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Imagine Peace

ashokbhatia:

Let us spread peace!

Originally posted on Artists4Peace:

For many of us, war is clearly not the answer. Let’s try peace.

Hoi, Vietnam

For inspiration, we can draw on John Lennon’s beautiful song and vision for a world united in peace, Imagine.

As part of my commitment to peace, bloggers for peace, and the truth of who I am, I dedicate this post to peace.

 Imagine the impact we could make if every day the internet was awash in creativity, beauty, energy, emotion, and positive vibrations about Peace. ~ B4Peace 

I’d like to help create an energy of peace for Syria and the Middle East. As much as I understand and even admire people willing to protest the wrongs of wars, governments and injustice, I don’t believe it creates the right conditions for peace. To create peace, we must send out the energy of peace in our thoughts, feelings, and actions.


I’m committing to daily time spent in quiet, contemplating…

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When it comes to writing, we are not too bad. Words help us to keep ourselves connected with the Blogging illustrationworld around us. Our inner joys, sorrows, trials, triumphs take the shape of blogs which we keep posting at regular intervals. We can’t help ourselves but write. In other words, we are a bunch of declared Blogaholics. We have no intentions of getting rid of this addiction. And we do not wish to remain anonymous!

Writing is like an internal cleaning process for us. Some of us use it to unburden the soul; some others for spreading cheer. Some of us are here to promote our books, whether present, upcoming or still in the realm of our pious intentions. Some of us are here to make money. Quite a few of us are here simply to educate, entertain and amuse.

We have good days and we have bad days. Often, we are disappointed. A post which we thought was very clever and had the potential to go viral sinks without a trace. Once in a while, a surfer comes across our island of thoughts in the Blogging Ocean and finds it of immense interest. We find a sudden spurt in our views. We gain a follower.

We crave publicity. We crave recognition. We find it hard to come by. We twiddle our thumbs wondering what we are doing wrong. We dread becoming a member of the Blogaholics Anonymous, drifting along aimlessly in a global ocean of ideas, words and sentences, with no shimmering sand of popular recognition in sight.

What can we do to avoid becoming a member of the Blogaholics Anonymous? With all humility at my command, allow me to share with you what I have learnt so far.

Not Ignoring Statistics

It helps to keep an eye on our blog statistics. Which topics have we written about that are the most popular? Can we be more vocal on these topics? Can we bring in our personal experience in these areas which could be shared in further detail?

Is there a pattern we notice, related to, say, the day of our having hit the ‘publish’ button? Does it help to increase the frequency of our posts? May be, making them shorter and crisper instead of long winding ones? How can we leverage this insight to make our blog site scale greater heights in the days to come?

WordPress has an excellent feedback mechanism. Perhaps some of us can use it better.

Keeping an Ear to the Ground

What are our followers saying? What are they writing about? Reading up others’ blogs, related articles and books helps us to narrow the bandwidth of our outpourings.

Blabbering about whatever appears on the mental horizon without adequate back up research often does us in. It is all about interactions with live people with similar hopes and aspirations. If we respect them by reacting to their ideas, they would return the favour.

Being a Long Term Gymnast

Why are we into blogging? Do we have a long term goal? If so, do we have a plan to work upon? This is quite relevant for those who are here with either a promotional or a commercial goal.

If we are here to have fun, we can afford the luxury of going with the flow. Our blog site then sounds and smells like a fresh bouquet. Yes, if there are roses tucked in there of a primary area of our expertise, the aroma is even more invigorating. Our followers broadly know what to expect from us, but could get pleasant surprises once in a while!

Thinking of giving up the blogging sprint midway? No way! One, our self-respect will take a blow. Our absence will never get noticed by others. Only our continued presence will make us a long term gymnast.

Avoiding Carbon Emissions

We have the democratic right to rant. But before making that a habit, we need to think. Could our carbon emissions be someone else’s oxygen? They may empathize and they may relate to it for some time. But they could soon melt away.

Some of us do go a step further and touch upon a sensitive subject. By deliberately courting controversy, we may gain higher circulation for some time. Whether it would last in the long run would depend on three things – the inherent merit in the argument, our own conviction in the matter and our ability to keep our followers’ interest alive and ticking.

Quality over Quantity

Do we prefer to have a multitude of faceless followers? Or, would we be happy instead to have a few regular ones who would be like a well-knit group of friends traveling along with us? This is an individual choice that we make.

Our followers would typically fall in three brackets – casual, serious and passionate. Casual ones would not mind hearing from us three times in a day. Serious ones would be looking for a deeper meaning in our posts. The passionate ones would themselves be subject experts – they would expect range as well as depth in our posts. Just like in life, we can’t please them all.

In any case, all of them are here either to learn something new, or to relish a chuckle or two, or to get entertained. If we work on providing a fresh perspective to the subject we excel in, or keep touching on areas which concern them, their tribe would only multiply.

Structure, Title and Publicizing

I guess we are smart enough and have already figured this out. But I believe what is worth communicating is surely worth over-communicating!

Three Cs

If I were to sum up in three simple words the traits a blogger must have, I would say: Commitment, Curiosity and Content. 

This does not claim to be an exhaustive list of what can be done. In order to make our blogging voyage more pleasurable, you may like to add few more points which I might have overlooked.

Happy blogging!

(Related post: http://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-confessions-of-an-armchair-blogger)

ashokbhatia:

Here is yet another enlightening post from the Plumtopia stable. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Plumtopia: The world of P.G. Wodehouse:

1919 My Man JeevesNew Wodehouse readers sometimes ask which of the Jeeves stories they should read first. Opinion on the matter seems to be divided into two camps; many people recommend ‘Carry On, Jeeves’, whereas I usually suggest ‘The Inimitable Jeeves’ (1923). Both are excellent. The difficulty is a matter of chronology.

Today’s writers and publishers make it easy for readers to progress from ‘book one’ of a series in a logical and predictable manner, through its various instalments, to the series conclusion. Many modern series are well planned in advance. Others feature recurring characters in separate stories (crime fiction leaps to mind) which can be read in any order, although the chronologically-inclined reader can read them in order of publication to avoid ‘spoilers’. And modern readers are so accustomed to ‘the novel’ that it’s the only form of fiction most of us ever read.

Many readers are surprised to discover

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ashokbhatia:

Here is an interesting perspective on the vanishing office spaces!

Originally posted on Paul Taylor :

“We literally followed people around all day and timed every event [that happened in the office], to the second.

That meant telephone calls, working on documents, typing e-mails, or interacting with someone.

What we found is that the average amount of time that people spent on any single event before being interrupted

was about three minutes.” - Gloria Mark, Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California

waste-in-the-office_5227601e47658_w587

If you are working in an office today you will be interrupted – or you will interrupt yourself – every 3 minutes.

And what’s worse is it will take many of you up to 23 minutes to recover from that distraction.

If your boss lets you – go home. It’s the most productive decision you’ll make this year.

Here are four reasons why the office should have died by now:

  1. UK workers spend a year of their lives in meetings…

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Ever imagined living in a fairy land where all those you happen to know are smart, living their lives to the hilt? They could be visiting exotic locales, celebrating career achievements and other events in their lives, or simply having a blast. The sun is always shining, the flowers are forever in bloom, the birds are incessantly twittering and the bees are invariably busy collecting nourishment from delicate flowers. In other words, God is always in heaven and all is well with the world.internet image 1

In this land, the sky is never overcast. The harsh arrows and slings of life simply do not exist. No one ever falls sick. A business loss or a career setback never appears on the horizon. There are no villains around. Parents find that kids throw no tantrums. All denizens behave in an exemplary fashion. Everybody likes everybody else. Spirits are all buoyed up, what with people making positive comments only.

Yes, I am talking about our social networking platforms. It is mostly about ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’. Face Book, LinkedIn, Instagram, Four Square – all showcase the ultimate in the art of narcissism. We upload all the positive happenings in our lives. We wish to announce to the world that we have finally arrived. When it comes to playing the game called life, we are smart.

Only our accomplishments get announced to the netizens. We want everyone to know what a great time we are having. Intimate feelings which we feel shy to convey either face to face or over phone we pour out to those in our network. Just-married couples exchange love messages over it. Fathers have a purely personal discussion with their sons on such platforms.

Why does this happen? Why do we choose to live in a fish bowl? Have we all become addicts to a virtual bliss which shuts out the real world? Why is it that before we reach out to our morning cup of tea we prefer to browse through our smart phone or laptop, just to check how many ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ we have received on what we posted last? Our mood fluctuates much like the Dow Jones index, depending upon the sheer volume and quality of response our posts generate. Walking to catch the metro, or talking to a colleague, we make a virtue out of checking the status on such platforms at regular intervals.

Perhaps, the answer lies in our need to seek wider approval for our actions. Or, we find ourselves so lonely that we are desperate to connect with someone out there. If so, perhaps the loneliness arises out of our increasing sense of isolation in the society. Possibly, we like only ourselves.internet image

Movies, television and other forms of entertainment offer us a willing suspension of belief. With social networking, we have found a better means of achieving this state of transient bliss. We wish the world to know only what we believe it should know about us.

Anything negative happening to us we would like to sweep it below the carpet. It is like an extended dating trip in life, where we project our best at all times. We have to be presentable at all times. We also have to be politically and socially correct all the times. Our ugliness, warts and all, need not be shared with those who form our universe of ‘friends’.

It is not my case that social networking is utterly useless. It is helpful in so many ways. It helps us to discover and remain connected to distant friends and relatives. But there are limitations as to how we have chosen to use these powerful tools.

Nor am I trying to say that details which could jeopardize our career prospects or hurt someone else need to be shared. If a medical emergency gets posted online, instant help could follow. If an assignment is getting too hot to handle, advice could come in from distant quarters. In the long run, our not-so-glamorous side could also become a part of our public profile. The fact that we can seek help openly would show us to be professionals who are humble and willing to learn. The caring and sharing part of our personality would also emerge.

In blogsville, we do find people sharing their traumatic experiences, but not so on social networking sites. Don’t you think it is high time we thought of developing a protocol which would be like, say, ‘Truth and Dare’ on such sites? Those who join this group would undertake to be truthful to each other about what is happening in their lives.internet image 2

A better level of frankness and openness could prevail. The level of hypocrisy could come down, thereby increasing our capacity to devote ourselves to more creative pursuits. A more balanced profile could emerge. Our strengths as well as our weaknesses would show up. An HR manager who interviews one of us after having gone through our Face Book or LinkedIn profile would no longer need to ask the question we dread the most: “What are your strengths and weaknesses, please?”

Afraid of losing friends and assignments this way? Fret not. Only those who like you and your work genuinely would get in touch. Others would fall by the wayside over a period of time. You would be left behind with a shorter list of ‘friends’ who would prove to be more loyal in the long run.

Are you game? Would you like to give a more balanced spin to your online profile?

What do you think of being part of a group which could be christened as SPIN – the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism? Would you prefer to be counted as the smartest one?!

Related posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/of-nomophobia-and-noconnphobia; https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/why-become-a-slave-to-technology.

FEMALE POWEROften, you think of women as sex objects,

Disrobe them mentally while entertaining lascivious thoughts.

 

You believe they exist only to fulfil your bodily cravings,

Or to perform household tasks which are sheer drudgery.

 

You tease, torment and rape them, not caring what age they are,

But you are no match to their inner reservoirs of deep quiet strength.

 

You forget that many of them have made mighty kingdoms fall,

Scaled great heights in all fields of human endeavour.

 

You know she can open doors for herself,

Can kill cockroaches and lift gas cylinders.

 

She willingly takes up a roles which need empathy,

Keeping your home, hearth and family working in harmony.

 

She does not really need tips on driving,

Nor does she need your shoulder to cry upon.

 

Backed by her intuitive powers and higher EQ,

She can strike a better healthy work-life balance.

 

If there is a promotion to be had, she can get it on merit,

She can shatter glass ceilings all by herself.

 

If you stare at her, she can stare right back at you,

She can refuse to be intimated, bullied or silenced.

 

She can teach her sons to respect women,

And her daughters to respect themselves.

 

She is free to wear what she wants,

Work where she wants, shop where she wants.

 

You may overpower her in a moment of weakness,

But that fleeting pleasure could ruin your life forever.

 

She does not need you to empower her,

She is quite capable of empowering herself.

Dear Lady Paris

We came and courted you for a brief time,

Keen to explore your many charms we were told you possess;

Your physical assets we could see we found irresistible,

Qualities of your kindly soul your helpful denizens made us assess.IMG_1194

The Eiffel Tower proved to be as magnificent as its pictures had made us believe,

We learned of its role in advancement of science and visited the underground bunkers vast;

We marvelled at its elaborate elevator mechanisms and the general attention to detail,

Enjoyed the view from the top, shivering in the strong chilled breeze blowing past. Paris Obélisque_de_la_Concorde

The hunchback at the Notre Dame de Paris we could not locate,

The inner precincts were sombre, the performers outside nimble and smart;

The Luxor Obelisk took us back in time by a couple of millennia,

La Madeline and other structures held us spellbound, their architectural grandeur playing an important part.

IMG_1243

The Louvre had us in enthrall as we waltzed through its corridors rich in cultural heritage,

Mona Lisa, Venus and a multitude of others conspired to keep us riveted, not to part;

The Egyptian Gallery left us simply awe-struck, the beauty of sculptures cast a spell,

Grateful to those who have had the vision to preserve such magnificent works of art.

 IMG_1190

The Arc de Triomphe reminded us of your brush with history,

Reminding us of India Gate in New Delhi and the modest Mani Mandapam at Pondicherry;

The Champs-Elysees showcased the best that you have on offer,

International brands, famous buildings, wide-eyed tourists not in a hurry.

 IMG_1142

The tree-lined avenues were charming, so was a cruise down the Seine,

Public conveniences we found in good shape, the multi-modal transport system we enjoyed too;

Our hearts went out to the much hassled drivers crawling through your congested roads,

Those in Pondicherry who practice the art of aggressive driving could perhaps teach them a trick or two.

IMG_0446

Visiting you only whetted our appetite to explore so many of your other attractions,

We wish you and your denizens a balanced and peaceful life, we do not grudge your modernity;

Even though you continue to revel in a materialistic life full of chutzpah and glamour,

Mirra Alfassa you gifted us, spreading the message of universal brotherhood and spirituality.

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