Category Archives: Personal

The Calling – Unleash Your True Self By Priya Kumar a book review

calling_

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Books That Inspire; 1St Edition edition (2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 935258970X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9352589708

At the outset let me thank the author and her team for a very personal way that they sent the book. Yeah that beautiful mug too.

Ever since that I have been following her on twitter and other social media, its has been a great way of looking at her work.

Here let’s look at the book The Calling – Unleash Your True Self, her latest one in print, I am sure she is working on the next, the cover design was a give-away on that.

In everyone’s life there is a purpose and we live half our life not knowing if we are working towards that or if we even think about it. This book will reveal that there is a calling everyone needs to heed. The one calling that will make all the difference and gives you meaning in life. The story of Arjun a corporate honcho who comes across some surprises and ends up doing a trek to Hemakund.

Along the way he gets answers to some of the most perenially thought of pretenses that we have acquired for ourselves. Confusions that we were thinking as clear answers simply because we want to assure ourselves that everything is fine.

Even the so called meditation that we know has a different connotation at that height, if I may put it that way. The heights of the mountains are in a way an ideal to suggest that meaning might differ and you might get to know something that you always thought you know.

The best part is we want to escape from this mundane existance of family for some, career for some and literally run away from all this and expect answers to be what we are and find out the real us.

Quite often till the time we come across those moments of calling all those activities that are tagged spiritual have a totally different meaning and perspectives. Those moments come unasked and unexpected and thats the beauty of this.

The characterisation of Arjun, then Chandu and the sadhu all make for a nice reading and well to get the most of the book I think it should be read and digested and made notes of.

The author has a way with words and its quite straight to the reader and that makes this book easy and relatable to everyone at first instance. We probably don’t know what & how things will be, but if we know the true calling I am sure that will have a bearing on the way we look at this world, the way we interact and they way we live our lives.

We are all Arjuns except that we are in a different role professionally / personally but then the Calling is there for everyone of us.

A great read! You can buy the book here at Amazon or Flipkart.

Senthilkumar

PS: Thanks to the author Priya Kumar for this opportunity and for that wonderful personal message of yours in the book. Feeling happy and that mug will sure serve the message time and again.

Friendships are for life… Yaroon Ki Baraat!

Three idiots

Three Idiots :P L to R: GopaKumar, Me & Karthikeyan

It’s been long years of friendship, say we have known each other for over 30 years and except for a brief period in between we have always been in touch. When we look back, it has not been the one of the best goody type besties we are known for, but what we know of each other is the fact that we respect each other for what each one is, as an individual, probably that makes this relationship more special.

We talk about the people in our lives and also about those who missed out on that. Quite often we share the same empathy when it comes to people and their issues and how we can help.

We were a generation which sang this song Mustafa Mustafa…

We have been through tough times, some real tough times literally in terms of personal (esp mine) and professional life. And through that we could take in what is the best and come out trumps and even today those are the moments that we relish simply because we didn’t have control over what was happening but yes we stood our ground to do what we intended and only what we love to do.

An ideal situation which presented before us to say: times do change. A tea stall / bakery that we used to frequent and a part time office place in our not so good days is now replaced by a big apartment, a telling fact that times do change and we should not lose hope. Being together in testing times perhaps is the most important thing for us. Probably that event taught us that change is the only constant.

The careers changed for better and now we are entrepreneurs (so I think) and professionals in a way. The practical aspect of running a business and the way how it affects your looking at life is also another lesson we both learnt in different spheres and contexts.

I know friendship across ages has defined only one thing for sure- being trustworthy and reliable and more so to be frank if you ask me. Those traits make or break a relationship. Standing by you is a phrase you will understand when the worst happens and there are people standing beside you inspite of all things broken around you.

kuselanThis would have been a slice of life for every one in the world. There is a beautiful and a successful movie in Malayalam titled – Kadhaparayumbol starring veteran actor Mamooty and the most versatile Srinivasan in lead roles. Perhaps the untold story there is that Mamooty donning a super star role as Ashokan has his friend in his memories ever so long. That he decides to bare his past to the audience is the climax that makes people teary eyed making it must watch movie. So moved was the Superstar Rajnikanth that he wanted it remade in Tamil which unfortunately bombed at the box office.

It might not be that the friendship is a toast or talk of the town but the richness lies in it being simple or in its simplicity sometimes. And that you can be taken for granted inspite of years that go by even without being in contact.

Wedding...L to R: Me, Gopa & Suresh

Now I am waiting to watch the stories of friendship that made the silver screens much larger than life and people longed to see the duos winning every time in reel and in real. ZEE TV’s Yaaron Ki Baraat looks promising to give us some real stories probably we have never heard before on friendship. The Show will celebrate friendship through a test and fun way and I can easily imagine how its gonna be on screen. Quite possible for the fact that we have taken friendship for granted.

PS: The two pictures at the dining hall are years apart but the common factor to it is having the lunch after the show is over. :)

Best Sports biopic in Bollywood

I know this week saw MS Dhoni the Untold story release. It might be nice to sit and watch the movie with Sushant Singh donning the lead role and doing the batting with a flourish like only MS Dhoni can do.

Travel back some days if you remember the flying Sikh, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and the way Farhan Akthar transformed himself to get to the speed Milkha Singh did. It’s not that easy as donning a regular role for any other kind of movie. These characters are about grit and determination and getting to the role in the finesse that can be seen physically tough and emote the way as a sports man would be a great stuff.

The likes of Mary Kom and Milka Singh is a great inspiration for biopics, and this trend should continue so that many generation to come can have a look at how these greats contributed to the sports.

Also some bio pics like Azhar could have been handled better in my view. The Dhoni becoming a raging success is an attribute to the man himself.

But what of those sweat and training of the likes of Priyanka who did the Mary Kom part or Sushant Singh Rajput who did Dhoni or Farhan Akthar who did Bhaag Milka Bhaag.

It needs the same strength and tensile ability to bring life to those characters which would be lifeless without the intensity that comes to ghe fore in a real sport. That perhaps is the challenge that these actors come upto. Farhan Akthar’s role as Milka Singh will remain one of the best performances in his career as an ode to the man who missed the medal.

Coming back to Sushant Singh here, he really would have loved being a cricketer after the movie it can easily be judged not  as to how he has evolved as an actor but as a cricketer. I would bet if he can be bought over in a an IPL he would be an easy target from some of the best teams.

Imagine getting into Captain cools shoes, you will know what I am talking about. Probably getting to terms in executing a helicopter shot would perhaps been one of the biggest challenge that’s so Dhonisque.

The success of biopics is the ability to get the audience inspired and it need not be all the time at the movie but even if there is a 1% inspiration that counts because we don’t know how it will playout in an individuals life.

As regards the physical regimen it makes it all the more alluring and that’s one component that’s a lifetime for a sportsman but a year or so for the actor. Here read this story of Sushant Singh and  have a look at this video!

The search for Indias Most Loved CEO

CEO

CEOs are of different varieties and what better way to recognise them than with a apt title of the India’s Most Loved CEO! There is a sense of excitement and a sense of pride when you see him across the table. A role model refined in a way that you always try to emulate him. All that and more happens. But now it’s time to express those emotions and unleash your love/respect for the CEO in a way make it memorable for both of you. There’s a hunt now for India’s Most Loved CEO. And you just need to nominate your most loved CEO and with real reasons ofcourse why you consider him or why your organisation considers him as the Most Loved one!

But hey wait am clueless as much as you are who this is going to be. Again who is the one, who gets to be the Most loved CEO. Answers to these questions will be there at http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/

So it’s time to log in http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/ and guess who is India’s most loved CEO. Lot of prizes await you, you could end up with a Moto G or Flipkart vouchers. Just not only that you could be featured on the website – your moment of fame beckons you.

That man in shining armour at the most important time in your life! That could be the best description of the most loved CEO. Now time to spread the word and participate in the process as they unveil them in a few days to go. You could share a bit on your CEO so the world joins in celebrating him.

On the other side am anxious, as much as you are to know how he is going to be selected and will that be a poll or nominations and more. It’s time to watch out and wait for the curtain to go up in 4 days and find out who is India’s Most Loved CEO.

Now what are you waiting go check out and see who is the one and only #IndiasmostlovedCEO…

As for nominations it’s not just the CEO that every company has, he is the CEO in real sense! Time now to go guess who that is!!!

Senthilkumar

Can there be India’s most loved CEO ????

indiasmostlovedceoThe word CEO evokes a myriad of emotions for me, and there is pretty good reasons for the same. And when there’s a contest for IndiasmostlovedCEO, it makes for some real action both online and offline, to get the drift continue reading.

CEO make or break things for an organisation, he is more than a leader, manager and sometimes a friend rolled into one. I know you must have felt that right. And personally there are many people who have had a role in making me understand who is a CEO and what is he made of? There were some who taught me, some who directed me and some compassionate ones, you get a mix of all. There are impacts and there are just small overtures in dealing with people.

But then we need to ask can we ever have a contest, and if there is one how do we decide who’s the most loved one at that!

Who could be the most loved CEO ever? Everyone has different answers and can those thoughts meet and could we have someone rock the place as the #IndiasMostLovedCEO. This brings to mind lot of names, suggestion in particular like that of NR Narayanamurthy or APJ Abdul Kalam.

I have had a CEO who blazed a racing track, no guesses though. There are times when you can talk to him and get an answer for some question you thought don’t have answers! It’s like he has answers for everything!

So would your CEO qualify for the best or the most loved one? Would you be nominating the person who made a difference in your life and how exactly are they going to be ranked or chosen. This is for real and I just can’t wait to see that unravel as we go in the days to come…

Sometime I do feel if there could be most loved CEO. That’s an irony if he is able to keep folks happy and the board members happy, but could that be possible, may be yes or no.

As we debate this, lets check this out and see for yourself how CEOs have shaped careers, personal lives and destiny of a lot of people. Go straight here http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/ Check out and join in the race, nominate your CEO, and chances are you will be walking away with goodies and more importantly you would be noticed by your most loved CEO.

Senthilkumar

Ganesh by Subhadra Sen Gupta #bookreview

Ganesh

Welcome to the land of stories, the land which presented the Mahabharata the longest epic ever written. It has so many stories that we know of and so many stories that we don’t know of. Quite incidentally the book that we now are reviewing is of Ganesh.

Ganesh the son of Shiva and Parvathy is the celebrated God in Indian mythology and has expressions in being the remover of all obstacles and we know how grand is the celebration of Ganesh in Maharashtra which has come to symbolise the way Ganesh is celebrated.

The best facet of our Indian storytelling is you could have many an interpretation and many a twist and take in the way the story is presented. That’s the reason we have so many interpretations of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

In this book the story of how Ganesh lost his head is an endearing one. In south it was believed that Shiva was not allowed entry to see Parvathy by Ganesh since he was keeping a watch firmly doing what his mother told him to do. Never let anyone inside till I am done with my bath. Ganesh took this seriously and Shiva has no inkling that the child was Parvathy’s making and he when obstructed to see his own wife, cuts the lad’s head off in anger, only to be told by Parvathy that it her kid and he has done total injustice to the boy.

Now the elephant with its head towards the north was the alternative that we have as common. In this narrative we do have a big ceremony to celebrate and then there is the Shani coming and looking at Ganesh and he gets the head burnt. Therein lies the interpretation of Shani being a part of the story.

A classical story for night read for the kids and the way its has been illustrated makes for interesting read aloud stuff for the kids.

A new story and a new interpretation is always welcome. The kids I am sure will relish this illustrations and storytelling through the pictures.

Each of the four stories are embedded with nice instances that are easily assimilated by the young audience. The illustrations deserve a great appreciation that has the comic effect and also a story telling way.

The story of Mahabharata is also a nice one wherein Ganesh decides to pull off his tusk to keep writing on the palm leaves.

The illustration by Tapas Gupta add a very nice touch to the already fascinating story of Ganesh.

I enjoyed this book for kids and i tried keeping this book around kids and saw they were pretty involved because of the format.

The author and the illustrator deserve every praise for the work that they have done and it sure will be a great way to introduce them to Ganesh with stories that make for fun reading.

Really makes sense #LaundryGoesOddEven

At home you would be surprised to know Dad is in-charge of the washing machine.

Mom had developed a bit of arthritis and that meant less water work to be on the safer side and that made Dad step in. And the BPL semi automatic washing machine was the place. The drier had stopped working but it meant little for the kind of clothes that we had. Essentially it was the washing that was important and the Ariels of the world had made way into our life. That green coloured package yes if you can imagine.

Some three years earlier, we added a new washing machine  from Samsung stable and it was fully automatic and fuzzy control the tech term came with it.

So the work would be to put this on, and then the whole process is completed and just need to put them on the clothesline. Ideally Dad’s work remained the same.

The BPL still is a horse that keeps going, used for normal clothes and beds and blankets etal, the second washing is done on hand and this is once in a while when Dad takes over here again.

My tryst with washing started when I started staying alone in Delhi in 2010 and it continued when back home, Mom and Dad went to see our sister at US. Its continuing odd and even if i can say that and take care that do it once a week and help out with the clothes.

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I would even suggest that it need not be #LaundryGoesOddEven it could be that we could take over the whole thing. I can tell you from my experience that its a kind of nirvana to finish the whole chore and satisfying because you have done your work in a way. If it means that it can help your other half it is definitely a big plus.

So it can be odd even division of work but whenever possible even it out for your better half!

So when I watched this ad, I think the times are changing with more nucleus family in the cities this is the way to go and the kids will learnt that it takes two to tango well even to do laundry!

And when I got a chance to do this  #LaundryGoesOddEven challenge it was absolutely happy moment to share and gave my mom her full deserved rest.

I am taking part in the #LaundryGoesOddEven Challenge by Ariel India at BlogAdda and thanks P&G for the pack of Ariel Matic!

Senthilkumar

Stone or Statue

A stone lay there on the roadside,
None would care to look,
Nor was there any sculptor who took;
It to his imagined world aside.

It lay still for days unseen,
A burden for the earth it had been.
For all who saw it black and hard,
Had never tried to become a bard.

Time did pass, till one day a man;
Saw this large stone as everyone can.
But he saw something more in,
That into his dream world he took the stone in.

Then day and night he worked on,
Till he felt tired and torn.
And for days did he toil,
Like a farmer who does for his soil.

He carved and carved till,
It did his picture fill.
Then, one fine day when he finished-
The people gathered there were astonished.

All gazed and gazed, yet one
Curious, and worthy of none,
Asked the sculptor how he had been,
Able to see the form in the rock hardly seen.

Answered the humble sculptor “I see,
Also the Almighty Lord in thee”.

Senthilkumar R

(Based on stories – Circa 1993)

#SoftestForBabySkin Six ways to a soft baby skin

Now is the time when we are expecting not one addition to the family but two. Spaced apart within one month I am going to be an Uncle to two kids. One for the younger sister and another for my brother also younger who will welcome the new kid into the family.

And I went writing this in a space of a week in between one angel has already arrived on this earth and is now the cynosure of all eyes. Now waiting for the other to give a tough challenge to this angel, though they shall be miles apart in distance the charm will be felt everywhere.

Looks like I was trained to do the bit of baby sitting, when I attended the Pampers event during the WIN 15 at JW Sahar hosted by Blogadda. That was a great show a very nice event which set the tempo by none other that the favorite Mandira Bedi on stage and the experts sharing their expertise and a blogger added to the list.

We had a live test, blind test to check which is the softest and viola over 90 % of the people got it right and the unveiling was the first time in India Pampers Premium care pants.

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Ok as I was pondering over all these, we had prepared a lot for the kids homecoming. So let me go one by one for the soft skin that we want for our children.

coconut-oil-skin

Coconut oil: Do a bit of research around you and find if you can get hand on pure coconut oil from the mill. Coconut oil is one of the best softeners and moisturizers in its pristine form. So I was lucky to have my friend who keeps loading me with 4 litres every year from his farm which is only used for hair care. Now we are getting that for the baby care. The best will be virgin coconut oil, clear and pure as it can get. You can oil the baby once in two days, the new skin of the baby needs enough moisture and has to be perfect dry a balance that a coconut oil can deliver. It helps from preventing rashes and keep the skin smooth.

You could also try Lakshadi Coconut Oil which is made for kids.

Fenugreek-and-Green-Gram

Green Gram Powder: (Payaru Podi) So this is one more home made and traditional stuff that was done at home. All you need is plain green gram. You can also add the following few tulsi leaves, a bit of turmeric (kasturi manjal) – very small piece when you grind them. Ofcourse wash them clean and dry them in the sun for a day or so. Don’t peel off the green gram, when you have dried it enough, then grind them to a fine flour. Once done store it in a dry clean air tight container.

Mix it with plain lukewarm water, add rose water for better effect during baths. We can start using them from 15 days after birth.

Summer-Woven-Dress-Kids-Clothes-100-Cotton

Cotton clothing: Use soft cotton clothing loose fitments and preferably with knots and no hooks and buttons or zippers. They will be less friction on the baby skin. Use new clothing after a good wash. You could use your bathing soap to wash to make the cotton clothing more softer when you wash the kids clothes. Always use cotton clothing that will make the skin breathe very easily. We have now a dozen set of cotton wear for the kids!

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Sun care: Sun care is an important part of keeping the skin healthy for babies. If you intend to get the baby used to sunlight do so in the early mornings when the sun rays are not straight and when they are soft and just the light without the heat attached to the sun. Please avoid going out after 10 and till say 4 pm and stay indoors and have an amply lit and ventilated room for the baby. This will ensure better skin care both smooth and fair. You could use sunscreen that are meant for baby skin and test for any allergy before using them.

The-importance-of-skincare

Pampers:  While I have been dallying with traditional methods and this time I am gonna set the best solution especially this is very sensitive part of a baby, the nappy area .  With new diapers from Pampers who know kids than anyone else, you could be rest assured on this front. They have only getting better by the day so much so we have an indicator for us to remind that the diapers are due for change in a day. Now you know how easy it is to care for your kids and let the skin be dry and clean. Am adding a couple of do’s for you to get the best for your baby.

As a general rule of thumb, you could change your baby’s nappy either just before or right after each feed, after every bowel movement, before bed and when they wake up after a long sleep. It may also be worth putting a fresh nappy on them just before setting off for an outing.

Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy.

Senthilkumar

If you are wondering what is the sixth idea, that’s again Pampers! Repeat that without fail.

#madeofgreat Narain Karthikeyan and my boss

nk

There comes a time in your life when you would say yes without looking at any rational things like how far will it hold and will this help you in your career, etc. That moment was when I was offered to join Narain Karthikeyan as his Manager way back in 2004.

Those people who noticed the Formula 1 calendar were considered a bit elitist. This was a sport which is one of super human endurance to say the least. I remember the ode by a Hindu columnist when Narain started his first race at Melbourne Australia. You get to see the bit of the eyes thorough the visor, his head nodding through the corners as if he is enjoying a song on the car at speeds that you can only imagine but cant live in reality.

But this is not about the Narain that we know once he started racing in F1 circa 2005. But well it about those traits that made him scale that peak of being the first F1 driver ever from a billion Indians, truly #madeofgreat.

There is a saying that some are born great and some make themselves great, quite a rarity that these two go together. Born in a family of noble men / dewans if you know there are no titles these days, Narain comes from a family which has a legacy of textile mills, an education conglomerate and ofcourse a champion rally driver as dad. As if these were not enough Coimbatore was also the motorsports capital of the country.

The road to the legacy or history was not an easy one. There is a saying that an overnight success is a result of years of hardwork and dedication to the goal that one is attached to.

Coming back to my learnings, there were many aspects but I will restrict it to few awesome qualities that will hold us to greatness.

Focus

There is a story in Mahabharatha. The guru Dronacharya is among his pupils, he has set a target for his wards in archery. So he asks everyone to take an aim. One by one the students take aim and when Drona asks them what do they see, he gets different answers, like there is a tree, there is a branch, there is a parrot and it is green in colour and the like. It was the turn of Arjuna, when asked what did he see, he answered ‘Gruruji, the eyes of the parrot.’

That was knowing what you are upto, being precise and I have seen this focus on mission mode in Narain, the lifetime ambition burning bright, to be in Formula 1. I saw it clear and loud, whenever someone asked him what is he upto. Probably no one had an iota of belief that it would be possible at some time in the distant future. He knew he wanted to be there and as specific as to be in the Formula 1 where his role models Ayrton Senna and Micheal Schumacher raced. The best part he was happy to be racing alongside Micheal Schumacher that year when he made the debut. The icing was Schumi was in his rear view mirror when Narain made the best of the rain hit qualifying and well if you know Narain was always a master racer in the rain. No rain could stop Narain!

Self Confidence

Quite often in life, its with the measure of what others say that we decide our lives, not with what we are or what we could be. I learnt this lesson straight from him. Well there is a a borderline difference about self confidence and over confidence though. It more about not letting others let influence you on your path of success. If you were to be led by others in the country then I am sure we would not have had the first F1 driver in India. You know what you are doing and that’s the most important part of your life. Be very clear on that and well you are confidence personified. The best part is that you cannot put on confidence, and that will show badly. So every time when people almost wrote off he would bounce back with a show of best results to be on podium in the racing series he was on. Never allow any one to affect your self confidence. It has to be intact and it has to be boosted with every step that gets you back.

And when you are confident I am sure the world will conspire to get it done and make it happen. It was the confidence in Narain that saw him go through all the years of hardwork from testing with Jaguar, Honda and Minardi and landing up at Midland F1. It was quite a long way literally if you know he tested for Jaguar in 2001 its so long ago in F1 terms.

Excellence

Excellence is never an accident and it holds true to the way Narain made it happen. You know you need to be the best in the trade you are at. If you yearned to be a racer you got be racing at the pinnacle of motorsport F1. Nothing less would do. And its an art of fine tuning oneself to reach the goal. Its nearly impossible for Bolt to do what he does on the Olympic arena coming out of bed. It was all hard work and sheer tenacity that holds you there. So too was Narain’s path loaded with hard work and keeping him fit and not losing sight of what he wants to do and where he wants to go. One of those things that surely will #makeyougreat.

Perseverance

As you might be aware this sport of F1 is exacting one when it comes to physical fitness. And I have seen him in action when he had his own national racing teams his affinity to physical fitness was there for all to see. You need to be at the gym / workout everyday. You can skip a day or take time off. Your dream or vision needs to be like that. You know if there is a drop the average of your performance take a hit so much so that you need to work twice that effort to make it average your result.

Never let it go, I have never seen him miss his gym session and when people ask me why is he not stopping from racing some series or other, it helps you be in the thick or thin, except the format is different but you need to be fit in the rightest way if I may put it. Keep doing it till we achieve the result, making it worthwhile.

Humility

There is a saying that the moment you think you are humble it gone for a six, well the last part going for six is my contribution, its gone thats it. Be humble at all times I don’t have to narrate any incident because he is one, whatever the achievement, it was like that equilibrium of that lotus leaves that waves cannot override.

I know I can write on many of the traits of Narain say charity and the like, but these have had me in good stead and helped me overcome my personal challenges quite often. That everlasting impact is what I have been able to pass it on to those who I have come in contact, so the life becomes better for the future.

It been a nice way of looking back and thanks so much to this hashtag #madeofgreat. Do check out more here http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

I leave you with this video too!

Senthilkumar

PS: its no sheer coincidence that TATA Motors was his principal sponsor that day when he made over 1.2 billion Indians proud, probably only TATA Motors could identify someone #madeofgreat.