Getting ‘in line’ for the ‘On-line’ World

Probably the most ‘trending word’ doing the rounds in the world today.

From the humbler days of when ‘being online’ meant – Yahoo Chat or MSN Messenger, to the current day when an avatar just isn’t enough to distinguish you from the rest, hiding behind a computer screen with only a user name – today, the person himself has come ONLINE. (not out of choice, but more out of necessity)

From our very homes directly to board meetings in conference rooms, we are to be accessible at all times, from different locations from a simple electronic gadget.

Life has certainly moved gears overnight, and we have to move with the times.

Much before the whole ‘Life coming aboard Online’ thing happened, we had this beautiful connection that came into existence to people from around the world, better known to us as Yahoo Chat rooms, where people just clicked on random names, started chats, and started getting to know each other from around the world. Who says two perfect strangers cannot make great friends?

Sometimes opening up to a Stranger is much easier than with a friend.

While life has graduated from chat rooms to friendship/dating sites, to blogging platforms, we’ve all come across people who we never knew existed and forged great relationships, some of which may have overridden relationships that we have with people who we meet every day – that said, there are two sides to everything. A ‘Friend’ is of course a relative term and it depends on each one, on how they perceive friendship and what do they expect from the relationship.

In the Era of Whatsapp and social media, we are constantly bombarded with information, telling us the importance of communication, relationships, and un-explored opportunities between people from different nations – the more we’re willing to go searching, the more we come across different kinds of people. I stumbled on one such opportunity of being part of a community called ‘7 cups’. 7 cups is a website that provides online therapy and free support to people experiencing distress by connecting them with trained listeners. Like I said earlier, sometimes it is just easier talking to a stranger than a known person.

So while the whole debate of Online strangers turned friends in a virtual space is good or bad, is for every individual to take a personal call – Online connectivity and the fact that the world is slowly coming together is (or rather are) steps in the right direction.

I am part of 4 WhatsApp groups, members of that particular group who I personally do not know, but share similar interests with – is an opportunity to share knowledge, build connections and who knows where it could lead to… and that is where I’d like to bring in a different aspect of how online connections can get you to places you’ve never been to, money in currencies you don’t earn in.. and an opportunity in a country you’ve probably you’ve never heard of…

Over to my co-writer who will enlighten you further

Further to what Savio mentioned about how we’ve transformed from Yahoo Messenger to the current state, let me personally tell you that being online has transformed me in more than one way. Work-wise, I belong to a shared service industry where I support regions other than India. And over the last 12 years, I have built some excellent professional relationships only by being online. While I work from home these days due to the pandemic, I keep 2 dedicated hours in the morning only to talk to my Kiwi and Australian counterparts. All this happens over hangout messenger and calls. It doesn’t stop here. We finalize financial reports, sales numbers, and profit numbers all through the same medium. And you will definitely agree with me that this is common in the IT industry as well!

Coincidentally, I developed my passion by writing too by being online. This made way to some beautiful relationships that blossomed through the online medium. To mention two, in particular, Savio and Charlie, even though I have never met either of them in person, I am very comfortable talking to them and picking up writing from where they have left off… this post from Savio and many previously written story relays from Charlie.

I am also a part of a wonderful blogging community, again, I have met none in person but on the virtue of penning down my thoughts, I got the opportunity to evolve my passion of writing into a second profession. Presently I am coordinating with many people via regular online meetings to understand their requirements and write content for their website. Now, isn’t this awesome?

I think being ‘in line with the online world’ is the futuristic way to life. We all need to do it in different proportions and capacities. Today everything is available virtually – schooling, banking, hobby classes, jobs, and professions, and thanks to this pandemic, catching up with parents and friends also happens through the same online medium.

Cheers to this new way of life!

Like Aditi said earlier, it’s not in the physical meeting but in the connection that is formed between individuals that one can take off from where the other has left. With coming onboard with the whole ‘getting online’ situation, the world has gotten closer inter-state and within countries – no doubt, but have the offline connections suffered at the expense of excessive screen time?

The lessons have been many throughout this past week, a couple of them more with this post. (for everyone who can point out the lessons learned through this post, gets a virtual date with an exclusive ‘Aditi-Savio’ meet [yes! that’s a THING now])

If you’ve paused even for a few seconds to think about what you’ve just read, we’d consider ‘our’ job well done. It isn’t always about the information imparted but our abilities to self introspect after reading the views on various topics presented through this amazing platform, how the mind works, what makes us tickwhat is that one particular word/ phrase or sentence that helps us ponder, heal, smile or even at best go and reach out to that person you’ve always wanted to.. but never ended up doing.

Cheers to life! Cheers to relationships! Cheers to what’s ahead – we’re all doing our little bit to contribute to the bigger goal, making this world a better place and as long as we’re doing that, we have nothing to worry.

My fellow Candles, and all you lovely readers – this one is dedicated to all of you.


Also if I may add, being professionals in our respective fields, Aditi & myself both felt this little post of ours was dished out more like a presentation, you know the kind that people stand on the stage and deliver?

So, if you are more of that visually inclined person and see words come live in front of you as you read – this is right up your alley, you are free to visualize us on a stage speaking the same, suited up, smiling and holding on to that mic as if it were the most precious thing ever.

Collaboratively written by Aditi Ranade & Savio Paes

“…DON’T DO THAT”

I’ve heard people say that ‘Restrictions are to become a part of daily life now’ but if we look closely haven’t we always been under some sort of restriction or the other? …parents, teachers and society in general?

We’ve only given it a different name.. we call it a sacrifice, more like self-imposed rather than others imposing it on us. Sacrifice is still in many ways a restriction

Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • A man sacrifices on frivolous daily spending to buy a bike he has been eyeing for a long time – self-imposed restriction
  • A woman sacrifices her needs over that of her husband’s or children – self-imposed restriction
  • Parents sacrifice the number of outings/vacations for their future child’s education – self-imposed restriction
  • A teacher sacrifices her sleep to prepare a good lesson plan for her students for the next day/week. – self-imposed restriction
  • Youngsters keeping their electronic gadgets aside to spend time with their grandparents – self-imposed restriction
  • A boyfriend saves up his money to buy his girlfriend the perfect birthday gift and treat her to a wonderful day, thus sacrificing his pleasures for months – self-imposed restriction

While sacrifice may be a good thing to do for the sake of someone else, it also helps one understand as an individual, that ‘certain restrictions’ are needed because, at the end of the day, we really do not need everything.

Restrictions have always been part of our life, just that we never paid enough attention to it. Today, the world demands that we restrict ourselves from the things we love to do – being social, going out partying/clubbing, traveling, etc, which in the long run will only help us live a more lengthy life, not necessarily a comfortable one.. but still a sustainable one.

We need to start practicing what I call the “emotional-detachment-syndrome” to various things and people. The more we are attached to things, the more difficult it will get to live without them.

Speaking for my fellow brown people, we are way too emotional about most things around us and it hits us hard when something bad happens (deaths/rapes/injustice, etc.. to name a few) ..that said movies get us people emotional too, this lockdown has had people come down to tears.

The more emotional we get as a community, the more will we get frustrated, coz how does one counter an emotional person with another one sitting next to you?
…and that’s where people like me are invaluable to the society – [Head over Heart – the logical thinker] (a dying breed/population)

The more we stop paying attention to everything that happens around us and go about doing our own business, this world will be a better place to live in, trust me on that. Let us take the Japanese people, for example, robots as they may seem to be when you see them walk on the road… but the logic is simple, they go about doing their thing, everyone looks after themselves and the government looks after the country’s affairs – no major fights, not many protests, etc.

If we have to learn, why not learn from the best?

“Wise people see trouble coming and get out of its way. But foolish people go straight to the trouble and suffer because of it.” Proverbs 22:3.

Let go of the things that don’t matter. I’m sure most of us have learned that lesson the hard way during the various phases of the imposed lockdown.. that way we work well within ourselves, we need not restrict ourselves from anything in particular – people, place or situation.

Restrictions only put full stops to our life, which otherwise should be full of commas, colon, semicolons, and exclamation marks. Questions however will always be there…

We all come pre-equipped with certain physical and psychological programming to get a feel for how a thing may turn out, what might happen – using correct judgment in such a scenario, will only help lend quality to an otherwise, very frivolous life that we have been leading thus far.

The lessons from the current lockdown might have been many, but the most important one is:

While the country heads might tell us not to do this and not to do that, it is still up to us to do the right thing – and by ‘right’ we mean.. or at least hope to mean is: setting ourselves free of the restrictions from negative thoughts and spiteful behavior to one another.

At the end of this post, it is about asking yourself, what are the restrictions that you have bound yourself with? Are they helping you grow as an individual or stunting the growth of being a better person, a better citizen, and a better future leader of this country?

What is it for you? Physically, Emotionally or Mentally restricted?

PSSST…!

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Authenticity has always been an issue in a country like India, simply because with over a billion people – you’re always gonna get ‘different versions’ of the original – be it a message, product or simply a service rendered.

What to believe? How much to believe? Even if we see something in-front of our very own eyes, at times one can’t trust them either.

The topic today is about ‘Spreading Rumors’, something that we are all very well versed with. Starts as early as in our schooling days and well…goes on, doesn’t it? 

“We think we have it under control, but we never do – do we?”

Have we at any time spread a rumor? – an innocent one surely, a time when we didn’t even know what the word meant. Yes! we all have, but the idea is to stop the spread of rumor and teach it to our children too because it could (in most cases) only end up damaging someone’s career/life all together.

In the year 2020, we’re definitely wiser – not all of us fall into the ‘I-believe-everything’ category – that would be plain foolish to believe everything we see, hear and also feel. “Feel” – yes, emotions are right up there too.

There are of-course reasons why people indulge in such trivial activities. It could be.. to be part of a certain group, feel superior/or to be in control to others (now don’t people love doing that?) jealousy, revenge or simply to gain attention from people.

Is it a healthy practice? No way. Nothing good can ever be achieved by doing so.

38 years of existence in this world and I’ve never found another’s life as exciting as to talk about it, like/dislike or even have anything to do with it. So technically, if there’s nothing to talk about, the question of rumors don’t even remotely apply. Then, there are people who I meet, whose sole motive in life is to talk about other people and in the process may/maybe spread false news about them.

People lead their lives their way, do things as they wish, see people they want to, indulge in activities they feel right. Some get away with a lot of luck, others don’t.

How does it affect another person to pass a judgement and to say how right or how wrong they’re living their lives. Please! AVOID!

Recently I met a colleague I had worked with a few years ago, and as two people meeting after a long time – it is expected that they need to share information about life, common friends, colleagues etc. Only this time…she had me on the other side and I don’t normally feed on such kind of talk. She went ahead to tell me about her personal life stories, stories about the boss we once worked under, the colleagues we worked with etc. I’m sure 90% of all that was BULL. After some time she realized that she wasn’t getting any kind of reaction from me, she said she was getting late, shook hands and said goodbye. 

So you see… that wasn’t too hard now, was it? If I can do it, so can you. But, WILL YOU?

Doesn’t the word “PRIVATE” mean something to you? If it does – you would know best that keeping to yourself is sometimes the best gift we can give ourselves..and to others to an extent.

Rumors especially, spread faster than any other authentic information – simply on the principal of: what goes into a rumor is interestingly parceled and told to another person using different tone variations, specifically picked out chosen verbs and the right mix of adjectives, which of course when heard sounds so much nicer – obviously and short enough to evoke a curiosity of a ‘tell-me-more’ kind of situation.

Facts/authentic information on the other hand sound very normal and drab.

The next time you find yourself in the middle of an exchanging information session (a fancy label for what we locally call gossip)Think! are you being a part of spreading a rumor? or just part of a healthy conversation. That said, we all know there isn’t nothing called as a healthy conversation.. we’re always including people’s stories and sorry to say, but most of them aren’t healthy at all!

STOP the Rumors! Discuss recipes, apps on your phone or even about the last novel you read. Educate others.

 

THE ‘HUMBLE’ PULAO N THE GOAN SAUSAGE

My tryst with cooking started when I decided to detach from the umbilical chord and stay away and live in another state, doing something different and well… learn to survive on my own.

From burnt chapatis to the extra-salted curries, over cooked rice to cooking a mean bowl of Maggi, I’ve experienced a little of what it means to cook – or as I would refer to it then‘Survive’

I’ve come a long way since then… from what I could refer to myself as the ‘maggi phase’ to what I can call now a phase of a decent meal-preparation [3 dishes still constitutes a meal right?] which includes a salad. Food is never quite complete without salad

A lunch on Sunday in Goa has to include the famous Goan sausage-pulao – it is almost a given. Not sure of what the relation is, between “Sausage – Pulao – Chicken and Sunday”  – but it just fits well. Rice on a Sunday just doesn’t seem right.

I’m gonna try my best to write a recipe of the above mentioned ‘Goan sausage-pulao’ a.k.a in Goa as Chourico Pulao

So what ingredients do we need.. let’s see

2 cups of rice (Basmati they say is best – but I choose whatever is available) which means you have to double that with the cups of water [2 cups of rice = 4 cups of water] anything between 10-20 sausage beads (depending on your preference) 2 chopped onions, 1 chopped tomato, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 3 or 4 small maggi cubes (I do not use salt) – number can vary (which eventually gives the taste to the pulao) and oil of course. The cloves thingy – about 4 of them, a couple of bay leaves. I personally don’t mix (but you can do) the peppercorns and cardamoms and all… (by this time I’m already hungry… so this needs to get over soon)

Let’s cook: My favorite part..coz we’re coming to the end..and basically my cooking means mix everything and wait…

With the heated oil (about a tsp) in the pressure cooker, add the chopped onions, chopped tomato and wait a little (u can check your mobile for new whatsapp messages till the spluttering starts) add the sausages, the washed rice, turmeric and maggi, now add the 4 cups of water and mix, stir etc… close the pressure cooker, put the whistle on (I used to forget that initially) wait for 2 whistles, after the 2nd whistle count up to 50 real quick…. switch off the flame and voila! you’re ready – I mean, the Sausage Pulao is.

You can choose to garnish the same with fresh coriander or simple dig in!

Chicken curry is prepared by mom.. lol. You’d think my contribution of making the pulao is enough for the day and yes.. there’s the salad I’ll get ready too… maybe papad as well.
What else? Done no?

You see!? Cooking is simple… if I can do it.. you can do it too. All you need to know is what goes where and in what quantity – you know the basics and everything else is just a mix-n-match, who knows you might just come up with a new dish all together and name it after yourself

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a dish named after you? ..I cooked a Savio today! Of course there’s a clear difference between ‘I cooked Savio’ and ‘I cooked a Savio today’ – for the grammar lesson, please enroll your names at the earliest – seats filling up fast 🙂

This is what a dish of Sausage Pulao should look like after ready:

Goan Sausage Pulao

..and let’s remember cooking is an activity enjoyed by both males and females. Of course the women take it upon themselves as a responsibility, to cook delicious food for their loved ones – but for when we cook – we may not be as good as them, it does show that we are equally capable of whipping up a meal as much as they can, giving them the option of maybe sleeping in late one day, while we prepare  it in our own style for them and also more importantly “We are in this TOGETHER”

The salt might be less or the dish may be a little burnt – don’t worry! As long as there is Love put into it – everything will turn out JUST FINE! ..and who knows we might just have a much needed laugh over it too.

Happy Cooking!

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU DID SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

It is said when you do the same things day after day – Time seems to fly faster

So my obvious next question would be:

What are some of the different things you’ve done this year?

I asked this question to my daughter last night… she looked at me and smiled.. and after what felt like a couple of hours… she said;

Papaaaa.. I went to the 3rd standard, I made so many new friends (and went on to name all her classmates) I fell down in school yesterday, I won the first prize in the writing competition, I passed my English test with full marks, I got a new tooth etc etc

…and I thought to myself what are some of the different things I’ve done of late, of course besides going to work and back?

Time really does seem to fly as we get Older…

“Who are you calling ‘Old’?” remarked my father from the other room.

The thing with parents is ‘They-Hear-What-They-Want-To-Hear‘ 

I didn’t mean specifically him or anyone at home in particular, I just threw an open ended sentencethings I do once in a while.. just to see if people are paying attention to me and opinions are always welcome.

I am not talking of the ‘older lot’ in particular but in general.. Young or old – we all get 365 days to complete the yearly circle, so we really do not have a choice right?

This year (2019) has been extra-ordinarily quick – from the very first month of January 2019, we’ve all said it at least once a month. We can all agree to one thing, the year has rushed by us and however fast this year is passing by, we would all be asking one question to ourselves

Have we all set out to do what we’ve planned for the year?

We’d have all different answers for sure, but whatever it might be – we’ve all set out to create wonderful memories (throughout the year) with friends, family, general acquaintances and perfect strangers.

What’s been my highlight for the year?

I’m not even sure on how to answer this question, its not because there’s so much that’s happened but… the fact that so little has happened, to even mention it might sound so minuscule and insignificant – so I’m gonna keep it to myself.

However, does joining the Candles Online group of talented writers, qualify to be  a HIGHLIGHT of the year? I definitely think so. Also a FIRST for me. I’ve never been a part of a group possessing such a wealth of talent. I couldn’t be happier, even if I was here only just to be a part and learn. To be allowed to learn and contribute has been a very humbling experience.

Oh yes! And besides aren’t we all at the end of a decade? a whole block of 10 years (of course most of us have spend more than 3/4 decades on this earth – but whose counting right?) .. and NO I’m not gonna look back on it. Whatever has happened has happened for the best!

I tend to put a few questions in my ‘End-Of-The-Year’ posts, just two in this one. But if not in December – then when?

Wishing the last few days of December.. be of slowing down, only to shut-down completely on the 31st and re-boot to new beginnings in 2020.

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P.S: …and yes, I am not married – as yet (with reference to the above text) nor do I have a daughter who is in the 3rd standard, someday she will be and I’ll read this post to her then. Needless to say, she’ll be excellent in English and be a blogger like me (I passed my English test with full marks || I won the first prize in the writing competition)

WHAT IF…

There comes a time in your life, where you like the things the way they are ..but what if things were different? What if going back into my past, I’d change something really HUGEand that in turn makes me lose everything I have today?

What can I say – my TODAY is far from perfect! But then if I have to look at my life in the other way, I look at my life as

“What if my life turned out just the way I wanted it?” I can only begin to imagine

A frequent passing thought.. and at the end of it, I say to myself ‘Thank Goodness’. You think I’d know myself really well, and what I’d be capable of, if I had to have it my way!

A few right choices, a couple of right connections and a whole lot of the sly factor,I wouldn’t be doing the things I’m doing or living in the place I’m living. I would be – well.. Unrecognizable! I wouldn’t be ME. Actually I would be Me, but a different kind of Me – not many of who would like me too much.Image result for time machine

Working in top management

..lording over hundreds of employees working under me

..changing cars with changing trends

..a house that comforts me in every way, needless to say – money would never be an issue.

..married to a woman who looks after my every need – I wouldn’t need anything else would I?

Wouldn’t that be a nice world to live in? Pretty superficial I know but still a very comfortable one, who’s complaining!? I wouldn’t, nor would you – Trust Me! 

Let’s start from where it all truly begins, no.. no.. not birth, but MONEY  The start and End to life. While its all good to have emotions like love, happiness, joy & satisfaction in life, the truth is – that’s not what is enough, we need HARD CASH! and a little extra of it never hurts. I am always on the other side of the fence when it comes to finances, that said, the limitations keep me down to earth and always in check. It helps me understand the value of holding on to something that helps me (with the right purchases) in giving myself a better quality of life.

A story dad would often tell my sister and myself when we were younger. He was Bank manager – Bank of India, Jamshedpur and in a position where he called the shots on many of the things that happened within 4 walls. Often customers would ask him “Sir, aapka ghar ready ho gaya Goa mein?” (which loosely translates as Is your house in Goa ready?) in other words if he could get the ‘papers passed’ or ‘the work done’.. faster or you know…, he would be rewarded handsomely… and that in turn would help in building the house faster. The honest man that my dad was, he never took the bait – and of course the rest is history.

He built our home on Love, Honesty and with every drop of sweat spent at the bank working his ass off (hard work) Life wasn’t as easy as some of us have it now. So while I may personally not have anything to change for myself, or for anyone else in my family, I would like to have seen, what would life have been… you know just if…

Every one of us has an ‘if’ in our life – its normal to have that thought. Some time in my life, I did too.. (not any more)

Maybe you’ve been hurt, maybe you’ve lost someone dear to you.. and we all wish that we could start over or go back and change it all

… but that’s life, we just have one shot at it! Besides, it’s all steps to growing up. We understand that everything we do has consequences.

Life isn’t FuN and games, its way harder to deal with that we can ever imagine. However, life goes on – and everyday gives us a chance to start afresh.

There’s a saying that goes “The apple does not fall far from the tree” if that was my dad many years ago and he has no regrets on how his life panned out, I am his son and while my life has not had the same straight upward curve that his has been – I’m still happy how I’ve turned out.. a little wonky, very unpredictable and pretty average. I’d still give it my best shot and hopefully – some day ‘dad would be proud of me’.

I COULD CARE LESS!

So what is the “Lok kya kahenge” or “What will people think” thought process?

It is basically a phrase which underestimates one’s ability (not necessarily imposed by society always but more originating from one’s lack of confidence) It does NOT allow us to do what we want to do.

It is a given fact, whatever we have to do – will never be of someone else’s taste, more so if it is not to their liking – but what I haven’t understood until now is – Why would such a feeling come to a person in the first place? Is it just the way we are brought up – the Indian mentality, lack of confidence or simply something we blindly follow?

The millennial rarely care on what people would think of their actions – they like it – they go for it, they wouldn’t seek advice before taking something new up – and if you ask me. THAT IS THE WAY TO GO ABOUT LIFE.

I’ve had many an argument with my dad about this subject, so writing about it here (as the topic for the week) gives me immense pleasure! I wouldn’t know if a condition like this exists in any other country, but in India – WoW! You’d have to actually meet people to know how many dreams have been crushed and ambitions squashed just with the the mentality of What Will People Think!? Be it your job, marriage or anything else, people in India care way too much about… you know what!

If I have to stand up and address a large gathering and ask the question: How many of you lead compromised lives because of the “What will people say” syndrome?

I’m sure, each and everyone’s hands would be up, because in whichever small or big way, we have all compromised on something, and that’s how an average Indian has lived and continues to live their life.

If you ought to do something, I’ll say – do it openly, and if it embarrasses you, don’t do it – SIMPLE! but to not do something just because of others – That’s NOT acceptable at all.

So the automatic next question to then ask is: Why do we let people’s opinions affect us so much?

No two people think alike and like I said earlier, no matter what we do, it is never going to be appreciated or complimented other than members of your family (that too is a big ? nowadays-but I’m gonna go with ‘Family wants the best for us’ thought)

  • I am already 30 and unmarried, log kya kahenge?
  • I’m better off being single, but will society judge me?
  • I don’t have a regular 9-5 job, I work from home – what will people think? No girl will want to marry me. 
  • I want to drop out of school and pursue my dream of becoming a YouTuber, but what will people say?

If someone comes to me and I have to advice them on being anti-people thinking, I’ll have to simply say

“Why do you care? Do your thing, after all people aren’t feeding you” but that apparently isn’t what most people want to hear. They need you to break it down for them further. Let me see if I can do that for you – 5 pointers

  1. If you do not want people judging you, you got to stop doing that yourself first. I know its default setting, but have you heard of a starting over – YES, we can all do that.
  2. We need to take care of our self a little from time to time – its healthy practice.
  3. Something I personally do (and you should really try out) Imagine the worst case scenario, however that said – do not alter what you’ve set out to do, do it anyway!
  4. Nobody knows you as better as yourself, so how does the opinion of another even matter?
  5. No harm listening, but keep at what you’re doing. People will get the message eventually.

A person who knows what he wants in life and goes about getting things done (at his own speed) is respected. No one wants to be-friend someone who themselves do not know what their next step is going to be.

Of course it all starts with YOU. So are you willing to let go of the ‘thought’? YOU and only YOU matter, besides everyone is entitled to his/her opinion – no one can stop from mouths wagging.

If after reading this, you find yourself wiser by a percent or two – I think my job HERE is done – else…..

Image result for what will people think

Life is a game after all, all we constantly need to up our game.