Monday, December 8, 2008

EMAIL INSANITY

After a lot of thought , Ive realized that updating and maintaining a blog isn’t exactly what you term as “easy “ by any stretches of imagination .Honestly speaking , Ive been a bit busy over the last few weeks and just did not get the time to update my blog . In other words I was just lazy.

Well, coming to the topic, if you are a corporate creature,you would quite easily relate with emails going back and forth and you would have wished that your boss would pay you for reading those emails .There would have been times when you must have felt you’re your cozy little work station is some kind of battle ground and you have to keep ducking , defending and punching from and to emails .This,in no way am I suggesting that Emails are a bad medium of communication . Since its arrival , emails have successfully eliminated time and geography as barriers and has changed the way we do business and more importantly its easy to use and is very simple .Like for all good things in life , the strength of an email is also its weakness. Since it is so easy to use , it becomes very easy to misuse as well .

It is very easy to misinterpret the term” communication” and send emails based on what you think is communication . Sometimes you should know when “not” to send an email as opposed to how to and when to send an email .Since emails are ubiquitous and immediate, its easy to get caught in the heat of the moment and draft in something which you would not necessarily feel proud of when you think of it later .I can think of a few scenarios where I have lost my cool and sent in replies to emails which I can never be proud about and I am sure there would be many who can relate to this . There have been instances where the content of emails falls way below standards and you wonder if this is communication .

I am a big fan of “sarcastic humor” but when sarcasm takes over emails ,it creates a lot of stress, both to the sender and the recipient. The sender expects a reply to his email and keeps checking his emails every 5 minutes while the recipient goes through the pain of reading the email an is under pressure to reply aptly.In both the cases there is stress and a lot of unproductive time being spent.

The risk involved in sarcastic emails stems from the fact that you leave the level of sarcasm to be implied by the recipient.So based on the situation and emotions involved the recipient may well read way too much in to the sender’s email and misunderstand its content. Most times misunderstandings could have been easily avoided if one side or the other did not:

1. Assume what the other meant.
2. Read into an e-mail what wasn’t there.
3. Take the time to be clear about their intent and tone.

There have been more than a few times when I wish that I had thought twice before hitting that dreaded “reply” button.Well somebody said “experience makes you a better person” but the trouble with experience is you don’t get it when you want it .So let me give whoever’s stumbled upon this post an honest suggestion. Before you hit the reply button , sit back and reread the entire email for its intent and tone .If you are very upset , don’t even dare to reply to that email at that moment ;give it some time .

Some use emails to show how busy they are at work . Believe it or not having 300, 500 or 1000 messages in your inbox can be a source of pride that defines how busy and important you are. Well its almost like saying “I pretend to work for my Boss and my Boss pretends to pay me “.

Well , The trick is to manage our time on emails rather than the emails managing us .What I have learned from experience(and some pretty painful ones at that ) is to know which emails needs to be preserved as a document . I just delete the rest and it gives me immense pleasure while doing the same .

Rohit Oonnikrishnan

Saturday, September 27, 2008

ANYONE FOR BEING YOURSELF??

Lets face it , being ourselves is a difficult ask .Sometimes I feel , that most of our opinions are someone else’s thoughts .Most of us live a life of constant duplicity. We waste a part of our life in trying to display qualities that we do not pocess and appreciation that we cannot keep

How many times have we given this advise to someone we know .Just be yourself , everything will be just fine .Don’t do anything else , just be yourself(Yeah right , thanks a lot for the advise , I dint know that!). If being myself was easy, I wouldn’t have asked you. I simply do not remember the number of times I have received that advise and the number of times I have passed on that advise (I can almost associate that with some kind of email chain that floats around in the internet)

To be honest, being yourself is the most difficult thing to do. The world around us has become so demanding, that we find it more convenient to be somebody else. Just to meet the need of the hour , our opinions become someone else’s thoughts , even though the creator has given us only one face , we create another When I talked about this to a friend of mine he was off the opinion that this is complete lack of character in people , this is spineless living , hypocrisy , a** licking to get things done , cowardice , insecurity so on and so forth .

Ok ,now lets not get on to circumstances and situations and lets ask ourselves an honest question .well , make that two ; 1. Do we know ourselves? 2. Do we allow people to be themselves?

Being yourself should,ideally,come naturally but there’s more to it .In our society, being genuine is not given the same importance as being right or being able to justify one’s actions (statements such as “I don’t need to justify anything “ is bunch of crap as the inner need of every human is to justify his /her actions either to someone else or to your own self).Originality is prevalent in all of us but the confusion in the mind arises when we are caught in the drive for acceptance and approval to the extent,where we no longer feel genuine unless there is a consensus among those who are important to us that what we are doing is OK. So we actually deny ourselves the right to be ourselves unless someone else agrees to us .The root cause of this ,I feel , is the inner need in all of us to be loved , to be appreciated.

Do we as a society accept people as they are? We expect people to behave in a way we want them to behave. Any behavior, any view point, any likes/dislikes which are outside our “scope” would lead to speculation. Right there, the pressure for a person to live up to some else’s expectations is on and unless that person is strong enough he will succumb and then will only be capable to giving the advise “just be yourself”. We seem to be always in a hurry to judge and brand people; consider the case of a guy who, when we first met, did not talk or mingle with the others too much and we immediately judge him and brand him as a reserved character or a “quiet guy”. Now even if the poor guy wants to talk and mingle , he just cannot, because he is already branded as a reserved character and so has to live up to his image which was set by someone else. Frustration and utter confusion creeps in when we start thinking of what we think we want , what we really want , what others would think , what are my expectations , what are the expectations of others around us , what we are capable of ,what others think we are capable of and realize all are different. It is exactly during those times when someone whispers in your ear “just be yourself”.

Being ourselves requires a lot of courage and conviction. Children express themselves quite spontaneously however as far as an adult is concerned, the mask has to move for him to be himself.

Rohit Oonnikrishnan.

Friday, September 19, 2008

HAPPY WOMEN

In a move to empower women employees , the central govt in India has announced a new scheme for women working for the central govt. The maternity leave for women employees has been increased to six months (previously 3 months ) and has even announced paid leave for women for up to two years to take care of their children.

Termed as “child care leave” , this rule is in effect from sep 1st 2008. The biggest advantage of this is that women can take the leave in any combination till the child reaches the age of 18. They can even club it along with their maternity leave of 6 months . This will not in any ways affect their other normal leaves which they are entitled to.However , this is applicable only up to 2 children.

Voices are raised to get this rule implemented in the private sector as well.

Now lets just dissect this and think of possible implications(both positive and negative ) this would have :-

1.It gives enough flexibility for the women to spend time with her child.As far as a growing child is concerned , there are certain critical phases or stages where a mother’s dedicated presence is vital . So this is a welcome move in that direction.

2. This could probably lead to less resignations from women at work place . A woman more often than not has to choose between family and profession just because they are endowed with the reproductive function(which is rather unfair) . With this move in place , A woman can afford to take time off and then come back to pursue her career.

3. Is this an incentive for family planning ?(since the rule is applicable only for 2 children) I do not know . Your guess is as good as mine !! (well , try telling an excited couple at their peak that the new central govt rule is applicable only up to 2 children !)

4. Now , the men may cry foul over this new rule (Being a true male chauvinist, I had to bring this point) . What about “fathers” ? Why isin’t the rule applicable to them?Lets take an example of a child without a mother .Shouldn’t the rule be applicable to those fathers as well ?In this age , when we are talking of equality of sexes , lets be fair and really mean what we talk .

5. I heard someone say in a television interview say that this would lead to more adoptions . Couples or single women adopting children so that they can have 2 years off ??? ridiculous !! .. adopting children is a noble deed , but people adopt children for reasons which are well beyond a central govt scheme to say the least.

Now , there are voices floating around saying that the same rule to be applied for women working in the private sector . Private sector is a different cup of tea alltogether .In most private organizations , the time spent by each employee at office is looked in to and employees being held accountable for that .Though the needs of a child are the same irrespective of his/her mother working in the central govt or in a private sector , but I really do not think that this rule will be applicable to the private sector .Because if at all , the rule becomes applicable there , women may find it even tougher to get jobs in the private sector.

Monday, September 15, 2008

NEWS AT SEVEN : BLASTS IN DELHI

This seems to be the order of the day atleast for the last 3-4 weeks in India .
After Ahmedabad and Bangalore , the latest blasts were at Delhi.One of the victims of the Ahmadabad Blast , in an open house debate programme conducted by one of the news channels, summed up the situation aptly . With teary eyes , he said “only the people who have lost their dear ones will know the pain , for everybody else its just news at 7”.The man had lost his entire family consisting of his wife and two children.

There are questions being asked of the government , questions being asked of the police , questions being asked about the security measures which were in place rather the sheer lack of it.It is ridiculous to know that the CCTV’s which were placed in the affected areas weren’t functional.Take this for stats :- only 5 of the 28 CCTV’s which were placed in the greater kailash area in Delhi where the blasts took place were working , out of which one was pointing to the sky. And this , we are talking about the national capital !

The blame game has started , with parties pointing fingers at each other , the police indicating their helplessness again pointing fingers at the system , media pointing fingers at the governing party and the party returning the favour by accusing the media of sensitizing the issue and creating panic among people.The question to be asked is “how safe is the common man who is listening to all this ?”Can our govt be proactive instead of just reacting to situations ? The CCTV’s are now functional , nodal centers have now opened in delhi , there are very heavy security checks in railway stations and airports now:Discussions about various other security checks to be implemented are in motion (to be followed strictly).Well,certainly welcome the move,but why wasn’t it there at the first place ? especially since Delhi was high in the hitlist of the terror outfits . Sheila Dikshit the honorable CM of the national Capital , when confronted with these questions stated that “ it is very tough to stop a determined act of terror”.Yes , absolutely agree to that point , but that dosen’t in any way explain the sheer lack of security measures taken by the govt. Reactive governance.

I don’t think this is the case only in delhi . A few weeks back , there was another terror email stating that a bomb would explode in kerala at 07:00pm . Govt announced extra security measures , the CM came on TV and addressed the people asking them to maintain calm.Thankfully nothing happened at seven , and the govt stated that heavy security would continue atleast for the next two weeks . The next day , we have a railiway station manned by 5 police men in peak hours . How can 5 cops cover an entire railway station ?I guess , even they understood that fact , and felt having a few cups of tea would be more useful.

Finger pointing and politicians resigning is not the answer Infact as I write this there is heavy pressure on Sivraj Patil to resign ( the lesser said about him , the better). Proactive governance , is the key . I have always felt that it is genuine misconception that the common man in the street will not help , will not come forward . Infact they are the only ones who would always do their bit , but they need to be encouraged.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NEW TATA INDICA VISTA - CHANGES EVERYTHING

The country’s largest auotomobile Company have launched their new Tata Indica Vista on August 23rd 2008.Going by the first looks , it is evident that Tata means business..

Well , they have a good catch line that goes with it which says “Changes Everything”.

To start off it has one petrol version and two diesel versions .Your’s truly had a test dive yesterday and I loved it to be honest.The first impression that you get when you see the car is “its big”.

Some of the features that Vista boasts of have been very thoughtfully incorporated by Tata and it does makes sense.For eg:-If the wipers are on ,the rear wiper is turned on as long as the reverse gear is engaged.The plastics aren’t restricted to the dashboards,they are present on both the front and rear door pads, seats have adjustable height and lumbar support.

Exterior:-

Comparing to its contemporaries , this one’s a huge car!
Some of the prominent features which immediately stands out are :-

1.Full length tail lamp cluster which gives it a sleek look

2.All new bumpers

3.A very stylish antenna(only available with the top variant)

4.Swept back headlamp cluster

5.Adjustable seats(height)

6.double din music system with a USB port.

The overall styling is amazing ,With the headlamps giving it a nice look. The radiator grill has a chrome strip on its top border to give it a sophisticated look.The vista is best viewed from the rear where the longlights and the rounded shape adds to its sleek design.I was quite impressed with the doors.the doors have external rubber beadings which results in less noice when the doors are shut .( I did try more than a few times opening and closing the doors much to the annoyance of the sales manager).

The bonnet weighed lesser when you compare this to other indica models which suggest that this one’s light.If you look carefully , you will observe that Vista has a lot of changes when you compare it to the older models , yes “Changes Everything”.

Interiors:-

This is where , Vista really rocks !Interiors are the best yet on a Tata passenger vehicle.

Lot of space inside and the comfort is well looked after . The seats can be adjusted for height . It has a 2 din music system with a USB port.
The noice levels inside the car are kept to a minimum . You wouldn’t know when the car has started! .

In the previous versions of Indica , one of the negative feedbacks was, that the steering used to vibrate at higher speeds (We are talking of 100-120KMH) .This one’s pretty steady.

The A/C is excellent and cools the cabin in no time .The A/c vents have two knobs each to direct the horizontal and vertical airflow as desired.

The mileage ,what the company says is about 15.5 with A/c for the lower variant(Petrol) and 18 for the diesel version.

Overall I would give a rating of 8 /10 to Vista .

So the square cut point is Vista is here to stay !