Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Facebook Hermit

I've been trying to understand this social networking phenomenon- you know- twitter, orkut, Facebook.. and understanding how and why it works. This, of course, is not idle curiosity- I'm applying whatever I learn for clients in some way or the other.

Of course, it means different things to different people, but the reason why I may be liking Facebook is because it allows me to be a hermit and still stay connected. What I've noticed about all of my friendships is I'm really lousy at keeping them when I move into a different situation or context. It isn't as if I don't want to stay in touch, but the busyness of life and my short term memory usually screws things up. Like people's birthday's for example.

Now, I am connecting with a lot of my erstwhile friends, made from different times- school, college, different jobs- and just looking at posted photos and stuff helps me stay in touch and reminded of all the good times had with people.

A small technological joy even for the biggest luddite.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The promise of drowsy mornings

It means your melatonin level has kicked up to its winter standards! It is funny how your body knows it is winter much earlier than your mind recognises it as such. Perhaps we are all too busy in our grind to recognize the passing of seasons.

Pune's last week of October promises a good winter, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed since my wish has been foiled before by persistent rains in recent times. It has become very pleasant and clouds have kept away- so far.

I love winter mornings. Especially if you can drowsily sleep in. Steaming tea to follow, and perhaps a latish walk down to Vaishali for some Idli- Sambar and conversation.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

All The Best

I saw a film that was such a blood-pressure reducer on the weekend. No semblance of any logic, just a madcap story with some very funny moments. No highbrow pretensions for All the Best then: starring Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgan. Great chemistry between these two, and a solid support cast ensures you rolling in your seat once every five minutes. A lot of slapstick, some industry insider jokes and some god awful but fun puns.

Of course, and I repeat this- the film is not a classic- Fardeen Khan and Mugdha Godse need acting lessons, the songs are wasteful and the action is a tad overdone.

But who cares as long as when you walk out of the movie hall, you do so with a smile on your face and your blood pressure reduced by a notch or two.

Go check it out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Learning from a new discipline

I find it extremely rewarding to learn a new thing in my area of work from some totally unrelated profession.

Yesterday, my surgeon dad was explaining to a friend of mine about how most surgeons focus on doing the best possible surgery only and not post operative treatment. It is as if most of them consider that as not "part of the job". I realized that this aspect is so true even in all the sectors I've worked in- Media, Telecom, Entertainment, Software- and one of the biggest problems I have seen is people don't really know all the factors that constitute their jobs.

Somehow, to see it being confirmed in a totally unrelated field was, in a sense, a deep learning, because it helped me understand the problem from a different angle. Earlier, I used to think it was just a lazy attitude. I now recognize that there might be something more than that- something to do with what people really enjoy doing. Perhaps, the problem can be solved in a different way in my mind now.

Big lesson. Small joy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sleeping in your own bed

Dont scoff at this one. I have been sleeping in a lot of different rooms, both within my home and at relatives, while the whole house gets done up. What I noticed was:

1. Mosquitos love fresh blood. Especially mine in new places.

2. When I get up, for a really weird second, I can't place where I am. Creepy.

3. Dust. Seems to have an attraction for my nose.

4. They don't make beds my size. And pillows the way I like them. Neck aches and body aches abound.

I could go on. But you get the point.

So the best Diwali gift I got this year was when the refurbishing was completed and I could move back to my (much nicer) room .

Happiness is the comfort of sleeping in your own bed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's your Diwali Memory?

Here are my top five Diwali "boy's own" memories that remain small joys to this day:

1. Nuisance value: Waking up very early and making a nuisance of yourself to your parents, neighbors and the world in general on the first day. A loud bomb that ensures curses at 5 ish in the morning. Burning a hole through a sari with a rocket . Hitting a neighbour on the head with your chammanchidi (now banned). Add to this list Bhuichakra , Bhuinala, Sudarshan Chakra and the famous Parachute.

2. Creativity and spirit: Creating homemade crackers that do not burst well, or a bit too well. ( called apatbars). In latter years, both kinds of Daru, liberal doses. Making a Killa (fort) with tender love and care. Bombing the hell out of it on Tulshicha Lagna.

3. Gluttony: Anarse. Shankarpale. Kaju katli. Chiwda. Other sweetmeat boxes that come as surprises from your father's friends.

4. Massages: Smelly oils that feel yuck but make you drowsy.

5. Luck by Chance: Trying to play teen patti and flopping. Then telling yourself that if you have bad luck at cards your year had better luck. Hah.

Happy Diwali to everyone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A small joy with diminishing returns

I'd say a home- cooked meal falls into this category. If you are far away from home, or if your house is in a state that your kitchen isn't functional- like mine is damn it- well, that's when you miss a warm home cooked meal- whichever part of the world you belong to. And if you are far away, the first week or two there's a thrill of eating new cuisine and experiencing new bars and restaurants.

But any longer and people start crying out for Ghar ka khana- whether your ghar is in Delhi or Dallas.

I guess confirmed bachelors and hostelites don't really experience it for long parts of their lives, but most of us do.

Very strange, but this joy is ephemeral, because all of us take the home cooked meal for granted when put in front of our faces every single day. I'm the guiltiest party when it comes to criticizing things around- or consider home food blah.

Till I don't get it on my plate, that is.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ramble to Unscramble

If you live in Pune, you have to go for a ramble up the hills. You wouldn't do worse than the ARAI- Vetal hill area. And you got to do it before say 20th of november- that's when you'll enjoy the fresh green carpet and flowers all round.

Cmon, I know there is some inertia to start with (walking up a hill on my well earned holiday!) but it is so totally worth it. Go with a companion (preferably one who doesn't yadder too much). Go to a place that is not frequented by people who work out so that you can have some solitude, and don't get weird glances from earnest fast walking people who wonder at your meandering pace.

Or go alone and sort your thoughts out- nothing like a hill ramble to do this. You get a panoramic view which helps put things into perspective. You can stop when you want, increase pace as you want- so it becomes between a wander and a trek.

Finish off with a well earned bun maska and chai at some canteen nearby. Small joys dont come better than this one.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Journey to Product

We recently launched our product's website : www.coconnex.com. It was a landmark moment for all of us.

Around three and half years ago, we had brainstormed about an idea in the event management and marketing space, and created a rough and ready proof of concept. From there on began a journey from idea to product.

Today, the product (Coconnex) has its own look and feel, its own website and other marketing communications, a proven sales and delivery team and an impressive list of clients. It has graduated to being a full fledged service.

It has given many small joys along the way:product demos being appreciated by prospects, business plans being seriously whetted;smart technological decisions taken, product becoming more market ready, getting to first client, then the first overseas client, then getting client appreciation and testimonials, then our UK based sales director joining us- and now this whole new branding and launch.

The small joy I'm having right now is one of nostalgia and lessons learned. I now know what it takes for an idea to become a valued product in the marketplace.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happiness in stressful times...

Is our responsibility, isn't it?

When this world becomes too busy for me, I tend to lose track of the fact that my happiness level completely depends upon whether I can "steal" a moment and make myself happy. Currently, my life is super busy- both at office and at home, and stress levels are high. This is where this small adjustment that I've talked about comes in. Let me explain a little more.

It's enjoying a chai at the tapri with a dear friend in between office and home. Fifteen minutes of complete relaxation.
Its enjoying a good read on the pot (tacky to some, a must for others)
It's remembering to listen to a good song at a traffic signal
It's seeing a sitcom for five minutes while your kid has gone to the loo in a commercial break in her cartoon show
Its about....

I guess the adjustment is to use ordinary time which we'd use just doing nothing (maybe waiting for something to happen, or worrying about something) and use that time to make yourself happier.

No one else will. Let's all remember that!

Champagne Weather

Today's a day like no other. Atleast not what we've seen in Pune for a longish time. After the humidity and torrential rains of last week, today was cool, crisp- white puffy clouds, azure skies and warm sunshine. Sounds like a travel brochure, doesn't it? But this brochure like day exists, and with it brings a lot of happiness for absolutely no reason.

I can see office goers go out for a post lunch stroll from my window. I could see a lot of cork trees, full of blossom, sparkling away like the snow Pune will never have when I walked in the morning. I was reminded of a Wodehouse novel, where the weather is always fantastic even though the hero's heart is heavy.

Its a day full of what I'd call Champagne Weather. Forgive me for getting all poetic on you: God gives licenses to everyone today for waxing lyrical.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Discovering TS Eliot

I'd been meaning to do this for a long time, and finally I had half a chance and read a few of TS Eliot's poems. I'm glad I did. Beautiful poems, no doubt, but his quotes enraptured me. Sample these:

" Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. "

"Home is where one starts from. "

"I will show you fear in a handful of dust."

"It's strange that words are so inadequate. Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words."

"If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"

"The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason. "

I love stuff like this. I could cut and paste for a long time, but I think you get my point. Something beyond the usual pseudo- intellectual romantic longish rants that masquerade as poems. I guess they don't make them like him anymore.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fixing things

My house is in a complete mess right now. We're re-flooring and re-painting a lot of the house, and if you've been through this, boy, you know what I mean. It takes a special effort for everyone to accept small discomforts, and cool down frayed tempers, and be patient.

Of course, there is a positive side to this as well- you can see your home getting spruced up and more like the way you visualized every day before kick-starting this. There's a small joy there- seeing something beautiful unfold in the unholy mess that surrounds you.

I read a beautiful story in Paulo Coelho's book "Like the flowing river" where a man, whose life is a mess, offers to rebuild a ruined house- for free- for a stranger. As soon as he starts doing this, his own life gets sorted out. I'm reminded of this story again when I see my own home being rebuilt- hoping that the rest of my life becomes less messy and more beautiful! Good thought huh?