Thursday, December 26, 2013

Playing Santa to my child!

.All parents strive to give nothing short of the best for their children.It has been really tricky when I have to put down five things that I want to gift my child.Being a first time parent, there are many questions I ponder over every day, take references from my own parents, as well as, other parents and try to emulate them into my life.

This one has been no different, for, I have drawn inferences from my upbringing and added some more pointers which would add value to my child's life and would remain as gifts forever, if I make an earnest and true attempt to give.

The following are the five gifts that I would like to gift my child.They may not seem to involve materialistic things at one glance, but they definitely involve some. Tweaking the popular adage - 'Money can't buy happiness but can buy some really interesting substitutes' to the situation here - 'Money can't buy happiness but can definitely aid in those elements that cause happiness and lack of which can lead to progressive misery.' So, in order to achieve each of the below, I will also make an attempt to ensure right investment of money that would in turn provide lasting happiness to my child.Here goes my gifts list for my child:

A sense of being there: It is rightly said that the greatest gift you could give a child is your attention. Children being bundles of energy themselves, demand a lot of energy from us, as well. Being a working Mom, I want to make a conscious attempt to spend quality time with my child, gain the trust and provide a sense of security for the child, come what may. For years to come, I want to gift my child with myself being a good friend, guide and confidant. I want to be my child's support system whom my child can count on, in good or bad. 

Courage to live well independently when I am not around: As much as I want my child to count on me, I would also like my child to have enough freedom to grow, stand on their own feet and to be independent at things they do and decisions they make. I wish to create a congenial environment that would foster a sense of independence in my child and develop confidence in his abilities to take care of himself. This would also involve encouraging my child to develop a taste for extra curricular activities like some form of art, sports, etc for all round development.

In  the event of any unexpected tragedy, I would also want to ensure that my child's world doesn't turn upside down. To a good extent, this can be achieved through having the correct and sufficient financial support in the form of insurance plans for all the immediate family members.

True Education: We have a number of choices, today, with the rising number of educational institutions covering a variety of curriculum, syllabus, extra curricular activities and teaching methodologies.I want to gift my child with an education that not just loads him with information but also develops his quest for knowledge, passion for learning and improves his ability to distinguish between the right and wrong.

I would also like to get my child habituated to reading good books, participate in enough activities and develop an interest for some form of art. I would want to ensure to save enough money and invest intelligently from the beginning to fund my child's education. 

Good health: This, as a matter of fact, is not actually a gift but a parent's responsibility. We are in an age, where, artificial, genetically modified, carcinogenic foods have become the norm and unfortunately feature in a majority of on-the-go 'tasty' food list. I truly wish I could provide wholesome, nutritious food to my child that would lay foundations for good health. In addition to providing healthy food choices, I would also want to gift my child with a physical regime that could also prove to be a fun activity to stay healthy.

Responsibility & Contentment: This sounds more like a gift for the grown-ups but I would like to inculcate a sense of responsibility in my child from childhood. To quote a beautiful saying - "He who has no Christmas in his heart would not find it under a tree". I would like my child to understand that everything comes at the cost of hard work and would want my child to understand that sleep is sweet only to a hard-working man. I would like my child to understand the joy of working hard for something you like and the happiness in attaining it. I would like to present those gifts to my child that would involve hard work for attainment of them. This would not only teach them responsibility and true appreciation for someone who is good at it but also contentment because they realize the amount of hard work that goes into it.

So here ends Mama Santa's gift list for my little girl.In the spirit of a merry Christmas and wishing that the new year turns happy for all of us, quoting a few lines from an old poem:

 "Ring Out the old, ring in the new,
  Ring happy bells, across the snow; 
  The year is going, let him go;
  Ring out the false, ring in the true.

This post is a part of the 1001 Gifts Activity by HDFC Life in association with BlogAdda.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Smart Tips for a safe you

With raising number of incidents occurring or brought to light everyday, it is but obvious that women are increasingly becoming more vulnerable to crime of all sorts.Though the fact remains that the crime needs to be handled at the grass-root level and curbed, it is also very important that, meanwhile, we, women should play our own soldier by protecting ourselves and remaining safe.

The first and foremost thing is truly understand the gravity of the situation. Everyday, every hour, we have a lot of well wishers asking us to be safe.But the fact is we do not really understand and pay serious attention to it on the pretext that nothing can go wrong with us.It is not a good,beautiful world as we see it, everyday.Crime could strike anybody at any point in the most unexpected way. This is much evident from the reports on crime that the victim is just another person like you and me attacked in a situation that you, me or anybody could be in.It is better to always be prepared for the worst and be safe, than sorry.

As a part of the 'preparation' to be safe, here are some tips from my observations on day-to-day activities that could be of help:

At Home: 
  • Install grill doors wherever required to make the doors sturdy enough not to break in.
  • When there are visitors, make sure to first identify them through the peep hole and do not open the doors to strangers. It is safe to get the message across the door than direct interaction. 
  • Be extra cautious of people in disguise posing as sales people, vegetable/fruit vendors,etc.Keep a watch on 'friends' and do not get into any enmity in matters of wealth or otherwise.
  • Keep a government approved pepper spray at home, in case of any unexpected event. Keep it handy and make sure it has been unwrapped and ready for use.
  • Do not flaunt your wealth openly and invite trouble.Do not keep your valuables/jewelry at home. Lockers are the best place for it.
  • Though it seems obvious, many of us don't have the phone numbers of our immediate neighbors. Keep their phone numbers handy.
  • Be aware of the happenings in your neighborhood. It is good to have a fair idea of the crimes happening around and gather enough information to prevent them from happening to you. Also, in the unavoidable situation that it happens to you, the only thing that can help you out safe is prior preparation and a readiness to tackle it.
At work:
  • Abuse is something that seems to be a possibility, when it comes to work. If you have a hunch that something is not 'right' in the way people approach you or behave with you, try to nip it off in the bud. Do not let anybody take undue advantage under the guise of being 'friendly'.
  • Make sure you let some of your colleagues know about this 'over-friendly' colleague of yours and let him also get a hint that the others know about it.
  • Under worse conditions where a colleague/superior approaches you directly, do escalate.
At school/ college: 
Child abuse, as shocking as it seems, is an aspect which doesn't get enough attention as it should, in schools and colleges mainly because the victim is not in a position to understand that it is something very serious and needs to be reported.It is important to educate children through workshops at their level that when something does not appear 'right', they should report the same to the parents.Awareness must be brought about by parents and teachers by discussing it in the children's language.The teachers and lecturer's at schools and colleges must also bring it to the notice of senior management when they notice a colleague who is misbehaving with the students and they should be strictly dealt with.

During daily commute to work/school/college:
  • For children going to school, parents should research the mode of transport and route.If using an auto/van, it is wise to get an opinion on the driver from other parents whose children use the same mode of transport before making any judgement.
  • When using public transport to work, it is important to carry an authorized pepper spray along.This applies to not only women but also men.
  • Always keep a good quality smart phone and keep it charged.Keep your immediate emergency contacts on speed dial.
  • Installing an app like Smart Suraksha would be like having your own security guard, along with you all the time.It not only alerts 5 pre-chosen contacts and police but can also provide your location for tracing your where-abouts. When you sense danger and you have enough time and circumstances to get to you mobile phone to click a button, Smart Suraksha is your safest assured helpline.
  • Board government authorized buses/cabs /trains/autos only and during regular hours, as much as possible.
  • When working off the regular hours and you feel it is unsafe to travel in any mode of transport, arrange for working from home only.
  • When you have no option but to board private cabs/share autos/private buses, please do so only during regular hours.Try to take a quick note of the vehicle number or better capture it in picture.In such case, when you sense danger when in the vehicle, with an app like Smart Suraksha you can send these details captured to alert police to trace you, easily.
  • When using a private vehicle like a 2-wheeler/car, try to avoid non-regular hours.Also, if there is a route which you feel is not safe take an alternate road.
  • Always make sure that you have your fuel tank filled and have a spare tire, with you.Learn how to fix a flat tire so that you would never be stranded alone on road and know how to get out of the situation.
Long distance travel/casual outing with friends:
  • When travelling with friends or alone, keep your parents/loved ones informed about your where-abouts from time to time.If possible, keep the same time in the morning and evening so that both the ends know when to expect the call.
  • It is a good idea to share your travel itinerary and a copy of tickets with your loved ones so that they have the necessary information in hand, in case of any mishap.
  • Research the place you travel to well and be informed of unsafe places and crime rate there.
  • Always keep the police numbers handy and save them to your mobile when travelling to an unknown place.
  • Do not carry too much of cash or wear too much of jewelry when on travel to a new place. 
  • Keep your money in multiple places along with your wallet like bag/pockets,etc so that even if you are stolen off from one of the places you will have some money to get back with.
Stay connected:
  • Stay connected and accessible by phone or email wherever you go.
  • Social networking has its own pros and cons.While staying connected with friends would give you more knowledge on how you can stay safe through other's experiences, revealing too much of information about the place you are in currently or through photos could land you in danger.Exercise caution when social networking.
Self-defense arts/courses:
Enrolling for a martial arts class or even a small self-defense workshop could be of great help for men,women and children to take charge of the situation and not panic, in case of any unexpected event.

I am sharing my Smart Suraksha Tips at in association with Smart Suraksha App.

Be prepared, Stay safe

"Shwetha is a college student.She is an ambitious young girl and she wants to take up higher education in her field of interest after her graduation.To crack the competitive examinations and to make a career of her dreams, she attends classes after college in the evening.Her house is about one hour from the coaching institute and she takes the public bus to return to her home.It was 8:30 p.m at night when she boarded the bus to her place, one evening.When she was half-an-hour away from her home and it was 9:00 pm, she noticed that most of the passengers got off at their respective stops and there were only a couple of women on the bus.She also noticed a few men scattered here and there.There were two men who sat right behind her and she could sense that they were drunk and out of senses.She got up from her seat and took a seat behind the two women, now.One of the two men,got up and came and took a seat right  behind her again.The bus came to a halt and the two women got up and got down at the stop. Shwetha is otherwise, a brave girl but somehow the situation made her all panicky.Her head is filled with questions.What is she supposed to do next?She has to get down at the last stop, what if there is nobody at the stop and she gets in trouble?Would the men in the bus help or are they 'bad' too?Would the driver be of any help?Would there be anybody on the road at this hour to hear her scream, if something goes wrong?Is staying this late for her career not a good idea, after all? Should she quit her classes, altogether?"

"Riya is a Project manager for a major IT corporate.She had a major kick-off meeting for one of her projects, that day.It has been a long day at work with all the preparation and documentation, to be done for sign-off.She started from her office at 9:00 p.m.With all the traffic, it is going to take at least one hour for her to reach home.She boarded a company approved cab but she is alone.After 20 minutes of boarding the cab, Riya noticed that the driver was  not taking her in the regular route.She questioned him to which he replied that the regular road has a road work and as a result, has a traffic jam and this would help them reach her place faster.Though it seemed ok, Riya had a slight doubt and was not totally convinced.What if the driver is deceiving her?What if she is going on lonely roads where there aren't enough people to come to her rescue, in case something goes wrong?Should she have really asked somebody to escort her home?"

"Lakshmi is a middle-aged woman who went shopping in the evening for Diwali.With busy traffic, busy malls and too many choices to decide upon, she took a little longer than usual to pick clothes for herself and her two kids at the mall.She also purchased a gold coin which has been a family tradition.As she paid and left the mall, she realized that she is late and it is already 9:30 p.m.She could not see many city buses and she felt going in an auto, all alone at that hour is not very safe.She stopped a shared auto and got in along with 2 others. After 10 minutes, one of the two got down at her stop and she was left with the auto driver and another man.Her heart began to pound hard as the auto made way through the empty streets.Would they know that she is carrying gold?What if they harm her just to rob her off the valuables?What if she is left to struggle on her own with nobody around to help"?

"Asif is a forty year old sales executive with a small scale private firm.His job involves a lot of travel and he often has very unexpected short trips leaving him very less time for planning thoroughly.On one such trip, he has been to a place which he has been to for the first time in his life.With nobody to receive him at the odd hour of 3:30 a.m, as he arrived at the railway station, he made way to the taxi stand to book a cab to the hotel.The week being very hectic, he did not actually get to look at the map of his hotel, beforehand but he remembered vaguely that it was about a one and half hours drive from the station.He had a small argument with the cab driver who demanded four times the actual fare and finally boarded the cab. Asif had some uncertainty in his mind regarding the situation.What if the crime rate of this new place is high?What if it is not really safe to go in that route at odd hours?He is carrying some important documents and cash for travel.What if he is attacked for his belongings and cash?Who would come  to help him in a new place at that odd hour"?

Shwetha, Riya, Lakshmi, Asif - It could be any of us caught in a situation like the above four.

Now, the million dollar question.What if there is a helpline which could go with us wherever we go and inform people/police when we are in danger?What if there is something that could be our best friend and a personal security guard which would save us from all the worry and panic even in the slightest of doubtful situations.What if there is something that could help us inform that we are in danger even without the other person knowing that the information is being passed?What if there is something that could help our loved ones trace our where-abouts, in the worst case, we are actually in danger?

Well, we have an answer now to these questions.The something that is an answer to all our fears and worries is - Smart Suraksha.Smart Suraksha is an app that can be easily downloaded to your smart phone and is your lifeline to safety.A single click of a button will send an sms to the pre-listed 5 contacts simultaneously and also the police. An additional feature of this app, is that if you are in a situation where you are able to give details of the would-be offender, you can even record information in your sms.

I really wish that each of the above four had Smart Suraksha with him/her.It would have saved them from a lot of worry and fear.

So,say good-bye to your fears. Stay safe and be at peace with Smart Suraksha mobile app.

All you lovely men, women and children,
Charge at your dreams and aim for the sky,
With a mind without fear and head held high,
When it trouble, confront the situation and stay brave,
Reach out for help, a click of a button could actually save,
You can be your own saviour, you see,
If you remember, preparation is the key!

I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at in association with Smart Suraksha App.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I saw, I learnt

I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at in association with

We get to play different roles in life at different times in different circumstances with different people.This 'difference' itself is the essence of life and builds the person that we are.Life, needless to say, is the biggest teacher and the best way to learn from it is to live it, by each moment, to the fullest.

With a stage that spans actors who can inspire, motivate, love, care, help, demean, envy, hate, life is a dramatic play that portrays joys, sorrows, humor, inspiration, love, hatred in its own mysterious ways at different points.

Some of the earliest lessons in life are one-sided, in the sense, that they are taught by a person and the one receiving it takes them for granted without much processing.They are often so repeated through different media such as parents, friends, teachers, television, books, movies, that by a certain age, we learn what is acceptable and what is not. Leaving some of the straight-forward things apart, the real test of doing it right comes into picture when a person is caught between what is correct and what is convenient.

I personally and strongly believe that a congenial environment plays a key role in fostering the social and emotional being of a child and defines the person he becomes. And such an environment can be created by parents.

Being a first time parent, I am often left pondering on how I can accomplish the herculean task of parenting right. As I think and gain inferences from the lessons from my life, all I could conclude is, 'Be what you want your child to be'.

There is a particular instance that dates back to my high school days. I read an article randomly that talks of how success depends on motivation and a burning desire to excel. I wondered through the next couple of months on how to 'get' that motivation and burning desire. I stumbled through many writings but there was nothing that could make me really understand it. Incidentally, we had a guest speaker one day at school who talked about the thing again- the burning desire. All of a sudden, it dawned on me. I started to observe people, things and incidents around me more consciously and began to slowly like, appreciate, admire and idolize certain traits. Slowly and steadily, I began to understand and visualize what I wanted to be like and I started to develop a very deep longing for it- the burning desire.There I was, voila!

So, life's lessons are often powerful realizations which come by themselves, and are not necessarily 'taught' by anyone.Everyday, there is something to look forward to which leaves you wiser than before. There were many beautiful lessons I learnt from life, some which I put into practice and some which I am trying to put into practice. Following are some of the most valuable ones, out of the many:
  • Learn how to be motivated and stay motivated: Motivation is the key to self-growth. It not only makes your life rewarding but also makes you look forward to each day with hope. Discover something you would want to achieve and be good at. Keep it tough. Work really hard for it, be passionate about it and discover the nuances behind it. Strive for excellence and make it a habit. Let an achievement give you a high. Always try to have something to aim for and discover the joy in not only attaining it but also in the strenuous journey to achieve it. Surround yourself with people who have a sense of purpose, better and more successful than you, successful in whatever it may be- work, play or just better human beings than you. Observe the world around you keenly- You would always have something to motivate you.
  • Preserve your integrity: Work on character-building. Have a set of morals, principles and ethics for yourself and adhere to it, come what may. Be truthful to yourself. When you are correct, be happy for it. When you are wrong, accept it and with all honesty, make an earnest attempt to learn from it. Surround yourself with opportunities that can fine-tune you as an individual and build the character- 'you'. Never pretend or put on a show to please anyone or just because it is easy. Be what you are truthfully and let people see you as what you are.
  • Practice good manners: It never hurts to be good. Be genuinely good-mannered. It is not about just saying thank you, please and sorry. When you say it, make sure you really mean it else it would be just pointless. It is a very common sight to see kids bullying each other and having fun at some other kid's expense passing comments about appearance, mental abilities, etc. These reflect very poorly on the parent's upbringing. Practice equality and tolerance for everybody at home and preach it. Always, make sure that it is not fun to hurt somebody and consciously make an attempt not to speak or act in a manner that is offensive to others. 
  • Try anyways: Whether you think you can win or not, try anyways. If something is really worthy, then even the path to reach it would be tough. When confronted with two choices- easy and attainable, tough and difficult to attain; choose the latter. Always challenge yourself and set goals higher. If you win it is great, if you loose it is great too. Failure always comes with a package of very valuable lessons that you cannot learn otherwise. Don't give up and remember- It is not in falling but in getting up each time you fall that makes the difference.
  • Be a friend: Be a good friend to the people around you. Help when you could and sometimes if it means going an extra mile, do it and do it without expecting a favor in return. Take time to love and care for your people. Make plans not only for career but also for building and sustaining personal relationships. Realize your responsibility towards your parents, make it a priority and strive for it. The way you treat your parents is a best example to your children on how parents should be treated. You need not make a conscious attempt to show them, they will just pick it up, anyways.
  • Avoid meaningless comparisons: Make it a habit to count your blessings.Never ever compare yourself to others- whether they are better than you, worse or equals.No two people born on this earth can have the same life- there are going to be differences though the outer picture may show some similarities. So it is pointless to compare two people and measure your degree of success or failure in life on that basis. Being envious of somebody constantly makes your life a living hell.You be your sole competitor. Strive to out-beat yourself each time.Appreciate the effort you put and be thankful of how each day, each hour and each moment leaves you richer in some way than before. 
  • Appreciate the beauty in small things: Learn to appreciate the beauty in small things. Be inquisitive, ask questions, seek answers.Let the fragrance of the first rain of the season falling on earth make you happy, let a favorite song on radio by surprise excite you, search for that shade of green color dress you always wanted to buy, it is ok to make a fool of yourself by laughing hysterically till your stomach hurts with a friend sometimes, it is ok to have a dream of a chocolate mountain, keep the child in you alive. On a serious note, if child-like things appear too childish for you, pick up a hobby you really enjoy doing. Admire the beauty of nature- Marvel at the sunrise, sunsets, starry nights, dreamy clouds and wonder at the vastness of the ocean and the sky. Be a shutter-bug and freeze nature's such moments. Try your hand at gardening and ponder at how difficult it is to get a fruit from a seed. Read a book, listen to music, paint or write a blog. Stay associated with some form of art. It always leaves you wondering about how magically beautiful it is.
To sum it up in the words of Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Live in the moment, rejoice in it and always keep your hope alive.
Stay blessed! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

To Mom, With love

I am writing a Tribute to Mom in association with

There are four stages in every man's life: 
"You believe in Santa Claus. 
You don't believe in Santa Claus. 
You are Santa Claus. 
You look like Santa Claus."

Mothers are angels from heaven and they are all about unconditional love, sacrifice and nurturing. Every Mom is special to her children, no matter what she is in any other roles in her life, a mother always and most certainly puts her heart and soul in raising her child with utmost care and devotion.

I share a very special bond with my Mom, too and she has been my best friend, philosopher and guide. She is always there for me and stood by me, through all times.Sometimes, a conversation is at its best when the person just listens. She is the best listener and heard everything with great interest right from how my bench mate in grade two took my favorite sharpener and never returned it,to my daily blabber about the pettiest, random things.

She is a very ambitious woman, always taught me to dream big and appreciate the finer things in life. She was the first one to teach me Hindi alphabets despite the fact that she hardly knows anything in Hindi apart from the alphabets and irony is, I went on to later top my school in the boards in Hindi and that too, with a whooping percentage. I was in kindergarten when Mommy dear thought I am not getting protein in my diet and wanted to try egg with me.We, being strict vegetarians, she had no idea what to come up with. She mixed boiled egg cut into pieces in my dal and lovingly fed it to me, fooling it with me as coconut. She took me to art, music and dance classes patiently, though I never took any of it seriously, back then.No matter what, she always had a way to love and care for us, with each passing day.

She has a great amount of perseverance and picked up on a lot of skills to start a career, managing with a kid like me with no help around and never even showed the stress of it. She was an exemplary working Mom who strives to provide the family with a better quality of life. She earned respect and trust of her seniors and colleagues through sheer hard work and commitment. During those days, when work was more of a means to get additional income to the family rather than a career, it is needless to say that kids, family and a better life for them was the utmost driving force for all her hard work. The most surprising thing is having a working Mom may mean some compromises to some but we were raised so well with all the attention that we never felt any hollowness, anywhere, anytime. I wonder today, how much she could fit into that twenty four hours which also included playing an agony aunt to desperate relatives seeking advice through phone calls, late into the night. And, she wakes up, bang on at 5:00 am the next morning, all energetic running into errands with no complaints at all but just a smile.

There were times when I did not behave very well with her and looking back, I feel I just took her love for granted on some occasions. On numerous occasions for not preparing my lunch box on time to her not-so-good taste when she bought a dress for me to saying that she is not organised enough in kitchen while just blabbering and not helping enough, I played the bad girl. Being the soft and sweet lady she is, she never even remembers or may be chooses to ignore my misbehaviour happily and peacefully.She only remembers the helpful girl in me who helped her with all the chores at home when she was at work, so much so that everybody around me started believing and showing me as an example of a good girl to their little kids.

All the realization for the numerous occasions when I was not up to the mark, however small, petty and unbotherable they may be, does hit hard some day and when it does, it does really very hard. And so it did for me. A marriage, moving out far from Mom, a career change and finally, motherhood. All the changes were massive for me but on a positive note, toned me from the intense self to a more sober person. I missed Mom on countless occasions and with everyday, I could see myself and Mom with a different perspective. Sometimes, distance does good to you. It shakes you from the deep slumber of indifference and wakes you up to the reality of gratitude.

I got a starting point to my answers on the question of why Moms are so universally special and loved about when I was blessed with a little angel. With each passing day, I could see myself evolving more and more to love, give, care and nurture. Women are immensely lucky, they get to relive and see an entirely new dimension to life with motherhood.Moms don't just happen, they are all made.

Behind the extra weight carried for nine months and beyond, the first trimester nausea, the false labor pains, the hope, the anticipation and the excitement of a tiny being fluttering inside, the anxious and much-awaited labor, the after-effects, the exhausting, draining night outs with a colicky new-born, the calm, peaceful sleep when the little one finally dozes off to sleep after great effort tucked tight beside you, the little milestones celebrated with great pomp and show each month, the first word, first steps, the heart-melting moment when your little one first says "Mama", the tears through parting the dear ones at day-care, the joy of being through every roller-coaster moment of a growing child, Moms are made- chiseled, carved and polished to the fine, loving and caring beings they become.

On this note:

To my Mom and all other lovely Moms out there, a very Happy Mother's day. All of you deserve a big hug from your kids.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My First lessons in entrepreneurship

I wish to get my story published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul in association with 

It was during the days when I was pursuing engineering in electronics.It was vacation time for us and I was thinking of building working circuit models that I can later use for inter-collegiate competitions as mini-projects.

I needed electronic supplies, components and guidance for the same as it was something beyond the curriculum. Mr.Murty was the CEO of a small-scale electronics manufacturing unit that produced  specialized communication systems that were used in areas where normal communication systems were not effective. Mr.Murty was a very accomplished person in his field and won laurels across the world for his immense contributions. He started his firm post retirement and showed a great amount of zeal and enthusiasm in his work even at the age of eighty.

My association with Mr.Murty was from my childhood through my Mom, who worked at his firm. Over years, we turned into good family friends. He was a grandfather figure to me. He helped me with my questions on science and got me the most useful gifts ever, when he came to visit us.I heard very highly of him from my parents not only as a boss but also as a wonderful human being. But, I never got an opportunity to interact with him on a technical ground.After many years, it was that day I would be face-to-face with him again and I was very much looking forward to it.

As I walked into his office, a board greeted me that read, "Work is worship and our place of work is our temple". Mr.Murty was a god-fearing man and the words just reminded me once again about his commitment and devotion to work. I went in to the reception lobby and checked-in with the receptionist regarding my appointment who asked me to wait for ten minutes. As I sat there waiting, a sharp, well-dressed man came and greeted me. I could barely recognize him as he smiled and said, " Do you remember me little girl? I am Nagaiah." I was flabbergasted and dumb-struck. Nagaiah was a office-boy at that place, when I knew of him ten years back. He brought cans of water for the staff and carried out other chores at that place. All that I knew was he discontinued his studies after schooling. Before I could say anything, Nagaiah spoke,"I am a Junior design Engineer here now and a part of the research team. Whatever I am today, needless to say, I owe it to Murty Sir. I started helping initially, the team with small technical activities and spotting my interest, Sir asked me to shadow junior engineers. There started my story. I pursued my diploma and later joined a part-time engineering course, which Sir guided me through and sponsored. Above all the academics part, much of the learning happens from here, from all the experts. The lessons that I learn everyday here are invaluable and over years, I could learn the niche skills required for a job from a design perspective. So,here I am today. You must be surprised, I can understand" he said."Amazing and really inspiring, too. It must have been a lot of hard work and perseverance from your side, as well." I spoke as I regained my composure. " Well..Everybody wants to do well, earn good money and have a comfortable life. I am one of that "everybody" too, at that stage. The only thing I did not know was "how" and probably I did not dream this far too. Mr.Murty was the person who gave me a sense of direction and a purpose to my life. He taught me it is first about working on myself and building a place for myself in the society.Then, as much as it is about taking, it is about giving. I learnt give-back is a very crucial part and it is my big dream that I am working on. Some day..some day, for sure." he said in a firm, confident tone. I inquired about the well-being of the other people whom I knew as a kid and we discussed for some time about those days. He suddenly said, "Oh..I forgot to tell you. Do you remember Ramsingh?". " Yes, of course." I replied in affirmation. Ramsingh was a cook at Mr.Murty's house and he made the best of gulab jamuns. His gulab jamuns were to die for and he made a good batch for us whenever we visited Mr.Murty's home. He was barely twenty then, I recollected."He is in Delhi now, settled there with his wife and two children. He has a government job, works for the Central Railways", he said. "Wow, that is great to know."I said. "Murty Sir guided him into doing his bachelors from open university. He studied whenever he got some free time after the cooking. Mr.Murty was always there for his doubts and guided him on the job front, too.He is a happy man now, all thanks to Sir." he continued as we were interrupted by the receptionist who announced that I may now go inside. I bid good-bye to Nagaiah and made my way to Mr.Murty's cabin.

As, I opened the door, I was greeted by his warm smile. He looked old but no where close to the eighty mark that he is. He had a certain charisma to him that doesn't go unnoticed. As we spoke, I explained him the purpose of my visit. He reached out for a magazine on the book rack and flipped through the pages and said, "I did some research on the project when you sent me a email. It is a basic functionality that you are looking to build. Here is something challenging that you could do to make it a little more fun. These are some interesting functions that could be added to your existing model that are a big value-add from a product perspective" he said, as he pointed out to some circuit diagrams in the magazine. He meticulously explained everything in the diagram.As he explained, I could notice the passion that he has towards work and how much the passion drives him to do what he loves. He then called in a person who would help and guide me through my work.I took leave of him and was guided to my work area by my mentor. As I walked through cubicles, I could see a few groups of students who were working on live projects under the guidance of people who are more than eager to help.

As I sat down to start off with my work, I could feel the positive energy of the place. I pondered how much a leader can influence a group of people to not only work with grit and determination but also do their small part by giving at every opportunity they get. Mr. Murty redefined entrepreneurship by not only meaning business, finances, risks and economics but also to include humane elements to it like responsibility, respect towards fellow beings, sharing and giving. I got the components and began to work, saying silently to myself, "Entrepreneurship,someday..definitely someday.."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The soldiers in my life

This post is a part of #Soldierforwomen in association with .

Being a woman, I have definitely had my share of pleasant and not-so-pleasant experiences with men.While I was mostly alone when I battled out with the negative ones, there are a good number of good men, too. I am fortunate enough to have men in my life who are supportive,stood by me and created a sense of being there for me,come what may. Here is to them for leaving a positive impact on me for life.Thank you all!

Mewling in his arms and turning side to side,
A look into the eyes and he was filled with pride,
There lies his much wanted baby girl,
Gleaming and glistening like a fresh water pearl.

He rocked her, patted her,sang for her and walked all night.
As the wailing queen fell deep asleep over his shoulders snug and tight. 
He got her the best of toys, clothes and candy.
He put her in the best of schools and worked hard to give the best of everything.
She was all pampered and her unfulfilled wishes were almost nothing.

And so the little girl grew up and asked one day,
"What is all this hue and cry about being a boy or a girl,how does it matter anyway?"
No differences were ever known, she was always free to choose what she wanted to. 
He was a soldier who battled out hard for his little girl's comforts and put her before all of his,
The selfless soldier - My father he is.

Ten years later, there came another person in the family,
"Little brother for me !", jumped the now,big sister, joyfully.
Days, months and years and nothing changed for her,
Except another person for sharing love and making her life merrier,
She was cared for,nurtured and protected all the same.

The little brother was her much coveted baby doll,
And grew up to be there for her every call,
They laughed together,fought together and had fun together.
At the age of eleven, he innocently prayed as his big sister went to give her first job interview,
He cheered for her and celebrated when she was through.
He boasted about her, laughed with her when she was happy and prayed for her in distress, 
The soldier who stands by me and gives a sense of being there - My brother he is.

Out in the big bad world,
A few friends and colleagues to prove its not all that cold,
Simple actions of chivalry that show respect towards fellow humans,
Being there to accompany after a late day at work and for various other reasons,
The soldier who contributed in his small way to my day going right - my friend he is.

He promised my family that I would in be safe hands.
When I came with him all alone to an unknown land.
He pampers me like a child when I feel low.
A good critic who can point out my faults with a comical show.
A loving and caring Dad to a one year old,
The soldier who firmly believes in responsibility and realizes it with all his heart - my husband and soul-mate he is.