Monday, January 28

Job Jabbers : Part 1

Hey there!

As fond as I am of reading, the idea of e-books somehow never appealed to me.

Call me orthodox, but I am the sort of reader who believes in holding a good hardcover in hand, bookmark et al. Reading off the computer / laptop screen is not only tiring for the eyes and back, but also does not give the “feel” if you know what I mean…

However, I recently read an e-book titled Analyzing Character. It was in the Psychology section of and I hit download when I saw the summary talking about how to judge people and what to do about misfits at work, home and society.

(Interested? You can read more here)

Quick details: This book from the collections of Harvard University is authored by Katherine Blackford and Arthur Newcomb. While it delves into physical characteristics and gives several illustrations, what really caught my fancy were the causes of people becoming misfits and virtues to cultivate for becoming efficient. Interesting anecdotes, too. Below is some (edited) stuff I liked…

(I am going to split this big blog series into orderly parts for ease of reading)

Story 1: A wealthy father spent thousands of dollars to make his daughter a musician, but she had no aptitude for music. She was unusually talented in mathematics and finance, but her pleas for a commercial career went unheeded. This same father insisted that his son go into business, though he was keen on a musical career. Not surprisingly, he was a complete failure in business and finally embezzled money from his employer and escaped to Europe to study music. Two human lives of marked talent, completely ruined and wasted, because of a well-intentioned but ignorant and obstinate parent

Story 2: A young law graduate inherited a considerable sum of money. Having no taste for the law and office work, he had never even attempted to begin practice. Having nothing to do, he was discouraged with life and had lost confidence in himself. "I am useless in the world, there is nothing I can do" he said. He was finally encouraged to purchase land and begin the scientific study and practice of horticulture. The last time we saw him, he was erect, ruddy, hard-muscled, and capable looking. Best of all, his old, petulant, dissatisfied expression was gone. In its place was the light of worthy achievement, success, and happiness. He told us there were no finer fruit trees anywhere than his.

These are only 2 of a million incidents. Youths enroll in vocational streams on whims, spend time and money preparing themselves for overcrowded professions they have no aptitude for. A prominent physician said that he trusts only 3 of the 50,000-odd students who graduated from medical school with him.

It would be safe to say that 90% people have entered their present employment blindly, irrespective of their fitness or opportunities. No wonder they hate their job, and often are only average or worse at it. Apart from being ineffective, their talents are wasted.

Albert Einstein said - If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

When one is interested in his work, he overcomes difficulties with delight and rarely finds his work tiresome. Biologically too, the body supports the man who enjoys his work, and makes the unhappy misfit more inefficient.

More to come in the sequels…. Keep watching this space!!



Monday, January 21

Express Daily

"If nothing fascinates you, you're not living."

She used to say that to me all the time. And I used to wonder why it was necessary for me to be wild and excited about anything; everything was o dull and mundane. Stars in her eyes did not justify calling the world gorgeous, right?

A rainbow, a puppy cuddled in the centre of the street, a flowerbud - all these silly events had her ooh-ing and aah-ing no end. 

Like the other day, she made me stop on the narrow bridge because she wanted to watch the sun setting on the horizon. I mean, a bridge, of all places? Couldn't her valuable viewing have permitted a few more seconds to ride a few more metres? We stood there like fools, she blissfully lost in the scenery, and me shamefully aware of all the hooting people and honking vehicles. When she finally allowed me to move over, I was literally in tears with anger, embarassment and irritation.

But I could not say a word to reprimand her.

A man without hope has little else, they say. But the doctors had not considered that when they stripped me of all assurances and prayers.

Miracles were not mine to hope for anymore.

Agatha had a congenital condition that had no cure or treatment.

After multiple visits to the hospital, the doctor told me in not so vague terms that there was no point in wasting his or my time - there was nothing anyone could do for Agatha. All I could do now was to ensure that every breath Agatha took was special.

She had few left.

Time passed, and Agatha turned 6. It was time for all kids her age to go to school. Grade 1 beckoned and Agatha was animated like never before. She wanted to learn to read and write and spell.

We had home-schooled her for the last 2 years, and though she got tired easily, her enthusiasm never dipped. I was frankly against her joining a regular school, and quoted all the reasons and excuses possible for her to give up the thought. After our fifth discussion in 3 days on the topic, she calmly said to me, "You dont want me to be away from you, and that's why you are asking me to stay home".

I hadn't admitted that to anybody aloud, not even myself, and here she was, aware of my guilty secret all along.

I could neither accept it nor deny it, so I did the next best thing. I walked away.

She followed.

"So, will you get me enrolled in school?"

"We'll see. I'll ask the doctor tomorrow."

"He said yes. I called him last evening."


"Hmm. Guess you're old and smart enough to know what's right for you. So okay, take Grandma along and get yourself enrolled."

"Can you go with me? Granny can't speak English too well, and they interview the ward's guardians."

Someone had done her research.


"What time?"

She wouldn't give up...

"6 pm."

"Can we make that 5 pm? The school office shuts at 6."


"Thanks Papa. I love you."

And there went my resolve to be angry with her.                                              

2 years later when she passed away, I couldn't say that I was surprised one bit. Not by the timing, not by the enormous turnover at her funeral, not by even the detachment with which I handed over all her toys and possessions to the orphanage as she had firmly instructed me to.

"You don't need those things around you to remind you of me. I know you will never forget me, even if I ask you to. Besides, the children at the orphanage sure need these things more than anybody else."                         

Even now, after 8 months, when I look at the routine phenomena that Agatha would have found wondrous, a tear escapes my eye. And I don't attempt to wipe it.

That's one thing she never wanted us to do... Hide what we truly thought or felt, appreciated or wanted.

I have hidden it, time and again. For reasons kind and mean. We all have to. But I try not to.

Are YOU brave enough to express yourself? Or do you cower and follow the pack, too scared to have an independent opinion or voice?

Agatha taught me that... Do you want an Agatha in your life to leave you with that lesson??



Sunday, January 13

Hola 2013 !!

Hello Dear Readers,

Wish you a very happy new year (since I have not posted on the blog after Christmas Day). Hope 2013 has treated you well till date, and it only gets better hereon.

The world hasn't ended, and I don't know if it is a good thing or bad. The current state of affairs, hyped rapes and crimes - humanity has definitely ended, and maybe that is what the Mayans suggested in the first place...

Me? I have been up to loads of stuff this past fortnight. 

A marvelous new year eve with my better half Akhilesh Singh, my bro-in-law Aditya and best best buddy Rakshith Shetty, followed by some unbearable sh*t at work, and family get-togethers, and real estate dreams. Quite a bit of reading as well - Asura and Once Upon the tracks of Mumbai; plus exploring options for a more prosperous and peaceful life...

Watched the Bollywood movie Table No. 21 starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Paresh Rawal, and totally loved it. The turn of events was fairly predictable, but nevertheless, a movie well made. (And Talaash and Breaking Dawn Part 2 before that - all paisa vasool

Did I tell you I bought a Micromax phone? Don't ask me the model and blah, I'm no good at it. All I know is that it's way cheaper than other similar models by Samsung and Nokia, and way better. It's a good successor to my beloved Samsung Champ (Champu) which I have, of late, stopped missing. Regular visits to the neighboring Phoenix mall have also ensured a steady inflow of clothes and doughnuts. Bliss !! 

To drive away the midweek blues, my hubby took me to Mulshi and we had a fabulous time there. Must say, this guy's really moving from good to great, and no day goes by without my feeling extremely fortunate to have him to love and call my own. When he makes a stone skip 16 times in the water, and when he is praised by my family and friends, I go wheeeeeeee and wow and yippeeeee. Boy genius !!

So, that in a nutshell has been my very busy life this year-to-date.

And here's another book review as evidence of your efforts in making this blog so popular and successful...

This time, it's an "alternative fiction" novel by Rishi Vohra - a book titled "Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai" by Jaico Publishers. The author approached me for my opinion on the book, and here it is! Star rating : 6 on 10 for those who don't enjoy my book reviews too much. For the bookworms, below is a detailed evaluation.

A young man with psychological problems wants to set his life right and doesn't quite know how. He is fully aware of what he wants, but like most folks, does not realise how he has to go about achieving it all. His lady love is clueless about his amorous feelings, and given his mental condition, wooing a chic is not amongst his top skills. He is in top shape physically, and he puts that to good use by being a superhero of sorts, something that happens quite by accident and hives his life meaning and direction. 

That his family does not support or appreciate him complicates his life and screws his mood several times, but he is a dedicated and good-hearted chap. Finally, goodness triumphs over evil, and our "Rail Man" gets all that was destined to be his, job and house and love and affection. 

The engaging writing is the highlight of this otherwise mediocre script. I would have loved to see more of the schizophrenic side of the protagonist in the plot, and it would have been terrific had the team dramatized a few scenes further. I enjoyed the jail stint by the protagonist - not a bad idea to base a sequel on that. But the end was downright ridiculous. Not going to tell you what, though it ain't hard to guess... Silly, by any sensible woman's standards!! 

A masala movie, which is in the offing, might entertain audiences, but does not guarantee to leave them spell-bound. My recommendation to fix that - focus less on Vandana and more on Babloo. Give him more character, make him more menacing than he is, or at least that "friend" of his. 

The family scenes and climax are typical and that's not a bad thing at all. Indian families thrive on melodrama and mundaneness. The villain Sikander has also been portrayed pretty well. I am certain that a film would be remarkably better than the book. Depending on who is cast and who writes the dialogues...

Having said that, I love the author's website, and I wish him all the luck ahead. Good debut :-)

And I wish all of you guys the same... Loads of love, luck and laughter to make this year the best one until the next. May you get all that your heart and head desires. Be good !!


Dream last night

I dreamt of you last night. I know I dreamt of you last night. I don't know why I dreamt of you last night. In my dreams, you were at my...