Friday, October 21, 2016

Want some water? Or tea?

As children, we were taught to always offer water to anyone who comes to our home. Guests, friends, delivery persons, electricians, plumbers and so on and so forth.

My parents, especially my mother spent a lot of time and effort on this.

Now, one of my coworkers pointed out the other day that I was always asking people who came to our end of the office if they needed water to drink, or if they could spare a moment for some tea.  Some others too have noticed this. Since I have a rather sensitive bladder myself, I sometimes point visitors from outside the office to the toilet, albeit discreetly.

I am hoping that my coworker was not criticising me, and that she was not being sarcastic.  One of the lessons I have learnt in my quarter of a century in this world is that everything  is to be considered a compliment unless specified otherwise.

I haven't thanked my coworker for the compliment. Not yet.

But I did call my mother and told her this. After all, she started it. Even though I was neutral on the observation vs. compliment thing, she was happy. Or as happy as you can percieve someone to be on the phone.

I don't know why I wrote this post. Most likely because I have not written since some time.

Also, no idea why, I try not to start sentences with "I", but more often than not, this is what I end up doing. Hard to keep oneself happy all the time. Sufficiently satisfied is better than full on happiness. Or maybe ignorance is bliss. "I" will never know :-)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dealing with emergencies

Someone I know had to be taken to the hospital for a surgery. Nothing major. Just a routine daycare thing.

On arrival, our guy was admitted and we were told the surgery would begin at 11:00 am. Somehow, 11:00 am came and went. Then, noon and 1:00 PM passed. We got a bit angry, but only enough to feel like idiots later.

What had happened in fact was that the doctor/surgeon was busy doing an emergency procedure. Around 01:40, hospital staff came to take our guy for the procedure.

This raised a question.

How to deal with emergencies?

Hospitals have emergency rooms. ICRs, IICRs, what have you.

Sports teams have more players than needed to play.

Most armed and paramilitary forces have "rear" and "reserve" units.

Most people try to save money for the proverbial rainy day. Some are able to invest in something as well.

What are some of your personal, organizational, or any other tips for dealing with emergencies?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Age: just a number, until you want to "school" someone younger

So today at my workplace, something simmering for the last few months came to a head. Someone who had to do something with the simmering decided to consult a superior. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

The superior, Mr. S, duly pointed out that the whole thing was my fault. I do not agree, at least not completely.

But he might be right because I am an all round bad judge of people, situations, and of my and others' roles and responsibilities. Also, I completely adore the man as a professional and as a person and have no reasons to believe he said what he said without firmly believing it.

While discussing the matter, one of the things he mentioned was that Ms. So-And-So has probably been with the organisation since before I was born. I felt that this implied that I should not have taken the situation so far.

This logic does not feel right to me. Thinking of it, Adolf Hitler must be of the age of my great-grandmother, a lady I have never met. But this does not mean that I too should devise a Holocaust of my own. (Definitely not the best of examples here.)

What worries me is that I might have hurt and/or let down a few people, including but not limited to Mr. S and Ms. So-And-So. It is one thing to playfully tease your co-workers or to let things heat up on purpose, but having this happen when unintended is not right. Did I not mention I am more of a master of disaster?

I definitely need to be a bit more diplomatic and "positive".

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Honest Bribe

In the book Shantaram, there was a moment when comparing India with rest of the world, the character Didier told the protagonist about the way bribes in India work. One line stuck to my mind:

There is a difference between the dishonest bribe and the honest bribe. The dishonest bribe is the same in every country, but the honest bribe is India's alone. - Didier Levy
Since I have never left India, I have no idea about the way things work outside. But I saw a movie today, and a scene in that movie very clearly depicted what Didier must have meant when he said what he said.

The movie is Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
It was  the last (almost last?) scene, when people from both India and Pakistan were standing on the border. The policemen who were earlier torturing Bajrangi to confess being a spy were trying to convince the soldiers to open the gates. To this and the accompanying moral lecture, the Pakistani soldier answered to the policemen with something like, "we are a few, and you are a lot .... if you know what I mean..."

The soldiers on both sides then got a bit away from the gates. The people proceeded to break open the locks. And the rest is a great Bollywood ending.

Even though (1) this was just a movie, (2) technically, it did not happen in India, and, (3) no bribes were taken or given, this scene reminded me of Didier in Shantaram.

This movie was not the most plausible of stories, but I loved watching it. It showed a human side. Also, I felt the character Bajrangi/Pawan was Munnabhai of Munnabhai M.B.B.S. meeting Harold Crick of Stranger Than Fiction. I suppose each man is weird in his own way. I am not so sure about women, but I love both these movies.

Last but not the least, neither my employer nor my dog has anything to do with what I just wrote.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Worst that can happen

Someone yesterday asked me how to deal with a new task at her job. This particular thing was filling her with anxiety and stress.

My response was to think of the worst possible long term scenario with that thing, and then realize that she won't reach that bad a state. Basically, this is thinking what is the worst that can happen?

My friend appreciated this thought. But come to think of this, there are many fields where this is normal. For example, in the construction business, the strength etc. of structures is usually measured in terms of loads of up to ten times the normal load they are expected to handle. In computer programming, the complexity for doing something is mostly discussed in terms of the worst-case complexity.

Another friend once told me that when under stress, he just tries to think of the benefit of stressing, which turns out to zero. He then goes on with the task at hand as if it was not stressful at all. I tried it, and it turned out to be harder than what my friend promised. An alternate explanation is that this friend might be more mature or intelligent, but I seriously would not like to entertain that train of thought :-)

Other than the worst-case, what are some of coping mechanisms/thoughts that you employ when under stress or anxiety?