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Showing posts from March, 2016

Day 294: Favorite TED Talks 10: What works !

The title might sound abstract but as you watch this brilliant talk you will find how that matters. This is one of my favorite TED Talks and I saved this for the last. When I stumbled upon this talk I wasn't sure how it would turn up. Was it yet another leadership talk? Well yes, but this one points out how important it is for companies to understand and tap the productivity of its employees by letting them and encouraging them to work together.

This concept is essential as we need to focus not just on the superheroes.

Watch this to get the idea of why this is one of the best!

Day 293: Favorite TED Talks 9: Love

Love is a hard topic to explain in a TED Talk. However, Helen Fisher does this beautifully. She uses the context of love from both biological and anthropological perspective in this wonderful TED Talk. I am not writing more here as it will be fun watching and listening to her. 
A special dedication to my favorite people on their lovely anniversary. May they grow in love- today and forever. 

Day 292: Favorite TED TALK 8: The power of introvert

I am always excited when someone talks about how much they loved reading and using that as a group activity. I love it when someone decides to take a different turn between their career to pursue their passion and also comes out successful in that. Well, here is one such lady- Susan Cain. Trained as a lawyer, she worked for a while and then took a break to pursue her long time passion- writing. In this TED Talk she talks about the power of introverts (that is her book too).

What I liked about this talk is her narration. It was about the aspect of looking at both sides of the spectrum with same respect as we are all human beings traveling the same long journey in our own unique way. Do watch this one and let me know your thoughts!

Day 291:Favorite TED TALK 7: Try something new for 30 days

Matt Cutts is a software engineer at Google. Yes. So, what is so special about this TED Talk. Well, the talk is special as the topic is inspiring and interesting. He has not delivered the usual 18-20 min talk.Yes. This is not a 18-20 min TED talk but in fact very short. However, the point made is very interesting and has inspired me to think about doing something for a short term to either change my old habit or start a new one. It is brilliant.

Hopefully you guys will like it too and probably might just follow something for 30 days.

Day 290: Favorite TED TALK 6: The golden circle with 'why'

Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker and author. I did not know about him until I saw his TED Talk a couple of years ago (I think in 2010 or 2011). This is also a talk that I will never forget and have watched it many times. He is the proponent of the 'golden circle'.

I think he gives a terrific presentation that I don't want to spoil it for you here by giving more info.

All I want to tell you is we need to always ask 'the why'.

Day 289: Favorite TED TALK 5: If I should have a daughter

"I write poems to figure things out"- Sarah Kay

Well, she spoke my mind when she said this in her TED talk way back in 2011. I took to writing poetry from a young age only because it helped me figure things out. This young poet writes - spoken word poetry (similar to theatrical style) and this is one of my most favorite TED Talks. I have heard this over and over again to just listen to her poetry.

I would like to dedicate this every little girl I know and this is one of my most favorite TED Talk hands down. A terrific performer, brilliant poet, kind and beautiful lady.

Day 288: Favorite TED TALK 4: Conversations- is it a dying art?

One of the best things I have learned in my PhD is that doing research from an interpretive paradigm is the hardest of all (of course, critical paradigm too). The reason is because both these paradigms involves tools for research that requires us to 'listen'. It also teaches us that 'we' are not always the be all and end all of everything, there is so much more out in the world that is waiting to be explored. Thanks to my wonderful chair and other exceptional committee members, I have had the best classes in understanding this tool called 'interviewing'. I have also learned that we can be better at interviewing only with more interviewing and more practice. One of the most crucial skills here is to listen and also take a conversation forward. Unfortunately, in today's day and age, we end up hustling through conversations and not being able to continue a meaningful discussion with most people. As much as we have moved forward with technology and other sophi…

Day 287: Favorite TED TALK 3: Are you a procrastinator ?

I have always followed this wonderful blog called 'Wait but why?'. This is an interesting blog as it uses very wry sense of style in his writing and uses stick figures to illustrate the blog. As an internet sensation, this blog has some great page views and is even followed by some top giants of tech world. He writes about a lot of topics and his writing style is very 'straight forward'. This TED Talk is one of the best in the recent times. He just keeps you glued to this session and as this is very recent (filmed in Feb 2016), this kind of also is 'timely' for me. I watched it just today:)

I am sure all of us have had instances where your procrastination has caused more issues and there might have been different ways in which we bring out this trait in us. For sure, I am one (sadly) in certain things that I wish I am otherwise. I do get my work done but I sometimes let that little monkey (as mentioned by Tim Urban) take over the steering wheel of my mind. Now…

Day 286: Favorite TED TALK 2: Transformative Power of Classical Music

There is a belief that classical music is not for all. That attitude exists with both Western and Indian classical music. It works both ways. For instance, I have had people who believe I cannot enjoy these 'intellectual' class of music probably because they do not know if I know anything about it or not, or probably they know slightly more than what I do. There has also been instances where I have had people tell me that classical music (both carnatic and western) are for people who are of a different level and hence, they don't think they can enjoy it. I have always thought that it was wrong as even before I could ever understand the 'do re mi's' and the 'd's, e's, and b's' in the classical music notes, I have always been moved by it. Even before I could understand about the ragas or the swaras, or even the language (the meaning), I was moved by the beautiful keerthanas. That is the power of music.

This TED talk is by a well-known and won…

Day 285: Favorite TED TALK 1: The danger of a single story

From today, for the next two weeks, I will share my favorite podcasts or TED talks here. It will just provide a link and the reason why I liked it or may be a couple of key takeaways.

Let me start with this one. This is an old one but unfortunately (or fortunately) I only watched it recently. I watched it because I was talking to a friend about this author - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. She recommended her book- The Purple Hibiscus and Americanah, which is on my to-read list for this year. She is a young writer from Nigeria and this TED Talk was in July 2009 and is called 'The danger of a single story'.

This is such an eloquent presentation on something we all tend to experience (standing on either side) this in our everyday life- listening to a single side of a story. The agenda of 'someone' else is to share that single story and if we don't make that attempt to hear and look at the other side, we make our own assumptions. For instance, in this she takes us through h…

Day 284: To homeschool or not?

Home schooling. It means teaching kids at home instead of sending them to a public or private school. Someone I know here in this town provides her three kids homeschooling. Her kids are 9, 7, and 4 years old and in between her job (flexible timing), she provides homeschooling to these kids. Initially I was confused about the way these kids would interact with others considering their stay at home for studies. However, the couple of times we have met them, I have always been floored by the older daughter's perceptive and honest attitude, mild demeanor of all the kids, intelligent and smart attitude. When we asked them how they get to interact with other kids, she replied that they are send to co-op school three days a week and the other days they are taught at home (for this year alone). In the past, they were just home schooled but they had regular meet ups with other home schooling moms and kids. As the kids are of different age group, the kids get to meet different age group k…

Day 283: Random Thoughts

This post is a complete rambling of thoughts that I have been contemplating these past few days. Recently, I was going through some old pictures and videos on my phone and watched an old video of my friend's 3-year old singing and practicing happy new year song for her play school event. In all her cuteness, she was singing that song in her sweet childish voice and slang. So, instead of singing happy new year, she was ending it with happy new 'you'.  I remember my friend telling me that her first kid and herself tried telling the child it was new year and not new you, but the child never bothered to change. It might sound like a small error on the part of the child's understanding or pronunciation, but the kid indirectly taught me something. Isn't it right and better that we sing every new year as happy new you?

This took me back to my random thoughts eating my mind for the few days- about being an evolved person. Well, we are all much evolved species in this tre…

Day 282: Big B and the little Champ

Anyone from India would not ever deny knowing Amitabh Bachchan. Even if one has never paid attention or followed Bollywood, the name resonates to someone being 'iconic'. In the recent times, he has continued to enact roles that are perfectly appropriate for his age and he has managed to do it really well. What inspires me is the fact that he is keeping himself busy at this age and also does his roles brilliantly. I think I did write about Piku in this blog recently. Other than that post his 60's he has acted in some brilliant films like, Paa, Cheeni Kum, Shamitabh, Piku and so on. I think in 2008 he acted with a brilliant little kid as a 'Bhoot' or Ghost. The title called as Bhootnath. I loved it for his wonderful chemistry with the boy. I think that movie had a sequel made in the recent past (probably after 5-6 years) called Bhootnath Returns. I had never watched it as I thought it must be kind of 'boring' supernatural comedy. However, the 'fan' i…

Day 281: The Rainbow

Silver drops of water wet the ground,
It had to, for the sky was dark and grey.
The sun was up but I couldn't see much,
except for the partial light seeping in
through the blanket of clouds.

The birds were hidden away in their nests,
To stay away from the cold showers of the west.
Slowly as the clock ticked,
the sun was out but the rains never did stop.
It was like a play of who's and who
between the shining sun and the falling rain.

Their play splashed colors of joy
and they painted the sky with shades so nice.
The colors were just seven,
but they did take you to a blissful heaven.
The angelic arches were like a magical slide,
taking our imagination for a dazzling ride.

At times, I saw myself up there walking along,
playing with a dash of colors and tooting on.
At another time, I was sitting by the end,
of the spectrum with a book in hand,
and happily reading and laughing on.
I was even able to solve a few mysteries,
that were puzzling my mind and leaving clues behind.


Day 280 : As I walked with Margayya

Just like how we crave for a piece of chocolate or a pani puri (drool!) at times, I crave for reading certain authors and certain books. One such thing happened a couple of weeks ago. As I was reading a short paragraph written by my 'A', I suddenly got reminded of the eminent R.K. Narayan's writing. I have no idea what made me think of that but once I had that thought, it constantly nagged me as I did not have any of his books with me here in the States. I tried to remember his evocative style of writing even as I drove to work. So, when a friend suggested that I should check it out at the local library or the university library, I decided to give it a search. It so happens that my university library carried one copy each of a few of his books. Even though my plan was to re-read Malgudi Days, I ended up finding this book first. 'The Financial Expert'. Among the list of brilliant books by R.K. Narayan, I had missed reading this one. So, I decided to give it a shot.…

Day 279: Daily Prompt Idea: Fantasies or lies?

Another daily prompt inspired post. This prompt tells me to talk about the mindless and harmless lies we tell kids (or have been told as kids).

The prompt is as follows: The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus..): A fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

When I read that prompt idea it took me back to the various things I believed as a kid. I remember burying my first few milk teeth tightly held in my clenched hands in such a way that once I laid it to rest on ground, I immediately pushed in a handful of soil and mud as I did not want the fairies up in the sky to see it. The belief was that, if at all the fairies saw it then I might have to remain toothless here ! Now, I can smile ( not because I have my tooth) at the funny beliefs I carried around as a child.
With stories, sometimes, we believe in fairies.  For instance, the fairy tales of Cinderella getting to ride the pumpkin cart was a great miracle, the shoe maker's helpers was …

Day 278: Self Interview : I, Me, and Myself !

First of all Happy Shivarathri to all those who celebrate.

As I was trying to figure out a post for today, I stumbled upon a prompt to elaborate and explain my love for books and writing. So, today's post is based on that. It follows a series of questions and my replies. Something like an interview. Yay! I am famous (or so I would like think as I am going to write a self-interview here).

So, here you go.

1. Which books did you love growing up? Which poems?

A lot. Started with children's magazines like Balarama, Poombatta, Chandamama, Champak, ACK series and so on. Then fairy tales, Panchantantra, Jataka Tales, Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, and many many more.Moved on to RK Narayan, Old English classics, Old hindi and Malayalam, Christie, Gardner, Non-fiction and so on.... . These are a few to name.

For poetry, I think my love dates back to nursery school days as I still do remember a lot of those old rhymes. From Frost to Sumitranandan Panth, to ONV Kurup, poetry from any of these …

Day 277: What makes a leader: A short take !

What makes a leader? So many things do. We usually go by charisma when we choose a leader. Every leader if successful is considered to be charismatic.They needn't be liked but they will still be considered charismatic. The recent raucous we see in the GOP is all to replace the nominee like Trump and one of the biggest drawbacks with him other than him being misogynist, arrogant, or even cut-throat is that he lacks the charisma. Both Ben Carson and Trump absolutely lack the charisma to be a leader. Yes, Donald Trump is surely making a lot more noise and is making the best of that among his blind followers but he truly doesn't emanate anything that is charismatic for a leader. What makes them dangerous even when the Republic party fights for their ideologies as such (at different levels) is that his demeanor can be dangerous to hold conversations with other world leaders.

The know-it-all attitude, abrasive nature, being extremely over confident and totally consumed by only '…

Day 276: What's the preference? : Daily Prompt Idea

Beaches, mountains, forests, or somewhere else entirely? 
This is from a daily prompt I saw online. So, what is my take ? 

I love every place. How much I enjoy depends on where it is, what time of the year, and of course, with whom? As of now, I have happy memories of the beach. Even though, we never went to swim or surf in the water, I have had a great time walking out in some of the loveliest beaches in Kerala. While there, every possible weekend, just the family of four would go out and watch the waves kiss the shore singing out loud. There was a beauty in that frothy water erasing out the names we wrote on the wet sand. There was a joy watching that big tide of water wet us as we tried to stand tall lifting our heels up. Then we would look back and smile as though, we just defeated the beautiful waves by standing still and tall. The sinking feeling of the sand eroding off our feet, the shells that were left back, the sand castles, and of course, the peace. It is hard to explain. …

Day 275: Living on One Dollar : It surely is worth more!

When was the last time you felt that you can never see yourself below your lifestyle ladder? When was the last time you frowned because someone didn't take you to that fancy place for dinner as promised? When was the last time you felt that you didn't have enough to travel around the world? Well, the list could go on, but I think you get the drift.

I am sure all of us would have had at least one of these thoughts or maybe all of it. I am not being preachy here by telling you that there is only one right way to feel something, but what I would recommend you to do is watch this documentary- Living on One Dollar. It will remind you that you should never take life for granted (people too).

This documentary is a popular one and has been around for a couple of years, but I had never watched it until today when a friend messaged me asking me to watch it. I must thank him for his wonderful recommendation as this is one of the best documentaries I have watched in recent times. This do…

Day 274: Journaling, a habit that will keep you healthy and nice !

A friend shared this link today. It is about maintaining a journal everyday. Apparently this research indicates that successful leaders usually maintain journals everyday. As I was reading this article I remembered the time when I used to journal everyday. Until about 6-7 years ago. Even though I was not completely regular in that, I did maintain it for a long time. I enjoyed it and it did make me feel better. It was like as though the notebook or the diary was my favorite, nonjudgmental friend. I stopped doing that in between. Probably after I started blogging, I kind of slowed down and then completely stopped. However, after reading this article, I think it is a good thing to start doing that again (digital or writing-doesn't matter). In fact, with technology, we can even do video and audio journaling. For those who cannot  and don't want to write, the alternate means are better ideas.

This article indicates how journaling is one way to reflect one's own thoughts and al…

Day 273: Wordless Wednesday :Board Games and not Bored Games :)

Sometimes it is good to have a few 'trivial' pursuits. This one sure is.... One of my favorite board game - Trivial Pursuit. Unfortunately do not get to play this often! 

Day 272: Waiting to be born

This poem is dedicated to a special friend and little sister, 'D' as she waits for her little bundle of joy in a couple of months. As she celebrates her birthday this month (later) and she also had her 'seemantham' or baby shower end of last month, this is a special gift from me to her. As she thinks it is going to be a bonny boy, I have used 'he' in this poem. 

A child in you has now bloomed, And he is still cooped in and tiny too. Yet it is a wonder to watch an itty-bitty person like him Just scoop out a large part of your heart just at his will. He has you smiling even before you get to see him, And now, the wait becomes even more beautiful
with each passing moment. He knows you too well and so do you, As, he has now walked almost many miles with you. These past few months have been so different That you now have to eat for two instead of one. You are not sure if it is you who is waiting To get your first look of him, Or is it he who is waiting for y…