Thursday, December 17, 2015

Life Moves On - Chennai Rains!

The Rains in Chennai which started this year during mid October had me worried a lot but it didn’t baffle me till 30th Nov, Monday. 2 quick personal trips to Chennai during month of Nov, gave me a sample of what the city was witnessing and I came back to Bangalore on 29th Nov. A narrow escape for me.

30th Nov saw the worst rainfall the city is ever going to witness for some years(hopefully!)
All the network connections went crazy. One quick call from my mother informing me that power is cut and network is also going down and not to worry about my family at Chennai made me realize the week wasn’t going to like previous ones!

Different whatsapp groups were created by to quickly check on our Chennai colleagues of our department as no mails/calls were working. A few others from different locations were also added to check on their Chennai counterparts and then started a marathon tracking mission of 2200+ folks based out of Chennai. Similarly other department folks also got into checking for their folks across.

The biggest challenge : No Network connectivity or power in the area for them to reach out to.

The next 6 days was a total emotional roller coast ride days which tested the will power, perseverance of the volunteer group who went on to track all these associates! The volunteers were based out of all locations – across india and overseas – NA/UK etc who also pitched in despite the anguage barriers and time zone differences.

There were some really heart-beating moments during all these checks. Am sure, for the 1st time no one in the group would have complained about the number of messages in the group! (I myself get bugged when so many messages keep popping in various groups in normal days, but this time I was one of those folks who kept msging – checking/updating the status of associates as and when we got the news.

Once a few Chennai folks were able to connect , they were able to update us on the weather and how things are on the ground. A few braved the rains which was still pouring at some places in Chennai to check on other colleagues or give some urgent medicine supplies which we got as requests.

The volunteers left no stone unturned to track the folks especially the trainees – continuous calls to their numbers/emergency numbers, back to back messages in regular phone and whatsapp and then going on to twitter/FB/Linkedin to check their profile, leave a message or trace some friend/family who could update them. The whole process could be looked like stalking or an FBI investigation! ;)

A couple of heartbeating moments came when one associate had to be evacuated by Army. We got an update that he is stranded with his family(wife and  1yr old kid) in his house. On Thursday, 2nd Dec – a call was patched to Army helpline and cognizant helpline also and army evacuation request was made. The feeling of all the folks in the whatsapp group could be compared to those movie scenes where a group sits in the data room with all the data and updates hero who is out there to save the world! All of us went, to and fro checking through different sources and whatsapping on the status. Around evening we got the update that he and his family were evacuated and all of us felt so happy and relieved! But then the next day morning, we got the news that he was still stuck and army had not evacuated him! The tension grew up and after again multiple channels, finally on Saturday only army evacuated him! This time we double ensured we got the news correctly and he was safe with his family!

Another moment was when one of the associates called back saying she was fine, her family was evacuated by army on Thursday but during the evacuation, she and her kid got split from her husband and MIL and now she had no idea where they were. We got his number and the search for the family began. After 2 hours, finally network came in and he responded to our call and we were able to trace his and update on his wife and kid’s status! We felt like we were united with our family!

Tragedies also occurred, as one teammate msged back saying, all were good but he lost his uncle in this 2nd spell of heavy rains while his grand father passed away in the 1st one. We also mourned with him L 

The news of colleagues belonging all being washed away courtesy rains, were moments where we felt our houses were gone.

But then on optimistic side, there were no casualties of any associates. Trainees had their own share of experiences in the floods and as we spoke to them, we could sense the fear, anxiety and a bit of relief that they were safe now. Counselling centers/calls were immediately set up for all the trainees whom we could support through these tough times!

Simultaneously I was checking on my own family/relatives/family friends (who seemed to be countless in Chennai) on their safety and was following the volunteering scenes through the social media which was used to amazing effect this time! My aunt lost all her belongings and when she told me, I could only cry inside because that house was a dear to me during my college hostel days. She was my guardian and that house was my temple which I visited practically every weekend.

But then as she said, this is life and knowing that we are safe and healthy we need to smile and brace ourselves for the next journey of resetting life.

People in Chennai and other affected places have shown us that they can survive, support each other and rise together! Sincerely wishing this trend continues on normal days also as the city comes back to being normal step by step!

P.S - This post has been long due from my end but then my mind had so much of mixed emotions for past 1 month that I took some time to clear my head and then pen this down!

P.S 1 – The voluntary work that I was part of might not have been great compared to the actual ground work, but then that’s the solace we tell ourselves, that we were part of something during these tough times for Chennai folks!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kaleidoscope of Colorful Butterflies!

Present Day:
She looked around her as women sat in groups working hard on getting the final touches of their entrepreneur journey ready!
One of them looked up and spoke,” Ma, Am very confident we will do well. Thank you so much for teaching us, showing the path and helping us.”
She smiled looking at the confident women around her, who once were meek and quiet and facing their own sets of challenges at their home.
Each woman in this group of 20 were from different background and of different ages from 17 to 55 – newlywed, widow, abandoned wife, happy mother, grandmothers, single women – from all the walks of life but in one small village. The only common thing they had was dreams of doing something of their own!
Another woman got up and said, “Yes Ma. Your family is so lucky to have you. Am so happy you came here to our lives. It feels like we are going to fly!”
A tear came from eyes as she turned to hide it from them and looked out of the window, remembering her families’ reaction the same day, 1 year back!
1 year earlier:
Everyone looked at her shell shocked as if she had committed a big sin.
She sat calmly waiting for one of them to respond. Her husband was sitting in another corner of the room without any kind of emotion as he already knew of her decision and was not happy about it.
Her son walked up to her and asked – “Ma, are you ok? What is this sudden nonsense of going to your native place? There is nothing there and then all of us; Papa, I, my family, your daughter and her family are here in city.”
She simply smiled at him. Before she could reply, her daughter also got up and asked – “Ma, what is your problem here. We have provided all the comforts for you and taking care. You do not need to worry about anything, then why do you want to go and where did this come from. Is this your new friend’s influences?”
She had recently joined the old women’s group in her son’s huge apartment on all their insistence when she kept complaining for need to do something.
She looked at both her son and daughter and then at her husband who was waiting for her to respond. He had full hopes on his kids to dissuade her from the decision she had taken.
She closed her eyes looking back at her life journey. She had just graduated from college when her parents had fixed her marriage. She wanted to teach and have her identity but her husband’s work required them to travel places and with 2 kids and in-laws, it was pretty clear that she had to manage the house. At that time, this sacrifice didn’t matter as she felt the joy of motherhood was more. But somewhere in this journey, she lost her identity. She was wife, mother and then mother-in-law and grandma but nothing else. She looked around and saw that each of them had an identity of their own in their professions and were respected for it and not just as a family member!
Her son’s voice broke her thoughts. “Ma, why? The kids want you here
She looked at her son again and replied, “My grandkids are my eyes now but I don’t think they need me anymore. They are pretty busy with their school, tuitions and all the classes they are attending over the weekends. You are all well settled and have your own families to manage.”
And that’s why you need to relax and just enjoy the retired life, Ma”, her son interrupted her.
She smiled and calmly replied, “That’s why I want to go, son! There are so many women who need help and I just want to do my bit. This NGO with whom I want to tie up will be the best way for me. And what better way than to start from my own village
Her kids just shook their head helplessly.
Present Day:
She was not sure if her husband or kids still understood her decision but they had stopped asking her anything. Once a month she visited them and they were cordial. She tried to get her husband to come and see her work but he was quite busy in his own world to bother!
She turned back to see the women looking at her, full of happiness. She didn’t know how to explain to them that this year was all coming from the shell, growing her wings and spreading it. Finally she was also going to fly along with others just as a kaleidoscope of colorful butterflies!

Blood Stained Sword!

The silence was deadening as she slowly opened her eyes. She looked up to see her attacker’s triumph face while the only sound came from the sword which slashed through her stomach.
Undeterred she got up raising the nearest blood stained sword shouting – Jai Hind!
And the curtain fell with loud applause from the audience!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bangalore Diaries - Part 2!

  • Being a known as blogger in the company has its own perks. One of the evenings when I was just getting into the bus I heard my name being called! Being in the new place, when someone calls you and asks about you it feels so good. It was another fellow blogger who called me while I was inside the office bus recognizing me. For a second I was wondering who he was till he introduced himself and asked about me. It felt so good! :)

  • Networking and getting to know people always help. My transition to Bangalore office, did not pose any concern because when I entered the office, I figured I knew 70% of the folks already – either I had interacted with them for work at some point of time or met them when they came to Chennai. And there is a group here who just took me in when they go for breaks and lunch and also helped me with everything that one person should know in the location to be comfortable with!

  • I read a very interesting article recently about the people whom we feel comfortable to work with and how they are hired - So what kind of folks would you prefer to work with? This reminds me of the “groupism” that we feel in the work place – people from same state or talking same language end up going together always etc. So would that help in work also? The thin line of personal and professional life just gets lost here!

  • Remember all those movies and serials where the cops flashed their badges in style to tell they are cops and it looked super cool and we would just be envious of them! Well thanks to the 3 ID/pass that I need to carry for bus journey – Volvo bus pass/office pass and bmtc id pass, I bought the cover to keep these passes. So when the bus conductor today asked – ‘tickets’, all I had to do was stylishly open the card cover and show it to him feeling all “cop kind” from those movies! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee :D :D

  • One of the good things here is the radio as 3 channels play hindi songs :D though at times a repeat or really boring songs but still fact that I can listen to radio now makes me feel good!! I just have to figure which shows are good now!
P.S - Am posting this blog listening to radio songs only! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Getting a Grip - Review

1992-1993 : It was the time when Television came to our Home and became a part of our lives. The cricket and tennis matches shown in Doordarshan made me a fan of these 2 sports forever now!
So the era of sibling rivalry of supporting the favorites started. My brother chose Seles, I chose Graf. My brother chose Sampras, I chose Agassi!  But then the way these tennis players inspired us, it was very tough to not like them!

So when the news of Monica Seles stabbing incident came, it shocked us! There was a gloom in our house as if a member of the house had been stabbed. Why the hatred for a tennis professional! Later only I would get to read more such freaking incidents courtesy insane fans of sports world.

I had always wondered what went through Seles mind and even when she did come back, how she was coping with all this! We can’t imagine the kind of lifestyle they live in and can only be envious!

So finally I got a chance to read Monica Seles’s book : Getting a Grip : On my Game,My Body, My Mind... My Self.
Normally I do not follow the books released by Sports persons about themselves so I missed this until one of my friends told me!

 This book has left a lasting impression on me as Seles tells us about her journey into Tennis and how she became a Pro and then the stabbing and the scars it had left. When things don’t go well, nothing goes well. Her story and struggles of her own demons,the struggles of her father's health and death, the growing weight/food issue and she has tried to cope with them makes us realize that all these sportspersons who become celebrities, thanks to the popularity of the sports, are also mere human beings with their own basic needs and are sensitive just like any of us.

The impending question of her grunts, or weight, or retirement when it was unnecessary and how it affects her game or life is just a sample.

The mistakes she made, the weaknesses she had in between the complete journey and the fear of failures that made her always be in the comfort zone and the “please everyone” mentality – each of these she had to change based on her experience and the struggles is heartwarming to read!

The fact that she realized and tried to do something beyond tennis like coming in a reality show to just see what happens is really commendable. It’s easy for us to sit and judge and say why does this celebrity do different things, but as she mentioned, when she realized she might not be able to play, the hard hitting fact that she does not know anything except tennis is the sad truth and unless the person tries his/her hand in something else, it’s going to be a very tough life. The problem they face is the questions others ask and especially what’s written about them by media and critics which affects their decisions!

One of the strong things that came from the book is that – it’s the mind which plays more game with us and is the key to anything we want to achieve in life.

As I was reading the book, when she mentions about self-doubts she had or the losses she had because she had to change her style because someone mentioned that is how she should play or when she feels the fun in the game is gone and how she tries to seek it, truly makes me contemplate on my life and journey.

As a fan, we enjoy sports for the sheer joy of the game but the sad truth is that anywhere it’s the money which talks. As Seles mentions about the sponsors and tournaments etc and her own self-realization that Tennis is not just a  sports or about sportsmanship but overall a business which affects her own mindset and makes her get depressed during her recovery days is very heartwarming!

To read this book: If you know Tennis and a bit about the background of tennis and players, you would relate a lot to the tournaments she mentions. Even if you do not know about tennis, the mere struggle she has gone through would make you relate. This book is very easy read and doesn’t have the “gyan”. It just tells about her life and struggle.

P.S - Am going to revisit this book whenever I feel down,. If Seles could do it with all the demons facing her, ofcourse I can for whatever is the stupid problems I have in life! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bangalore Diaries - Part 1!

  • The way the private transport works here in Bangalore is so different. It’s going to take lots of time for me to understand it. In Chennai we used to have specific numbers for each route and we had to take that one bus only in the morning and evening. In Bangalore even though you are tagged to one bus route, it seems with that bus pass you can take any of the office buses and if you get the extra bus pass id, you can use in the normal bmtc Volvo buses also which is super cool! But this has a flip side. For some one new and getting in the bus from one of the crowded bus stops, it’s very tough to stop any one of those office buses and since daily you end up taking a different number thanks to the Bangalore traffic which ensures bus don’t come on the designated time, you can’t even befriend the drivers to ensure they wait in the bus stop!
  • If office bus pass is one story, the 2 days that I have been waiting for the bus, I have seen a very interesting trend. The place where I wait for the bus, I find lots of other people waiting and there are so many of these private shuttles and cabs which keep stopping. They have something written in kannada and some indication and the folks waiting ask for some stop and based on the response get into it. Am yet to figure out what kind of transport they are and when you have so many bmtc buses connected from the same stop why would people wait for these cabs and keep asking and getting in!
  • Chivalry is still not lost overall. Couple of weeks back, I started taking the office bus which is common bus for many companies in the office campus. Yesterday after I got into the bus (first time boarding the office bus), one of the guys got up so I took the seat and after I sat down I realized that he was not getting down (obviously since its same last stop! K) and he got up to give me the seat! Next day, I was more aware of the surroundings, when I got in as usual the bus was full. After some 5mins, I almost lost the balance thanks to the sudden brake. One of the guys after that offered his seat but then this time I refused knowing that all of them were travelling from such far distance and for me it was 20 mins distance only which I can afford to stand!

  • For someone who has lived 1st in dry heat weather where the 4 weather seasons were properly differentiated (summer, rainy , spring and winter) and then in Chennai where there are only 3 seasons ( hot, hotter and hottest) ; Bangalore weather though nice on the outset seems very ridiculous. Morning as you wake up cool breeze is there and by the time one starts for office, it’s quite warm and afternoon hot. By evening one day it’s still warm and the other day it’s raining like hell. Totally unpredictable weather. Now I understand when couple of people had told me they could not adjust to Bangalore weather. I just hope it’s not the same case for me!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ring of Life!

Dawn of the New Year
Beckoned new beginnings
Rising hopes and reasons
To cherish and enjoy
The new journeys of life
With YOU & ME in the center
P.S – The quilled rings were made for one of the blogger friends-couple last year! :) which I can use virtually now for my own life ;) :P
P.S 1 – V-Day Special! :)

Monday, January 12, 2015


That’s it! We were excited and shouting as we all entered the train.
Head count was done to realize that all of us were here except Dan. Picking up the phone and dialing his number,
Me – “Hey, where are you?”
Dan – “Am in station only. Which platform?”
Me – “Platform 10. Come soon. Train will leave in 5mins”
Dan – “Ya ya almost there.. hmm hey wait.”
Me – “What?”
Dan – “There is no train in platform 10″
Me – “huh, we are in platform 10 and got into the compartment.”
Dan – “but there is no train here.”
Me – “Where are you exactly.we have only 5 mins.”
Dan – “Am in platform 10 at egmore station”
Me – “What?! why are you at egmore. its Central station”
Dan – “No its Egmore only. I only booked tickets right!”
Me – “Dan, don’t tease now. Just come and get in the train”
Dan – “Am serious am at egmore”
Me- “Its Central station and train is leaving in 5mins. Come fast”
Dan – “Ok fine. Ask some one to come to entrance of platform.I forgot to wear lens!”
Me – “aah ok.. you first come to central and call”
Tensed I kept the phone down when others looked at me and I explained.
Anu – “See am so better. Its ok we are on time no. Lets hope train starts late or else Dan will miss the trip, idiot!”
Me – “But tickets are with him only! He went and booked the bulk tickets!!!”
Everyone looked perplexed!
P.S – Dan did make on time just like DDLJ/Jab We Met scene but only person missing was a girlfriend for him ;) .