Monday, November 16, 2015

A Night of Terror !



Image result for losing loved ones pictures
 
 
 
 
 
Place : Refugee Camp,

Time : 17:00 hrs


Adanma runs to her mother with a big grin. It seemed as if she got a treasure trove. She clutched onto the rag doll and displayed it with great pride. Her mother, Hassana, was busy cleaning up their corner. They were just able to pack a small bag while fleeing away from their home. The mats were rolled out for the night.

Adanma was all of 5 yrs old with beautiful brown eyes. She went to Hassana and asked her to give a small piece of cloth. She wanted to dress up the doll. Hassana replied “We will get the doll a new cloth when Baaba returns back”. Adanma’s eyes lit up hearing about Baaba. She jumped with joy and asked “When will Baaba come back?”.  Hassana responded he will be back before you know it my dear.

Dayo had been missing for a week. There was no news about his whereabouts. He had gone to the other camp nearby to check on other members of the family.

Hassana cleaned up Adanma and fed her dinner. Adanma asked her mother, “when can we go back home Yumma?”. Hassana replied that we will be home very soon. Hassana held her in lap and put her to sleep. Adanma kissed her mother goodnight and slept off.

The silence of the night was overwhelming. Hassana was worried about Dayo. Did the inevitable happen? Dayo had asked her not to leave the camp even if he was not back.

There was a loud explosion. There was fire everywhere. Cries and screams is all that she could hear. She held Adanma and kissed her goodbye. There were fleeting images of Dayo and family.

The next morning, Dayo was scrambling through the ashes. He found a mother and a child interlocked in the mounds of bodies that lay in the camp. He just froze in pain and horror.

 

Place: Beirut
Time : 17:30 Hrs

 

Aban was walking towards the bakery. He had to pick up a cake for his son’s birthday. The family was going to be home for dinner. He was meeting his brothers and sisters after a month. It was Aldan’s 10th birthday.

Aban had a long day at work and wanted to get home fast to spend time with his son. He stepped into the bakery. The cake was a car shaped colorful rainbow one. He had a smile when he saw the cake. He picked up the cake and stepped into the crowded street.

The street was alive with people bustling all over. It was evening and people were returning from work. A little girl held her father’s hand as they crossed the street. The kebab shop seemed to be back in business. The parcels were being packed.  In the humdrum, there was a large explosion. Everybody scrambled in the narrow street. Terror had struck yet again. The cake blew into pieces. Aban lay in a pool of blood with many others in the street.

The happiness in the air turned into an eerie silence. Wails of women and children echoed the streets. The evil hands of terror struck again.

 

Place: Paris
Time: 20:00 Hrs

Eva was excited and called her mother. She called and told her “ I will home late after the concert. I can’t wait to hear them play”. Her mother replied in French “Jouir  s’amuser bien chéri”.

Eva was there at the concert with her friends. They all went in to the hall. The band just got onto the stage. The whole crowd was shouting and dancing. The air was filled with excitement and music. The hall was filled with people drowned in music. The couple held hands and sang along. Eva was dancing away to the music.

There were some shots that were so loud. Eva held her stomach and fell flat. Her last words were “maman, help me”.

The couple fell to the ground and he whispered into her ears not to move. They lay motionless in the hall. There was blood and cries everywhere.

Thomas was waiting for Mia in the café. He was scrolling through the phone and checking the photos. Mia and Thomas met every Friday for dinner at this café. Mia was normally never late. Their offices were nearby. They wanted to go to Eiffel Tower for a walk. There was a loud noise. It sounded like fire crackers. Thomas just stood up and saw people running. He saw Mia from a distance. She just fell down. He could not comprehend what just happened. There were shots being fired. He ran a few steps and was pulled back by an old man into the café. He pleaded to let him go. The stranger said that he won’t be able to help her if he also got shot. The gun shots went on for few minutes and then stopped. He ran like a mad man to Mia. She lay there dead. Thomas cried and wailed like a baby. There were howls and cries of people. It seemed like the Wailing Wall was now in Paris.

A sea of roses now lies outside the hall and café.

Dayo , Thomas , Eva and Aban’s family shed tears of sorrow and pain. They all were one in pain. The feeling of losing a loved one was just as same and transcended all boundaries.

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

 

I am sure that all of us have read about the inhumane and dreadful incidents that happened across the globe. While we as bystanders can voice out our opinions on the inequality of coverage on news, the reality is that the pain that these families are going through is just the same. There are no boundaries of country, creed, religion and race when it comes to losing one’s family. The pain and void that is inflicted on these innocent families is heart breaking. All the victims of such bombings are people who were just going about their daily lives. The lives lost will never come back but I hope that humanity and justice will rise from the dead one day.

My humble dedication to all the souls that we have lost in times of war and strife.
 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Blog Now Live Forever - An account of my experience at BNLF Part 1





Indian Blogger Community at BNLF


From my first bloggers meet back in 2004 in Delhi to #BNLF, I have been the lucky to see the journey of blogging in India. When I first got to know about BNLF, I was super excited and went to check on the details. The excitement was quadrupled when I got an email from Indiblogger that they were giving out passes for free. I jumped at the opportunity and applied for it. I got the confirmation in a few days that I attend. I was super happy and ecstatic that I would get to meet and hear so many accomplished people during the course of the event. I booked my tickets and stay. The introvert in me had woken up and I was in two minds if I should really go all the way from Bengaluru just for this meet. With just a few days to go, I was discussing my predicament with a colleague at work. I get a call from Saurabh to check if I am all set to attend the BNLF. That was such a nice gesture. I was ready to go and attend it.

I was there at the venue on Saturday morning. There I meet this beautiful stranger and now friend. Radhika is a sweetheart. I felt almost at home. We checked in to the conference. It was such a great sight. The crowd was buzzing with so much positive energy. It was 600 bloggers from all over India. To pull out something like this is terrific, kudos to #Indiblogger for such an event. The registration got over and then we met some more bloggers. This young lady ensured that she introduced me to everybody that she knew. That was extremely sweet of her. The event was delayed by half an hour which is still ok. We started off with awesome Indibloggers band who played some great music. It was a great start. With the energies pumped up, the sessions followed. So these are some of my observations and takeaways from the speakers.

Purba Ray - She was the bong firecracker loaded with humour. I felt stupid that I had not read any of her blogs nor did I know about her. Pardon my ignorance. I surely missed some funny moments in life. She narrated her experiences on blogging. I so related to some of snippets that she shared. Look forward to reading more. Her blog is A-musing (purba-ray.com).

The Great Bong - so I must confess that my introduction to Arnab Ray was through my hubby. So when I met him before the event, I conveyed the fanboy regards to him quite non-chalantly. He started talking and he did mention how he gets to hear that the husbands are the ones who are his fans. Well, I do read some of your blogs Mr Ray and I do find it funny. I loved the honest opinion that he shared. Being a working professional with responsibilities, I could relate to the fact that you can't just leave your job and depend solely on writing. His funny incidents on his first article in the newspaper to how he manages the writing and the trolls. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and regret missing the workshop that followed the next day. He writes at greatbong.net.  


Anshul Tewari - This young man, what do I tell about him? I was so happy and inspired to see the passion in Anshul for a noble cause. Anshul started YouthkiAwaz and today it is one of the leading social impact online vernaculars. He shared some of the stories and how it actually made an impact on the ground. It was an emotional moment as he passionately narrated the story of a son who was trying to get his father back from the middle east during the Arab Spring crisis. How the story actually reached the government and enabled evacuations of 600 Indians.  His site is also a beautiful example of a social entrepreneurship.


Christopher Trappe - Christopher is one of the top content marketers. He was awarded the IMA Marketer of the year in 2015. He works with Medtouch and had come all the way from IOWA. His twitter id is @ctrappe. It was all about authentic storytelling. So the key takeaways from his session were as follows :
1. Be Authentic
2. Blog once a week at least (500-700) words
3. Figure out what you stand for in terms of writing for a particular genre
4. Be vulnerable
5. 60-30-10 ( 60% Talking - 30% Resharing - 10% Links) on Social Media
6. Have 6-7 articles in your bucket
7. Declare your intent

We also were lucky to attend a workshop with him the next day. It was deep diving into the above pointers.

The rest of the day was followed by Jeff Bullas, Preethi Shenoy, Kannan Gill and the legend Bruce Dickinson. I will need to write a follow up post else this will run into pages.

Thank you Indiblogger for such an awesome experience.

Part 2 of the BNLF experience coming up over the weekend.


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Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Wish - Ek Chaah



दिल में थोड़ी नमी सी है ,

कुछ कमी सी है ,

रास्ते उलझे  से  है ,

मंज़िलें  धुंदले से है ,

कश्मकश के गहराईओं में ,

खुद को ढूंढ ने की कोशिश  सी है ,

ज़िन्दगी की पंखुड़ियों से ,

थोड़े लम्हे चुराने की अरमान सी है ,

सवालों  के भंवर  में ,

एक जवाब की खोज सी है ,

रात के उसपार,

एक सवेरे  का इंतज़ार सी  है

 ज़िन्दगी के चंद लम्हों से ,

 एक हसीन मेरी दास्तान ,

लिखने की चाह सी है।







Poetry transcends all language. A humble attempt at capturing myself and my feelings in these words :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Perpetual Happiness - A myth or A state of mind !!

Is happiness an elusive emotion or does it shower it’s benevolence on the chosen few. Well there are no right or wrong answers here. This is just my experience and things I look up to for happiness.


To be in an eternal state of happiness is possible but far from reality. But then the question arises, what is your definition of happiness? Is it the riches, people, scenery, work…the list can be endless that invoke the feeling so beautiful in you. There is no checklist to be followed to get it to visit you J


For me, happiness has different meanings. It oscillates in different dimensions. Family comes first always. Relationships play an important role. Knock on wood, I have been blessed with wonderful family and friends. The listening post is what I am famous as among most of my loved ones. They say it’s a gift that they can open up to me. Those instances when people have trusted and confided their problems and me being able to give a honest solution has made me happy. But then obviously there have been impulsive solutions as well ;). I think over the years, my approach to resolve situations has changed. Now when I look and realize, I am smiling.

Writing is something that comes to me only when I am deeply moved by something. I love expressing my thoughts onto the diaries and that has stayed with me as a faithful companion over the decades. The idea of me sitting by a beach/mountain and just writing is pure bliss to me. That reminds me of my vacation that is long due.

Travelling is also liberating and joyful for me. I simply get zapped when I travel to new places and look at the greatest architect creating landscapes flawlessly. Nature is always mesmerizing.

Food J Well there is no love lost in experimenting and trying out different cuisines. Food is my faithful companion J

Music - I believe the world is divided into two parts. One that revel and get lost in music and the boring ones who can live without it. Music can uplift your mood like nobody’s business. I have my own list of mood boosters that always come to the rescue.

Reading – I cannot thank enough the good God for books and the amount of information available for reading.

Small joys Multiplied – I have always tried to live the little moments of joy that life has to offer in different situations. Watching rains and clouds is something I can do for endless hours. Helping people in my own capacity provides me joy of a different kind. Driving in the rain is another happiness generator.

I think if we were to count our blessings, the list will always be endless.

Coming back to the topic of happiness, the ideal state might be of Buddhahood. To accept and not expect always helps. Buddhism has some beautiful examples. It always emphasizes that Buddhahood is searching the goodness and happiness in yourself. Initially I used to argue that is being selfish. But actually it is not, when you accept yourself as you with the flaws and perfections, you are more or less happy always. The ones who master it are at a different plane. The ones like who try hard to perfect it are always in a constant process of learning. There used to be a time when I used to search for happiness. I always had the question what is that makes me happy. I think we got to stop trying to search for it. There will be situations when things will go downwards but then there is always an underlying lesson in at least 80% of these scenarios. We got to stop trying to be happy. That is when it will slowly start falling in place. A lot of psychologists also say that people who go through depression should stop battling desperately to find a solution to come out of it. They say go through the pain but also understand that it is not something that stops life. It will be like the stormy night but then there will be dawn again. You got to catch on to that dawn and sail away in the state of joy. I have also come to realize tomorrow will always be tomorrow. If there is something that you want to do..pick a hobby..travel..meet old friends..call truce with enemies if any..it is right now. You are alive in the moment. I was going through an article of the top 5 regrets people had while dying..and they were ..not having the courage to live life as they wanted…working too hard..not expressing their feelings..staying in touch with friends..and last but not the least was being happier. I have seen many leaders through out my career of a little more than a decade and the ones I always look up to were the cheerful ones. I don’t have too many memories nor learnings from the grim and poker faced ones. I think your energy exuberates and the atmosphere is changed.


So my answer is the power to be feel happy or not about life and it’s doings is in our hands. There will be moments of utter despair but then life will dizzy you out with it’s pace. We cannot be sad for a long time. The strong ones always face life with a smile and the ones like me try hard to keep pace with happiness :) Smile often and live as if it were your last day ( It is just not another adage) :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

From my Linkedin Diaries - A nomad's take on Leadership Development Programs

Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other – JF Kennedy
How profound and true. To build a great set of leaders, learning has to be a constant. A chance conversation with a colleague from another company got me thinking and curious on these programs that are designed by various companies. In a scenario where we have a majority of the workers from the younger generation, it is imperative for companies to have the right kind of programs to develop the in-house talent. Having been a part of few, this is my take on what works, what does not and what can be done.
Is there a magic potion that works?
Well there is no magic but to design any leadership training program, the audience and outcome has to be very clear. That being said, a due analysis on the top skills that are lacking in the organization should be the first step. From there on, picking on the top skills with an all-round flavor would be a nice start. These programs have two categories.
The first one is the mid-level and the other is senior level. I will need another 10 years to write about the senior level :). The view points are specifically for the mid-level programs. From my experience, the mid-level need understanding on the end to end lifecycle of the business to groom them better for future leadership roles. A lot of people from Operations for example will not understand the way business works and vice versa. A well rounded program will be where you give the group a chance to experience the real world and not just confine them to a theoretical presentation factory. A rotational program with a unit specialization is the best approach. My best bet would be a 18-24 month program where the candidate actually works across multiple roles. It is often a huge challenge to get people in a group away from the shop floor. The on-job training would really people not only understand the nuances of the function but also a firsthand experience of the role and the challenges that come with it. There are also a lot of management institutes and universities who actually facilitate the external sessions. A few sessions and a tie-up if budget is not a constraint will be the icing on the cake. But the real litmus test is on defining the measurable outcomes of such programs. It cannot be just a metric stating that x% of the population is ready to move into leadership roles. The normal process is to tie it to promotions and retention of this group. I believe the outcome has to be measured in terms of Behavioral impact by means of feedback and other personality evaluation metrics along with ROI – by means of increased traction in the specific areas of expertise resulting into measurable outcomes. And more importantly a follow up on the program attendees at regular intervals. It has to be journey of enhancement.
So where do they go wrong ?
I am no expert here but believe it is not rocket science. The programs designed without a vision and only to meet goals of ensuring that there is a development program fails quite miserably. So design and execution is where many miss the mark. It should invoke that interest in the participant. A lot of time, the group comes with an experience so it is very human to feel that they already know a lot and it might not be the best one for them. The managers and leaders do play a major role in contributing to such programs in terms of content. Apart from that, there has to be the basic culture of learning which is mostly missing or rather takes a backseat due to obvious business pressures.
I always go back to my GE experience on this point. Their culture of learning and passion was so visible. The success of Crotonville programs left a lot of people aspiring to be a part of such esteemed trainings. That is not a day’s job but it makes a lot of impact. For leadership development programs, there has to be a core council of elected representatives that spends time to analyze the outcome of previous programs and keep enhancing it. Mentoring plays a major role. But sadly in this fast paced environment, time is a limited commodity and its paucity reflects in the limited impact of learning and mentoring programs. The culture of mentoring is very important.
What can be done ?
From my perspective, sky is the limit when it comes to learning :). There are many things that can be done to enhance the programs. To start with a program has to be marriage of right intervention analysis coupled with content, people identified and metrics to be measured. From inter-rotational to global exchange programs, there is so much that can be done. The follow up on the number of conversions into leadership roles is also important. The training department has to constantly improve and innovate on the designs for such trainings. There can be boot camps for the first timers. In the world of commoditization, I think training has to be exclusive and customizable.
At the end of the day, it is not how much you learnt but how much you retained and implemented. Leadership learning which is a constant process is often underrated and not given it’s due importance. The ones that get it right always lead the race :)
As always, these are my personal opinions and not related to my employer.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nomads-take-world-leadership-development-programs-irene-jena-karthik
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Monday, May 4, 2015

Why the Hurry ??



    My eyes giggled at the sight of dancing fire flies,
    The mornings welcomed me with butterflies of different hues,
    I sat by the window spotting imaginary animals in the fluffy white clouds,
    Rains and thunder visited me during the sultry afternoons,
    I raced to my notebook and pulled out a few sheets,
    To make paper boats and see them sail away,
    The rains stopped to give way to the sun,
     I looked around trying to spot my rainbow,
     Lo and behold, I saw the one beautifully peeping out of the blue skies,
     The little birdies started chirping again,
      The mountains stood tall with pride,
       Was it a dream that I painted while sleeping,
        The winds and the flower nudged me to wake up,
         It was not a dream but a rare sight,
         The trees, flowers and mountains,
         Overwhelms my soul,
          Nature so majestic wakes me up,
          From a life that is just so busy, 
          Whispering into my ear,
           Why the hurry?
           It is one life after all :)
           @IJK

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Of Hope and Despair !!


There are days in our lives when life teaches us back to back lessons. The story of resilience and defeat in a single day. The horrible tragedy at Nepal has been hovering in the back of my mind all along the weekend. Time and again, life reinforces that it is indeed a bubble that can burst at any moment. Death always shakes me up and reminds me of the fragility of things. I sit here in the comfort of my home thinking about the lives that have been lost. There were no goodbyes. A morning that was supposed to be another day has changed the course of life for many. It is imperative that all the support reaches them. But then while everybody is thinking of the rehabilitation, I am worried about the emotional trauma that they are going through. I shudder to imagine such a day when either me or my loved ones just leave in a whiff. It is mighty painful.  May God bless all your souls who have passed on to a better place. In a few weeks, the country will slowly start getting up and moving on. But Nepal in particular will need a lot of support. It is a small country and the per capita is very low. It is $62.50 as per a World Bank Report.  Please do your bit in your own little way. There is also a lot of online support that can be extended. I have included some of the links, please share. Let’s all pray that the nation comes out of this disaster stronger and better prepared for future calamities.
  While I was surrounded by these questions which rake up a storm by itself, I meet people who are inspirational. The contradictory nature of life at times is beautiful.  These are people who are doing so much for the greater good irrespective of the challenges they face personally. It is a privilege and honor to meet such good souls. If you are reading this, you know who you are :) Keep going :)

While my day and thoughts have been oscillating between the extreme ends of the pendulum, my friend suggests me to watch a movie. She had a strong recommendation for The Fault in Our Stars. I am given to understand that the book is much better as is the case a lot of times. So I start watching it all excited. But then slowly the story dawns on me and it is pretty heartbreaking. The story is beautiful. It is a story of love, heart breaks, faith, humor, and attitude. An amazing amalgamation of how people choose to rise above the occasion irrespective of the mountain of sufferings that they are standing upon. Many a times, I tend to use a magnifying glass for all my problems. They are actually minuscule yet I crib sometimes. I hope that I am able to contain all the lessons learnt in a single day.

Life is beautiful and I am going to make the most of it. Time to rise above the insignificant things in life and build a solid eulogy resume. I did try to imagine my eulogy. Time to get to work and get some life skills polished.


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