Friday, July 31, 2015

Planning and execution lessons of a different kind

The school is closed for the summer holidays. Since then my daughter have been excited to go out in the evening. At times, I have trouble matching up with her energy that I come up with excuses. As she is growing up faster than I want her to, my excuses are shot down at ease. While I struggle with reasoning, I also realize an important point. I should learn from her the aspect of planning. The way she planned a visit to the nearest Toys-R-Us taught me a lot more about planning and execution than all the on-the-job training and books.

Her objective was simple. She wanted to buy a pack of Yummy Nummies. She had already found out the price for a packet and also the shop. The shop was Toys-R-Us. The price effectively took out the first objection as it was reasonable. The next challenge was the actual trip. Before I could come up with traffic, she gave the distance from our house to the nearest shop. The shop is 9 minutes away by car, as there was no traffic. If you are wondering where is she getting this information, she is getting this information from the same place where we are getting it. Google Maps! She has done her planning well.

I had other errands to run that evening. When I returned to the car after the last errand, she had already set up the GPS with the directions to Toys-R-Us.

Tags: Parenthood,Toys-R-Us

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Photos: The lonely rider on Snowdon Mountain

The train journey was abruptly stopped. Although we enjoyed a clear and sunny weather at the base of Snowdon mountain in Wales, we encountered cold and fog towards the summit. As a result, the train stopped at the stop just before the summit. All of us in the train wandered about in the area. The visibility was low. While scouting the location, I found a lonely bike rider moving downhill. The whole act looked dangerous and adventurous.


Photos, Wales, Rider, Snowdon

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Photos: The mountains of Snowdonia

I had heard the name Snowdonia long before I visited it. After hearing the name, I thought it was a make-believe place as it was an apt name for an entertainment park. I was surprised when I encountered the place while visiting Wales. Snowdonia is a park but unlike the one I thought. It is a national park.

There are a lot of things to do in Snowdonia like walking, cycling, fishing, watersports, train ride and castles. I was interested in the train ride. There are a few different types of train rides. I chose the Snowdon Mountain Railway where the train took you to the summit of Snowdon. If you have the right kind of stamina and energy, you could also walk up to the summit. If you don't, then you could use the train for the journey. On a clear day with excellent weather, the train will take you all the way to the summit. Unfortunately for me, the visibility was low when we reached three-quarters of the way. So the train returned after spending some time at the highest point we could reach.

If you are planning a visit, I recommend you to get the train tickets well ahead in advance. I arrived there and found out the tickets were available for the late afternoon. I bought the available tickets and visited Swallow Falls instead of waiting there.

I took a picture from the train while climbing Snowdon.


Tags: Photos, Wales, Railway, Snowdon

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Photos: Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls is located in Snowdonia. The falls is near Betsy-y-Coed in Wales. I have no clue on how to pronounce the name. Since it is Welsh, you will be surprised unless you already speak Welsh. It was day with abundant sunlight. Hence it was easier to get a clear sky and a gorgeous waterfalls.


Tags: Photos, Wales, Waterfalls, Snowdonia

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Photos: Cliffs of the South Stack

This was taken on the way to South Stack Lighthouse in Anglesey. While climbing down the steps, I found a window made by the nature. I could gaze at the cliffs from this nature made window. The window also had a ledge where one could comfortably stand and take pictures.


Tags: Photos, Wales, Anglesey, South Stack, Lighthouse

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Be prepared for an introduction

Do you struggle when you have to talk briefly about what you do? At work, there comes many a chance where you have to talk about yourself. Many of us have a natural flair to accomplish this task. Unfortunately, the rest of us struggle. Personally, I have been swept into the vortex of this situation. I have bungled out of this with hastily constructed sentences and self-deprecating humor.

Humor is a useful ally that will shine light on the way out of a difficult situation. But while introducing yourself in a professional context, humor is not the right accessory. When you use humor to describe your role, you are in fact underselling yourself. The audience may smile. At the same time, they are likely to construct a negative image of you in their mind. If you are not sure about what you are doing, how can you expect the audience to trust your capabilities or even comprehend your significance in the grand scheme of things.

Over time, I have realized I will always encounter such a situation. What I did was simple. I wrote a few points on paper. I rehearsed. All these points come out in a sequence while making sure I didn't sound like a parrot saying sentences without understanding the meaning. This way, I have avoided a sudden increase in anxiety levels while the everyone is introducing themselves, and my number is coming up.

Before signing off, I would also like to tell you an anecdote about a friend who struggled. My friend was attending a telephonic call. He was unprepared for introductions. After a brief hesitation, he announced his name. Then he asked, "Do you need an introduction (about me)?". The other friends on the call squirmed on hearing this. They knew our friend was uncomfortable about the introductions and wanted to get it over as soon as possible. But they were not sure about how the rest of the audience would have felt about this unusual introduction.

Tags: Musings, Introduction, Rehearse

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pappettan motivates

How do you motivate yourself to get into a routine? When this routine is related to healthy living, there are many advocates. Unfortunately, these advocates are unable to motivate the lazy and the skeptics. Recently, I was a silent spectator for a motivational speech involving Pappettan and a common friend.

Common Friend: *stating the problem* Running is good. But I get tired.

Pappettan: *offers advice* If that is the case, then you do shorter runs first and then gradually increase the duration gradually over a period.

Common Friend: *after carefully considering the advice* Your suggestion makes sense.

Pappettan: *continues with his wisdom* You also have to make sure you run every day.

Common Friend: *exclaims* No!

Pappettan: *ignoring the outburst* If you are a morning person, do it half an hour after you wake up. If you are an evening person, do it every evening at 7:30 pm.

Common Friend: *exasperatedly* I don't think I can do it daily. Once or Twice a week is fine with me.

Pappettan: *pushes hard* Exercising regularly is a wise investment for good health.

Common Friend: *unconvinced* But....

Pappettan: *calmly* It is all in your mind. For instance, imagine you have a clandestine meeting with Kate Upton every evening at a certain time. Won't you move mountains to be there on time?

I have to admit. The man knows how to motivate people. When I left the scene, the common friend was still beaming and lost in thoughts.

Tags: Pappettan Says,Motivation


Monday, July 6, 2015

To use versus to engage

As we progress with our professional chores on any given day, we use multiple tools to accomplish our tasks. But do we use our coworkers during a day? Did you wince by when the used the verb "use"? If you did, then join me while I wonder why do people use this verb in work regarding a living breathing human being.

I come across the verb "use" often at work. At work, there are many team members who are idle. I have been given a very simple instruction by many of my colleagues regarding unused resources in the pool sometimes also referred as the bench. "They are doing nothing. So, use them". I also wince hearing this statement. First, the term "use" doesn't sound right. If we can divide all tasks into smaller ones that can be carried off with minimal load on our brain's computing powers, then we would all be out of work. The day may not be far but it hasn't arrived yet.

According to me, I could always use additional help. To enhance my capabilities, I should engage these free team members and not use them. While I engage these team members, I get more out of resulting relationship. How do I engage them? This question is trickier to solve.

Tags: Musings, Use, Work, Engage

Friday, July 3, 2015

Move Review: Malèna

If you have seen the poster of this movie, the chances are you have prejudged it. The international version of the poster has Monica Bellucci looking into you intensely while holding her ankle. The look is enough to melt the heart of men. When you see a boy in the background holding a bicycle, there are different themes forming in our brains like coming off age, taboo relations, erotica, etc. The movie is in fact far more beautiful and disturbing than the poster. Beauty can come in handy. Unfortunately, Malèna(Monica Bellucci) falls a victim of beauty, her own! Guiseppe Tornatore tells the sad story of Malèna without being overboard with sentiments. On many occasions, we start off by smiling and laughing but end up with a sad feeling once we introspect on the events. The above is possible because of the way Guiseppe Tornatore has packaged his message with an intelligent diversion provided by humor. He is walking a tightrope here because humor carries the danger of diluting the message. Fortunately, the message is never diluted.

Set against the backdrop of World War II, the sad story of Malèna unfold through the eyes of 12-year-old boy Renato(Guiseppe Sulfaro). The story starts when Mussolini declare war against the allies and ends during the period Italy begins to recover after the end of the war. On the fateful day when Mussolini declares war, Renato gets a new bicycle, and he sees the ethereal beauty Malèna. Malèna is living alone in a city in Italy. Here husband has gone away for taking part in the war. For a growing boy with an ever increasing supply of testosterone, Malèna becomes his unrequited love and also an obsession. He starts following her. While Renato stalks Malèna, he comes to know the true colors of his townsfolk. The women are suspicious of her beauty, and the men want her. The suspicions and the desires make the townsfolk treat Malèna with contempt. All these leads to Renato learning valuable lessons of life.

Guiseppe Tornatore tells us the evil lurking in the minds of men and women. The society is hasty in maligning and condemning innocent people without much second thought. Sometimes, the rumors generated by the society end up becoming real because of the helpless state of the victim. Everyone around Malèna abuses her, but none of them stands for her when she needs them. To make the lust repulsive, Guiseppe Tornatore chooses the ugliest of characters who eventually uses Malèna for their needs. The movie has excellent photography. The bicycle and Renato are mostly in the frame. Most of the times, these two glide into the scene and stop gracefully. The frames are tight, and there are no distractions. Even with the presence of Monica Bellucci and a heart-tugging performance by Guiseppe Sulfaro, it turns out to be a director's movie. Monica Bellucci has nothing much to do other than to look pretty for which she doesn't have to put in a lot of efforts. There is a lot of focus on her body to bring out desire and also revulsion. The latter emotion arises out of Malèna's inappropriate mental state.

Be warned. The poster is deceiving. But the movie is excellent.

Language: Italian

Genre: Drama

Rating: ****

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