Saturday, October 31, 2009

Every Guy's Dream - My new job!!!

I know that every job ceases to be interesting after some time - as in a dream job is just a mirage! But I still stand by my subject line...

For me, my first stint was a dream job (all the newbie excitement) and I was in love with my company - something like Saif's reaction in song "Main Kya Hoon..." from Love AajKal... In about 3.5 months (in my second stint), I am in the same state that he was in after that 3.5 min song got over! But that I still believe that a guy would consider this a dream job!!

Why you ask? Take a look at my day-to-day conversation with "people" and you would realise:

"I need 5 girls (to be recruited) by Monday"
"I can supply (send more appropriate) 3 girls by tomorrow after training"
"Mujhe meri requirements ki hi ladki chahiye... No deal otherwise!!!"
"The girls I need should have a good complexion and need to be presentable"
"Please remove this girl. Her (selling) services aren't satisfactory"

While one may be tempted me to call my profession by a completely derogatory name; please hold your thoughts coz I am doing nothing but recruiting sales girls (promoters) for my brand!

And now the subject line would make sense!!! Coz I think a guy doing this job would keep himself and the promoters quite motivated throughout the tenure of his project (I would like to believe using strictly professional means) ;))) But mind you, such a harmless (and fun!!!) sounding job is VERY challenging!!!

The encounters in real life in my job CANNOT be simulated in any b-school class or case...

A brief background of this industry -
The temp staffing agencies recruit people on their rolls and they work as our brand staff. The attrition in this industry is around 40 - 50% (yes! if someone is doing this - they are bound to be surrounded by girls all the time)! The requirement is just 12th pass (with decent english knowledge) and these girls are primarily equipped with zero responsibility, zero accountability and zero honesty!

Some of the most interesting encounters are given below for you to judge:

5. (11:30 in the night - I get a call) - "Madam, ek baat toh bataiye! Mere na chacha ke fufa ke bete ka bhai ki death ho gayi hai... Mein kal ja nahi paungi kaam pe ma'am... aap please meri salary mein se kuch cut nahi karna, yeh toh genuine case hai na"

Later found out it was her birthday so she took off - I dont get why not tell the truth instead of killing someone..

4. (I am on a conference call with Delhi team, I get 10 missed calls from my promoter)
Me: "Haan bolo Ms. H, what happened? Any issues - 10 missed calls diye aapne?"
H: "Ma'am maine mera first pack sale kiya... Yayyyyy!!!"
Me: (really trying to be too excited for her) "Awesome!! Keep it going"

End of Day - girl sold only 3 packs coz took a lunch break of 2.5 hours :O :O :O

3. (Arbit number on my cell - I am with my manager discussing my stint progress)
Me: "Yes!!!"
Other Side: "Hi! I am Ms. Kuldeep singh... I am a customer of "my product name". Ji maine XYZ mall se aapka product khareeda tha and it has this fault (explains the fault with hajar morality things brought in. Sunaoed me as if I cheated her)"
Me: (still grappling on how is this call was routed to me!) "Aapko mera number kaise mila??"
Ms. KS: "Woh aapki promoter ne kahan all product complaints aap humari madam ko bolo - woh solve kar degi"
Me: (still wondering what the hell did I do to deserve this call and in all minds to abuse but was at my best behaviour) "Ji I will look into it and get back to you. I apologize for the inconvenience caused" Found out how her grievance can be addressed and messaged her the solution!

But why does my promoter think I am wonder-woman is still beyond me!

2. Frantic calls from a newly joined promoter
XYZ: "Madam, yahan bahut issues hai madam!"
Me: Kya hua? Anyone said anything?
XYZ: "No Ma'am... Lekin mujhe yahan koi dekh hi nahi raha"
Me: As in??
XYZ: "Madam mein yahan khadi hoon... Koi mujhe dekh nahi raha... Mein kya karu madam???"

I tried to pacify her but not getting attention was a sure stopper for her coz she left the next day - changed numbers and of course never showed her face again!

And the winner is:

One of our outlet owners called, "Madam, please remove this promoter from this outlet... we do not want her..." I wondered what could have possibly happened so I asked if she was caught thieving, any jhols etc. Apparently, she created a scene with one of their staff members... To know the reason follow the timeline below:

Day 1: She reports to the shop
Day 2 - Day 4: She gets friendly with a guy and generally spends time with him, hold his hands and walks in the outlet, has lunch together etc.
Day 4 evening: She claims she loves him
Day 4 night: She sleeps with him
Day 5 morning: He comes and tells her he is married
Day 5 afternoon: She creates a scene saying you have to marry me... etc etc.
Day 5 evening: Wife lands up... More drama...
Day 5 night: I got the call mentioned above!!!


Yep!! These exciting encounters are an everyday affair for me... EVERYDAY!!! My day starts off with "Arre yeh ladki bhaag gayi, replacement do..." and ends with "Aaj 6 li hai... Hopefully aur ladkiyon ki jarurat nahi hogi..."

Typically these conversations happen at office (explains why my team of 4 girls stays far away from me) or in cabs when I am travelling between agencies (explains why the cab drivers sometimes charge me less than the meter fare)... But one unfortunate conversation took place in my house and after I hung up I saw my husband standing at the door... The look on his face showed that he heard the conversation... And he just plainly looked up and said, "I am scared Sharmili!!! Mera Ross (FRIENDS character whose wife after 7 years married a girl) ho jayega!!!"

Which is why I ask the guys I know - ANY TAKERS FOR MY POSITION???

Saturday, September 05, 2009

25 things!!!

1. I hate to have ANY meals alone... I would prefer starving over eating alone!

2. I always love to have people around! In every school, college or workplace I have visited, I have always had 3 groups! A senior group, my batch group and a junior group...

3. I want to ensure every comfort and happiness to my parents.... I wish to fulfill all their dreams which they compromised on for us

4. The best way to convince me to do anything is to get my mother to agree to it.

5. There is always inorganic growth in my relationships! It doesnt take to long to move from hate to like to love for me.... The other way around is not as easy or fast....

6. I am VERY "un-girly"... I have to battle with eye shadows, liners, other cosmetics and accessories every time I have to dress up for an occasion

7. As a kid, I have stuck my head in a metal bars of the gate and got stuck and have locked my sister in the bathroom

8. I am very competitive and I love to win bets!!! I jumped from second floor to the first floor in hostel blocks at IIM Bangalore just to prove a point. I ate chillies (chew them for 1 min and then swallow and not drink water for 30 min) to win a small dairy milk

9. My friends govern my moods.... So, if I have mood swings, trust me a few of them have fought with me and others have really gone out of their way to make me smile...

10. I believe in theory of zero expectations.... If you dont expect anything, you will ONLY be delighted at what you get from the other person....

11. I am a bunch a contradictions! I am pessimistic and at the same time I hope for the better... So, its no surprise that while I believe in having no expectations, I may have some from certain people!

12. Contradictory to many, I think of God when I am happy rather than when I am sad. When I am happy, I thank God everyday if something comes my way.

13. True cancerian to the core, place me in an un-conducive environment, I will first fite to make things right... When there is nothing working my way, I will go deep into my shell

14. I fasted for 11 Saturdays because we won a football match - not a significant one like finals or something but a random circuit match

15. I am passionate about sports (i cried out of joy when my section won the inter-section tug of war match) and about NOT reading newspapers (barely read 3 days newspapers before every interview i attended) :) I looooooove adventure sports

16. I HATE pink

17. I looooooove riding bikes. If you see my driving crazily, its me venting out my frustration. Bike Ride is the BEST way to calm yourself down. I dream to own a high-tech psued bike and join a bikers' cult

18. I have already planned the name of my kids, who are they marrying to and what profession will they pursue.

19. In college, I was not allowed to watch movies with friends. My first movie was 4th year of engineering with 5 guys - first day first show of Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone

20. I hate alcohol and its smell. But when I drink on insistence, I take shots instead of sips. And everytime I get drunk, I cry keeping a particular theme in mind. These themes ranged from "no one likes me" to "i am all alone!"

21. I believe in not keeping in buffer time when I schedule a meeting with friends. Result is more often than I am last or second last to join the group. I am not late, just that Murphy is in love with me.

22. I cannot look at a flower and go swooning about its beauty or go to a butterfly/bird sanctuary and admire the beauty of their feathers. The beauty I can admire is in men (rarely) and women (often)

23. I want to have a chimpanzee or a tiger as a pet. I hate dogs, puppies, cats and kittens... Dogs sense the fear in me (more prominently displayed since the last time I was almost bitten by a dog)

24. I am very immodest. You will always see me talking about me. But I cannot gracefully accept a compliment.

25. I have got every form of punishment when in school. I have been locked in class, hit by ruler, slapped on face, knelt outside class, knelt on ground, yelled at in my class, yelled at in other class, thrown out of class etc.

I learnt in life!!!

I sat on a ledge with a paper in my hand
I penned down my learnings from the times of sand

I have learnt wisdom and met the wise
Learnt to accept grey, my world was black or white otherwise

I have learnt to be compassionate with all
How to face the most unreasonable and still stand tall

I have learnt to give love to all, even those in fray
Learnt that love is freedom and NOT to keep people away

I have learnt that humility is very important
How pride meets a downfall - a thing thats very evident

I have learnt to be competitive and be the best
Its not slitting others throats but empowering the rest

I have learnt that good things happen to good people
Thats bads will never go unpunished for the mighty or the feeble

I have learnt the power of praying - its intense
Of wishes getting answered - just needing some patience

But most importantly I have learnt that people come in your life for a reason
The weeds come for months and the flowers come for a season

Thursday, September 03, 2009

...Is there any answer???

In standard two, I learned about a particular property of water…. It takes the color of the thing it’s mixed in and it takes the shape of the container that holds it…. Very mundane, very simple and very commonsensical isn’t it…. And imbibing this very property makes life slightly complex, if not entirely complicated….

This property of water is nothing but one quality that I can safely say, is common to everyone “living”: Adaptation…. Proven beyond doubt by Darwin’s theory of evolution and tested easily when you changed a bit of you to get accepted into a group. We have thus, evolved and adapted in varying degrees to become what we are today…. The level of adaptations could range from linguistics adaptation (where you use the slang that group uses often) to behavioral (where you tend to alter your behavior to give “acceptable” reactions to certain events)…. Every group you were a part of throughout your life would have been distinctly different from each other…. And as a result, you would have modified yourself over and over again….

Some people weed out the unwanted qualities through these adaptations and become better individuals while others go to an extreme and become clones of the most influential person in the vicinity completely losing themselves…. The net result is that there are many aspects – which are not completely you – that now form a part of your personality….

At this point, I wouldn't dare generalize but just talk about how I have adapted in due course of time (may be some people identify with it)…. During the first few years of schooling, I was with this guy who was creatively “gifted”! While I did have some potential, my association with him made my “drawings” good…. Not stopping there, I went on to take both the state level exams and clearing them… During the later years at school, my gang was heavily into sports…. Net result, I was a part of athletics teams and the football team of school…. At this point I wonder, had my group been the studious, teachers’ pets kinds or the culturally inclined kinds – would I have done these things? Is me becoming good in drawing and sports – intentional or associational?

In junior college, my group was this simple living, high thinking sort of a group…. It was with them that I was exposed to giving back to the society bit and I started to teach at an NGO…. College was primarily about sports (again my group had elements very active in it), debates (one of my closest friends was a studess in this field and I actively took part in such events) and technology (very good friends who were bonds in coding, robotics, programming)…. So, after 4 years when I joined the corporate world, I was a tomboy who was not technically challenged and a decent conversationalist (if not debater level)…. Later, my association with my roommate resulted in me going out for parties, movies, shopping extensively and becoming brand conscious (if not crazy like she was)…. My manager was heavily into history and gymming and just like that our conversations were converted into 2 hour gym sessions and reading about Roman mythology…

IIMB came and I was placed with the crème-de-la-crème as everyone puts it…. With such high standards, came a serious jolt to my personality as well. I became intensely competitive (everyone was just so good, that becoming better needed constant reminding), was prey to the hunger to make my mark (wanting to play drums, sports, dancing, FashP, writing cases, debating, making B-plans, having a good CG, being in different clubs – I seemed to want to do it all and do it well)... But the most prominent was becoming immensely practical bordering on callousness about things… My parents and siblings are still bearing the brunt of this change...

As I write this today, I am reminded of this conversation with a very old friend. She asked me for some advice and when I proffered she exclaimed, “What kind of advice is this? Sharmili I know would have never said something like this”.

I was forced to think that while I have adapted every time to find myself in this “grey” zone (sort of acceptable to all), is it the case that I have lost my “blacks” and “whites” (the core which defined me). Is it that in process of weeding out and becoming better, I have just lost what "Sharmili would have said/done"? Is it fear or is it not knowing yourself?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Even Mahabharata got it wrong!!!

"Yuganta" by Irawati Karve is a novel that has caught my fancy recently. For an avid lover of fantasy fiction, me reading this book is a highly unlikely event. But on some strong recommendations I did start reading this book which is nothing but a critique on Mahabharata and its central characters... My tryst with Mahabharata was when on Sundays at10:00 a.m. in distant past, B R Chopra's Mahabharat was aired on Doordarshan. For me, it was a great epic battle and a great way to spend time with family.

But after reading this book, I must say there are so many dimensions to this epic - ones which I would have not even thought of, had it not been for this book... There are so many things I did not know, so many things that I just assumed... Inorder to glorify the Gods, Kshatriyas etc., there was so much editing done to our scriptures that it went farther and farther from being logical and we continued to blindly follow it.

Everyone would agree that this epic is all about MEN! But what is strange is that in our land where so many goddesses had existed by then, our religous scriptures do not give any power their women characters. Their role was sort of restricted to be shadowed by their husbands. The more glorious the husband, the stronger the woman. They had no say in any matter, their feelings never got voiced and their opinions NEVER got considered... Examples of this complete disregard are strewn all over the book.

Which woman in right senses will agree to be married to 5 men at the same time (there is this "boon" that Draupadi was given where she could live with one Pandava for one year and when she went to the next one she would still be a virgin - I have many objections on this "boon" but thats another topic in itself). Which woman will agree to give Agni-Pariksha and yet, Seeta gave one and then was asked to give another one for Ayodhya subjects. Which woman will blindfold her eyes when she gets tricked into marrying a blind person and yet, Gandhari did so. Kunti's life was a compromise in itself. And the list goes on...

But the most surprising part is when in these scriptures, you find the sutradhar (narrator) hinting at how these women were predominantly responsible for the great wars. How Seeta was the cause of Ramayana and Draupadi that of Mahabharata... Isn't it ironical, that these seemingly "powerless women" caused the 2 biggest wars in the history. While discussing with one of my friends, I couldnt help but wonder what if these gals had powers - like that of Kali, Lakshmi! Would the scriptures have turned out with a similar ending?

If you analyse these blames assuming that our "Gods" aren't impervious and impregnable, logic will prevail and you will see that these charges can be dropped.

Ram came to Lanka for war to rescue Seeta but the reason of the war was Ravana's desire for her. Mahabharata was supposedly staged to avenge Draupadi's humiliation in the court (under the aegis of "Dharma") thereby making her the cause. Gambling was organized to win back everything that Pandavas had earned while they were the kings of Indraprastha (rivalry and jealousy between Kauravas and Pandavas is well known to justify this cause). But according to the way it is narrated, gambling was supposed to be a ploy of Duryodhana to get back at Draupadi for laughing at him in Mayasabha. He wanted to insult her in public like she did to him.

If this indeed were the case, Duryodhan had to forsee (an improbable thing) the following:

1. Pandavas will lose money (which he could have assumed given Shakuni's prowess)
2. They would go ahead and bet land, palace and army
3. Then they will still go ahead and bet themselves
4. Finally, they wont still learn from this and would bet Draupadi

This looks like a very circuituous route to get back at her. And if this isnt plausible, then clearly she cant be the cause of the war.

All this discussion now seems rather out of place, doesn't it? The thing is, I got sensitised to these observations only after reading this book. Thanks to critical works like these, I actually questioned some of our religious writings.

But it is alarming, that the 2 oldest Hindu scriptures, Bhagwad Gita (which is the second largest widely read book following the Bible) and Ramayana give this treatment to women. A treatment which is logically erroneous!!!

Knowledge is power but such critical works are unlikely to reach the scale that these scriptures have attained. Isn't it worrisome that people will grow up always assuming that women caused these wars???

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My First L-Square

There are some moments in your life which you remember like they happened yesterday.... Even if - in bigger scheme of things they may not be the most significant or momentous moments of your life... But there is just something that makes you wanna repeat them time and again in your mind and just like that they become memorable... With new faccha batch having their first L-square just yesterday, I spent about hours thinking about how mine was...

Dressing up for L-square - a concept whose gravity I did not understand till I attended my first one... When I had come in just "lame" casuals with no cosmetics used, I saw the shimmer and the glimmer in every PGP1 girl's dress on the floor... People would here think, I'll feel out-of-place but those who know me thats the case most of the time so it wasnt a rude shock!!! The actual shock came when I saw the PGP2s (my friends' who I was hoping to dance with) drunk with no ability to grasp anything sane... All they did was blabber, hug everyone in "huggable" distance and fall (in my defense - it was the first time I saw them like this... And those were the days when I actually yelled at my friends for "losing control" - me being a tee-totaler)...

First L^2, people tend to flock to the ones from their wing, to the ones from their section or to the ones who happened to be in the same group as their outbound group... Incidentally, I had the combination of all 3 in one who I had hit it off very well with... She was "THE HOTTEST" girl of our batch and we liked each other (I sure do hope so) But coming with her had its downsides... A drummer just kept displacing me and dancing with her.... (First L^2 is also the time for PGP2 guys to test the waters ;)...) I tried shooing him off thrice (he is a good friend now but back then I dint know him) but he was persistent...

I danced with her and some other people for sometime, but could not help disillusionment creeping into my moods.... I went off to the A-first terrace that overlooks L^2.... If someone hasnt tried this, should definitely do it once... It looks awesome!!! The lights, the motley of colors and the people in their groups.... Its a pleasant sight....

Although heavenly, there is only so much time that you can see the same people from the top... It got lonely soon and I kept feeling my first L^2 wont be too awesome... Just when I thought I should call it a night, it took a turn... An accquaintance who was a fellow VP contestant came up to me and we had a conversation... I was wondering why would anyone come here and somewhere hoping he was having as lousy a time as I was having... But it was chivalry that got him there - did not want to see a girl alone... (yes! PGP1 guys are very chivalrous in the first few weeks :D...) The conversation was all over the place... About IIMB, about perceptions, about people... About dreams, hopes and realities... And just like that I made a new friend...

L^2 mean fun, dance, daaru and music to most people... And I would say that L^2 was fun for me as well but for very different reasons... I got the pleasure to dance with the most sought after girl in the batch (later who was my constant dance partner for a specific song)!!! I got to see how much my friends care about me (they bothered to send me messages the following morning saying they were sorry to ruin my first L^2 by not dancing with me)!!! And finally, I understood how just random talking could make a just about OK L^2 into one which is worth thinking about!!!

Btw, the next first L^2 (my juniors') I played the role that my seniors played but I did dance with my juniors (even if they were unknown) And just like that, her (junior I danced with) first L^2 became fun coz of that moment when a tipsy PGP2 offered to teach and managed to teach 2 dance steps to her :D:D

Yesterday it was my home.... Today I'm just a guest...

As I sit in my guest house today, I keep thinking to myself - what makes you call a place a home? Its the people, its the environment, its the memories.... Naturally, I found myself asking the question, "So, if I remove the people and if the memories get tarnished, will the place cease to be your home?" While the answer seemed very evident, I decided to put this hypothesis to test...

In my life till date, different places have become "homes" at different points in time.... First is obviously the house I was born and brought up in... Then comes my school - 12 years of my life and 6 - 8 hours everyday... that's a significant chunk of your life... Never really thought of VJTI as my home... While there were most significant memories and very significant people associated with those 4 years - I still do not get the "homely" feeling... Then was the house I shared with a dear friend during the time at Infosys.... IIMB - for all that it gave me and finally, the place I live in after 18th April 2009!!!

Now, my first home is actually a place where my parents live... While I would want them to stay in the house I have lived for good 24 years, if they move - "my home" moves... In case of school - the teachers who taught me, who are responsible for me turning out the way I am today - are no longer present in school... While I still love my school (I go to the annual day celebrations if I am in town) I just cant associate with it anymore... With VJTI out of my list, Infosys rented apartment was a home coz of what Shruti and I did while we were there... And I come to same conclusion as in 2 cases before - my experience there was defined by a person not so much by memories...

Coming to IIMB as a home - there exists an irregularity!!! While memories have faded into oblivion (some willingly, some forced), some bonds still exist.... I love people looking forward to me coming down on campus and I love the hospitality I get... When I go there, I still love the ambience the place offers, the night outs the place brandishes, the nerves of steel that get developed looking at the placecom board (the one where I saw my seniors getting shortlists - my friends and me getting shortlists and my facchas getting the companies they ALWAYS wanted), the profs who still are keen to have a dialogue, L^2s and stories with each one of them, the intensity involved in the throwball - TOW - baski matches...

And yet, this home is ephemeral - a life of 3 years only... It is bonded with the people who were there one year before me and one year after... But more importantly its the memories which play an equally important role... My senior came to campus this year and found himself reminiscing the time he had there but he dint want to leave my side coz to associate with this place as home he needed both me (a familiar face) and his memories... Another friend - a batchmate - said, "its feels weird to make an appearance on campus often... What if people think - kya jab dekho campus aa jaati hai..."

How is this home when I think twice before coming to it?? How do I have people, the memories and yet "home" isn't at IIMB once I pass out.... Why cant I live at IIMB for days together without giving it a second thought.... The place I owned till April 2009 is a place I am a visitor in less than 2 months....

Its an "AND" function PEOPLE AND MEMORIES to make a place call home - coz with memories your mind is present and with people your heart is....

Monday, April 06, 2009

Days that were - IIMB rocked!!!

I locked the room... 3 posters on the wall and the curtains I picked from MARS (in the first week at IIMB) is all that remained in K-213... Everything that can be associated with me... K-213, the room I called my home for last one year... The room where I laughed, cried, studied and partied... K-213 where innumerable pizzas were ordered and cheese maggis found their way at un-godly hours... And just like that, IIMB got over for me...

As I looked back, my last glance at the gate, before a decrepit auto rickshaw sped off to Bangalore train station, I couldnt help but think of my first day here - 22nd June 2007 - when Shruti and GS came and picked me up... I went to the hostel office and apprehensively picked the C-312 room chit (my abode in the first year)... I went to my room on the third floor, only to find myself ragged in the very first hour coz stupidly enough I went and introduced myself to my seniors... Little after ragging, I met with my wing mates - as apprehensive as me but not as stupid coz they did not make the mistake to go and talk to seniors :D

25th June 2007 when the college started and I saw the first glimpse of Gundu Rao (he was directing us to different rooms in order to avoid delays) - little to know how significant he is going to be in IIMB life... If I could depict how I felt as the auto moved through Bangalore traffic, it would be similar to screening of a movie.... Visualize motley images just running past your conscience.... The first week sessions, first L^2  and the millions after that, the first class when I slept and was almost threatened to be thrown out to most other classes where I slept on the first bench, the first club elections and the events organized or participated in, summer experiences, hectic schedules comprising quizzes, midterms, end terms, last minute project meetings and presentations and the hajar sports competitions (inter-IIM and intra-IIMB) - innumerable memories just came rushing back.... But you know what is the best part of IIMB - it is the fact that not just the firsts but the whole gamut of things remain memorable... Every friendship made, every fight fought, every competition played and every festival/event organized - everything leaves such an imprint on you that as I left, I could not help but wonder, if I would EVER be able to adjust to the "normal" life that would follow as I start working... 

It is therefore, not a big surprise that most of us after leaving IIMB, find ourselves bored easily!!! (just read status messages on FB and you would know) After these 2 years, life outside IIMB just doesnt seem "interesting" enough.... While it is true, I may have slept through most of my weekends or holidays at IIMB, just watched some soaps after downloading from DC++ or just strolled on campus with friends - but these so-called "mundane" activities still feel more FUN as compared to what we are doing at our respective homes... 

And it is this "bond" that will make me keep coming back to IIMB... Every chance I get!!! My happy place would always be those strolls after leaving K-213 on a fantastic "Bangalore" weather day... Seeing people play on the football field, passing friends at Athicas/mess and then just walking around this magnificent stone structure surrounded by greens... The mere thought of this sight just calms me down... 2 years - that's all it took... The time spent at IIMB would live forever in my heart!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

With this hope, I live not free!!

Of sleepless nights and crying in pain
Of every effort going in vain
Of taking me to greats heights and under the bottom of rock
Of me being an ass and made a laughing stock...

With this feeling, I live not free
Don't know what else I have to see!!

Days go by and nights come along
Try as I may,they seem too long
Sleep like a baby, a phrase I have heard before
Its been ages since the last dream, a wink or a snore...

With this effort, I live not free
Don't know what else I have to see!!

Each trip down the memory lane
Full of laughter, cheer, angst and pain
Each memory thought of, is like re-living them
Every moment in the present then, is never the same...

With this burden, I live not free
Don't know what else I have to see!!

And then one fine day, you think of times ahead
Of the words not spoken, of the future unsaid
A silent prayer on your lips, saying all will be fine
You think of new places and people, you then don't whine...

With this hope, I live not free
I hope its something I'll be able to see!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


When I was in school, many terrible things happened during "crucial" (as a kid, the intensity of cruciality just changed) moments of my life... For example, my exams were going on and there was a death in my family.... I was in a school play and I came down with jaundice to lose the lead role... I was in a dance and I was down with fever only to look the worst dancer in the photographs (well, I couldn't back out as it was a day before the actual event)....

So, there are 2 kinds of pains that are inflicted on you:
1. Physical pain which has very definitive means of reaction (give in to disease or fight against it)
2. Mental pain which may seem very abstract to handle, but frankly, has very definitive reactions to it as well (get affected by it or not get affected by it)

Thus, in the examples I mentioned above, I did take definitive actions... I fought physical pain once, I gave in the other time and finally, I did not get affected by the mental stress that a 'death of a loved one' brings with it. But as time went by, I have realised that there are 2 types of mental pains too.

1. Mental pain due to unavoidable circumstances with nothing you can do
2. Mental pain due to material circumstances (like people around, events around etc.)

I always prided myself on how I handled my life in case type 1 came into my life... I could VERY EASILY compartmentalise the pain and handle my responsibilites (as a student, daughter and otherwise)  like I would have done in normal circumstances... For example, the way I handled my exams in event of whole family grieving. 

Handling type 2 of mental pain was also straight forward for me till date. If you ask me, say you are stressed because of a very close friend in need... There is NO WAY in hell can you compartmentalise then... Similarly, say you lose a match (and if luck has its way, its an important one)... It is impossible to avoid the shame, guilt, sadness arising out of this loss... Your friend is in pain, for family member is in the hospital getting a crucial operation done.... These are places where you can make a difference or places where you can have a positive impact by your presence. Till date, I strongly believed that in such cases YOU SHOULD NOT COMPARTMENTALISE!!! So, it's OK if your work gets affected by this pain (in fact, I would go to the extent of procrastinating things if its possible) or if your "enjoyment" gets affected by this thought... (Kindly note, the circumstances which get affected may always not be negative or grave like work related, fulfilling your duty etc. ... They could as well be rosy circumstances like a picnic, a celebration, a festival etc.) Thus were my fundamentals for good 26 years of my life and I functioned well with the stated reactions (ironical in cases where my work DID get affected but you get the point)... 

A recent conversation with a friend shook this belief that I actually hold dear... While knowing that a close friend is in pain, this friend of mine actually compartmentalised things to "have fun"... There is no denying that their bond means something to him but still he could compartmentalize... I couldn't help but ask him, " dont you owe this much to your friend?? dont you think your bond actually deserves this - with lack of any other word - mourning?? dont you feel guilty to have fun when you know this friend is in huge pain??" And his answer surprised me... He said, "I am with a different set of people, in a different context and I ought to make most of it..."

So, im stuck in deciding the actual course of action now (and only because I believe this friend of mine handles things very well)... Is it ok to NOT COMPARTMENTALISE and actually give some importance to things where you can actually make a difference and do something about it.... Or you just COMPARTMENTALISE coz finally, its pain and you need to only deal with it in one way - not get affected and give the context more importance!!! Till date I did the former but now have also burnt my fingers (figuratively)... Should I do the latter or not?? If I do the latter, will I be able to do it, that only time can tell.... 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sharmili unveiled!!!

So, as a part of Managing Your Career Growth (MYCG as we call it) we had to take this strength builder test. I started this test with the same cynicism as I do any personality tests because I believe these tests just are a function of your frame of mind when you take the test. But, these results astound me.... I showed it to a couple of friends who know me well and they were like with some minute exceptions, THIS IS YOU!!!

Here is what this strength builder assessed me as: (btw, this is primarily done to ensure that when we take up a job as we leave IIMB, we map our strengths to the roles we apply so that we are satisfied in the job)


“Stretch the circle wider.” This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you don’t have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.


You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament—this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings—to themselves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons other people are drawn to you.


Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.


Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don’t. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet—lots of them.


Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day—workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group. It is the theme that keeps you moving.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Life goes on!!!

As you grow older, you realize one thing - you may whine, crib or celebrate but LIFE just moves on!!! While there may be many opportunities you don't convert and many that you just crack, as you move on, all these past experiences fade away into oblivion... They serve as those anecdotes you share with your friends on a reunion or with family when you give gyaan.... On a contradictory note, till date I always thought that everything we do in life contributes to a bigger picture.... So, if I am going through a rough patch, I was led to believe that it is that black border of a bigger beautiful portrait - not pleasant by itself but very necessary to bring out the beauty of the portrait....

As you must have guessed, I have not figured out what life is all about... I always grew up in a competitive context so, Life to me means feeling that I am not a failure and thats all... No! - it moves on, no! - there is light beyond the tunnel etc. theories. And herein lies the core issue. Success for me is relative.... It does not matter what I achieve unless in a context I am better than most. Thus, what life means to me ironically, is determined by others. Strange isn't it!!! Therefore, while I have been an athlete, a dancer or a club president, it does not matter if I have not handled one aspect of my life well.... 'Coz when I pit against my peers at IIMB, my peers from VJTI who are in completely different setup (its like comparing apples and oranges) or anyone who can be remotely connected to me, I always tend to find people many times better than me.... Thus making me feel "Life Sucks!!!"

And once I get this into my head, no other rational thought has any space to make its presence felt... Then comes a teeny voice in my head (after days of incarceration) saying C'mon Sharmili, Move on Woman!!! And just like that, I am back to being my bouncy self.... Emphemeral as it is, this stage lasts for sometime till one more comparison - and I am back to the "Life Sucks!!!" mode. Point of this post, there are many things in my life to make me feel happy, lucky and on the top of the world.... There are many times the rational thoughts mentioned above enter my head.... Yet, I find myself in bouts of low confidence, self doubt, lack of faith etc. I am waiting for a moment when I actually practice what I preached here (in the first paragraph)... Not for the sake of being proper but 'coz, that I believe would be when I actually graduate to the next level of maturity!!!