Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nearing 30: Young or Old

I had heard somewhere that 30 is the new young, though I still have an year to go before I reach 30, but this question intrigues me sometimes. Women look the most beautiful when they are nearing this magic age but then, why do anti-aging creams are advisable at the same age.

Youth is not immortal, it will fade someday, sooner or later. Though we all fight to hold on to it as long as we can.

Last week I went to Pune for official work and I was allotted a shared room in the guest house. As I entered the room, I noticed that a dark slim girl from Mumbai, probably had 1-2 years of experience sharing the room with me.
"Hi", I said casually smiling just to break the ice.
She points a finger at me and says "Fresher?", the tone was totally unacceptable.
I have already been ragged heavily in my engineering, hostels, sharing apartments everywhere. And here I was, 7 years after my engineering facing a similar expression.
I politely replied -"No, 7 years of experience."
She immediately toned down - "Ohh, tumko dekhke lagta nahi hai"
Was I happy? Ohh yes. I was smiling inside, but I wished I looked a bit older otherwise my juniors might never respect me. But at the same time, I wished I had fewer grey hair, I was slimmer, more energetic and the list was endless .

One the contrary, today I went to the market and one guy calls me - "Aunty scooty aage park karo"... I ignored thinking he must be talking to some Aunty, he repeated -
"Aunty... Aunty... scooter aage park karo". I was shocked or hurt or dissapointed whatever, but all my confidence shattered in that one moment. He was not a baby.. he was a 20 something. And I was not wearing a saree, rather was casually dressed.

From Didi to Aunty, it was not a long journey I guess, only a few years had changed my designation. Perhaps it was time to come back to reality, I have lived my youth in all its entirety and enjoyed it too. Perhaps it was time to welcome the onset of middle age. Perhaps bigger responsibilities awaited now rather than painting your nails yellow or wearing pink chinos. Perhaps, it was time.

But then I thought - Why?
Can't you be as young as your heart says you are, as long as you enjoy romantic movies, as long as shopping relieves you of stress, as long as guys ogle at you, as long as necks turn when you leave a party and as long as your smile breaks the ice.

Perhaps it was time to tell that 20 something guy on the street - "Aunty hogi teri maa" :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book Review : Tales From Firozsha Baag

Name of the Book: Tales From Firozsha Baag
Author: Rohinton Mistry
Published 1987 by Faber and Faber

The book contains 11 interconnected stories about residents of the Firozshah baag, a Parsi Community residential society. The book grips till the end, with brilliant story telling skills, the stories feel complete and partial at the same time. The charecters feel rich and poor at the same time and happiness intersects the lonely, sad hearts. It provides amazing insight into the Bombay style of living and the parsi community.
The charecters seem real, next door kind and so are the stories, though written in an extra-ordinary manner, capturing each emotion and providing enough food for thought.
Absolutely loved every bit of it. Though there are a few parsi terms, written in italics, which interrupt the english from time to time. All in all, a good read and I would recommend every person who associates with Bombay to read it :)
My rating 4/5 stars


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Review : What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School: Notes From A Street-Smart Executive

467754Name of the Book : What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School: Notes From A Street-Smart Executive
Author : Mark H. McCormack
Published June 1st 1986 by Bantam

A bestseller, with a thousand rave reviews and a number of people recommending me, made me finally pick this book. I generally don't read business/management or self-help as it is better to learn yourself than some author tell you the do's and don'ts.
The book is about management strategies from the Marck which he had learnt during his career of working for various clients, starting his own firm and growing it. The tone of the book is prescriptive throughout and it makes you feel that someone is constantly nagging and teaching you the do's and dont's of business.
If you have spent a couple of years in the industry already, you would already know most of the gyan. The examples are from Mark's real life, who runs a firm dealing with sports marketing and stuff. But how many of us are in such kind of firms. I work an MNC, a big corporate giant where situations, processes and people think differently. Frankly, I couldn't relate to any of the examples provided in the book, though I did find some of the gyan-baazi useful for speaking up in meetings and using the terms over lunch :) it impresses people, trust me.

There are few things which are really striking and leave and impact on you such as -
  • Its okay to not respond to mails immediately when waiting might result in a better outcome
  • Tricks on negotiating a deal and creating a perception of win-win situation
  • Why managers only delegate un-important tasks and keep the trophy for themselves, what should be the right approach to delegation and how you should keep your employee motivated
  • We are not just managing people, we manage egos, personalities and eccentricities
Once we start working in Corporate environments, we deal with issues, egos, personalities, processes everyday. There is no right or wrong way out, there is no prescriptive method that will take us out, it is sheer common sense. We all tend to figure out eventually what works for us, not by reading few tricks or few books but by learning in the field. Probably, that's why they don't teach this at Harvard or any other B-school.

The book is a nice quick read, but very prescriptive, . My rating is 3/5