What interests you?
Monday, 13 December 2010
Sunday, 14 November 2010
One thing that I have learned on this whirlwind trip to the US is to “Never say never”. Firstly, I never wanted to visit the US because I thought about it as being a very materialistic place. But, as luck would have it, I have completed 2 trips to this free country. Freedom is very relative and I would like to reserve talking about it, to a separate thread.
Secondly, I always thought lasting friendships are created only during school or college, but this myth was debunked when I made some real good friendships at work. One of them is the reason for my one trip to Mumbai and two trips to Chicago, so far. I made the trip to Mumbai a few years back, just to visit her, thinking that it would be the last time that I would see her as she was moving permanently to the US – something that she thought she would 'never' do. Couple of years back, I made a trip to the east coast of US, courtesy some of my good friends from college and I couldn't miss the trip to Chicago to visit this friend from Mumbai. The timing was perfect too – she had just had a baby. She took time out and we went around Chicago downtown where I was introduced to Panera Bread – an uptown alternative to Subway sandwiches. Chicago, I got to know from my friend, is known for its architecture. I did notice that the buildings were different from one another – unlike in New York City where everything seems like a tall rectangular structure. Chicago is home to the famous Bean by Indian born artist Anish Kapoor.
How the next visit to Chicago happened is something I cannot explain – just as I cannot explain how my other friend and I started on the crazy road trip from Indiana to California. My friend from Mumbai calls it a “karmic connection”. I guess it must be true. We were treated like family as we chatted heartily over yummy food and the little one entertained us throughout our stay. It was a very short stop-over, but a memorable one. My friend told us that she was jealous about us making the road trip – I guess true friends are like that; they do not hide anything :)
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
1. Our handy little kitchen-waste bowl. Almost all our vegetable waste after cutting/peeling goes directly into DailyDump saving the need for a separate bin.
Saturday, 13 March 2010
I feel India is going through a phase where people - however few in number right now, but surely growing - are looking at doing more of what they like than just working for money. It could be working for social good or fun jobs like for example, bar-tending.
This could just be my feeling because I recently quit my job and as a result running into/reading about more of this kind of people. But nevertheless, it is an interesting trend and will do a lot of good for the people, and the country in the long run. People are becoming entrepreneural, taking risks and venturing into areas where the previous generation probably would not have thought of going into or bothered about. We have people leaving their plush/respectable jobs and becoming a Sarpanch in their village, some planning to take up photography full-time (resemblance to 3-idiots is coincidental, I actually know someone who wants to do this), some even wanting to get into movie-making without much to show in their bank accounts (again, someone I know).
So, whether it is for social good or just following your passion (sometimes they could be same); how do you decide when to take the plunge? This is for the vast majority of us who end up in jobs that we not necessarily enjoy. For those others who are already into what they love doing - you are lucky people :)
If one is in the wrong job, we are mostly frustrated - except for some intellectually challenging moments - and always looking forward for something exciting to happen. I used to have this feeling of probably taking away someone else's job.
First is to identify that this is probably not your thing. If you already know what you would rather be doing, it helps. And the sooner you know this the better it is so you can start saving as much as you can from the corporate salaries. It is very important to know what you will be doing next and not leave something just because you dont like it. There are some who just leave their current jobs and take some time off to figure out what they want to do in life - works with some people!
Coming to money, how much money is enough before taking the decision? One of my friends says 'the need will always grow to meet the income', so you will never have enough. I would say it is the 'wants' that grow. So, cut down on the wants and keep needs low. Once you start practising this, you realize how much money one could have saved had you started this earlier. It happens, it has happened to me and it is important to go through it once so we know how it feels.
Talking of needs, most people who have moved out their plush jobs to follow their heart or for social good, are usually near the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. They have climbed up the pyramid, some quicker than others by virtue of their upbringing/exposure to influential people, etc. We need to find where we are and how fast we can reach the top.
I like this concept as it answers a lot of questions on why some people behave the way they do.
There could be moments when you are in doubt after taking the plunge - have a support system, talk to friends, family, etc. I am assuming you have already spoken to them before taking the decision :)
I usually think of people who have inspired me - one small piece I read when I need strength is Steve Job's speech on finding what you love doing.
So here's putting it all together:
- find a cause - sometimes the cause finds you. Travelling is a good way of finding one.
- keep needs low and save a lot. Build/buy a small house (easier to clean as well), a small car (if it is a desi car, better, for multiple reasons). These are the 2 biggest liabilities that we get into - until you have kids :), and there are other little things like spending less on fuel, eating out only on special occasions, etc. that we can adopt in our lifestyle which can help save a lot.
- dont forget to get a medical insurance. I am yet to get one! Any recommendations on which is a good medical insurance would help.
- go for it, before the society makes you change your mind :)
Thursday, 7 January 2010
As I sat through yet another simple yet inspiring session in some tribal areas of Orissa, I realized that apart from 'awakening the entrepreneural spirit', the TATA jagriti yatra has given hope - hope that things can be changed, inspite of all the bureaucracy, hope that once u hv a committed set of people with you, you can do the seemingly impossible, hope that you will get such a team if you hv a good idea and u hv the leadership to pass the message across, hope that at the end of the day, there is justice in an unjust world.
All the role model visits have had some common streaks.. a pinching or a tipping moment that prompted them to take up a cause, strong ethics and values, lots of dark nights - some of them have recurring ones every year, the ability and willingness to dream BIG, a great team/support system, persistence and above all, a great deal of humility.
The learning so far has been tremendous - simplicity from the Mumbai Dabbawalas, the courage to dream big and not stopping at hurdles from G. Vijayaraghavan - the man behind Technopark in Trivandrum, the need for a 'vision' not vision from Paul and Sabriye (International Institute of Social Entrepreneurs - a.k.a the 'Dream Factory'), the joy of doing something beautiful at Arvind eye care, Madurai, owning a problem from Elango at Kutumbakam village, Chennai, emotional returns v/s monetary returns at Industree, Bangalore, outsourcing from the government to Naandi foundation to solve problems like hunger and basic education (what is 2/3 + 4/5 ?) - yes, it is shameful that we have the world's largest number of hungry people, empowering people to shape their destinies by Joe Madiath of Gram Vikas at Orissa... this is a long list of all that I have been touched by so far.. hope to write in more detail about each one of them soon.
AT IISE, we took some time out to put down our dreams in a piece of paper and that is what we see here in this pic - a box full of dreams.
Monday, 4 January 2010
Itz been 3 days since I left Bangalore and I have already lost track of the day of the week/month..
After having met 50 very interesting people with varied backgrounds the day before the yatra as part of the facilitator's workshop, I dont know what to expect from the 300 others who have joined us today.
The actual proceedings started in the evening with a session by the Mumbai dabbawalas. How they started - some Parsi loved his wife very much and missed lunch prepared by her - , what is their structure, how they have been running successfully at six sigma level for the past 119 years and how they suddenly shot to fame when Price Charles visited them at the Church Gate station - they call him their brand ambassador :)
Now, Mumbai Dabbawalas form case studies in big B schools - it was the case study for our group as well.
The symbolic flag-off was very creative.
The excitement was mounting as we boarded the buses to Mumbai Central. The train was delayed. Some people started singing random songs and soon the foreigners were singing Christmas carols joined in by other enthusiastic folks. It was very sweet. We finally started at 3 am on 25th Dec, after a wait of 4 hrs.