Happy 2013

It’s a *brand new* New Year, and how I love that feeling of being able to write a new number one fine day :).

For several reasons, 2012 has been a tough year for me, and at the end of it, the most profound realization I carry with me is that nothing in this world can bring me as much happiness as being with and Being ME.

It’s what Kareena says in Jab We Met.

“Main apni Favorite Hoon”

It’s a lovely line, right? :).

Everyone should be their own favorites. And if they aren’t, they should figure out how to get there. And do whatever it takes. After all, YOU’re the only person you spend every moment of your life with!

I’ve spent years on this journey, and it’s not easy. Every day is a new experience. There are new thoughts to distil, new discoveries about myself (not always pleasant :P), and choices to make – not necessarily with enough time to allow you to reflect and choose. And then there are consequences.

As 2012 comes to a close, I realize that there are a few realizations that have helped me make peace with this process and move forward:
~ Negative emotions – fear, anger, sorrow, guilt, regret, helplessness – can make you experience a lesser person than you really are, but can never make you that.
~ Patience is not a virtue, it is a muscle. Exercise it intentionally, and keep it supple. When all fails, patience and the knowledge that time erodes even the biggest mountains – that’s what is going to keep you ticking.
~ Change – yours, and of others – is always voluntary. There is merit in trying to attempt change and being a trigger for change, but… BUT… You need to know when to try, and you need to know when to stop.
~ In the midst of all the evolution and choices and complications of life – it helps to maintain a stock of a few key aspects about yourself that you consider as the Essence of You. Could be anything… something you consider a core value that you live by, or maybe something about yourself that gives you a high… as long as it is what identifies you to you. Every once in a while, take out one of those aspects, have a good long ponder over it, mentally polishing and lovingly going over the feeling of that as you. If it is possible, find new ways to explore the aspect and to engage the energies that it generates inside of you.

I did something such, a few days ago as I was trying out (yet. another. social. networking. platform.) Pinterest. It occurred to me that creating a Board was a fun way to explore and unravel something that I consider an aspect of myself… and what better than a visual reminder?

An aspect of me (that I love) is my ability to evoke a sensual pleasure in everything in the world – touch, feel, sound, taste, see, breathe, and experience. (ahem, I also scored a 93% on the Sensuality test, so there. *cheeky grin*).

As I thought about topics for my board, there was a resonance when I thought “sensuality” and it took me a few hours to put together a board that was my kind – Here it is:

The process of searching for the right images and compiling this was great because it wasn’t just about being the Me that I know about, but about Remembering the me that I am.

The outcome was even better because I realize now that dormant energies that are awakened and directed towards your SELF – it reinforces you from within. And that, my friends, is Power.

So, on that powerful note, let me wish all of you a Wonderful Year of Self-Belief, Contentment, Discoveries and most of all, Happiness from being your own favorite :). Happy New Year!!!

2013

40 Questions!

I love doing tags, and so I voluntarily pick this one up from Preeti (and very “pretty” too :)) Shenoy’s blog. Voluntarily picking up a tag that has 40 questions in it, (esp. when I’ve done a 30 questions tag sometime ago) should tell you how much I like doing tags! Without further ado…here I go…

1. What is your current obsession?

Getting my blog back into what it was a couple of years ago. I’ve been quite pathetic over the last couple of years and am nursing immense guilt over not paying enough attention to my own need to write. So I’m back with a vengeance!

2. What are you wearing today?

A pink kurta from FabIndia, and a white chudi bottom. Hair tied up into a ponytail. (Hmmm, if I was wearing spectacles, I could have also said that I had the (pseudo) superior-intellectual look)

3. What’s for dinner?

We had a sizeable lunch at Dhaba today – so skipping dinner!

4. What’s the last thing you bought?

A Hidesign handbag for my mum … after enormous amount of coaxing and listening to her sigh, and say that her current handbag was serving its purpose well, and that she didn’t need one more, and that it may look too “hep” and therefore inappropriate on her … till I almost completely got mad. I finally gave her the option of dumping it on me in case she ever felt it was not good for her. And what happened? She left Bangalore with the handbag on her arm, and with a big grin on her face, even as I reminded her how much she’d driven me crazy. *Affectionate smile*…mums will be mums.

5. What are you listening to right now?

The mum again – she’s carping about some really *annoying* relatives, over the phone. Trust me, it’s HUGELY entertaining :D.

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

As I said earlier, wasn’t tagged personally – I picked it up from PS. As for what I think of her – she’s one of those creative, exhuberant personalities who we need more of in this world. She’s an adorable pixie :).

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Now, you’re talking! Ummm.. would that be Mauritius, or the Bahamas, or Califormia… or …

Oh! I know, Paris! I adore Paris. And I even know that I want a house with a view of the Seine. *Sigh*. It’s just the most romantic city I’ve ever seen.

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?

Shades. Some drink close to my reach. Loads and loads of tissue paper. Really airy flats for my feet – I have an amazingly comfy Timberland actually. Non-sticky sunscreen.

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

Must you ask me to mention Paris so many times? Okay, I’ll change that. I will want to spend it on an island in Maldives. Spent my honeymoon there, and that would be one of my other picks for a phenomenal place to visit.

10. Which language do you want to learn?

Ahem. I just spent the last TWO quarters in my MBA program learning languages. The first one, I learnt Japanese. The second, Spanish. Someone was asking me to pick Chinese for the next, but if I do that, IIMB will probably end up giving me a certification for “Diploma in International Languages” instead of the MBA itself. So for now, No, I’ll pass.

11. What’s your favourite quote?

All my favorite quotes are in Malayalam. Simply because most of them are sarcastic and extremely appropriate for many moments *wink*. One such would be “Patti-de vaalu panthiraandu kollam kozhalil ittalum valanje irikku”. Don’t ask me the meaning! Or who I’m using it on! (For the mallu ppl reading this blog….Shush!)

12. Who do you want to meet right now?

Even if it is farfetched, and probably not gonna happen ever? Deepak Chopra.

13. What is your favourite colour?

Peacock Blue. And Silver.

Okay, I know I am not supposed to pick two colors, but seriously, I love a lot of colors. So don’t ask me to pick just one. I can rattle off many shades like the ones Asian Paints have – Baked Biscuit, Mocha, Truffle Pink etc… I love really deep *feeling* kind of colors… something that you would use to express joy, and vivaciousness,… and passion.

(Oh, if only I had a carton of paints with me that I could throw onto a canvas. *Wishful thinking*)

14. Give us 3 styling tips that work for you.

=> Smokey eyes, for that touch of mystery.

=> Lip gloss for that well-turned out look.

=> Nicely brushed hair that bobs around , and strands of which caress your face in the wind. (Okay, that may not really be a styling tip – but yes, nice hair is important).

15. What is your dream job?

Getting paid to explore various channels of creativity (write, read, dance, sing, organize events, interact with people, paint…) –  while being able to work my mind and heart. Infact, that’s almost close to what I do now!!!

16. What’s your favorite magazine?

Nothing really. I don’t have too much of patience to read the kind of crap that most magazines churn out. If you have come across something worthwhile, please suggest.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

Buying lots of fiction books. Not for me though. I and hubby are doing our bit in spreading education by volunteering to teach (economically-backward) kids on the weekend – as part of an initiative run by an NGO called Prerana.

There’s a lot to talk about the experience itself, but I’ll reserve that for a future post. Meanwhile, my latest resolve is to supplement our spoken-english-language support for the kids – by giving them something extra – books to read and enjoy! (Hopefully I’m able to recreate atleast partially for them, the magical experience that I had a youngster waltzing through the pages of many of treasured troves… and at the same time, break their language barrier, because I believe that unless you read enough, you’ll not get around to appreciating and understanding the language constructs). I’ve already started buying books for the kids to read and circulate, but there’s no such thing as more than enough, so any extra money of mine will go into adding to this :). $100 will come in handy ;-).

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

A short western top and a stoal. Somehow it doesn’t go down well with me.

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?

I think almost every 2nd bollywood star is over-rated but I’ll not pick them because they get picked often enough. Therefore – Shobhaa De.

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?

On me? Layered, and short – somewhere around my shoulders. I’ve been wanting to do something dramatically different too, but still haven’t found what it would be. Waiting for the perfect haircut therefore.

21. What are you going to do after this?

Work. Sleep. Dream :).

22. What are your favorite movies?

Many malayalam classics. Many hindi movies. Many english movies. I mean, asking a movie buff like me to name movies is not exactly easy. I think I’ve written a post about it already, so pass.

23. What inspires you?

A lot of things – humans, and their resilience, inner strength. Compassion when it was least expected. God’s Love.

24. What do your friends call you most commonly?

These days, my MBA classmates have christened me with a few new names – Shiks, Muppet. One of my close friends used to call me by my initials GP. Nothing more interesting though. Sadly, my persona probably lends itself well to Shikha. And besides, a 2 syllable name is easy to say, right?

25. Would you prefer coffee or tea?

Tea. Tea. Tea. Tea. Tea… x infinity. I could have as many glasses of tea as there existed on the planet and I still wouldn’t get tired of it. Try it. Ask me if I want a cup of tea sometime. Chances are you’ll get a beaming, resounding “YES” in response.

26. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

Talk to God.

27. What makes you go wild?

If wild as in “really irritated” – Incompetent people trying to lord over others. It makes me want to clobber the hell out of them.

If wild as in “letting hair loose down” types – being at the beach.

28. Which other blogs do you love visiting?

Many. Pls. see my recommended readings section, and the friends section on the right.

29. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

Cheesecake. (after a divine experience recently :)).

Raspberry and Yoghurt Gelato. Yum.

30. How many tabs are turned on in ur browser right now?

Seven.

31. Favorite Season?

Spring.

32. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?

Pancakes. Nice, warm, sweet, pancakes and slurpy jam to go with it.

33. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?

Truthfully – I am not one to carry grudges around and judge a person just because something they did hurt me, and I do believe that people have reasons for whatever they do. So I wouldn’t purposefully avoid them if they cross my path. The only kind of people I actually avoid are those who try too much to be nice and yet your intuition tells you, that they are not as much. Better to stay away :).

34. What are you afraid of the most?

I have a lot of paranoias. Spiders. Worms. Fungus. Drowning. Things that move and go boo in the dark…. hehe, okay, the last one was just added for an effect.

35. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

“Gosh. Open your eyes completely, woman. You’re going to knock something down, walking around, half-awake, looking like a female version of frankenstein!”

36. What brings a smile on your face instantly?

Friends. Cute kids. My hubby when he’s in one of his cute moments :). My mother when she’s sleeping, curled up like a ball on the couch, because she’s too lazy to get up and go and sleep on the bed. My dad, when he wears a pair of absolutely non-matching pants with one of his good shirts and appears completely unaware of the ridiculousness of it :)

37. A word that you say a lot?

“Terrible”. I don’t know, I use that to describe even extra doses of nice things…although why I do that, I have no clue. Have been trying to rid myself of it for sometime now.

38. When was the last time you did something nice?

Today afternoon. Went to see a friend who I hadn’t visited in over a year. Being with her and her one and half yr old kid, was amazing :). *Soup for the heart*

39. What would you do if you were made President of India for one day?

Being the President of India for a day is no big shakes. You can’t do anything constructive, that someone else cannot undo. However, I think there is a Right To Education issue that’s currently in the pipeline. I’ll see if I can add some presidential weight to that, and recommend the bill.

40. Do you Know who Master SHIFU is?

Yeah.  *Hiiiiiyyyyeeeeeeaaaaah*.

————————————————–

Yes, I’ve finally done it.

*Solemn breath*. And I now tag…YOU (if you’re not mentioned after this) and @nikhilnarayanan, @shruti_007, Vinoshini, Lazy Pineapple, Emmanuel, Sonali :) – hopefully none of you’ve done the tag yet, and because I would love to know what your answers are, yes!!

Update:

Follow up posts from the victims above ;)

Shruti’s version @ Lost In Translation

Lazy Pineapple

Emmanuel writes @ Reticent Expressions

Sonali’s take

The Last Mango

The Last Mango

The Last Mango

The car zoomed up the gate and stopped abruptly. It was almost synchronously followed by the front door opening, and a group of exuberant faces emerged – sporting big grins – they were there at the gate in no time.

I gingerly stepped out of the passenger seat of the white ambassador car, my face having that typical embarrassed look – it was always an odd feeling for me, meeting them all after 2 years… I never knew what to say at first.

My grandmother, in her trademark white sari and blouse ran to hug me. My face was for a few moments showered with kisses, and the embarrassed look gave way to a wide-toothed grin – if there was one thing that was constant in this world, that was my grandmother.

Her penchant for disfiguring faces with her kisses would never change :).

Extricating myself from the bear hug, I proceeded to acknowledge my aunt, and my cousin – they were tugging at our bags while giving us those lovely smiles that always warmed my heart. My grandma wouldn’t leave it at that though. Excitedly, her wrinkled hands clasped my tiny one and led me inside the gate, with a purpose. I looked sideways at my mother, but she was too caught up in the exchange of pleasantries to notice.

Soon, we both were at the foot of the mango tree (at my age, I wouldn’t recognize it so however). She pointed to a lone green mango, hanging at a reasonable height and said

“See that? I’ve left it for you to pluck. I haven’t let anyone else pluck it saying that it was meant only for my darling”.

The profoundness of her statement made me look at her in wonder. I had never plucked anything from any tree before and this was like a God-given opportunity (one never got to be near too many trees when growing up in Saudi Arabia, you see).

The woman of 65 obviously knew the mind of a child of 10, well.

I reached out, and my grandma bent the branch towards me. My fingers grasped the green mango, and before I knew it, it came off the branch. I proffered it with pride at my grandma – she said “Shall I make a pickle out of it then?”, her affection laden voice matched by a face with a smile that I can only call heavenly. I nodded in happiness.

My cousin came to hold my hand and whispered in my ear “She wouldn’t let me pluck it for so many days! All of the rest was gone a week ago, but she asked to leave just this one till you came!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Many, many years later…]

“Let her pluck a few!” That was my mother, today morning.

I raised my eyebrows at my dad in mock superiority and smirked. He smirked back, “Let them be for some more time. We can eat them ripe, that would be better”.

“She’s here only for 2 more days. You’ve had enough ripe mangoes in your life. My poor daughter… she’s so far away, who’s giving her any?”, motherly concern dripped from her voice like honey.

I grinned and looked at my dad, and winked. Here I was, a 29 year old, bordering on 30, woman, and my mother still spoke of me like I was a 5 year old ;). Gosh, mothers are just so wonderful.

(We were ambling around the garden in front of my house, the three of us. As I skipped around the grass, my dad stooped often to pick up stray leaves and my mum was critically examining the flowers on her treasured creations. It was just one of our together-times, I guess.)

Seven green mangoes were hanging from the small-sized mango tree … pretty amazing bunch, I reflected, especially on such a small tree. I reached out for one.

This time, I mentally made a statement – directed at the tree – it was just a request – “I’m taking one, pls. don’t mind”. (I had read somewhere that one must ask a tree for permission before plucking its fruit – apparently, trees feel pained when their fruit is yanked off rudely – but give off willingly even with just a dash of politeness ;)).

As it had many many years ago, it came off as soon as I gave a gentle pull.

A memory flashed past my mind – the rustle of the white cotton sari, and the wrinkled hands, gleeful eyes with the crow’s feet marks outlining them. Kindness, love of a unique kind.

My eyes then focussed on the two people next to me, as I watched them  – chattering incessantly about seemingly inconsequential things; enveloped in their own world – a world where I was just so important.

Such treasures were hard to come by. For a few seconds, gratitude poured within me.

19 years had passed. But the past and the present were merging. There was only one moment. And only one emotion. Love.

Back to school

Scene 1: Friday 06.09 a.m.

There is light…and it’s obtrusive.

An object hovers in sight and it takes some moments for the senses to realize that there is a perceptible sound. Strangely the sound seems coordinated with blinking lights. The music brings with it a vague sense of discomfort.

“6.10”.
“Huh??”

*Blinking, trying to focus*..”oh. Time. That’s it! Time.”
“Time?”…”Oh, ok. The blue annoying thing is my mobile”…. *Slipping back into oblivion*

“Its late”.
…”Wha…t”?

“Yeah, its late. You were supposed to get up.”
“Why?”

“You have to go somewhere..do something”
“What?”

“….classes. Yes, that’s it. You are supposed to go to class”
*Grimace*. “5 minutes. 5 minutes please”. *Hand fumbling for a flat surface to place the offending object in the hand*…

Scene 2: 07.50 a.m.

The silence is interrupted by the early-morning chirp of many birds. And the sound of my steps on the gravel. My lungs expand to experience more of the dewy fresh air flowing in. As I walk towards my destination, the grey stone walls and the accompanying peace seem like another world altogether. It is like time has frozen.

Scene 3: 9.30 a.m.

I walk outside the room amidst the crowd, going past others to a table where coffee, tea and biscuits are being served. Animated conversations surround me, … the otherwise peaceful environment becoming host to a cacophony. While I contendedly munch biscuits and laugh at my own predicament, my friends proceed to relate their own experiences. We’re soon aware of the time, and of a certain figure going up the staircase. As if on cue, we hurriedly gulp the last drops of coffee, shove the biscuit into our mouth and follow the path of the person who’s just walked past. The rest of the crowd piles back into the room, and the blue door swings shut. The mikes are switched on, and the russle of pages breaks into hearing.

Scene 4: 12.30 a.m.

The car comes to a halt outside office premises in Electronics City. I wearily walk towards the Siemens gate, my office identification card replacing the other one. I wave towards a couple of peers noting their quizzical expressions as I walk towards the reception. Finally at my desk, I plonk the heavy burden of my bag on the desk, and proceed to sit at my workstation, trying to come to terms with the number of unread mails in my mailbox.

Scene 5: 7.00 p.m.

I lug the bag on my back and run into the bus trying to find a seat next to the window. As the bus roars into movement, I pull out the heavy book from the bag. I struggle to see the words in the diminished light. Music from the ipod is flowing into my ears, and my mind starts to wander to the song every now and then. I try to rudely yank my mind back into submission, forcing it to take in the unfamiliar numbers and graphs printed on the book.

Scene 6: 11.30 p.m.

The pink highlighter hovers in mid air, poised to land on a smooth white surface. There’s a jerk and suddenly it crashes on the book, as my head snaps forward. The momentum wakes me abruptly, and my blurred eyes try to focus, without much success. Resignedly, I close the book shut, and fall back on the bed…within seconds, my mind goes back to the dream that it had just begun seeing a minute ago. Ah, back to oblivion.

—-

Having wetted your appetite enough ;-), I proceed to the explanatory part of my blog post now: What I’ve written above is just an excerpt from a Friday in my life these days… after a significant event that occurred about a couple of months ago.

I am now officially doing MBA, and am part of the executive management program conducted by IIM, BangalorePost Graduate Program in Software Enterprise Management or PGSEM, for short. The journey began on May 30th, when we had our orientation program. Classes began on June 20th and in most likelihood will go on for 2 and 1/2 years atleast, if not more :).

IIMB Campus

IIMB Campus (courtesy Guha's blog)

To say that the journey has been incredible is an understatement. How do you explain the awe that one gets being within the IIM Bangalore campus?  The campus is a contradiction unto itself – lying in the midst of noisy, choked and polluted Bannerghatta Road, but being untouched by the mania outside. A beautiful expanse of stone buildings, maze like roads and winding stone pathways amongst green courtyards – it puts to rest all worries you migh have and makes you want to walk around in gay abandon. Walking through the hallways, you almost hear whispers…stories of ageless scholarly wisdom. There are students around, some in the library reading or working on the computers, some emerging from the hostels animatedly in conversation, some seated with arms around each others shoulders around the amphitheater and some more, sipping tea and munching a snack around the many tea/coffee places. Its campus life in its virgin form; individuals of high-intellect who’re there for one goal, whilst partaking the many joys of the postgraduate education experience.

The PGSEM classes are splendid, the courseware enviable. How often does one get to meet professors who’re the best in the country – people who’ve achieved mastery of their subject and are contributing to the country’s future in many ways, not just teaching the next generation? During the orientation course, we had a couple of professors who’d come to talk to us about what they would be teaching. All 140 of us in the batch were awe-struck after each class – their passion and commitment to the subject was incredible. These weren’t serious lecturers; they were witty and brilliant – able to engage a crowd of anxious, accomplished professionals every minute. And the saga continues into the weekly lectures – the twinkle in the eye of my Microeconomics professor when he tries to show us the beauty of supply-demand dynamics is unmistakable :). These are people who’re not just committed to a cause. They are living it.

And as for us, the PGSEM students…Well, we’re one hell of a lot :). Experience levels range from 3-20 in the class; all of us are juggling work and life priorities already – some of us getting our fingers burnt in the bargain – yet out to add one more ball to our kitty. Oh, did I mention that we’re on a unicycle also? ;). The intellect levels in the class is high and usually there is no end to the commotion. Classes are never one-directional – almost everyone wants to speak into their mikes, and contribute to the thought process flowing around.

Of course, over time we are all facing stark reality. Having to read and understand atleast 2 chapters (40 pages) per course (3 in a quarter), prepare for a couple of case studies, and imbibe mind boggling concepts over a week is not a piece of cake. Especially when you spend 50% of your time per week battling complicated issues at your workplace. This is not just a course in management, it is a course in effective time management. I happened to realize how much of time I had in my life only after joining this course ;). It is also a course on sleep and fitness regulation. 8 hours of sleep is a luxury, and as they say, all work and no play makes jill a dull girl – so keeping oneself fit must also be squeezed in, as otherwise, the stress and late nights can play havoc with your physical wellbeing.

Yesterday was our first exam. As we spilled out of the examination hall, we laughed and joked about how we’d gotten massacred. It wasn’t easy… spending all the free time that you’d ever had, to go back to studies and fight it out – a battle of mental capacity as well as strength. It was sheer spirit that drove us to come to class at 8 in the morning, and stay till 3.30 on a Saturday. But we aren’t the first ones. The course is into its 10th year, and 9 batches have successfully passed us, so that thought does bring some relief when at times we question our own ability to understand the complex dynamics of business ;).

Jamming...

Jamming...

And yes, even after the strenuous burden of a test, and 3 one-and-half-hour classes, 2 of them being Microeconomics back-to-back!!, a smaller group of us didn’t haul our bags into cars and drive off. We stayed back, went to grab a cup of tea, and then collect around our canteen area. Two talented souls brought out guitars and started strumming whilst a few others started humming. The humming soon broke out into a full-fledged song, their voices booming and echoing off the walls. I looked around and giggled at some of their antics; at other times joined the fray. Some others came to see the jamming session and then sauntered out into another area, hoping to give vent to their theatrical artistry. What are we all doing? Practicing for Pehel, the first event we’re conducting as the freshers who’ve entered college :).

And so my description of my newest exploit draws to a close. As I stepped into my home yesterday evening, partly exhausted and partly on a high, I had thought – well, whatever happens a couple of years down the lane, this is one experience I am sure I will come back to many times in my life.

This is truly an experience of a lifetime. Wish me luck!! :)

Tagged again!

*Satisfied sigh*…Yet another tag to feed my narcissistic obsessions (oh, how I love talking about myself!!). This time it’s 30 questions long!

  1. Last Movie You Saw In A Theater:
    Bhoothnath. It was my mother’s day treat to my mum – she’s seeing a movie in a theater after 2 years!! Gosh. Does not speak volumes about my generosity but in my defense, I have suggested movie-escapades numerous times, only to be turned down by her with the response that we should snuggle at home with a dvd. We both loved the movie. And it was a bigger treat to see my mum giggling at the gawky irascible ghost who’d started doubting his own ghostly abilities after having met his match in a razor-sharp kid. There were some cliched emotions and a tad too many songs I’d wished the director had left out of this movie but nevertheless, this is recommended for all of you who still have the child within alive and  kicking!!
  2. What Book Are You Reading?
    Re-reading “Conversations with God – Part II” by Neale Donald Walsch. (This is life-changing material)
  3. Favorite Board Game:
    (Political) Games played during board meetings :P. Highly entertaining… *Wicked chuckle* :)
  4. Favorite Magazine:
    Been ages since I’ve read any of the regular magazines. The ones I’ve been reading regularly these days are in-flight magazines *smirk*.
  5. Favorite Smells:
    The smell of rain on earth. Warm smell of a hug. Smell of hot tea on a cold evening. Jasmine flowers. Freshly baked croissants. Babies (except when they’ve pottied :)). Countless other smells that remind me constantly what a pleasure it is to be alive.
  6. Favorite Sound:
    Pitter patter of rain, on a window sill/roof. The delighted gurgle of an infant.
    The sleepy baritone murmurs of my husband on the phone when I have just woken him up with my call ;)
    The sound of a flute, a mridangam, a ghunghroo…
  7. Worst Feeling In The World:
    Fear.
  8. What Is The First Thing You Think Of When You Wake?
    *Squirm* 5 more minutes, please, please… *sets alarm to snooze*
  9. Favorite Fast Food Place:
    Don’t particularly crave “fast-food”. I prefer good food served in a luxurious, candle-light, wine-dine setting ;-).
  10. Future Child’s Name:
    My teen-diary has about 150 children names, penned laboriously by me for the naming needs of my entire battalion of cousins. There were a few names out of the lot that I never shared however. Those were my favorites; the ones I’d kept to decide upon when I had a child of my own someday.
    Now if you think I am going to list them here, you’ve got another thing coming mister!
  11. Finish This Statement. “If I Had A Lot of Money I’d…”
    Pay my MBA course fee, elaborately furnish our new apartment (with expensive designer stuff) and fund hubby n me for a romantic trip around Europe.
    (Ah. What lovely and pleasant visions… oh wait. This was just a rhetorical question, not reality! *Pouting in self-pity* :()
  12. Do You Drive Fast?
    I hope to be out on the roads as a significant threat to public health very soon. And I think I can achieve enough danger without even attempting speed-driving.
  13. Do You Sleep With A Stuffed Animal?
    I do NOT like stuffed animals. I did have a stuffed Koala Bear as a child – someone gifted it to me – but I kept him in a showcase, preferring to sleep on my own :). Now of course, I have a non-stuffed, non-animal cuddly alternative ;)
  14. Storms-Cool or Scary?
    Cool when I kick up the storm. Scary when my hubby does the honours…hehe.
  15. What Was Your First Car?
    I don’t have a car yet. I am about to buy one soon, but I’m on the lookout for something that can survive lots of damage… one that isn’t pretty :).
  16. Favourite drink?
    Fruit Smoothies! (Recently was pretty impressed by a banana-strawberry combo)
    Mango milkshakes (I have wonderful memories of many a milkshake guzzled down on rainy afternoons…*smacking lips*)
  17. Finish This Statement, “If I Had The Time I Would …..”
    I’m striving to be independent of time from now on. No more driving myself up a wall, counting the minutes left on my  watch. This is a new mantra of mine – “I have all that I want, just need to re-prioritize and live each moment fully”.
  18. Do You Eat The Stems On Broccoli?
    I don’t like wasting food, so yes, I do eat the stems; But only if I choose to eat broccoli at all :)
  19. If You Could Dye Your Hair Any Color, What Would Be Your Choice?
    Blonde and burgundy streaks for sure!!
  20. Name All The Different Cities/Towns You Have Lived In.
    The main ones in chronological order: Anand-Gujarat (born, and kindergarten years), Dammam-KSA (schooling), Cochin-Kerala (college), Bangalore-Karnataka (work), Erlangen-Germany (work again), Sharjah-UAE (my hubby’s there!).
  21. Favorite Sports To Watch:
    With the luxury the TV has become these days for me, I simply have more things to watch than sports. But otherwise, I do like  tennis, pool and cricket. And since my hubby is a football fanatic, I am trying to get better acquainted with that too in a bid to avoid “remote-control” fights. *Screws up eyes indicating concentrated thought*.
  22. One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You:
    Is being a fraud mallu, named after a popular accompaniment to south indian breakfast foods, a nice thing?
    Well, a bachelor boy (though not for long probably) he’s extremely talented at penning humorous conversations and satirical notes (specially about mallu eccentricities :)). NC: thank you for the tag!
  23. What’s Under Your Bed?
    Would like to say bhoothnath, but its probably dustnath for now :(
  24. Would You Like To Be Born As Yourself Again?
    The answer to this question would depend on what is meant by “yourself”. I believe that the soul lives forever, so definitely, it will be me who’s back :). However, I have lived a good life as this persona, and more than wanting to be the same again, I would want to be surrounded by the people I love in this life… whenever and whoever I am born as again.
  25. Morning Person or Night Owl?
    Owl, for sure. My energy peaks after 8 p.m. (*psst*… secretly: people report that I’m much more inclined to bounce about and giggle after this crucial hour ;)). However sunny-spirited a person I am otherwise, the morning sun sees me as the worst grouch on the planet – Waking up in the mornings is the biggest test for my willpower.
  26. Over Easy Or Sunny Side Up?
    Sunny side up ( I hope! )
  27. Favorite Place To Relax:
    I am generally a person who can relax anywhere as long as I’m tuned into my ipod. But my most favorite place is a beautiful hammock, at the Taj Coral Reef, Maldives beach – tied just outside my honeymoon beach villa. One could lay there under the shade of trees, listening to the waves of the sea 10 feet away, hear the birds chirping and never know what time meant. And to have your love next to you in such a place is … bliss :)
  28. Favorite Pie:
    Apple crumble.
  29. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
    The king of all flavours – Vanilla.
  30. Of all The People You Tagged This To, Who’s Most Likely To Respond First?
    I pass this onto the following hapless victims *Evil laugh* ;): Ooomz, Karthick, Raman Sir and Sawani.

I’m an ENFJ! What are you?

This seems to be the season for personality analysis tests, what with me getting multiple requests to take them and find out what I am :)

I started off the week by doing a test that told me what gender my brain was. Here’s a brief description of the test, from the page:

Some researchers say that men can have ‘women’s brains’ and that women can think more like men.
Find out more about ‘brain sex’ differences by taking the Sex ID test
:

  • Get a brain sex profile and find out if you think like a man or a woman.
  • See if you can gaze into someone’s eyes and know what they’re thinking.
  • Find out why scientists are interested in the length of your fingers.
  • See how your results relate to theories about brain sex.

The test has a series of logic-based puzzles, some face ‘n eye-gazing (to know how intuitive you are), some calculations and voila! Your brain sex profile is out. As I had suspected all along in my life ;-), the test told me that I had a mostly male brain – or think like a man.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that I need to have a sex change ;)… I think the whole assumption in the test is that “logical, mathematical” thinking is a typically male characteristic, while “intuitive, feeling-based” thinking is a typically female characteristic. I scored well on all of the logical/mathematical tests (not a surprise, considering my profession also validates my ability ;)), and since there were more of them than intuitive tests (where also I did score well), I was mapped to have a “more male” brain.

Mid-week, I got a suggestion from Raman Sir that I should attempt the Jung Typology Test to discover which of the Myers-Briggs personality types I was. I did, and discovered that I am an ENFJ – Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging Personality – also known as the Idealist/Teacher. If you’re left saying “Whaa…t??”, then here are some of the  (very flattering) descriptions to give you a general idea of what I am [*Halo on my head*] -

From Portrait of the Teacher Idealist:

The eNFj, rightly called the educative mentor or Teacher for short is especially capable of educing or calling forth those inner potentials each learner possesses. Teachers expect the very best of those around them, and this expectation, usually expressed as enthusiastic encouragement, motivates action in others and the desire to live up to their expectations. Teachers value harmonious human relations about all else, can handle people with charm and concern, and are usually popular wherever they are. They are found in no more than 2 or 3 percent of the population. 

From ENFJ Profile:

Many ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. But it’s usually not meant as manipulation — ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are. ENFJs are global learners. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities or projects simultaneously. Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability.

Whoa! Too much, I say ;)…Truthfully though, I was quite surprised to see the word “Teacher” in my profile, since that is something I enjoy doing the most.

Wait, I’m not done. Don’t you wanna know what type of blogger I am? Here it is from Bloginality:

As a weblogger, ENFJ’s enjoy the relationships with other bloggers because of their rich insights and people skills. Even while they enjoy journaling, they may still feel alone in their thoughts despite the number of people linking to them.

Hmmm, that could explain my title “Lonely In Space”… [*Contemplative*].

TeamTechnology tells me what type of a person I am in the team environment:

In a team environment, the ENFJ can contribute by:

  • promoting insight and common understanding amongst the team
  • facilitating discussions, encouraging contributions from all team members by asking questions in a structured way
  • seeking to arrive at consensus decisions
  • focusing on areas of agreement and building on others’ proposals
  • bringing discussions to positive conclusions

Sounds good. Now, I realize why I am so obsessed with structure, conclusions and consensus. Now, here’s the not-so-nice part (Just to bring me back to earth level from the clouds):

The potential ways in which an ENFJ can irritate others include:

  • talking too much
  • avoiding conflict and not giving criticism when it is needed
  • taking criticism personally

Ahem. Talking too much?… me?? :D I guess that’s a dead give-away considering that you can judge my verbal ability from the length of my blog posts. Yup, I need some cellotape on my mouth, sometimes.

And finally, here’s what I can be at home, from ENFJ – The Sage:

ENFJ’s are socially adept and make excellent companions and mates. They also are deeply devoted to their children, yet tend not to be domineering to either the children or mate. In fact, the ENFJ is so even-tempered that he or she can be victimized by a mate who might have become more and more demanding.

:O. Victim, huh? Well, that should teach me to keep an eye open for demanding mates ;-).

All in all, the personal profiling was fun. And the personality typing was amazing, because much of it fit the description I had in my head of my *best* self.

For those of you, who have some time on your hands, I would suggest that you attempt to find out your type too… who knows, it could be a real revelation!!

P.S. Similar Posts from my friends :)

Tagged!

Well, well, well. The inevitable has happened. I’ve finally been tagged!. In fact, its been sometime that I’ve been tagged, but I couldn’t get around to it till today because I was busy all of last week.

So here is the standardised output:

I am thinking about…

  • How to find time between work and other chores, to write posts on everything I’m thinking about these days (Trust me, there are a lot many ideas festering in my brain).
  • Buying a laptop before this year ends… I’m not an impulsive buyer btw. I usually do lots of research and buy something only when I’m completely convinced that I need it, and I will have total use for it. What motivates me to do the research, thinking and mulling over the idea of buying, is the need to never regret a decision I’ve made. I positively hate to do things and then spend the rest of my life regretting (life is too precious, you see). And I also believe that once the action is done, there is usually no “Undo” button in life, so having that extra thought never hurts. This ideology has stood me in good stead over the years, and I sleep pretty well in the nights, so I guess its my mantra for a good life. I’ve ventured out and away from the initial topic (as usual), so coming back to the laptop -I need to have a good look at features and price et al – once I’m done, I’ll know whether I’ll actually be buying one soon or not. Right now, it looks like I will be buying one :)
  • How to stop procrastinating and get my driving license and finish that task in my ToDo list asap.

I want to…

  • Be of some use to the society. I’ve been contemplating things that I could do as a person, to help make a difference, and children seem to be the cause that’s closest to my heart. It tears my heart apart to think of children in distress; orphaned, made to beg, sexually exploited, physically exploited… and even if I can’t make a difference to all of them, I’d like to do something in the near future, that would help atleast a single child. I would also like to remind all of you reading this, that if each one of us think of helping a single child, we can go a long way in securing the future of our country and our world, and making this a better place to live in.
  • Become more fit [Typical bane of any software engineer -> long hours at the workstation + no exercise = bad back, no stamina, unfit body]. I’m dabbling in a bit of yoga, but I need to make more concerted efforts, so that I don’t end up with a whole host of lifetstyle-related-diseases in middle age.

I wish…

  • I could remember to be silent more often and learn to hear the voice of God.

I hear…

  • Music. If I’m not actually listening to music on Radio City/Radio Mirchi/Radio One/Rainbow FM (yes, yes, those are the main FM radio channels in Bangalore) or on my PC, then there’s always some song playing out in my head (amazingly in great detail – even the background music, interludes, bass etc are adjusted to be exactly the same as the actual song :)). Music is my lifeline. As soon as I step out of my house, I plug in my earphones and there starts my sojourn with Bangalore’s FM channels. The radio is switched off after I’m seated at my workstation, but the earphones don’t come out – the plug is pulled out from my walkman and pushed into my PC’s earphone outlet. And then when I’m going home, radio is my companion – in fact, Bangalore’s much-publicised traffic woes never really get to me :).

I wonder…

  • about the complex patterns of humans, their behaviour, their physical attributes, and their peculiarities.
  • that if creation on the earth is so beautiful, how magnificent the creator must be.

I regret…

  • Nothing. See my entry in “I’m thinking about…”.
  • I understand that regret is inevitable at times, because you can always not do the right thing. But I still think its better to understand, accept your mistakes and move on in life, rather than to spend it regretting. Regret is a powerful way of degeneration. With each moment spent regretting, you’re losing a moment that you can use to make a difference, to make a change.
  • It takes a strong effort, but believe me: for every new decision you take, spend a minute thinking whether you’ll be regretting it ever. If you think you will, stop and consider. Always make the decision knowing that you won’t regret. This is not equivalent to doing the right thing. You may still take the wrong or right path, but not regretting the path you’ve taken makes all the difference.

I am…

  • a Sagi-Scorpio combination.
  • Outward, I am the typical Sagittarius, which is my sun sign. Clumsy, likely to put her foot in her mouth most of the time, childlike, enthusiastic, broadminded, optimistic, procrastinating. I epitomize the archer aiming the arrow at the sun.
  • My moon sign is Scorpio, which makes me a little brooding inside, emotionally complex, inclined to mystery and magic, determined, a little vengeful and intolerant at times.

I dance…

  • When I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m angry, and when I’m stressed-out. If music is my lifeline, dancing is my passion. If I am not dancing myself, I choreograph :). Most of the time when I listen to music while travelling on the office bus, I visualize groups of dancers on stage, dancing to the tune of the song I’m listening to, and I think of elaborate choreography routines… [Hmmm... I wonder if I sound like a wierdo *blush*]

I sing…

  • Whilst taking a bath, when I’m cooking, when there’s no one in the house and I want to hear my sound echoing off the walls… I used to sing more often as a child, and have performed number of times on stage in school, and in college too. But Bangalore and its cold climate usually gifts me a blocked nose or a sore throat, so public singing is ruled out since my vocal condition isn’t always reliable.

I cry…

  • After a particularly damaging verbal argument. Almost always after an argument, esp. with my mum/dad. Arguments always leave me feeling guilty about the things I said, and my irritation/anger at myself gives way to tears. My mother has started calling me a softy nowadays.
  • When I watch emotional scenes in movies/hard-hitting documentaries. Yes, I’m ashamed at myself at times, but I admit. I’m the one in the theatre, who’ll be watching a particularly heart rending scene, and holding her hand near her face (so that the people next to her don’t see the streaks of tears on the cheeks) and then with a casual flick of the finger, wiping the tear drop that’s threatening to fall and divulge her secret. When I’m alone at home, and am watching a sob story, I feel the odd pain in my heart (which always precedes the tears), and then the tears are running down my face in copious volumes, and I’m crying away to glory… then of course, I don’t bother to hide.
  • Just as a note, I think crying cleans my inner self and makes me more aware of my soul.

I am not always…

  • able to understand my own motives for certain actions/decisions, or some of my emotions. I guess life is a learning process, and as you learn about other people, you also learn a lot about yourself through them, and through your actions. If you think you know yourself completely, please think again… Most of the time, what we think we know about ourself is usually something we would like us to be, not necessarily what we already are. Always think twice before judging someone else, because you never really know/can predict what you’ll do in their situation, and you can end up doing something you once condemned. This has been by far, the biggest lesson in my life, and I’m glad I’ve understood it already.

I make with my hands…

  • Roses out of clay. I love moulding clay to form the shape of roses and other interesting stuff. Once, for a science project (in 8th standard I guess), I fashioned tree trunks out of clay. The project was about environmental pollution, and we won first prize by the way :).
  • Dance mudras (symbolic gestures).
  • Knitting (I have learnt knitting, and like it very much, but I don’t know how to make useful material like sweaters). Strangely, I don’t like stitching much.
  • Food. I love watching cookery shows, but am not a particularly experienced cook – because I don’t like cooking on a day-to-day basis, and also because as a bachelor girl, I can indulge and laze around, and cook only maggi/cornflakes/eat bread for survival. BTW, I said I may not be an experienced cook, but I didn’t say I’m a bad one. I do cook irregularly, and usually the food comes out okay, so I guess I can survive without burning the kitchen down, or having people admitted in the hospital.
  • Drawings (on paper, on Microsoft Paint and in Adobe Photoshop).

I write…

  • My blog (this one was easy wasn’t it? :))
  • Official documentation for my project – concept manuals, functional specs, design specs, make presentations, excel sheets for quality analysis and estimation, training material… yes, the works.
  • I also scribble during meetings. My hand is constantly at work, and I have scores of paper lying around with scribbles, doodles, and drawings – all output from my meetings.

I confuse…

  • People by talking too much about a particular topic. I have a very logical approach to thinking so I inevitably try to convince by saying things that may be like A = B and B= C so naturally A = C. But the problem with logical thinking is that it should be brief. My problem is that I have lots of information, so when I use all of it to convey some idea/solution, my listeners are initially always confused. Then I have to repeat and structure the information bit by bit till I finally convince and people agree… Yes, I’ve confused you too, haven’t I?

I need… (in no particular order)

  • Love.
  • Fresh air, water, food, clothes and a home to live in.
  • Emotional security.
  • Money.
  • Work. I love working. Work makes me complete. Work provides the structure in my life. Although I do have Monday blues, and sometimes a dislike for routine, I would be incapacitated if there was no work.
  • Challenges. Life is a challenge, and even though there are hardships, I realize that we become powerful by overcoming each challenge. I’m constantly inspired by people who try to make the most of what they have, and often overcome debilitating challenges to find more meaning in and to life itself. I thank God for not making my life a cake-walk, or else, I would have become a lazy, useless piece of s**t.

And finally…

  • I love life.
  • And I tag my friends and everyone who reads this post, who hasn’t been tagged yet and has a blog, so that they can spare some time for introspection, clear the clouds in their thoughts, and hopefully make new discoveries about themselves.
  • I enjoyed being tagged :). Thank you, Visitor.