Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

ashokbhatia

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…

View original post 813 more words

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

I believe that the Romance Quotient of train journeys is much higher than that of air travel. I dislike the adrenalin rush of Toy trainchecking-in at airports, getting frisked all over and then sitting cooped up sardines-like in a wobbly metal container which has very few merits otherwise. Cutting short the travel time is surely a good advantage of air travel. Another is the ambience and the service one can possibly enjoy while traveling by air. But, given a choice, I would prefer a train journey any day!

The Travails of Air Travel

Not for me the endless hours spent on packing and repacking my stuff to ensure that the baggage is within the stiff weight limits prescribed by airlines. Liquid delicacies like home-made syrups and pickles are best left out. A meticulous planning needs to be done for what can or cannot go into hand baggage. Once, a minor quantity of liquid milk being carried for a small baby caused so much trouble that we almost ended up missing our flight! The whole drill of taking off my shoes, removing my belt and letting go of my laptop and cell phone in a separate tray leaves me rather nervous and exasperated.Italy

The duration of an air journey is good only for fleeting eye contact and for brief encounters with the finer and gentler of the species. I get looked at with fake and synthetic smiles by petite air-hostesses who are possibly planning their next activities after the flight gets over. The only time they appear to be smiling genuinely is perhaps at the end of the flight when I am leaving the plane. On the contrary, while leaving a train, I find great resistance from various quarters on terminating my journey – the passengers who are forcing their way into the compartment I am trying to leave, the porter who  shows up after much reluctance, and the ticket collector who thinks I have been traveling WT!

While flying, most commercial airlines maintain the cabin pressure for altitudes between 7 and 8,000 ft. May be, that is why I feel somewhat disoriented and confused at times while on a flight. Movies on board, a quick succession of saliva-inducing food items and beverages are all designed to keep my anxiety levels down as we cruise along at heights of around 35,000 ft.

Romancing the TrainsGlacier Exp

Consider the superior advantages of travelling by train. I am not referring to trains in the western world, where I could set my watch based on their arrival time, and the toilets and stations are spotlessly clean. Even if I were to consider trains in India, the experience turns out to be better than that of air travel.

To learn the basic tenets of karma yoga, all I need to do is to travel in an unreserved compartment of Indian Railways; the daunting task of going through the first few chapters of Bhagavad Gita can be easily avoided. Entry into the bogie is like life itself – full of struggle, adventure, victory and failure – requiring all the mental as well as physical agility at my command. I learn to overcome stiff resistance from those who are already inside and have managed to acquire a comfortable spot for themselves and their kith and kin. The struggle for survival brings out the worst in me. In the process, I believe, I get internally purified, getting rid of all my mental toxins!

Once I have jostled my way in, the next phase of seeking a comfortable perch begins. With toilets also jam-packed and inaccessible, I learn the value of patience and forbearance. By the next station, I have myself acquired the rights to start denying entry to those attempting to enter the compartment at all subsequent stations!Flamsbana

If I happen to travel in a sleeper class, I find it a very ‘homely’ experience – invariably, all passengers tend to treat the compartment as a second home! There is much sharing of news, views, family history and current troubles facing the passengers in my cubicle. Mention suffering from any disease and I am sure to be heaped with unsolicited advice on the efficacy of a wide variety of treatments. As I surmise over the troubles of my co-passengers, I am left convinced that my own problems are not that very serious. Now, what could be a better way of uplifting my sagging spirits?!

By the time the journey comes to an end, I have created tenuous bonds of transient relationships. If luck favors me, I could have even managed to charm the pretty young thing on the opposite seat by advising her on the possibilities of the next train connection and by offering to her some delectable food items bought at various stations on the way!

While traveling by air, I miss the windows. This deprives me of the simple pleasure of waving my hands, bidding a good-bye to those who have come to see me off. This is a privilege denied to those traveling by air. Also, in the absence of windows, I cannot haggle for the fruits and eatables I wish to purchase from a vendor on a station while enjoying the comfort of sitting glued to my seat.

In an AC compartment, I find great possibilities of networking. Newspapers and magazines get shared with quiet dignity. Mobile chargers can be readily borrowed. Movies can be readily shared on another passenger’s laptop. If my body language discourages a dialogue, there are good chances of me being left in peace. And what a pleasure it is to curl up with my favorite book and then enjoying a siesta after a hearty meal!

The seating in trains is invariably designed to promote brotherhood and human interaction. In an aircraft, we are seated theatre-like, with very little chance of either socializing or networking, except for the chance of hobnobbing with the passenger in the next seat.

As compared to the continuous drone of aircraft engines audible while travelling by air, trains have a unique melody and rhythm of their own. Like a lullaby, it tends to put me to sleep quite effectively.

I confess that my reasons for liking train travel are also economic; despite tall claims made by airlines of offering affordable air travel, trains are still much cheaper!

Indian Railways – Big Organization, Bigger Challenges

I really admire Indian Railways. They somehow manage to maintain 7,500 stations, 1,15,000 km of tracks and around 14 lac employees. They also cope with the daunting and mammoth task of handling 2.5 crore passengers and 28 lac MT of freight every day. This is despite the fact that 20% of their rolling stock has outlived its life, the tracks are not in the best of health and the demands of various regions are always piling up.

I believe they face serious issues in coach and track maintenance. Quite a few bridges are getting aged and slowing down trains. Outdated communication, safety and signaling equipment are not getting upgraded anytime soon. The penchant to keep announcing new trains every year continues unabated whereas safety measures invariably take a back seat.220px-Goldenchariot_train_luxury_service_in_india

Sanitation is a big concern. Indian Railways, the largest single employer of India, has helped perpetuate the caste oriented practice of manual scavenging for decades. The bulk of the blame for contributing towards the insanitary state of railway stations and tracks lies at their doorstep. Given the resources at its command, it should not be beyond IR’s capacity to equip trains with systems to handle fecal waste.

Improving the Romantic Quotient of Indian Railways

As an ordinary citizen of India, I would not push for bullet trains. I would rather have the railways invest in efficient waste management systems, better security measures, modern communication and signaling systems, mechanized track and station maintenance solutions.220px-Delhi_Duronto

Above all, if the stations and coaches start exuding a three-star ambience, IR would surely start persuading the passengers to treat its assets with better respect and affection, thereby improving the romantic allure of train journeys in India!

Read Full Post »

NETWORKING

It is great to be the part of a clique. But there is a flip side. The go-between you choose to introduce you to the big-wig might have his own axe to grind! Best is to call the big-wig cold, and keep in touch with your network to keep a tab on what is happening.

NAY-SAYERS

Try to be a ‘No-man’ and you will find that it is much more fun than being a ‘Yes-man’! It shows independence of thinking. It ensures that your boss notices you faster and values you better than your peers. Also, it may open up a new approach to solving the problem at hand.

Read Full Post »