Monday, 4 December 2017

Flashback 2017

It’s that time of the year when we plan for new year resolutions, holidays and other stuff. It is also a great time to introspect “how this year was different from the past years? Have I made significant progress with anything or in general with life?”

I have mixed feelings, few peaks, and valleys, but I am happy with the things that I have done this year.

I have been away from writing for a year, so I have summed up my Life in 2017 as below:


Joining CISCO


To begin with the end of 2016, I was overwhelmed to get three job offers, from Oracle, Baxter Healthcare, and Cisco. Obviously, I chose to join CISCO.
Joining Cisco was the best decision.


CISCO, Cessna Business Park, Bangalore

When I sit here thinking about my experience at Cisco this past November, it was incredibly fun and memorable.
The Cisco Campus office is simply amazing; it is incredibly awesome. I thank a million times for being here. The campus office in Bangalore is beautiful with creative interiors for each of the 8 buildings, two large food courts, name a sport and you have the space for it, movie theatre, the best cafeterias/breakout areas, sleeping rooms, gym, aerobics & yoga room, gaming rooms etc.,
As such the campus is always abuzz with activities and events of various kinds.

To start, I would like to talk about Cisco culture, and especially my team’s culture! It best implements to what is known as the “Open Space” culture. It is often easy to become isolated in large corporations. Open Space helps dismantle the stereotypes; it promotes free interaction. In Cisco everything is transparent, you can discuss any issue (office or personal life) with your managers.

As of job role, I was directly put on work and I had a gulp. In the beginning, I was actually out – of – the - box, in its truest sense, just out ðŸ˜ I did not understand any discussion points during the meetings or my interactions with the team members or the managers. It was way beyond I could think of, it was technically deep like Collector, TAC, Routers, Solution Support, IOT, Networking, Switches and what and not to forget the usage of abbreviations every now and then (damn hard to understand what were they referring to, especially for a newbie like me).

There were multiple tasks to manage of which I neither knew X nor Z and I was thinking of Y.
Nevertheless, it is truly one of the best places to grow both professionally and personally. I love it here.

It took me some days to get on track and I was clear of my roles and responsibilities.

Balancing all of life's responsibilities and joy is personal to every individual. That is why work-life balance at Cisco is at the discretion of employees and their managers.


I received the “you inspire” award for the best inspirational story writing competition held across APJ&GC in February 2017 and the Monthly Recognition Award in June 2017.
I have participated in two giving back sessions (at Akshaya Patra and helping the mentally disabled to learn art & craft) and in 5K run a marathon. I often go to play table tennis with my friends in Cisco.

Cisco indeed is a better place to live, work and play.



Alumni Guest Speaker at KLE College of Engineering & Technology, Belgaum


India produces the largest number of Engineers and Doctors every year. There is a rapid competition, rat race to get into the corporate world. It is often easy to get lost in this crowd, where some people are not finding jobs, some are not shortlisted till the final round of interviews, few of them are unhappy with the current job, and some others are not getting good appraisals.
While there could be many reasons for not getting a job like, recession, required skills for the profile, job experience, specifically need candidates with P.hd or from IIT etc.,


To all the graduating students, 6 years ago I sat exactly at the place you sit today. In 2011, I graduated as an Engineer. At 22, I was uncertain about what was next and what it meant to work as an Engineer.
I was one among the crowd, applying and searching for jobs through Naukri.com, Monster, and times.com and contacted few seniors, sent resumes to few companies and as worse as it could turn, it went on for one year, yes 365 days😑
There were multiple thoughts, why am I not getting a job, while others got so easily. Sleepless nights, I applied for "N" number of companies, but I still did not get a single call, should I learn some extra skills or apply for MBA/M.Tech programs. Every other person asks me "you still didn't get a job? (as though jobs are available in the Sunday market on a sale or discounts) My son/daughter is working for XY MNC (I tell you these aunties, always interfering)", I think you should get married (like seriously, when you do not have a job, the only option left is to get married??) maybe your "Bhagyodaya" will start after your marriage (this was epic), "how come you didn't get a job yet?? you received the "Best Girl" award (during the final year of Engg.) and have a good CGPA, - it's all about being in the "right time" zone. 


During this period of unemployment, I did multiple things read here.


On 1st April 2017, I was invited as an Alumni Guest Speaker at my alma mater KLE College of Engineering Technology, Belgaum to address the Engineering students on Corporate world and Employment.
It was a nostalgic feeling to visit College and remember those good old days.
During my presentation, I addressed the students on the following points:



  1. Life after Engineering
  2. The phase of job hunting & unemployment period
  3. Preparing for Interviews
  4. Life in a Corporate world










Sometimes life is messy, confusing and terrifying but it might lead to surprising paths that cause to think you're crazy. I didn't know anyone amongst the audience except the professors, for the fact that I was standing and presenting to them I was certain that my fellow juniors will achieve many things in the future.


"I think life gives you lemons, and the thing that I am working on doing is not watering it down, not putting sugar in it. Just drink it straight. The more you can take life head-on... it's gonna make you a better person, and then you have nothing left to be afraid of. And what an awesome way to live."
                               - Cam



Shiamak Davar Dance Class

                                                                                   
I am passionate about dancing and have been an ardent admirer of Shiamak Davar, the ace dancer, and Bollywood celebrity choreographer. To learn something new and use my evening time productively, with great enthusiasm I joined Shiamak Davar dance class in Bangalore (April 2017)

Since I was new to this field I joined the Beginner’s batch (Dance Style: Bollywood + Jazz) which usually lasts for 15 classes of 1 hour each, followed by a stage performance where Shiamak Davar dance students from all over the city come together at the grand show organized by the Shiamak Dance Company in an auditorium.










It was one of the memorable experiences to do a stage performance with a group of eight girls and the theatre was full up to 400+ audience. Marzi Sir (Bollywood Choreographer) hosted the program, it could not get anything better off to meet him and take a selfie!
Indeed the two months was fun, from exercising to practicing, selecting the songs, to costume, the accessories, and rehearsals!



The Ugly Indian - A movement of anonymous volunteers working together to clean up the Indian streets


Actions speak louder than words, is a perfect way to introduce The Ugly Indian group of volunteers. The motto: Kaam Chalu Mooh Bandh (Stop Talking, Start Working)

When someone breaks a rule, we think it is OK to do so and go ahead to do the same, when we see someone dumping garbage at a spot, we follow the “broken window theory” and dump even more, we want our house to be clean but we do not own the responsibility of common spaces/surroundings, and that’s the “tragedy of the commons”, when we see someone spitting on the walls (tobacco stains), we go ahead and continue making it dirty, a dirty looking wall attracts more dirt and that’s the truth (you know we are like that only).

India’s problems are because many of us are Ugly Indians. Look at any Indian street, we have pathetic civic standards. We tolerate an incredible amount of filth. This is not about money, know-how, or systems. This is about attitudes. Instead of complaining about the bad roads, gardens, corrupt officials and footpaths crying for attention, TUI spot fixes these places. We should be responsible for what we do and do not have to blame the civic systems all the time.
That’s how a "faceless, leaderless" volunteer organization was born in 2010 with the aim of making Bangalore city cleaner.

I read about it on Facebook and was inspired to be a part of this movement. One fine weekend, my friend Divya and I decided to be a part of this anonymous group of volunteers (yes, the names of the volunteers and founder of this initiative has not been disclosed till today)

We started with their Madiwala (area name in Bangalore) underpass rejuvenation program. There were already a group of volunteers working on to beautify it, we were given a pair of gloves, face mask, a painting aprons, brushes and a small bucket of paint. It was time to roll up the sleeves and start working.

A TUI team coordinator was present at the event and gave us the instructions to be followed.
First, all the pamphlets stuck on the wall (paper advertisements) had to be removed, then dust off the wall with a brush, gave a base paint, allowed it to dry and then drew the TUI trademark designs, and painted it with different colors. And if at all there was garbage lying around, the TUI is tied with BBMP and the BBMP workers picked the garbage and cleaned it for us to beautify the spot further. It is as simple as it looks, no skills required, no age bar to do this, I have seen volunteers from a 5-year-old kid to senior citizens enthusiastically participating in the rejuvenation activity.


first, brush off the dust
creating design












Before and after pic

Citizen volunteers transforming a bus stand (left: before, right: after transformation)

There is a sense of satisfaction and a feel-good factor to see the transformation of a filthy spot into a WOW place.
Many MNCs (HP, Accenture, Dell, Wipro, Cisco) are part of this initiative and have been a part of their CSR activities.

In the beginning, it was not easy for us to join the program, as the event starts at 7.30am or 8.30am and most of the activities are on the weekends (you can join in and leave at any time, no boss, no debates). We were like let’s go on some other day, let’s sleep for some more time, gal it’s a weekend, surely next time, pakka!
Then something strikes me (an inner voice: if not today, then when??) so after 5mins I buzz her and say let’s go today, I am getting ready and I shall meet you at XY spot. She is enthusiastic, no sooner she got ready and we were part of our first TUI activity at Madiwala. It did not stop there; we were so involved in TUI activities that we went on to volunteer for four consecutive weekends at different locations to do spot fix with other groups of volunteers. The best and productive weekends spent.

Since we were the regular volunteers, we understood the complete TUI process of rejuvenating a spot, and so we were given more responsibilities of designing the walls from the scratch, I like art and craft and I loved doing this for TUI.
So far 500 + places have been transformed by the TUI initiative, like the metro pillars, flyover pillars, bus stands, underpass areas, public places (town squares, marketplaces) parks etc., 
The TUI team informs the local cops of this activity for their support, and have received worldwide appreciation from businesspersons, Bollywood celebrities, local stores, and restaurants. After the ongoing success of TUI Bangalore, many other cities in India and other parts of the world are taking this initiative to make this world a better place to live in.


Quora - reignited my interest in reading


Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. It is a community for sharing and gaining knowledge on any topic.
The most used App on my phone, to know about anything and everything of the world and to gain abundant knowledge is Quora.
It has replaced 99% Facebook from my life and with a more productive hobby.

Whether it is time to relax or a short break from work, Quora is always there with the meaningful answers to keep me informed and engaged, and I have been a Quora reader since 2015. It has expanded my perspective, broadened my view of the world, and changed the way I look at a whole bunch of things…
Quora came to me when I spent nights awake when I could find no other outlet to vent my frustration, my hopelessness. There are a number of people who have the same problems as ours, a great platform to share similar thoughts and help each other grow.
Quora has taught me to be fine with all the low moments of my life, pull myself together and move on. It has forced me to stop wallowing in self-pity and take up strength as a habit. 

On 11 Nov 2017, Quora organized an official meetup across the Globe known as Quora World Meetup, where Quorans from all over the world met at a common place in their city and discussed on random topics. Approx. 17 countries hosted the event and in India, the event took place across 32 cities, with Bangalore being the largest group of Quorans (170 members).
It was fun and knowledgeable to know different ideas, perspectives, stories and many things happening in this world. We were split into 10 groups, each group introduced themselves and conversed on any random topic. Quora also distributed goodies to all the registered members.  

    
Quora World Meetup, Cubbon Park, Bangalore



During a discussion
Quora Goodie
             



 


  I have written 61 answers ( mostly on Green tea :P ) on the topics I am aware of and two of my answers have been published in Quora Digest, the answers were sent to 1000+ people. (Below is the screenshot of the same)
Quora Digest is the method; Where Quora sends a daily email containing a set of questions with one answer that is deemed the best answer given a certain ranking requirements.


                  




















Here is the link to two my answers published in Quora Digest

Humanity - A forgotten Virtue?


This year I celebrated Dussehra festival at an Old Age home in Bangalore.
My friend Lata and I reached the venue around 9 am; we carried some sweets and snacks for all the 50 elderly people over there.

As we stepped in, there was a group of elder women reciting some shlokas in the hall and others were resting in their rooms. No sooner when my friend saw them, she had tears trickling down her cheeks. That said it all and I quickly understood what it meant to stay at an Old Age Home.

Their eyes were searching for their near and dear ones; their heart is still waiting to know when any of their family members would come to pick them up from there. Their ears still wait to hear the voice, a phone call. They need someone who can listen to them.
When you see them, you are touched; I literally got goosebumps when they narrated their stories of how they ended up staying there.
The reasons were varied like: “their children stay in the US, there is no one to take care of them” “I lost my husband and I do not have children, for how long would any relative look after me or rather would they really look after me?” “My children do not have time and are busy with their own life, how will they manage to take me for my regular health checkup” and some children just abandoned their own parents.






There were few Elders who were forever bedridden and it was just miserable to see them in that way, but nonetheless, they are still managing it. There are trustee members who cook for them, a doctor visits on a biweekly basis, there are helpers to help them in bathing, to even make them sit and stand.

Most of them were well educated, a software engineer Old lady was mentally affected soon after her husband’s death. Since the son could not take care of her, she sits at a corner of the room without talking to anyone nor she recognizes anybody. Her son comes every month to pay her bills at the Ashram but does not go once to see her in her room and he is a Crorepati in Bangalore. Another case with an Elder man that I heard was, he is the founder of Vallabhai Institute in Bangalore, was a professor teaching Russian language, he has no family members taking care of him.

Spending my 4-5 hours with them, clearly depicted the story of staying at an Old Age Home.

Why is this beautiful parent-child relationship forgotten?

The harsh reality of today’s world is “ Parents help their children to take the first step of their life, then why can’t the child give back the same support to their parents when they are taking the last few steps of their life”

Because how can it be, they (old parents) ask themselves, that the children once raised and protected by these weary hands can now leave them with nothing but a tear-soaked handkerchief to touch and hold?

I am perturbed by this visit, I then decided to pay a visit to an Old Age Home every year and spend some quality time with them.

Have we lost Humanity? For all those who think of sending their parents to an old age home or abandon them, think “N” number of times by being in their shoe. It is your sole duty to look after your own parents rather than a stranger.
Note: There could be some genuine cases for them to stay at an Old Age Home, I am not being judgemental, but its a request before keeping your parents at an Old Age Home, think "N" number of times.


“While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man's humanity to man.”
                   -Maya Angelou

Let our New Year's resolution be this: “We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.”
                                      -  Goran Persson




Relationships & Breakup - Is it becoming a social issue? In my opinion, Yes!


How can they just move on as if I do not exist?

In the last couple of years I have been there, seen it, heard stories from my friends undergoing the same or many people like us and we all have similar issues, why me? Caste/religion issues, parents emotionally blackmailing, orthodox family, Society, (log Kya kahenge, like seriously people, you are worried about people and not you?) Is he kind of Momma’s boy? Was it lust? Was it fake? Was it love or dove?

I have particularly chosen to write on this topic as it is a common problem amongst the youngsters and is becoming a fad and it does not mean, LIFE ENDS HERE.

No matter what time of the day it is, it is difficult post-breakup, especially days like Valentine’s Day, Birthday and holidays are difficult. We like to feel that we meant something, that we were important, missable etc., but at this time of the year that urge increases as the post arrives and there’s no card from them, our phone beeps and there’s no text message, or we refresh our email and check our junk boxes and there’s no message. This is an emotionally weak period. One is deeply saddened, every now and then thoughts of them, tears flowing, sleepless nights. If we see any couple in malls or market etc., we often remember them and the moments spent together.

At this point, we are emotionally drained, fallen in a serious slump, feel like quitting everything. Depending upon the depth of the relationship it takes time to move on, or rather if he/she already has a new person, then cannot help, they just move on quickly. It is certainly not easy to move on, but it is possible to move on. That also does not mean he/she has forgotten you, forever until the person dies it will always be there in their mind and heart (for every damn reason). If your ex-was one in a billion for you, remember you just met 1% of the many millions waiting for you. Even after moving on in life, you will still have his/her thoughts and will cross your mind every now and then, but that is normal. Do not be hard on yourself.

If it was a serious relationship and only because both had to face the family pressure, the two souls parted away then read below:
If they don’t get in touch, or send you a card, beat your door down begging to get back together, or make more of an effort to chase you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care at all but it does mean that they don’t care enough and there is a difference.

If either of the companions had to forcefully, move on because of the family (going against the family’s wishes and couldn’t convince them), then read below:
If you have a new person in your life, as a soulmate or wife etc., then please do not flaunt your new relationship, by posting pics on FB, changing your WhatsApp DPs, either way, do not flaunt a happy single life, there is a limit and a line that should not be crossed. That only shows how matured your ex-was and how respectable he/she was in a relationship. Period.

There is nothing like, I cannot stay without you, what will I do without you in my life, how will I manage things, How will I move on, in such cases, please do not take life’s extreme steps - do not attempt to suicide, do not try to fall from the 14th floor of the building, harm yourself in anyway, it is difficult to get away from the person you loved and who meant the world to you but remember you're the supreme being on this planet, make your life worth something, breakup doesn't mean the end of life.

If you have been ditched, then just move on. definitely they will pretend that you are a nobody in their life and will ignore you completely. It deeply hurts and will remain for lifelong to see them treating you or ignoring you just because they have some new person in their life but do not take revenge, do not try to make their life miserable, you will probably end up ruining your own life. Your ex is probably causing you pain right now. Do not do anything to seek their attention, instead have self-improvement at the zenith of it, which ultimately will result in leaving no option but to notice you, let your success make noise. Focus on yourself. Keep yourself busy, own all the lowest moments of your life when you thought it could not get any worse. Own them all.
Then let it all go. That is when you own yourself.
“They will be sorry for the way they treated you, don’t you worry about that.”

Just go live your life, do positive things. For leave everything to KARMA (I strongly believe in it).
With or without someone by your side, achieve all the things you have set. Get up on your feet, brush off the dust and begin life all over again.
For all those who are experiencing the best moments being with each other then may you keep it going. I wish you be happy together all through your life!😊




Busy is the new Happy


I always wanted to do something more after my office hours, for the evenings can be occupied to do something or the other. Two years back I started taking tuitions at my home for four students. However, after a year their school made a rule that all students must take tuitions at the school.

One fine day (October 2017), I met a lady  (Marathi speaking, from Mumbai, a city close to my native, so we had a comfortable chat in our native language) in the beauty parlor (Bangalore). During our long casual conversation, I informed her that I take tuitions (all subjects, 1st – 10th std. of any board syllabus) and craft classes. I was lucky to meet her then because no sooner I informed her; she sent out this message in her community Whatsapp group and there I received calls for home tutoring from few parents, and I chose on first cum first call for a student of 3rd std. CBSE syllabus. (I thank Harshala Aunty for informing about my tutoring classes to her community )

I received a call from the parent asking me to take a demo class (while home tutoring a student, every parent wants to know how the teacher teaches their child, 1:1, this is called a demo class). So I was prepared for this, but things were different when I met them and they told a story. The kid (Akshay) suffers from Epilepsy – a brain disorder (abnormal electrical discharges in the brain resulting in seizures) from the time he was 10 months old and till today the problem persists.
His parents consulted the top doctors in the country but the disorder could not be cured as it’s a cryptogenic seizure and has to be medicated on a regular basis. After he turns 12 (y/o), chances are that the seizure will stop completely because of hormonal growth.
So, he has not completed his course in 1st and 2nd Std. well due to the number of sick leaves. For months together he did not attend school, even now he doesn't attend school regularly. 
On a mutual understanding between the parent and school principal, he was moved to further classes. Akshay’s father is a working professional so he does not get time to teach his son. He is tired after office hours and turns impatient while teaching him, as kids ask many questions. His mom does not know English but tries to teach him Kannada and Hindi subjects.
Although Akshay is in 3rd std. he doesn’t know to read and write any word (spellings and pronunciations etc.,). Frankly telling, he just knew A-Z and 1-100. Hmmm… this is a challenging task for me to train the student in reading and writing. Honestly, teaching a kid is a tuff task than teaching a grown-up child and considering the fact that he is suffering from epilepsy you cannot stress on him to learn things.

So, after the demo class, his parents informed me to teach him regularly for one and a half hour hours in the evening on weekdays only (if home tutoring, then the weekends are off) and his home is just 5mins away from my home so I was quite okay for home tutoring.
I had to prepare myself to teach him. So, I learned how to teach a kid to read, to pronounce, sounds of alphabets, short words, vowels, consonants, how to teach a child suffering from epilepsy etc., through YouTube.
I started with the sounds of each alphabet, to short and long sounds of vowels, examples, short words to 3 -4 letter words etc., In the beginning, it was clear that he used to forget easily, (due to the disorder), I then started telling him stories to refresh his mind and play with the words while teaching, to giving a high-five if it was the correct guess from him.
This task is challenging and interesting at the same time. It’s been 2.5 months of tutoring, although there is a meager improvement in him, I have a positive hope that one day he will be able to read and write without any support.


Time to wrap up 2017!


In April 2016, my brother and I visited Dubai, and since then we had decided on one thing, to take our parents on a foreign trip. And before I get married, I wanted to execute this plan (doesn’t mean my marriage is on cards, as every other person asks me when am I getting married)
In order to make our parents ready for the trip, Bro and I planned for a fake trip (to keep the surprise of vacations abroad) to visit the South Indian temples during last week of December.
I have prepared a HUGE surprise for my parents, as they come to Bangalore early last week of December for the so-called fake trip :D and ta-da! here you go... hand over the Emirates flight tickets to Dubai!!! ✈
Thus, it is a family vacation to wrap 2017 and welcome 2018 in Dubai!

Here’s wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year!🎆🎉


Cherish Every Moment of Life!
Do Good and Be Good.

3 comments:

  1. Amazing write-up!Ganga.
    Thank you for inspiring me to create more and think bigger. I'm really lucky to have a friend like you. I like your positive attitude and way of living lifestyle. One friend like you is equal to 1000 good books.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Inspiring post Ganga! At your age, some others (including me I think) would have thought of just joining a good Company, earn well and enjoy with friends and family. You have gone above and beyond that and have done things which mean a lot and are really inspiring. Even though these extra activities that you do look small, but if thought seriously, these are really resourceful and something which answers some of our self-asked questions like - What have I done for my society? What’s the real worth of my life? What is that extra that I’m doing apart from living for myself? Is there anything worth (apart from working in a MNC) that I’m doing that my friends, parents, family are proud of? etc., etc. Proud to have a friend like you! Keep it up & keep writing.
    On a lighter note, hide the last part of this post from your parents…. 😉

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely, so inspiring dear! I am so proud of you! keep it up. :)

    ReplyDelete

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