A beautiful reminder from God..

I complain: The laundry basket never stays empty.

God reminds: Your family never goes without clean clothes to wear.

I complain: I hate to cook.

God reminds: Your family never goes without food to eat.

I ask: Why can’t my kids chill out for 10 minutes?

God reminds: You have never seen the inside of a children’s hospital.

I say: There isn’t enough time to do everything I need to do, much less what I want to do.

God reminds: So few of these things did I ask of you.

I say: I look older reflected in my minivan window.

God reminds: Yes. I gave you these years.

I ask: Will I ever be enough?

God asks: For who?

I say: I keep messing up. I worry. I raise my voice. I forget how lucky I am.

God reminds: Luck has nothing do with it. Everything in your basket, I put there with purpose. And I never asked you to carry it alone.

Credit: Mama Dickinson: Musings Of A Daydreaming Mom

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My little “Lady” is home

Still shying away from new people yet loves to cuddle with the ones she knows. Loves belly rubs from Kam and definitely understands the word ‘food’. She is naturally curious, processes stimuli more quickly, and reacts faster than I can. She can expertly read my body language and clearly see my intended plan before I am even fully thinking of it. I am finding myself having to play a lot of ‘catch up’ if I can’t stay one step ahead of my intelligent, hyper-active puppy. I am acquiring proficiency in a new language as I learn the many subtle and not-to-subtle sounds – barks, whines, growls, yodels, and sounds I did not even know she could make. I have a new, nosy companion trying to ‘help’ me complete my chores, or even trying to do them for me! Every day is a new day with her.

Showing all signs of being the world obedient and well-mannered dog, I am keeping my fingers crossed and knocking on every wood to ensure she grows up like so 😍

Let me give my fur baby another cuddle before she soon grows up in a big dog and hugs me instead 🤪

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Does the shoes fit?

If you feel you’re knocking on closed doors, keep knocking. But only if they seem to have a window. At least make sure they would look out to see who’s there.

Then persist. For it’s a rare rock that doesn’t break by repeated hammering. Unless you’re not it’s weapon of choice.

Part of the beauty of this idea, this hypothesis of love, is its abstraction. Like water, it takes any shape, any form. Fills wherever it enters, empties whatever it leaves. Like it was never there.

For some, love is like a new idea in an artist’s mind. It takes shape in the head before it does for real on paper.

Sometimes the imagination is much better. At other times, you let go with the flow. Succumb and let your fingers take you to an ethereal creation. You stand back, breathless at what you’ve done.

Don’t be boggled by “what you thought” as opposed to “what it is”. The former will trap you, the later will let you know. And maybe let go.

You guard yourself like an ice bag, that would melt, time and again but never impart with all that it has. You would feel most yourself when frozen.

Unless someone manages to pierce right through. With a gentle hand of course. And then you realise you aren’t losing yourself. You’re just amalgamating into something better.

What you think is a leak, is a part of a higher process of creation. Let’s say you’re a machine. Your beloved laptop. You got to do away with the existing system to upgrade to a higher one. Something’s gotta end for a new one to begin.

Why do we hate endings so much? Why don’t we let things that run out their course, be? Attachment is wonderful till it becomes a leach.

Change. How wonderfully exciting and fearsome at the same time! Next to love, it’s perhaps the only thing that flaunts its oxymoronic capacity.

You guard your heart like a doorman. Watching strictly who passes by. Frisking them for anything they can use against you. For you think you’re precious. Or vulnerable. You are.

But so is everybody. Precious. Irreplaceable. For themselves anyway. Why not then make it a freeway? Let those come that seek to enter. Let those stay that meet your approval.

For everyone else, there’s always a well-spent goodbye. The gentle turning away and gradual fading as opposed to shocking them out of their wits by closing the door on their face, with a thud.

Selfless loving is seldom understood, let alone be appreciated.

Don’t stand with your high horse intimidating the curious eye. Don’t judge before knowing. Or write off before testing. Or succumb without doubting.

It’s a matter of life and death you know. This business of giving your heart to someone. You bestow them the power to enliven you or benumb.

But without love, the existence is merely perfunctory. Even animals exist. Even plants grow and wither. Even machines upgrade. That heart wasn’t given to you just to pump blood.

You’re subconsciously told and drilled to be ordinary, no matter how much they tell you to strive to be not. While the truth is, you’re supposed to move towards being a legend, no matter how much you strive to blend.

Or maybe the heart really was meant to just pump blood. Stupid humans dribbling it off course with their dirty mushy fingers. Then letting the poor heart dangle by their sleeve. But then we evolved into a multitasking race, didn’t we? Let’s explore it’s full potential.

We all take birth and do die. They say it’s the in between that matters.

The in between of being hopeless and hopeful. Of being raised to exultation and dumped into mourning. Between “what if” and “why not”. It’s never the extremes that teach us the survival skills anyway. Ah, the comfort of slinking into oblivion of the in-betweeness.

And then they still ask, why love? Why ain’t I enough? Because you aren’t programmed to be. Because no matter how much you master solitude, you’re slave to your desires.

Howsoever you bask in your self love, you crave appreciation. Some outspokenly. Some in hush hush subtlety. We love being loved.

Why fear a heart ache or a heart break? Do you fear death? Do you not get into your car each day knowing millions of people die in road accidents without it being their fault?

Do you not want to bungee jump or go trekking or scuba diving? Or for the less adventurous ones, visit a foreign land, taste exotic food, drive on an empty road by the sea at night?

We’re tuned differently in degrees, but like those toy soldiers made from a single teaspoon, we originate from the same base.

Find what gives solace to your heart and hold on tight to it. For however they’ve spoilt through over usage of this saying, but the truth is, you do only live once. And you’d die once and for all too.

Live, love, let live.

P.S. These were supposed to be random thoughts and hence probably the lack of any structure. But then I thought, let me put it here. Maybe the shoe fits someone.

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I read: The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google

‘The Four’ considers the enormous power accrued by the big four technology giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Whilst it isn’t a fiction, it really gives you an insight into how these huge corporation came up from a ‘germ’ of an idea to becoming what they are today; the exception being Apple, however, that organisation really did undertake a metamorphosis to come back from the brink of collapse and introduced levels of innovation never before seen in the consumer world.

Remember when Tom Hanks puts the smaller competitor out of business in the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’, he puts it simply – “It’s not personal, it’s business”. Well, Scott Galloway has been, a number of times that smaller competitor which has been swallowed, strangled and snuffed out. But even saying that his appraisal of the business acumen within The Four is straight and follows the same line throughout; which could lead you to wholly believe the slight bent towards how “smart” the four are. I then have to lead myself back to “it’s not personal, it’s business”. 😉

The book points the trail of how socially involved the big four and their operations are in our everyday lives. It does an excellent job in putting a context to how dependent yet oblivious we are to the encroachment of the big four into our lives. The featured companies have managed to get ‘inside our minds’ to create an emotional, perhaps addictive, relationship with us, even if we do not necessarily know it or accept it. Don’t agree with me? Try to delete various social media apps to recover from so called “Facebook depression” only to discover it is virtually impossible to share photographs you have taken with your smartphones on the same social media. Difficult, isn’t it?

This observation takes place at a very interesting time for the only competition the Four face are from each other, and the race is between them to become the premier operating system. The author most definitely knows what he’s talking about. He has written not only with great insight but also with considerable humour, not least about the origins of our consumerist cravings.

The first half of the book looks at the history of retail and the business strategies of each of the Four, whilst the second half chiefly considers the Four’s relations with governments and competitors and suggests future trends.

It is an insightful read, even though there is no shortage of information on these companies available online and in-print. It is an engaging and accessible read. Myths are abound about these companies of course, possibly with a degree of truth at heart, yet how did these companies manage to establish such a firm position? The journey was not necessarily smooth and without pain and neither can the future be guaranteed, but for the time being these giants show no sign of being dislodged from their pedestals.

The author also shows how some of these corporate secrets can be deployed within our own business and private lives – yet naturally can no guarantee be given. As a reader, I learnt some of the strategies deployed by these companies, how they play with industry rivals, customers, regulators and even the governments. While they bring tremendous benefits, they also pose risks, especially to jobs in which the biggest changes are to be anticipated.

I liked the contents, index, references and style and pace of writing, however the author has never worked for any of the four companies he’s discussing, thus it misses out what could have been an industry insider classic; and so you are left wanting more from the text, more explanation, more exposition.

Given the head-start of the Four, Galloway goes on to ask whether there is room for a fifth Horseman? He considers Alibaba, Uber, Tesla, Microsoft, and Verizon. Will any of these make it?

Whatever your own views about these companies – and views can vary on different elements of corporate behaviour and more besides – you surely cannot fail to enjoy this book, even if it does seem to end so quickly as you just churn through its pages, devouring its content along the way. The future can be very interesting, since these giants fight against each other for even-more domination. One or more giant may fall, possibly to be replaced by a yet-unknown. Interesting times are ahead, that is for sure.

I particularly enjoyed the great mix of information, commentary, humour and cynicism presented throughout this book. It is a recommended read even if you don’t think you are interested in just these four companies. BUT if reading a book seems like a tedious task to you, watch Scott Halloway’s TED talk and you will get the jist.

Have you read this book? Do share your thoughts in the comments…

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My 2018 Reading Challenge

I love reading…rather I enjoy reading but I have got into a habit of putting it off for later and never getting back to it. To encourage myself to read, I have created a list of categories (instead of books) to keep it interesting. Feel free to join me in the challenge or recommend me a book to read in any of the category.

  • Book written by a celebrity
  • Young adult bestseller
  • My husband’s favourite book
  • A prizewinning book
  • Political memoir
  • A Book from Oprah’s book club
  • Book recommended by a friend
  • An Autobiography
  • Book that takes place on an island
  • Book with a blue cover
  • Book with over 500 pages
  • Book with a number in the title
  • Book published this year
  • Book with a one word title
  • Book set in a different country
  • Book by an author I love but haven’t read yet
  • Book based on a true story
  • Book chosen based entirely on cover
  • Book with a colour in the title
  • Book you own but have never read
  • Book by author I have never read before
  • Book made into a film
  • Book by author of different ethnicity
  • Book with weather in the title
  • Book from a celebrity book club
  • Book set in decade I was born
  • Goodreads Choice Awards winner
  • Author with same first or last name as me
  • Book set in country I have never been to
  • Book with a name in the title
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Indian Hospitality – The mindset!

Is it because foreigners really have low expectation from a developing country like ours? Or is it that Indians want optimal value for money?

Well, I am talking about hospitality – the way it is conceived, provided and expected by Indians.

Not just our country – maybe all of the Middle East and SE Asia. Every time I look up a property (AirBnB or hotels) in any of these parts of the world, it seems the Indians are just not happy enough. I think hospitality is such a big thing for us – Athithi Devo Bhava (Guest is GOD) that we expect more. Even when we visit people in the West we are horrified by how much we have to do ourselves. But a guest comes home and we fall overselves offering 8 dishes even for a simple chai meeting.

It’s the same way how cleanliness is to Japan? I guess every culture at large has its peculiarities or quirks , smothering guests is ours 😉

Or being overbearing guests!

I think no country does hospitality like the hotel industry in India. Just the simple act of almost affordable room service is an exception pretty much everywhere else. Amreekan hotels are functional. Of course there are fancy hotels that do desi kind of hospitality but they are way out of our reach least. Back home even at MTDC property you can order chai and pakode when it’s raining!

I think all of SE Asia does hospitality beautifully. Even in our homes – you call someone over for chai and you’ll have 6 snacks, home made.

It’s high threshold of Indian hospitality that does us in like you said. That is why the ITC managed hotels are so popular with the western and Indian travellers..they’ll throw in everythingin the name of hospitality to make you happy.

Indian hotels are the most overstaffed in comparison to similar hotels across categories anywhere in the world. Partly the reason foreigners can’t get over Indian hospitality. We, of course, take it for granted and then throw a tantrum when our expectations aren’t met.

Indians are also considered to be the rudest guests outside India. We’re so used to servility and the salaam-saab culture here that we forget when outside India, it’s considered basic courtesy to thank the staff for opening the door or serving your food, to the bell boy for having the honour of carrying his bags?

I feel Indians are used to a very high level of hospitality. Stay in any Indian five star and it’s obvious. Europe has no concept of hospitality – but any well travelled Indian would know and expect that. I for one have a problem travelling in European airlines – they just don’t know how to take care of you. Having moved to England to live here with my husband, I guess I will accept the reality…and look forward of being pampered when back home.

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#MeToo

So often its written about sexual harassment and about being abused as a child. I believe social media will set us free in many ways and bring a lot of taboos out of the closet. I realise not everyone can speak so openly and freely about it. But we’ve all experienced it.

The guy who smacked you hard across the chest as he went by on the bike so that you secretly nursed a purple breast for weeks. The man who just randomly thrust a hand between your legs as you climbed up ahead of him into the bus. The doctor who under cover of his stethoscope, felt up your non-existent 11-year-old chest. The colleague who always insists on bending over you and trying to look down your shirt. The uncle who pulls a 21-year-old girl into his lap and strokes her thigh, calling her beta all the while. The lecherous cousin your parents insisted would chaperone you to tuition.

There are plenty of people wondering how the #MeToo tag helps. Who think it is a waste of time. It helps because women who would NEVER have acknowledged it, or written about something of this sort have shared it today. And that is a big deal for them. It frees them from the burden of what feels like a deep dark secret. I’m watching the #MeToos pop up on my Facebook wall and I’m not surprised. And yes, there are men too.

No tag, no effort is perfect and complete in itself. So if this made you talk about the effectiveness of such a campaign, if you came up with the idea that people who have harassed other men or women should run a me too campaign, whatever, then that too, is proof that it worked. Just like an #IceBucketChallenge gave birth to a #RiceBucketChallenge.

Let’s not bitch about why something doesn’t work. If it’s made you think, then *you* improve on it. *You* start your own hashtag. *You* change your DP on Whatsapp. And it would have achieved its purpose.

Solidarity, strength in numbers, gaining and giving others the courage to speak out, a hashtag could do a lot – sure, it’s not “the ultimate solution” but it’s one more step in breaking the culture of silence, which in turn perpetuates the problem. And it speaks of the magnitude of the problem, which it says it has set out to do.

Change will come, slowly but surely.

#MeToo and a #MeToo again for those who can’t.

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Diagnose a crime

Many of my friends are initially going to be upset with what I start out saying, but it will make sense if you read it to the end.

The killing and mayhem at the concert in Las Vegas was heinous, brutal, evil, despicable, and should be categorically condemned by every decent human being. The incident elicits revulsion, horror and terror, *but it is not terrorism*.

I believe that the law enforcement agencies may be correct in not categorizing it as an act of terrorism. This has nothing to do with whether the mass murderer was white, black, yellow, brown, or fifty shades of beige. It has to do with the definition of terrorism, and subsequently with how law enforcements need to deal with it.

Terrorism is not about inflicting terror. It is not about the scale of the mayhem, but about motive. Terrorism, by definition, is about inflicting terror *as a strategic means to a political end*.

In the world of law enforcement, categorizing an incident does not end with identifying the act, but is a beginning towards enforcing (and amending, if necessary) the policies, frameworks, and activity to anticipate, detect, and prevent such incidents in the future.

The frequency of such events in the recent past is frightening. These are symptoms of a new disease that must be diagnosed correctly so it can be eradicated. The reason I find this more frightening, is because terrosim has context, connections, threads that can be unravelled and followed to the source. This is much more frightening, and the measures to counter this will necessarily be more invasive and intrude further into every individual’s personal space.

To misdiagnose a crime is to initiate the wrong preventive measures. To society, it is as fatal as misdiagnosing a brain tumor as a migraine.😥

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Problem Child??!!

It always breaks my heart when I hear someone described as the “problem child” in their family. It has been my experience that the rest of the family are usually the (creators and) maintainers of the undertow that pulls the “problem child” under. Problem Child expresses all the family dysfunction.

Sometimes, someone who gets labeled as that has issues that have nothing to with what someone else did or did not do or for or to them and to blame “the family” for that is sometimes unfair. That said, I’m not fond of the label.

I’ve read somewhere that in family therapy, many times the dysfunction of a child is a manifestation of the dysfunction of the parent’s marriage, and you have to treat the marriage in order to adequately address the child’s issues.

Yes!

It’s a matter of changing the reasons for your behavior to fit within your value system, so you’re doing it “for you” and not “against anyone.”

Not that anyone needs to justify their behavior to anyone, but if pressed to explain, it’s often far stronger to draw boundaries by explaining that you’re doing it for yourself and not because of anything the other person is doing.

The phrase: “it’s not you, it’s me” often seems like a cop out when you’re breaking up with someone, like you’re trying to preserve someone else’s feelings, but when it’s honest, it does reflect a firmer foundation for action when your motivation comes from within. It reminds me of the extrovert who didn’t want to marry the introvert and used the Netflix incident to call it quits when “it’s me it’s not you” would have worked more strongly and blocked appeals for second chances.

As people age, they have fewer life choices. Some respond to this by becoming more adamant in those decisions. They see questioning those choices as judgment on their competency to make those decision.

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Double standards

Many people in India lead double lives, have double standards, and use words which often have double meanings. There is nothing different or unique being a Marwari, Gujarati, Bengali or Marathi (and other castes which exists in India). The women have been subjugated for centuries to lead a life of secondary status and denied the freedom to pursue their own interests. This article could well be applied to any one of these with equal ease, without the tag of being a Marwari or Gujarati or Bengali. Why should we become judgemental on a particular community and feel ourselves superior?

I don't speak for others or for any community. All I know is that each one has to decide where the limits to hypocrisy and double standards as well as freedom are in one's way of life. It is not fair to paint a picture of a few instances and make them a general representative of an entire community. Mind you, I am not disputing the truth of these incidents; they exist. I know several families where older generation is far more liberal and tolerant in its attitudes towards dress, religious beliefs and food etc than expected by the younger newly married daughters-in-law in the family but they are not written about as they are not representative of the entire community.
It takes time to get rid of hypocrisy in a conservative society and accept everyone on an equal basis, particularly in our country where prejudices and restrictions against females are deep-rooted in several aspects of their life.

But it is happening…one day at a time!!

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