Tuesday, May 01, 2018

A year later...

It's been a year at my current working place.  Labor day, an interesting day to start work! The first year at any place after PhD. Firsts are always memorable if not special.  Well this was certainly special with its plethora of experiences. During PhD I often felt I was in a candyland where you are tempted to try all before picking your packet. Well here that was actually possible.

I wrote this post earlier for the first 6 months so won't repeat its content but yes the rest of the year followed suite mostly. Here are some other observations about industry life in general based on experiences throughout the year.

It's a very dynamic domain. If you are looking for absolute stability,  you are at the wrong place. For this is an everchanging place be it on terms of work, responsibilities or the people and hence the culture. However, if you can accept that growth requires changes and thus any place which is pacing towards growth will be dynamic, you may even enjoy it. If it's exciting to try new stuff for you, you will enjoy. Of course some changes do take more time for adjustment than others but the key is to accept rather than resist. Go with the flow.

I mentioned last time that some places become a way of life. I still agree. But it's very important to define not just physically but also in mind the work and home time. It's very important to switch off from time to time to be recharged and happy in what you are doing. One shouldn't feel guilty or hesitant about that. And places where you have those opportunities are the good ones.

In terms of people, I have heard more than often that there are no friends in workplace. Comments such as "don't look to make friends" and you have to be professional at all times and never be emotional or take things personally are often heard though I don't agree entirely. Then there is that theory of "people management" where the people are asked to be warm and friendly. It integrates diplomacy, kindness and genuine friendliness into a murky mix called professionalism.  It can be a bit disorienting in the beginning. But it's easier to be nice than not to be so it's better when the culture encourages friendliness rather than extra strictness. Of course timelines don't exactly encourage long discussions unlike college times. Maybe those were easy times for friendships where one has a lot of time to just talk. But I still feel friendships are people dependent more than environment. For friendships, a good test can be to see how many people you interact with when you don't have to, whom you would keep in touch with if you changed workplaces. Those will be mostly very few.

Speaking specifically, here the environment itself has been good, as close to relaxed lab environment as one could expect where there is friendliness, teamspirit, goodwill and a kind of lightness which itself is very rare from what I have generally heard.  Sometimes that's also enough. 

Well this has been my jumble of thoughts for this first year. An everchanging yet exciting  and enriching time so far.  Lets see what the journey holds ahead!

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

March Booklist

Book 10: One Suitable Girl by Chetan Bhagat
Rating: 4
An interesting time read. The struggles of an Indian girl towards finding a balance between success at work and personal life.

Book 11: The year I met you by Cecelia Ahern
Rating: 4
A book worth its words:
"Most people in life don't have to actively do anything to change us, they simply need to be."
"Miracles  only grow where you plant them"

Book 12: The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins
Rating: 3.5
An enthralling thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you hooked.

Book 13 Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter
The original book about positivity. Will be adding a detailed blog about it separately.
Rating: 5

Book 14: Bone Magic by Yasmine Galenorn
Rating:4
A gripping story that takes the readers into lands of Fae, witches and vampires. Fantasy and normal family life combine to form a powerful series.  The only fallout...it leaves the reader hanging at the end for the next series. It leaves off right in the middle of intense developments! A series book should be such that not just satiates but also leaves room for more. But not completely satiate is somewhat like cheating the readers.

An interesting quote:
For whether we pledged ourselves to one person or to four, whether we were drawn to men or women or both, whether we walked the path of the priestess or the path of a witch  or a bookstore owner, life without passion was no life at all

Book 15
Jessica's secret diary...Sweet Valley series...By Francine Pascal
Rating: 4.5
Light and fun, intriguing yet never disappointing,  full of childhood memories. This series does justice to nostalgia. I must have collected over 30 books of this series so far.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A new guest arrives 

Recently I came across an old poem which I wrote at the time of observing my first white hair.  At that time it only brought joy. Recently I again came across white hair, more in number this time but still equally pleasing, though with a tinge of nostalgia.
So here it is.....

I saw it first today
My step out of the road of yesterday
Childhood seems a thing of past
As I gaze at my first step to wisdom and experience alike
I thank God that with it I am now blessed 

Yes it’s my first white hair 
But I am not aghast; just with wonder do I stare
It seems a beauty by it’s very solitary nature
Blowing lightly it tells me age I will
And age with grace I will contrive

Soon a lot many will follow
Each denoting moments of joys and sorrow
Precious on its own, each is
For age brings with it gems of memories
To look back to and treasure

Black gives way to white so clear
As youth gives way to grace so dear
Uncertainty goes and peace resides
Lessons of love, forgiveness and faith we revise
As slowly we move towards the final abode

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Women's Day : women as humans

This Women's Day I came across many messages celebrating women's days, appreciating women as mothers, sisters or daughters. Women as supporting men through thick and thin. This time I found them almost offensive. Women don't exist to support men. We are individuals with our dreams, wishes and goals. We have our own lives. Yes, we are a different species. We do generally have a stronger femine side. A side that makes us care deeper, cry louder, get weak in the knees, need to heart to heart conversations regularly and get touched deeply by small gestures. We may like bright colors, flowers and makeup. But we also have a stronger endurance and a fiery sense of protection for those close to us. Apart from that we are just individuals leading our lives. We may or may not multitask. We may or may not be self sacrificing in nature. We don't enjoy enduring hardships just like any other being. We may be completely introvert and quite or highly outspoken. We may or may not be organized. We can as easily be slovenly or lazy as not. We are all very different from each other.

We don't expect to be treated as weaker people but we do enjoy chivalry and politeness. We expect equality with a bit humanity and kindness. We expect to be celebrated for our achievements, hard work, sharp minds, talent and creativeness as much as for our compassion, softness and adjustability.

This women's day lets celebrate women for not just being great mothers, wives, sisters and daughters but also as friends, individuals to be treated with respect and professionals like great astronauts, doctors, engineers, teachers, researchers, sportswomen, defense personnel, writers and entrepreneurs. Lets also not forget the maids and other household help who have an equal right towards this day. This women's day, lets not thrive in a woman's ability to sacrifice. Lets stop expecting that. Lets celebrate women as people who work hard, play hard, get tired and may make mistakes and may need a break. A change, a smile and little bit of acknowledgement. That's what this day represents for most of us.

Women's Day : women as humans

This Women's Day I came across many messages celebrating women's days, appreciating women as mothers, sisters or daughters. Women as supporting men through thick and thin. This time I found them almost offensive. Women don't exist to support men. We are individuals with our dreams, wishes and goals. We have our own lives. Yes, we are a different species. We do generally have a stronger femine side. A side that makes us care deeper, cry louder, get weak in the knees, need to heart to heart conversations regularly and get touched deeply by small gestures. We may like bright colors, flowers and makeup. But we also have a stronger endurance and a fiery sense of protection for those close to us. Apart from that we are just individuals leading our lives. We may or may not multitask. We may or may not be self sacrificing in nature. We don't enjoy enduring hardships just like any other being. We may be completely introvert and quite or highly outspoken. We may or may not be organized. We can as easily be slovenly or lazy as not. We are all very different from each other.

We don't expect to be treated as weaker people but we do enjoy chivalry and politeness. We expect equality with a bit humanity and kindness. We expect to be celebrated for our achievements, hard work, sharp minds, talent and creativeness as much as for our compassion, softness and adjustability.

This women's day lets celebrate women for not just being great mothers, wives, sisters and daughters but also as friends, individuals to be treated with respect and professionals like great astronauts, doctors, engineers, teachers, researchers, sportswomen, defense personnel, writers and entrepreneurs. This women's day, lets not thrive in a woman's ability to sacrifice. Lets stop expecting that. Lets celebrate women as people who work hard, play hard, get tired and may make mistakes and may need a break. A change, a smile and little bit of acknowledgement. That's what this day represents for most of us.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Joys and pains of travelling in metros

A while ago I read an article which discussed the pitfalls of long commute and then another about metro etiquettes. Travelling over 3 hours each day, both articles seemed to urge me to express my experiences in metro: the good and the bad.

The good: It gives you time.
The bad: It eats up your time.

Yes, metro does both. It takes away hours from your life which could have bern put yo better use, the foremost being time with family or time relaxing or time for some enrichment or learning. But on the other hand, it does give you some snatches of time for activities where you may not devote time at all otherwise.

The good: It gives you a flavour of the public.
The bad: That flavour may leave a bad taste.

You get to know a lot of general stuff, be in through the loud conversations happening or through just observation of public for latest fashion trends! While travelling cramped together, you may get subjected to the  hostile and irritating sides of people very easily, not to mention different variations of personal hygiene!

The bad: It tires you out.
The good: Well? You tend to get a little fitter standing and stetching for so long!

Yes, it tires out. It's exhausting if you don't get a seat in a long journey, especially in the evenings. A few minutes closer to peak hours leads to a good 20 mins delay in lines and metro and then you are rewarded by the jampacked metro to squeeze into. People are known to lose weight after travelling in metro for a few months however that will not work as a good enough motivation when you are elbowed constantly and find people's hair smack into your face or when you lose fear of falling because there is absolutely not an inch to turn let alone fall. What helps then is knowing why you are travelling. A good enough reason to reach both ways will get you through journey.

If you DO plan travel a chunk of time in metro, here are some dos and donts which may aid in making the journey a little more fun, a little more comfortable.

Dos:
1. Read: Carry a book. A good book will let you escape from it all like nothing else.
2. Listen to music: Carry a good set of earphones. Close your eyes and listen to some soothing music. Another good mode of escape.
3. Lend an ear to public conversations: It's not evesdropping if people are talking loudly right near your eye. You are justified in hearing. You will hear people talking about common issues and realize how we all run through some threads of similarity. It will keep you grounded. Hearing conversations across ages also aids in gaining better perspective and adds to your wisdom.
4 .Observe the various trends: From clothes, shoes, bags, makeup and hairstyles to any other latest trend, you will be see it all! Metro is great for trend browsing!
5. Sleep: Even a half hour nap will leave you refreshed and take you a long way through the rest of the day. If it's a long journey then definitely leave some time for resting.
6. Write/blog: With good connectivity and smartphones, it's easy to write while travelling. In fact for almost a year now, a majority of my blogs have been written in metro.
7. Catch up on social media: If the connectivity is good, this is the best time for social updates.
8. Try for a direct metro (if possible): Even if it means a little longer wait, try for a direct one if possible. Also watch out near the stations where you can get a seat.

Don'ts

1. Carry out in depth telephonic conversations: People will not appreciate the constant disturbance and irregularity of network and it will leave grumpy and agitated trying to hold a proper conversation. Don't give such low priority to quality conversations. Short quick phone calls may work through.
2. Play games/ watch videos: Give your eyes and brain a break. But to each, their own. I prefer reading and writing, some may prefer gaming and may not find it tiring  to stare at a small screen or a even a means of losing time.
3. Work/check mails: The one phase of time when I checked mails and worked in metro, I was left exhausted and irritable. It made me realize the value of this metro time.

February Book list

Continuing the #BrunchBookChallenge, here's the February Book List. So far so good and now it's time for some Indian authors for the coming months. Would love some good recommendations for the same.

Feblist:

Book 5: Thinking of you by Jill Mansell
Rating 3.5
Brief Review:
A light romance mingled with the lives of the protagonist and her daughter. It gives no deep lessons but is a page turner and quietly enjoyable. Good for holidays and travelling.

Book 6: Sleeping Arrangements
Sophie Kinsella as Madeline Wickam
Rating: 3.5
Brief Review
Again a light read. Very different from all other Sopihe Kinsella books. It has less of humour and is basically a romance but family story. Good, wholesome but lacks that exciting spark that is usually present in Sophie Kinsella books.

Book 7: Chicken Soup for the Soul (Reader's Choice) by Jack Canfield
Rating: 4.5
The perfect book to read or gift. It has a gem of a story for every occasion/personality. This 20th Anniversary Edition collected impactful stories from different Chickrn Soup books and then shared stories of their impact!

Book 8: The railway children by E. Nesbit
Rating: 4
A missed old classic. It renews my faith that some books are ageless. It's freshness touches all hearts equally as it deals with everyday trials and tribulations of  three children.
An intesresting quote: "I think everyone in the world is friends if you can only get them to see you don't want to be un-friends"

Book 9: The Dare Game ( A Tracy Beaker Story) by Jacqueline Wilson
Rating: 4
And old childhood series that has retained its flavor over the years.

Friday, January 26, 2018

January Book list

This year with its new resolutions seems pretty interesting. One of those is the #BrunchBookChallenge . This year it is actually challenging with the aim of reading of 50 books in this year. 10 are required to be by Indian authors or based on India in some way. Well, I go a step further. I mean to also add a short review for each case. So here's the January list. So far so good!

Book 1
Best of Friends by Cathy Kelly
4 stars.
Like any other Cathy Kelly book, this one is perfect for comfort during winters and offers a slight sweetness to all situations and emotions.  A nice, feel-good kind of book about four middle aged women who are friends and their coping mechanisms for life's surprises.

Book 2
The Wish List by Jane Costello
Rating : 4 stars
As the protagonist inches towards the age of 30, she comes across an old wishlist. It surprises her to see how little of it she has achieved. She thus sets about achieving all goals by the time she turns 30...in the next 6 months and this book takes us along her in her adventures. Through light comedy this book peeks into the reality vs wishes state in all of us. The  wishes are a mix: some common, some exciting that any of us could have. It subtly explores the concept of stability vs novelty. It intrigues but still manages to  leave the readers satisfied.

Book 3
The Scandal (Theodore Boone ) by John Grisham
Rating: 3 stars
It was the first Theodore Boone I read and although I have loved reading John Grisham, this book didn't do justice to his consistency. It was a fast flowing, good to read book but it was so fast that it just halted to a stop in the end. When it ended suddenly, it was clear that though it was a  good read, it missed the solid plot and sound storyline that John Grisham is famous for.  One reason could be that the protagonist, a 13 year old lawyer in case, had no real role. He wasn't victim. He didn't solve the case. He was more of an obsevant. For stories to touch the readers, one would want the protagonist to have a bigger chunk. But it was still enough for me to try another Theodore Boone just to see how the series is.

Book 4
High School Musical: Poetry in motion by Alice Alfonsi
Rating: 3
Brief Review: The first in HSM series that I read. I may not be the right judge for this book by the title. However, there are books that surpass ages and infact take you back to diffferent stages of your life as you experience the life of a protagonist. This was a bit too mild for that but fun, lighthearted otherwise.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Normalcy is underrated

Well the New Year resolutions are made. 29 of them in totality.  The phase to follow them has started. Before making them, I came across many articles focussing on "reinventing your life" or just "breaking the routine", not falling into a rut etc. But I beg to differ. This may be good for someone who has been "settled" into the same routine for say the last 5 or 10 years. For the people in their 30s, that itself is something most would not have experienced. Family, career, friends, settlement, stability...they all take time.  And when we get it, we deserve some time to savour it. Life itself brings so many changes that no two months, let alone two years are alike. Yes, days can be similar! So why not cherish the stability when you get it.  Yes, it's still good to try new stuff but every year need not be the year when you choose to change your entire life! Instead, sometimes it's just enough to have just a couple of challenging unique goals and a few more that just make you feel good.  It's another day of normalcy that people long for when they run out of time. Don't take normalcy for granted. Here's how:

*Go to work, come home, have a cuppa with your family and watch that favourite TV show...without guilt.

*Spend some weekends just lazing about.

*Savour that familiarity of environment both when you go to work and when come back.

*Value meeting the same set of people everyday. They are all currently a part of your life to some extend.

*Value your family and their familiar habits.

*Cherish good health.

*Cherish your children....they will never remain the same.

*Cherish the friends you make in all phases of life.

* Cherish all impactful conversations and discussions.

*Cherish your normal moments because one never knows when they give way to trying times. What man proposes, God disposes.

Here's to a year of stability!