My day used to start with the News paper …. 

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I picked up the habit of reading Newspapers very young. Way back, during the school days, Newspaper was the first thing I rushed for immediately on reaching back home from school. Those days my favourite used to be the last page because it carried all the sports news and thereafter if I had time and inclination, the first page got a cursory glance just to see the headlines which normally did not make much sense to me.  Continue reading “My day used to start with the News paper …. “

Advertisement…..Spreading Awareness or Manipulating Opinion???

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Advertisements have proliferated our lives in a big way. Be it the daily Newspapers, the TV or the roadsides, all are flooded with advertisement campaigns, each company trying to do outdo the others. Huge budget is being spent by the business houses on advertisements with the sole aim of changing opinions. 

Life was so cool when there was no TV, no advertisement blitz to endure and the Newspapers actually carried NEWS with specific areas earmarked for the advertisements. Today, more than half of the Newspaper is occupied by advertisements or classifieds as some prefer to call them. In fact, the first thing which stares in your face as you open the morning Daily is a full-page advertisement of some brand. One got to literally search for NEWS in the maze of advertisements. 

We now live, not in a real but virtual world. Advertisement bring in hope and more often than not are the cause of despair when the aspirations are not met. With most of us too busy with our routine life and profession, having no time to go out, explore the markets and try things out physically our life is literally getting dependent on social media to such an extent that our habits, tastes, clothes, modes of entertainment, choices of schools, colleges get decided by advertisements. 

Manufacturers, business houses are in a sort of rat race to catch the attention of the customer. One product is launched and within no time the same company launches another advertisement claiming to launch an improved version of the previous product. Advertisements are not just restricted to glorifying the products but also softly aim at degrading the competitor. Which product is better, this decision, the companies should leave it to the wisdom of the consumer, they should only supply information. 

The main aim of the advertisements is to play with the psyche, to hit the mind of the target audience. They come out with catchy taglines like that of Raymond (The famous Indian dress material manufacturer) – The complete man (I have been a big fan of Raymond ever since) or Maggie Noodles- Mamma I am hungry (Every mom desperately wait to hear these magic words from their child). Mothers very well understand that Maggie Noodles cannot provide the nutrients required for the growth of the child but then they can’t let their child go hungry. Then the child is also armed by the information provided through the advertisement – every Maggie Noodle packet carries the nutrients equivalent to two pieces of home baked bread which is the normal diet of a child, and the argument ends in favour of the child. I, for one, never bothered about the nutrient content, I ate Maggie Noodles because I enjoyed the taste. Cosmetics have taken the advertisement war to an altogether different level with their claims of anti-ageing creams and turning the colour of skin from dark to fair in no time. 

Some advertisement campaigns do indulge in sexism and racism, manipulation and deceit, either inadvertently or intentionally. Women have to be part of most campaigns whether they use the product or not. 

Yes, advertisement do a whole lot of good to the society by not just spreading awareness of social causes and government schemes but also by making people, at large, aware of the options available and helping them compare before reaching a decision. However, one has to be careful and not believe everything being conveyed through advertisements on the face value. Various Regulating authorities set up by the government have to work proactively to ensure that the companies do not take the consumer for a ride by misleading advertisements. The onus should be on the companies including the advertisement agencies to ensure that there is no manipulation and stringent action be taken against defaulters. 

“Finally, it’s on the consumer to decide what he wants, to allow his opinion/ decision get manipulated by misleading advertisements or to be smart enough to read between the lines”

Live your life your way…..Live your dreams….Enjoy yourself it’s later than you think….

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A few days back, I met an old acquaintance of mine after a long time. He was a sports enthusiast and during the course of our conversation he mentioned about an experience when his raft had overturned while negotiating a dangerous rapid in a mountain river and all occupants were thrown into the turbulent water. While others managed to get safety, he was carried away by the strong currents to some distance before he could get hold of a rock protruding in the middle of the river and hung on to it for nearly 30 minutes before he could be rescued. 

When asked what was going through his mind for those 30 minutes that he hung on the rock for life, and he thought death was staring in his face, he said the first response was a desperate appeal to God to come to his aid and save him, but as he spent more time hanging on to the rock the past 30 years of his life flashed through his mind. His dreams, what all he had thought to accomplish/ do in life, condition of his ailing wife who required his support, his kids, the under- construction house, everything went through his mind. He had so many unaccomplished tasks/ dreams which he had been delaying for one reason or the other. He prayed to God to save him as he was just 30 and had so much left to do in life. After his safe return from that journey his complete focus in life was on completing the tasks he had set for himself, achieving his dreams. He had seen death from close quarters and realised the worth of life and more importantly he had realised the true meaning of ‘Living’ life, living dreams. 

Hearing his story, I was reminded of a song sung by Doris Day (written by Carl Sigman/ Herbert Magidson) way back in 1950. 

Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself
It’s later than you think.

You work and work for years and years
You’re always on the go
Never take a minute off
To busy makin’ dough
Someday, you say, you’ll have your fun
When you’re a millionaire
Imagine all the fun you’ll have
In your old rockin’ chair

Enjoy yourself it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink
The years go by as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself
It’s later than you think.
(Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself it’s later than you think)

Your heart of hearts, your dream of dreams
Your ravishing brunettes
Has left you now and she’s become
Somebody else’s pet (pity isn’t it)
Lay down that gun, don’t try my friend
To reach the great beyond
You’ll have more fun by reaching
For a red-head or a blonde

Enjoy yourself it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink
The years go by as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself
It’s later than you think.
(Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself it’s later than you think)

There’s another thing I want to tell you too.

You love somebody very much
You’d like to set the date
But money doesn’t grow on trees
So you decide to wait (Foolish Fellow)
You’re so afraid that you will bite off
More than you can chew
Don’t be afraid, you won’t have teeth
When you reach ninety-two.

Enjoy yourself it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink
The years go by as quickly as a wink
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy yourself
It’s later than you think.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy yourself it’s later than you think…
 

Each and every word of this song is so relevant even today and I think will remain relevant forever. This is exactly what life is all about, we keep delaying things constantly changing our goal posts as long as the going is smooth, when suddenly an accident throws life out of gear and we are left regretting what all we have left unfinished. We carry the worries of our securing our future too far and miss out on living and enjoying the present. Why should it take a negative event to make us consider doing something good? Why should we wait for a dark moment to happen in life to show us the light? Life is so unpredictable, earlier we realise it is the better. Make your list, set your priorities and work to achieve your goals/ live your dreams. 

Life is all about choices we make. Whatever we do/ achieve is the result of the choices we make. Do not keep waiting for the right moment to start/ do something. Every moment is right, just have the will to make it your own. One doesn’t have to throw caution to winds but certain amount of risk has to be taken to achieve something new. “Do not plunge blindly, but when the only escape route is the river in spate, just jump into it, there are high chances of you reaching the bank”. 

Identify your purpose in life and follow it with passion. Time doesn’t wait for anyone/ anything. 

“Enjoy yourself it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink
The years go by as quickly as a wink
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy yourself
It’s later than you think.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy yourself it’s later than you think…”

 

Do not take life for granted…..

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We always take things for granted. As a child we get used to things being provisioned by parents, at times even before we demand it. Most of us have grown in the protective environment with everything being taken care by parents. As we grow up we take our life partners our jobs for granted. We get used to a way of life, both personal and professional, and take it for granted that life will always go on same way. 

This is truer for the married ladies who become overtly dependent on their husbands for all their need specially, financial. In Indian subcontinent, most married ladies prefer to be home makers and hardly take interest in the financial management, even the husbands falter and fail to educate the ladies in this aspect. The ladies are not aware of the investments, loans repayment, bank nominations, insurances, property related documents. These are all managed by the husbands. Most of us fail to make and register a ‘WILL’. God forbid, if life takes an unfortunate turn and the husband suddenly passes away the entire family suffers for no fault of theirs. Pain of loss of a husband/ son/ parent can be further compounded if the financial/ insurance / property documents have not been managed well. 

The common mistakes which normally most people do are failure to open joint bank accounts or earmarking a nominee authorised to operate the account in the event of death of the main account holder. 

The wife/ parents are not aware of the loans taken. Most of us do the mistake of not insuring the home loans, as it increases the value of monthly instalments. If the loan is insured then in the unfortunate event of passing away of the payee the insurance company repays the entire balance amount and the family doesn’t suffer. 

The property is registered only in the name of one person and with his passing away the legal hassles of taking over the property starts for the wife/ family. It’s better to have a joint registration of the property to avoid any legal hassles or have a registered ‘WILL” nominating the person to whom the property will pass on. 

There is hardly anyone who prepares and registers a proper ‘WILL”. WILL is not talked about or discussed in the Indian families as it relates to death and division of property. Wisdom lies in preparing a detailed WILL and registering it. This will save the survivors from legal hassles and financial loss. 

Common things like Digital locker/ Internet banking passwords are lot known to the survivors and does take a prolonged exercise to hold of the new passwords and bank account operating rights. Prudence is in maintaining a physical record of all passwords and user names in a diary, not just on the laptop. 

All financial documents should be kept safely and the spouse/ parents should be aware of it. If possible, make two copies and keep at two different places just to cater for accidents. Record to be kept securely online also and in digital locker. 

Home makers should be educationally/ professionally qualified to take on the mantle of the ‘Bread winner’ when the need arises. Ability to drive a vehicle is a must. 

What I have discussed above is the worst which one can go through in life. People go wrong even in basics, just don’t plan or visualise the future before taking a plunge. You will see numerous cases of newly wed couples trying to settle down in life as early as possible. They get themselves overburdened with loans in the quest to acquire luxuries of life and a sweet home. Banks happily disburse loans based on the present income of the couple. Caution is thrown to the winds while taking loans and people fail to visualise the scenario that will happen if for some reason the job is terminated. No job is guaranteed in private sector. This has happened in many families with jobs getting terminated at short notices, business failing and then they have no way of re-payment of big loans they had taken and lose out on whatever they had acquired. More importantly they end up losing peace of mind. Patience, planning, visualisation, bit of caution is must in life; nothing happens overnight. 

“Life takes unexpected turns, enjoy it as long as you can but be always prepared to face any unfortunate eventuality. Strengthen your shoulders when you have the time, you won’t have to look for outside support even in the worst contingency”

 

 

 

What is your net worth???

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I felt a bit of irritation in my left eye last Saturday and attributed it to maybe a dust particle, however, by Sunday morning the irritation had turned into a real pain and the complete eye had turned red. 

A visit to the doctor revealed swelling in the tissue which required a treatment for about a week to recover fully, during which the vision also remained a bit blurred. 

This is how life goes on, so unpredictable, you are fit and healthy one day and within next 24 hours you may be diagnosed with the worst of the disease or meet with an unfortunate accident. As long as you are fit and healthy you can achieve anything, you are worth your weight in Gold, as it is said. You can do whatever you want, work 24 X 7 and earn as much as you want. You may feel that the entire world is at your feet or eating out of your hands. But, God forbid, the day you are diagnosed with any serious disease or meet with a serious accident, the whole world comes crashing down. You feel helpless, all your wealth is worth nothing if you can’t be cured. 

It’s health which matters most and also neglected the most. In the pursuit of our dreams and most of the time in sheer quest of making money we neglect health, no physical workouts, improper diet plan. By the time you realise it may be too late. Whatever aim you have in life, remember it can be seldom achieved without the support of good health. Take care of the health, not just physical but mental health too. Take regular breaks to unwind and rejuvenate. Jog, walk, join a gymnasium or swim, do whatever you can, it will matter in the long run. 

“Your true net worth cannot be measured by your wealth or property, it is actually reflected by your health. If you are not healthy, money doesn’t matter, if you are healthy no one can stop you from achieving whatever you have set your mind on”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Killing softly with the words……

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Killing softly and slowly with our words is what many of us actually do daily without even realising it. Most affected are the people around us, relations, office colleagues (specially subordinates).

We cause hurt by our arrogance, rude behaviour, derogatory language, causing humiliation and what not. It’s not about killing physically, but killing emotionally, breaking the confidence, hurting self- respect, subduing initiative.

“I will tell you what to do/ how to do” and “I know better” or “I am more experienced” syndrome is so prevalent in our lives and we just refuse to give it up, knowing fully well that this the main reason affecting growth, both personal and professional. At home the elders (generally the father) and in the offices the seniors are the ‘killers’. Being elder/ senior doesn’t necessarily mean we know better/ are more experienced. “Experience is more related to the situation one has been through in life and how he/ she responded to it, it has got less to do with the number of years one has spent on earth or in the same office”.

Being elder/ senior doesn’t give anyone a right to hurt/ humiliate. Most of the time the arrogant behaviour is the result of our own insecurities. We refuse to accept our weaknesses, make no efforts to improve and hide behind the veil of arrogance and our seniority.

Arrogant behaviour of senior, regular humiliation, more than teaching actually pushes the junior/ child away. As an elder the aim should always be to empower the younger by sharing your acquired wisdom guiding him through, facilitating him find solutions. The root cause of the problem lies in the fact that most of us refuse to grow out of the boot of being a ‘father/mother’ or a senior. Instead try being and elder, friend and guide. Moment the relationship paradigm changes you will find a definitive change in the environment. You will not be a killer anymore, rather you will be ‘adding’.

 

“Soft skills and not soft kills are what makes the person and organisation grow, improve your skills”

Thank you for helping me make a better choice…find my passion….

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Rejection, whatever may be the cause always causes hurt. Most of us face rejection sometime or the other. It may range from minor rejections like a friend ignoring a post on social network site, a friendship request being ignored to more serious ones like partner walking out of marriage, denied a promotion or being rejected in a job interview.

Our brains are not geared to accept rejection and it always leads to moments of low, a feeling of disgust, the duration varying from person to person.  Every rejection is followed by a period of self-blame, becoming extremely self-critical. More the number of rejection we go through more self-critical we get.

Rejection may be for a variety of reasons. In a personal/ professional relation, you may not be lacking anything, maybe the other person (friend/ boss/ owner) is suffering from a complex and looks for a reason to break/ withdraw. Lack of qualification may not be the treason always for rejection in interviews, it is just that you may not have the particular qualification or experience the company is looking for or they consider you over qualified for that particular job. Do not be in a hurry to write yourself off or feel disgusted.

Rejection, as a word, should be removed from the vocabulary, it conveys a negative sentiment which is not warranted at all. In this competitive world you may not get a job not because you don’t meet the laid down qualitative requirement (QR) but because there are hundreds who meet the QR and they had to take only one and it was just not your day. Similar things happen in personal relation where a girl/ boy may turn down a proposal because it doesn’t fit the parameters they have laid for their life partner. Maybe they feel too overawed and subdued and just back down.

Any obstacle/ rejection which comes in life guides you towards a better option. Do not be in a hurry to get tied up in a job or relationship. Take your time, you will find the match, personal/ professional. Once you find your match, you will, more often than not, be happy that you were not selected for the previous jobs. You will be thankful to them for helping you make a better choice, find your passion.

“Rejection should not lead to feeling of disgust, Stay positive, it may be an indication that you deserve something/ someone better”