The Balancing Act Called Life…

It’s easier said than done!

All through my life, I heard about how important it is to have a work and life balance… But I remember no one ever mentioning how it was done! No wait, I’ve heard everyones expert advice but never seen them practice what they preach! 😀

In the initial years its all about being good in studies at the same time being actively involved in sports and the other extra curricular activities. But how many of us actually aced them all? We should have taken the hint then itself. Well, humans being humans, will never give up!

Somehow we drag through the academic life and land at the doorstep of the corporate world. More than eager and excited to live an independent life although still dependent on the families. The rush of receiving the first paycheck is unparalleled and will remain fresh forever. The first year is more often than not full of fun and learning. Somewhere you begin to believe, you’ve mastered the art of work life balance coz here you are – a year of crazy partying at the same time few all-nighters in the corporate world and you couldn’t ask for any better.

Well now, life’s a Bitch ain’t it… Does not like seeing you happy and with no complaints. So subconsciously schemes against you, makes you want for more – a promotion or a new job! Let’s go with the second option. After a couple of interviews and careful analysis of pay packages, here you are.. In a new world among new unfamiliar faces. You are most likely replacing someone else from the team who left thanks to which you could apply for the position. Well what are the odds that it was a well loved team mate you are now replacing. And as a known fact, nobody likes change. There you go, you have your first roadblock.

With time you manage to overcome the block and now have gained the trust of your peers. However since you are a senior resource now, you don’t have the free time like before. You now have added responsibilities that came complimentary with the new role. And in the competitive world we live in, there’s no option but take it all up Coz if you don’t, then someone else will. And then the day won’t be too far long when you will be considered as a liability than an asset and you know where that route will take you.

So the once fun loving you, partying at every chance you got, has now been reduced to a workaholic drowned with work. There was a time when you did not need reasons to party and now you find reasons to not party so you can finish up and just go get some sleep. Yay life!

So what happened to the I will have and maintain my work life balance?! I will never let my work get the better of me. Well, somewhere in between we all grew up I guess.. Or rather, life happened!

You are now reduced to sharing memories that appear on Facebook as notifications of a life you once lived, the fun you once had with the friends you barely have the time for. Practically, there’s no such thing as a work-life balance..Although we try really hard at having both, It’s either work or it’s life! The choice is yours to make. Rest is all just a compromise… And That my friend, is life!

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5 Ways to create a strong personal brand

1. Showcase your work
While walking the talk is important, it is also equally necessary to go ahead and showcase the results you have delivered. Employees often expect management to inevitably notice the efforts they have undertaken. However, presenting your work without appearing pompous is crucial.

2. Build your network
Working in isolation or within the confines of your existing team will impede your exposure. Make sure to connect and collaborate with people across the board. Not only will this help you get noticed but also get exposed to fresher perspectives.

3. Develop your expertise
Identify an area that interests you the most and make it your area of expertise. Being the go to person in a particular field will make you a valuable asset in the organisation.

4. Have your own working style
Employees often make the mistake of imitating how their peers function. Stop following herd mentality and create a working style that is best suited to you and the team at large.

5. Go beyond your KRA
While KRAs are set to define your expected role and deliverables, being proactive and taking on more challenges will only help you increase your learning and signal your readiness to move up the ladder.

Changes in Home buying patterns

Purchasing a home is not just a financial decision but also an equally emotional decision. It is not just the drive to own a home of their own that drives buyers to purchase a house; factors like the need to live in a smaller/larger living area, desired location also play a major influence in the drive. Buyers tend to consider their primary home as a foundation for life rather than just considering it as an investment.

With rise in disposable incomes, homebuyers also got on the move. Although the challenge of buying a home is quite high as it involves huge financial commitments, owning a home, which seemed like a farfetched dream once, is not so far now. The combination of dropping interest rates, tax breaks and rapidly increasing disposable incomes have led to the rise of the EMI investor, the small, leveraged second (and third, and maybe fourth) homebuyer, something that India had not seen before. Buyers purchased houses with loans and sold them two or three years down the line because prices had risen enough to prepay the loan and still make an enormous profit.

In India, the change in home purchasing pattern started with Gen X moving out of joint family culture to having nuclear families. With Gen X families largely having only one working member, purchasing a house could never be an impulsive decision. This ensured that there was a thorough research, many tours, a lot of planning and saving done before the purchase. For the millennial families, more likely to have two working members, possibility of purchasing a house became more affordable and feasible. The down payments scrapped from savings, gifts and funds from investments, investing in a new house got a higher preference than renting out or borrowing money to renovate and repair. Most of the millennials homeowners are first-time buyers, so they look for homes with value.

The buyers prefer agents to help find the right home to purchase so they can benefit from their agent pointing out unnoticed features and faults in a property. However, the role of agents is decreasing, as developers are becoming more transparent, and other non-agent intermediaries are offering the same services without charging the commission. For homebuyers, agents are increasingly becoming more menacing and repulsive.

The millennials generation (32% of buyers) is largely driving the housing market. Although the expertise of real estate agents is not entirely been replaced with the internet, there is tremendous amount of research done online before contacting an agent. The internet does provide the comfort looking at multiple options across locations; however, the benefits from working with a real estate agent are many. The younger buyers preferred agents helping them understand the process that goes into the deal as for most of them, it is more likely to be their first purchase. They are inclined to agents referred through a friend, neighbour, or relative, while the older buyers go with agents that they have previously dealt with to buy or sell a home. The millennials also tend to purchase homes closer to their previous residences whereas the older boomers are more open to exploring across locations.

The first step towards the process of purchasing a home is looking up properties for sale online. The process involved and documentations required for a purchase is also easily and readily available online, which made it a common trend among all generations. After the purchase of their desired property, Gen X and Gen Y live in their home for approximately 10-15 years before moving on to finding another new house whereas the older boomers plan to live in their home for approximately 20 years.

The priority of preferences also changed with the times. While the old boomers are inclined to owning homes closer to family and friends and located closer to good health facilities, the Gen X placed their preferences on convenience and quality of schools and other educational institutions. The millennials however, place high preference on convenience to their jobs and affordability. The younger buyers also consider commuting costs whereas the older buyers place more importance on landscaping and cost of utilities.

Beating the heat…

Summers… Just the thought of it brings out beads of sweat off our mind. The scorching heat… The dry burning rays of sun… The prickly heat… The list just goes on and on… However, as a child, I always looked forward to summers for many reasons.

Although heat was a spoiler, summers came with a lot of fun. To begin with, summers meant longggggg vacations. No school means no daily homework! 🙂 Come summers and it was time to pack our bags and go out travelling. Whether it was travelling to new places with family or a long visit to the grandparents, it was always looked forward to.

Summers meant fun and mastii with cousins. Pampering by grandparents and mostly importantly the freedom from the reign of the parents. Summers gave you the freedom to do what you want(well almost!), eat what you want- to a certain extent you could even fuss about the food you wanted. 😉

And the best part about summer is that summer is also the season of my favorite – The king of fruits, Mangoes and the super yummy Jackfruit. Summers of my childhood have been mainly mango milk shakes and the sweet yellow bulbs of jackfruit.

My grandparents as well as my house in Mangalore had a couple of mango and jackfruit trees in our backyard. Our ears were trained to hear even the faintest sound of a mango falling from the tree and we would run to the backyard in search of that mango and the one who found it would proudly flaunt it as though it were a medal earned at the Olympics! 😀

So yes, this was what I did last summer, and the summer before that and the one before that and every summer before that! 🙂

Black…

A girl who can’t see or hear is brought into the light by an dedicated teacher who in an ironic reversal of life is in turn rescued from darkness by her.

It is very difficult for us to even close to experiencing the world of a deaf, mute and a blind person no matter how hard we try. Sanjay Leela Bhansali comes as close as it is possible to tell us beautifully what it is like to be in little Michelle McNally’s universe.

Black is an extraordinarily moving film, full of moments which feel so real, and amazing performances. Rani Mukerji is brilliant as the grown up Michelle.

Hera Pheri…

Two unemployed tenants and a landlord, in desperate need of money, chance upon a ransom call via a cross connection. They hatch a plan to claim the ransom for themselves.

Hera Pheri, a remake of the malyalam original, revived the middle class comedy movie in Bollywood.

The plot is basic and streamlined with three unlikely conspirators set out to make a fortune through fair means or foul.

Paresh Rawal’s performance, the landlord with perfect comic timing is marvelous. As Baburao Apte, the short-sighted owner of a garage-sum-house with a fondness for drinks, Paresh is full blooded and rounded.

Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty play the two unemployed and poor guys who are drawn to the idea of money, are both credible in their performance.

Tabu as always is a delight. Right through the movie she’s seen in simple saris and thick glasses which draws attention not to the way she looks but to the way she fills the part of a spirited working girl.

Border…

Based on the Battle of Longewala, full of rousing battle scenes and strong performances, this has been Bollywood’s best known war film.

Border is a memorable movie in its own right because it gives us war with a degree of detail and authenticity unmatched in Hindi movies previously. Most of us might not remember this war. However, the vivid colours and textures of battle recreated by Border’s scenarists is so real and life-like that all previous efforts pale in comparison.

The movie is a tribute to the soldiers who were martyred in the 1971 war  and clearly reflects how serious business it is for the brave men who guard the country. A soldier’s courage in the face of the relentlessly advancing enemy is most amazing. It makes him defy death with unbelievable acts of valour.

Border is based on a real-life incident at Longewala, when Kuldip Singh Chandpuri and his band of 120 men held at bay Pakistani tanks and scores of soldiers. Although they were order to retreat to saftey because the nearest air base could not give them covering fires as the planes at the fledging base could not fly at night, they refused to abandon their post and fought through the night, losing several lives. They emerged victorious with the dawn of morning, bloody but unbowed and proud!

Its all present in the movie – the macho soldierly things, the heavy-handed humour, the backslappings, aggression towards new recurits, the daredevilry and the do-or-die attitude. The sequences where the soldiers are waiting for the war, have a slice of life quality in them.

The music in the movie also very nicely and effortlessly displays the loneliness of the long-distance soldier who’s only link to home and loved ones who pray and long for their safe return is a precious letter.

 

 

 

Zakhm…

Zakhm is about the personal and political conflicts reflecting the anguish of the film-maker and the people impacted and divided by communal friction.

Zakhm is about Hindus and Muslims, communal divide and divisive politics, love and longing, life and death. It is remarkably one of the best movies of the year. It has the courage to address the issues which most of us prefer avoiding.

The protagonist, Ajay Devgan, as he watches his mother take her last breath, flashes back to the past. Even as a boy, he has known that religion kills. His mother, a Muslim lived a half-life, because his father, a Hindu, could not legalize the relationship. Even in death she is nearly denied dignity because her other son, oblivious to her identity, involved in a fundamentalist Hindu organization, insists on having her last rites as a Hindustani aurat.

The conflicts are real. So are the concerns. The drama ensures that we have a Muslim woman in a Christian hospital surrounded by Hindu activists.

With Zakhm, Mahesh Bhatt proves conclusively that he is talking about life as he has lived it.

Life in a metro…

Nine months ago, I moved from Bangalore to the city of dreams,Mumbai. Confused but at the same time hopeful about having made the right choice- of stepping out of my comfort zone, taking a whole new path in my career and being successful in the same.

Initial few weeks, I missed Bangalore and the simpler life here a lot. But gradually with time I started getting used to Mumbai and the fact paced life there. The local trains, the chai from the tapri wala and the evening walks by the seaside at carter road became a routine. I’ve gotten so used to them, now that I’m in Bangalore barely for a few days and I miss them already.

I’ve experience living in Delhi as well, but life in Mumbai is very different. You get addicted to living here. While your living area might not be as big, but the city welcomes you with really wide open arms and makes you feel at home in no time.

When I moved in here, I was so sure that by the end of the academic year, I would surely move back to Bangalore as that was my city, my home. But now that the time is nearing I am as confused as I was while leaving from Bangalore. There’s something about this city which does not let you go, won’t let you move on…

While I’m confident and glad about my new career choice made, I really don’t know if I will be able to accept Bangalore completely as my city again.

And now I understand the feelings and sentiments of my friends who during graduation had moved to Bangalore from Mumbai. Now I understand, why Mumbai really is their and now meri jaan as well! 🙂

Hum Tum…

‘Hum tum mein sirf ek hi problem hai…

ki tumhare bina hum adhoore hai’

Hum Tum is truly Bollywood’s first rom-com. Unlike Hollywood, the idea that a boy and girl could meet, have their own unique form of attraction and think about their future together was unknown to Bollywood. After having hundreds of Hindi movies in which love at first sight was the only time the couple exchanged few stolen glances before being led to the mandap and take the customary path there on, Hum Tum comes as a refresher where the boy and the girl don’t jump from like to love in a flash.

Rhea and Karan are at the centre of the narrative in the movie. They’re given their own time, just the two of them to do stuff that regular people do – chat, flirt. And the movie keeps steering plot points for them to keep meeting, leaving and coming back again.

The actors chosen for the lead have done a brilliant job playing their parts. Saif is perfectly cast as the spoilt brat wannabe cartoonist Karan, who thinks playing silly pranks is the best way to get a girl’s attention. And Rani Mukherji as Rhea, who first chases him off, then blows him off again and then takes a long, considering look at him is a great fit and is a complete natural. The two play their parts well together. Its like they’re not just mouthing their dialogues at each other; they’re talking to each other.

Although the cartoon characters who keep popping up every now and then get irritating after a while, you can still crack a smile when you see Rhea and Karan do their thing in a cute manner.

The locations add to the high visual appeal of the movie.