The age of quick fixes..!

Its a beautiful read (forwarding). Certain figures are old and not updated.
“It’s been 18 years since I joined  Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It’s a rule.” 
Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate  results. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.
1. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.. 
2. Stockholm has 500,000 people. 
3. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, are some of its renowned companies. Volvo even supplies NASA. 
The first time I was in Sweden , one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September,bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn’t say anything, neither the second or third days. One morning I asked him, “Do you have a fixed parking space? I’ve noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot.” To which he replied, “Since we’re here early we’ll have time to walk, don’t you think that whoever gets in late will need a place closer to the door?” Imagine my face.
Nowadays, there’s a movement in Europe named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart, Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week. 
Basically, the movement questions the sense of “hurry” and “craziness” generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of “having in quantity” (life status) versus “having with quality”, “life quality” or the “quality of being”.
French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has come to the notice of USA , the pupils of the fast and “do it now” brigade.
This no-rush attitude doesn’t represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. 
It means re-establishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the “now”, present and concrete, versus the “global”, undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans’ essential values, the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive work place where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do.
It’s time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence.
In the movie, ‘Scent of a Woman’, there’s a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, “I can’t, my boyfriend will be here any minute now”. To which Al Pacino responds, “A life is lived in an instant”. Then they dance the tango!  
Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious to live for the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists.
We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
🎀Worth reading.. In this age of quick fixes
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Life is a tenacious thing!

Mushroom

One cycle of life ends in death to give birth to another.

A mushroom sprang up from the remains of a fallen tree in a neighborhood.  

A reminder, that what goes up, comes down; and that there is a beginning even in an end.

Developing Successful Financial Habits – By Dr. Prema Chandran

This blog was posted by Dr. Prema Chandran, MBA, Ph.D on LinkedIn. She is a Management Education and Research Professional based in Canada. Dr. Prema Chandran was also a faculty member at Karunya School of Management where I pursued by MBA. I am happy that I had an opportunity to be associated with her.

This blog talks about how we individuals often miss on small things when managing our finances.  We end up reading and following n number of books, advisory notes, sometimes we even end up paying for such services rendered through a broker or financial consultant. This blog throws light on some very basic steps on how can efficiently manage our finances. I absolutely loved reading this blog.  Few principles of managing money are taken from the Holy Bible and I felt that irrespective of one’s religious background they are quite applicable in today’s times. Hope you all like it.

Bible

Are you in a dilemma, thinking about how to manage your personal finances? Are you looking for some tips on money management? Have you started employment recently? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this article is for you.

Everyone wants financial freedom to take those important life decisions. Money is a necessity at all times. Money brings happiness and security. It is important to work hard, earn money and save some for the future. Many people find this task very daunting and have lost track of their financial well being.

Here you will come across some steps to keep practicing to be financially healthy. As you read on you will find quotes inserted in the passage. These are taken from my favorite book, ‘The Bible’, – the most authentic and authoritative book on a wide range of topics including money and finance. You can see that the Bible, as old as it has been, has a word or two about almost all the areas of money management much ahead of the time in which we are living. The principles related to managing money and finances are many. Let’s get started with a few that are universally applicable irrespective of your circumstances.

1.Save before you spend

Proverbs 21:20 (NIV) The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

Proverbs 27:12 (NIV) The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Many of us are used to saving the ‘leftovers’ after spending. However the right thing you should do is to set aside a small percentage of your income towards savings. It could be as low as five to ten percent of your earnings to start with. Once your savings for every month is defined, it is important now, to show consistency in putting this money aside. The money thus saved little by little, grows slowly and significantly to work for you for an emergency situation or to meet a future need, or even to live a contentious retirement life.

2.Put your money to use

Matthew 25:14-27 (NIV) 14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

Money kept aside does not just work by itself. You need to understand first, that the money you have saved needs to be invested in order to multiply and grow. There are many ways to put your money to work. A simple savings account, fixed deposit or recurring account with a bank is a good start. As you continue to increase your savings, you will find more intermediate to complex investment avenues like mutual funds, equity shares and debt instruments, all of which have varied levels of returns and risk to satiate your financial appetite. The bottom line is to get your money to start working for you.

3.Diversify your investments

Ecclesiastes 11:2 (NIV) Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

In finance there is a concept called ‘risk-return’ relationship. This basically means that the more risk you are willing to take with your money, the more returns you could earn. Your savings may not be as ‘safe’ as you think when all of it is invested in one place. It becomes imperative therefore that you diversify and build what in financial terms is called a ‘portfolio’ of your investment that comprises a right mix of risk and return. So you can choose to invest a portion of your investment in equity shares that are considered very risky, another portion in government bonds that are secure, and also maintain a small ‘cash’ portion as a reserve for contingencies. Every individual’s situation is unique and therefore each person requires a personalized investment portfolio.

4.Plan your finances ahead

Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV) Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander,  no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

Luke 14:28-30 (NIV) 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

Plans help you succeed financially. To start making plans, you could initially record weekly or monthly income and keep track of your daily expenses. This will help you over time to get a fair idea of where most of your money is being spent on. Once you have identified a regularity or a pattern, it becomes very easy to plan better. Remember, when you make your plan, the first item on the list should be your savings. All other spending should be from what remains in your income after saving.

5.Give generously

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV) 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deed, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Your blessing is for you to share. I believe God is the giver of everything good and that includes money also. God entrusts you with riches because of His supreme knowledge that you are sincere with small things. While this principle may not seem to be increasing your worldly wealth, it does certainly perpetuate your heavenly wealth.

6.Start saving now

Proverbs 10:4-5 (NIV) 4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. 5 He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

You stand a definite advantage if you start diligently saving at a younger age because of the length of time that you put your money to work as well as the power of Compounding. Nevertheless, it is never too late to start. NOW is the time you decide to start if you have not started already.

7.Avoid borrowing

Proverbs 22:7 (NIVThe rich rule over the poor,    and the borrower is slave to the lender.

One of the best things you could do for better money management is trying to avoid borrowing as much as possible. Many people get carried away with the overflowing offers for credit cards and loans, that over a period, debt suddenly becomes a burden too heavy to carry. The interest rates on loans could be ridiculously high if unnoticed. If you are already in debt, the wisest thing that do is to pay it all back as soon as you can little by little.

Final word

Every good habit requires a lot of perseverance and patience. If you keep in mind these simple steps and meticulously take an effort in this direction, I am sure financial success is yours to keep. Wishes for a healthy financial future!

Voyagers on a Journey..!!

Why is my life, always in pain and doldrums..

Why is everyone, judging watching me from a distance..

Am I a culprit, am I a miscreant, am I a criminal..

Why am I always made to go through the static thought process of people..

Life, sometimes becomes so entangled, in ruthless pains and desolations..

Everything seems meaningless, a nebulous emptiness is there, my soul is covered in abrasions…

I feel like a being.., who’s never been cared for, loved or understood…

But then, love is to give others, without any conditions and falsehood…

I get a voice from inside telling me the essence of living life of a human…

Love your fellow beings and try to share their pains as rest of all, is just illusion

Sharing distress is more valuable than sharing the feeling of exhilaration

Cause happiness has lots of fellows but no one is there in your afflictions

Why to nurture hatred and discrimination, when we all are just a bunch of voyagers on a journey…

Everything is going to be left behind; and all of us will be there at His mercy..!!

Lessons from the Past

” When Bismarck created Germany he needed one man above all others: the Prussian King Wilhelm. It was not an easy relationship – it was hard to be king under Bismarck – but in the end he supported his brilliant minister, who in turn made him Emperor of Germany. This teaches an important lesson. An astute leader chooses his council wisely-having prudent and independent ministers is the most valuable asset in a leader’s treasure chest!”

The Magicians of Madras – Ratnam and Rehman

Trains, rain, sea waves crashing upon the shore, flirting eye contact with your crush. To this add a Rahman track. Tadaa! Magic indeed!

The year 1992, a mere 5 year old I was. It was a holiday because it was Independence Day and amongst the black & white newspaper stood out the poster of Mani Ratnam’s latest movie, Roja. The music director of this flick was a newbie called A.R Rahman. Being from the south I was quite familiar with a lot of Malayalam songs and had often heard of Ilaiyaraaja famous for songs in Tamil. People down south worshipped his music.

A little known boy who up until then was scoring jingles for ads was putting an end to the Raja- Ratnam love saga. It almost raised alarms in the minds of a lot of people.

It’s been 25 long and glorious years of Rahman in our lives. With the release of Mani Ratnam’s latest venture, Kaatru Veliyidai on April 7 last year, Rahman has made it a full circle, completing silver jubilee in the industry with the man who started it all.

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The partnership of Rahman and Ratnam is mystical, almost like a Khalil Gibran quote – a union that draws the best of each other, complementary, while maintaining spaces and individual identity, a match made in heaven, the perfect relationship.

Invariably, the best work of Rahman has come under the tutelage of Ratnam, and Ratnam’s box office duds have remained in our collective conscious because though the movie may have failed us, the music didn’t. As a petulant and impressionable 5 year old, my first love was the chart topper Dil hai chota sa..(Tamil it was Chinna China Aasai). With each passing day, the Roja album was increasing in popularity and when it was listed among the 10 all-time best soundtracks of the world by TIME magazine, I couldn’t decide if I loved Yeh haseen vadiyaan or Roja jaane mann (Pudhuvellai Mazhai or Kadhal Rojave) more.

Pudhu vellai mazhai is the quintessential romantic song; the glass shattering like opening sequence is in perfect harmony with the visuals of a new bride encountering snow for the first time in her life. “Iru kaigal theendatha penmaiyai un kangal panthadudho”, (The femininity that couldn’t be kindled by hands, ie physically, succumbs to your eyes). How did the trio of Rahman-Ratnam-Vairumuthu, describe a woman’s mind so evocatively? The falling in love of a married couple, discovering each other while exploring a new territory felt surreal while the love and loneliness was palpable in SPB’s (S. P. Balasubrahmanyam) soulful baritone in Kadhal Rojave. Raaja’s songs are evergreen; Rahman’s will be short lived like his jingles they said. However, like many others, I was sold!

Audiotapes were the only source to listen to music tracks in those days and the Bombay tape (1995), for instance, has screeched out of agony. Life hacks then included knowing which song to pause on A side so that it would stop at the song we wanted to listen to on side B. The racy Humma Humma (Bombay) was our rite of passage to sexual awakening as we started understanding the lyrics. (I am sure every child remembers secretly enjoying the song on big screen while sitting next to an equally enjoying, but squirming parent). Even the track Kannalane ennai kannai (Kehna hi kya) reminds one of forbidden love, the pains of loving the unknown.

Soon it was hard to keep our Madras Mozart hidden from the prying eyes of Bombay. It was time to share our legend with Bollywood and so we did with a little bit of pride and a lot of misgiving. We were jealous when Dil Se Re sounded better in Hindi and the Tamil Chaiya Chaiya lacked the punch that the original had.

Trains, rain, waves, mirrors, and flirting eye contact with a cute guy across the wedding hall. To this add a Rahman track. Tadaa!  Magic. There is a no greater testimony to the adage ‘the whole is a sum of its parts’ than Mani Ratnam’s films that are a perfect amalgamation of music, lyrics, and stunning visual aesthetic.

Ratnam, they say, also extracts the best performance from his actors (who would ever believe that Iruvar was Aishwarya Rai Bacchan’s first film?)  I admit that I was a hormonal teenager in the early 2000s when Alaipayuthey (Saathiya in Hindi) released, but there wasn’t a single girl whose heart didn’t skip a beat at the opening shot of Madhavan riding a bike while Endrendrum Punnagai played on. We didn’t wish at Maddy in other movies as much as we did in Ratnam’s.

Over the years, I trudged my feet across the line, from being an incurable romantic to the cynic who cannot watch a romantic movie without wanting to sigh every half an hour or hold my head in agony. The irritation simmered to a new high when I watched OK Kanmani, the story of a young couple falling in love over a couple of cutesy zingers before tumbling predictably into holy matrimony. A goofy Dulquer managed to thaw me a little. I had almost given up on the film when the mellifluous Ay Sinamika, in the velvety vocals of Karthik appeared. It made me want to fall in love all over again, at least for those five minutes.

Chart toppers aside, the underrated Easter eggs of Rahman’s have always been my personal favourites- the achingly beautiful Poongatrile (Uyire), the flirty Nenjam Ellam (Ayutha Ezhuthu) or the classic Ay Hairathe (Guru). Perhaps that’s the genius of Ratnam, the ability to execute the images in his mind’s eye into eye-catching visuals like the haunting Naan Varuven from Raavanan set to the arresting visuals of Vikram plunging to death or the slow- motion sequences of Kadhal Sadugudu, sung as a mischievous ode by SPB Charan.

Though Rahman is part of several other successful collaborations, with directors Shankar, Gautham Menon and Imitiaz Ali, the Rahman-Ratnam duo have the old familiarity, like the nostalgia and comfort of coming home. They made us long for people we’ve never met. They were balm for the soul.

The release of Kaatru Veliyidai reminds me of a simple joy of life; of buying an audiotape, knowing that the album will be terrific. Rolling on the bed and listening to a track on loop, while the mind happily wanders away.

But, things have changed now. I have downloaded the soundtrack, but I also have a toddler who thinks my lying on the bed is an invitation to bounce on my tummy or drive his cars on me making the perfect track and bangs on the bathroom door incessantly, noticing that I have smuggled the mobile in.

The night falls. Husband and baby are safely tucked into bed. I open the music folder, fish out my noise cancellation headphones and press play. Vaan varuvan.. varuvaan…  I am in a trance.

Vaan varuvan? Yes Rahman is back. Play and rewind…And life is good…. A R Rehman fan girl.. 

Soul Searching…

She spent a lifetime looking for it. In other people…In other places…. In anything; but herself. 

Even through all her futile searching, she, on some level, knew all along that the last place she wanted to explore was where she’d find it. The trouble is she never knew how. She was always waiting for one of those light-bulb moments. Those moments rarely happen, except in cartoons and movies. Well life is no less than a movie too. She wanted it to come easy, the way the plot of a story comes together at some point where everything is understood. But that’s not how life works. Life does have its own plot twists, but they are random and unpredictable.

She desperately wanted that moment of clarity, where everything made sense. But at the same time, she was content, for lack of a better word, in the not knowing. In the not knowing, she could stay content, although the not knowing was anything but. The word stagnant would be a more accurate description.

The sad little girl, anxious young woman, and now, the increasingly discontent middle-aged woman, had grown tired of this false sense of contentment or rather satisfaction. Something had to change. She needed to listen to her soul.

As she sat in her parents’ living room while she was home for the holidays, it became more clear than ever that her soul was always with her. She had to stop looking for it and let it find her. And find her it did. It had just been quiet for so long, just as she had been, hoping she would come to her senses sooner or later. Her soul always whispered to her, whether she heard it or not.

I’m certain that she heard it sometimes she simply chose to ignore what it was trying to tell her. But now? Now, her soul was screaming at her, demanding her full attention. She couldn’t ignore it now even if she wanted to. It was revealing to her a glimpse of her future if she did not change.

As she observed her surroundings, feeling the heaviness and familiarity of discontent, her soul was practically shaking her by the shoulders, shouting, “This is not your path! This is not your destiny! But if you don’t get off your ass, then it shall be!” She knew this to be true. Mostly, because nothing here resonated with her any longer.

These values, these beliefs, these truths… they were someone else’s. They weren’t hers. She didn’t have to keep them just because it’s what she had always known.

“Be true to yourself,” her soul now whispered to her. “You’ve spent far too long trying to please others, to follow someone else’s path. Do you like where it has led them? If so, by all means, follow it. You are currently heading that way, but you don’t like it, do you? You’ve seen where it leads. I know that’s not where you’re meant to be, you know it as well. Now that you’ve heard me, we’ll pave a new path. You may stumble, you may get stuck, but as long as you hear my whispers, you’ll find your way to wherever it is you wish to go.”

So here she is. Still sitting in her parents’ home. Done with the illusion of living her life according to someone else’s philosophies. No longer will she look for herself in anyone but herself. Ready to peel away the purposely placed layers, carefully constructed by herself, to protect herself from all that she was never ready to face. How did she know she was ready?

 

She felt it in her soul….

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