Inefficiency versus Productivity…

When we work, doing any kind of work, we tend to derive some satisfaction out of a job well done. But there lies the key, doesn’t it? Job well done. But what if the job is not done as ‘properly’ as it should be done? Is it still ok?

It shouldn’t be is what one would think.

What I think is that an organization has at any given point of time two kinds of workers. One set is a self motivated, performer, happy to be in the job. They are a kind of employee that is though not ideal, but are productive and tries to find solutions to problems and tries to grow with every step they take while keeping in line with the organizations’ goals and objectives.

Then there is a second set of employees that is also thriving in the same organization. They are not motivated to work, are full of constant cribbing, are not able to do the one job they are responsible for, have problem for every solution and yet want the best for themselves.

I think somewhere it is the question of realizing and perceiving the self worth. The sense of not contributing to the organization yet being a part of every gratification that the organization offers is a classic case of having a very high opinion on one’s contribution. There is also a point where the actual contributor who takes pride in the jobs that they do are left flabbergasted because the gratification for them them reduces.

How?

If say ‘A’ employee is not serious about the work they do. ‘A’, when does something has to be re-done by say, ‘B’ and is probably done right if not better. The contribution of ‘B’ is larger than ‘A’ putting in longer hours wherein the output is near low. However, the recognition for the work done is near equal for both ‘A’ and ‘B’, where does this leave ‘B’???

It is not only the material gains that are on the line here. It is the quality of work being done and the satisfaction and happiness that is being derived from a job well done. A lot of management theories, especially Hertzberg two factor theory points that employees do not necessarily look at needs of lower order but also take cognizance of the recognition meted out, responsibilities given and so on.

What eludes me is that how can two different individuals be given similar appreciation when someone is clearly performing a role better than the other. In no way does it mean that the other person may not be a recipient of the appreciation they deserve, but then equality does not always mean justice. The key, I think would be ‘deserving’.

This may go on to make the organization unproductive as the inefficient carry on their ways because they know it does not matter or even if it does matter, they are not being told so and the efficient one’s to whom this indifference does matter may lose their will to perform because clearly inefficiency does not ‘not pay’.

The world is but a party

The best place to see the world partying?? It is the beach!
One can never, ever, ever go wrong with the beach.

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There are just so many people swarming around and yet it’s not crowded, you don’t bump into one another, you don’t feel suffocated, you don’t feel claustrophobic.

It is the place for everyone’s joy; it’s a shoulder for anyone’s tear. The beach is a silent listener and if you listen closely, it talks back too!

It gives you tools to make it beautiful. It guides you to portray yourself as a doer. It doesn’t stop you from using its resources when it knows how true you are to the art that you wish the world to see. It doesn’t mind the world forgetting its contribution and instead appreciating you for being the artist that you are.

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The beach welcomes all, with an open heart and with an open soul.

You are never alone on a beach but you are not in anyone’s company either. It’s just you and the beach. Its soft waves crashing against your feet tickles inner most senses. Not corporeal but poignant nonetheless. The low humming of the sea sings a song, a tad in out of tune but fits well with the range of emotions only a human mind is capable of. The mélange of people is not disquieting. If anything, it’s beautiful to see so many contented faces, it makes me aware that there is still a load of joy in this world left to be explored. Some faces in the crowd hark back of someone you used o be, others remind of what you may become.

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There are families, couples, children, hawkers, beggars…..the list goes on. There is no limit on who can or cannot be a part of this huge gathering. Not a soul is out of place. There are experiences that touch your very soul, and then are a few that make you laugh your heart out.

What strikes the mind; yes the mind, is that this beach can also be harsh when it feels the need to be. It can lash out with a mighty force. The sight is frightening to say in the very least. If it can open its soul to welcome you in, it can also shut you out. It can close its doors on your face. It asks to be treated with a little respect and with kindness.

The beach expects you to enjoy the party and enjoy it as your own. But it also asks for you to consider that it belongs to you and you only and be treated in the manner you would treat yourself.

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A helping hand from the universe!!

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There was a very interesting audio clip that I recently heard. It was mainly about motivating ourselves to an extent where we have the power to actually see our goals turning to a reality. The example that the speaker on the clip gave was, during a workshop, the moderator asked one of the participants if they had lost any of his belongings recently. The participant said he had lost his wedding ring and couldn’t for the life of his remember where he might have misplaced it. The speaker then asked the participant to close his eyes and concentrate on the scenario of where he would like his ring to be had it not been lost. The participant then concentrated hard on his ring and imagined it being placed on his finger, where it originally had been and opened his eyes after about 7-10 minutes

No, it did not magically appear on his finger ( I am sure that is what you might be expecting).

Well actually nothing much happened that time, but the participant later received a call from his wife saying that his brother-in-law had found the participant’s ring while cleaning out his garage where the participant might have lost it.

Now, from what I understand this cannot be a miracle. Nor can it be God’s will that his brother-in-law suddenly found the ring (though some might want to think of it like that).

However, we can think of this as a universe’s way of giving the man something he strongly desired for. In our culture, we are often told (though highly disregarded) that one must not speak negatively for self or otherwise. We can trace it back to the belief that probably our fore fathers believed that what is uttered may be sent back and hit us smack in the face. A lot of Hindus believe that there is a time in a day when Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of wisdom and consciousness) seats herself on our tongues and turns to reality whatever we might utter during that given point of time. Though it might sound like mythology or load of folklore, if we think back, don’t we usually have times when we say something and it does come true making us wish we had wished for something more appropriate.

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I really want to believe that there does come a time in the day or some window opens up in the time zone where the universe grants my (un)wanted wishes. Many a times thinking of a particular thing continuously also makes it come true. Now, instead of attributing it to some voodoo, how about we look at a slightly more structured way. I think that when we are continuously thinking or wanting something, we are unconsciously working towards it, we try to think of ways to achieve our goals albeit sub consciously.

Haven’t we heard, God helps those who help themselves. Well, if we are helping ourselves in achieving our dreams, the universe might lend a hand for that extra push. Sometimes, I think, it comes back to bite us if we are hoping for baaaaaadd things!!

Think about it, we have achieved better grades if we start to obsess over them, if we are spending so much time thinking about it, we are some how also spending some time planning on our actions to achieve the target, and if we are planning our actions, we are also developing the will to actually execute those plans.

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But to be able to dream, one needs the will to see them turn to reality. Sometimes we are so terrified of taking responsibilities of our dreams that we forget to ask the universe to help us. Mind you, one’s got to really really ant it to happen for the universe to lend a helping hand. If we are not sure we can make it happen why the hell would any universe be willing to put in a good word for us.

It’s all about having faith in the system without lagging behind on your part. Let’s do our bit, and let the universe do its. But one must remember, what goes around, comes around!!!

Image Source: http://www.businessbanter.com, daily-fitness-motivation.tumblr.com, universe-beauty.com

On-line Shopping: Fad or Fab??

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On-line shopping does not only entail shopping for FMC goods. The on-line shopping part covers everything from booking tickets on-line to buying food. To very strictly understand what on-line shopping really is, we need to first know how it is defined.

The act of purchasing products or services over the Internet

So in the strictest of terms, tele shopping will not fall under the wagon of on-line shopping. But is this whole concept of on-line shopping really relevant for India? Given that a large number of population in India still prefers to touch & feel the products that they are buying. Also there is a major trust factor involved that the consumer has with the shopkeeper. The advent of ‘Mall Culture’ has taken its time to penetrate the Indian urban market. It is yet to create an impact in Tier-II and Tier III cities. Though the malls are a structure there, shopping is still relied on the local markets. Thus, the on-line market is yet to create a strong base.

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I think compared to major markets abroad, US or Europe, the on-line shopping is very new concept to us. We would be willing to purchase books or may be go as far as buying electronics, but we are still hesitant to make a major purchase like gold or even clothing for that matter.

One of the major issues I think is the security of payments. We are not completely sure of the payment getaways. Though COD is an option, the whole hassle of returning the purchase, following up, etc., is probably what stops the Indian market to rely on the on-line store.

Also, 60% of population lives outside major cities like Mumbai or Delhi and does not have access to credit or debit cards. Also, majority of the population does not have the facility to internet to be able to access the shopping portals.

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Today, we have virtual stores for groceries too, but it is hard to shake the mentality of freshness not being maintained in those products. May be once a week visit to the local vegetable vendor to buy fresh products that can be visually pleasing than taking a risk of ordering a stale product on-line is an option that is majorly adhered to.

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The fact that a lot of web sites do not deliver as promised is only adding to the woes and contributing to people turning back to brick and mortar stores.

However, it is estimated that the number of Indian consumers with a smart phone connected to the mobile Internet could approach 220 million within the next 10 years.
Online travel market in India is expected to grow at a rate of 22% over the next 4 years and reach Rs 54,800 Crore ($12.2 billion) in size by 2015.
Indian e-tailing industry is estimated at Rs 3,600 crore (US$800 mn) in 2011 and estimated to grow to Rs 53,000 Crore ($11.8 billion) in 2015. Overall e-commerce market is expected to reach Rs 1,07,800 crores (US$24 billion) by the year 2015 with both online travel and e-tailing contributing equally.
Another big segment in e-commerce is mobile/DTH recharge with nearly 1 million transactions daily by operator websites

I think that Indian market is maturing to accept the advent of e-commerce business. What is required is a more solid infrastructure and penetration in to tier-II and tier-III cities. It is important that the Indian consumer is empowered and given options when shopping on-line rather than having to choose between limited options. A better UI for the more common websites can be initiated.

The fad is here to stay and go on to become fab!!!

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Image Source:- searchengineland.com
http://www.justone.co.nz
http://www.huffingtonpost.com
ww.itimes.com
http://www.radianinfosystems.in
archive.financialexpress.com

Fact Source:-
http://trak.in/tags/business/2014/04/04/indian-e-commerce-growth-stats/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-commerce_in_India
http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/online-shopping.html

Please Note:- None of the figures stated above are based on primary research. They are estimated values taken from various websites.

Be Careful What You Wish For…..

Never settle for less!

Go for the best!

Do your best!

The best never rests.

Familiar??

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Aren’t these but a few inspirational lines we have been hearing and imparting to those in need of upliftment encouragement. But as we grow up, we realise that we don’t always have to have the best. Sometimes mediocre is all we need. No. Not settle for mediocre, but find the joys of it instead of being restless about something that is out of our hands.

I understand how this can be misconstrued for low self esteem or not living up to one’s potential. But I think sometimes being happy and content is more important than achieving something that in its process is anyway making us miserable. Sometimes what we need is very different from what we want. Sometimes, the universe can be left to judge what is it that this organism requires.

Having said that, I don’t think that the role of a human being in the universe is minuscule. No, nothing is achievable if the human being completely relies on the universe or a greater power than himself to fulfil wishes. One cannot sit back and urge the universe to keep doing its thing. We have to give inputs that the universe can make sense out of.

But don’t we all have wishes gone wrong? We did wish for something. Worked for it too. Oh, worked so hard towards it. But the result was not something we anticipated. I know I have had many such instances.
Sometimes, we can neither be happy about the situation nor be sad. Because, ultimately we did wish for it to happen. We did work towards it. We did want it. It is at that time do we realise we cannot get what we want, but get what we need.

So…Be careful what you wish for….

Holi and its Holiness!!!

Holi, The Festival of Colors, India

Holi is a festival that is one of my favourites. It has everything. New clothes, sweets, fun, laughter, joy and above all a vibrant hue to it. Literally!

The festival of Holi is celebrated over two days. The first day or rather night is known as ‘Holika Dahan’. To put it forward very crudely, we light a bonfire on the night before Holi and go around it chanting mantras and thanking the Lords for our good fortunes. But no. That is not how I can describe this beautiful festival. True, a bonfire is lit, and people go around it, but there is a huge scientific and mythological significance behind.

First, let us get over with the scientific part of it.

Holi comes at time where (ideally) the weather is moving from winters to spring. This mutation of winter and spring increases the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere, which in turn may be harmful for the human body and induce illness. When Holika is burnt (Ceremonial pyre), the temperature rises to about 63 degree Celsius. Following the ancient tradition when people do the parikrama (going around the pyre), the heat from the fire kills the bacteria and thereby cleansing the body and reducing the chances of illness. Thumbs up for our forefather’s scientific accuracy!!

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Mythological legends and folk lore speak of the legend of Prahlad. The legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great ire, his son, Prahlad refused to recognize Hiranyakshyap as his lord and worshipped Lord Vishnu. To get rid of his son, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to emerge from fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire.

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Mythology states that when we light the fire and go around it, we are praying the Lord to burn our sinister desires and wrong doings and purify our souls.

The next morning is when the real fun starts!!! The festival of colours walks in with all its hues filling the air! But the festival in itself has different reasons for it.

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Interestingly, playing with colours too has a scientific reason to it. Due the seasonal change, the natural tendency of the human body is lazy and tardy with the rise of temperature from cold to hot. To battle this laziness people began this tradition by singing or talking loudly. The music and the movements are louder than usual which helps the human body break out of its monotonous inertia and feel invigorated. Also, the colours that are used to celebrate Holi were traditionally made out of natural ingredients which help to cleanse the body in a natural way. Vegetables like beetroot, flowers like marigold, hibiscus, palash, herbs like red sandalwood, turmeric, amla, etc. were used to make the colours to be used for playing Holi. These not only are safe to use but also good for the skin. Biologists believe that when the natural colours penetrate the skin, it enhances the body ions and add health and beauty to it.

The Indian folk lore has it that Lord Krishna used to take immense delight in applying colour to Radha and other Gopis. This prank of Lord Krishna then translated into a lasting trend and has been continuing for over the centuries.

Besides this, the festival brings together people from all castes, creeds, sects, etc. This time is considered auspicious to forget all past anguish and to start afresh. It instills in people that whatever be the condition, truth triumphs. This is the day, when enemies turn in to friends, there is no differentiation between rich or poor and is celebrated by people all across the country in some form or the other.

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Also, due to the vastness and diversity of our country, a lot of sects consider the Holi as their New year according to the Hindu calendar. The new year marks the beginning of the new cycle for the farmers and is celebrated with great pomp and show. Families visit each other, gifts are exchanged, new clothes are bought for the children and yummy sweets make their way to drooling mouths!

However, the modern celebration of Holi tends to take a turn for the worse when people start using chemical based colours that are harmful for the skin or when people take the idea of having fun at someone else’s expense to the extreme. That is not what the festival brings with itself. It brings peace, harmony, love, fun and colours with it. What I can hope is that everyone has a beautiful Holi.

Happy Holi Everyone!!!!
Have a beautiful, safe and colourful Holi!!

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Image Sources:- http://www.99hdwallpaper.com/holi/holi-festival-wallpapers.html
wallpapers.oneindia.com/festivals/holi/41359.html
http://www.zoomcar.com/blog/top-5-places-to-celebrate-holi-festival/
festivals.iloveindia.com
wallpaper.krishoonetwork.com
http://www.festivalsking.com

Story help:- http://www.storypick.com/science-behind-celebrate-holi-india/
http://www.holifestival.org/significance-of-holi.html

Imitation is the best form of flattery??!!

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I came across the above image on Facebook and that was what prompted me to write this post. Noted writer Neil Gaiman, replied in the above words to one of his fans who was worried his own work would sound like other writers.

Why it really caught my attention was, when I finally gathered the courage to actually start writing (good or bad) I could hear a small voice inside my head repeatedly asking me, whom do you sound like? What is your writing style? Can you develop your own style? What if you don’t have a style? Isn’t something you are born with? Can it really be developed? These questions made me avoid putting my thoughts into words. They discouraged me. They made me doubt myself. And I hate that!

I didn’t know if I do have an individual writing style, but I was terrified of being accused of sounding like some one else. Still am.

However, on reading the lines (hopefully) actually said by Mr.Gaiman, has made me much more confident of myself. Even now while writing, I may be thinking like someone else, I may be sounding like someone else, but then those are my inspirations. Those are the people who have made me love this art. They are the ones who made me think I can do this. I may not idolise them, but deep down I do owe my leap of faith to them.

If I am actually writing under the influence of someone else’s style, wouldn’t it be a kind of an ode to them. Well, it is certainly because I enjoyed their work so much that has made me unconsciously imitate some of the writers I have been reading.

But coming back to my fear of sounding like someone else or sounding like the writers I love or not being able to find my individuality, or not developing my sense of aesthetics have been more or less put to rest. At least partially if not completely.

I may be sounding like someone albeit unconsciously. But the reassurance makes me think that I will ultimately find my standing. Maybe not today, not tomorrow, but definitely someday. The only thought that I can put in is to consciously try to evolve my style and not be dependent on how it is being perceived by others.

Thank you Mr.Gaiman!!!

Image Source:- https://www.facebook.com/thereadingroomonline

Illusions

Aren’t we all a part of it?? Illusions. Dreams. Day dreams perhaps?

Somewhere, sometime, somehow, each and everyone of us has been a victim or perpetrator of illusions. We bring ourselves back to ground, shaking off our untimely slip of mind. But then too, we love to live in this shimmering world. Well, why not? It is a beautiful world. isn’t it? It is difficult to see the thin line that separates this beautiful world with the harsh realities of our lives but we do love it, don’t we?

One might wonder what atrocities have I gone through to advocate the world of illusions. Aren’t the people that are too bogged by harsh realities of lives that seek the escape of illusions? Actually, when I think about it, I can only think of only one. None.

I have had a lovely life. Not too much sorrow. At least not enough to qualify as sorrow. I have had good friends,supporting family, desired career, good food to eat and a fairly luxurious roof over my head. Yet, I desire to dwell endlessly in the world that I create. My world of illusions. My world of magic. Mind you, not all is hunky dory there too. But those are the imperfections that only I can create there. No one changes it.

I probably wish for some imperfections in my own being that can make me hold on to the realities of life. It is, perhaps these imperfections that I seek in the world that I wish to create when I stare across the clear blue sky, or may be when I stare out of the car, I wish to see a story being developed in another car passing by.

Somehow, I have come to realise that I prefer to intertwine stories and support my realities. I don’t know if that sentence explains what I intend to communicate. But I do think that whether or not we like it, all of us at some point in our lives have been either a part of illusions or the cause of it.

The heroes between the lines….

Anyone who loves to read, has their favourite characters. While reading I feel, that invariably we pick up some things from the characters that truly speak to us. I have tried to write down which of their traits have stayed with me.

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As I mentally run through the list, I now realise that this platform is a tad short to cover all the inspirations that I derive from my beloved books. However, these were a few that immediately sprung to my mind. Now, that I am writing, I can actually think of at least 25 more. It just goes on to make me realise how much I have learnt from these characters, how much I depend on them, how well they have shaped me and made me think. The list below, consists of my favourite fiction characters. Some mythological too. But they have in a way made me think about at least one thing. I am trying here to identify that particular trait in each of them that stayed with me.

1) Hassan (The Kite Runner By Kahlid Hosseni)
From the first few pages, I knew that I liked Hassan more than I liked Amir. What struck me was that though he was constantly bullied by Amir, in his heart Amir knew that he was dependent on Hassan. It was probably the fear of dependence that Amir drove Hassan out of his home and probably Hassan’s love for his master that Amir could never completely keep him out of his life.

2) Draupadi (The Palace Of Illusions By (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni)
I have always thought that Draupadi was by far one of the strongest characters in the Indian Epic of Mahabharatha and one of the strongest and most graceful ladies I have read about. She has a mystery around herself. She is the victim and the perpetrator. But she does not make you feel sorry for herself. If anything, one wants to cheer her on.

3) Dr.David Henry (Memory Keeper’s Daughter By Kim Edwards)
As a father, to give away his daughter is not an easy thing to do. To bear the burden of guilt throughout is something not everybody would be willing to live with. Especially if it is changing the very essence of who we really are.

4) Lara Cameron (The Stars Shine Down By Sidney Sheldon)
I have grown up reading Sidney Sheldon. Though the themes revolve around the same thing, there is always something different in his books. For me, Lara Cameron defined grit and determination. In the face of adversity she can just plough on. A valuable lesson learnt!

5) Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series By J.K.Rowling)
Harry is a hero, no doubt. But Hermione is a hero in supporting Harry throughout, at the cost of losing (though for a short period) Ron. The ultimate sacrifice was, as we potterheads know, erasing herself from the memory of her parents. Need I go on?

6) King Sudas (Ten Kings By Ashok K Banker)
If you are fan of Indian mythology, this is one character you cannot miss out on. I cannot get over the fact that in the face of utter betrayal, he maintained his calm demeanour and won a war against all odds.

7) Anne Frank (The diary Of a Young Girl By Anne Frank)
I read this at a very young age. Probably at a time when I did not truly understand it. But I know one thing; this book was what motivated me to write. It didn’t matter if after a while someone was interested or not, what mattered was I wanted to write.

8) Shiva (The Immortals Of Meluha By Amish Tripathi)
Again as a fan of Indian mythology, I am taken over by the sheer brilliance of the character. And not just Shiva, each and every character is etched out beautifully.

9) Luke (The Painted House By John Grisham)
So much conflict in a little boy’s mind, makes me thank my peaceful childhood. It is not an easy novel to immediately relate to, but it does teach an important lesson, the life goes on, no matter what.

10) Duryodhana (Ajaya By Anand Neelakantan)
Duryodhana has been mercilessly pegged as villain by our mythology. This particular book explores the hero within the villain that was projected to the world.

These are in no way exhaustive, these and many more form the core that is me. I hope, I have done them justice, for they have only helped me evolve and question my evolution and I can I hope they continue to do so.

Image Source: whytoread.com

Company Maketh The Milieu :-)

I have been a part of the professional world for almost 3 years now. Though I want to say it is a big bad world full of wolves waiting in packs to hunt down freshers and make their lives unbearable, I am forced to negate that belief solely based on my experiences of working life!

I had heard horror stories of colleagues being the ones pulling you down, wrap one in office politics and take credit of the work done, indulge in ugly fights or petty arguments. Not that the organizations I have worked so far are an exception to this dark side, but I have been singled out by people who are above these things. Not always, but enough to be blissfully ignorant of the bad guys.

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I have worked in three companies so far, and have had a wonderful fortune of having amazing colleagues. Be it the conversations (though not always enlightening), be it the discussion on food, or simply sharing the quirks that might seem on the verge of madness to a lot, I have had the luck to bump into people that I can relate to and am comfortable with.

But it takes time. It has been very rare that a connection clicks the moment I have joined the organization, nor have I had epiphanies to work with them. The whole relationship has taken its time and work for me to be able to call them colleagues with a sense of work ethic as well as being able to share personal details with them without being thrown in to office politics. In fact I can proudly refer to many as very very good friends that I have made for life!

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Touchwood!!!

And its not only about being friends.
I look up to them as my mentors too. I look at the senior colleagues with a chance to learn from them, from the experience they have had in life and their professional exploits! I have learnt a lot from the one’s that have had more experience than me. Not always professionally, but in general. They have taught me what mistakes I can avoid. How I can behave in a situation to turn it in my favour. I have learnt to control my impulses to react strongly when a situation does not demand it. I have learnt to be proactive especially when I want to accomplish something. I learn a different thing from each and every colleague that I have so far met. Some can speak well, some can dress well, some can work better under pressure, some are my well wishers, some maintain their distance while being cordial, and some are just really good friends. No, great friends!

One might say that all these thing are a part and parcel of life and are learnt over the course of time. True, but I think it is important for us to not forget the value of the people that we meet during this course of time. Why not thank them where they truly deserve?

I dedicate this post to all my past, present & future colleagues and thank them for helping me grow, pushing me where there was need, shielding me out of your own goodness, and more than anything letting me enjoy coming to work.

Image Source:- http://www.eahl.eu
thistimeimeanit.com