Friday, December 28, 2012

Color, Color, What Color do you want?!!

What has struck me hard this year was colours! It is a kind of revelation in me how colors are bad, poisonous and deadly, unlike to the fact that colors are beautiful. The realization came in me through "illiterate country folks" whom I have not seen at all. Without much ado, let me hit the nail on its head.

My uncle was diagnosed of cancer recently. Not sure of which category, degree, stage etc etc. Once the kith and kin came to know of this, two things happened.
1) Plenty of visits
2) Finding out the reasons for Cancer - mammoth task isn't it?

He doesn't smoke or drink or even use pan or tobacco which means he is a tee-totaller... Then how come? These not-so-educated visitors proposed several theories for the cause. My dad endured the visit to my uncle along with the bunch of intelligent visitors. Of the many stories that was floating around, the one which managed to reach my ears through my dad was this - "He used to always carry 'balli mittai' in his pocket. He used to eat a lot. That's the cause for his cancer".

What is with balli mittai? They are good for health, they have cumin seed in it which is good for digestion. These so called illiterate, not-so-educated visitors are not looking at the cumin seed or the sugar coating on it. They are looking and analyzing 'God-damn colors' or in other words 'Carcinogens'!

I am not endorsing their theory on the causes of cancer. What I picked from this is usage of artificial food colours all over the places in restaurants, sweet shops and in all manufactured food items.

In manufactured food like chocolates, chips, cookies, soft drinks etc, they are forced to mention the ingredients. After consciously mentioning sugar, fatty acids, wheat, flavour this and that, I always see this 'contains permitted colors and flavours'. What are they?
In hotels and sweet shops, apart from taste, making the dish appear colorful is equally important, of course, to delight us! This means they use beautiful colors unchecked.
I wish like the way they ask 'Sugar/No Sugar', they ask us 'Color/No Color'.

Cancer causing carcinogens found in food colours are slow poisons. It doesn't kill anyone in one day and not all of us! So, we are least inclined towards checking the usage of them anywhere.

My message at the end is -
"Eat food items that grows from a plant
Not the ones that are manufactured from a plant!"

Stop giving your child - all coloured and ready made food items from outside. Feed them healthy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blink... Oops! 5 years gone!

Blink - Malcolm Gladwell gave a new meaning to this word. A well researched, factual yet unputdownable book written by him. I loved it.

But the blink that happened in my life and that I am going to write here is a different one...

I was taking bath, when my daughter banged the bathroom door, "Mom, can you please open the door? Just 2 minutes?!" I couldn't ignore since her request was persistent. And I don't let her enthusiasm die so easily. So, thought I would check what she wanted. I peeped out and there she was proudly displaying her drawing to me and asking "How is it, Mom?". I was like "Oh! It is lovely dear. Go colour it!"

I closed my eyes and remembered how she was a jus born, lying next to me and trying to suck milk with all her might. How much things have changed since then! The dawn of May 15th, I recollected - my arduous efforts in pushing this little gal out! How much I cursed myself to have opted for natural delivery! How she terrified the nurses by showing her head out when they thought I had an evening to endure in labour! A stealthy smile escaped my lips.
The pain, the exhaustion, the relief, the disappointment - yeah, I was disappointed when I heard my baby's weight was 2.56 Kg - the surprise - Well, I expected a 4 Kg baby boy! and the overall excitement about everything new henceforth flashed like a lightening.

I realized time flies... 5 years rolled on, like the wheels of the cycle! Yes, I completely endorse this symbolical expression used in those old movies to manifest time and its effects :)

How expressive and vocal has she become now? How many languages does she speak now? How quickly does she learn things! Marvelled at the growth, progress and changes, here am I in complete astonishment over the blink I encountered.

I don't know her agenda for having taken this birth. But sometimes I feel her sole agenda seems to be teaching me life's lessons. She built in me extra ordinary amount of patience, resilience that only made me adept in handling life more saner than ever. Of course, Isha played a bigger role in it.

I wonder in another blink, she would be a grown up girl taking me head on! Time - Give me a moment, let me gear up! :D

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How can we expect NYC Penn Station here?

I got down from the bus crushing that small paper between thumb and index finger, so tempted to toss the bus ticket in the road. Heavy contemplation was going on - like there are lot of garbage in the street and the small paper ball I have is almost negligible and would make no difference... But I didn't...

I am an ardent patronizer of this practice. So whenever and wherever I go out with family and friends, I act consciously and without talking about it, I spread this concept - "Don't treat all places like garbage bin; use designated bins" (Yes, Yes... I hear several cries - please show me one such stuff in our Incredible India...)

I watch people traveling by cars and trains, unscrupulously abusing the already handicapped streets and roads... Railway tracks are usually around the city, suburbs, rocky mountains, across the rivers, farm fields etc etc. Millions of people frequent these tracks every day. As a culture and practice, we hurl plastic water bottles, Lays chip cover, polythene bags in which we brought packed food from home, paper cups among thousand other things. I think our gray matter can compute the aftermath of this ill-use without much articulation...

What about people traveling by cars - Vrroooom! Bring the power windows slightly down, chuck the stuff out and close it immediately... Done. Got rid of the waste! Oh really?? Remember when you get out of the car, you would be stepping on the junk copiously cursing the junta who have done it!

This is what I do... When we travel by train, I leave all kinds of scraps under the berth but not dispose it on the tracks; or I carry them home. I am fairly sure some routine cleaning happens in the coupes. By car - I again resist my temptation, collect it in several niches provisioned in the vehicle and finally clear stuff when I reach home.

So, now the interesting part comes...
We were on a vacation to Ooty and Coimbatore along with my BIL's (Sri anna) family recently. I had booked the return by train. It was quite a job to reach the station platform with 4 kids and several luggages. My co-sister was obviously busy feeding the tiniest of toddlers who traveled with us - Jyo - the 2 year old and I caught her redhanded when without thought she dropped the parcel covers on the tracks. I was like 'has she dropped?' as if she lost something important. Sri anna curiously enquired 'yes, she did. Why what happened?'. Immediately I quipped 'Then how can we make this like the NYC Penn Station?!' :D

I am not writing about drivel disposal (I mean spitting :P!) which is again another irritant found among the country habitant. I hope and pray the readers of this blog don't own that exclusively "Indianized" filthy unhealthy habit!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bare handed...

What 9/11 is to the world is 6/11 to me. It is totally devastating. I didn’t know parting can be so painful. I am talking about the loss of my beloved iPhone. I am not a person who cared about materialistic stuff. To me, anything and everything other than life is redeemable. Hence I adopted a carefree approach towards pretty much lot of things (I mean non-living things). But today, I see myself in excruciating pain, pain of loss of a dear one. There is not a single moment where I was away from my cute monster phone. I carried it even to the rest rooms checking emails, facebooking, playing games, browsing and at times talking to someone. It was my third hand; It was the ‘Rest of Abi’. Now without it, I feel barren… Every time I move out of my desk, I watch my bare hands only to know my personal assistant is no more.

May be I relied too much on it for the much caused agony... All those lovely pictures of my kid, her recent hair-do we did yesterday, her dancing video clips, funny expressions which I flaunted to a lot of my friends - All gone in one shot! Someone, please tell me I am living through a nightmare...

My mind is refusing to look beyond – to see, what can be done next. A lot of times, I have thought no phone can replace an iPhone. An iPhone can be replaced only by an iPhone. He is special and no one can come close, certainly not an android. He was my symbol of pride!

The fact that I can’t get him back and not even a similar one is kindling my tear glands to pour more and more. As I carried him in my lap today when having a pillion ride to my office with my husband, I didn’t realize he is going to slip out of my lap forever. When I comfortably kept the phone at home, Raj promptly (as he always is) asked me if I had taken my phone. Gee… No! I went rushing back to collect the phone from my sister who had brought it half way through. He perfectly murmured – “why not you throw it away as you don’t care about it anyway?”. In another 10 minutes, my intelligent device was gone!

One call from my colleague, the reminder from Raj, bike ride instead of a car drive and the fact that I was carrying too many stuff in both my hands today – acted as catalysts to today’s event, while the main ingredient was my carelessness! With this, I also lost the kids’ playmate. What answer do I have to them?! My dad, if given an option, will send me out of home! My husband, but for the marriage vow, would want me quarantined for my eccentric behavior…

All is over. Now ever waiting for that miracle to descend upon me (which I knew cannot happen)…

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Is it jus Silicon Valley made of ICs?

Things have changed so much from the early 2000s in the global IT industry. This article brings an interesting plane of view from my experience.

Customer is the backbone of any business. Someone who has being doing business remotely with us, the IT companies, wants to visit us is a big deal – it means customer satisfaction, more business, better relationship. So without doubt, the preparation that goes into welcoming the “clients” home (India) is enormous. Yes, I am going to about client visits.

Last year, I managed two such client visits – who are direct clients for my project. So, it rested on my shoulders to achieve the above said goals. As a fresher in 2002, I had participated in client visits, where the client would exchange a few pleasantries and ask some plastic questions – how do you like the project, etc. What would dread us is the unfathomable accent of white skinned “American/English”. We would have the answers ready even before they could ask us :D

However, in 2011 I was up for a Chinese-American client visit. They are different from American clients that we saw in early 2000s. I'll tell you how. When I asked him ‘where shall I book the stay for you?’, he came up with something like this ‘I am fine with anything, I promise I won’t complain. All I need is a place where I could rest and get ready for the next day’. Too simple, isn't it? Is that all? At another point of our non-business conversation, he queried, ‘So, you follow Hinduism. Do you know which came first, Hinduism or Buddism’ (!!) I composed myself a little bit and said with a sincere smile on my face, ‘Gautama who founded Buddism was a Hindu by birth. So…’ and he ended the statement. No conclusions here please. Just that it was strange!

For an American company, a Chinese is managing the work done by Indians! Perfect testimony for the book 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman!

My first client visit was a huge success, Generally, we call it so, if the client eats, drinks, pees and leaves the place with no complaints :P

Moving on to the second… “Client Director is coming over to visit the Indian team.” Now, who is he? He is an Indian hailing from a Southern district of Tamilnadu! Now this would be difficult as we couldn't awe him with any of Indian stuff like food, culture, dress, politics, or anything at all. They are up to date with the latest happenings including the movie release of Dr. Vijay.

But I am kind of a person, who could engage in a non-stop talk even with a deaf and dumb person. I had no problem in tuning myself to engage him. Different kind of conversations, main one being land value and apartment cost was analyzed.

A brown skinned person of 5 foot 8 inches tall (approx.), clad in light blue shirt, red tie and black trousers speaking impeccable professional American English. Neat! But that’s not what was striking about him. It was the black thread tied on his right wrist! This thread or Sutra is unique in our culture and the faith it protects people doesn’t change wherever one goes, whatever one does.

Way back, onsite team means full of Indians working day and night, delivering every project through 'n' number of challenges... Now, we have Indians, Chinese, Americans as part of onsite team dealing with Indian & Chinese customers. I am sure the equation is changing and wondering, is it jus Silicon Valley or the entire nation made of ICs (Indians and Chinese)! BTW, both my clients are from North East part of US!