Writing everyday… blah

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I truly have nothing to write about today. What will writing everyday achieve? Not even a week into the resolution am already losing momentum.

Life is moving slowly. Too slowly. Strange because that hasn’t happened in a while. I can’t wait to fast forward to 6 months later and see how things have changed. Professionally and personally.

Maybe it is because of the lack of goals. I am not completely clear on the expectations at work. As for fitness, it will take another month to get somewhere. Starting from the basics sucks. Starting all over again sucks more.

Next few days will be a struggle. Goodbye, privacy. Goodbye, television. Hello, long working hours. Hello, late nights at the gym.

At the gym am focusing on functional movements. Anything that will make me move better. Instead of being static and lifting weights for each body part, am doing circuits of 5-7 workouts which are for the entire body. It is a more efficient way of working out. Less than an hour at the gym and the burn is immense. Animal flow and kettlebells are the new fad and am jumping onboard as soon as I can. Basically, as soon as I am fit enough.

I guess, writing makes me think for 15 minutes everyday and there is some merit in doing this.


Stuff I think about a lot but rarely bore people with. Except for today.

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The resolution to write everyday is getting tougher and tougher. What the hell am I supposed to write about on a normal weekday?

I assumed every person has a certain management style. Atleast that is what I remember reading during my B school days. But then again, I never took any of the course books seriously so my version is unreliable and probably inaccurate.

I realize now that management style has to adapt to the team you lead. It differs basis the work environment too. Example, it is easier to be flexible and give a certain amount of freedom and independence when your team has senior people who are good at their job. They thrive in such a work environment. You can rely on them to figure out how to complete assigned tasks and be completely hands off. You just have to keep them motivated and provide resources to make their job easier.

But when you have a team with fairly junior people and know their job much better than them, you may have to be authoritative. They will appreciate the hand holding and guidance. That is the hope.

A team which is struggling with execution will never be able to think strategy. Everyone has to climb the ladder one step at a time. Miss one step and the chances of toppling over increase.

For one minute I would like to stop thinking about work. But going by past experience I know that isn’t going to happen for another 6 months.

If am not work, am talking about it and when am not talking about it, am definitely thinking about it.


Paranormal activity

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So, remember this post about my 3-5 am insomnia? When I mentioned it to KC, he told me how that has been happening to him since he moved into the house. And last night his friend who is bunking with us this week also woke up at 4 am.

That was the topic of discussion at the lunch table with a colleague who believes in supernatural presences (also called ghosts in layman terms). According to her, the time till 3 am is unsafe but after that we are safe. She also asked me to be extra vigilant about strange sounds and any weird goings on.

Of course, whatever be the reason for our insomnia, am not moving out of this house. Now I understand all those horror movies like Paranormal Activity (only part 1 which made me shit my pants. The rest are quite blah) where the residents would rather brave the supernatural rather than move out of the flat. I have put in too much effort to set up this place to consider moving out because it may be haunted. We will have to learn to co-exist in peace.

By the way, incase you don’t see a post on social media tomorrow morning, please do check if am alive. Sure, this post, the blog and my social media accounts will go viral and there will be movies made about me but is that the price I want to pay for fame? Ok, maybe THIS is the price am willing to pay because fame in this lifetime seems impossible right now.

MIL is arriving tomorrow and if she starts wandering around the house at 3/4 am, we know it isn’t a coincidence. (Please follow me on Twitter for my series – MIL diaries. I promise to be funny, like always).

Maybe I should start googling exorcism from now itself. But all movies have this Christianity angle. What do non believers do? There is nothing remotely religious in the house for an exorcist to use. Ugh!!! I haven’t budgeted for additional expenses this month. I am certain KC will refuse to split these expenses because he has been comfortable and has no issues with any invisible beings. I am the one with the problem so the onus lies with me.



Things am grateful for today

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  • Having time in the mornings to read the newspaper. Haven’t done that in 2 years.
  • Loving my house so much, leaving it for work breaks my heart
  • A run in the rain. Though views of the Mumbai sea kept flashing in front of my eyes. Very unnerving
  • Home cooked meals for lunch and dinner
  • Mangoes
  • Working out in the morning and evening
  • Re runs of The Office on Amazon Prime. Mindy Kaling and B J Novak are my favourites
  • Knowing everything from ground up about my current job
  • Work life balance
  • Plants in the balcony. Had to fight for this but 100% worth it
  • Waking up to the view of the sky in the mornings
  • Diffusers and joss sticks
  • Driving 10 mins to get to work

S Durga

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This Malayalam movie was screened at MAMI last year and received lots of acclaim. I didn’t watch it because I knew it would get released in India sooner or later. I prefer to watch international movies I won’t have access to outside of MAMI.

The name created a huge controversy too and the director had to change “Sexy” to “S”.

Kabeer, a Malayalam speaking Mulsim, and Durga, a Hindi speaking North Indian, are eloping in the middle of the night somewhere in Kerala. They need to get to the railway station and decide to hitchhike. They are given a lift by two men in a Maruti Van who make them very uncomfortable. Everytime they manage to leave the car, the situation on the road is worse. The choice is between the unknown and the known devil. Who do they pick? Who would you pick?

I came out of the theatre with all happiness sucked out of me. I started the day on a high note and after the movie, can’t remember one good reason to be happy. If only there was violence in the movie. That would be a relief. Atleast I would know what the hell happened. But the director refuses to let the audience off the hook that easily. We are voyeurs and this is our punishment.

There is only one female in the movie and she knows instinctively when she is unsafe. Just like all of us do. We know when someone is staring at our boobs or undressing us in their heads. Durga knows it too but Kabeer doesn’t. Not till it is too late.

I was at the edge of my seat with my heart in my mouth. Last time that happened was at the screening of Trapped. I felt real fear and even taking an Uber back home after walking out of the theatre made me palpitate.

Sometimes what is said is scary. At other times, the fact that nothing is said explicitly is scarier. Because hearing it said would be a big relief. In this case, the audience is trapped in their own imagination going over and over and over what could have happened and what did happen but was not shown.

There were 10 of us in the audience and I went alone. Because I watch movies with like minded aficionados or alone or in my PJs at home. There is no middle path. The English subtitles were not placed properly but that was corrected when I complained to the staff. I sympathise with the old South Indian couple who walked in without reading what it was about. I am sure their Sunday was ruined.

May I please, please, please request you to support such brilliant cinema in India? If we don’t, we deserve the trash Bollywood throws at us. Go watch this one.


Delhi – now and always

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There is something about Delhi. From the moment I stepped into the city, life has changed.

I am not referring to the citizens or the culture. I prefer ground-to-earth Mumbaikers over the flamboyance of Delhites. Honestly, Delhites are annoying and only a source of good entertainment.

But the city is different. I feel at peace here. Not matter what am going through otherwise, Delhi always makes me feel better. Driving down the tree lined roads with spring in the air, everything seems ok. Everything is ok when am in Delhi. I hope it stays that way. I hope Delhi is the city which does not get ruined by the experiences of my life and I can always rely on it for a shoulder to lay my head down on, even for a few minutes.

Isn’t that what home is supposed to feel like.

Good times (not)!!!

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Out of all my years in the corporate in various roles, 2009/2010 are the ones am most proud of. Ironic considering they were the lowest personally. The kind of work I did in those years gives me confidence even today. I worked in a set up where I could do anything in any way because there were no working norms for this channel. I was only one of the two people in the channel in those years and so I made my own working norms. Then I moved to Delhi NCR and did the same thing all over again. If I had to go back to this role today, I will be extremely unhappy if my work has been undone and the area is in disarray. I swear I will break down and cry. Which is why am not someone who looks back once I move out of a role. I don’t compare how the new person is doing since it only creates heartburn.

When I rejoined the current organization, it was for two reasons only. First was location. I wanted to move back to Gurgaon, that was my only priority in 2013. Second was that I knew the person whose team I was joining. He was one of the few people I had always had a good, though limited, interaction with. It is rare to come across someone in the corporate who didn’t give me a reason to criticise him. Sure, I joined a smaller brand, a minisucle channel making it irrelevant to 99% of the employees, a highly bureaucratic set up with a frustratingly laid back way of working. But my role was infinitely better. I was finally in a 100% strategic role. Those were the good days when the channel met targets and so we had the luxury to try new things and there was a lot of flexibility in the job. We felt like we made decisions, even when we actually didn’t. A trick I have picked up from this person.

Anyway, am back to this channel now and I want to cry. The good work has been completely undone and I have been handed over the complete mess with colleagues claiming “we are looking up to you to get all this sorted”. In my previous role, the big gap was my team’s motivation levels. They were stretched too far, frustrated and worked in silos. But everything else was in place so I had time to focus on bringing the team together. Now, my team is extremely raw and only very experienced and smart people (like I worked with earlier) can do justice to the tasks in hand. Well, the very experienced and smart people would never have let things come to this point.

So, here I am. All on my own. Atleast in Mumbai, I had a colleague in the same channel and we could swap sob stories but here, it is going to be lonely. I am up for the challenge because 7 years in this channel means I know pretty much everything there is to know. Nothing in the organised FMCG industry has changed in the last 5-8 years. Future Group is buying everything that crosses it’s path, FDI is still not here, FMCG companies haven’t tapped the potential of cash and carry, none of the retailers have money to pay their vendors on time, retailers continue to work on discounting model to attract consumers but can’t retain them and the industry has been stagnant for a while now.

Atleast now my 4 am depression has a reason behind it.

Blah… blah… blah

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I don’t have anything to write but since I plan to start writing everyday, (not necessarily in this space) from Sunday, warming up is a good idea.

Something weird is going on. I have been waking up between 3-5 am in Gurgaon. It happened last night and on my previous visit last month. I was reading online about it and am either depressed or suicidal or need to listen to my “calling” or it is just normal. I can’t wait to find which. But all the articles recommend that I make it productive instead of turning and twisting in bed with my thoughts. Say no more, internet. I am on it.

It is amazing how fast we move on. Move cities and it is like the past is irrelevant. Like it didn’t even exist. Right now I can’t believe I was in Mumbai for almost 2 years. I feel like I was never even gone. So much for all the emotional drama in the last few weeks.

Ciao. Need to sleep now so I feel refreshed at 4 am.

The farewell. The final send off

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Tonight was my farewell along with 3 other people. People said nice things, as they are supposed to at any farewell. But what they said is significant because I have tried hard to earn that affection. I have spent nights wondering if people will like me. I have tossed and turned worrying that am a fake, was promoted by accident and everyone will find out sooner or later.

Sure, people lie. As you climb higher up the ladder, the less criticism you get to hear. But my mentor had advised me last year “when someone in the team doesn’t like you, you will pick up the cues. You will know it. So stop worrying”. All five people in the team can’t tell the same lies, right?

Why this means a lot is because am not a people person at all. Over the years I have been told that am an individual contributor and work better alone. After 3 years of an individual contributor role, albeit in sales so there are always people to collaborate with, I moved to a team management role. People who have more experience, more confidence and are male. Some of them are diplomatic and will never be upfront about their views but there are others who are brutal with their feedback.

To hear someone say that they would always want to report to a female is a big, big compliment. This opens doors for many, many women in the future. You just need one good female professional to change everyone’s minds and perceptions. Just one of us has to step up.

At the same time, all the men around me have taken care of me. From making sure am not travelling alone late at night even in Gujarat to wanting to pick me up from the airport at night to ensuring am completely safe in interior MP while travelling at 10 pm on streets with no paved roads. The best part about working in West region is that men don’t see your gender as a disadvantage. I have worked in North and in West and there is a stark difference in how am treated. I have worked in both regions of two different organisations.

But more importantly, I haven’t just grown as a professional but personally too. Like I was telling DS the other day, there are skills I learn in the corporate that I wouldn’t learn if I wasn’t working or I had my own startup.

KC told me I don’t look happy about moving to Gurgaon. He is right. I haven’t even started thinking about Gurgaon or the new life awaiting me. I have been too bogged down by what am leaving behind, professionally and personally.

Rules for the new workdesk

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  1. Thou shall mind thy own business.
  2. Thou shall not bitch about thy manager. Word gets around.
  3. Thou shall turn off thy official phone at 8 pm and refuse to be available unless it is a life or death situation.
  4. Thou shall not gossip at work. Gossip only demotivates and distracts.
  5. Thou shall strive to be the calmer person in every conflict and reward thyself with a run at Lodi Gardens on a weekday if thy succeeds.
  6. Thou shall not discuss personal matters at work and never let anyone get an inkling if post work life sucks.
  7. Thou shall fake positivity at all times so frustration from top management never reaches thy team.
  8. If thou has free time at work on a rare day, thy shall spend it reading instead of whiling it away talking to people.
  9. Thou shall cut through the bullshit and get to the point in any discussion.
  10. Thou shall not waste time in ego massages and butt licking at work.
  11. Thou shall avoid corporate parties like the plague and continue sneaking out of them to attend workout session at gym.
  12. Thou shall only hang out with colleagues who have the potential to become friends once thy quits workplace.
  13. Thou shall remember that thy shall be dead someday and none of this will matter.