Teenage Diaries :- Review

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Teenage is a very wonderful yet a very much confusing period of life. You step out of child zone and have to spend good five years of adolescent before you get labeled as an adult. When I was growing up, I wanted to be the centre of attraction. I wanted to be liked, feared and awed by people. When you are from a Gujarati middle class family, you are at the epitome of what seems to stereotype to others but a part of your life.

When I felt that I had left my teenage behind and was living a full on adult life, someone reminded me of that phase again. I stumbled upon a wonderful book by the name Teenage Diaries by Saurabh Sharma. Set in the pretext of Baroda of Gujarat, this book is a story about a guy by the name Ghanshyam. Yes, middle class guy with middle class name. The story starts with birth and rapidly takes you teenage. The pace slows down there. And it is necessary. Some places I felt I was sitting there witnessing things happening in front of my eyes, thanks to a good narration. A thing I love about fiction I that it takes you to a superficial world and gives you an opportunity to live with that character or even be that character.

Anyway, coming back to the book, story has more than one turning point. Right from an under-confident Ghanshyam falling for a girl to receiving reciprocation and then pushed away by the same girl for reasons best known to her, it keeps your interest glued to the book. Second turning point comes when Ghanshaym tops the boards and meets new friends who go on to become his lifeline and create a GK out of Ghanshyam. Incidents that change his life completely and dramatically are narrated very well.

The book speaks of teenage romance, infatuations, adrenaline rush, forbidden fantasies coming true and a lot more things. I wish I had such a life; or at least a part of it. Saurabh has omitted unnecessary detailing wherever possible. Language kept is very simple. It strikes every chord right. I really liked the way book ends with a subtle to be continued hint.

A fresh perspective in Indian fiction genre where endless people are writing only about college life, breakups, hookups, flings and meaningless sex.  Very good attempt for first time author.

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New Year, New Me. Seriously?

2016 will end in a matter of time. We all are gearing up to welcome 2017 with a lot of zeal. This year has been a year of ups and downs. We have lost some acclaimed people and have found some new too. New friends are connected in life. Those so called FOREVER friends are nowhere to be seen.

Like every year a lot of these “My goal for 2017 is to accomplish 2016 goals which I planned in 2015.” Memes are making rounds these days about clichéd and hyped NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS. The real joke is on us. We always make gym resolutions which we break within first week of January. Health is constantly neglected while collecting wealth. Then we end up spending that extra earned money at doctors. We plan the solo trip to mountains or sand dunes but always procrastinate over something. While I sit and pen these words down, many of our friends have got their start ups up and running. Someone is a travel blogger, another is fashion blogger. Many others I know are doing what they dreamt of doing.

A common thing between all these people is that they did not wait for New Year to realize their dreams. They had an aim in mind. Every single action was towards fulfilling that goal. Everyday day of their life. I’m sure you as well have many such friends and people you know of. Plan, explore and execute. Do what makes you happy. Responsibilities will always be there. Take out time for yourself from your schedule and dedicate it towards your own development. You cannot bring back the time that is gone. What you still have is the time that is yet to come. Take that solo trip you’ve always wanted to take. Read the book you have in your to read list. Express your feelings to your loved ones.

Let the coming time be the best time of your life. Happy New Year!!

Generation Us : RICH & Unhappy

We have actually forgotten what happiness feel likes, in a mad run trying to pursue it.

-Parixitanand

As a child, my holidays comprised of cousins coming over with us playing in house games during afternoons and physical games in the evening. Parents took us for a picnic once or twice during the whole vacation as and when they could manage time. Life was simple back then. We played card games, hide& seek, marbles, lagorio, kho and lot other games which kids today might not even have heard of. When confined to house, nintendo games were our entertainment, or simply stories from grandparents. Making paper boats , running races and so many other activities that did not involve anything but us. We were hap hap happy smiling faces. Happiness back than was not quantifiable.

Fast forward to 2016 where we are 2o something. World is a revolutionary place right now. Landlines are replaced by smartphones. Not just one but gazillions of them right out in the market at your disposal. You just have to log in to some e-commerce app on your cellphone and boom, it will do all work for you. You don’t even have to step out of your house to buy one for there is home delivery.   We are always connected to our friends via Social media sites. We know what our favorite celebs are up to. We earn 5 figure salaries. World class cuisine available in many places across the country. Fashion brands are flocking their way to our nation because we are able to afford them. Name a brand and we have it in any vertical you say. We go watch release of international movies. Some of us also are fortunate enough to have international vacations. All this and still we are not happy.

I wondered about this over days and weeks and realized why we are not happy. We see our colleague’s post on social media about dining at a fancy restaurant, we hit a like and make a mental note to go at a more expensive restaurant. And upload pictures. We buy high end vehicles on backbreaking EMIs to feel happy.  We buy first copies and we flaunt it as originals. We shell out a fortune to buy latest phones trying to satisfy our own ego.  We envy Sharmaji ka beta who is now a startup guy whose startup got funded in millions, failed and now he’s a key note speaker about failed startups. We feel we are better deserving than him. Our friend’s promotion in their office makes us furious.

And why do we do that? Cause somewhere in our mind, we have started quantifying the happiness with materialistic possession. We no more get happiness out of what we do. We get it out of how much other applaud us for it or latest gadgets, brands we have. Our hunger is now endless. We want to wear best brands, use latest phones, go to fancy hotels and update all this on social media. Having people liking us and our world made of fake gives us ego boost. We feel its happiness. It is NOT. It was never. What is latest today will become outdates tomorrow. Bubbles and hypes of today will burst in time. How long are we gonna keep doing this? This is not going to survive forever. Nor are we. We gotta STOP.

Happiness should not be based on what you possess. It should not be based on anything for that fact of matter. Have you seen your pet wagging their tail at you when you come back from work? That is happiness. Selfless happiness. Have you noticed ever, kids will always laugh when you catch them behind curtain playing hide and seek? They will be happy. Go out and see sun rising, birds singing, tress dancing. Wind flowing … All these are nature’s way to show its happiness. It looks so beautiful. Feel it. Don’t find happiness outside. It lies within you. Do any one thing that you like to do apart from your routine. It can be as simple as taking a walk. Anything you like; dancing, bathroom singing, gardening. You’ll be surprised to see how happy you feel.  Next time you see some kids on a street, get them candies. Trust me their smiles will fill your heart with joy.

If you wake up every day under roof, are able to afford meal, have water drink and have clothes to hide your nakedness, be happy. Be grateful. You are richer than 80% people on this globe. Learn this and you’ll survive and win toughest battles of life.

The pursuit of happiness starts within.

100 Healthy Weeks

Today’s time is a constant competition time. All of us compete with each other and our selves to have a richer, more comforting and luxurious lifestyle. Corporates hire employees who will work their asses off to get better numbers than others for some extra salary.  In this whole rat race, most of us forget to focus ourselves. Those who focus, mainly on appearance and not on complete well being.

I was falling into a different category. The one who was not very much concerned about appearance not complete well being. I knew I should but say I was being lazy and busy. Making a few extra bucks mattered more than shredding some extra pounds. Then there the D Day. I felt itch in the throat and before I knew I was down with fever 101. It took me good week to recover and that’s when 100 Healthy weeks was thought of. If we can be whatever we desire to, why not be healthy?

It’s been a week since the project is on. So fare I have walked around 35000 steps and burnt 1500 calories.

Day starts around 6:15 and by 6:30 I start with light cardio. (exercises are pushups, high jumps, squats, butterfly etc ) Back workout is gonna be essence of Feb for me to develop stronger back. 30 minutes of Cardio followed by walk on the beach for another 30 (trust me its so god-damn fun) and then 30 minutes of Yoga.

  • I feel difference already. Focus at work is improved. I dont feel like munching every hour now.
  • my palms twitch less to check my phone every time it beeps.

I also made a few changes in food I eat.  Less carbs and lot of leafy veggies and fibres. Cut down on sugar and caffeine. Effect was immediate.  I wake up all fresh and do not feel dehydrated any more.

There are 99 more to come. Lets be healthy. Keep your suggestions coming. 🙂

Focusing on being Focused

Yesterday, I received a call from my friend working at an MNC. While we were talking, I came to know he had been given bad ratings in his appraisal. He probably was lacking the FOCUS.

FOCUSING simply means selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment around you. It is very important to be focused all the time in today’s environment. One mistake and it can tarnish your hard work done till day. We today live in a world that is full of competition; constant and fierce.

I personally feel there are 3 stages where one should be ultra focused apart from your regular tenure in company.

First is when you join a new organisation:- For every organisation has its definite set of rules which will not be the same as your previous organisation if you have been working before. If you have work experience from the past, the new employer would definitely have an eye on you to see if you really live up to their expectations.

It’s time for appraisal.
During your appraisal all your work is audited and you are either promoted, demoted or given incentives. So even if you are lagging behind before the appraisal , focus and finish pending tasks.

Time to say goodbye
It is noticed that once people resign and are on notice period they usually lose interest in job. They attend the work for the sake of it and finish days that they are serving as notice period. As a professional one should work till last day in the organisation explaining new joinee or replacement all riles and responsibilities he or she would handle when they take your role. This will prevent them from calling you after you leave for the work related to organisation. (On a side note you still have to collect your experience letter and dues from HR so dont lose focus ) 😉

In Hospitality, front is the backbone

The word HOSPITALITY is defined by Google as the friendly and generous RECEPTION and entertainment of guests, visitors and strangers.

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When talk of hospitality as an industry, we deal with fragile ego of a lot of consumers who avail or seek to avail the services from their prospective sellers.

Any typical reservation at a hotel goes in this particular order.
1. Inquiry over the phone.
2. Sending an email
3. Reply from hotel with all details a guest needs to know.
4. If guest is satisfied, a confirmation from their side.
5. A reply from hotel side with a welcoming gesture.

If all goes well, a booking from even a maiden customer can be made in 4 total emails ; 2 by each side. A typical front office consists of reservation people, front office staff, customer relations executive in particular and others in general. ,In this industry front office is THE BACKBONE if we particularise it to hotels. ‘First impression is the last impression’ applies very much aptly to this industry. By basic human nature , your customers judge you right from the first time they call your hotel for general inquiries. They note your tone, pitch and even the quality of information.

After the booking is made, confirmation is done, its time for the guest to arrive. Many hotels provide the guests with pick and drop facility to ensure their smooth arrival. It is therefore very important for a hotel to provide correct information on time to the the person receiving the guest. A guest will be more than happy and appreciate your gesture if he/she is received and welcomed with a genuine smile. Again by the law of nature, no one wants to feel unwelcomed or unwanted wherever he/she goes.

I have been a traveler and many times I have noticed that the front office staff which is both mirror and back bone of the hotel lacks finishing. I have canceled by bookings at several instances due to unprofessional behavior of the front office staff. Most of the hotels do not hire highly qualified persons for front office jobs. In fact that area is one ignored area. People at front office desk should be presentable, apt with multiple languages should know a little in and out of the world as most of the times guests try to establish conversation with the front office people just to get a hang of what kind of services could they expect from hotel. If the replies are not friendly, the guest will always carry a negative image and most likely will never return back.

When an organization sets some standards for themselves, it is very important for them to abide by that, rise higher, but not lower them. A guest complains when what he gets is not what  he expected from company as per his perceived image. Here comes into picture another important person, a guest relation manager. It is their duty to ensure that queries of the guests are resolved as they are very important link between the organization and its customers. A customer is more likely to overlook other mistakes of he or she is well taken care of by the front office staff. It is therefore very important for the front office staff to work together as a team.

Like Gandhi said, “Every customer coming to your doorstep is IMPORTANT.” So give importance to every customer you cater and you are good to go. Cause in customer satisfaction lies your progress.

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The art of unsettling : Your leap of faith.

Every Indian parent has 3 dreams for their kids.
1. Child should be well settled ( good business or job)
2. Own house.
3. SANSKARI life partner

Our parents are very much protective about us. They want to make sure their child is not facing any trouble. They protect us from all evil. The bad part of this is we never learn to step out of our comfort zone till very late. One fine day when we are out there in world, we are vulnerable.

Only way out is unsettling.

Unsettling is basically getting out if your routine. Your comfort zone. Following your instincts and guts. Its about jumping off the cliff with a belief. A faith in your own self. I have done it by myself.

Kid you not the feeling is amazing. I have been constantly unsettling in my life, right from childhood.

I came to Goa when I was 10. That was the first unsettling. It took time to get used to this environment. New place , new people. When I saw there was no way back, decided to march ahead. I was great at languages. Could have gone for Art’s stream. It was suggested that I do it. But I decided to go for science, math being a weak point. Then it was my fate that decided to unsettle me. I flunked in boards of class 12. Devastated I was.

One year down the line I enrolled myself in college for bachelors degree in computer applications. Yeah I was weak at complicated math and I wanted to be computer guy. This time I thought let’s settle down with this. But then it was November 2010 when I saw an ad on TV. It was regarding a college fest by channel V happening at Goa. I took chance. Threw myself to it. For the first time I step my foot in events. Yes , UNSETTLING it was. I was more interested on events now and less in computer applications cause the events appealed me. Planning, marketing, production, execution gave me high. It was kind of ego booster that I could do anything I wanted to.

May 5, 2012. On this vary day, I entered hospitality industry. I joined my uncle’s chain of hotels as THE reservation manager. It was nothing like computer apps and events. It was kind of combination of both but completely different. I unsettled one more time. I succeeded there as well. Only reason was that I never lost faith in myself. I look my leap of faith and jumped into it.

In 2013 , I thought to give a try at entrepreneurship. I started my own book renting company. I always worked with my dad in his clothing business but, this was my OWN venture. It was unsettling of its kind. I was out there in market on my won this time. I was also preparing for my MBA by side. I got interview call from a reputed institute. But this time fate wanted to unsettle me. My sponsor backed out. There I was. My book company shut. I was back to my earlier work place. This time as business development manager instead of reservations. But in two months I felt I could do this very easily. There was no growth factor left anymore. So I called it quilts.

Today I m working at a 4 star company as asst. Reservation Manager and it’s nothing like my earlier work place. There are rules, work timing, corporate culture which I’m new at. I could continue what I was doing. I could continue working as reservation cum business development manager but I’d never grow as I attained highest possible ranking. More importantly we also need to grow as person who we are. I have always had faith in me and to my good luck my family has faith in me.

I will always unsettle and take leaps of faith. You too do it. Its amazing.