Monday, December 15, 2008

Art of Diplomacy

Is being diplomatic an art? If you don the role of an arbitrator in a conversation, diplomacy comes very handy. Even otherwise as well, it saves you from being in the “bad” books!!

On the other hand, it strains you from speaking up your mind. You may just start lying and cover with the blanket of diplomacy. Being diplomatic means to say what others do not want to hear, you still say it and after you said it – they don’t mind it at all. Given that, it’s an art of what not to speak.

Someone said that being diplomatic is not a good thing cos at one point in time you will forget what you really want to say and try to just say things that you think others don’t mind. And another thing is you jus don’t take sides loosing your true thoughts.

So, do you need to be diplomatic?

If I say “yes” or “no”, Iam not being diplomatic. If I give a paragraph like above and say things like “ its really up to you” or “it depends on situation” then diplomacy is in my dictionary. Ha..That’s again a diplomatic answer.

Its all about pricking the needle without pain and also definitely about when to use that needle!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My poor Chevy and me!

Started early on car driving classes during my first year on job! Managed to get a license, but since then never bothered or was serious about driving. Again, it happened when a long-term trip to US got confirmed officially. Ran and registered for the classes again as I could not recollect where the clutch and brake(s) are positioned.

The classes were not that bad. With the driver exhibiting lot of patience and confidence that I could drive, there was no stopping! I did repeat the mistakes like releasing the clutch fully that made the car to stop right at the junction where four roads met, frantically turning the wheel to left when Iam supposed to turn right! The driver’s irritation was disguised by a half broken smile saying “Madam…what Madam?!”. I should appreciate the persistence driver had to put up with me. Taking reverse is another big ordeal..! That was the story of 10 one-hour classes!

Then the big day came, I was in US and initially pooled with my colleagues to commute. That was not a permanent solution and neither my colleague nor me entertained it. A nice colleague of mine offered to sit beside me while I drive initially. So I drove the car and pooled in other colleagues for free rides. They just have to sit beside me and instruct. And one fine day, I drove to office all by myself! The first few days I almost woke up with the stress of me driving with a lot of “What if…” questions!! Iam not intending to share those questions here!

The highlight of all this is they gave me a brand new Chevy Impala 2008 model with just 90 miles in the odometer! The delivery person actually drove those 90 miles! Of course it’s kinda like giving a garland to a monkey! My motto while I was driving was not to dash anyone and follow the road rules!

After a huge retrospection, I was not bad after all. It has been 4 months and so far not a scratch! And guess what, Iam picking up two more gals and providing commutation to them! That’s a big deal – not me providing a ride, but them trusting me and joining the ride!

Recalling some funny scenes..

- Warning in the dashboard “The pressure is low in right rear tire”. Realized I need to pump it up but got totally panicked about it
- Went to the gas station, tried to put the nozzle in the fuel tank and it just doesn’t go. Well, I was holding a diesel nozzle! Such mistake-proofing techniques are there just for ppl like me
- Tried to press the accelerator so hard and the car is not even budging a mm, realized that the hand brake was on
- Defrosting the car was another lesson I learnt after realizing that one cannot drive with a frosted window!
- Always make up my mind to part with $300 when I start the car. $150 for penalty and another $150 for having no valid license!

Thank God the car is a latest model and most of the features are automated!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Meals - Mexican to Indian

The other day we went to Salsarita and were excited to order Nachos, Tachos and Burritos. An innovative idea came up – Burritos actually has rice and beans rolled into a bread (similar to “roti” not made of wheat). If we separate it, then humara daal, chawal aur roti ho gaya!!! Btw, Nachos are like chips and Tachos are like roasted papads!! We can have that as side dish or complementary papads!!!

Infact we were pondering about business options to promote the same..any takers?
No wonder we lovvved Mexican food!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 a glance

Tee, Irons, Driver, Putter …of course, Iam talking GOLF here. Last week I got a chance to play the game and it was a team play. This was my first stint with Golf and it was good! Being an amateur in the group, I got o learn all the techniques/strategies to hit the ball from Teeing box (that’s the start point) to the Green(land with finely cut grass, where a ball should land before you push it into the hole/cup). The game is played on a course consisting of series of 9 or 18 holes.

The whole idea of the game is to put the ball into the hole with minimal strokes. I did not find that easy, as there is lot of obstacles either as bunkers or water hazards! The first stroke from the Tee is key to take the ball farthest from you on the fairway and closer to green. There are varieties of clubs like driver, irons or putter to use at various places. For example, you usually use a putter when the ball is on the green. In the game we played, it turned out that I was good as a putter - did consecutive 4 balls to the holes. On the driver, I was disgusting - the ball seldom lifted itself from the ground when I hit.

Scores are done based on Par. Par refers to the number of strokes a skilled golfer should require to complete play of the hole. As any other sport, this also needs good practice and ineterst to keep up the Pars. Men and Women have different Tee box points. And all this fun is added with good snacks and beer! So, who would say no to Golf?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bus Journeys

In the name of employee benefits, organizations give commutation facilities to them for a specified amount. No doubt that every employee would enjoy that rather than traveling in public mode of transport. Its crowd free, tension free and comfortable. Thanks to the brand-new buses from respective Travels!!

Most of the companies have buses at a frequency of 2 to 3 or more mainly in the evenings. As all employees may not leave at the same time, its been seen that only a few of them occupy a big bus. Yesterday at a signal, I saw one of them was lying down at ease in a three-seater of the bus! That was very amusing and triggered this post!

Time to ponder!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Encounter with RU!

It was a flight from Blr to Hyd. There was a person with very familiar face talking to someone in the seat ahead of me! Well, you get to see so many faces in one’s lifetime and some images keep flashing isn’t? That way the thought about the person was discarded.

Then as we were disembarking, many congratulated him for his splendid performance and said they saw his photo in the newspapers. They also wished him good luck for the future!!

I quickly looked at the paper in the seat pocket and it dawned on me that he was none other than Robin Uthappa!!! Then, I accomodated more glances as I can!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Variety at Valpaarai

Last weekend, we went to this Tea country called Valpaarai. The place was amazing with lush green tea estates, waterfalls, elegant temples and churches! The idea came in when one of my cousins was actually looking for contacts at Valpaarai for accommodation. I was enquiring about it to certain folks there and suddenly it flashed that my friends and I as well can use the upcoming long weekend to visit the place.

It turned out to be a rewarding decision. Check out the snaps here as evidence for the good time that we had! There are around 40 hairpin bends (20 up and 20 down) to traverse before reaching the place. The drive was incredible. There were very few decent hotels, as the place is not yet commercially exploited.

Main highlights include tasty tea for 2 Rs., second largest dam in Asia, chat with naive school children, friendly neighbor Kiruthika, recreation/crèche centers for estate employees, dance drama/procession in a temple, coffee bar attached to a bakery shop, attending mid night mass at a church, plucking Tea leaves with special bowl-attached-scissors, Hospital Waterfalls (a hospital named ‘Waterfalls’) and getting famous by shopping black bangles! Well, it was a happening town!

Other feature is the mountain there called “Pul Medu” (Grass land) on the top. The British had a practice of burning the grass periodically to ensure its growth that would be the fodder for the cattle there. There are roads constructed till top to get the burnt grass down to the town. It looked like we need special permission to go there as it crosses the forest range. We also went to a place called Top Slip. This is a wild life sanctuary - we really could not spot any splendid wild life except for black monkeys, elephants and few birds like Kingfisher!

Full credit goes to the confident driver and the informative guide who made this trip a more memorable one!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I don’t know what inside me gets ignited when some one says lets “trek on a mountain”! That excitement on my face could never me concealed! Initially it was very tough as most of my friends’ jus dismissed saying “Who wants to walk simply like that, have better jobs to do rather than paying for walks”!

Slowly the “will in me” or “mere luck” brought me closer to folks who are ever ready to trek and that nurtured my spark to raging flames and then just peace! Peace because now Iam open to treks and welcome them as a break but don’t crave for it! The taste would remain forever and keep me contented!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More on Vipassana

Vipassana meditation revolves around the word “sensations”. In a 10-day course, first we need to observe our breath continuously as we sit for meditation. That’s how we get the handle to our mind. Then with that handle, one needs to observe the sensations through out the body – starting from head till toes. The exercise gives a good understanding of body and allows reflection to “sensations” that body emulates. These can be pain, throbbing or vibration, flickering etc.. The key is irrespective of whatever the sensations are, we need to just watch them with equanimity. That means no aversion towards pain or no craving towards “nice” sensations! More the practice, more your mind would be trained to maintain equanimity!

How this helps in day today life?

We need to project this concept to our life and be equanimous whether things are going good or bad! Well, its said easier than done!! The mere observing, being a witness to all actions that you do will help you in overcoming the miseries.

This needs a lot of practice, as we have been habituated to react, ponder and draw our conclusions to the situation around us.

The first step on the path of dhamma sows the seed to be in “present”, enjoy the moment rather than thinking of moments in past or future! Whether its dhamma or not, it’s a wonderful way to live life!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Year 2007 ended with a bang..This “big bang” was totally different. If I describe it as amazing I would only end up humiliating my experience.

-Spent 10 days in a place out of city limits
-Did not talk for10 days
-Did 10 hours of meditation each day
-There were intermittent breaks for food and walking
-Observed nature – trees, plants, frogs, snails, butterflies and other living beings around
-Got an opportunity to practice dhamma – “The Way” taught by Gautam Buddha. Isn’t that hinting at something?
-Opened up inward and started observing the body, breath and sensations
-No mobile, books, treks, music, talk and got cut off from the rest of the world

It may sound boring at the surface, but one has to try it to see how exciting it could be. It opens up new dimensions. One can understand the miseries of life better and how to come out of it. Any one would want to live without misery. Some people just ignore it by saying “I have no miseries”. The first step is to accept it and then to overcome it. I can go on and on..but that’s not the intention.

Let me break it – it was Vipassana Meditation! Check out this for more information.

This meditation technique works and I can guarantee it - the only reason being that I want you to enjoy what I enjoyed and feel the change!

PS: Anischha means “Impermanent”