I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Aastha

When the task came-up, I was not really into it. I thought our Charlie (Chiradeep) would choose whose questions I would be answering and vice versa. No, he brought his mark into the activity, by asking us to choose a number not knowing to whom that number belongs to and accordingly I get the questionnaire. When he asked me to choose a number, I was heartfully wishing to get Rajnandini’s questionnaire to answer. Woah!! I got hers.

Firstly, thank you Rajnandini. I loved your questions. They are quite thoughtful. Now, I think it’s time for me to start penning down my answers.

Rajnandini’s Questionnaire:

  • Apart from brushing your teeth, what is that one other thing which is a ‘must-do-without-fail’ for you every day?

OMG, is brushing must?? Oh-no, am I missing something important that I should be doing every day? Just kidding. Well, this was an easy question to answer. The entire world can flip upside down but I would never stay without talking to my father. Only network connectivity can come in between our communication. It could be only a few seconds in a day, but that gives me ultimate satisfaction.

  • What is the most valuable treasure in your life?

I believe that the most valuable treasures are within us (human beings). No one can steal them or destroy them. Memories, those are what I treasure the most. Memories make me feel hopeful and alive. It is those memories that really help me feel good about my life today and every day…

  • What is the purpose of your life? Ever given it a thought?

I don’t know if there is some enlightenment that happens to some people so that they know what that purpose is. I have no idea what mine might be …

  • How do you respond to criticism and ridicule?

Honestly, it depends on the critic :-). If the critic is knowledgeable enough then I consider it quite seriously, otherwise I take it on the lighter side. It infuriates me when idiots criticize. I usually think over what might have made them say/feel so, those might be my weak points. Hence, I work on getting better.

  • How do you unwind/de-stress yourself?

Work-related stress isn’t a problem at all, but if there is stress on the personal front, I feel very unsettling. I go on a walk to the nearest park, listen to good music or watch some sci-fi movies… If it takes more than these to feel better, I cry. It does help me get over it.

  • Given an opportunity to meet a great personality of your choice, whom would you like to meet? And, what would you tell him/her?

I would love to meet Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, our very own Mother Teresa. I may actually be speechless after I see her. I would love to spend a day with her only to observe and learn… I know she is no more, can I time travel ??

  • Relationships world over are getting brittle by the day. What in your opinion could be the problem at large (apart from specifics)?

The answer is something we all know. We only concentrate on whom we love ignoring those who are showering us with love. Virtual connections and texting are only making it worse. Physical presence, caring touch, a delightful hug has become a rarity. There are very small things in life we stopped appreciating.

  • There are different belief systems and different philosophies as to what happens after death. What do you want to happen to you after you die?

Death is the ultimate truth. It could come through the door one day to knock us out of our life without prior notice. My thought stops at death, beyond death whatever happens or can happen is of no value to me.

  • Science teaches us the theory of evolution. I’m sure you would have studied it in school and maybe even in college. However, evolution and creation are complete contrasts. Leaving academics aside, what do you personally believe in – evolution or creation and why?

I believe in nature and so evolution… I don’t think human beings can match the universe’s creativity no matter how hard we try. We do not even know about it completely.

  • What is the one thing you desire to do during your lifetime?

There is a strong craving in me to be loved and be understood at a deeper level. It would take another person who really wants to look into me, which is not in my hands. So, meanwhile what is that I can do??? One day, I aspire to be a torchbearer for a change, a positive change that would make this world a better place. I am working on it.

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I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Chiradeep

1. Rajnandini: In the little more than four decades of your life, do you have any regrets? If so, what are they? If not, why?

Ans: Rajnandini, I know you hit the button which literally got me stuck and still at a point where I have to think well about what to and how to answer this question. 

Regrets are many, truly, but sharing them all might be fatal because we rarely know the end result of everything. Being human our decisions and responses are always premature ones so I won’t call them regrets though sometimes I regret about a few things. 

Now to answer your question I can say, I hate the time that I wasted away for unproductive and addictive actions and works undertaken by me to satiate my earthly needs. I have deep regrets for all those times that I had lost and will never get back ever again. However, regretting those actions are not fatal. 

2. Aditi Ranade: What is the toughest lesson life has taught you?

Ans: Tough lessons are many but one that I struggled with the most was allowing too many distractions and interruptions in my most vital relationships. I learnt instead of giving attention to many relationships/friendships it is better to groom the fewer ones. Thanks a lot for this question dost, Aditi.

3. Deepa Kartik: Do you like to be in the spotlight?

Ans: Yo yo Deepa, Bingo. Yeah, I love being in the Spotlight, love attention and being the centre of attraction. But truly speaking, it never drives me or controls me or motivates me to stay tuned or be focussed to what I love to do always – ‘listen & talk to people’.

4. Prerna Aditi: What does ‘a day spent well’ means to you?

Ans: I loved this question. I would say it is a very intelligent and interesting question, Prerna. 

A day spent well for me will be when I get to listen and talk to people those who need it desperately. Knowing and understanding a heart, a mind is my greatest hobby and passion. And I simply love and enjoy doing it. So when I get to do that and feel that someone is benefitted from and in my presence I feel very satisfied.

5. Prabhjot: How long do you think you can survive without your smart
phone and laptop???

Ans: Hahaha! If you can survive, then I can… forever. But if people around me have those extra chunks in their mouths then can I be with an empty mouth?

Now, ‘refraining from my smart things‘, if that’s what you are asking then I would say, I can survive only two days maximum. 

6. Geetmalini: When was the last time you tried something new?

Ans: Decades ago, Geet. I have become extremely dull and boring. Yeah, finding new writers and bringing them to us almost every month, but something new has not happened in my life for a long time. 

It is a very thought-provoking question and it makes me ponder about trying out something fresh. 

7. Saakshi: What three desires would you fulfil if you have infinite wealth at your disposal?

Ans: “Infinite wealth” is a flawed thought. Wealth itself is earthly and thus finite. 

Anyway, let me answer your question…

First, I would have bought the best house in the world for me and my loved ones. 

Secondly, I would have travelled all over the world.

Thirdly, I would have set up the best counselling centre of the world where the people in need would have come, enjoyed the stay, played, prayed together, interacted, got counselled by the best of counsellors and would have gone home healed and comforted. 

8. Kalpana: What do you do for recreation, for relaxing, for calming down yourself, apart from praying that I know well?

Ans: I knew you might ask that, Kalpana. For recreation and relaxing I watch T.V. or surf interesting websites for ideas. And for calming myself down I prefer to Talk to my favourite people, Divert my focus from ME to OTHERS and sleep.

9. Preeta: What’s the best thing you cherished from your childhood?

Ans: A cosy family, adorable siblings and cousins and a host of angelic friends at every stage of my life. 

Yeah, Crowd . . . People are what I cherished and cherishing from my childhood till now, Preeta.

10. Aastha: What is your definition of happiness?

Ans: Why does my sister always ask me difficult questions??? I can only try what I know and feel.

Amid all kinds of pain, suffering, problems and sorrows it is very difficult to say that I am happy or I am capable of defining happiness… As it is not just an English word but a condition of a human.

Yet, I would say I still managed to be happy most of the time despite my ailments, my problems and my sorrows… Because I stay content with what I have, I love and believe in the act of giving than receiving, I don’t compare myself with others and most importantly I depend on and trust in God for everything. 

So answering the question I would define happiness as “a state of being contented without comparing or living with self-pity but leading a generous life, trusting in the God Almighty in every situation“.   

Hope, I have answered all the questions satisfactorily. I would love to hear from all of my examiners and know how much I scored in the exam. 😛

Thanks to all of you who asked me these beautiful questions. I thoroughly enjoyed answering them.

Stay blessed!

THE ART OF MULTITASKING

I work for Philips Healthcare, a business of Philips that sells medical equipment to hospitals. To build these products, we follow Agile Methodology. Some of the software engineers might be aware of this term. This way of work primarily focusses on collaborative work which means the entire team to get together to complete a particular task which is the highest priority. And then move on to next task. This means that every team member is capable of doing any work with equal competence – which is never true. Each person has his/her own competency and preference for the kind of work. So, keeping this in mind – a term becomes very important in Agile methodology “WIP”. WIP stands for “Work in Progress”. It is a number that defines that at any given point of time how many work items is the team busy with. For a team of 5 people, WIP should never be more than 7 or 8. Again it depends on the competency of the team members and the complexity of the work items.

There are various case studies that prove that if WIP is too low – the team has too little work and is demotivated. If WIP is too high – the team is too overloaded and have to switch the context so much that their productivity declines. WIP has to be just right. It should keep the team busy, interested in work with optimum load and highest productivity. One of my roles in my job is to keep the WIP in the limit, not just of the whole team but also of each team member. No team member should ever feel that he/she is too overloaded with work or is getting too confused because of handling too many things.

Sorry, for too many corporate jargons from Software development. When I was asked to write on this topic, the first word that struck me was “WIP”. When I took over this role and understood this concept, I attempted to apply this also to my personal life. Yes, I multi-task and sometimes it is too much. “What is my current WIP? Is it optimum?” These two questions usually bring me back to the reality.

For example – currently, I am writing this article while sitting on a crowded bus going from work to home. My WIP is 2 – because I have to think and write this article on time and I also have to keep my eyes on the road to make sure that I don’t miss my stop. This WIP works because one is an active task (writing) and another one is a passive one (keeping an eye on the road). While multitasking, there can always be only one active task. It is not recommended at all to do more than one active task at the same time. Although we could do one active and multiple passive tasks at the same time. Taking the same example – if I switch on the music on my phone it would become another passive task. If while writing on the bus, I also start talking to my mom on phone – will it work? No. Because talking and writing will both be active tasks. I will have to stop writing now if my mom calls me on my phone.

Now the catch is that sometimes an active task slowly becomes a passive one. For example – for me driving is an active task because I am not a very experienced driver. I cannot even listen to music while driving because it distracts me from the road. However, my husband can also talk on the phone while driving (yes, it is illegal I know – but he can). This is because driving has become a passive task for him because of his practice. Similarly, for a lot of women cooking becomes a passive task. We just are so experienced in this area that it doesn’t take our conscious mind to be completely empty to do the task of cooking. At that stage, we can also combine cooking with teaching our child (a lot of us do that).

Problem with multi-tasking is that sometimes we make a task passive when it deserves to be active. I realized this when I learnt about “Mindful eating”. Mindful eating is a concept which emphasizes the need to be completely aware of what is happening inside our mouth and body while we are eating. Ideally, we should chew every morsel of the food at least 20 times. We should take in the colour, taste, smell of the food completely before swallowing it (eat with all 5 senses). We should listen to our stomach when it signals us to stop eating. All these can happen only if we stop making eating a passive task. However, I know that eating is the first task that we learn to make passive. Eating while watching TV, eating while working, eating while chatting with people. When eating becomes a passive task, we do mindless eating which is the primary cause of overeating and leads to all the side effects related to it.

Another task that we must not multitask is spending time with our loved ones. I am sure most of us are guilty of this. When the child is explaining what happened at school – we are checking our Instagram feed. When our spouse is complaining about his/her headache – we are focusing on the TV. When mom is talking, we are also busy with our heads on the laptop.

Multi-tasking is not bad. It just has some rules.

Rule no. 1 – Never try to do more than one active task at any given point of time

Rule no. 2 – Carefully choose which task is supposed to be active and which can be passive

That’s all. And you will master the art of multitasking.

IS MULTI-TASKING REALLY GOOD?

Multi-tasking, this word sounds great. It is carrying out more than one work at the same time. By this way of working we can do so much in a lesser time. Our ancestors used to say, at a time only one work should be performed. They said this so that we could concentrate solely on one work at a time. But in today’s life no one has enough time.

Since my childhood I always witnessed my mother doing so many things simultaneously. The moment she left her bed in the morning to the moment she went back to bed at night, she handled so many tasks at the same time. At first, I used to think she got some special powers, similar to what I saw in cartoons and superhero movies. But with passing years I saw not only my mother, but every woman on earth is capable of doing more than one task at a time.

I used to think how it could be possible because we humans got only one body and one brain. It really amazed me to divide my attention to more than one work. My mother is a working woman. She wakes up early and since then she puts her hands into numerous work. And those works are accomplished very well. But sometimes, she wouldn’t get the desired result. Like if she is cooking food and teaching my brother at the same time then probably she would burn her hand or some ingredients would be more or less in the food. She very well knows if she will take multiple works in her hand, then there’s chance of some mistakes but still she never thinks twice before being multi-tasking woman. May be, because she has got so many responsibilities that has to be done. Not only this, we must have seen in advertisement that there’s a family. All of them are busy in other works whilst eating. Okay they may be having some really important work. In this way they don’t get to interact with family and they tend to drift away.

Whenever I see my mom, she never shows her tiredness. And I am sure all women do the same. But handling so many works at the same time requires too much effort and people tend to get tired easily. I can say this because I have experienced it. It was my cousin’s wedding and as we know, we have so many rituals and customs in wedding. Therefore, I had so many works to be done. I was bridesmaid; I had to look after guests, ask them for food and refreshments and had to see many other things. The bride (my cousin) asked for me for every little thing. Though, I managed to do everything so well but after marriage ceremony was over, I wanted to take some rest. My body was paining too badly. Still there were so many relatives and guests in the house, so I couldn’t take rest. I felt as if there was no strength left in my body. I desperately wanted to sleep.

So, what I felt, even if we are multi-tasking but our body needs some rest and it can’t be multi-tasking every time. It is our physical need to take rest. Yes of course, multi-tasking can be important at times when so many works have to be completed in a very limited time period. We achieve this by the help of our will-power and inner spirit. But we should not neglect the condition of our body. Because if our body is tired then we won’t be able to give our best in whatever we do. Being multi-tasking is not bad but sometimes it can be really bad.

A MOM IS A MULTI TASKER

I didn’t realise my super capabilities of multi-tasking until I became a mom. Here I am quoting super capabilities not because I want to boast, but because I think the supernova powers of a woman come out when she becomes a mother.

My hubby & I used to live in Chandigarh when my elder son was born. After few months of support from my moms (my mom & my MIL), we were on our own. With a kid in the house, things get easily done when there are two people, but when you are alone in the house, it’s really difficult. The biggest trouble comes when the clothes in the machine are waiting to be hung to dry, you have to prepare meals and also entertain your kiddo as well.

It’s not that difficult as it sounds, because I have done it. With my son in baby carrier, I used to chop vegetables, sing him lullabies, hang the laundry, put him to sleep and do a lot more. It reminds me of the jumping on the rocks game that I used to watch in Takeshi’s Castle. My situation was similar. Hop on to one task, then other, come back to previous one and so on.

With years, my multi-tasking skills improved. I became a working mom too. So, there was a time when I used to feed my younger son, help the elder one with his school assignments, do my work related stuff and reply to the messages and emails, all at the same time.

My every weekday morning (I am sure many other moms have the same schedule)starts in preparing tea for us two-me and my hubby, simultaneously making breakfast for my elder son, also for my preschooler, if he wakes up early and preparing for the tiffins for both of them. And in this multi-tasking, if the tea boils out of the vessel (which is once in 50 times), I believe I can handle multi-tasking.

My hubby sometimes says that I don’t prioritize my work and hence open too many tabs of chores. But, I keep telling him- that’s how I manage work- I multi task, because if I don’t, I will end up in slogging myself throughout the day.

I believe the other name of being a mom is a multi-tasker, at least I feel so, because the amount of work the moms do, no one else does. Agree with me? Happy multi-tasking then!

PRIORITIZE TO MULTITASK

The most difficult task of all, according to me, is time management.

Just 24 hrs in a day, of which 7-8 hrs, I spend sleeping, and out of the remaining time I tend to do so many things.

So, the big question is, how am I, going to squeeze cooking, cleaning, playing, studying, writing, family, friends, etc., in those 17 hours?!!! And I’m sure many of you wonderful readers can relate to this situation.

So, in such cases, one tends to multitask. Some can do it with great ease while others struggle with just the idea of it.

I’m the former kind. I’m not saying it’s easy, mind you, it’s more difficult than it seems to be. But still I manage to wash clothes, clean the vessels and cook simultaneously, while I was on the phone with my dear friend. Hence, the tasks which were going to take up 2-3 hours, when done separately, took only 1½ hours, multitasking.

Now just the other day, as usual, I was all worked up, running in and out of the kitchen, supposedly showing off my multitasking skills, and trying to push my limits, when I got hurt badly and spent more than double the time in recovering from it.

Sometimes, multitasking helps to keep the mind busy and keeps it away from pondering on unnecessary problems. All you can think about while juggling between tasks is ‘what to do next‘.. rather than let your mind lingering over less important or matters of nil importance.

So for people facing such problems, where they tend to float away from reality, time and again, shuffling between tasks come in handy.

I’m neither in favour of it nor against it.

In some situations, it helps, where 100% of your attention is not needed. Many household tasks don’t need your sole engrossment and your concentration can be divided.

But a few major issues like family, job, studying…all these need all the raptness possible. As these are the priorities in our lives. They need our sole discretion. Multitasking in these situations brings out the worst possible outcomes.

All I’m saying is that everything has its pros and cons, and so does this. One just needs to prioritize, categorize and only then multi task.

GOD GIVEN VISION AND OUR PASSION LED US HERE

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?

Wow! Candles Online completed 3 years today.

This journey actually started long back in the year 2006 which you can find in the ABOUT page. And the journey came to a standstill in 2014. 2014 was a year when I saw my child ‘Candles’ succumbing to death because of many different constraints that had been troubling me from all around. It was a very disturbing year in regards to my passion and vision. But 2015 was a year when God prompted in my heart to revive my dead child in a newer way. And I praise God, that I could revive my child with the help of 6 valiant warriors who joined hands with me in the same. These 6 valiant warriors were Anupam, Sulagna, Avishikta, Khristina, Rajnandini and Prabhjot.

11th July 2015 my child ‘Candles’ was reborn as ‘Candles Online’ on a Web Platform. My joy was by leap and bounds and was uncontrollable. And we seven were excited and were happy about what we were doing. We discussed, shared our ideas, helped each other and  wrote numerous articles together. I wrote a lot of articles then as we were very less in number and my team members were a bit busier than me. But we did give a kick start to this initiative in a very good way.

After few months when Avinash, Aastha and Kalpana joined, I became greedy. 😛 I started searching for more writers and I did get some awesome writers. Prabhjot fired the bullets at Kuljeet & Preeta her sisters, keeping the gun on my shoulder and they joined as well. Pradita came in and Candles Online became very heavy and well decorated with multi-talented writers.

This journey was not an easy one. Those who were with me from the beginning, like Rajnandini and Prabhjot were aware of those struggles to some extent. Sometimes I was scolded for this initiation. I was told it’s a wrong vision. I was mocked at. Some could not commit time for it, some rejected it, some were arrogant about it, some were rude with me, some left it.

Yet, those who grasped it, wrote for it though I understand some of my team members are  extremely busy with their professional life but they had never disown me or Candles Online. Some of their passion for Candles encourage me so much. Few days ago someone almost screamed at me for not paying proper attention to Candles Online and I am proud of that person. Couple of days ago we came up with 18 old and new topics together. And I was enthralled by the passion of my team members. Because for that passion to change and to be a change agent we stepped into this boat called Candles Online.

(Image Source: Pixabay.com)

I praise God for His faithfulness envisioning me and helping us to carry this mantel to lit the fire in everyone’s heart and bring the true joy and transformation in their lives through His divine intervention.

On this auspicious occasion few of my family members have shared their hearts as well.

They say…

Saakshi: A lone candle lit  was enough to vanquish the darkness from our hearts and now it’s been three incredible years and the light just gets brighter, stronger, mightier.

Sriram: It’s a platform where we express ourselves and our thoughts and we let our own lights shine, in best hope, that our experiences or views will be a shining beacon to those who read and can relate or learn.

Rajnandini: From multifarious topics addressed on paperprints years before, to completing three remarkable years in the web world, CANDLESONLINE has come a long way in reaching far and wide in realising it’s vision and mission to touch lives and rekindle the spirits of people.

Kuljeet: Candles Online is 3 years old.. Many many congratulations.. Under the able guidance of Chiradeep we have published at least one article every day.. No mean feat.. I joined this creative journey one year ago and loved every moment of it… Kudos to the creative, hardworking and beautiful family of Candles Online…

Ashrita: Congratulations to all the team who help the community learn new things each day for the last 3 years!

Peter: A great team of people who bring hope and encouragement to others through their honest and sincere experiences shared in their well-crafted, thoughtful articles, always leaving behind a nugget of wisdom.

Prabhjot: In last 3 years, this platform has helped me build an amazing relationship with my readers and co-writers and in this journey, I have grown multiple folds. Thanks to this community.

And at the end Preeta nailed it by saying: Keep burning and enlighten everyone. Cheers! May we grow, grow and grow.

WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY 3 YEARS ANNIVERSARY!