Monday, April 28, 2014

Food for body and mind

This week, the girl at the Indian grocery store demonstrated a simple need which most of the current leaders fail to understand and hence provide. When I talk about leaders, I am talking about leaders at work place. She was at the cash counter, taking care a long queue of customer on a busy Saturday efficiently and briskly. She called out to a man who was passing by. I understood he was the man in charge for the day by the exchange. What she said was simple, "Annaa, please order food. You always order it very late...".

Annaa, in case you are wondering, is not the name of a girl but the respectful way of addressing a man who is older than you in Tamil. It means elder brother but the emphasis is on the respect. The extra a at the end was added by me to indicate the heart-tugging way she was asking for food. The man in charge did a double take, nodded and walked fast to hide his embarrassment. My reaction was simple. I looked down and smiled. I could easily connect with her because I was in the same boat a few months back. I was working hard, putting long hours and sacrificing weekends. There was no decent choice for food in that locality other than a Domino's pizza and an Indian restaurant which specialized in using a whole lot of oil. On top of it, the leader was always prompt in ordering food very late. If you know me personally, you already know the effect of limited choices and lack of food on me.

I have heard many leaders talking about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It deals with how you motivate an individual by catering to the basic level of needs and then going up. That is me summarizing for you. Now my question to all of you leaders is this. Where do you put food in this hierarchy of needs? I would place in the very bottom of the pyramid. So, it brings up the next question. If your team is stretching and sacrificing weekends, shouldn't you at least get them some food? Now, don't you go chicken-and-egg on me. Good work will follow the food. Not the other way round.

Tags: Musings,Needs,Food,Leaders

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Books: Gone Girl

Gone Girl written by Gillian Flynn is an interesting thriller based on an unusual theme. The book is based on commitment. Gillian uses marrage as the commitment which forms the backdrop of the story. Told in a span of few months, the story starts on the fifth wedding anniversary of Nick and Amy. The couple has known each other for more than 5 years but they have been married only for 5 years. A perfect marriage for outsiders, all is not well in the paradise.

When Nick reaches his workplace on the fifth anniversary of his wedding, little does he know what is in store for him. He is not a big planner. So he hasn't bought the gifts for his wife. Soon, he realizes his wife is missing. Like all missing women cases, the husband is naturally the suspect. To make matters worse, there are many inconsistencies in Nick's behaviour on that particular day which makes him the suspect for the cops. Is Nick guilty? If he is not what happened to Amy? We find this out as the story progresses.

The book stands out for mainly for the narrative style. The story is told from both Nick's and Amy's perspectives. We get to see the man's side and woman's side in the same story. This is much better than a third party narration or first person narration. Marriage brings two people closer. But does it make sane or insane? In the modern times where the emphasis on self, does living together with another person drives people mad? Is it true that a person is different during courting period - tolerant to mistakes and imperfection - and the chord of restraint is broken a few days after living together. Gillian makes us ask these question while reading the book. Finally, since the story flip flops between Nick's and Amy's perspective, their character and flaws are shown to us in layers.

Take up this book if you are interested in thrillers. You can also read this if you are interested in reading about complex relationships.

Tags: Books,Gillian Flynn,Marriage,Thriller


Photos: Flowers in Victoria Embankment Gardens

After a wet winter and thankfully a no-snow winter, it is good to see spring arriving. On second thoughts, it is always good to see spring. Doesn't spring signify a new beginning which we all fail to kick off despite wishing so?

Last weekend was a mixed bag affair. Saturday was sunny while Sunday was wet. On Saturday, I was able to visit the Victoria Embankment garden in London and shoot this picture.

Picture Courtesy:
Please visit the page of Photokkaran. Don't forget to "Like" the page if you enjoy the pictures.

Tags: Photos


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pappettan defines what we do at work

If you are wondering who Pappettan is, click on this link and find out.

What do you do? Have you been asked this simple question? How did you react to it? Did you turn vocal embarking into non-stop verbal tirade? Were you at a loss of words struggling for the right words? It is an easy question for some while it is the most difficult one for others. It has nothing to do with how much you love what you do. It has got all to do your doubt in the other person's ability to comprehend your job and your responsibilities.

Last week, I was with Pappettan when a boisterous young man stopped in his tracks when this simple question was fired by Pappettan. The young man was tipsy with the copious amounts of alcohol and was cracking jokes after jokes enlivening the group when Pappettan fired the first shot.

Pappettan: *smiling* What do you do?

Boisterous Young Man(BYM): *smile vanishes and looks for the right words* Err..Hmmm..

Pappettan: *smiling and listening with patience*

BYM: *searching for words unsuccessfully*  I do a lot of... things.

Pappettan: *still smiling*

BYM: *looks back at Pappettan, pleading to stop this torture*

Pappettan: You could answer it this way.

All of us are looking at Pappettan now.

Pappettan: You could say. *pauses for an eternity* I do as little as possible for as much as I can get paid.

Tags: Pappettan Says,Work


Friday, April 4, 2014

A, AA, a dad and weird spellings

Tell me how do you pronounce A. Then tell me how do pronounce AA. Isn't there a difference between these two? I would pronounce AA as if I am responding after someone pinched me hard. A bit like aaaargh but ending a bit softer. That is how differentiate between A and AA.

My young friend name when written has AA in it but it is said as if there is only one A. It is my habit that I can't keep quiet. Nor can I stop myself from writing about it! So I ended up asking him.

Me: *cheerfully* So, what is the story?

Young Friend: *perplexed* What story?

Me: Your name has AA. But it is said as if there is only A! What is the story behind it?

Young Friend: *disinterested* Ask my dad!

Me: *shocked* Your dad? Why? *also thinking if I have to go to India to get this mystery solved!*

Young Friend: It should have A. But my dad put it as AA.

Me: Why?

Young Friend: *smiles* Numerology.

What can I say about dads? They scar us for life!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

God's house(s) in Wembley

I visited an area of Wembley near the Wembley Central underground station over the weekend. The visit was a result of occasional religious pangs I experience. It purely religious and not spiritual for spiritual should come from deep within instead of stemming from a fear of god. I am driven more by fear of god. Wembley Central has three temples to offer a spiritual/religious seeker. It also multitude of Indian restaurants and microcosm of Indian, Pakistan and probably Bangladesh. Even if your roots are from this area of the world, it is still overwhelming.

In order to ensure I will not subjected to this sudden pain in the future, I went to all three temples. But what finally captured my attention was another phenomenon. Cleanliness is a major part of any religious house. You can't wear your shoes into the house of god. This is strictly followed across religions. It is the same case here. In India, there is another thing to look for. The kind of businesses in the near proximity of the house of god. For instance, you will not find a bar within a certain distance. It is ironic since you can find people visiting temple and then ending up in one. It does make sense to have these nearby thereby reducing the travel time. But then life itself is strange. Who am I to question?

At Wembley, I found a meat shop right next to the temple. Somehow it stuck odd to me as I don't recollect such a sight in India. I am pretty sure such a thing would have bothered everyone back at home. Over here in London, it doesn't matter to anyone. I wonder why?

Tags: Musings,Religion,Spiritual,God

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