Saturday, August 08, 2020

The 15 most annoying types of people on Facebook

Dear FB friends,

As per my observation, these are 15 types of annoying people one can easily find on Facebook. I am proud to belong to at least two types mentioned here. 

This post is in good humor. In case you find yourself closely resembling to any of the 15 types mentioned below, please do not feel offended and unfriend me. ;-) 

If you do, I have very well found the 16th category to add to the list.

Category 1 - Just like that | The ones who like all and sundry posts that are published, like anything! They are the relationship builder category on Facebook. I sometimes wonder if they like the post before reading it.

Category 2 - Arnabs of the FB world | The ones who are perpetually angry, spiteful, and venting frustration through their FB updates. As if the nation wants to know what ire's them. My request to them – please don't angry me!

Category 3 - Testosterone | The ones who get high by frequently taking tests using FB apps. Either they are taking tests to test their inner beauty, their inner strength, or what they were in past life. Those types really test my patience!

Category 4 - Armchair politicos | The ones whose timeline reeks only of their favorite political party, their leaders, and their shenanigans. Sorry, spare me from your politically incorrect attitude.

Category 5 – In any eventuality | They are the ones who come what may always register for all kinds of events in the city and lead a highly eventful life or so it seems.

Category 6 – Wannabe Master Chefs | The ones who are responsible for the dribble on my keyboard. Posting foodgasmic photos from their kitchen forays. I say, please post only if you wish to invite me home, enough food for thought already!

Category 7 – Travel bugs | You will find these are aplenty crawling on the FB feed. Who does not like to travel and show off their travails? And to add to it, FB memories keep popping up, and these bugs  also time travel to their distant past. Wish they stayed there forever!

Category 8 – Hobby Horses | Every second person on FB is riding his/her hobby horse. Either he/she is painting, gardening, singing, writing, YouTubing, punning, or doodling. FB can very well become the new virtual Got Talent franchise and change its tagline to - A place where you can show off but not get shooed off.

Category 9 – I, Me, My Selfie | The most obnoxious of the lot. They are obsessed with self and selfies. Perpetually uploading profile pictures in their new avatar. It is either their own self in their DP or themself with make-up. It is like - Now you see them, Now you don't! Go figure!

Category 10 – Armchair activists | Animal rights. Human rights. Civil rights. It could be any cause. Whether you want it or not, they will share their opinion. And one thing is sure, they are always right. And if you don't think so, you have to Armageddon with it! (Sorry for the pun)

Category 11 – Sneakers | Then some are on FB but pretend they are not. The most pretentious lot who take the utmost delight in reading others posts down to the last comment, counting the likes and shares of someone else's posts. But will not comment or like. They won't leave a trace as they move on to stalk the next profile. I just get a sneaky feeling about them. If you ask them about FB, they will say, what's that!

Category 12 – Saree Ga Ma | Ladies, don't we just love these types, including you in their saree (sorry) chains. These types are music to our ears. Why? Because they provide us a chance to wear a saree without us having to make a song and dance about it!  

Category 13 – Pet Pooja | These are the types that will drive you crazy by perennially posting a picture of their dog, cat, pigeon, parrot, crow…well, not the last one. Still, you get the drift, I am sure. They will worship them to death (No Pun) until it becomes your pet peeve.

Category 14 – Swashbucklers | This one is a head honcho who likes to shares his daredevilry in the corporate arena with his friends. Friends who have no clue what he does in reality but eagerly applaud his performances played out in the FB gallery. Dear Swashbuckler, may I request you to move your performance to the LinkedIn stage where it's more suitable?

Category 15 – OMG! | These types will share their family deity's photo three times a day on their timelines, and in one of them, they will also tag you, which will be (oh no!) a chain message. The message will say - Do not break this chain. You will receive good news in the next three days! For the love of God, please don't rope me into this emotional drama. In March, I had shared a message with 15 people, and I am still waiting for some good news this year. I am sure you all are too!

(Image courtesy -

Friday, July 24, 2020

My A to Z lessons for surviving in times of COVID-19

The last four months have been the most tumultuous period the world has seen in the longest time. Never before have we seen uncertainty, despair, and negativity pervading around us at such an enormous scale. An invisible virus has made its ominous presence felt steadily and stealthily from one country in December 2019 to more than 200 countries in July 2020. With more than 14.5 million cases reported so far, it has already shaken many economies, ravaged many business houses, resulted in job losses, deaths, and broken many homes. It has engulfed us with its threatening existence, not just physically but mentally as well. A rude shock that will take us a long time to recover from.

Notwithstanding the grave situation, many positive outcomes have also come to light. It has brought into focus many long-forgotten elementary concepts such as the importance of empathy and mental well-being, our relationships, sustainability and minimalism, hygiene and cleanliness, frugal innovation. It has made us aware of what is really valuable and not in the overall scheme of things. Moreover, it brought to light the true warriors of our times. The ones who have been battling their personal battles and the more massive war with COVID-19. My salute to the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, police force, those in transport, those in sanitation, those in NGOs, and so many more whose names we don't know but are the true heroes – our warriors! 

Charles Darwin said: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change."
Here are my lessons learned in the past four months since COVID-19 has dared us to be adaptable for our survival.

A – Atmanirbhar (Self-reliance)
With no house helps at our beck and call, with no carpenters or electricians available a phone call away, I have learned the importance of survival skills, the hard way. Whether cooking or cleaning, fixing a leaking pipe, or a wooden bench, it is clear that if one has to survive, necessary life skills are a must-have. So, the first and most important lesson that comes to my mind for this list is to be self-reliant. One cannot always depend on others to get things done. 

B – Breathe
When stressed, it is said that our breathing slows down, or it becomes irregular. As simple as it may sound, taking a few deep breaths makes me feel at peace and mindful of my thoughts and helps to put things in perspective. I have understood the importance of focusing on my breathing in moments of stress or anxiety.

C – Collaboration 
Being self-reliant is not an option for many, especially those who are older and weaker. In such cases, what we really need to do is to collaborate and support each other to the best of our abilities. Whether at home or office, problems or challenges become easier to resolve through collaboration. For those who are healthy and young, it's our responsibility to be there for their support. And remember, charity begins at home!

D – Digitalization
There is a meme that has gone viral, and I am not surprised. It truly sums up the current situation on a lighter note.

The organization I work with has been going through its own digital transformation journey for the last two years. In a way, we were more than ready when COVID-19 took the world by storm and displaced our work economies, work lives, and workplaces. At the beginning of March, we were probably among the first group of organizations to announce work from home. After that, the organization has continuously instituted programs for the staff to remain socially connected through Coffee Break sessions 2-3 times a week and provide free online resources to keep us skilled and reskilled. We also were able to advance the launch of a slew of digital offerings for our customers that were in the pipeline. We made our certification exams available from home through online proctor testing when testing centers were closed.
Moreover, we have provided free resources and courses to our members for upskilling, given the difficult times our customers are going through. In a nutshell, we have been able to ease our stakeholders' lives despite what the world has been going through. All this was possible only because we were digitally able. I cannot stress enough the criticality of being digitally savvy and technologically mature, not just for organizations but also for individuals. Many organizations have had to reinvent and focus on being agile for staying relevant to their stakeholders. Those with no appetite or hunger for business agility will probably not be able to survive the COVID-19 storm.

E – Empathy
 "Empathy" may become one of the hot contenders for the most popular word in 2020 (after Corona, Covid-19, and Positive). I have learned that even when I am strapped for TLC and practicing compassion may seem arduous, I must remember that the energy moves in circles. What goes around also comes around in some form or other. So, pay it forward, I say!

F – Family
Staying indoors, being with their own folks more than ever, seeing them 24/7, has been a challenge for some. However, for me, it has highlighted the value of near and dear ones more than ever.
One should treasure their presence, whether in the same physical space, over long-distance phone calls, or even video conference calls. They are your real source of happiness and joy that we should cherish for as long as possible. In the last four months, I have been privileged to enjoy the presence of my family (parents and in-laws) at home. Also, regular video calls with cousins, and family members spread across different parts of Mumbai, different cities, and even countries, have completely energized me and made my day. At the end of the day, what really matters is how you cherish your relationships.

G – Gratitude
I have realized that a negative thought can be immediately nipped in the bud. How? By accepting and being thankful for all the privileges, I enjoy that many would die for. By practicing gratitude, it just puts things in perspective. It makes me realize the pettiness of my worries and the irrelevance of negative thoughts.

H - Hygiene 
Washing hands for 20 seconds, wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and washing objects that are entering homes with soap water, may have seemed like a bizarre scene from an "Apocalypse Now" type movie before COVID-19. But today, it is a harsh reality. My respect to all those who have consistently practiced it for the past 120 plus days. Because it is not just about protecting our individual self but also others around us and ensuring the virus does not spread.

I – Interests and Hobbies
Being drowned in office and housework has strained many of us. The day starts and ends with work and leaves us exhausted to do anything else but fall off to sleep at night. In these times, even though I have not been able to spend any time on my hobbies, that's one thing I highly recommend to anyone who has some free time at hand. 
I say this because more than ever, with many folks being restricted at home, there is a feeling of restlessness and helplessness. For those who are not busy and have never had a passion for any interest or hobby, this empty space is like a devil's workshop. I have heard many people have become depressive, having been restricted at home with nothing to do. So, pick up a hobby, it's never too late.

J – Joys
Being stuck at home and not enjoying the outdoors can really restrict the number of enjoyable options for a person like me who borders on being an extravert. Instead of deriving joys from the external environment, I have learned to focus on simple pleasures that were not available to me earlier. For example, warm conversations over lunch with family members on weekdays, catching the bird calls/sightings from our window, enjoying the fresh breeze coming through in the mornings and evenings, soaking in the soothing patches of greenery around us, and so much more.

K – Karma
It may sound preachy, but I think COVID-19 is nothing but results of the Karma of the entire human race. For me, this is a warning for us to take care of our Mother Earth and treat her gently and responsibly. Be good. Think good. Do good. Period!

L – Less is More
More than ever, I have understood how our house is filled with more than we require. I have learned the unimportance of having so many clothes in the wardrobe, many footwear in the shoe rack, and many other sundry items that we can live without. The focus is now to declutter and recycle. And before buying any non-essential items, ask me - Do I really need them? Mantra is Recycle. Reuse. Repair.

M – Meditation
I recently took a 21-day meditation challenge, which a friend invited me to, and believe me, it was like a breath of fresh air. A refreshing experience altogether. It meant just 15 minutes of me-time every day, it really charged me up, and I learned a simple yet profound lesson. By being focused on staying in the present and being mindful can bring a lot of clarity, a better perspective, and also solutions to your unanswered questions.

N – Negativity
Stay away from negativity. Especially the toxic news in the media, and people with negative vibes. Thankfully, these two are not invisible like the virus, and we can avoid both easily.

O – Obedience
Following the self-distancing rules and being obedient to the safety guidelines is the best policy to be followed. Being compliant is not being foolish and submissive and in no way hinders freedom. It means showing respect to others and fulfilling your responsibility to the best of your ability. I know of some folks who took these guidelines rather lightly and are now paying the consequences. Sometimes we learn from other's mistakes.

P – Pivot
Acceptance of the current situation at the earliest and ability to pivot quickly to the new way of living is another lesson I have learned. How agile are we in thoughts and actions will keep us ahead of the curve rather than complaining about the challenges and problems at hand.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Q – Quietness
I have learned to cherish the quietness in our neighborhood. The sweet chirping of the birds, the barren roads, streets without people, and the absence of car honking, we have forgotten to be thankful for. Didn't we always wish for the atmosphere of the countryside in our own city? Here it is! So, let's enjoy it till it lasts.

R – Resilience
Each one of us has been tested to our limits. Whether old or young, healthy or disabled, rich or poor has been at the receiving end. In a way, this pandemic has been a great leveler in many respects. However, one thing I have learned is resilience is what separates the wheat from the chaff. This is the only thing that will help us to keep our heads above water and stay alive. 

S – Self- care
The importance of having strong immunity was always known. But now, more than ever, having or not having good health can be a life and death situation, has been a revelation. Not just to fend off the virus but also to recover from it faster, in case affected. It all boils down to proper nutrition, meditation, and physical activity to keep fit. In a nutshell, I have learned the importance of self-care and investing in my health regularly. If I am not healthy, this journey is going to be more arduous, and moreover, I will not be able to take care of those dependent on me.

T – Transparency
Only if we had known about COVID-19 before it spread to other countries. Only if we knew what precautions to take to stop the spread. Only if we knew the real numbers that were affected. Only if there was transparency!
This is one big lesson for me as an individual.

U – Upskilling
We may find some industries as well as professions becoming redundant or resized along with job losses. No one has that crystal ball yet to show us what the next month would look like, let alone next year or next five years. A common question on everyone's mind. However, all I can deduce based on the past four months is no one can continue to live under the rock i.e., not get upskilled. I know now that more than ever, I will need to continually focus on what I am good at (or not), what skills I need to acquire that will help me to stay relevant now and in the future.

V – Virtual reality
Who knew that wearing pajamas or shorts for office meetings would become the new norm? Who knew that virtual water cooler conversations would also become part of the company's policy? Who knew that not having a digital presence would make them non-existent? Who knew that school/office buildings would become redundant? Who knew that blaming traffic for being late would become a lame excuse? Who knew that the friendly tap on the back or a handshake would become a taboo? Virtually no one, right! So many things unlearnt and learned in this virtual world.

W – Wander
I love traveling, whether in our own backyard, city, country, or outside the country. However, the past four months has made me realize the importance of the freedom I enjoyed in regular times. Being a true wanderer, I have realized that I can still travel to all the beautiful places. How? Reminiscing the beautiful memories, flipping through my mind's photo album, and bringing them to life and living those experiences all over again. 

X – Xtremes
Everything that I have done, whether domestic or office duties, has been extra plus compared to four months ago. Simultaneously, there are diametrically opposite cases where businesses have stopped functioning, and the staff has been asked to go; as they have become extra. 
Life has become difficult in extremes for sure.

Y – Yoga
The most important and yet most understated in terms of benefits is Yoga. And in the last four months, I have understood why Yoga needs to be brought more in my life. Not just as a form of physical or breathing exercise but in many other aspects. There is so much I need to unravel and learn on this subject. I have promised myself that whatever turn my life takes, I will remain a lifelong student of Yoga.

Who knew that our life would be all about zoom in and zoom out? Pardon the pun, but working on my laptop almost the whole day and having office meetings on platforms such as Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams has become a different ball game altogether. That reminds me I need to get my eye(balls) checked. Oh no, the doc's appointment needs to be scheduled on Zoom.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

A Happy Mother's Day - Aai and Mummy

In the current times, we have all been tested to our limits. It's almost akin to being thrown under a bus and then being asked to drive that same bus home.
If you are a working professional actively working from home, managing housework, and also taking care of family members, then more power to you. 
This was the stuff that nightmares were made off in bygone times, but today it's a harsh reality.
Battling the virtual meetings, with the phone in one hand and wielding the chapati rolling pin in the other, we have definitely armed ourselves with a Ph.D. in multitasking skills within a short period.
At the same time, we have been forced to introspect, dip into our inner reserves of energies, and find ways and means to deal with these unprecedented challenges. Each of us, in our own unique ways, is tackling the inner demons along with fighting the faceless universal evil out there.
Why am I ranting about it today when so much has been said and fumed by many already?
Well, amidst all this chaos and uncertainty, when all of us are seeking solutions or answers from experts out there, we have one superhuman living right among us. A superhuman who has all those qualities that the specialists are urging us to cultivate; that will help us to accept the new normal courageously and without any complaints. And that person deserves attention today more than ever.
Today is Mother's Day, my friends. And the superhuman is none other than our dear mom. 

Hard-working and Energetic – Have you seen your mom ever sitting down after a hard day's work and complaining. "Oh, I have had enough; now I need a break." Or "I can't take this anymore. You guys manage; I am going to lie down now".
Not my mom or mother in law for sure. Despite their frail frame, they are always on their feet from dawn to dusk, unfailingly toiling away as if they have access to the "Akshay Patra of Energy." It's incredible that at their age, they are more agile than any of us who are almost half their age. Sometimes, I wonder what secret sauce they have been cooking their food with all these years.

Self-sacrificing - No one can come close to being defined as self-sacrificing more precisely than our mothers. Whether it's their choices, their likes, or ideas, they will always put our interests first and their last. Period!

Unconditional Love and support – When everyone in professional circles is talking about the importance of collaborating, teamwork, supporting each other, and having each other's back in the current crisis, mothers literally can teach us a lot beyond all these ornate words. They are our strong pillars who not only support us, help us, provide us all comforts but also do not expect anything from us, unlike professional relationships. They will do it wholly and unconditionally and, more often than not, bend over backward even when their backs hurt.

Resourceful – In these tough times, we don't know what the future holds for us in terms of jobs, business, health, safety, and even existence. We have been forced to think creatively, find opportunities in stressful situations, and to keep a positive outlook. When I think about it, haven't our moms been doing that forever. Always ingenious, finding alternatives for scarce resources, finding a quick-fix for seemingly complex problems, and many a time even converting your potential recipe disaster into a lip-smacking dish.

Proactive and disciplined – Despite having a grueling day, the next morning, they will wake up at the appointed time, get back on their tired and old feet, and gently amble into the daily grind, keeping all excuses at bay. Ready to face a new day with the same vigor, they will foresee any potential lags and delays and, like a real professional tick all boxes in their packed daily schedule. They will stick to the required timelines and will not pause until the task is done. Also, they have an innate sense to sniff out any shortage, problem, and take timely preemptive action.

Nurturing and empathetic – Even after all this, they will always be ready to give a kind ear to all your woes and complaints unfailingly without missing each and every word you say. After all these years, they are still keen to know from you how your day has been, listen genuinely, and allow you to share your problems so that you feel lighter. How many people in our life are sincerely concerned about our well-being? Well, we can probably count them on our finger-tips.
These and many more qualities we need to imbibe from our mothers not just today but forever. I am sure my feelings above resonate with most of you. So much to learn from these superhumans whose value we take for granted. We as their children cannot thank them enough for all that they do for us, consistently and steadfastly. This is a dedication to my mom and mother-in-law, for simply being the superhumans they are, and also for showcasing their humane qualities with such humility and grace.

Happy Mother's Day – Aai and Mummy

Monday, August 13, 2018

G.O.A.T conversation with my teenage niece on WhatsApp

Me: “Hi, how are you Monu?’’

Niece: “Suh Mossy. All g!’’ (that’s what she calls her Maushi)

(There is a silence for seconds which seems like minutes.
I presume what she actually meant was, ''what’s up and all good'' but I don’t want to sound uncool so I don’t ask)

Niece: “Mossy, how are you? You there?”

Me: “Y. All g with me too” (trying to sound like her).
“How is school sweetie?”

Niece: “School is sick as usual!”

Me: (Rolling eyes emoticon) “Why sick? I thought you enjoyed going to school.”

Niece: “Sick as in cool Mossy. Not the sick as in the ill types.”
(“Duh, Mossy!”…I am sure she must have thought in her head)

Me: “Oh yeah, of course! And how is your Math class going, coping well I hope?” (Quickly moving to another topic to bury my embarrassment.)

Niece: “TBH, I was going tots cray with Math as you know….”
(Niece still typing)

Me: “Sweetie, too many typos…what was that?” (Me asking naively)

Niece: “…but RN, my Maths is on fleek. Touch wood!”

Me: “What, what, what???”
(I am too flummoxed)

Niece: “Mossy! (inserting a tired smiley face) There are no typos. I just said, ‘To be honest, I was going totally crazy with Math earlier, but right now my Math seems to be going perfect.”
(Whoa, enlightenment!)

Me: “Oh gotcha! That’s awesome.”
(Trying to sound cool and hip like her)

Me: “How about your drawing and drama classes?”

Niece: “hmm...drawing classes are kind of basic but drama is lit AF. We really have the G.O.A.T during drama classes!”
(Here we go again. I know this time these are no typos and the words do mean something for sure. I quickly google on my phone to check the meaning and bingo! I was right. No typo, these are actual words used by Gen Z.)

Niece: “Btw Mossy, I have been asking Mamma to get me a phone and she has been saying NO. Please convince her to get me one. I am 13 now and it is high time she gets a smart phone for me. Everyone has it and I just totally miss out on all the tea that my squad has to share. It really makes me feel salty.”
 (I am wondering, how is not having a mobile phone related to missing out on having tea. And why is she feeling salty about it?...A la Zeenat Aman in Pukar song ''Samundar mein naha kar''. I somehow sum up courage and ask sheepishly)

Me: “But sweetie… you don’t drink Tea, nah. In fact you don’t like it. So how can you miss it! And what is their to feel salty about it?”

Niece: “Mossy, tea is gossip. Feeling salty is feeling irritated.”

(Another Aha! moment for me)

Niece: (continuing) “My squad has their own Instagram accounts. Wait! They also have Finstagram. And look at me, I don’t even have a mobile phone.”

Me: “OMG. Now, what’s a Finstagram? Is that a new social media platform?”

Niece: “No, Mossy. It is a Fake Instagram account. You should check the photos they upload. They are so savage. And look at me! I don’t even have a phone.”

Me: (gathering my wits) “No way are you having your own phone till you complete your 10th standard. Have you read the many articles which talk about how distracting they are for students and how it ruins…blah blah blah blah!”
(Suddenly it strikes me. A new salvo (read word)was fired and I almost missed it)

Me: “And by the way, why are they savage?? Hope the photos are not too wild, crass and violent. That’s precisely the reason your mamma is not getting you a phone like your squad, ok!”

Niece: “Mossy, you are defs iconic! (Wink emoticon) It is ''savage'' as in cool and nothing beastly about it.”

Me: “Oh ok. Anyway, let me discuss with your Mom on this new phone thing. ”
(Also, to find out how she deals with this cryptic language everyday)

Niece: “Ok. Pls do convince her. Btw, sorry, I have a French class RN and I have to go. When you are free tomorrow, HMU or I will DM you.”
(This aunt by now had made use of her fastest fingers to know what HMU and DM stood for before the niece wrote her off and logged out.)

Me: “Ok sweetie I will Direct Message you tomorrow evening on your Mumma’s phone or you can Hit Me Up. I will be waiting for you defs.”
(My last ditch attempt to be the aunt who still had the goods)

P.S: For those uninitiated like me who may still be stuck at G.O.A.T, may have realized by now that the conversation had nothing to do with the four legged animal or a mutton recipe nor about getting my goat. Although I did teeter between a peaceful and pissed state of mind for a few moments there. 
And yasss, G.O.A.T stands for Greatest of All Time!

Note: The above is fictionalized account of a conversation with my Gen Z niece.

(Pic courtsey @Adobe Blog)