Its all about Human Resources

Life can be fun. Fun can be created.
Just saw two guys stopping a rickshaw walla as he spit on the road while driving. The driver of my vehicle informed me that at lots of junctions, BMC has employed people to catch people who are spitting and fine them. I could see the passengers of the auto rickshaw trying to negotiate with the BMC team. They didn’t budge, thank God for that. One of them sat in the auto with the driver and asked him to pull to the kerb. Is this what is required to bring about a change in people? I know that all auto and taxi drivers have a basic minimum education that enables them to read signs, hoardings etc. Why cant their mums teach them about spitting? I am sure it is easier than teaching your child table manners.
These small little changes in the system also makes me smile. We are slowly inching towards something good. Then, I read a leading political bi monthly magazine which the husband got from a trip. God help me, nothing could me more depressing. I know all the muck sells but the muck exposed doesn’t make a honest politician.They write the truth and they are in business. But does that give them the right to sensationalize it? Why cant the newspapers n news channels make it a point to say one good thing for the ten bad that happen. If only the bad was happening in this world, we would not be alive to read it.
Same goes for company Human Resources policies. The HR dept has one agenda and that is to cut costs. Bosses are told don’t let your team grow, then your growth may be hampered. I have yet to meet a person who has come out satisfied after his or her appraisal. Its all about what was not achieved by the employee. All the Khunnas and I dont have an English word for it, comes out at appraisal time. Why wouldn,t a Boss guide his team thru the year instead of this ‘pot calling the kettle black’ syndrome.
Thanks to all the foreign management consulting firms, the companies now have a blanket ban on promotions. They have put an upper level mark as in only few can get a good appraisal ranking every year.
Ask an employee , who has left an organization, it is never with a good taste. Either the Boss says something sarcastic or acts as if he doesn’t care. The colleagues treat you as if its ‘good riddance to bad rubbish.’The farewell party is a strained affair with some long drawn fake speeches. No one truly wishes the person leaving the organisation, good from their heart. If all falls smooth, then the HR department takes long to clear the dues.The poor ex employee now has to run from pillar to post getting expense vouchers cleared.
Dare I not pay a maid when she wants to quit? She will rave and rant. She will talk against me to the watchmen of the building and the neighboring maids. I will not have anyone wanting to work for me. Can I tell a maid, I wont pay your bonus or you need to complete this month plus three months notice period without any leave? I dare not.
But then for a manager or a boss, the office is not like home. He is there just to please his Boss. I wonder how these people are with their own families …..

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Not for non vegetarians

I associate food with smell. If the house or a hotel smells good, chances are the food there will taste good. When I came to Mumbai and was staying in a Christian hostel, I remember the feeling of nausea at 10am everyday as they started cooking beef. For a pure vegetarian Gujarati girl, it was a culture shock. I had never had people eating non vegetarian on my table for the first fifteen years of my life. So to see pieces of meat in a watery gravy was not a pleasant sight for me. Hostel food was full of coconut in every vegetable and garlic in every dal.At home, we never ate garlic or onions on a daily basis. In Mumbai, my meals had so many new ingredients and then I got used to seeing and smelling that. Even people sucking the bone for the marrow was a sight I had never seen before. There was no religious sentiment involved. I was just so shocked and oh so unexposed.

Stage two was when I joined a five star hotel in Mumbai. For me, the whole hotel was always stinking of food. For years, I couldn’t relish my meals at five star hotels. The lobby with the cafe to the 24 hr coffee shop to the Indian restaurant , all were a big no no for me. I remember rushing back to the hostel for my meals. The food just smelt and felt stale to me. Then the leftovers came to the staff cafeteria.
The good part was I was very friendly with the chefs in the hotel. All tea times I would sit with them. They were one happy lot of people, away from the hotel politics. They just made me laugh and never talked food.

Stage three was when I got married to a non vegetarian, the in laws to prove a point would cook non vegetarian food every time we were invited for a meal. I never could cook non vegetarian food. I had to touch n fry fish and clear the bones there. Once I came home from work and my house was smelling of prawns. I ran to the kitchen and saw these pink fleshy things and shells all over the place. I almost died. Cooked food is different but to see it like that was unpalatable.
People still go on asking me about veg vs non veg food. I am questioned why my children don’t eat and why I don’t cook at home or why my maids can’t cook at home. I have to answer if this is religious or personal choice of mine. People sympathize with my husband as if he doesn’t get to eat at home. My husband has no issues whatsoever but people do. Will I let my children eat non veg? Why haven’t they tried it till now? So on and so forth. I don’t have answers and no judgements here. Its just something I do. Do I have to keep justifying?
Now the best part is whenever we go out, I choose and order the non vegetarian food for him. Years of working in the hotel industry has made me a pro at recognizing the good dishes even if I don’t eat them.

Why this Kolaveri Di?

When I sit to write there are thoughts. But then I have no Title to write. What is important is what I write.Or should I first make an interesting caption/ title and then weave a story around it. Every time I am also thinking about is it the truth or rather my version of it or is it something I have added some juice to make it interesting. Question comes to my mind that who am I writing for. Myself or my friends or is it there a larger audience somewhere. The desire for name, fame and appreciation is definitely there. Now the question is, Is this about my writing or is this about everything in my life?
Am I looking for appreciation and acknowledgement for every single act of mine? Can I just be be happy with what I have done? I have gone into a new thing these days, which is about acknowledging all the people who help me in some way and I am aware of it. I also expect the same in return and that too big time.Now, the grudge is that if you are going to my designer or my jeweler, rather the one recommended by me, make sure you thank me for it every time you visit. These are all standards I set for myself to show how high I am and so above you. Who is this “you” I am constantly wanting to prove myself to? My folks, in laws, friends , extended family or my immediate family? The urge is to just say “I am better than you.” This self generated war is with everyone. I am creating competition with my maids, my ex bosses, my ex colleagues, friends, children,….The list is long. I just want to say I do it better.
I am not liking this internal war which is playing all day in my mind. I want to just be but I am comparing. ‘My Being’ has become ‘my Being in comparison’. There is nothing carefree anymore. Neither me nor my thoughts. There must be some angst to not feel fulfilled. May be youtube has the answer to Why this Kolaveri Di?

Food for thought

Everyone has an understanding of good health and good food habits. I am not talking about going on the extremes of raw food or no wheat or only fruit diet. I just mean basic good food. Which educated person doesn’t know that packaged food contains preservatives. Even if they packaging denies it, it is put under some other chemical name which the consumer is unaware of. Any food rots after a time and if it is in a packet vaccum packed or something, it cant survive without some added chemicals. Even curds which are good for health have a fifteen day shelf life. Try keeping your home made curd in the refrigerator for three days, it starts turning sour and gets spoilt within a week.
I fail to understand parents who give packaged or outside food to their children all the time. I blame the Stay at home Moms more out here. The father is not there for atleast 12 hrs a day. The basic nutrition knowledge is low or the desire to cook fresh food is not there. In most upper middle class urban families, there is a cook or a helper. Why cant the mother just give the correct instructions. In parties, I see small children hog sweets and cakes as if there wont be any left. The mothers take their children for numerous classes but at every break , the child is fed cheetos or vada pav. The shops near the slums do roaring business of junk food as it is easier for the working mother to provide money to the child than to cook food. The children are often falling sick and under medication. All mothers are so significant when the child falls ill. It is almost always blamed on the infection from class or the viral in the air or the season change.
When will these mothers get that children are naturally immune to sickness. In most cases, some carelessness by us that causes the illness. Why cant we be committed to the child s well being.

Its very easy to say I am the most committed mother and most of us mothers feel so. But where is it in action? Taking your child to the Mall on the weekend is commitment ? Allowing the child to play the video games in the mall, signs of a great Mom? Taking him for the latest 3 D film is good parenting? Is buying your child the latest gadget, helping the child learn technology? Is putting a child in an expensive school and lots of evening classes giving you a sense of fulfillment as a Mom?
As a Mom, what stops me from providing unconditional love to my child with a good amount of home food? Nutritious food for the good functioning of his health is a real investment into the child s future. Even if I want to give him the fad food, how about making it at home? If nothing, it will be clean, fresh and wont have high levels of soda, oil or colour.

Circles in the sand

I need space from my loved ones. When they are not around, I miss them. When I am around them, I wish I was miles away. I want to be spoken to only when I am in the mood. I want to listen and want them to share their day. I also have so many tasks to complete.If I sit and listen, all my housework will be pending. I wonder if work is as important as relationships. If I don’t handle my responsibilities, will any of my relationships work? I am stressed about not spending quality time with my loved ones. When I want to spend time with them, they are busy.When there is a chance , everyone is so worked up. I don’t like outings with a time limit. Why cant people just relax and be. Everyone has work the next day. Just because one is chilling today, their tomorrow need not be a crazy day.
I see people inviting me to meet for a “Quick coffee” or an “early dinner”. Even the terms are such a put off. That’s like my friends or family are slotting me in their busy schedule. Respecting mine and others time is important.Using time to the extent of it becoming rude, is definitely not done.
Even for a dinner of family or friends, there are so many under currents going on. Its just how life has become or we have made it so? An invite to a meal is met with
all kinds of questions. No one wants to give a straightforward answer. Each one of us is going around in circles.

My trips to Babulnath

Master of the Game was a novel by Sidney Sheldon. I started reading Sidney Sheldons much before I started my dose of Mills n Boons. In school, the library teacher helped me select classics…abridged versions ofcourse. English was not the spoken language. By eighth std, with a great English tedacher, I had the urge to enjoy the language. In terms of marks I excelled in English but Hindi is the languauge I thought in. I prayed in Gujarati,in my heart. The verbal prayers were in Sanskrit with my Grandmother and in English in the school assembly.

For years I never understood the meaning of all that I prayed. Our family was very serious about certain issues. God was one of them. No one was forced to pray or visit the temple. That came naturally to all of us. When we prayed, we prayed very seriously. Uncle was almost angry while praying. Mom and Gran wanted the servants to be at their beck n call while praying. So the servant ran to get the flowers, water milk, ghee, plates, sugar, hot milk, raw milk, cloth to wipe hands and more. The Puja room was nice , dark and cosy. Each one thought their praying and worshiping style was better. Someone lit agarbattis in all rooms, someone put lots of water in the Tulsi. But all of us were very significant in our actions. During vacations, I remember going around Vishnu n Tulsi at home all of 108 times. The Pandit was there for lunch on full moon, eleventh day of the lunar cycle and all other auspicious days. Then there would be saints visiting from different parts of the country.
When we went on trips, only religious songs and Garbas played in the car. Same at home. We d listen to Ramayan on cassettes by Murari Bapu. This was before the onset of tv in Dhanbad. Even then , none of us missed the Ramayan n Mahabharat on tv. Now when I read Devdutt Patnaik and his interpretations of mythology, I am amazed that my Gran had told me most of the stories and we had visited almost all the important religious places in India before we turned ten. All this was not a rule or discipline to be followed. All of this came naturally to the family. God was a part of us. We did pray and we got all that we prayed for.While majoring in philosophy, I could actually join the dots in Theology , Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism

I remember an Uncle telling me to go to Babulnath temple every monday for a good husband. And this was the time I was eighteen and had seen the first guy. I started that and almost did not miss Babulnath for the next eleven years of my life. If I was out of town, I d visit any Shiva temple. I am glad I did that and I am happy and grateful that God listened to all my prayers. All the friends I had knew of this routine of mine and even colleagues. The Boss knew that when I left on sales calls on a monday, I was actually going to Babulnath. The colleagues who went that side on work would drop me to the temple. Once on a conference in Khajuraho, a colleague cum friend took me to the ancient Shiva temple in the precincts of the Khajuraho temples. During exams also I made it a point to visit. Once the festival of Holi fell on a monday and I still took a bus to go.Guy friends supported and came at early hours for Shivratri and the holy month of Sawaan for my temple visit. And No, I did not acquire any saintly qualities.

Master of the Game

The intention of this writing is not for you to feel sorry for me.I had guys asking if I can cook. The mothers asking
If you are in a hostel, would you like to live with a family.
Where do you shop?
What do you do in your spare time?
How often do you visit your relatives?
Do you have English Western toilets at home?
Can you stay without your job?
There are meetings where i have visited the guys house and even water was rationed.
One meeting , the guy had six pegs of vodka. I thought that’s so cool . He can handle his drink. My father was scandalized.
One guy was angry coz I didn’t know about his institute INSEAD in France. Those days there was no google to look up these things.
One guy took me to the mirror to check my height vis a vis his. My cousin was angry about it. I was absolutely fine. He was buying a commodity and better to check it out by all parameters.
Each one said like the foreign companies do when one goes for interviews : Don’t call us, we will call you.
My Dad had taught me one thing : Even if you don’t like a guy, don’t let him know that. We will say “No” later, you leave that to us.
I followed that to the T. In spite of all dumb and rude and impolite questions, I answered appropriately and with a smile. I was becoming a master at this game and scoring more points.