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Leave of Absence

Dear Fellow Bloggers, Followers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The high and low tides of life are finally about to take their toll,

For some time I am likely to be off the Blogsville radar, sorely missing you all.

 

Continue with your voracious readings, have fun, enjoy your time,

Yours truly would soon be back on board with prose and verse that rhyme.

 

I shall be sorely missing the inner joy of writing and its associated pleasure,

Rewards of your valuable feedback I shall relish on return at my leisure.

 

AWOL I do not aspire to be, hence this request,

Do please grant me a short leave of absence in right earnest!

ashokbhatia:

The world is inhabited by two kinds of people – those who have come to depend upon a tissue restorative of some kind and others who chug along their lives in a perfectly sober state of mind. However, a vast majority keeps shifting its loyalties between the two kinds, keeping an age old question alive and ticking – to drink or not to drink!
Here is a tipsy post from the inimitable Honoria which you might relish.
Hic, hic, hurray!

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

‘There are moments when one needs a drink. Are there moments, indeed, when one doesn’t?’

So says M"BarmyInWonderland" by http://www.facsimiledustjackets.com/cgi-bin/fdj455/2890.html. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Barmy in Wonderland via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BarmyInWonderland.jpg#mediaviewer/File:BarmyInWonderland.jpgervyn Potter, the Hollywood heart-throb, who leads poor Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps astray in Barmy in Wonderland (1952). But before you start quoting these sentiments as the views of the author himself, have look at what happens to the frequently pie-eyed Mervyn.

In Chapter One, he gets blotto, burns down a hotel bungalow, and induces Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps (a hotel employee) to slip a frog into his employer’s bedroom. In Chapter Five, Mervyn is already soaked when Barmy arrives at his house (for a dinner he never gets).

It was plain to him that the other, fatigued no doubt after a long day’s rehearsal, had yielded to the dictates of his lower self and for some considerable time must have been mopping up the stuff like a vacuum cleaner. If not actually ossified, he was…

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Success often makes us complacent. On the other hand, failures help us in our relentless pursuit of excellence.OVERSTAYING ONE’S WELCOME

My own experience tells me that it helps to befriend and manage our failures. Each failure makes us discover a latent strength of ours. Each one has the potential to open up fresh vistas in our lives.

Yes, it also helps to take a step back to evaluate our successes, so the critical factors behind those could be understood better.

Befriending Failures

There is no cut-and-dried formula for managing failures. However, I do believe that a renewed focus on the following factors can help us in getting more out of our failures.

Giving up Self-pity

It does not get us anywhere. It only ties us down to a past which can’t be rewound and rerun. Negative things do happen. It does not mean that all others are as happy as they appear to be. Let us look up ourselves in the mirror of our soul. The nastiest comment made to us could have a grain of truth which could be a great lesson for us to get out of the emotional wilderness.

Doing a Root Cause Analysis

What makes us bite the dust? Over-confidence or lack of confidence? Wrong tactics? Faulty implementation? Taking someone’s effort for granted? Let us resist the temptation to blame others for our failures. Let us look inwards. Let us introspect. What did we do wrong? Friends and well-wishers can help us to figure this out. Going forward, the trick is in ensuring we do not make the same mistakes again.

Understanding Core Values

What are our core values? Despite adversity, can we stick to them? This is not to say that we should lack flexibility. At the same time, it is crucial to remain connected to our inner core, around which our universe can be rebuilt with ease.

DisciplineBoss - Meet Him Halfway Through

Did we fail because we slipped on any of our parameters of discipline? Did we believe someone and acted on misleading information without cross-checking what the ground realities were? How can we avoid jumping to conclusions and acting on impulses? Do we plan to spend some quiet time with ourselves and etch out a plan in detail before rolling it on for implementation?

Punctuality

This might sound too simplistic, but believe me, it is not. Respect for others’ time is a virtue effective managers invariably have. Taking our own commitments seriously is a quality that all successful people have. Delivering results in a time-bound manner is one of the single most important factors determining our success in life.

Physical Fitness

Mind rules over body. But if the body were to revolt, what are we left with? Abusing and neglecting our bodies lands us in a crisis situation sooner or later. We suffer. Our near and dear ones suffer. Let us take care of ourselves better, so the body will support us through the vicissitudes of life.

KnowledgeJOB LABELS and Skills

In our desire for advancements in career, we often take on assignments for which we do not really have the domain knowledge. This is a good way – to challenge ourselves and to enrich our knowledge bank. Learning the basics from a subject expert never hurt anyone. Subduing our ego while seeking support from others helps.

Humanity and Common Sense

Being humane in our approach minimizes our chances of failure. Are there others who care for us so much that they will alert us of the pitfalls on the way to our achieving a major goal? There is pretty little we can do all by ourselves. Delegation helps. So does networking with those who have a more pragmatic approach than we do.

Habits Leading to Failure

Generally speaking, the following habits could prove to be a recipe for disaster.
• Concern about job and not career
• Earning but not learning
• Focus on Branding ourselves and not on our work content
• Higher concern about what others are doing

Evaluating our Successes

The following factors help us in evaluating and then replicating our successes better:PROMOTIONS
• Understanding our own words and beliefs;
• Smallest of actions is much greater than the largest of intentions;
• ‘Now’ is the only time available;
• Never tell a lie; it does not help in the long run;
• Don’t be too eager to make a promise; if made, never break it!

Some Basic Truths

Some basic truths of life that we need to realize and imbibe:
That human worth has nothing to do with status;
Power must always be balanced by humility and a willingness to listen and learn;
Arrogance is never justifiable;
Privilege always entails responsibility.

It is said that ‘Success is a bastard and Failure is an orphan’. Let us try checking the DNA of our successes, so we have a better chance of replicating those in future. As to failures, let us try and adopt the hapless orphans we run into in our careers and lives!

Bollywood’s take on corruption differs across various time zones. Just as the society has evolved, so has the approach taken by Bollywood on depicting and tackling corruption changed over the past few decades.

In the black and white era of Gandhian simplicity, it was often more about the bad guys being urban gentlemen and the good guys being rural urchins. Movies like ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ (1953), ‘Jagte Raho’ (1956) and ‘Parakh’ (1960) readily come to one’s mind.

Jagte_Raho_1956_film_poster

We have also had movies where the lead cast suffered in dignified silence. The audience was often left with a feeling of disgust towards all those who were shown as corrupt. Movies like ‘Satyakam’ (1969) left us with a fond hope that things would somehow improve in the future. satyakam

Then came the angry-young-man phase. Here, we had the revenge theme. Muscular power ruled and the law of the land took a back seat. The hero, whether single-handedly or along with his buddies, went about killing the corrupt ones with gay abandon. Movies like ‘Deewar’ (1975), ‘Ardha Satya’ (1983), ‘Andha Kanoon’ (1983), ‘Shool’ (1999), ‘Rang De Basanti’ (2006) and ‘Rajneeti’, (2010) typified the violent kind of response to the scourge of corruption.

Rand De Basanti_poster

In some cases, the message was that of joining the system, so as to be able to reform it from within. ‘Yuva’ (2004) represented a treatment of this nature.Yuva_(movie_poster)

Yet another genre in the corruption-related movies churned out by our Dream Merchants is that of comedy. The script presents corrupt practices laced with a liberal dose of humour. The underlying message is serious, but the packaging is satirical. Over time, this mode appears to be becoming more popular.

Here are some of the movies which have successfully attempted to comment upon the issue of corruption in a humorous manner.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron

Jaane_Bhi_Do_Yaaro_1983_film_poster(‘Just Let it Pass, Friends’, Kundan Shah, 1983)

A great spoof on the unholy nexus between politicians, builders and media people, with great performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani.The climax scene which is a rip-roaring mix up of vignettes from Mahabharata and Mughal-e-Azam is a must watch for all cinema lovers. In an irony of fate, both the main protagonists end up going to jail for a crime they merely reported but never committed.

Lage Raho, Munna Bhai

Lage_raho_munna_bhai(‘Carry On, Munna Bhai’, Rajkumar Hirani, 2006)

By re-packaging the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and interpreting them to suit the present context, the movie gave an effective anti-dote to corrupt practices. Property sharks, blind faith, dating do’s and don’ts, depression arising out of failure – all get treated head-on by the ultimate virtue – truthfulness.

Khosla Ka Ghosla

Khosla ka ghosla(‘Khosla’s Nest’, Dibakar Banerjee, 2006)

How property sharks operate and how a simple family can tackle such issues was brought home in a light-hearted manner in this movie. As a side benefit, the incident of property grabbing brings all the family members emotionally closer to each other.

Welcome to Sajjanpur

Welcome to sajjanpur(Shyam Benegal, 2008)

Shyam Benegal is renowned for having exposed oppression and corruption of different kinds in his earlier works during the ‘parallel cinema’ wave. ‘Ankur’ (1974), ‘Nishant’ (1975), ‘Manthan’ (1976) and ‘Bhumika’ (1977) etc left us stirred and shaken up in the earlier years. All these were very intense and serious movies. In the recent past, he has effectively used satire to convey a similar message. A remarkable transformation!

In ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur’, romance blossoms against the backdrop of corrupt politicians and hapless administrators. How the honest ones get to win in the end gives out a clear message as to how the ordinary citizen can indeed make a difference.

Well Done, Abba

Well done abba(‘Well Done, Dad’, Shyam Benegal, 2009)

How do you handle rampant corruption which makes a mockery of the benefit schemes rolled out by the government? A father-daughter duo, after having failed to get a well dug up with the aid of government funds, report to the police that their non-existent well has been ‘stolen’! What ensues is sheer hilarity. Upcoming state assembly elections ensure the complaint gets heard and acted upon.

Do Dooni Chaar

Do dooni chaar(‘Two Times Two Make Four’, Habib Faisal, 2010)

The movie was basically a hilarious take on the ambition of an ordinary middle class family to somehow upgrade to a four-wheeler. In a crucial episode, the hero, a teacher with modest means, endears himself to us by refusing to accept a bribe to declare an otherwise failing student successful.

Chala Musaddi Office Office

Chala_Mussaddi..._Office_Office(‘Musaddi Goes to Office’, Rajiv Mehra, 2011)

What does a person do when an inefficient and corrupt system declares him dead on government records?! An amusing story of how the hapless person goes about knocking the doors of justice to get his pension and identity restored.

Bhootnath Returns

Bhoothnath_returns(‘The Ghost Returns’, Nitesh Tiwari, 2014)

The nexus between crime and politics was etched out rather well in this movie. To fix mundane problems in a locality – power, water, roads, sewage, et al – a ghost decides to contest an election!

Admiring Bollywood
One admires Bollywood for several facets of its collective character. Other than the ability to handle a serious issue like corruption in a lighter vein, it also has the capacity to laugh at itself. Movies like ‘Rang Birangi’ and ‘Om Shanti Om’ are proof enough.

Bollywood is also secular. It does not matter which religion you believe in – meritocracy rules. Look at the credits of any movie and you would notice the diversity of faiths amongst those who have contributed towards making the movie.

Taking Corruption Head-on!
In most of these movies, the basic premise seems to be that an ordinary citizen can also make a difference to the system. If he/she refuses to pay for services which are his/her right, a change can start happening. Also, there is a strong need to clean up our political system. On this hope, we continue to live!

ashokbhatia:

For those of us Indians who just love berating themselves, here is a great morale booster. We get ruled more by our hearts, rather than by our minds. I believe this a major trait which supplements the ones listed in this interesting blog post!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

India, the first culture in the world, the treasure house of ancient wisdom and scriptures, the birthplace of algebra, trigonometry and calculus, the inventors of Zero and the binary number system, the world’s first university, inventors of Yoga and Ayurveda and rightly called the cradle of human race.

As an Indian I have many reasons to revel in the glory of my origins but there is one more thing about my country that makes my heart swell with pride — it’s people and the way they conduct their lives even when they have nowhere the resources or means readily available to their US or European counterparts.

There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the stalwart spirit and intrepid valor with which Indian live their life and amaze the world (and this has nothing to do with meditation, turmeric, yoga or chess). Here are a few:

To…

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Every dog has his day. Well, on the occasion of Dogs’ Day, it is time to pay a tribute to some characters of the canine kind who regale us with their antics in Plumsville.dog-day

Their roles are not confined to the traditional kind which involve hunting, herding or pulling loads. They are never a part of a paw patrol handled by a rozzer. Instead, they have a healthy contempt for those in the uniform. They may not be indefatigable detectives out to assist a Sherlock Holmes in sniffing out crucial leads in a mysterious murder case, but they shape the love affairs of quite a few young men who wear their hearts on their sleeves.

In Plumsville, they enjoy motherly affections of the delicately nurtured. Their misdemeanors are overlooked. Their acts of omission are energetically defended, annoying the officers of the law. If taken into custody, prompt steps are taken through the proper channels to get them extracted. They display unbounded joy and affection to the owners of trousers which happen to be liberally sprinkled with aniseed.

Here are some examples of characters of the canine kind we come across while navigating the humorously sun-lit lands of Plumsville.

Sam Goldwyn

We meet Sam Goldwyn in ‘The Mating Season’. Owned by Corky, he is a shaggy dog of mixed parentage. He is no beauty-prize PGW MatingSeasonwinner and conceives a burning passion for the company of Bertie Wooster. He is also adept at biting those who exude authority. At Deverille Hall, Uncle Charlie becomes his first victim. Police Constable Dobbs happens to be the next one. He takes Sam into custody. Corky charms Gussie Fink-Nottle into extracting Sam Goldwyn. The reunion is beautifully described as follows:

“The baying and the patter of the feet grew louder and suddenly out of the darkness Sam Goldwyn clocked in, coming along at a high rate of speed and showing plainly in his manner how keenly he appreciated the termination of
the sedentary life he had been leading these last days. He looked good for about another fifty miles at the same pace, but the sight of us gave him pause. He stopped, looked and listened. Then, as our familiar odour reached his nostrils, he threw his whole soul into a cry of ecstasy. He bounded at Jeeves as if contemplating licking his face, but was checked by the latter’s quiet dignity. Jeeves views the animal kingdom with a benevolent eye and is the first to pat its head and offer it a slice of whatever is going, but he does not permit it to lick his face.”

McIntosh

McIntosh is an Aberdeen terrier of weak intellect. We meet him in one of the stories appearing in ‘Very Good, Jeeves’. He belongs toVeryGoodJeeves Aunt Agatha who has left him in Bertie’s charge while she goes off to Aix-les-Bains to take the cure. Bobbie Wickham gives McIntosh off to the kid Blumenfeld who has developed a liking for it.

Jeeves comes up with a rescue plan, persuading Bertie to sprinkle his trousers with aniseed which is extensively used in the dog-stealing industry. Bertie visits the hotel suite where McIntosh is holed up. As Bobbie Wickham leaves the suite, McIntosh bounds out, sniffing passionately, drinking Bertie in with every evidence of enjoyment. Bertie returns to his abode with McIntosh in tow. A successful mission thus gets accomplished, saving Bertie from incurring the wrath of Aunt Agatha.

To ensure that Bobbie Wickham’s relations with senior Blumenfeld do not get jeopardized, Jeeves buys another look-alike Aberdeen from a shop in Bond Street and hands it over to him.

Poppet

‘Jeeves in the Offing’ introduces us to the dachshund Poppet who charges at people with the apparent intention of seeing the color of their insides. Closer to destination, though, he merely rises like a rocket and licks people on the chin.

The scene under reference gets played out by the side of a lake where the Rev. Aubrey Upjohn, his step-daughter Phyllis, Bobbie PGW JeevesInTheOffingWickham, Wilbert Cream, Kipper and Bertie Wooster have gathered. As per plans, Bertie is to shove Upjohn into the water, followed by Kipper diving in and saving him. This, it is hoped, would improve the chances of Kipper persuading Upjohn to withdraw the libel case he is planning in connection with a derogatory review Kipper has written of an article of his.

As luck would have it, Poppet charges abruptly at Augustus, an easy-going cat which has curled up into a ball and resumed his afternoon siesta. Poppet’s plunge – with his tail straight up at right angles to the parent body, ears turned inside out, barking merrily – jolts Augustus no end. In the ensuing scuffle, Poppet lands up in the lake, accompanied by Bertie. Wilbert dives in, seizes the hound by the scruff of the neck, and tows Poppet at a brisk pace to the shore. Kipper’s mission fails.

Poppet could as well have got ashore perfectly well under his own steam, but Phyllis believes Wilbert Cream rescued her dachshund from a watery grave. As a result, she announces her engagement to Wilbert Cream.

Buster

A bull terrier kind dog by the name of Buster comes along in ‘The Girl in Blue’. He is a pet of Marlene PGW TheGirlInBlueHibbs and ends up biting Constable Simms whose bicycle is used by Chippendale to impart driving lessons to Marlene.

When she points out that every dog is allowed a first bite by law, Simms says that if this were to happen again, he would prosecute it with the utmost severity. Chippendale finds her in tears near the village pump and has to stand her a strawberry ice cream before he can bring the roses back to her cheeks.

By way of a protest against his high-handedness, Chippendale eventually gets Simms pushed into a river, with the latter’s body as well as ego getting soaked to the gills.

Bartholomew

In ‘The Code of the Woosters’, we come across Bartholomew, a pet of Stiffy’s. An Aberdeen terrier, he is to be watched closely if he CodeOfTheWoostersgets near anyone’s ankles, “for he biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder”.

In the scene under reference, we find him all whiskers and eyebrows, silently and earnestly following Constable Oates who is quietly enjoying a bicycle ride with his hands off the handle. A mere connect with the ankle bone and the officer of the law falls into a ditch.

This is how the scene unfolds:
One moment he was with us, all merry and bright; the next he was in the ditch, a sort of ‘macedoine’ of arms and legs and wheels, with the terrier standing on the edge, looking down at him with that rather offensive expression of virtuous smugness which I have often noticed on the faces of Aberdeen terriers in their clashes with humanity.”

Stiffy, true to form, defends Bartholomew. By way of revenge, she starts making plans to get Oates’ helmet pinched.

Bartholomew also puts in an appearance in ‘Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves’. He drives Bertie and Pop Bassett to the top of a large chest of PGW StiffUpperLipdrawers. Bertie finds himself gazing into the eyes of the animal, which looks at him with a sinister intentness characteristic of the breed. Bartholomew also bares his teeth which happen to be in excellent shape, thereby reminding Bertie of his tendency to bite first and ask questions afterwards.

Since Scotties have short legs, a series of energetic springs do not yield any constructive result. Poor Bartholomew has to remain content merely with dirty looks and sharp, passionate barks. Eventually, Stiffy walks in and removes him from the scene, providing much-needed succor to Bertie and Pop Bassett.

Of Dog Fights and Toto

In ‘The Adventures of Sally’, a poodle of military aspect wanders up to Sally at a French seaside resort. Discovering that Sally is in possession of a box of sweets, the poodle decides to stick around and await developments. Soon, a white terrier with a black patch on its left eye also joins in. A little later, a group of expectant dogs assembles. This is followed by an intense dog fight which scares off Sally.

This is how the dog fight gets commented upon:
“There is about any dog fight a wild, gusty fury which affects the average mortal with something of the helplessness induced by PGWTheAdventuresOfSallysome vast clashing of the elements. It seems so outside one’s jurisdiction. One is oppressed with a sense of the futility of interference.”

However, Ginger does decide to interfere. He does so successfully, much to the relief of Sally.

Later in the narrative, we meet Toto, a small woolly animal with a persistent and penetrating yap. Toto likes a cracker after breakfast. Judicious dieting indeed perks him up. He goes on to play an important role in the lives of Sally and Ginger.

When it comes to etching out characters, P G Wodehouse is an acknowledged genius. His expertise in this realm is not restricted to human beings alone. It covers pigs, cats, swans and dogs as well. ‘St. Bernard dogs doing the square thing by Alpine travelers’ is another expression which finds frequent mention in his narratives!

(Related posts: http://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/different-shades-of-women-in-plumsville, http://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/the-hapless-rozzers-in-plumsville)

Oh, how we love our office, our place of work, the pedestal of our self,
The adrenalin, the morning rush, the smug comfort of power and pelf.

PROMOTIONS

The ego kick, the pampering, the earmarked parking place,
The welcoming smiles, the handshakes, the feigned grace.

The ambition for the corner office, mighty challenges, charged meetings,
Naysayers and villains who oppose us and spice up the proceedings.

Bosses who are supportive but cranky at times; never satisfied, they whine;
Peers who keep us connected to the corporate gossip and the grapevine.

Juniors who adore us, others who detest us but lie low,
The fun of pulling them up when they show up after a furlough.

The pressure of work, the fun and frolic, the humor, the glee,
The water cooler parley, intimate chats over endless cups of tea.

For the henpecked amongst us, the freedom from the fiefdom of a spouse,
Liberty from kids’ PTA meetings, household chores and many an odd grouse.

Vacations planned in advance often getting scuttled at the last hour,
Sulking family members, cancellation costs, well laid out plans turning sour.

When a vacation plan does mature, it is preceded by hectic planning,
Ensuring the world does not collapse while we are away snorkeling.

‘Keeping in touch’ while on vacation a misplaced sense of one-way loyalty,
A habit, an addiction, a magnified view of our role which could be faulty.

Return finds us facing a pile of tasks, an overflowing mail box to grapple with,
Unwarranted blames having come our way, we resolve never to plan a vacation forthwith.

VACATIONS

Oh, the yearning for a real vacation, freedom from the torrent of mails,
Quality time with the family, regaling kids with impromptu tales.

All this makes better sense when our on-the-job performance is going on well,
Or else we could be languishing in the low-performance-and-low-reward hell.

Yet, how about offices where we can take an ‘off’ while being present, filling up the gaps,
A gym, a yoga and meditation room, an allowance for post-lunch power naps.

An environment which keeps our creative juices flowing, our stress levels healthy and vibrant,
Our performance at its peak, productivity high, imagination always fragrant.

Companies like Daimler which allow a real ‘off’ from office would win in the long run,
Incoming mails diverted, deleted from our in-box, allowing us to have real fun.

Some others encourage us to lead a rich personal life, switching off after normal working hours,
Enabling a healthier work-life balance, assigning projects which make us walk out of our ivory towers.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

The ones which encourage us to put out an out-of-office message which changes tack,
“Hi, I am on the Mars these days, missing Wi-Fi or cell signal, shall get in touch once I am back!”

(Note: For an interesting perspective on the vanishing office spaces, see http://paulbromford.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/why-the-death-of-the-office-cant-come-too-soon)

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