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25 February, 2015

Don't Hurry Up......

"It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule."

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

1. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants..
2. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
3. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, are some of its renowned companies. Volvo even supplies NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden , one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September,bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, neither the second or third days. One morning I asked him, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, don't you think that whoever gets in late will need a place closer to the door?" Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart, Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fuelled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being".

French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has come to the notice of USA , the pupils of the fast and "do it now" brigade.

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress.

It means re-establishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive work place where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do.

It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence.

In the movie, 'Scent of a Woman', there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al Pacino responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance the tango!

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious to live for the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists.

We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Value Your Gift Of Life

(It is a narration of someone's experience in Singapore)

I was invited to one Friday evening event by one of MNC Vendor organization who had organized the event to raise funds for the visually handicapped people in a center for blind people.

As usual, since it was a Friday evening, I first thought to skip the event considering it could be a bit boring and rather spend the evening relaxing by some other means.

But being alone and sometimes finding it difficult to kill time, I thought to accept the invitation and registered on line for booking.

Moreover it was free which was another motivation to go to the event.

I was looking at the event to pass some time, meet few people and nothing else.

When I went there, there were approx 40 people from various industries invited for that event. I found some Indians and naturally talked to them about how life is in Singapore etc etc. Initially we were shown a video about the visually handicapped center. What are their activities, how are they helping blind people in Singapore to lead a more fulfilling life, etc . It was a short 15 minute video and quite inspiring that how people from different walks of life spend time in helping these blind people without expecting anything in return.

They shared the satisfaction and fulfillment they get by helping them.

After the video, we all were gathered in a hall and were briefed about next event. The theme of the next event was "Dining in the Dark".

And this is the event which turned out to be inspiring and worth sharing.

What is meant was that we all 40+ people were going to have Dinner in a pitch Dark room !!!! The next 2 hours were completely planned, organized , directed and executed by three blind youths.

One was a girl (Leader) and other two boys were assistant to her forming a team of three blind volunteers.

The blind leader first gave us tips for dining (These were ACTUAL STANDARDS THE BLIND PEOPLE FOLLOW IN ORDER TO MAKE THEIR LIFE EASIER)

1. When you sit at your table the things will be placed as follows :
at 3 o'clock of your dish : You will find a spoon.
at 9 o'clock : Fork;
12 o'clock : spoon.
2 o'clock : Empty Glass Dish at the center with Paper napkin tucked at 6 o' clock.

2. There will be two large jugs circulated to you. The jug with plain walls will have water and the jug with curved wall will have orange juice.

3. When you get your jug based on your choice you have to pour it in your glass. You have to dip your forefinger in the glass so that when you fill it and the liquid touches your finger, you have to stop pouring.

She asked whether everyone has understood.

All said yes but everyone was confused and trying to remember what she said and confirming with each other. Next one and half hour we spent were full of fun and learning. In completely pitch dark room where we could see NOHING, we were enjoying various delicious food without seeing it.

We all 40 people were taken in groups in the dark hall.

Each one was directed by blind person till he/she sat on a chair (We were finding it awkward because actually we are supposed to guide blind people to their destination and help them).

We were served full five course dinner by this team of three blind people-Welcome drinks, appetizers, starters, main course and desserts.

The amazing thing was that the team of three blind people were serving exactly vegetarian dishes to vegetarian people who were sitting randomly in the room!

While registering on line we were asked question to choose from "Vegetarian" or "Non vegetarian". I obviously chose vegetarian, being one. We were so nicely hosted that we did not have to wait in between serves . As we were ending finishing one dish, we were served with next without any delays.

After approx one and half hour of dining in the dark , the leader asked whether everyone has finished eating. After confirmation she switched on the lights of the dining room.

We left the dining room with tears in our eyes.

We realized how lucky we are and how we have been gifted with beautiful eyes to see the beautiful world. We realized how difficult lives of blind people are (and other handicapped) without being able to see.
 
We realized how uncomfortable we were for just two hours without being able to see anything and how they must be living their lives.

We realized how unfortunate we are, that we do not value such simple things in life we have and cry (sometime louder, sometime within ourselves) and run after what we don't have... for whole of our lives without having time to adore for the things v have.
 
Be cheerful.

Adore whatever you have in life.

You may try for whatever you don’t have but never feel sad about it.

Defence Veterans

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks. 

'Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?'
 
She replied, 'You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.'
 
They thought, 'Well, maybe it's our grades.' 'No,' she said.
 
'Maybe it's our behavior.' She told them, 'No, it's not even your behavior.'
 
And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.
 
The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom. Martha Cothren said, 'Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.'
 
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.
 
Martha said, 'You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it.'
 
By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

So, do not forget the veterans who give their todays for your tomorrows....

Meaning Of Life

A man died...

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

The following dialogue then took place between God and the dead man.

God: Alright son, it’s time to go.

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans...

God: I am sorry but, it’s time to go.

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: Your belongings.

Man: My belongings? You mean my things... Clothes... money...

God: Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth.

Man: Is it my memories?

God: No. They belong to Time.

Man: Is it my talent?

God: No. They belong to Circumstances.

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: No son. They belong to the Path you travelled.

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: No. they belong to your Heart.

Man: Then it must be my body.

God: No No... It belongs to Dust.

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.

Man with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from the God's hand and opened it...

Empty...

With heartbroken and tears down his cheek he asks God...

Man: I never owned anything?

God: That’s Right. You never owned anything.

Man: Then? What was mine?

God: your MOMENTS. Every moment you lived was yours.

REMEMBER, Life is just a Moment. So, Live it...Love it...Enjoy it..

Mermaid Or A Whale?

A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The gym gained popularity and business soared as ladies wanted to be like a mermaid. This continued till a lady (clothing size unknown) saw the pic and caption and wrote her response and pasted it alongside the pic. It read as follows:

"Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.

They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.

They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?

They would have no sex life and could not bear children.

Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.

And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.

We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.

Just sit back and enjoy yourself.

18 February, 2015

The Salted Coffee

He met her at a party. She was a gorgeous woman, so beautiful and intelligent with many men trying to woo her, and he was just an ordinary guy, nobody paid attention to him.

At the end of the party, he invited her to have coffee with him, she was surprised but being polite, she agreed. They sat in a coffee shop, he was too nervous to say anything and she was uncomfortable, raring to leave.

Suddenly he asked the waiter, “Would you please give me some salt? I’d like to put it in my coffee.” Everybody stared at him, so strange!

His face turned red but still, he put the salt in his coffee and drank it. She curiously inquired about the salted coffee?” He replied, “When I was a little boy, I lived near the sea, I liked playing in the sea, I could feel the taste of the sea, just like the taste of the salted coffee. Now every time I have the salted coffee, I always think of my childhood, think of my hometown and my parents.

She was deeply touched and she also spoke about her faraway hometown, her childhood, her family.

It was a sweet conversation and also the beautiful beginning of their story. They continued to date. She found that actually he was a man who meets all her demands; he had tolerance and was kind hearted. He was a good person and she had almost missed him!

Thanks to his salted coffee!

The story was just like every beautiful love story, the princess married the prince, and they were living the happy life. And, every time she made coffee for him, she put some salt in the coffee, as she knew that’s the way he liked it.

After 40 years, he passed away, left her a note which said, “My dearest, please forgive me, forgive my whole life’s lie. This was the only lie I said to you—the salted coffee."

"Remember the first time we dated? I was so nervous at that time, actually I wanted some sugar, but I said salt. It was difficult for me to change so I just went ahead. I never thought that could be the beginning of our communication!"

"I tried to tell you the truth many times in my life, but I was too afraid to do so, as I had promised not to lie to you for anything."

"Now I’m dying, I am afraid of nothing so I have to tell you the truth, I never like the salted coffee, what a strange bad taste… But I have had salted coffee all my life!"

"But since I knew you, I never felt sorry for it. Having you with me was my biggest happiness for my whole life. If I can live for the second time, I would still want to know you and have you for my whole life, even if I have to drink the salted coffee again.”

There were tears in her eyes.

One day someone asked her, “What’s the taste of salted coffee?” She replied, “It’s sweet.”

Remember, love is not to forget, but to forgive; not to see, but understand; not to hear, but to listen; not to let go, but to HOLD ON!!!!

14 February, 2015

The Way Out

A businessman was deep in debt and could not see any way out.

Creditors and Suppliers were demanding payments. He sat in the park, deep in thought, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.

Suddenly an old man appeared before him and asked, "I can see that something is troubling you seriously".

After listening patiently the old man said, "I believe I can help you".
 
He asked the man his name, wrote out a cheque and put it into his hands saying, "Take this money, meet me here exactly one year from today... and you can pay me back at that time".

Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The businessman saw in his hands a cheque for $ 500,000... signed by Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world.
 
"I can erase my worries instantly" he realized. But instead, the man decided to put the uncashed cheque in his safe, knowing that it might give him the strength to work out to save his business and to use this only in case of dire emergency.

With changed thinking he negotiated better deals,restructured his business and worked rigorously with full zeal and enthusiasm and got several big deals.
Within few months, he was out of debt and started making money once again.
Exactly one year later he returned to the park with the uncashed cheque.

As agreed, the old man appeared.

But just as the businessman was about to hand him back the cheque and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.
 
"I’m so glad I caught him" she cried. "I hope he hasn’t been bothering you much. He always escapes from the mental hospital and tells people that he is Warren Buffet", and saying this she took the old man away.

The surprised man just stood there, stunned!
 
All year long he had been dealing thinking that he had half a million dollars behind him.

Its not the money, real or imagined that turns our life around. It is our Self-confidence that gives us the power to achieve anything and everything that we want.

Have a Confident life

True Lies

Children are so pure at heart...........and they understand everything.

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