Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When Something Clicks

I'm currently writing my second book- called "The Gift of the Gab" which is a corporate tale exploring the theme of communication in work life. I'm on my third draft- time when you've got the basic ingredients in place and you need to make a few finishing touches.

I had been struggling with this draft in one particular area. I've discovered that unless you have had an experience of what you are writing, it becomes a difficult task. I was wondering whether the reason why I was struggling was because of this. Another thing I've noticed is that every time I write something down, it needs to have been valuable to me first. I wondered whether what I needed to write was really going to add any value, or whether I was doing it to "tie some loose ends"

Whatever the reason was, I was struggling. Then this morning, just an hour ago, a colleague came and talked to me about something that he'd experienced. I had shared my thoughts with him on this subject before- and something positive had come out for him because of this. His experience touched something inside my head and suddenly, with absolute clarity, I knew what was still missing from my book.

Does a higher power arrange for such coincidences? I wonder how many of you have had this kind of experience in your own fields. The small joy when something clicks and falls into place.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I tried this in the morning. I was having a restless night(too much thinking about work!)and I needed an energy boost.

It was about 5.30 in the morning- the time when you desperately try to fall back to sleep but you cant if your brain is in overdrive. Then I remembered this guy's podcast. I'd listened to this before- but I did it when it counted. .

If you can't hear the podcast, well, what you do is breathe in while counting to four. Hold your breath while counting to four again. Then, count to four as you release your breath. Hold (dont inhale) for another four counts.

Instead of trying to go back to sleep, I did this simple breathing exercise (somewhat like pranayam) and it helped me relax and rest. When I got out of bed, it was as if I'd had a normal night's sleep. Worth it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Spirit of Adventure

Have you read "The Old Man and the Sea" and somehow, somehow, wished that there was an ounce of happiness in a gritty tale like that- you know- a crumb of hope that you can take ahead after keeping the book down?

Well, the answer is Up. Or rather- an animation movie called Up, which I found completely charming and version 1.1 of "The Old Man...". Loved the old guy. Loved the treatment (especially when they show his whole life unfold in a very short span of time but with complete emotional content). I loved how he rebels and flies his house out (what an idea- completely unbelievable but totally cool)

The story is all about the spirit of adventure- how it keeps all of us alive and kicking. Its about postponed dreams(sometimes the journey takes you to a different path but postponing the dream may be worth it) and flawed heroes (how protecting your ego can turn the superhero in yourself into a complete villian)

As they say- its got layers. Watch the film. Precious is what I'd call it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

100 not out

Wow. This is my hundredth small joy. My word has been my weapon and my shield- against doom and gloom. I'm glad its near Dassehra.

Dassehra allows me to imagine that days of hardship are behind us- the fact that it has been a hard fight for all of us in this year due to some reason or the other. Recession, swine flu, and the daily grime of living.

Its time to allow ourselves a little luxury of feeling proud of all of the effort put in by us hard working joes and janes throughout these tough times- and feel good that we are still standing. Like I did today when I wrote this and completed a century. The small joy of the good fight.

More small joys on their way. Whether you like it or not :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Managing your Wishes

My elder daughter- she's about eight- came up with a good one the other day. She said she makes all her wishes for the next day when she goes to sleep, not when she wakes up.

I was more than a little intrigued given my passion in these matters( for proof: ) and asked her why she does this. She said that at night you are not so greedy. In the morning, you think about your wishes too much and make it too complicated.

At night, you can be more pure, and even if you cant, she said- you are kinda tired and don't push it that much. She said she falls asleep like this nowadays, and like a grandma, said that I should try it too.

From the mouth of babes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rain Sleep

What a downpour last night. I think its called "elephant rain" (hatti paus) that comes at the end of the monsoon, and it creates a real racket.

Surprisingly, nature's racket is quite soothing and sleep inducing. I dont know about you- but you feel very snug when it is raining outside. Probably it is the noise- or the fact that it becomes cooler all of a sudden, but the quality of your sleep definately goes northward.

Awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed (not good news for anyone around me since I've got ADHD to begin with). Maybe they should create nature sounds like these in a relaxing CD that you could listen to before you sleep everyday. But would it be the same?

Monday, September 21, 2009

The small joy of routine

You know what, we take our daily routine a lot for granted. Sometimes, we don't wake up right, or don't have the usual conversation with our loved one.

Its only when the routine gets disrupted that you miss the small joy there was in the routine. You take so much for granted, and you end up being miserable and cranky without even knowing why you are being so.

For me, the routines are two: Walking. and Talking. If I miss walking,I feel pickled. If I miss talking, I become restless. And when I know that the person you want to talk to isn't really available, then it is agony.

Here's to the small joy of routine things that are much bigger than they seem.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Professor Dumbledore

Every Harry Potter needs a Professor Dumbledore, and in my case, that is a position represented by a select few people who have taught me over the years.

One such Professor Dumbledore is AY Joshi, who has taught a lot of my family the subject of economics (amongst other unaccountable things). He was over for a meal yesterday, and it was great catching up with him and learning some new stuff from him as usual.

I think he missed his calling- should have taught Philosophy instead. When he spoke yesterday, I was transported into Nietzsche's fundamentally unsound mind, into Jean Paul Sartre's existential cafe, and met Ayn Rand's Howard Roark all over again. (He's THE man, we agreed). We spoke of the philosophy of music and survived an occasional western civilisation rant as well :)

What a wonderful way to refresh your mind. More such small joys, and on the double, please!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Good Thali

I recently had a so-so experience going to a puneri thali place. Not that the food was bad- it was just blah. Why this rant on this kind of blog? Because I remembered what its like to have a real good thali.

I personally like Durvankur for a basic thali and Panchawati Gaurav for a premium one. I know its not completely Maharastrian but boy, both places are real good. I know that there are more famous places than the ones I have listed, but the food, service and overall "feel" of these places is unique to me.

What I love about a good thali is the different kinds of Indian bread on offer, all at one go. And I'm a dessert fan as well. And the buttermilk. As you can see, I could go on.

Its a big meal, and a small joy. Skip breakfast, though.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Blood, sweat, tears.... we go live!

Hey, I'm so happy that my company's website has a spanking new look. : It is so difficult taking your own medicine and ensuring that your website has the same standards like you recommend.

As someone who has been completely immersed in this project of late, I do know the special kind of effort that is required to make this happen over and above all the work you do for your clients. Physician, heal thyself was our rallying cry, and we finally managed to do this.

Do take a look, let me have some kind words... it was a special joy to get a "we are live" sms at two in the morning from my team. Bravo.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Here's looking at you, grandpa!

My granddad died a couple of days ago. He died living a full life, with his dignity intact, and with minimal pain. He was near his loved ones when he passed away.

I feel extremely sad at seeing him go- he was a real funster who didnt have a single bad bone in his body. But I do feel happy that he didnt suffer much, and the end came before it got very bad.
I'll always remember the Frank Sinatra song that he used to sing/hum when he didnt know the words:

...It was on the isle of Capri
That he first saw her
underneath that old walnut tree..

I'll like to imagine he's singing some ditty like this up there. Here's looking at you, Grandpa!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Small Joys are Life's toys

Giving pleasure even in pain

When I get a small joy

I become childlike again.

Small joys are butterflies

everywhere yet out of hand

When I get a small joy

I've found Neverland.

Small Joys Unlimited

Access your soul and see

when you get even one

Life is momentarily free.

Indian Butter

Ok, Mr.Cholesterol Watcher, you aren't really going to like this one. Maybe I won't either soon enough. So here's a small joy beyond compare, while it lasts: Indian butter. I've never had better. Either the white variety, or "Amul". I miss my current fix- there's some kind of shortage in Pune- and any healthy substitute doesn't cut it. Sorry.

Nobody really talks about it much in India- we take the taste so much for granted. But anyone who's headed out or has just come back from a foreign land will definately know what I'm talking about. The salty, rich taste that is so peculiarly Indian. The way it works on toast, waffles, parathas, naans, and anywhere else- like butter chicken.

I like the white butter too- Loni- though this has fewer takers nowadays. It's a little sour but has an amazing, home-made taste. Try the Loni on hot toast, and dip it into a masala chai, when its raining outside. Yum.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rear Classic

I saw Rear Window on DVD recently. What a wonderful movie, even after all these years. James Stewart leads the absolute idyll life(except of course that his leg is in a cast and someone tries to actively murder him during the movie).

He's got a rear window in his studio and can spy at real interesting neighbours with abandon. He gets regular massages from his nurse. He gets treated to fine wine and food by Grace Kelly (who looks picture perfect in cocktail dresses). He swills cognac and has a swell time.

It's a wonderful life (wasn't that the name of his other movie? hm. perhaps he specialises in this sort of thing). Watch the technicolor version, the mood, ambience and dialogue on a dark night . Savor this "Rear Classic". Couldn't resist the pun.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All you need is imagination

My kids tend to use me to prolong their time not nodding off to sleep through stories that I concoct. It is a lot of fun, even if you are dog tired, something about a goofy story ensures a child's giggle. Very infective.

One particular fun thing we end up doing is to "complete the story" with everyone pitching in one sentence before the baton goes to some other place. So a typical prince and princess story ends up at a mad scientist's lab with super heroes thrown in. Sometimes it gets so crazy that we cant continue.

I guess that's what they do in some cartoons, judging by the storylines that you see. As Spongebob Squarepants said, "All you need is imagination". Amen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Atlas Atlast

I've been trying to get hold of a world atlas for a long time, a real good, updated one and stick it into the kid's room. Finally, I managed to nail one in and have been having a lot of fun poring over it. Doing so immediately makes me a kid, trying to know what the world is all about (like: where is Ougadougou and which country's capital is it- and where the Azores islands are).

World Maps are a curious fascination- in my mind's eye, I take a ship cruise that moves off from Mumbai, into the Red Sea, through Suez and into the Med- what a trip that must be.

I look at Tasmania and wonder whether its the same size as SriLanka, or whether the scale distorts size. I look at Chile and am fascinated by the way it looks.

I know I'm never going to visit all these places. But hey, I have visited them already, from my own home.