Friday, July 25, 2008

Read, get inspired and take on life

Prats tagged me to list my top 10 literary characters. If it were authors, it could have been easier. I would try my best to remember the character names but there are various unnamed characters in many books that have influenced my life. Every time I read a book, I take something out of it. Sometimes I get impressed by the fictional personalities but many times it is the author’s style of writing. Here goes the list:

1. Tintin: As a kid I used to love this character and actually wanted to own up a dog like Snowy. Growing up, I started to enjoy Asterix/Obelix more but I still remember my fascination for Tintin in my younger days.

2.Enid Blyton characters: Like many others, I grew up with these fictional personalities being part of my daily routine. I can't decide between George, Julian of Famous Five and Fatty in Five Founouters. I liked them all in their own ways.

3. Sherlock Holmes: Sir Arthur Canon Doyle's creation has been my all time favorite. I have read all the four novels and the short stories. As a teenager, I would eagerly look forward to Sunday for watching the tele-series. I actually cried watching "The Final Problem", in which Sherlock Holmes disappears. 3 years back, on our way to India, we had to stop over in London. You can imagine my excitement seeing a 6 feet tall statue of Sherlock Holmes on 221 B Baker Street.
4. Liz of Pride and Prejudice. I loved her independence and romance with Darcy, whom I admired too- Tall, rich and reserved. Years later, one of my friends commented why girls fall for guys who are reserved and don't look at guys who talk and make them laugh! Well, it’s not true but Darcy character is pretty attractive.

5. Tom Sawyer for his adventourous and independent spirit.


6. Anne Frank from Diary of Anne Frank: For a girl who has gone through nightmares of world's worst times, she has indeed been brave and learnt to live life even in those tough times.

7. Erma Bombeck: She is actually a humorist who has written about 15 best sellers. Her main character in all her books is in first person. So, I am assuming this is about her life as I do not know the name of the main character.

8. Jason Bourne of Bourne series by Robert Ludlum. He might not be a popular character but I admire him for his precision and presence of mind.

9. Elliott Goodman of "Match Made in Heaven": I see the life similar to how he does and liked his attitude of never giving up, even when it was a game with God. If you have not read this book, I recommend you to pick it up in your next visit to bookstore or library.

10. Amir of Kite Runner: Though he seemed to be submissive and not standing up for injustice done to his dear ones, he did gain courage and went back to face the battle and win it. There is something enigmatic about this character which draws my attention.

I pass on the tag to Arc, Madhu, Ceedy,Ziah,Monika, Dinker, Subha. I would love to know your list of literary characters. Anyone else is welcome to pick up the tag.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Work of Human

Architecture is a measure of human progress. It is human imagination personified. Each monument has a unique history of why it was created and how it was built. Any ancient civilization -Greek, Roman, Indus, Egyptian is filled with human created treasures.

Man can create wonders with rock, stones and even glass. The artificial islands getting created in Dubai and Italy are breathtaking. The other day I was watching Travel channel and found that every winter in Sweden, they build a hotel made of ice. They still use iron/metal pillars for some part of the framework. During fall, they get the framework in place. When enough snow has been accumulated, within a month a new building with a different architecture is constructed for people to stay. Check out the link for more information. The pictures are stunning.

Olympics is not far away and the way Beijing is getting decked up with new buildings is phenomenal. I particularly liked the egg-shaped National theatre and the water cube aquatic centre. Apart from the manufacturing industry, the travel industry in China is also set for some huge gains in future.

There are lots of other buildings that we come across daily which are marvels in their own ways. They don't get the public recognition but they hold some significance to you. As a teenager, I used to enjoy walking in Connaught Place (now known as Rajiv Chowk). I liked the architecture of the buildings and roaming around them made me feel free and independent - qualities I always aspired for. I used to visit British Council Library which helped me delve into different varieties of books genre. Libraries were not much popular in Delhi in those days and a building with two floors stacked with books was enough excite me. The other place I used to love going with my mom was "Sahitya Academy Library" in Mandi House. Much of my Indian mythological knowledge is attributed to this library. The whole area around Mandi house would be very rejuvenating for me. There was a beautiful building called "Little Flower theatre", where years later I watched a fantastic play "Love Letters" starring Rajat Kapoor and Shehnaz Patel. The Modern School round the corner would remind me of the yearly "Shankar's Drawing Competition". I would also love to walk in the North Campus of Delhi University. As a kid, I used to accompany my mom to various shows and library. Years later when I myself became a student of the University, I enjoyed attending the college festivals and chatting with friends in the sprawling lawns. The Vivekananda statue in the middle of Arts Faculty used to give a serene look to the whole atmosphere. I still remember the precious last minute preparations before exams sitting in those steps.

Almost all cities in the world are developing rapidly and getting decked up with concrete buildings and monuments. It is pure treat to see the kind of shapes they attain and the materials used to build them up. With rock, stone, glass, sand, ice already being used, can walls made of water be far behind?

BTW, do you know this building in Banglore?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Et Tu?

The clothing industry survives only because of the women of the world. As long as we are there, they would remain profitable. With different clothing styles to colors to the latest fashion trend, the choices are unlimited. Unless you are wearing jeans and T-shirt, it’s hard to find a dress getting repeated on someone else. Last Friday, I was at the traffic light, waiting for the lights to turn green so that I can move on. I saw a lady from a distant appearing wearing a nice green top and a skirt. I could not see the design of the skirt clearly because of the distance and the other cars being on my line of sight. As she approached me, I could see complete dress and I liked it as it was pretty pleasing to the eyes. I recalled seeing the design of the skirt somewhere. The light turned green and I drove on, only to realize that I was also wearing the same green top and the skirt!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ready, Set, Relax

Taking a break is always welcome. You don't need to go on a vacation but slowing down once in a while is relaxing. And if it comes unexpected, you are all the more thrilled.

Today morning, H volunteered to drop the kids. In the morning hustle bustle, he took both the car keys and left. I wanted to reach office early so that I could leave sooner than my usual time. I got ready quickly and for once had not forgotten to leave anything behind, only to realize that I have no keys to drive the car! Since H was already half way to his work, it made no sense for him to come back. So I had the only option left - work from home. I do exercise it once in a while but today was a surprise. Suddenly I felt so light at head. I don't have to drive to work today. I had my breakfast leisurely. It has been long since I relished a toast and tea as I often skip breakfast.

For a change, I really liked being stuck at home with no where to go. At 8:45 am, I heard a faint "beep beep". It sounded like the alarm of the sports watch which I thought was lost. But it stopped beeping before I could locate it. I wondered why it is beeping at 8:45. Maybe the watch was not corrected for daylight saving. Even then, the time would be 7:45 am!! Not sure who is it trying to wake up at time when we are generally out by 8 am.

I was working on my computer when I heard motor start suddenly, followed by some faint footsteps. A peek outside the window confirmed that the odd job men were doing the lawn moving but I still could not figure where the footsteps were coming from. I tried listening hard and figured out that it was coming from the roof. I got scared for a second. I remembered an incident that happened a decade back, when one of neighbor kids played a prank on me by calling in the middle of a rainy night saying that someone was on our roof top. I am much older now but the thought of the incident still sends chills down my spine. I gathered courage and stepped out of the house to see what’s going on. I saw a man fixing the roof top of one of my neighbors and a bunch of squirrels running around. That was a pleasant sight much better than what I had imagined. Now I am getting back to work with a hope that I would be able to relish this leisure day to my heart’s content.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Walk the talk

"Silence is golden and speech is silver." It is true depending on the situations but talking enhances bonding. Most of my friends are my friends because we have chatted a lot. We have shared dreams, overcome our failures and celebrated successes. In all relationships, I do seek friendship and the only way I have known to attain it is by talking. Anyone of the relationships where talking is less, I do maintain them but with very less trace of friendship. Talking has helped me regain friendships which have been covered by the silence that gets embedded in friendship because of distance and time.

As a small girl, I was pretty quiet and shy to outsiders. This helped me to gain appreciation of being a nice girl from neighbors and acquaintances, much to the annoyance to my brother. I would go home and end up eating his and my mom's head by narrating them all the day's incidents and my opinion on various matters. But I still remained calm and introvert to others. This lasted for only few years. As I grew up I became more extrovert and talkative. You don't need to imagine my college days. I used to shudder when my dad opened the telephone bill.

I have always wondered how guys, who are more on quieter side, maintain friendships. I am sometimes puzzled how can a person talk so less. Do they not feel like expressing an opinion on a matter or argue just for the sake of argument? Maybe they are more evolved and don’t believe in these trivial matters. Maybe they seek something else. After all silence is also a language. But I also believe that everyone opens up in the right company.

What I admire in a person is not how much they talk but how well they talk. Some are able to talk precise and to the point while others just blabber to glory. In fact this reveals a strong personality trait. People who convey in fewer words are more confident of themselves whether they have accomplished the task or not. The ones who keep talking about the same thing or convey the message in more words and time seem to be justifying themselves more that others on how the task was accomplished.

Having good conversation skills definitely enhances one’s chances of climbing a corporate ladder. But this fact seems to be de-emphasized in today’s world, especially in software industry. All it seems to care is whether a problem was solved or issue was fixed but the process of getting there is not talked about.

Toastmasters is a good club to join if you are interested in improving oratory skills. It not only teaches one how to talk effectively in public but also helps in organizing thoughts and conveying them well. Till recently, I was not aware that CEOs and their board have public speakers visiting them regularly to encourage and boost their confidence. After all, success starts at few encouraging words.