Sunday, June 14, 2020

Marvel and us

I always knew that I was born to be a mother. I have two beautiful children who give me
everything I could ever ask for. But somehow, I felt that if I had a pet, it would really make
a difference. To me. To the kids. To the family. And I knew for a fact that pets are harder
than children. Why, you ask? Because children grow up at some point in time and ask
for what they want. Course, after a while, that can also be a problem because they
never stop asking. 

But with a pet, I knew that it would be a whole new ball game altogether. Did I mention
my kids have wanted a pet forever? But I always kept postponing it. I told them that we
are not ready. And we were not. If they cannot put their toys and books back in its place
if they cannot brush their teeth twice a day and make their to-do list regularly, how could
they take care of the pet? 

So we wrote down a list of things that they needed to do to convince me that they can
handle a pet. The fact that they made a list and started working on it encouraged me.
It was my turn to do what I promised. I reached out to Rajeshwari. I had only a million
doubts which she was super sweet enough to patiently clarify. We decided to adopt a kitten. 

Many people wondered why we would pick a kitten over a puppy. But something told me
that a kitten would be our choice. Kids also wanted one. And Rajeshwari sent us the picture
of one. And we fell in love with him instantly. If anyone tells you that love, at first sight,
is not true, do not believe them. Seeing as we are huge superhero fans, we decided to
name him Marvel. He had Marvel written all over his face in that picture. Cute innocent
eyes yet with a touch of mischief. Big and round, staring into the camera like he was posing. 

Marvel came home within four days. My kids - aged 12 and 7 - were jumping with joy.
We had also requested Raje to send us a litter box and some food for him. The first two
days, it was more about letting him get adjusted to the new environment and telling the
kids to give him the space he needed to get to know us. We introduced Marvel to the
bedroom - where he would be with us. He found some sweet spots inside a cupboard
that we vacated and a cardboard box. He slowly started walking the house and then
came to us on his own. 

My husband took his time to get adjusted to the kitten at home. But Marvel found his way
into everyone’s heart. My husband was no exception. Now Marvel walks around like he owns
the place. He demands attention when he wants it. Else he plays with his toys and sleeps
when and where he wants. More often than not, he cuddles up next to us and sleeps during
the day. He is happy to jump on my lap and ask me to massage him casually while he drifts
off to what looks like a dreamless sleep. He knows that he has to sleep in his place in the night.
He waits for me to pick him up in the morning and then gives me the warmest licks and snuggles
up to me for two minutes before demanding food. 

Marvel does not like to be alone. He makes sure that we are always in the room with him.
He is a lot of fun to be around and brings us so much happiness and laughter. He’s a naughty
one, always trying to climb anything he can. He’s full of life and adventure. And when he looks
at you, you cannot help yourself. You will want to pick him up and cuddle him. ‘Course if you do
not understand what he is trying to say, you will get it from him. He is very articulate in his own way. 

Marvel is an excellent addition to my family. My kids help me take care of him. They clean his
litter box, feed him and always keep an eye on him. He keeps an eye on us too. We are truly a
family in every sense of the word. 

Indu Balakrishnan 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Being a Mom AND being sane during the Lock Down

The above title looks like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I mean, how does one do both and get out of it with due credit?
This is quite a new territory for most of us young moms. I think the last time this happened, Indira Gandhi had declared emergency or something like that. Even during the floods, we still could go out and watch the rains. This is something none of us would have ever even thought to prepare for.
People usually say that about parenting. You can’t read it in a book and become good parents. You need to experience it. But at least, you try to prepare for it.
The lockdown during the COVID-19 is not just unexpected; it’s one of the biggest challenges that I have had to face in recent times.
You see these forwards floating around.
Husbands working from home
Children indoors
Malls closed
Movies closed
No outside food
Wishing strength to all the women to deal with this sudden calamity.
And there is so much truth to it. Yes. It’s now tough to be a mom AND stay sane. And while we take some sort of fun and pleasure in these forwards, it’s time to think of MANY ideas to fall upon and try out.
Because, unless we are relatively sane, no one else in the house will be.
And that is a fact.
So here go some of the things I have tried.
  • School is not the only place of education. We can use this month to make them understand what else goes on at home. It is time to dispel the myth that elves from the wizarding world cook meals before they wake up or clean up after them when they go to school. Let the children be a part of everything that takes place at home. From little things like making the bed to bigger things like cooking and laundry.
  • Send them to their rooms to learn to be with themselves. With no homework or deadlines or classes, the time is theirs for them to do what they like. It could be a hobby like art or something practical, like balancing a cheque book. Kiddle (visual search engine for kids) is their oyster. Let them figure it out. Course, we are welcome to guide them — just a guide — from far.
  • It seems natural to make the kids do something. The trick is to make them do nothing. It might be a tad tough on us moms as well, but if we get past that phase; the road ahead is bliss. We won’t be the house jester. And hello sanity!
  • Get them a diary. Let them calendarize their day. And make them end it with a gratitude note. We, as moms, need to realise that some things are not taught but learnt on their own. Their ability to schedule their day and appreciate something at the end of it will go a long way.
  • Connecting with family over Skype calls or WhatsApp calls is a good idea. The care that comes with making sure that everyone is alright goes a long way. And soon, this would become a practice. In this day and age, when everyone connect only during events, this is an excellent habit to develop.
  • This one worked for me very well. We adopted a stray cat and her kittens. Kids learnt to take care of their food, watch out for them during the day (while keeping a distance of course) and making sure that they were alright. This responsibility came willingly, and they spent quality time being with each other and watching out for someone else.
We need to bring balance. Spend time with the kids and balance that with making them learn to entertain themselves. We need to make sure that they do not come running to us the moment they are bored and looking for us to entertain them.
At some point, we need to let go. For their good too, not just ours.
This lockdown has taught us many things. One of the takeaways for moms is that mollycoddling kids could do more harm than good. Sending them to camps and classes might be good for them but teaching them to entertain themselves and learn how to occupy themselves without the help of TVs, video games and mobile phones is the trick.
While teaching them how to be, us moms should also learn the same — Just be. Being together under the same roof and being independent.
And we find our sanity. Knowing that not only are our kids safe, they are independent.
Stay Safe, Stay home, Stay sane!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Full-stack developer: 2020’s popular tech-job

Let’s take a look at the scenario from the company’s point of view. They have this project in mind. They are bringing together experts in various areas to complete that one project. The amount of coordination between the different experts could get tedious. Deadlines get pushed. Miscommunication is on the rise. Ego comes into play. 

Would the company avoid that if they could? 

The answer is yes. Now, what if they could find that ONE person who could do it all
end-to-end. He knows exactly what’s happening at different levels. There is no time,
data or effort lost in communication. And the company could probably save costs as well. 

Now let’s understand the resource. The key talent that is appointed to take up the role.
He is a full-stack developer. He is versed with different technologies and is very much capable
of solving glitches across several streams of app and web development single-handedly. 

And he knows his worth. 

This is the scenario in the industry. Companies are explicitly hiring full-stack developers, who
can create apps from scratch and can actively participate throughout the development journey
of the application. 

This key resource is the jack of all trades. His position is valuable to the company, and they
will be treated with care and a lucrative salary. 

This seems to be a win-win situation for both the company and the key resource. This explains
why the full-stack developer is one of the most popular and in-demand jobs in the upcoming 2020. 

Why would you not want to take this up? Why would you not want to be that key resource? 

Call us now at 6381374982.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Controversy: Run out not called, then called.

Cricket is almost always played with the heart of the sleeves.
Throw in the likes of Ganguly and Kohli and you have yourself an emotional party.
Yes, that’s right. They would be bang opposite to someone like Dhoni -
it would take more than a gun to his head to display what’s going on in his head.
Not judging at all. People are different. 

Coming back to what happened yesterday. 
First. The narrative. 

In the 48th over, Roston Chase hit the stumps at Jadeja’s end, but South African umpire
Shaun George ruled not out.
But replays suggested Jadeja was short of his crease, prompting the on-field official
to refer it to the third umpire who then gave it out.
So what did happen? Did the umpire look at the replay that was shown on the big
screen at the stadium and decide to call for the third umpire? Did someone talk to him
and ask him to reconsider his decision? 

What ever happened… Our captain was not happy about it at all. Kohli shook his had
furiously in disapproval in the dressing room and was defiant after the game. Kohli said
that the people sitting on the TV outside cannot tell the fielders what to do. "The thought
is simple, the fielder asked 'how is that' and the umpire said 'not out'. The dismissal ends
there. The people sitting on the TV outside cannot tell the fielders to then tell the umpire
to review it again," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

We have had a lot of controversial outs and not-outs in the game, and this one does
make it to the top ten. 

"I've never seen that happen in cricket. I don't know where the rules are,
where the line is drawn. I think the referee and the umpires have to take that up,
see that incident again. And figure out what needs to be done in cricket. People
sitting outside can't dictate what happens on the field. I think that's exactly what
happened there," Kohli added.

I have one question though. 

What if it had been the other way around? Would there have been such a ‘controversy’?
Would West Indies have reacted? 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Corporate Social Responsibility and You

In this day and age when we, in the corporate world, aim to run faster to beat competition,
we do not realise that we have more to do than just win customers. That is just one part of the game.
Profits is another. Ask any business owner or a mid to senior level management executive. All they
will tell you is how to increase productivity, gain profits and bring the company to a higher level.

This 30% syndrome is very common. We want to do more in terms of numbers for the company.
Honestly, that is what they are being paid to do. It is very common. Expected even.

But at some point there should be a vision that goes beyond the realms of these numbers. Factors
that bring in other aspects of the business that do not reflect in the profit and loss statement. But it
does play a very good role in the asset side of the balance sheet. And that is good will.

Creating goodwill for the company can be done in many ways. What we are going to talk about today
is the image created by thinking about others. The ‘others’ that do not add to the profits but make us
feel good about ourselves. About why we are here today. About what we can do to make this world
a better place.

One of the things that stops corporates from taking up corporate social responsibility is that they
don’t think they make enough money to set aside funds for this ‘nonproductive’ act. Which is
understandable but not necessarily agreed by many individuals.

Let me give you a small example. Your day is full. You have a lot of items on your to-do list.
You are simply unable to make time for things that you consider not important. Like reading
a book. Like working out. Because they are not a priority. And then comes a situation that
takes priority over the day-to-day activities. Like a visit from an important celebrity. You
make time, don’t you? Why? Because it cannot be avoided. There are certain obligations
you must do.

If we started treating corporate social responsibility as a priority, we could do wonders.
We will somehow manage to not only make ends meet, but do something for others.

It does not always have to be money. It could be time. It could be efforts. It could be helping
an NGO via moral support or just creating an environment that funds their objectives.

Corporate Social Responsibility is not a legal obligation. And it needn’t be. This is us being
part of the human race, participating in activities that help us grow not just as a company but
as individuals.

There are a lot of advantages for the company as such for sure. Better image in society.
Tax benefits. Cost savings. Customer engagement. Brand awareness.

But we should participate in CSR because it helps us help others. We put ourselves in the
shoes of others and help them grow as well.

It is a simple act of humanity. Why do we need to be convinced?

Monday, May 28, 2018

The art of letting go and 7 reasons to do it

It does not take a lot of strength to carry on. It takes a lot of strength to let go.

It is a very good saying. I used to have it as the footnote of all my electronic mails at one point.
The reason I had it there was not to tell people but to tell myself to apply it. 

I have always been able to see myself in a very objective manner. I pride myself on it. I can tell when I am being a brat. Or over emotional. Or really nice. I can give you a list of both my flaws as well as my good points. And one big flaw I had - I had trouble letting go. Didn't matter what. 

Reason: I used to associate letting go with failure. The moment I stop something I had started, it meant I have failed. I have been unable to carry on something I started. The passion I had when I started it has fizzled out.

When I used to let go, I felt like I have backed out of a promise. It could be anything. A diet. Working out. A course. The idea of starting something and then not finishing it seems to reflect on me. On my ability to stick to my goals. Fickle minded and weak even. I judge me.

Today, I seem to have learned to disassociate the two. Sometimes it is alright to believe that you can change your goals. To let go of things you do not want anymore. I wanted to be many things growing up. Teacher. Mother. Writer. IPS Officer. The officer bit obviously was shot down immediately. But I have managed the other three. I have two wonderful children. I work as a writer. I teach part-time as and when I can. I let go of what I realized was not my cup of tea. I have left jobs that did not do me any good. That did not work out for me. I looked for better opportunities without being judgmental. 

I read this very nice definition of commitment. The ability to do something when the passion you had when you make the promise to do it fizzles out. It is OK to say that you are not so passionate about something you were about at one point. But do not hold on for the sake of it. That will definitely hurt. 

You know the classic example. Hold a glad of water in your hand for a minute and you won't feel anything. Hold it for an hour and you will hurt. But how do you know know what to let go? Where do you draw the line between being smart and being tenacious? 

7 reasons to let go

  1. Too much negativity 
  2. It only brings unhappiness
  3. You have changed 
  4. The past is still not the past 
  5. It just does not work anymore
  6. Pointless to pursue 
  7. There is something else 

Letting go can be the best thing you have done for yourself. Holding onto something that does not do you any good can simply weigh you down. Like that innocent looking but very heavy glass of water. 

In the end, three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The art of not regretting

I don't know why but I tend to see regret as a bad thing. I mean it is really alright to regret, isn't it? Not all of us get it right the very first time. Not all of us are happy about our decisions. Especially those that do not end well. So when something does not go our way, we end up saying, 'dang I should not have done it'. The more you think it, the more you start hating yourself for it. It is like staying on the gas stove longer. Till you literally burn.

It is human tendency to justify an error. An error noticed only in hindsight. An error that was made but with good intentions. But then the road to hell they say is also paved with good intentions, isn't it?
I am no different. As in, not all of the calls I have made in life are.. well how do I put it.. successful.  Some people I have trusted have walked out. Some ideas have fallen apart. Money lost. Time wasted. You get the picture.
In my world, regret is more negative than anything else. Involves blame-game for a bad outcome. Almost similar to blaming someone else for a choice you made or a call you took. The what-if games are never-ending. What if I had not fallen in love. What if I had studied better. What if ... You see what I mean.
I actively try to avoid regret because it leads to more pain. It means carrying the burden of the decision and its consequence on your shoulder for the rest of your life. I really do not want to deal with it that much. I'd rather look at it as something I did and it didn't pan out and so yes, I wanna move on.
Most people take regret quite badly. Regret for many turns into self-sympathy. Drowning in sorrow. Mellowing in the sad victim state. Fairly self-destructive.
Unless you are one of the few who can use this energy to do something better and right the next time, regret can suck the life out of you.
I want to be proud of the choices that I make, good or bad. When I wonder what else would I have done if I could go back in time, I strangely do not see myself doing anything else. I have this thing inbuilt in me to see the best of what has happened in a very strong way, I guess.
This regret has turned out to become a bad disease that takes up most of the mind space. It could go two ways though. One - the person turns out to make better decisions having learned from their mistakes. Or another - not taking any more life-changing decisions and turning into a paranoid nut.
The place I am today is because of the choices I have made, good or bad. People I have met, crazy or normal (whatever that is). Even if I remove certain elements, I might not have made so much progress as I have today. 

Call it a defense mechanism. Or silver lining.