Getting back to work after a break

Hello all…It’s been a while. A lot has happened and I’m still struggling to find my bearings in Bangalore. Good news (or bad I’m not sure at this point) I’ve started working again. This time it’s a writing job! ( I know!!considering I like to write, this does sound like an interesting turn of events).

I’ve joined a content management company and my work involves reading text books on a varied range of subjects from psychology to religion to management. Language training sessions are great and begin to throw light on punctuations – some choose not to show up on certain occasions and while others show up where they are not invited  and subject-verbs can sometimes ‘disagree’. It’s a process I hear and I’m getting there…

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If any of you are wondering how it feels getting back into the work force after a break. The experience has had its ups and downs…Well, let me explain, I’ve been –

The Samurai and the Emotional wreck: I can tell you now that the experience wasn’t easy and wasn’t very difficult either. That said, I cried like a baby on my  first day. Saying bye to my darling princess was not easy in the least. Even while I sat in the training room where we were filling out forms and finishing up the joining formalities I kept thinking about lil Ems back home.Thank God she was in safe hands and her safety and well-being were not a problem. I always thought I was a very practical sort of person who would do what needed to be done without feeling any emotion like a Japanese Samurai – Nishi the Bushi (Bushi means Japanese Samurai and yes, I realise that sounds very odd with my name and the rhyme just makes it worse) but let me tell you I was Nishi the Mushy on my first day at work. One of my colleagues said she thought I had my b**** face on that day and that I looked kind of intimidating but the truth was, I was feeling bad having left little Ems behind. Don’t worry it’s been a month now and we’ve both adjusted to the new schedule.

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The Debutante and the Elderly matron: Yea so I don’t know if you guys remember I celebrated my 30th birthday here on my blog two years back and it was a nice day. I dreaded the three zero but as it turns out nothing actually changed and things only got better- emotionally I felt mature and in control, I grew more accepting of myself and the way I looked, I felt healthier and more energetic that I did in my twenties…so life was in fact getting better. But here I was at the workplace starting at the bottom with a bunch of twenty somethings. So when I finally got to talk to the cute guy in office and he asked me in a voice interspersed with equal doses of curiosity and innocence how old I was…In my mind I was like..

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…in the end however, I remember squirming and with every ounce of my being trying hard to be honest and finally I voiced my truth- I’m thirty one. Hell, when my nephew asked me how old I was when I blew the candles on my cake this birthday I acted all “caszh’ and told him that I was  ‘forever twenty one’ (the name of the store I bought the dress I was wearing or my age he can go figure) but seriously folks – if I have to be very honest age don’t matter.

The Zen master and the Drama queen: There have been several occasions in my one month of working that I’ve vacillated from being completely in control of my emotions and feelings to when I’ve totally blown my fuse. When my friend at office, lets call her Sally, called me a drama queen after witnessing my numerous meltdowns at the bank while setting up my account and at the office, it made me think and reflect…Maybe I was overreacting, maybe it’s not right to expect people to behave in a certain way when perhaps they were never taught those values in the first place. Lack of professionalism, self-centredness and a blatant disregard for others have become a trademark of majority of the youth in India today. I know I sound very preachy and judgemental at this point but I sincerely yearn for those old school values of chivalry and sincerity…Yes, Mister please explain to these kind folks what I mean…

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When you start something new and after you’ve taken a break, you tend to compare things to how it used to be and how it was. I consider myself fortunate however to have had the opportunity to experience these things and though it does get a little emotionally draining at times there is always an adjustment phase when you are trying to learn and adapt to the new surroundings and new ways of life. How have you all been?

 

5 Tips to Blogging

In 5 months it will be 4 years since I started this blog – The Showcase. All I wanted when I started blogging was to dust the cobwebs off my mind at a time when I was sure I actually had crickets residing in my brain 😀 and to write about random things when I felt like it. The truth however, is I’ve gotten so much more. Okay, I think I just sounded like an infomercial right there, but let me explain…

I’ve met some very cool people, learned a lot about them and about myself; I think more clearly, and I’m  more mindful about my place and purpose in this world…Sound too fanciful? but it’s true! If any of you, my dear blogger friends  have felt the same way, please drop me a few lines in the comments…

Today with blogging being free/affordable there are millions of blogs and bloggers out there – On every subject under the sun. And then there are many bloggers who have, if you go through their blogs, written their heart out but have very scanty readership. As time goes by and their following does not go up proportionally they just decide to quit and shut down their blogs. If you are just starting off in the blogging game I’m sure you would’ve read umpteen articles on how to set up your blog and on SEO and how to tag your blog posts so that your posts show up on searches and you can draw more traffic into your blog.

Here are my 5 tips on how you can survive and succeed in the world of blogging without the dreaded burn out and to be the person of influence you were born to be.

  1. Write what you love  – A blog can be a great place to showcase your talents or to show the world what it is you are passionate about. Even if you are not an expert at what it is you love, the blog becomes an excellent platform where you learn more about the things  or areas that interest you. I for one find it difficult to zero in on one particular topic to write about, but its always nice to have a theme associated with your blog. Be it Fashion, Technology, Prose or Poetry because that way you attract like minded readers and persons who are interested in what you put forward and may even help you progress to the next level.socnet-07.gif (576×469)
  2. Network – No matter what you write about and how passionate and wonderful you feel about your writing if you have no one reading your blog even after you’ve chosen the right host and platform to present your work, it could feel like landing a gig at the Carnegie hall and playing to an empty audience. So in the infancy of your blog put the word out there about your blog and reach out to fellow bloggers. Collaborations are a great way to make your presence felt in the blogosphere.6a00e5521e0b2e883301538f8882da970b-800wi (800×239)
  3. Use proper tags– Tags are key words that will give readers an idea as to what your blog post is about. Tags are like labelling the jars in your pantry or for all you guys – your CD collection… Just makes those things more easier to locate. So for a blogger that means people who are looking for information on related content drop by and read your blog and therefore more traffic.such-a-pretty-label-cartoon-cjmadden.gif (467×547)
  4. Put out quality content – Check your facts and be authentic. Don’t approximate too often and never assume; as the saying goes – Assuming something is making an Ass of U and Me. Use original photographs or if you choose to borrow give proper credit and make your posts pop! Research shows, colored visuals increased people’s willingness to read a post by 80% (Source: blog.hubspot.com).cartoon6666.png (480×360)
  5. Show up and be accountable – I know I’m guilty of taking long breaks in between posts, but its always nice to set a schedule. Plan your posts ahead, draft them and set them for auto publish on days you can’t be in front of the computer.

Stay happy and keep blogging!!

My dear

My dear,

I’ve always wanted to tell you this, but for want of words – you know I have never been good with them- I have chosen to just be quiet and ignore the white elephant in the room. The problems we faced, I hoped it would go away…if you never spoke about it, it would just disappear. Well, it never did and it grew like a tiny ball of snow rolling downhill into a giant snowball – making the rift between us that much more wider.

My dear, I love you and I always will. I know you know this but I guess you deserve better. I just read somewhere that sometimes love is not in possession but in letting go…like a rose bud once plucked ceases to bloom so will you be – the beautiful rose that you were meant to be…your fragrance and beauty to be admired and enjoyed by those more deserving.

My dear, do not hate me for not knowing how to express myself. It is like a handicap -an emotional one I’ve lived with from years of abuse and a debilitating shyness. I hope to overcome this someday so that I do not lose someone so beautiful and vivacious as you from my life again. You brought music to my dreary world…and even though it seemed like I didn’t enjoy it, even as I sat at my desk ‘working’ my soul danced and celebrated –  enthralled by the beats and the fervor of the jazz you loved so much.

My dear, I hope you find happiness and love and peace forever.

Love,

Ferg

 

COOKING A LA NU

After having fixed her breakfast of oatmeal and blueberries with a cup of green tea, Kayla walked up to the kitchen to prep for that evening’s dinner. Fried Rice was on the menu and Dragon Chicken.

She stepped into the kitchen and decided to cook a little differently today – Maybe she would cook naked! Wouldn’t that be unhygienic? She just decided she would take a bath. Stripped off her clothes Kayla began gathering the ingredients in her birthday suit. Soy sauce – check, Chilly sauce – check, rice,chicken….

As the wok heated up she felt a sharp sting on the side of her right thigh and the skin close to her perfectly round belly button – the oil in the wok had just reacted angrily to the tiny drops of water that had accidentally dripped into it…Yikes! bad decision perhaps?This small ‘mishap’ didn’t deter her from her decision to cook the entire meal the way she was. Soon, she felt her skin soak up the oriental flavors of the sweet and the chilly, the fresh bite of the spicy ginger dissolving the pungency of the garlic…

Suddenly she realized she just couldn’t go through with this charade…KIDS DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Accident

His family had been searching for him for weeks.Hoping, praying that he was safe. Seven families had already bid their loved one adieu. His father hoped he wouldn’t be among those numbers; that he wouldn’t have to bury his son.

I sat there feeling sad and anxious…trying to imagine the pain and the agony of uncertainty what do you do but yearn for their presence when you are missing a loved one…Wish that you knew a spell and with a swish of a wand they appear!

Breaking news! they found him…but…not all of him – his soul had long departed.

This person was no one I knew. We were neither related nor at any point in life acquainted but someone inside me was crying…weeping copious tears, wailing the loss of a stranger, extending her arms to embrace his kin by way of  comfort.

I watched the unfortunate turn of events and my eyes began tearing up. But soon it was not just my overwhelming emotions that were causing my tear ducts to overflow…The television screen was no longer clear and the room I was in had turned foggy. An acrid smell of grease burning overpowered me and the sharp shrill of the fire alarm beeping rang through the house…

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Image courtesy: http://www.americanheritagepens.com

Monday Rambles – After a break.

So it’s been a long break…A bit too long perhaps? The reason I say this is, coming back, I just didn’t know where to start with the catching up and I just kept putting off my ‘Monday Rambles’.It kind of felt like coming back to work after a long vacation and finding out you forgot to ask someone to water your Lucky bamboo and you find out your lovely plant has long gone to plant heaven. I guess I’ve warmed up and stretched enough now isn’t it? so, let’s get right to it shall we?

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Bye Bye Lucky Bamboo.
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Yay Spring!

Isn’t it great that Spring is here? I for one am relieved and happy to have said good bye to the dreary winter.

And what have I been up to during my break? The aim was to do some introspection, be inspired and to perhaps dig a little deep into my creative cauldron. Can’t say the break was all I had expected it to be, because life can get a little too overwhelming and you have no option but to be one hundred percent available to tackle whatever is thrown your way (read husbands work schedule, spring allergies).But all’s well now and when you read about the earthquake in Nepal and the thousands who have lost their life and are injured you just remember to be thankful and to appreciate all the good things you have.

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I know Thanksgiving is over but I guess its never a bad time for some pecan pie … 🙂

I did however, do a bit of baking – Mostly pies – a pecan pie, sweet potato pie and an oreo cheesecake pie…but the last one didn’t involve so much baking more of mixing and leaving in the refrigerator to set. So all the hogging against my better judgement has left me 13 pounds heavier…yes you read right the number is a one followed by a three..which brings the total number of pounds I need to lose to thirty five.I’m trying not get worried. Just being positive – you dont want your stress hormones to add to the damage already done now do we?

Talking about binging, I binge watched all seven seasons of Mad Men on Netflix and have fallen in love with the fashion and style of the 60s and ahem…John Hamm who plays Don Draper the central character of the show. Mathew Weiner and his team of writers who wrote the show are simply brilliant – the way they’ve drawn out the different characters in the mad mad world of advertising in the 60’s intertwining it with all the major political and socio economic milestones – the Kennedy assasination, the Civil Rights movement, the booming economy, the Hippy culture, the introduction  of computers into mainstream business – this show had me hooked.

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I’ve also started reading Austenland by Shannon Hale…I’ve just finished with the first chapter and being a fan of all the works of Jane Austen I must say I’m curious to see how the plot is going to develop.

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I’m looking to make some changes to the blog or maybe even set a theme for the next month. The thought is still ‘Work In Progress’ and hopefully I should be able to come up with something concrete very soon. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday Rambles – On Anger

I don’t curse in real life and people who know me in person know that I am pretty mellow and go to large extends to always be polite and well mannered often at the risk of sounding or seeming fake and being misunderstood….It’s a cross that I bear – I for one find it difficult to be any other way.

With friends I try to be honest and when I do let my guard down say the darnedest things which have people in splits of laughter, often because it’s like those funny situations when something you least expect to hear comes from the mouth of someone you least expected it to come from…So, yes I have been that someone and said those somethings but once in a while you just need to let go.

So why did I sound the way I did in my Saturday poem? I was angry. Anger is an emotion that I have yet to come to terms with. Sure, we all feel angry and its just a natural emotion like any other, but expressing ones anger was to me  a sign of weakness. As I was discussing with a dear friend Hugh here at WordPress in the comments following my post On Sadness I too like him used to bottle up my feelings especially my anger and then one fine day, I would just explode leaving the person at the receiving end with nothing less than third degree burns and once the catastrophe is over, I’m overwhelmed by this feeling of  guilt and remorse and my apologies would follow them for a week.

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So bottle -explode -apologise- implode… The focus would shift from the person or thing that I was angry with and move back to me and the fact that I got angry and that I expressed myself in the ugly way that I did.

Did I really need to feel apologetic for my anger? Did I always need to poo poo this feeling and sweep it under my pillow every night I went to bed?

I don’t think so. Anger is a natural emotion like any other emotion you may feel. It creeps up when you sense injustice – when you know something unfair is happening to you or to the people around you. Why shouldn’t you want to express yourself when it happens? Why wouldn’t you want to talk to someone who you feel can make the situation better for you?

I’ve decided to come to terms with my anger by – Accepting – My anger is legit and if someone is making me angry then surely something about the situation has to change. Even if the person you are angry with doesn’t agree with you or your reasons for getting angry it doesn’t matter because, once you’ve accepted the anger you can go about your life and use the feeling to take up those actions that could possibly change your situation.

I think this is what all great men and women of the world have done to make a change in the world – Used their anger as fuel to make a difference.

Have a great week folks!