's wait and watch, and pray for the best.

Another update, and a good one at that, is that the Aadhar (UID) card is not mandatory as rumoured earlier. Bless the lord. First the passport, then ration card, followed by Pan card - when should a person work if he's kept busy getting all these identification tags?!!

And let me end with this - "Rape : It's Your Fault" - a brave and intelligent attempt at making people aware of the absurdity in Indian minds about the causes of rape. Kalki Koechlin and VJ Juhi have acted in this video created by All India Bakchod (AIB365) and while it makes you laugh, its brutal reality also makes you cringe. The only problem is, the illiterate people who ought to watch this may not, and even if they do, they'd fail to comprehend the sarcasm. My only wish is that Juhi and Kalki are not made the butt of some aggressive and inhuman act. You should watch this one - it's splashed on Youtube and all social networking portals.

And that's all for now... Be good and take it easy!

Cheerio!
Princess

Thursday, September 19

Dare... to Love

He adored her – her pretty smile, her jolly nature, her intelligent eyes and warm acknowledgement irrespective of what wit or stupidity he displayed when he opened his trap. And oh could he talk! He could keep going at it with zero response from the listener for hours. And she listened, and sometimes laughed. It sounded like shiny musical bells, the types that adorned glass windows at Christmas.

Yet, he had never been able to express his feelings for her.

He did not know if he really liked her in “that” way. He was not sure if he was brave enough to choose to be with her all his life.

After all, he sincerely believed that every person had a super power. And his was, to turn friends to acquaintances and acquaintances to strangers.

What if he lost her in a bid to get closer to her? That would break his heart. She was a very special friend, if nothing more, to him. He could not bear to be deserted by her.

And still, their meeting became infrequent. Days turned to months and then a year. Their plans to catch up never really worked out, mostly due to his unpredictable work schedule and even more unpredictable mood swings. She complained a few times and he genuinely apologized. But it was a stalemate, things never changed.

Time and tide wait for no man. Even men and women do not wait endlessly. She moved on, met another man, fell in love and got married to him.

He was shocked when he saw that she had removed him from her Facebook friends list. Unfortunately, he did not even have the right to be angry about it, after all, he had not persevered to stay in touch. He still had her number though he could not recall when he had last dialed it. He saw that her Watsapp profile picture had her gazing dreamily with twinkling eyes and flashing that dazzling smile at a guy, probably her beau.

He wished her luck in his heart. Soon after, he got married to a pretty girl from a rich family. Life moved on. But not too far. He decided to message her, just casually, the hi-hello types. Maybe be friends again…

She responded by adding him on Facebook. He was surprised. He hadn’t known her to be too forgiving. But who knows, marriage changes people.

Every time he looked at her posts and updates on social networks, he felt a sense of longing for the fun times they’d shared. She suggested that they meet as couples, but he kept evading the invitations. He was not prepared to face her with someone else by her side. He did not trust himself enough. What if his feelings for her resurfaced like a wave in the ocean that would not stay tied down? It would only result in pain and loss.

And what about his wife? She loved him as much as she could. It would not be fair.

Dilemmas. Confusions. Unanswered questions.

So many roads that reach no destination. So many flights of fancy that ended up lost and aimless.

Theirs would be another story that could have been.

Life has no patience for “could haves”. It is lived by the “I dids”.

As had she. And him.

Along with their courage, desire and persistence to be together.

Success comes to those who dare…


Cheerio!
Princess

Thursday, September 12

Any News = Dreadful News

So, Ganpati Bappa Morya, US Open was wow, Chennai Express rocked at the box office and made 200 crores and all that jazz. But let's accept that the world is fast approaching the uglier phases of Kalyug.

No news is good news, you say? Well, these days any news is mostly horrible news...

Turns out that a survey recently reported that one in four Asian men have raped a woman, either their domestic or sexual partners. While marital rape is not a crime in several countries including India, the act is just as heinous. What's wrong with seeking consent, menfolk? There are loads of women willing to go all the way for free and for a charge. Take your pick and do your deed. Why do you need to bully and force an individual scarring their self image and marring their reputation for life? Irrespective of whether you know or are related to the person, it's detestable. I completely support the hang-until-death sentence or even better, chop off their manhood and leave them to their fate... Call me wicked, but that's exactly what these demons deserve. Making life so scary for women anywhere within the nation - the backward villages or the modern cities and dashing metros.... This is the least they should get! Freedom and safety is a joke.

While on the topic, let me also vent my ire on the lack of sensitivity and sensibility of Indian journalism. Journalists would rather tape and interview the victims rather than saving them from the perpetrator. And then they post these on television and in newspapers with utter disregard for the consequences on the victims. Court cases also tend to be a pain for them maybe more if not equally disturbing as the actual incident itself. Imagine having to relive, describe and scrutinize every tiny detail of the horrifying experience. What a shameful lot, you lawyers and journalists! Can't display humanity unless it happens to you, is it?

I must have told you earlier about the newspaper somewhere in Europe or the middle east that only prints good news on the front page. Let alone waking up with a smile, our newspapers are filled with filth and garbage from politics to scams to daily accidents. God save the world, or is He helpless too now?!! No wonder then that most people now find the nation unlivable and hence wish to settle on Mars.

Anyway, let's move on to stories more optimistic and intelligent... That hookah tobacco contains less toxic metals than cigarette toabcco doesn't in my opinion make the cut. How about the latest top 20 universities of the world? UK and US top the list again as usual - MIT aces followed by Harvard and Cambridge. Stanford, Yale and others bring up the rear, but no Asian university has yet entered the top 20. We're top when it comes to petrol prices - it has now climbed to 82 rupees in Pune, which is insane. We Indians are supposed to be the most intelligent folks yet we don't offer quality education. University of Pune has dipped almost 100 ranks from 601 to 701 worldwide and around #200 within Asia. We're top in nothing but poverty and racism. Despite this, we're so full of ourselves and our greatness. That Rajinikanth gets a million clicks on day 1 of the release of his first trailer of the Tamil film "Kochadaiiyaan" proves his popularity, what you got? Just blah blah and more blah..... huh!

The tabloids are going crazy with news of Katrina Kaif tying the knot with Ranbir Kapoor. Wasn't she Salman's gal? What with KBC 7 and Big Boss 7 and Besharam and Shuddh Desi Romance, I have lost track of who's dating who and who's double-crossing who. Too many new "stars" and "actors" on the block now. All of them are one film wonders, and who's got time for this crap anyway? I do enjoy Comedy Nights with Kapil and that's about it. He's got a sense of humour, that guy, even if his jokes tend to get a little monotonous and nasty. But he's made the masses forget Raju Shrivastav and Johny Lever. Quite an achievement, methinks.

Speaking about comedy, Grand Masti is set to release soon - and it promises to be nastier than before. I also want to watch Jogn Day, Horror Story and Grown Ups 2. When is the question I would like to answer with a "soon" but only time will tell....

It's only now that I've managed to resume reading books. Although I am not very regular, I've started where I let off "Asura" by Anand Neelakantan. I'm not very pleased with the writing though. It says that Sita was actually Ravana's daughter and his son Akshaya was burned in a fire set by Hanuman. Such gross inaccuracies don't a great book make. Especially for someone like me who loves mythology and folklore. I might just abandon the book altogether and move over to Jeff Arch or some such. Palace of Illusions gave a whole new perspective on Draupadi while Mahabharata by Ramesh Menon remains my best ever when it comes to mythology.

I'm planning to buy a new phone in a few days' time. Some suggest Lumia but Nokia is outdated now. My hubby says Samsung S4 or Apple 4S - I don't quite like either. My heart is kinda set on the Note 2 due to the features and stylus :-D What opinion you got?

And hey, before we end, let me inform you that IBM has sold (=divested, for the more prudent among us) the BPO unit to a company called Synnex. They will now be called Concentrix after Synnex acquired them for 505 million dollars. Most employees are disgruntled, while other are excited about new prospects and growth. What do I think? Well, I'm just glad that I decided to move on in time. Yes sirree... I've put down my papers at IBM and I'm moving to an IT firm in Pune as an Assistant Manager in Learning and Development. Thank ye all for your best wishes and support :-)

That's all we have time for right now, fellas. Be back soon!

Cheerio!
Princess

Friday, September 6

Yatra's Happy Travellers!!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ― Saint Augustine

I love traveling. Pondicherry, Ladakh, Munnar, Goa, Jabalpur, Konark, Sikkim, Mahabaleshwar, Kedarnath, Rajasthan - you name it and I've been there.

Heartfelt thanks to my parents for this proud achievement of mine. They took me to most places and allowed me on my own to the rest. My uncle and aunt have also been kind enough to take me to Kenya with them where I enjoyed many wildlife safaris. Takes sheer luck to be me!

No surprise then when I choose to take my family for a vacation to someplace exotic and beautiful. Lazy and adventurous, spendthrift and generous, religious and trendy - I have them all in my family, which ensures that I enjoy all possible experiences in a single journey.

Where would I like to go, I wonder.

My humble dream is to visit every destination in the world, big or small. Two names that cross my mind are New Zealand and Europe. Somehow, I have a soft corner for NZ. And since less than 2000 people from India go to New Zealand every year, let me add to that statistic and let Europe be for a while...

New Zealand - also called "God's own country" due to its gorgeous landscapes and unparalleled natural beauty. Creating a happy vacation here shouldn't take much, because for a traveller, nothing beats novelty. And who's better at that than Mother Nature herself?

"I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad" said George Bernard Shaw.

I couldn't agree more. Which is why I detest all the tour guides that boast about serving Daal Baati in Australia and Khichdi in America. Thanks but no thanks. Roast kumara or pies, pav or seafood - that's the fare I will choose to woo my palate. Be NZ-ian and eat NZ-ian. (Of course, my mother could be thoroughly inconvenienced with this cuisine leading to my discomfort. But we'll figure that out. She's forget her hunger pangs when she sees the whales in Kaikoura or walks on a glacier at Franz Josef!)

My dad loves fine wine and my husband is a lively teenager at heart. We will cycle between vineyards and enjoy the magnificent scenery as we taste wines at Waiheke island. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Central Otago Pinot Noir and so many more! Woohoo!!

The more daring amongst us will try our luck at bungie jumping later - something I always desired to do but didn't want to risk in India! The adventure capital of the world - hurray! We would be spent and adrenaline-challenged come dusk. So, to take it easy in the evening, we will hit the clubs in Queenstown and take some pictures to remind us of our memorable vacation in Kiwi land.

North Island and South Island - we will be spoilt for a choice of activities. My uncle wouldn't want to miss a taste of Maori culture and we would head to Rotorua - the cultural heart of New Zealand. Whether we like the "hangi" feast remains to be seen, but it would serve as a reminder of our awesome time drenched in the tribal culture of Africa. Goes without saying that we would also check out the bubbling, steaming & hissing geysers and volcanic craters. Being a lover of massages and spa treatments, I would opt for a pleasurable thermal therapy while my hiking-crazy mother goes for a walk to the stunning sights around the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Bay of Islands and Auckland harbour, so many places to sail away to Paradise! Tucked in a corner, I would enjoy the wind on my face and gaze at the beautiful ripples in the water thinking of days bygone and ambitions to happen. We would alight at a new beach whenever our hearts said so and dig into dreamy dinners on a yacht.

Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson, we wouldn't miss those either. But that's about specific locations and sightseeing itineraries. The mesmerising prettiness of NZ can be explored even without an agenda. I and my family would go for scenic drives without a destination in mind. The spectacular waterfalls, national parks and snowy peaks we see on our way would give us many sleepless nights and high definition dreamy visuals.

My uncle can have a relaxing time watching birds, while my brother swims with the dolphins and seals. My sister in law can got for a Lord of the Rings (LOTR) tour and see the actual locations in the film and my dad can watch a live rugby match. My aunt would love to sit in a hot air balloon even as my husband goes mountain biking. There's something for everyone.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” ― Lao Tzu

No offence, but hey mister, this promises to be a marvellous holiday irrespective of everything!

When, oh when will this dream come true?!!

http://www.yatra.com - Will you be our wish fulfilling angel?!!

... written for the "Creating Happy Travellers!" contest by Yatra.com

Cheerio!
Princess

Tuesday, August 20

Godspeed Readers!

Hiya!

Been a while since I dropped a line.

My husband decided to go hit a truck bareheaded so I had to drop everything else and tend to him. With an arm in the plaster, and several stitches on the forehead and face, life’s not been pretty for him, poor guy. The bike's totally trashed. But he’s a good boy – been dealing well with the pain and trauma. And all those questions that are predictable and irritating after some time – “How did it happen? How are you feeling now? Let me know if there’s anything we can do….”

So well, a forced holiday ensued, which was as far from being a holiday as humanely possible. Running around in the hospital for insurance and then at home entertaining visitors, phew. Thank God I am not a housewife. Don’t think I’m capable of THAT much hard work and tolerance. Salute to the nation on Independence Day, and a triple salaami today and everyday to the housewives in the country and worldwide. Your work is as brave and important as that of the martyrs and jawaan’s on the border. Respect!

(Or restecpaaa – like in Ali G Indahouse. Insane actor, that Sacha Baren Cohen! Loved him in Borat and of course Madagascar.)

Which reminds me, I watched Chennai Express last week. Expected it to be a dud, but a lot of people spoke very highly about it on Facebook so decided to give it a shot. The movie was okay, but I thoroughly enjoyed the scene where Deepika acts like a possessed woman – can’t remember when I have laughed that hard or that loud in the theatre.

SRK was his regular self, what some call amusing and the resst nauseating. Overall, a one time watch – whether in the cinema hall or at home. Good time pass. Nice music as well.

But what was definitely unsatisfactory was Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara. We downloaded the film so thankfully, no money was spent in the bargain. But the Ajay Devgn standard sure was not met. Akshay and Imran could not create a lasting impression, and to top that, there was that stupid Sonakshi woman. Silly dialogues, meatless plot, useless show-shaa, and poor acting all add up to a flop. Avoid.

I haven’t been reading the news lately, but I did find out something very intriguing thanks to friends’ FB updates – www.ireport.cnn.com. It has some really nice stories and articles that anyone can add and read. Try it!

BTW, did you know about hashtags? (Those # symbols that people put up with their posts on social networking sites.) I have been seeing them for a while but only now did I attempt to explore their purpose. Apparently, it helps pull up relevant information. Gotta check that some time when I have more time on my hands.

Which is probably going to be a long time away… so much to do and such little time… Phew! If only people would concentrate on their work and let me focus on mine rather than pulling me into imaginary shit. It’s disheartening to know that people are liars and hypocrites. Not that I am an angel, but I at least have the balls to own up to whatever I have done, be it right or wrong. But then, cant expect the world to run according to my plans and behave as per my virtues.

Raksha Bandhan and Ganeshotsav coming up. What plans, fellas? Be safe and have fun. I’ll try to come back sooner next time… hopefully with good and better news :-)

Until then, godbless and godspeed!

Cheerio!
Princess