Trip To San Fransico


This was my second trip to San Francisco. As people say that the first one is always special. But for me, this trip was a lot more special. The difference was ‘familiarity”. I knew when I landed at the airport, the taxi driver didn’t overcharge me. I had planned to meet friends, end up calling few others in different states. At least I was in the same timezone as them. Stayed in the same hotel, so hotel staff, rooms, facilities were all familiar. Soon after I landed on Sunday morning, I ended up going to Union Square. I had been there few times but of course, this time I knew which shop to enter and what to buy.

Last time, before leaving, I had eaten at Chipotle and loved it. So, this time, I started off my first meal in the city with Chipotle (Mexican Cuisine). And ended up going there few times.

I haven’t figured out the public transport yet. Navigating through Uber was easy and cheap. I didn’t even feel the need to get on to the public transport. But for my next trip, I will try to figure that out.

This trip was dedicated to food gestation. Tried different cuisine and overall, I liked American food. It is very tasty but fatty. Lots of cheese is being used in almost every dish. The portion of the meal is huge. I couldn’t finish any of the meals and always ended up packing back

The culture is similar to any other developed nation. It is very individualistic but still unlike other places, it feels like people care. The fantastic part was that I could see colors. There were whites, blacks, browns and all kinds walking with same pride. I believe that is what makes America great!

During the trip, there were two times, I nearly lost things – my wallet and phone. I was lucky to find those but then one should be careful while navigating the city. After living in Singapore for almost 10 years, we are so used to the security that we take it for granted. Singapore is a VERY safe country, pal! You don’t have to worry about your family when you are leaving for business trips. This place is heaven for parents with small kids.

One of the saddening things about the city was that it has a lot of homeless and crazy people. I checked with locals on why they have so many people roaming? And they said that the cost of living is very high. People can’t afford the house and don’t want to leave the city. The government took some measures to help but then it didn’t work out. I was scared few times while crossing them but then most of the times they are harmless. Only during evenings, post 9 pm, one should be worried about roaming around in the city alone.

There are tonnes of job opportunities in the market but at the same time, competition for locals is tough as best of the brains land up in SF. One of my colleagues mentioned that how she faces stiff competition because of that. But overall, perks offered by companies are fantastic. They are lured with free lunches at work, snacks, drinks, flexible work hours and what not.

So far, I met with good and nice people. But I heard some horror stories too. The experience is individual. The country is big and it has all kinds of people living there. There is a famous saying, “You can’t control the experiences you have, but you can always choose the response to that experience”. I think the city live by that rule. People, in general, are kind and helpful.

I have been to touristy places like Pier 39, Lombard Street, Union Square, Westfield Mall and North Beach. But yes, I finally fell in love with the city.

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How to develop a ‘Power Profile’?

Given that more women are waking up to the idea of Personal Branding, this is a good start..

Empowering Women

This Friday my company had organised an event called  “Fearless Friday” where the objective was to encourage youngsters to participate in new challenges and be fearless about it. Part of the event was prize distribution for LinkedIn competition that was ongoing for six weeks. For me, it was even more exciting because I got prize of 200 dollar voucher from LinkedIn for having highest SSI (Social Selling Index). It was truly amazing to get rewarded for all the LinkedIn posts contribution and engagement on the platform. LinkedIn’s competition “IN IT TO WIN IT” was a long process and had about three categories. They had invited the participants to their office, did a training on how to build a power profile and how to use LinkedIn as a platform for Brand building. Given that LinkedIn is moving towards content generator and distributor, this competition was also to get people into the habit…

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Choose your Boss/Friends wisely!

I saw an interview from Jack ma recently where he advised how a student should spend his early years in work life! He mentioned that a boss plays a very important role in someone’s career path. It all depends on which boss one follows. A good boss will teach things differently. But this logic applies beyond work-life. Success, in general, comes with the kind of companionship a person gets during her growing up years. Those people shape your thoughts, ideas, and dreams. And that stays for life.

Since childhood, parents encourage to choose friends wisely. They are cautious of people their kids go out with. It does have some merit. You do get influenced by people around you(Not all though). When the child steps out, parents have little control of the kind of exposure they get outside. The only thing they can do is to inculcate a good sense of judgment.

With those thoughts, I was reflecting on my own journey. When I was growing up, I met girls from all walks of life. Some resonated, some not. There is one girl who had deeper influence in shaping my aspirations. She was a neighbor and probably 7-8 years older than me. I thought she was different from the lot. She came from a modest family, but she had higher expectations. I saw her juggled between taking care of the family and working part-time for extra income. On top of that she was studying. In those days, there was little expectation from girls. So, she was admired for her efforts. I still can’t forget how she conducted herself in such adversity. She finally moved to a bigger city to earn a livelihood and much later got married. We lost touch. But she was my guiding star till she left. She always encouraged me to study harder and be independent in life. The seed of moving out of my hometown was also sown by her.

Around the same time, I was best friends with a girl at school. We joined the school at the same time. May be that’s why we bonded more. Both her siblings were studying and working abroad. Her career path was very clear. She was to go abroad for higher studies post graduation. My parents had no intention or resources to send me abroad. They were probably waiting for me to complete graduation (+15 years of study) so that they can marry me off. It was only because of Minu, I started thinking of going abroad. Desire comes first and then Means follow. Therefore, people say, Don’t Stop Dreaming!

I left for Delhi to join advertising course. Minu was in Delhi too but we were not in touch. I didn’t have mobile back then (Now I get a latest model every year). When we finally managed to get in touch, she was already preparing to go to the US. And once again I was pushed towards the thought of moving abroad.

During college days, I met Monica. She came from affluent family and had a lot more exposure to the world. When we met, she adopted me(literally!). She took care of me like a friend cum sister. Sometimes when you can’t be a leader, at least be a good follower. She was key in grooming me and transforming me from a small town girl to the babe of the big city. There is a very common term used in Delhi BTMs – Behenji turn Mod (A village girl who suddenly turned Modern). My college mates thought I was the prefect example for that. I laugh it out loud when I look back. But the exposure and learning that I got during college days transformed my life forever.

Later I joined Advertising industry. Things were going steady till another disruption happened. My new boss Archana Ram was US-returned. She was extremely driven and equally talented. I caught the abroad bug again. By then I started preparing for GMAT and looking out for universities. While I was writing my applications to various universities, she helped me a lot. We spent extra hours in office just to review my Statement of Purpose. She herself had studied from a University in the US and knew the process. She encouraged me almost every day to keep trying. I haven’t seen a more optimistic person till date. Her problem-solving skills and attitude were amazing. I kept trying and ultimately managed to get through one of the colleges in Singapore. And that started a completely new journey.

I am grateful to all of these women whose path crossed mine and were instrumental in shaping my career and life.So yes it’s all about people who you meet in life and how they align with what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve in life!

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How about wasting some ‘TIME’!!

It was an interesting day today! I was talking to one of my colleagues about our busy lifestyle. We plan every minute so that we can make the most of the 24 hours. This topic hit me even more because I have been very busy for last few weeks. And I am not complaining because this is what I always wanted. I remember a couple of months ago when I decided to take a break from work life, it was the most difficult 2 months. I was supposed to sit down, relax and do introspection. And here I was sitting sad, depressed and lost all day long. It felt as if there was no life. At that point, I realized that the retirement that I have been planning for my 40th birthday is never going to happen. I don’t like not going to work.

Wasted-Time
Wasting Time is at times good

During our conversation, he mentioned something that struck me. He said he spends a couple of minutes or hours depending on his daily schedule, doing NOTHING. He sits down and relaxes. He doesn’t watch TV (he decided not to have one), no games, no reading …nothing at all. He just let his thoughts flow. He tries not to think or plan anything during that time. It is a more casual form of meditation. But even that sounded difficult.But like how we take care of our physical health by doing exercise, we also need to take care of our mental health.

First, we fill our minds with unimportant things and then start looking for Mindfulness courses to clear our minds. To be honest, it is not our fault. We are living in a day and age where there are ten additional things to do because of Facebook, Linkedin, WhatsApp, Instagram etc. During the day time, I just feel there is a lot going on in my mind. If I have to scribble my thoughts on a piece of paper, it would look crazy.

Last year, the visit to my village after 10 years had given me a perspective. Technology has touched village lives but not so much. So, one can still enjoy roaming around in fields, eating organic fruits and Veggies, sleeping under the star because there is no electricity. I will be honest, during day time, it was unbearable without electricity.

I missed internet for two days. I was using my mum’s phone to access the internet (that was on purpose) but then after 2 days, I stopped missing Social Media and friends there. People visit house un-alarmed. They spend hours talking about all kinds of topics. It’s like 24×7 live channel about all happenings around nearby villages. I felt so relaxed and happy. I decided to do that more often. I also learnt that staying away from the internet is best way to unwind. But as I landed back, I saw everyone was glued to their phones. No one was interested in talking or even paying attention to others. So I went back to my Facebook friends.

Coming back to the topic of wasting time. How many of you can think of wasting time by sitting and doing nothing? Think about it. It is not so easy as it sounds.

‘Time is the most important’. This is the lesson we are taught from the beginning. More important than money and here I am talking about wasting it. Yeah, that’s right! We have stopped enjoying the joy of doing NOTHING.

After our conversation, I realized that I was excited about trying this at home. Not going to take out time from daily life and do nothing. But whenever I have idle time, I am not going to book with outings, meeting with friends or any other activity. I am just going to relax and do NOTHING!

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Happy Chhath Puja to all!

Warm wishes to everyone who celebrates Chhath Puja! This festival is for all irrespective of religion, caste, class, gender or any other form of discrimination that may exist.

This festival also highlights the extreme power of Goddess that everyone bows to. People’s belief is that the goddess fulfills ‘wishes’ of anyone and everyone. That is the reason, people wait to celebrate this every year with lots of pomp and show.

A short Video on “Why we celebrate Chhath Puja and significance of the same?”

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‘Secret Superstar’ Movie Review

Secret Super

It is little late to write a review on this movie. But it’s better late than never. Aamir Khan movie came after a long time and it’s worth a dissection. Though there is nothing outstanding but it does touch several issues that had existed. The intention was good but it felt like this movie was the combination of all episodes of Satyameva Jayate. This story touched all issues like female infanticide, domestic violence, gender biases, child marriage, dowry, women empowerment, divorce and love jihad. But like Satyameva Jayate came 5-6 years ago, this movie should have been made about ten years ago. Probably, it would have been much more relevant back then. In today’s time, who doesn’t have an internet, laptop or mobile phone? If someone has the money to buy a ‘guitar’, then why can’t she buy a laptop etc? Why does Inisya need to travel twice to Mumbai? She traveled to Mumbai twice and it went unnoticed? She flew to Mumbai and came back after recording in the studio within school hours? Those scenes defy logic. The irony is that this is Aamir Khan’s production.

The climax of the movie doesn’t carry much weight. Not strong enough reasons for Inisya to give up everything and follow mother’s footsteps. She was ready to sacrifice her dreams, logic, and talent so that she could stand by her mother. And the mother’s realization towards the end was way too short and quick. The movie was pacig slow in the beginning, therefore towards the end it felt like rushing. Again, the logic was missing at many places. What really triggered her mother to speak at the airport and not at the time when she was getting beaten to death? One could predict the whole movie after watching the first 30mins. The lyrics of the songs may be good but the music was unbearable. Given that this movie was targeted to a younger audience, it should have had some catchy tunes. These days, the music directors don’t pay much attention to lyrics and music, as rightly pointed out in the movie.

Some positive were Aamir Khan’s acting. His quirky character of an abusive music director, was humorous and entertaining. But there were many scenes where his stardom overpowered him. This is his film and he was trying harder and that was quite evident.

The character Inisya played by Zaira Wasim was fabulous. She proved her top-notch acting skills once again (after Dangal). She acted as if there was no camera around. Her burkha clad Secret SuperStar character was inspired by many Youtube singing sensation of this age. Her acting was natural and she made it look real. A lot of scenes were shot without makeup. And that made her look simple and relatable.

The mother played by Meher Vij was cute and played her part well. After playing a convincing role of a mother in Bajrangi Bhaijan, this was her second big appearance. She has shown tremendous potential to be a new age, Nirupa Roy. The scene where the mother-daughter duo was enjoying TV during dinner when everyone in the house goes to bed, is straight from middle-class households in the country.

The love angle shown between Inisya and her classmate was useless. There was no point and no need to be in the movie. Even then, the boy had some good punches in his part.

The movie showed a bond between mother and daughter and it came out quite well. And it was backed by some good acting skills. But other than that, the movie was quite an average. I would suggest, you can wait to watch it on TV if you are not a ardent moviegoer.

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My Techie “Baby Mausi”

Aunty Acid

Technology has touched our lives in every possible ways. It has reached to a point that it is much easier to chat online than talk to a person. It’s like a group of friends deciding to meet in a café. When they meet, they are busy taking selfies, Welfies and posting them online. Tagging each other and discussing who commented on whose pictures, and what are the latest trends/news on the Social platforms. Think about it, can we really avoid Social Media related topics during a conversation with friends? It is now intertwined into our lives. Infact people are compelled to take actions in real life to feed their online life.

In such advance world, elders feel neglected and left out. We moved and settled in far off cities. And tend to visit home during big festivals. Not enough time to meet the extended family. While life is happening on one end, we don’t realise that elders are being cut off. Even if we call them occassionally but it take years to see them in flesh.

In this situation, I must say I am very proud of my eldest Maasi. I wasn’t in touch with her for over 10-15years. Occasionally we may talk but the conversation used to be brief. There was lot going on in our lives.

One fine day, we got connected over WhatsApp. We started chatting and hit it off as if those 10-15 years vanished in few seconds. Of course, there is a lot to catch up but this was a good starting point.

What amazed me even more was when she was trying her hand on Facebook! As a Facebook user, we may feel that it is no big deal. But this brought me to the year 2006 when I was trying to make a profile on Facebook for the first time. The platform was asking basic but never-ending questions. Many times I was confused on where to click, what to do? And here I am talking about 70year old lady who was never exposed to internet before. She not only learnt to deal with internet but she created her profile on networking sites. My amazement doesn’t end here,she also created a cool family group that has about 30 members. She is a shining star among technology retards. Now, in my mind, there is no excuse to learn the new and upcoming technology. The only explanation for not catching up on technology is not being aware of the surrounding or just being lazy.

She may have achieved a little in her own world. But this is a huge inspiration for all the youngsters out there. Learning is for life. That is how you are connected
and stay alive.

By the way, my mother is almost 12-15 years younger but she learnt and picked up Social Media long ago. I wasn’t that amazed because I was pushing her to learn. Learning Social Media and internet was not an option but necessity. It was a MUST so that she can interact with me regularly. You do have a higher expectation from your MOTHER!

If you have similar story like this, where technology has touched women’s lives and empowering them, please do share.