Tag-Archive for » Blogging contest «

Tuesday, June 01st, 2010 | Author:

Once upon a time, I decided to shoot how seriously people work in a company named Veda Informatics. We wanted to shoot people’s focus towards their work, how they met deadlines and how they adhered to the age old theorem which says Work is God. However, the video became a goof up as we could not find any serious stuff, however, wat we did find was one of the most important truth of professional life. We named this journey as In Search of Some Serious Stuff.

Sunday, February 08th, 2009 | Author:

After launching the Blogging Contest, it was not possible for me to duck out of it, especially after making fun of “big boss” and how he will not be able to write the blog on time, etc. I knew it would be a disaster to not submit a blog at all. This was evident immediately after I missed the first milestone of submitting the blog… he already started taunting me. Old married couples do that sometimes; I mean taunting. Don’t get any ideas! All I mean is that he is old and he has been married long enough to pick up some bad habits from the institution. (Must be some Nerd who coined the phrase ‘marriage is an institution’… Nerds hate institutions!).

Now, the real question was about writing…

So far, whatever contribution I have made to Veranda or the Veda Blog, I was never under pressure to perform i.e. to think about a topic and write. This was my first time (I am talking about writing). So, just before the last date of submitting the topic I selected a topic i.e. ‘My Friends and Me’ or ‘Me and My Friends.’ I don’t even remember what the topic was. I thought I would write about our college days and bring in some angle of social networking, etc. Phhhsss!… that didn’t work at all! When I actually started writing, I could not go beyond one paragraph. Not that my school or college days were uneventful, but I am not very proud of anything meaningful that happened 🙂 You know what I mean… Eh? (I know what you are thinking… you are Bad!).

Kudos to the content team! I wonder how they do it everyday; take a topic and just write about it. Another question that I always had about the content team was, why is it that girls are more successful content writers than boys?  After much thinking I was able to put 2 + 2 together and the answer was obviously 5. The content team mostly has girls and any married MAN will agree that girls are good at cooking… or to make it more clear… in “cooking up.” I mean I hardly remember any incident that my wife is very confident took place in our first few years of marriage. So, obviously some cooking of stories is taking place.

Anyway! I was not able to write on the topic I selected. So I am back to square one and now I don’t have a blog or a topic.

On a philosophical note, the need to perform is created by oneself, isn’t it? If I stop thinking about what others will think, pressure goes away and after that everything you do, every decision you make is made with a clear mind. No pressure!

Monday, February 02nd, 2009 | Author:

What could be a better way to unwind after a hectic day than with some heavy petting? Now, now, this is a family blog site – would I be suggesting what you just thought? What I meant was that personal experience and tons of research over the years show that a pet can be an enormous stress-buster. As Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” We all could do with some unconditional love each day, don’t you think?

I’m an animal lover and find it difficult to restrain myself, especially when confronted with baby animals. Can anyone remain indifferent when confronted with a litter of frolicking puppies? We’ve always had at least one dog at home. There were a few memorable years in my adolescence when my grandmother had six dogs of various breeds running around the house. I believe that all my adolescent angst was made more tolerable because of these dogs. Each time I was sad, had a fight or was generally put out, I would sit by myself and one of the dogs would find me and stay with me, unquestioningly, till I felt better and was ready to face the world again. They never judged me, never expected me to say something intelligent or even ask for attention. All they wanted to do was to be there with me. Can you imagine such unconditional support from anyone else?

My favourite portrayal of the limitless love of animals and man is exemplified in the video clip below:

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace. – Milan Kundera

Then there was my first Labrador, Lucy. She seemed almost human in her understanding of what was happening around her. Each time my mother and I had one of our frequent battle of wills, she would rush between us, stroking each person in turn with her paw and licking our hands to calm us down. She would sit by me and lick away my tears while I coped with the travails of teenage life. I sincerely believe that only a dog has that special way of making you feel loved and needed and of telling you that you might just be the most wonderful person on this planet. Such is a dog’s love for its human. The dog doesn’t want anything in return.

One experience I will never forget is when my dog saved my daughter’s life. We had this huge German Shepherd, Tarzan, who we fondly thought of as our guard dog. He was scared of firecrackers, smoke and even puppies, but in the minds of his loving parents (my husband and I) he was this fierce watchdog with a loud bark. One afternoon, while I was upstairs napping in my bedroom and my daughter was entertaining herself playing in the garden, I heard Tarzan barking relentlessly. He usually did not bark this way. He seemed to be extremely troubled by something and my first thought was that my 4-year-old was trying to kill him! I quickly went down to investigate and found Tarzan standing between my daughter and a Cobra, who was ready to strike. I almost fainted. My daughter was intrigued by the snake that had somehow managed to find a way into our garden. Tarzan had sensed its presence and kept barking at it so that it could come no further towards the house. My daughter was standing 2 feet behind Tarzan with her ball, as though she had just missed playing with the snake because of the dog’s intervention. While Tarzan kept the snake busy, I took my daughter away and managed to call the watchman. After this, the watchman took over, caught the snake and took it away. Tarzan immediately calmed down and so did I.

Tarzan saves the day!

Tarzan saves the day!

But it isn’t just dogs who can be a man’s best friend. Any pet can have that stress-relieving effect on you. I’ve kept fish and turtles and for a short while I even had a cat. I could spend hours just staring at the fish swim lazily through the aquarium. It was such a soothing feeling. The cat was more of a challenge because unlike dogs who think the human is GOD, cats think that they are GOD and we are there to serve them. So having the cat jump up on my lap and curl up to get her belly scratched was a feeling similar to having climbed Mt. Everest – I had won the love of a feline!!

One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why.  ~Author Unknown

You don’t have to take my word for it – just look at the vast body of research that supports the positive effects of owning a pet or even spending time with an animal on the mind and body. A study by researchers at UCLA School of Public Health has demonstrated conclusively that men living with AIDS who owned a pet suffered significantly lower degrees of depression than those who did not own a pet. Not only the companionship offered by the animal but the exercise involved in walking a dog or cleaning up after birds and cats helped keep the men with AIDS active and happier than those who did not need to look after a pet.

Similarly, there are numerous studies that vouch for the fact that having a pet at home actually helps lower blood pressure, alleviate feelings of loneliness and increase social support by helping us meet other animal lovers when we walk the dog. A study of 92 patients who had recently suffered from angina or a heart attack reveals that while 28% of the patients who did not own pets died within the next one year, only 6% of the patients with pets suffered a similar fate.

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.  ~George Eliot

There is nothing more comforting than pups snuggling against you

Almost like something out of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a study also found that patients who watched fish swimming in an aquarium during oral surgery experienced greater degree of relaxation (as measured through blood pressure and muscle tension readings). Pet therapy has been used for several years now, with trained animals visiting various nursing homes, hospitals and hospices in the US on a regular basis. The patients exposed to pet therapy not only reported a positive impact on their sense of well being but doctors also found marked alleviation of symptoms and faster recovery in these patients. Trained dogs have been helping children with learning disabilities learn to read. Children with autism have also found to benefit through interactions with animals.

If you take a dog which is starving and feed him and make him prosperous, that dog will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a dog and a man. – Mark Twain

This irrefutable body of evidence brings me to the next question – How do I know what pet is best for me? You can choose from dogs, cats, birds, fish and even mice and hamsters. The kind of pet you opt for should suit your lifestyle, preferences and temperament. After all, we don’t want to add to the existing stress levels by choosing a pet that needs more attention that you are able to take time out for. You also need to ensure that the pet you choose is suitable for your living space. For instance, a large dog would be a menace in a small flat.

You would also need to get information about food and medical care the pet would need, the cost involved and whether you are comfortable taking on the additional responsibility and cost. The best place to get information is by visiting a neighbourhood vet. There is also extensive information available on the net. Also remember to consult your doctor regarding any allergies that you or your family members might experience. Many people are allergic to dog and cat hair.

There also are a lot of misconceptions about various animals, which need to be rectified at home before you bring in a pet. No dog will bite unless provoked and a dog’s lick does not infect you with germs.

Hugging someone can only spread love not germs

And talking about misconceptions, let me tell you about the time when my daughter bit the dog. Remember, the fierce guard dog, Tarzan? My daughter was about 3 years old at this time and she loved playing dogs, except she had her rules! For instance, the Labrador wasn’t allowed to lick her face although her face was at the same height as the dog’s face and therefore the most accessible part of her body. I once caught this strange interaction between Maya (my daughter) and Zoe (the Labrador). Zoe would lick her face, Maya would slap her in response, so Zoe would lick her again to apologize, so Maya would slap her again and this went on for about 10 minutes till I stopped them. But I am digressing. I wanted to tell you about how Maya bit the guard dog! At this time of her life, Tarzan was taller than Maya but loved her nonetheless. He loved being with her and have her treat him like a horse, ball catcher and general guinea pig. On this particular occasion that I want to recount, Tarzan kept nudging Maya with his head to play with him but she was busy colouring and so kept pushing him away. But he was persistent and kept nudging her till she got really fed up and turned around and bit his neck, tearing away a chunk of hair in her teeth. Poor Tarzan was in shock and tried to lick Maya to pacify her. I, of course, ran to wash her mouth and give her a piece of my mind – humans don’t bite dogs and that’s a cardinal rule.

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.  ~Robert Benchley

Coming back to my personal experience, I find that the cost really isn’t that much, and certainly massively outweighed by the benefits. I have also seen the benefits owning a pet has had on my daughter. It has helped her focus on something beyond her own needs, made her take responsibility on her young shoulders and feel a sense of achievement through her efforts at looking after the pets. I believe these are irreplaceable learning experiences and I know that they will stand her in good stead as she grows up and interacts with the world at large. The greatest achievement I think has been that my daughter has developed a sense of compassion and love that I rarely see in children her age. When we go out shopping, Maya always makes sure we visit a pet store and bring home some chewy things for the dogs. She always insists on going with us whenever we need to visit the vet, just to ensure that the dogs were getting the proper treatment! And she is unable to see a hurt animal on the road. I am a better person because of Maya’s concern for the well being of animals at this tender age of five.

So let me leave you to think about how you can lead a longer, happier and healthier life by owning a pet with this quote:

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.  ~Author Unknown

As a parting shot, enjoy the “Animal Song” by Savage Garden to some of the cutest animal pictures in the video clip below:


Sunday, February 01st, 2009 | Author:

“Think cold.” That’s what I used to say to myself (in my mother’s voice) every time something went wrong. It probably wasn’t meant to be a motto, but it evolved into one… not just a motto, but a way of life, a philosophy. But I am getting ahead of myself. So, let me step back a few years to explain.

When I was a child, we lived in an area where not having electricity for six to ten hours a day was not unusual. In the heat of the Delhi summer, just when we were ready to get into bed, everything would go dark. And we would prepare for another night of having to sleep without even a fan. Whenever I complained about the heat, my mother would say (most unmoved by my plight), “Think cold.” That was her way of saying, “Yes, I know it’s hot. Yes, it’s miserable to sweat through the night. But there is nothing we can do about it. Complaining will only make it worse.” So, I would lie down and think of swimming in a pool or of drinking a cold glass of lemonade. And guess what. It actually stopped being hot.

For more than a decade, I believed in that. Every time something went wrong, I would say to myself “THINK COLD.” And that philosophy made things better for me. You could say I was in the “blue” phase. Little did I realize that I had come to accept several things as “that’s how it’s always been” or “I can’t do anything about it.”

It was only when I was a little older that I began questioning things. I think that was my “red” phase. There was disgust and anger for how things were run in the country, the stringent rules that society had laid down for people to live by, the discrimination that was lashed out based on money, gender and color as well as the people who were not in the “questioning” mode. The rebellious phase had me totally discontent, very different from the “blue” phase.

Then one fine day, a beautiful thing happened. I was in the driver’s seat and I felt the fire from the sun on my face. It came to dawn on me that when things go wrong, it’s not always another who is responsible for fixing them. I am responsible. I began to seek out problems and greeted them with passion. And then made choices about which of them I would attempt at fixing. Somewhere between contentment and discontent lies orange… the fire that drives us to make the world a better place. If something angers us deeply or if we feel passionately about something going wrong, that’s the cue. The problems and shortcomings are there for us to take responsibility for and help fix.

I have chosen the wounds I want to dream of healing and the problems I wish to try alleviate. And now, when I see something going wrong… I have the faith that someone, somewhere is rolling up his sleeves to fix it… someone, somewhere is painting his face orange.

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 | Author:

Looking at the enormous response to the Veranda Blog, a brilliant idea occurred to me. (All my ideas are brilliant ideas until proven otherwise!). It was almost like a Eureka moment! Just that I was not in a bath tub and I didn’t shout Eureka! Eureka!

What is the IDEA?
The idea is to have a blogging contest for everyone in the content team and anyone who wants to participate from the Tech team, SEO team and other supposedly useful people in the organization like PMs, Management team, etc… In short, anyone can participate.

What will you write about?
You can write about anything that you are passionate about, but you will have to get the topic approved by the judges. This is to ensure two things 1) there is no repetition of topic 2) We have an even enough criterion to judge. You might argue that it is almost like what Henry Ford once said – “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black. “ Well, there cannot be any argument about this because.. I am the one who gets to set the rules because I am the one who had the brilliant Idea.

Topic can be in following areas( These are just suggestions.):

  1. Social media marketing
  2. Content writing –Passion or ART or Job
  3. Tips for writing tips etc
  4. Content management systems Drupal Vs Joomla etc

Other rules –

  1. All the blogs that you write will be published on Veda Blog
  2. Judges will look at a) How interesting your topic is b) How comprehensively you have covered the topic c) Of course, grammar and other content writing principals will be looked at d) Copy pasting will immediately disqualify your blog entry. We will check it through copyscape. e) You blog post is interesting enough that we read it completely etc. f) Size DOES matter!
  3. Judging criterion will also have your say in it i.e. everyone will be allowed to select their three blog posts (other than their own). Posts that get maximum votes as number 1 etc will be preferred by judges.
  4. Last date for topic submission is Jan 21. Last date for Blog post submission will be announced on Jan 21st.
  5. Judges are
  • Harish ( Man with the brilliant idea gets to be the judge)
  • Vikrant ( Friend of man with the brilliant idea/ He also has a choice of participating instead of judging)
  • Piyush ( Man with the brilliant idea has many friends and he keeps all his friends happy, besides I know Piyush will never write a Blog post by the last date)

6.)    Prizes are

  • Winners will be instantly famous
  • 100% salary hike promised (read the fine print if you can find it..)
  • Beyond this
    • First prize – Will be announced on Jan 21 – 2009
    • Second prize – Will be announced on Jan 21- 2009
    • Third prize – 2 Gold class tickets at PVR for movie of your choice (Gold class is only available at Select Citiwalk – Saket and Ambiance mall Gurgaon)

I could have announced this contest in fewer words but the idea of the contest is about creative writing, and I wanted to increase the word count also I didn’t want to sound boring. I am open to other ideas etc. You can comment on this post with any ideas that you have.