Monday, February 27, 2006

A special 'Thank u!'

It is incredible how much people support you when you are on your way to make things happen and to launch your dreams. This morning, when my article came out in Indian Express, I excitedly announced it to all my friends and their response was thrilling. I thought I could probably expect a few words of encouragement but nothing more, since everyone is busy in their own little day-to-day world, with work, home and meeting several pressing needs. But never expected the flow of messages to my inbox, that too on a lazy Friday!

I remember a famous actress stating a few years back, that
Adulation and admiration does not affect an artist or a creative person much because they generally work towards satisfying their own creative needs.

Agreed. On one note, you simply cannot get carried away by all that. The need to satisfy one's own creative thirst will be far higher. But in the hindsight, if we were working for plain soul-satisfaction alone, we wouldn't be showcasing our work for all the world to see. We would probably indulge in it and then keep the resulting piece, (masterpiece or otherwise!;)) locked up inside our house! And this is even more true in case of artists and creative people than others.

But, in truth, we need, if not actively seek, encouragement and appreciation. History has stood witness to the fact that even small encouragement has brought about big difference in an individual or a team's performance in critical conditions! There are moments when we get it from an external source like a friend, colleague, neighbour, parents, a kid or a total stranger. At others, we have to find it from the depths of our own self. But the right word, at the right time when spoken in the right way makes the real difference, irrespective of who utters it.

So, this is for all those people who have been the encouraging force behind every single accomplishment of mine. And also for my readers.Thanks for those words. Even when we are supremely confident, there will be times when things don't go as we plan and doubts start creeping in...more than now, at those times, such words mean a lot!

They keep the spirit going! :)

Fun while you earn!

Life is so rosy and promising when one gets a plum job in a leading software firm with the promise of a steady pay-packet every month. But often, it is when the reality and stern demands of a 9 to 5 job strikes us hard in the face do we stagger. Not anymore with most of the IT companies wanting to bring in a breeze of fresh attitude by organizing picnics and outings for their employees along with their respective families. One such retreat was organized by TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) a couple of weeks back at Manipal County, a resort off Hosur Road.

Set in the lovely backdrop of soothing green trees, the place has an earthy feel about it. The clear blue sky on a warm, sunny day thankfully didn't give in to the temptations to rain and was bright throughout. Standard facilities like horse riding, table tennis, pool and small hut-like establishments lined throughout the vast area. As soon as we reached there, we were greeted with a welcome drink and escorted to a mini village-like setting, organized at the TCS' behest and aptly named 'Village Carnival'. An event management company was entrusted with the responsibility of carrying off the various events on its shoulders.

The carnival had numerous stalls that offered hair-beading, mehendi, face and body painting, khadi wear and a belt of central area set aside exclusively for pottery. I tried my hand at all of these and was particularly happy with my performance in pottery. The best part is, these stalls were not put up to make one proficient in any activity, but the mood was well communicated and they were designed for amateurs. It was meant to be a retreat with both family and friends from work, and it felt like one! Children had an array of merry games to choose from, ranging from the famous jumping Mickey to magic shows and treetop houses.

Lunchtime saw a delicious display of eatables that were feasted upon by a hungry and ever-ready crowd. This was followed by a line-up of games and fun hosted by an emcee who aptly chose those games that called for people in large numbers, ensuring that nobody was left-out. The evening saw a DJ and an active dance floor with men and women boogying away to the rocking tunes and surprise gifts given away to the excited crowd.

The retreat ended around 8 PM but the spirit showed great promise to continue. In the company of not just work-mates but also their family, this outing succeeded in highlighting a significant aspect of the other-wise strict professionals: the human side!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Is this a puzzle or an answer to one?

A friend of mine casually mentioned the confusions we face regarding our career, its course and what one should really do in life and in career to keep him/herself :
1. Happy
2. Successful
Or are they mutually exclusive? One absenting itself in the other's presence? Do people turn into programmable robos once they start working? And finally, how does one decide what they should be doing in life..? Who wil give that expert advice that is so important with the mental chaos bundling up?

While I personally thought that if you think too hard or ask too many ppl, your decisions will falter. So, to just do watevr you want to and see for yourslf! Coz if we don't experiment with our own lives then who else' will we experiment with?
But nevertheless, it got me thinking. And here's what I thought:

The question that life ( or the much-sought-after 'education' ) has posed before me or my friend is the same one that bothers an obscene number of people. At workplace, neighbourhood, casual hangouts and almost everywhere its the same scenario. But people still hang on...the ones with a few years of experience say, that it is always so during the initial years. But as you climb up the ladder in your professional life, you'll move out of this mid-numbing phase & get to supervise ( as TL/ML/PM..), n do other interesting stuff. But I can't help spotting a trade-mark bored countenance amonng some of them too! ( No wonder the avg life span for humans has come down! When life isn't interesting enough, living beyond a few customary decades makes very little sense).

So that forces me to face the most tricky question that has been haunting us for a long time now, 'Who is happy? Why does one work? Shouldn't one's job be a source of one's happiness? "

Unfortunately, the answer is just as elusive!;(
I have discovered that a vast majority of ppl continue cribbing and yet keep at the same wrk pattern because,

1. They love the safety net a job in a s/w firm comes with. Security is the key word and it has caught them at its fancy-best! Maybe they think, " I have a solid, respectable job, a steady source of income, a well-fed family, good money and the promise of climbing up the professional ladder; So what if I have to endure repetition and monotony... It's probably not too big a price anyways!"

And in the hindsight, maybe they really had some latent talent hidden behind those layers of worldliness that kept popping its head out at various instances. But years of solid conditioning put the lid firmly back. Maybe, just maybe, had they mustered up the courage to go beyond the accepted routine and find their place in a world of their choice, they would have found a bright place under the sun! But is it mankind's tragedy or their personal one that they didn't venture out and the dream and skill was crumpled before it could even blossom...a genius was left undiscovered, not, as the cliche goes, by the world, but by his own self? So which of these is sadder?A struggling genius whose work is not recognised by the people around?Or, a could've-been genius who never gave himself a chance? Maybe if HE had, the rest of the world would've given him one too.....

But, a BIG 'BUT' that is, we've so often heard of a pathetic doom about a certain undiscovered genius that its almost a cliche in itself! So, the first kind of people end up being the over-cautious lot. These people have a dream, that could be the MISSION and VISION of a billion-dollar company, but are simply not convinced that they could go out and DO IT! Not because they are chicken-hearts, but because they have seen too many people risk the security they had for pursuing the elusive mega-success that seems so very probable when you are young and things look rosy, and got lost out there.

Its not a silly stand-point, for all we say, either! Because, its a big mad world out there and if you are not careful you could get easily lost and never found!

Then we have a second group.
2. They are capable, vivacious and hard-working but are not sure what life calls them for! In the wake of that confusion they start off with a tried and tested pattern and harbour hopes to find out the purpose of their being. Often, they end up discovering nothing for a long time, so for the lack of epiphany, they end up doing the same thing for ever. The tragedy is, even if the 'IT' moment comes in, perhaps a tad too late, but when it comes, they are so caught up in the web of their routine and so adept to their new-found plans that they either fail to recognise it or let it slip past as a distraction.

And lastly there is the third kind thats a delirious mixture of both the first and the second kind! They know what they want but think its not practical enough! So they discover an alternative dream thats probably convenient for them and acceptable to the rest and prod on..

But the bottom line is, LIFE itself is a very big gamble. We do stuff, and we don't do stuff. But we can never predict how a thing will turn out to be. And there are absolutely no free meals for us unless we are born into those economically elite families where there is so much money that the descendants can do the stuff that pleases their whims and fancies. As for the rest of us, we have to do things that fetch us a decent pay-packet and also gives wings to that 'personal vision'.

So with that being the case, we know that set-backs, struggle for survival and some amount of discouragement is a part and parcel of the contract we signed with God when He gave us the opportunity to take form on earth. And that encourages the option that we might as well delve deep within, find the cause that ticks every fibre of our being and keep at it. Because, when success comes, it does not happen so by chance. It demands a lot of hardwork, grit and gumption. And its much easier to work hard and get stressed when the prize is materialization of our innate dream than any other thing ;).

Afterall, when we know that we have to prod on before we reach the pedestal of success, we might as well prod on to meet our own innate needs as we furthur our career. Because its always better to say, "I'm doing what I WANT to do and what I FEEL is best for me!" than to do something to just 'fit-in'!

Carpe Diem! Sieze the day:)