Monday, February 27, 2017

Books: Rebirth

The title Rebirth applies to the spiritual reincarnation of the protagonist. This theme always incites our curiosity. Who is not fascinated by the superhuman effort to bounce back from the rock bottom? If this factor is not enough to attract us to this book, then the protagonist is an American of Indian origin undertaking a 1000-year-old pilgrimage in Spain. It is as if India doesn't have enough of gods and pilgrimages that this person has to find all his way to Spain with rapidly diminishing bank balance. There is something unmistakably wrong with the whole picture. After this point, I had to know why.

One has to walk through the road known was Camino de Santiago leading to Santiago de Compostela, a shrine of St James in Spain. This pilgrimage dates back 1000 years. Countless pilgrims have walked this path. But we walk this road with Amit. Amit's dad had recently passed away. He has many unresolved issues with his dad. He has a closed mind and hence experiencing problems in his love life. While taking the road, we come across who has their crosses to bear. Camino brings them peace and reconciliation. Amit comes across various acts of kindness. He learns to let go of the fears and anguish. He sees the transformation of ordinary food into a filling one just with company and laughter.  

Kamal Ravikant is the author of this book. I am reading him for the first time. Though the chapters have the title of days, it is possible to divide the book logically into three parts. The three sections align with Camino - Life, Death, and Rebirth. When analyzing the three sections, the first one is excellent. During this part, Kamal sets the stage. We are waiting with bated breath. During the second part, Amit's companion teaches him important lesson of life. This part drags after a while. The final section comes too fast. The author has good points. According to the author, it is not the wound but how it has healed that makes you what you are. Finally, not loving hurts more than loving. While good lessons of life, we have to wait too long for the story to end. 

There are other good books available under the section feel-good and self-help. Instead of the book, I suggest you walk the Camino. It might lead to a better story, for you.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Friends with colleagues

While discussing the corrective steps for a friend's project, I noticed a shade of sorrow on his face. The schedule of the project was a long one, and they were just warming up. So I didn't understand the cause for concern. Your planning may go wrong, and that is the reason for a retrospective. I continued to cheer him up, and then he confessed. "I am too friendly with the team. I have entangled my professional and personal life. Now, I am suffering".

On hearing this, I felt more sorrowful than my friend. There aren't any rules in any book saying you can't be friends with your colleagues. I have a lot of friends from the workplace.  There are cases of people leaving the organization because it has become big and there is no personal touch anymore. I admonished my friend. "You are harsh to yourself." Developing friendships at work helps to reduce stress at the workplace. That is my stand in summary.

While you ponder my point, here is the other side of the problem. Yesterday, I was trying to reach a colleague. After sending a couple of texts and a few calls later, I was not sure what to do. As there was a fire breathing dragon who was chasing me, I needed the help of this person to counter the danger. In my defense, I had used all my powerful spells without any success.  It was Friday evening. All this time, I was trying to reach his work phone. This fact dawned on me Saturday morning.  So what did I do? I messaged him on Facebook. An hour later, he was attending an important meeting.

As for me, I am not sure if any of my colleagues are going to send me invites over Facebook to connect. Neither am I sure about their joy in accepting my invites.  I might have crossed to the dark side entirely. But that is me. As the wise, there is a good side and a bad side for anything.


Picture Courtesy: tomvdh1

Friday, February 10, 2017

The CoCa factor

A few days back, I found a group of my colleagues huddled around a laptop. They were staring at an email. When governments are increasingly becoming protectionist and isolationists, the workplaces are adopting an opposite approach. They are embracing inclusion and cultural tolerance. As a result, we cannot take emails at their face value but have to apply the cultural background of the person who wrote the email. I have stared at emails trying to fathom the intricacies of the mind of the sender. 

I checked the email. It was a response to an issue. The sender has suggested a few steps. After the completion of these proposed steps, he called everyone for a CoCa. Now, what is this CoCa? This question was haunting the caucus that formed around the laptop. Does this have a specific meaning in the sender's native tongue? Did he misspell cocoa? Is he proposing coffee? The coffee is a good idea. But there is a large landmass separating the sender, and the receiver after discounting the immigration formalities will pose as a deterrent.

The jury might be out on the question of which one is better - a single brain, or the collective brain. But in this particular case, the collective brain won the argument. Someone pointed out. CoCa stands for Conference Call.



Photo Courtesy: GraceOda

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pappettan explains the mystery of vanishing managers

A few weeks earlier, I bumped into an old acquaintance. I was with Pappettan when this chance meeting took place. Although I was happy to see my friend, he did not reciprocate the feeling. I was pretty sure it has nothing to do with me. I suspected the circumstance and hence pursued my line of inquiry.

Me: *concerned* What happened? You don't look happy!

My friend: *apologetic* I am sorry. It is this situation at my workplace which makes me unhappy.

Me: *cautiously* All of us has a bad story to tell about the workplace. *after a brief pause* If talking helps, we are ready to reason. *thereby making Pappettan also a partner in crime*

My friend: *with sadness and frustration* I have been associated with a project for almost two years. In this period, I had three managers. Everyone vanishes in a short time.

On hearing this, I turned silent and sympathetic. When your boss changes frequently, then there is less chance of advancing in the career. As I couldn't think any appropriate comment to energize my desolate friend, I decided not to open my mouth. That is when Pappettan decided to intervene.

Pappettan: *with a smile* I don't see any reason for you to worry.

My friend: *confused*

Pappettan: *still smiling* It is your boss who should be worrying.

My friend: * more confused*

Pappettan: *imparts wisdom calmly* They are the ones who is getting replaced. They should be afraid to be your boss.


Picture Courtesy: K2D2vaca
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