Sunday, 17 February 2019

Book review : The Stupid Somebody By Rohit Dawesar


We have a community of readers, writers and artists in our city called - Kaffeinated Konversations and that is how I met Rohit, Rohit Dawesar, the author of The Stupid Somebody.

Rohit's introduction said that he owns a cafe in the city and is trying to write a book. Whenever we met thereon he used to discuss and share things he is researching on and learning about but never the book.

Rohit and I are poles apart in our reading preferences and writing style. So when Rohit published his book, he did tell me but never forced me to read it. (I even attended the success party after 3months of its release). It was after about 7 months of the release that I thought of giving it a try.

The Stupid Somebody is a romantic fiction set in our current scenario. It talks about the love between Rohit and Sherly and their sometimes good and sometimes struggling life.

Set in a simple background and written in basic style it instantly connects with the reader.

Well, the story is entirely Bollywood style - filmy...with love, parting and a good number of motivational nuggets.

I found the story a bit stretched. It has those certain places which makes one laugh and some insights one could hold onto when one is down. At the same time, too much detailing was unnecessary and leaves nothing to readers imagination.

The most- putting-off-thing for me was excessive use of love names by the main characters for each other, almost hitting the verge of being cheesy. The grammar and editing could have been better put too.

I am not sure but it may appeal more to a teenager recently taking onto reading books than a regular reader.

For friendship and insights I'll rate it a 2.5/5.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

In the end... it is all about what you remember - 2018 Adios

As a year passes by it fills one with mixed emotions. One is happy to begin a new year at the same time sad to see the year gone by. Happy, for new dreams and expectations and sad, for what is left behind unfinished or never done.

 Personally 2018 was not very different from the other years for me -
- I am still working in the same office - I am grateful but always wish for more growth.
- I am still single - hehe - not sad though but I do want to get married.

So it was not a milestone year but yes, there were things and situations which were never on my list but as they say does happen.

January made me realize how blessed I am to have a colleague who has a heart of Gold. I had gone out of station to attend a cousin's wedding and due to work had to return before my family. There been a zero chance of me living at our house alone, my colleague readily accommodated me in her house.

I never had a sleepover since, let's say 2013 so those 5 days with her were amazing. She gave me the house keys to come and  go at my pace, we used to cook together (she used, she never let me bother on about anything actually, a perfect host) it was almost that I was running the house on my own (at least partly :)). And having never lived in a hostel, I loved it.

It is so rightly said, one who has the heart of Gold, can make anyone happy.

February had another cousin's wedding and I am grateful that I crossed 4 states in  4 days. And cherry on the cake, we had a two-day family vacation in Goa.

The first time I went to Goa it was with my friends and I didn't like it much so I was in the same mindset this time as well. But, I was wrong. I had a gala time with there with the entire family. Mind you the family comprised of people older that 50 except me.

But it fills one with so much gratitude and happiness looking at one's mom-dad, uncle-aunty, thoroughly enjoying themselves with no boundations. These were the best days for me. And yes, now I love Goa and want to go there again and again.

It is indeed rightly said, it is the people who make the places, worth to go to.

March was fun meeting friends and partying. And April brought along a sweet proposal along. Though it didn't worked out but the memories are still afresh.

I want to club MAY-JUNE-JULY as the memories are bitter but fresh. I had undergone a surgery and with God's grace and the fantastic efforts of Doctors I am back to the grind. I have shared a part of my experience in my post - Superheroes

My list of Superheroes doesn't just include the doctors but also my parents who stood by me all the time and never let me feel alone or negative and my boss, he never asked me how I was but he never pressurized me for work or taking leaves. Given chance he could have taken my authority and power but he didn't and I respect him for that.

The year just sailed on from August and it was November and Diwali time. Since the last few years I have been enjoying Diwali more and the reason being our annual celebration at office. There are color days, cultural event and a good get-together where everyone comes to know each other better.

December and Secret Santa are now synonymous and for me one amazing and one not so amazing gift I was how the Santa worked this time.

Looking at the year gone by, quite a many memories they are. I haven't elaborated much or else it would have been an even longer post.

15 days into 2019....we have loads of new memories to make. Cheers!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Beginners guide to organize life - Part 4

Happy New Year!!

The non-stop parties, celebrations, gatherings, events, the onset of new year is always a happy time. And mostly the happy times shake-up our set routines. In order to get back to our routines or better them, we set resolutions.

I did a good number of resolutions this year and a week down to the new year, they are already out and forgotten.

This made me realize one important factor which I haven't spoken about - TIME.

We have been planning our days, sequencing, scheduling as per the lists of wants and needs with deadlines. These deadlines talked about the date not time.

Talking and thinking about time is important because it helps further breaking down of tasks.

By allocating some time to a few tasks everyday one can balance doing more than one thing a day and achieving more by the deadline.

One can either allocate an entire day or a part of the day. This can work wonders if put into consideration before the festival season and in case of India, we do have many festivals sprinkled all round the year. When one considers time-line and work accordingly, one gets free time along with getting the work done.

For me, time-blocking has been a blessing. It removes the feeling of being overwhelmed by accomplishment. It does make one aware of the passing hours and hence it has made me realize the value of wearing a watch more.

My tip of the fortnight is to "watch the watch". Allocate time to everything and move out of it the moment time is up. You can think of it as a game with the stop watch count. If you do it in the stipulated time great! If not, try again tomorrow from where you left. The key is to start.

Do share what works for you.

Every alternate Wednesday is dedicated to stories or instances or learnings that I learn or implement at work. So stay tuned for #WorkWednesdays

Friday, 21 December 2018

Beginners guide to organize life - Part 3

So I am late by two days to post this blog post..... party party all around.

With just 11 days remaining to 2019 I am in a super-panicky mode.

Every year I make almost a zillion plans and I am high on energy and happy that I'll do them all. As the year progresses some become a part of my life, some are guests for a few days and some are readily forgotten.

As December approaches, it starts making me sad and depressed and I panic most times thinking that another year has gone by and I haven't done much. Where's my life heading... nowhere, it is where it was a year changes.

When most people are merry making new plans and celebrating, I do attend parties but at times sulking inside.

Things have changed a bit since I have started organizing and planning my days, some part of which I share here, and so I hope it'll be better in 2019.

At times the question is not planning but expectations. And I fear the most is the expectations I have from myself. It is these expectations that make me want to work at times go beyond what my body wants.

This made me think of the importance of our body and the rhythm that our mind, body and soul have. When all the three are in sync we are elated and when either of these is going in a different direction I feel stressed and I won't be wrong in saying frustrated to some extent.

So this is what brought me to this entire set up of organizing life.

It is to set a routine, a system for oneself. A very specific and personalized system. It works as per one's mind, body and soul's rhythm.

So far, we have about 3 lists. I know many people don't like to write so I have a way out for that as well, which you can see as a cheat-code at the end.

Well I am one of the "lists-people" and so I work accordingly and today we'll be collating all the three lists that we have made to date through my blog posts - part 1 and part 2.

Now using these 3 we can work on our yearly goals or plans.

The best way to do this is by working in reverse order and so we need to put a date and day to every activity or event.

This process can be easily done on pen and paper where one has made the lists or on spreadsheet by using another column ahead.

The idea is to break all of these down and get a clear picture of - yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and finally daily goals.

It may get tedious at first and one may feel mechanical in doing this but that is just the initial phase.

Infact it helps in checking the rhythm. If one is feeling tedious or stressed, it means one needs to challenge out fewer things per day and insert some more free time.

For example -

The below mentioned is one of my TO-DOs and TO-BEs  on Nov 25th. Just the sight of same was giving me jitters as how I will manage it.

Nov 25th

Sandra's Birthday Party
Book reading event
TEDx event
Guests will be home for dinner
Conference-Video-call to girls

So I decided to cancel everything except going to the TEDx event and hosting the guests for dinner. If in between I get more time I'll make that conference video call to my girls.

I don't want to pinpoint a minimum or maximum number of activities for a day let your body, mind and soul decide it for you.

Some may function more with more tasks at hand and others may feel burdened by the same. The customization is the key to doing it and enjoying it.

So listen to closely to your internal system to build your functional system.

Now for the cheat-code......for people who are averse to list making, or anything to do with writing, the tip is simple...if you have got all the three lists till now, that will take us through. No further writing or making lists. Just an hour with your phone and the calendar installed. Now pick what you need to do and what you want to do, on the date chosen by you with a reminder. Follow the system here as well. If you know you'll need more than one reminder do so, if you need a reminder few days before, do so too.

Try it and let me know what worked or didn't worked for you.

Every alternate Wednesday is dedicated to stories or instances or learnings that I learn or implement at work. So stay tuned for #WorkWednesdays

Monday, 10 December 2018

Book review : Marketing Chronicles By Nimish V. Dwivedi

I am a marketing professional and creativity, thinking new ideas are important traits for any marketing professional. We always have our thinking hats on, thinking and observing all the time.

There are moments when ideas smoothly flow one after the other like calm waters. And times when we are stuck. At such times, we seek refuge under old instances and cases.

Marketing Chronicles By Nimish V. Dwivedi is one such book which one can use for such situations.

Marketing Chronicles treads from the pre-smartphone era to the post-smartphone era. It uses examples of various brands across segments and sectors to describe the brilliance that followed or the failures that occurred.

Nimish has used these examples to make the reader think.

He has written the book in the most simplest form ever. He has used his own experience of residing in different countries and suggested some brilliant ideas that can be used to make our everyday lives better. The book is divided into short chapters based on the significance and the year of occurrence.

I am a firm believer of the theory - customer service is the core of any company and so my favorite chapter is factoring in first impressions to create brand loyalty.

The book is an amazing compendium and one readily starts liking the rhythm from the beginning. it is a perfect combination of theories and examples. It is an insightful and enjoyable read for any student or young marketing professional. Though for a seasoned marketing professional, given the experience and awareness, this book may seem less interesting at certain places.

Apart from certain typos and grammatical errors, for the content, I'll rate it a 4 out of 5 for being a simple and very useful guide for the upcoming marketers. 

Book Blurb : A compendium of Global and Local marketing insights from the pr-smartphone and post-smartphone eras.

About the author : Nimish V. Dwivedi is a consumer marketing and financial services professional who has observed the changing and emerging landscape of marketing through living and working in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE and Vietnam, besides always observing India outside in. Having graduated with a marketing major from one of India's top business schools - Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Nimish has had the privilege of working with and learning from some of the best marketing professionals in the industry. Starting his career fresh out of campus as an Executive Trainee at Asian Paints, Nimish has worked in senior leadership roles at Citibank, Standard Chartered, Paypal, Mashreq Bank and is currently the Business Director Cards and Payments at VP Bank - FE Credit based in Vietnam.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Beginners guide to organize life - Part 2

Organizing is what you do before you do something,
so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. 
             - A. A. Milne

Simply put, if one is aware of what is where and what to do next, it clears one's mind to more things than one.

In my last post - Beginners guide to organize life, I used a simple exercise to begin the journey towards organizing life.

The exercise required all to observe each and every day, each and every waking hour for the next 15 days.

The purpose was to have a wider and clearer picture of the hours spent in a day and take the next step to get more done.

In today's post we'll be going a step further.

Below is my sheet of the past 15 days and what I did. We can use this as a sample and try and understand a few things.

I am a lazy person and love to laze by my days. The same is evident by my worksheet. I have listed the activities but didn't go in details of every hour. You can be as elaborate as you want. The more detailed you are, the more helpful this tool becomes.

Once you have your table ready, either on a notebook or a laptop, now do you see the common tasks?

There are certain tasks or chores that we do everyday. At times we automatically do these as if we were just meant to. Now these form our routine. Like, waking up with bed tea, making your bed first thing in morning or going for shower just before you rush out for work.

The point is, though having a routine is great and it is always considered worthy of increasing productivity, but only when the routine works for you.

Most of the time we settle into this routine and barely do anything apart from it. Even for a simple thing like grocery shopping we need an external push i.e. when we are barely left with groceries to go out and get them.

Let me elaborate by taking the example of my usual day. I am busy most of the time and have no time to -
Talk to my friend
Go for shopping
Do something I Love
Unless I keep thinking about it for days and then do it one day.

To live one needs to explore more do random stuff. One needs physical as well as mental and spiritual experience to keep alive.

I want to go for a vacation twice a year and have been thinking since two years but it hasn't happened.

So with the new year 2019 approaching let's go a step ahead.

Taking from where you left, chalking out what all you do everyday and every hour, this time we are going to make two lists.

List number one will be of things that you do everyday and you need to do them.

List number two will be of things you want to do like throwing a surprise birthday party for your spouse etc.

Make it as exhaustive and inclusive as you can. We'll move further in the next post.

After the last post, few people asked me that organizing will kill creativity, so will be discussing on this in the upcoming posts.

Meanwhile you keep sharing your experience with me. If you have any questions or something specific you want me to help with in your organizing you can always DM me on Twitter - @thefuschialady or in the comments below.

Every alternate Wednesday is dedicated to stories or instances or learnings that I learn or implement at work. So stay tuned for #WorkWednesdays

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Book review : Why I burn like an Oak By Pankaj Kumar


I was on a business trip when I was introduced to the author - Pankaj Kumar and his family by a friend.

It was a chance meeting at a cafe where she introduced both of us as "Author Kadambari meet Author Pankaj Kumar" an amazing ice-breaker it was. After that we sat for almost 3 hours talking about books and writing.

It was in this meeting that I got to know that Pankaj and his wife love reading and he has recently published - "Why I burn like an Oak"

Pankaj Kumar being a retired army officer, and the book is based on the life of army personnel made me pick the book instantly.

Though we discussed about books, we never discussed any fine details about this book in particular.
I had my assumptions as I sat reading thinking it to be a war based or strategy based book. But as mostly I hear these days assumptions are nothing but assumptions. This one is a love story. 

Sameer, is an army officer and sent to deliver the news of demise of his colleague and friend - Aryan, to his beloved - Sara.

The book revolves around these two characters and how this one meeting sets their life into a new direction.

I am an emotional and romantic person and love reading romance.

This story brings one closer to life and emotions. It is a sweet simple love story and rekindles one's belief that love conquers all.

The storyline is captivating and holds one to the end. The author has used poems too, which renders it all the more touching.

With some editing and grammatical errors, for the story and characterization and been the surprise package I'll give it a 3.5 out of 5.

Book Blurb - Sara had never imagined that she would ever fall in love with Aryan. How could she, wasnt he dead? Sameer was caught between love and loyalty. They both will lead you to the place no one treads on their own will. To the gates of heaven.

About The Author - Pankaj Kumar is a retired army officer, now into full time writing. He has a collection of short stories to his credit and a second novel, - CAUGHT IN AVALANCHE. He lives in Bhopal and works at BORL. Gardening and Poetry are his passion.