Monthly Archives: July 2008

New Features on my Blog!

I had an interesting weekend learning to do new things on the net! Although I work in an IT company I am an absolute non techie so even small things which are normally out of the way are difficult or too much of a pain for me to try out.
But this weekend….I was inspired by an old colleague of mine from Bangalore to put up a counter on my blog to know the number of visits. He told me you will have to write some code on the blog but it is really simple!
I really wanted to know if people are actually reading my blog…..but to write some !!code!! seemed like a difficult proposition…but what the hell….I thought let me give it a shot….I have google to help me afterall….I struggled with it for sometime but then I finally found (statcounter.com) to help me and I realized it was so damn easy!!
Encouraged with my new found success with technology I decided to experiment some more and found there are soo many things that you can easily do with google…like put advts on your blog!
I had read an article in fortune or forbes or something on people writing blogs and making money out of it and thought to myself….what a great idea….but it would be so difficult to implement and its now after almost a year I realized that it is so damn easy to make your blog a money generating piece! You may not make money for a living…unless you do it full time and write a lot of sense….but just the fact that google adsense is so easy to enable is what is absolutely amazing! I still don’t understand how you make money on it…but the basic gist is if people come and view your blog and click on the advts on it..you get paid some few cents!
(So people…happy clicking!…but click only for things you are genuinely interested and don’t overdo it for the heck of it …cause they supposedly debar accounts for false clicks!)

Realizing how easy it was to enable google ads and a counter….I set out to experiment some more…and learnt to put a whole lot of things on my blog!

Here is a list of all the new things I did……it is so damn easy that it is amazing! If I can do it so can anyone! I can put details on how to do each of these things….even if one of you’ll leave me a comment on wanting more!

1) Put a counter on the blog
2) Put Google advertisements on the blog
3) Put a Google search on the blog
4) Give multiple people permission to write on a blog
5) Put a vote option on the blog
6) Put a subscribe to posts and comments option from the blog

Still lots more to learn….I hope this was not only beginners success for a technologically challenged person like me and I manage to go ahead and learn some more things!
By the way check out my teach India blog if you have already not seen it!

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Some Concerns shared by Volunteers at the Teach India Initiative

It is natural to have apprehensions when we start something new. All the volunteers who were a part of the program had reservations, concerns and problems when they initially started interacting with the student. This post will list out some of the issues faced by the volunteers.

1) Do not know how to start the conversation with the child?
2) How can a sustain a conversation with a child with whom I have nothing in common for 60 minutes!!??!!
3)There is a Gap in communication / English skills between two students allotted to me.
4)Student does not understand my question in English
5)Should I translate and use other languages such as Marathi in the beginning
6) Student is very disinterested..How do I build his interst?
7)Student is very shy and does not communicate
8)I feel nervous because I do not know if I am teaching the right way
9)I need a syllabus or textbook – that will help me to gauge progress
10) What do I talk to a child who is not my gender

Find some coping strategies to these issues and many more at

http://kef-teach-india.blogspot.com/

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Interview with Ratna Patak!

I have a friend who is a budding journalist. She has just joined one of those ‘hi-fi’ journalist schools in town and is learning to be the next Barkha Dutt! Assignment one was to interview a celebrity you would like to meet! Celebrity hunt stated….and “Mr Well Connected” came to her rescue and got her an interview with Ratna Pathak!

Our budding journalist needed a cameraman and her boyfriend could not accompany her as “he had to study” (as usual!) and hence I got a chance to be the official “Camerawomen” for the interview!
We were to meet Ratna Patak in her house at bandstand. We were well in time( I wasn’t she was!) and waiting for the clock to strike 6.30 so we could get into the lift and ring the bell at her door! The clock struck 6.30 and that is when we realized that we had been standing outside the wrong building!
Sea Pebbles…Sand Pebbles…Beach Pebbles…the road is full of pebbles and wonderful buildings named after pebbles….not our fault we were standing overlooking the wrong pebble…

We finally found the place and walked into her house….Ratna Pathak is one pretty woman! She looks much better in real than on reel…she was as white as marble and her face had this inner glow….she seemed to peaceful!

We walked into her living room and there was “Rudolf” her big handsome black tom cat perched cozily on the sofa. The living room was well done with colourful cushions and cozy sitting corners and intriguing paintings on the wall. My favourite painting was of that of the Joker with a purple face…he was smiling but there was sadness in his eyes.

We finally settled in and had an interesting one hour conversation with her about acting, theatre, movies , television, women in India to the role of the youth and her dreams for her children and a whole lot of other things!

The actual discussion we had is privileged conversation and I can’t write much about it here for two reasons; Firstly since it is an assignment my budding journalist has to submit to college, I am not allowed to disclose contents here and secondly and more importantly since I did not need to remember the details….I dont remeber much so there is not much I can write anyways! !

Overall a nice experience! Hope my budding journalist lets me tag along for many more such assignments!

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Teach India!!!

I volunteered for the Times of India “Teach India campaign” and was assigned to the Kotak Education Foundation at Chembur. I was assigned to their Student Intervention Program(SIP)
Kotak Education foundation has tied up with a number of municipal schools in the area. The teachers from the NGO would teach the children basic English for one hour a day everyday after school. We as volunteers would interact with two children every week for an hour and give them a conducive environment to speak English.
A study done by a Bangalore based company showed that a significantly large number of people passing out of universities are not employable because they lack the basic interpersonal and communication skills. This is true not only for municipal schools but our entire education system. We are very strong in the ‘knowledge skills’ but not really taught skills as problem solving, effective communication, inter-personal skills which are quite important for life
The objectives of the program are
1) To teach children to speak English
2) To understand English
3) Overall gain confidence of communicating with people and learn interpersonal skills.

I intend to document my experience as a part of this initiative with the following objectives

1) To keep track of the progress of the kids assigned to me
2) To gather my thoughts together after each session
3) To document my experience so I can read it some years from now and feel nostalgic!
4) To have something to write on my blog
5) To maybe inspire others reading this to go out there and make a difference!

Day 1- Saturday July 19th 2008

10:30 am-Kotak Education Foundation Office
I walked into the Kotak education foundation office at Chebur Naka for the first time and Shriti from the foundation explained the entire program.
I was a little apprehensive about the entire program being a little unstructured but decided to go for the volunteers briefing in the afternoon where we were to discuss some structure

1:00 pm- Kumud Memorial School Deonar

I met people from diverse groups volunteering to teach. My group had two doctors, a lawyer, a Charterd accountant, students and other professionals! It was a pleasure to just see the diverse group willing to come out of their way to “Teach India”.
We had a brief briefing and were told that just talk to the kids and give them a chance to talk!
Honestly I was quite apprehensive..… I am normally quite good at making small talk with strange people but what will I talk to a 8th standard child who I would not have anything common in and infact may not even be able to understand my language!
The first 10 minutes were quite awkward…did the normal small talk with the child…what is your name…what is your teachers name….do you like school etc etc…and then what…! Now what should I talk to this child!! I am suppose to be the teacher….I have no clue what to do!!
And I a brilliant idea struck me….I decided to play a game with them…games are always fun….!
So we played the “I CAN SEE” game…
All three of us had to look around the room and say what we can see in complete English sentences
· I can see a fan
· I can see chairs
· I can a teacher wearing a blue dress…
· Etc etc etc
This gave me an opportunity to improve their vocabulary of the objects they see around them. As the game went along we went for a walk around the school spotting things and trying to describe them with adjectives!
This worked really well for me…I managed to make fruitful conversation with kids and also managed to teach them something in an informal manner!
When my second set of students came in….I was alredy a more confident teacher!!

About my teach India friends/children

I had four kids with me coming in two batches of one hour each
1)Rupesh
2)Soheil
3) Rashmi
4) Komal
The boys seem to have a better vocabulary of words than the girls….but they were also picking up well!
In my next blog post I will write more about each of the kids, and what is it that I plan to do with them in the future!!

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Analysis….Paralysis

Good Morning everyone!

When I finally sat last night to prepare this speech I opened two bio-data’s I have.

#The first which is written by me to find my ideal job and
#The second which is written by my parents to find the ideal son in law

I thought I would use the Microsoft most widely used Cut Copy Paste technology and quickly get done with my speech,but then I thought of you’ll my dear audience for the day and realized that you are not potential recruiters (at least not for now!) and neither is the potential “son- in- law’s” that my parents are looking for is likely to be sitting among you’ll today; So what is it that I should I tell you about myself….!!??!!

Oh god……I was so stressed and CONFUSED!

And that’s when I realized: “Confused” has been the theme of my life all these years!!!

Not many people here would know that I am a physiotherapist by qualification : “Dr Sxixpx Sxhxax” (masking the actul name!)is what I used to be called till I got confused and did not know if treating “pains in the neck” was the true calling of my life…I wanted to do something different; something better; something bigger; I thought I wanted to be in the ‘business’ of healthcare

So how could I do that ’Confusion’ crept in again and that’s when the great Tata Legend came to my rescue in the form of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and I went on and did an MBA in Hospital and healthcare Management

At the end of the course I had a nice cushy pre- placement offer in a hospital in Mumbai when the recruitment team from TCS came to campus and “confused“me with a attractive hefty package lured me into believing that the corporate world is the place to be in and healthcare IT is the way to change the world! TCS is the place to be in…

TCS did change the world at least for me…..They picked me up from Mumbai and dumped me to Hyderbad ; believe me the world does sound very different when everyone around you talks in Telgu! Now I have been in TCS for over 3 years and even today both me and my poor bosses are confused on what my role is in this company full of techies!

Confusion!….Confusion!…Confusion…! Confusion has prevailed not only in my professional life but also my personal life!

I love to learn new things there are so many things I want to learn I cant decide what I want to learn first! What should I do over the weekend??? Learn to play the casio….or to learn to dance ? To learn reki or pranic healing ? play badminton or table tennis?

I love to read everything and anything fiction, non- fiction, business, psychology, spirituality…..every night I have at least 3 books by the side of my bed and normally I got to sleep just looking at them…

I cannot decide if I should Toastmasters club…..or Rotaract club or the Lions’s club……they are all so nice!

Should I be a part of the Teach India initiative or be a part of the TCS Maitri Sion school initiative to teach kids……? Oh god so many things to decide…

There are small things….relatively not much at stake… and I eventually will end up doing all of them but when it comes to major potentially irreversible decisions ; Like who I should get married to….God Save me and all those people around me!

I am so thoroughly confused… Who would be the right choice….? The cute boy next door…dad’s friends son….my best friend…..my younger brothers best friend…..none of the above….all of the above…any of the above….either of the above!!!???!!!!

And when there are big confusing decisions to make in life you turn to divine sources who can help you see the future and decide … But…. lo behold!! There are so many choices there!!!
Who should you listen to……the astrologer……the palmist……the numerologist….the taro card reader…all of the above…none of the above…either of the above….neither of the above…OH MY GOD……can someone anyone save me from this confusion!!!

So what am I doing with all these choice I need to make…..Currently “Absolutely Nothing!”
Analysis Paralysis
…. is what I am suffering from at this point of time. My life is in pause mode. There are so many things I want to do, but currently all I am doing is “analyzing” what is the best thing to do!

When you don’t have a choices Life is stressful when you have too many choices in life is equally stressful…..What is better of the two…..honestly I don’t know…I am confused!

Over to Mr Toastmaster of the day.
(This was the ice breaker speech I gave at the toastmasters club on July 16th 2008…The content is partly true…but exaggerated : An attempt to make it an interesting and humorous!)

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Someone…..Somewhere….

I don’t know if I believe in soul mates or love but I have always been afraid of even considering I will find the ‘ideal’ partner. I have always been so skeptical about it that I have never even allowed myself to think what is it that I am really looking for in an ‘ideal’ but then I read somewhere We make our own reality….. we paint our own picture of life. You get what you want…..You only need to know what you want!
So i though to myself, Let me paint a picture of the ideal partner…
So the ‘ideal’ man in my life is going to be….
Someone who I am attracted to
Someone who is attracted to me
Someone who is well read and travelled
Someone who is logical and fair
Someone whose family I can gel with
Someone whose mom and sister can be my best friends
Someone who I can talk to forever and not get bored and yet want to talk somemore
Someone who is a nice Human being
Someone who will be loyal and faithful
Someone who will help to to grow as a person
Someone with whom everything feels right
Someone who loves me for what I am
Someone I love for what he is
Someone I feel I want to know better and spend a lot of time with
Someone who feels he wants to know me better and spend a lot of time with me
Someone with a good sense of humor
Someone who is doing reasonably well in life
Someone with whom I get the opportunity to travel the world
Someone who is reasonably tall and good looking
Someone who I feel the ‘connection’ with
Someone who feels the ‘connection’ with me
Someone I can look up to and respect
Someone who looks up to me and respects me for what I am
Someone who I can trust and feel secure with
Someone who trusts me completely
Someone who can be my friend forever
Someone who is ready to help me with the housework
Someone who can be a partner in this journey of life
Someone who respects women in general
Someone who like to have fun and knows to have a good time
Someone I can emotionally connect with
I wrote all this and then I read a beautiful line in a book I was reading which sums and ends it all up so beautifully

“Don’t try to find the ideal partner, Try to be the ideal partner and you will be emotionally richer” Dr Brain Weiss

So that is the end of my search to ‘find’ an ideal partner and the begining of my quest to ‘become’ the ideal partner!

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The "Purpose of Life" is a "Life of Purpose"

Something beautiful I read and it got me thinking..


“The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose”

I don’t know what the purpose of my life is…..but I know I want to learn and experience a whole lot of things before I move on to the next level…

The purpose of this posting is to
· Make a list of things I want to learn before I die
· Inputs from readers and friends on the best place and the best people to learn any of these things from!
· Tell the world what interests and fascinates me!
· Commit myself to actually “Go Do It”

So here comes the list….. I hope to tick these off and add new things!
1. Neuro- Linguistic Programming
2. Handwriting Analysis
3. Playing the Casio
4. Counseling
5. Handwriting Analysis
6. Dance- Bollywood Free Style
7. Palmistry
8. Astrology
9. Play Tennis
10. Play Squash
11. Personal grooming and make up
12. Dinning etiquette
13. Voice modulation and Radio Jockeying
14. Cooking exotic dishes
15. Become a competent toastmaster and master the art of public speaking

Next I want to elaborate on each of the things in the list with the following
· Why I want to learn each of these things
· What is the level of proficiency I want to achieve

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