Thursday, January 28, 2010 and laziness!

Over a nail biting game of Saints Vs. Vikings, my brother made a simple statement: "Kids should be introduced to active sports from Day 1, the decision making, the active mind and the logic automatically form at an early stage!" Very true... he and SD went on to talk about some guy in CNBC who hosts a financial show and was a former NFL player. Impressive. It led me to think about a very senior colleague in a Fortune 50 who was a former championship boxer! Wow. I loved to be in meetings with him, he was concise, straight to the point and aggressive at the right level. I think I was more puppy eyed in his meetings than anything else! ;-)
I grew up in India. Till ninth grade, I was very involved with extra curricular activities. At any given point, I would be either practicing for a play for teachers day, or for a dance sequence for Helpers day. Or writing my elocution speech. Volunteering with my friends for Interact/ Rotract. Though I was never really great at sports (Read Lazy!!!), but I always participated for the qualifiers for all races, and javelin throws, and high jumps and so on. But sadly, I was just content being well in the bottom five ;-) I was really bad. But when it came to table tennis, swimming I rocked. Of course, march past! I was active on sports day's but more from the cheering side. My parents appreciated all these activities and were very proudly storing all my participating, some winning and other certificates and limited medals. But my father was also very clear, all my extra participation was fine, provided my grades stand good. There was zero margin of error. And I loved the other stuff so much, that I always did burn the midnight oil to do well in studies! The weird and geeky part is I enjoyed studying as much as I enjoyed the other stuff.
But then the lovely board exams. I opted out voluntarily of most of extra curricular. Our school didn’t encourage it as well. Then came college, well first year was definitely a party and then twelfth was board again! Then came engineering. Well. By now, college, early adulthood charms, movies, eating out, chilling with friends, bunking classes, "enjoying" took precedence over anything else. I was somewhat back to my "extra" stuff. But unlike school, it was infrequent. I got more and more involved in event planning and execution and not as much participation. I guess debating was the only thing I willingly participated in! Sports, what sports? Does dodge ball count ;-)? I mean my team and I were unbeaten champions for four years of engineering ;-) Hehe. But yes, the sports week implied: TP!! We went to college on keys games: read Finals when there was attendance! The remainder was well: being out of college! It could range from planned family vacations to total "lukha giri" on Bandra. Again, every thing was excusable and acceptable, provided the grades stood rock solid. And once again, the geeky me, overtook the chilled out me! :-D
I kept going farther and farther away from "sports". Swimming which was passion all my growing up years, took a back seat. Everything else in life took precedence over my activity level. And sadly, the similar was the case for most people around me.
Now, we have conversations with friends and family and say- oh, sports in India, if you are not in Cricket, nothing else will matter. It's not as popular in India since we are not brought up that way. Indians is the second most populated country, but every Olympics it’s a handful of people in it. Look at China! There are just enough state of the art facilities. and so on...
When i look back at all my school- college years. I think; I grew lazy, and distant from sports. There was no outside pressure, there was no one telling what to do and not do. I made my choice. I didn’t play TT, though I had two tables and semester championships in college. I had a table in my building for crying out loud. The pool and the club house were ten minutes away. But I considered watching friends and then talking about "How could Ross do that" over the phone more engrossing than a swim! I myself digressed, and didn’t even try to cultivate my own talents. I might not have been a champion... but at least I would have the pride of following through.
No wonder the sports teachers, the gym instructors back home, are underpaid and super frustrated. Since they see; whatever efforts they put in is going to waste. Since the kid will move to things which give them instant pleasure and not a long term benefit! What's the point of the state of the art facilities when only a few people use it!
I only see that now. Not back then. .. Then it was just the "uncool" thing to do!

Yes.. this is my story.. And definitely other people might not agree.....but sadly I don’t know many. Do you?

Things in India are changing now, i am told. And i am happy about that! I really do hope the future generations, start seeing the benefits of sports at an earlier age.. and more importantly continue it through their lives! And yes... The grades unaffected! ;-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stress.... and its ugly head!

Lately, i have found myself in various arguments. They have ranged from conversations to heated discussions and in one case a person banging their hand on the conference table. All of these have been in a professional setting and i can sense the stress of the impending deadline on everyone!
However, it did make me take a step backward and realize how differently people behave and talk while under pressure.
A cool as a cucumber person can suddenly jump up and down, be all defensive, aggressive and unpredictable. A generally hot tempered person, might just regress and for once count one to ten over and over again! An introvert suddenly blossoms as a public speaker. A general talker starts to stutter! And so on. In anger, embarrassment and accusations, the cheeks turn pink, the fists get curled and the palms get sweaty. Some keep tapping on the foot (Yes i hate it!!!), some keep circling the pen (Me!!), some scribble profusely, some bite their lips, some turn red.. and very very few, stay the same!
Every person has their own demeanor in their moment of work stress. Reason i am calling work stress out specifically since, i know personal stress can cause you to behave in a completely different way.
Well, at least that’s the case with me! At home, with a deadline approaching, i get i my zone, don’t want disturbances. I don’t think twice before ordering the people around me. As per some, turn into a spiteful control freak. ;-) Yes.. That’s me! I can giggle right after, but for that one minute, i am the boss from hell! (Self declared boss- mind you!)
At work, with a deadline approaching, i am a completely different person. I am "more collaborative", generally the calmer one, and will not think twice before getting cookies for "the" meeting to keep everyone slightly less hmm temperamental. I still am "more vocal", more "fact specific" more "direct" but generally i will be fine.
I cant say whether i work better under pressure or worse. All i can say, is professionally, i will be fine! Yes my walk home will be longer to vent the frustration, the caffeine intake will increase and of course, i will be more dressed up! (I believe, when sad, when upset, when stressed, dress better: the process has a calming effect).
But mind you, in my field of work, the stress and the deadlines are all cyclic. We will see a spurt of activity for 2 continuous weeks and then a regular day at office for four weeks. So its well paced and i love it.

Arguments, discussions, stress... everyone has a different mechanism of coping or not coping with it. In one meeting, i will be relaxed, but the one right after i might actually get agitated. At home, for i might be nastier or for the other one, be a case of giggles. Its all spread out and varied.
Thank god for Post Its! It avoids my over-whelming moments from over-whelming me! How about you?
How do you behave in stress? How do cope with it... and above all- do you change under stress?

Monday, January 18, 2010

After effects bliss!!!

It was a super charged, super active and super emotional day for me.
We celebrated V's second birthday. I can only imagine how hard it would have been to sacrifice the play off's for a kiddie party! I am sure waking up for a brunch on a cold Sunday morning can be hard. But they came. Kids enter a whole another domain on the cake-sugar high.. but was amazing to see them play together. Friends and family under one roof.. with cute party hats.. and even funnier blow me outs. No better way to celebrate V’s two! V was sleepy at first.. and was back to being her old jumpy self as the day progressed!
As i was making my round of introductions to friends with each other; I realized often saying- Oh we went to high school together. Oh, them; we went to undergrad, masters together. We know them for so long. We have met recently but seems like we know each other forever. We are meeting after so long, but seems like not a day has passed. We may not meet as often as we’d like, but we always compensate for lost time… And so on.
As i did all this, i looked around the room and realized everyone was gelling, making new acquaintances, catching up with old friends, playing with V and over all having a good time. SD and I were missing the rest of our families, our friends back home and our friends spread around the country, friends who could not make it........ at the same time, we were very happy to be surrounded with friends and family for V's special day.
I often consider myself lucky to have been definitely blessed with such good people around us. They showered V with love, affection and blessings. They helped us lay the party together, wind it off.. and make it fun. With my brother here now, V was jumping from mama to one uncle-maasi then to another and then back to mama! She was fully pampered, rightly so!
Yes, I am knocking on wood as i type each word! I have said this many times on my blog... parenting gets a whole of fun with such wonderful people around us! V makes it simple for us.. and then the remainder we have the help of family, mama, maasi's and uncles for. Oh yes.. and definitely the cool aunt(s) she has!
Thank you guys.
SD and I were overwhelmed for once.. and are proud to say it as well!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Power of connection” Well the FB kind!

I have been on FB for a while. Actually just over six months now. Friends arm twisted me into getting there; and someone has to pretty much body twist me in getting me out of there. I caved in and followed the trend and honestly I am loving it. I check in from time to time on FB, on what my friends are upto; what’s the world thinking today, what’s the latest grapevine; and yes.. follow the fad: The latest... raise breast cancer awareness by posting the color of your bra! WTF! Yes.
I logged in the morning and I kept wondering what’s with the facebook status of colors man. Why do i see, pink, red, white, black; and then I check my email! Aha! One of my girlfriends sent me an email.. Write the color... like your girl friend's status and tell the 'sisterhood!' That’s exactly what i did! Cute, catchy way of raising breast cancer awareness, i thought!
And then came more colors... and then came all guys responses.. cheesy, trying to be funny and some horrific: Here are the examples:
"Show me, dont tell me!".. followed by "How can we be sure of the colors mentioned on fb; please send pics ;)".. followed by "Doctor recommends, purple, blue, black".. and others like.."Lacy or not!", "I have colorful friends" and so on!
In less than twelve hours... the network had articles all over explaining what's going on. A word Slacktivismwas coined.. and used very well in this context. There were enough debates and discussions about it. There were people being super inquisitive, super funny and super embarrassing... But point was: The word spread.. People did speak about breast cancer awareness outside the doctor's office or out of hushed conversations in the corridor.
Yes, there are other ways of raising awareness... but as i told a friend of mine; by far.. it is the funniest and the most inexpensive way that i have seen.
A very close friend's mum had breast cancer. Thankfully, she is doing well now, but she told me, it was only due to the self examinations which her daughter forced her into!
A lot of people still don’t talk about it openly and I get that... It's personal! But i do bow down to the power of “FB” connection, in talking up one issue so close to the "sisterhood" that it made people stop and take notice.. And in their own way.. Spread the word!
And yes… agreed… the color has nothing to do with the awareness… but the cause has.
I don’t know about the origins of this, who started it, it might have been a sicko who is now smirking in delight; or it might have been a simple idea which gained global.. well Facebook momentum!

Oh by the way... Cancer is the number 2 killer in US. And 15% of cancer deaths are due to Breast Cancer! And i didn’t know it, until i researched for this post!

For once, i was okay with sharing just a bit too much information!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What a movie will do to you... or wont!!!

And yes, this post is not about 3 Idiots or Avataar..the latest talk of the town! It’s about a lazy evening being transformed into either a super nice evening or a super boring one by the choice of a movie, Confused? Ok.. let me explain.
Our re-sleep training with V is going on pretty well now. This means, after dinners, her sleep time, next day preparations and winding down for the day…. we have our late evenings back to us! V sleeps and we enjoy our weeknight laziness. Its a win-win situation!
After the holiday cheer died out, parties ended and work began as usual, all SD and I wanted was to curl up on the couch and watch a movie. And nothing better than a good movie or a good book!
So, come Monday night, I get a DVD from a friend who said movie is so-so but amazing graphics for an Indian film. So, we said lets give it a shot, needless to say, within 30 minutes, after 4 useless songs, some repeated action scenes.. and oh yes, bikini blazing babes.. yes its an Indian movie.. Nothing had happened! 1.5 hours into the movie.. the story has not moved an inch. So I gave up; I just couldn't take it any more.
For me a bad movie, is one of the things which makes me cranky.. yes in addition to hunger, lack of sleep and mess!
So i call it a night.. too irritated to even stop the movie and watch something else or read!
Tuesday night, this time SD recommends a movie. It’s again a Hindi one but about a more realistic one about match fixing etc. Ok, sounds good. Let’s try. It was pretty much a repeat of the night before. The only difference being, SD thought i was liking the movie, so he kept watching it. And i was thinking, he might like it, so i will watch it. Midway, SD and i burst out laughing realizing that we both hated the movie equally. Once more i crash early.
Third night... SD had to work late, while he was on the computer working away, i decided to go for a HBO on demand!! A Chick Flick! Finally! Third time's the charm... I kept giggling and oohing and aahing in the movie. I would catch SD shaking his head vehemently at the cheesiness.. the chick flicki-ness of it all!!! But i could tell he was sorta enjoying it as well. I was happy watching a decent movie with SD. Only catch; SD was busy working.. while i was enjoying my late night coffee with a girly movie!
Only thing missing was a couple of my girl friends and nail paint to call it a perfect "girls night!" ;-)
I finally slept peacefully, and was not annoyed by the directors, the movie guys or the audience at making crappy movies.

And oh yeah, happier at reaping the benefits of V's sleep schedule! Come on; I deserve some slack!! ;-)