Friday, April 29, 2011

What Daddy Missed

My father passed away in 1984.

In those days, we had an Ambassador- a second hand one.
You didn't get car loans to buy a new car.
Anyways, even if you did, you could choose between a Fiat and an Amby.

My father was always budgeting and planning monthly expenses.
He never knew what a credit card was.
Everything had to be within what he earned.

He had no opportunity to travel by air.
Never been inside an airport even.
Vacations for us meant AC train and company guest houses.
And we felt quite privileged.

Daddy  was a cricket addict and was glued to his transistor during the test matches.
He never saw a match on a television.
We knew televisions only from Archie comics.
And English movies.

Daddy never had a passport.
Never left the shores of this country.
Never knew what a Pepsi Can was.
Never owned a cellphone.
Had no idea of what the computer was.
The only web he knew was cobwebs.

But we still had a good life.
We were connected to the world through radio and newspapers.
We called our grandparents much more.
Daddy went home every vacation.
We socialised every day.
We played, we swam, we picniced, we baked.

Sometimes I feel sad that Daddy never saw the life we are leading now.
Sometimes I feel, maybe he looks at us and feels sad.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Attitude. Cool. Buzzy. Masti.

These are some of the words hanging at the tip of most tongues and pens.
Most of us like to describe ourselves or people we talk about as cool and hip.

Makes me wonder. What exactly is cool?

Is it about being 'with it'?
About talking in text lingo?
Or sporting contemporary fashion?

Can a social worker be cool?
For that matter, a successful entrepreneur?

Social Networking sites have also successfully whipped and whetted our appetites to be cool.
Whether it is our updates, or pictures, or links.

Being a smart thinker can also be cool.
Achieving success at work can be very cool as well.

Age old values of love, expect, sharing, caring will always be cool.

We are only restricting ourselves by limiting the definition of cool to music, apparel, accessories, behaviour.

Being cool is about being confident.
Of who we are and what we are about.

Cool is a state of mind. Not just a state of being.
And we are all cool in our own special ways.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Perform, Not Present

Collecting my thoughts for an open house tomorrow.
On  how to be a good presenter.

Maybe worthwhile sharing it on my blog with everyone.
Would welcome your comments.

Being  brought up on a rigorous schedule of classical and folk dance, I often draw parallels between a performance and a presentation.
Both are to an audience.
Both make a point interestingly and  entertainingly.
Both have to justify the time the audience is investing.
Both are on stage, visible or invisible.

Some pointers which have always helped me present.

1. Rehearse. Many times over.
2. It's a Performance.
3. Passion Shows.
4. Energy is Infectious.
5. Connect with the Audience
6. Be a storyteller
7. The Power of Voice
8. Focus on the key point being made but make it come alive in many ways
9. Watch TED  and good orators like President Obama
10. Be  Yourself. It's your  show.

It's an art to  hold the attention of an audience.
It's important to understand who we are facing.
It's  good to take on questions confidently, and not be defensive.

Finally, humour always works.
So does creativity.

Making a presentation come alive with slides or charts can make that vital difference.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

When Dettol was White

I grew up thinking Dettol was white.
And shampoos needed to be mixed in half a mug of water before usage
And skirts had to be unhemmed as you grew taller
And text books were hand me downs
And Cadbury's was a thrice a year treat.

No we were not poor
Yes my parents doted on me

But this was what the great Indian middle class was about in those days.
Working men had huge liabilities.
Mostly single income households, most men were responsible to getting their sisters and brothers  educated and married.
Money orders to parents every month was a must, they were not on pension plans.

My mother was an expert at making things last.
Whether it was our skirts, or textbooks, or every bit of a vegetable being used up deliciously.
Or changing the straps of the hawai chappals till they could be used nomore.

We were conditioned never to ask for expensive things
We were content with what we were given
If we weren't, there was no choice anyways.

We lived by value. Where Lalitaji ruled the roost with her "samajdari"

Later on in life, I realised that Dettol was not white.
My father would dilute the  Dettol in an empty bottle as he used it after his shaves regularly.
And that we could shampoo straight off the bottle.

Today, things are far better for all of us.
Our liabilities have reduced. Money orders have been replaced by annual gifts to parents.
Incomes have increased. Wives have started earning or becoming efficient home managers.

In all of this, I wonder  whether the value equation has also  changed dimension.
What does good value mean today?
It is obviously not just price and utility specific.
There is a big intangible dimension attached to every purchase, every brand.

What is this new conversation?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why we should Twitter and FB at work

Yes, it's a waste of time and productivity to Twit and FB during work.
Or, is it?

Here's some good reasons why  it may actually increase all our efficiences.

1. Our work hours are NOT 9 to 5. We work for far longer, so there can't be "after work surfing hours".

2. Twitter is one of the  most effective ways of  staying connected to the world news and events- in real time.

3.  These sites give us insights into how the world communicates and for those of us in the business of communication, it is invaluable information

4. FB gives us that much needed coffee break of saying a hi to friends when our minds are clouded and tired

5. FB also enhances our creativity- we take great pains and put in much thought into crafting our FB updates.

6. We can use all such sites to do quick researches and get feedback in seconds. For eg: what do we think of the word "stress"

7. We get good understanding of that strange animal "youth" ( if we have "youth" friends that is)

8. Twitter is a great site for knowledge sharing and I have read some of the best marketing blogs and artciles thru Twitter

9. Finally, for our kinda work with long hours, Twitter and FB helps us stay awake and alert and happy,  as we wait for that final artwork to roll.

That's about all I could come up with- as I write this during my lunch break at work.