Frequently asked Interview Questions – Standard or Substandard???

There is one thing I hate about the HRs/Interviewers. I am not generalizing all of them. But some HRs/Interviewers mock (Either after the candidate has left or right on the candidate’s face) at the way prospects/candidates answer questions thinking that there is absolutely no flaw in the questions asked by them. This blog is from my experience after attending nearly 30 interviews till now and from my peers’ experiences. The questions that they pose and the answers that they expect really fuddle me.

When you want a concrete/specific answer, then the question asked must as well be specific. Here are some sample questions asked by interviewers.

Tell me about yourself:

There cannot be a more generic question than this. I can talk any crap that comes to my mind. If HRs/Interviewers expect the prospect to tell about his work experience, then the question must be “Tell me about your work experience”. If they expect something specific in ones work experience and if they want to know a little about the personal qualities, the question should be like “Tell me who are your clients, what you did for them and what tools you used in the project. Also, state some of your hobbies, soft skills that you have and your best positive qualities?” Wouldn’t this give clarity to the prospect as to what he should do?

If you ask about the prospect’s work experience, some will try to tell all the things that they have done and some might keep it crisp. The ultimate aim of the prospect will be to sell himself in a way that he thinks will fit the requirement. He just can’t predict what you expect or what is running on your mind.

Some interviewers cut short by showing faces and try to ask them about something else. In reality, how is the prospect supposed to know if the employer is looking for his soft skills, attitude towards things, work experience, mix of all etc. If it was the interviewer who asked the prospect “Tell me about yourself”, he has to pitch in every time and drive the prospect in such a way that he/she answers specific to his expectations.

You want the prospect to be confident. But when such a generic question is asked, the prospect is not sure about what you are expecting and how do you expect him to be very confident about what he is saying. Confidence comes only when there is clarity.

If the prospect is going to beat around the bush even after the question is specific, then that is different. Firstly, the HR/Interviewer has to take the onus of being specific. They just blindly cannot impute the fault to the prospects.

The primary reason why interviewers are not listening in a very involved manner when someone starts to tell about himself/herself is that they ask this question just for the sake of initiating. If the interviewer does some homework on what he wants as an answer to that question, he will surely drive the prospect towards that.

Where do you find yourself 5 years/10 years from now?

Do you know where you will find yourself next moment?

I once told that I want to be a soft skills trainer/child psychologist or I will be striving hard to become one when I was asked “Where do you find yourself 10 years from now”. The HR looked at me bizarrely and asked “how would this role help you achieve that.” “The role as such wouldn’t help me much. 10 years from now is a very long time. That is my aspiration. Now I work to earn to make a comfortable living” I replied.

Of course I didn’t get through the interview. If I were to ask the HR the same question, what would she say? When we see new things in life, we get different exposures and based on that, we might change our desires, aspirations etc. If you were to ask me for the year or so, I can answer your question. 5 years is way too much. Please don’t ask question for the sake of asking it. Do you think you will get any reasonable answer if you ask this? Every answer for this question would be fictitious.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

First coming to strengths – The prospect starts narrating his strengths;

Prospect: My positives are I am optimistic, I have a never say die attitude, I don’t panic in tough situations Bla Bla Bla.

HR: Can you narrate an incident at work to substantiate that you haven’t panicked in tough situations.

Nothing comes to the prospect’s mind immediately as every prospect goes through some degree of nervousness during an interview.

HR assumes that he can’t even state a situation or sometimes the HR would try to trick him. HR would ask “You said that your project manager was bad and unprofessional. Why have you succumbed to a tough situation because you are trying for jobs now?”

Prospects would give their own reasons and it would go on and on. But I feel this isn’t the right way to validate a person’s strength.

Aren’t there ways to judge how a person reacts to situations rather than asking him/her for past situations? Will the HR be able to give 2 instances right away where he has motivated people?

Give the prospect a difficult situation and find out how he tackles it. Give him a problem and check out if he is an optimist. Why can’t the interviewers think of any situations and ask the candidates? Isn’t that their lack of preparation? A good interviewer will try to get the answers from the candidate through different methods. I have seen a few.

Now let us take the weaknesses part: Commonly stated weaknesses – Anger, Perfectionist. Anger is good in certain places and being a perfectionist is good in certain ways. They are context specific. So, people play safe with weaknesses like these. If any other weaknesses are stated like I am unorganized, I am lackadaisical, etc.  then these are correlated to work directly. If HRs just have the intentions to know if someone is confessing honestly, then people would state those. Else, they would wear the mask of a God. It is actually better to avoid these questions. Anyway the answers are going to be fictitious and not the self-realized ones

Why do you want to switch jobs?

Obviously there is a need for a switch right? It might be Salary, Poor environment, Cranky Manager, Politics, Peer Pressure (Salary, role) etc.

I personally know a HR who is in his 7th job in 6 years. He also asks the same question to the prospects.

People definitely have a reason to switch which many conservative Indian HR minds are not ready to accept. So prospects beat around the bush. Why should it always be the fault of the prospect regarding the job stability and why not the fault of the employer for project stability, for misusing the employee saying that there are lot of projects, for not giving hike etc.

I guess the standard questions need to be relooked at to improve the interview standards. Prospects tone, attitude towards the problems given to him in the interview, credibility in his points, conviction in his answers etc and many more are parameters to judge the candidate rather than these stupid generic questions.

Leave your views/suggestions on this. 🙂

STA-STA-STA-STA-Stutterers – ACCEPT THEM

I was born with a stuttering defect. The first time I stuttered, my parents noticed me saying “P-P-P-P-Play” and they noticed me stutter few other times. I grew up to go to school. I was teased at school by other kids for stuttering. They called me “A-A-A-A-Anand”. I had the question “Why me”? I would be fiercely angry and I have hit few people and I have cried few times as well.

I have such bad memories in school sitting in the back of a classroom. When the teacher told all students ‘everybody is going to read a paragraph’, I skipped ahead to my paragraph and with the fear of being mortified, I read the paragraph enough number of times so that I wouldn’t stutter and stammer when I am called upon.

My parents encouraged me and really took good care of me so that I don’t lose my confidence by comparing myself with my peers. They took me to the speech therapist and I practiced hard. I got rid of it when I was in 7th or 8th. I used to stutter very very rarely at that point. It just couldn’t be noticed after that in fact. The sense of relief was bigger than anything else at that point. But it just left me to visit me 3 years back. I started noticing it again.

That was the time I was pursuing my passion “Toastmasters” (a forum for public speaking). My aspiration is to become a trainer and toastmasters served as the right platform for me to learn and experiment with public speaking. I was 5 months into it and I found myself doing well. Suddenly I noticed me stuttering few words. I became conscious about it. The more conscious I became, the more I stuttered. I feared if I would feel the same way like when I was a kid after so many years. Now, I tried to elude speaking in Toastmasters. I feared to stutter because people there knew me as someone who could talk fluently. I didn’t want them to know. The more I pretended, the more I became conscious and the more I stuttered. I stuttered in front of my club members. People looked at me bizarrely. “Does Anand Stutter?” was their reaction and “WTF! I didn’t want this” was my reaction. I didn’t like my weakness getting exposed to a larger audience. Slowly I was trying to get over it. I realized that to get over it, I had to accept the fact that I stutter but it was very hard.

Not only here, but in many places I feared stuttering. One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter. Given below is a list of incidents,

  • There were times when I struggled to tell the bus conductor my bus stop’s name “Thirumangalam”. I said Th-Th-Th-Th-THrumangalam” and I felt embarrassed when the co-passengers looked at me.
  • There were times when I ordered carrot juice at office and stated that particular name for 15secs – “Ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-carrot juice”.
  • There were times when I felt inferior in front of people who spoke fluently
  • I have held myself back with the fear that I would not communicate my idea well
  • I felt awkward to speak in front of public. I still remember the day when I stuttered in front of 200 people while giving a presentation in my MBA days. I felt totally out of place.
  • The fear if I will stammer in front of a new person i.e. if he would get to know my weakness
  • Even when I attend interview, this stuttering which is natural to me is taken as a sign of nervousness.
  • When my bride search was on, I had the fear if I will be accepted by my partner. Will she think that our kid will also have the same problem and will she neglect me? Yes I have been accepted and thanks to my wife.
  • Post marriage, I fear how to face my in-laws and talk to them without stuttering. If they get to know that I stutter, they would think that I have ruined the life of their daughter. The only person whom I told about this problem before marriage was my wife and I never told her parents.

Fear, Fear and Fear… I hated it.. Fear was almost eating me..

I came across another story which made me write this blog.. A good friend of mine stutters like I do.. He got married recently. He shared his feelings with me 2 weeks back. This is what he had to tell me,

———-My wife keeps telling me “Talk slowly so that you will not stutter”.

I tried hard but sometimes I did make mistakes. I mean I spoke faster and I stuttered. Sometimes because of the presence of in-laws, or new people around, or some sort of stress, I was nervous and I stuttered more.

I once took my wife to a get-together with my friends.

I was so enthusiastic to meet my friends and with the same enthusiasm, I spoke fast without my knowing and I stuttered more times than usual. Immediately after my friends moved away to take their plates for dinner, my wife questioned me “Now why did you stutter? Did you notice why you are stuttering? It is because you are speaking fast. How many times do I tell you to talk slowly? You just don’t seem to listen.”

From that day onwards, whenever I meet with my friends or her friends especially, I become very cautious and I mostly don’t speak a word. When my close one is so watchful of me stuttering, I am pushed to a situation where I have to be cautious. Becoming more and more cautious is making me feel more inferior and it is making me pretend more in an unnatural way. I somehow feel very depressed about this issue. I wanted to share it with you. I would have felt very happy if my wife would have said “I don’t care if you stutter in front of people. All that matters to me is you expressing your views with all courage and completing your sentences without any inhibitions”.———

He wept in the end. I was able to relate to his emotions completely.

“Watch your stuttering, watch your stuttering.. Why did you stutter now?, Talk slowly etc.” When one asks/says these time and again, it hurts very much. Even if one asks this in a concerned manner, it hurts very much. What many people don’t understand is that the stutterer knows much better about his problem, about what he is doing, about what he has to do than the other people around him/her. There is no use in pointing it to them. It seems to them like someone is pointing out at their limitations. Telling someone to watch it every time only makes them more conscious about their way of expressing. By doing this, expressions seem lifeless. To add life to their expressions, try listening to them without taking note of their stuttering. It gives the stutterer immense confidence to talk to you. When someone is with you and stands by you how much ever you stutter, then confidence just oozes out in no time.

Having said all this, I did try out few things to overcome this.

Firstly I accepted that I stutter and I reiterated that to myself. Secondly, I accepted that I can stutter in front of people. This made me less conscious. Then I figured out some other ways to overcome it. I am not sure if stuttering can be cured but I am very sure that stuttering can be minimized to a larger extent by doing the below mentioned things.

  • First step is to bring your breath under control. Do yoga
  • Take a breath after 6 to 8 words are spoken
  • Talk slowly
  • Try out different pronunciations or accents that make you stutter less or that eliminate that stutter. US accent made me stammer less. I tried it off late. US people place stress on a lot of words and I similarly I tried placing stress on words like “Ifff, areee, orrganizedd” and that helps me cope up with the stutter in an efficient way. But I am still finding a way to cope up with my mother tongue Tamil.
  • Last but not the least, Environment to serve as the greatest support

Guys, when you find anyone who stutters, take time out in listening to him/her. He/she might piss you off sometimes by uttering a word for 10 seconds by stuttering, but you can give him immense confidence by listening to him so keenly. You can make or break him with your actions. Environment plays a major role in grooming stutterers. I hope you will extend support to a stutterer when you meet one next time.

Priyanandhan , my good friend has come a long way in life after he joined toastmasters (A supportive environment where one hones his/her public speaking skills). He was confined to himself. He felt he was neglected because of his stuttering. When he found people who accepted him whole heartedly and provided him the warmth, he grew in confidence from a person who wasn’t able to utter his dad’s name to a person who is inspiring many with his speeches.

To conclude, Breaking words is not a sin, but breaking hearts definitely is.

Please share this blog with your friends to create some amount of awareness.

JOG (Joy of Giving) Daily

The trip from Chennai to Pondy was on. I challenged my wife that I will cover the distance in 3hrs.

“Remember you will have to cross Chennai traffic as well. There is no way you can do it” she said

Deal!!

We got into our car. The gear moved from neutral at 1PM. Drove fast through the traffic, kept honking and reached the highway and went at an average speed of 80KMPH. I never allowed vehicles or passengers to cross the road. I either kept honking or I turned the headlamp on and off. Finally we reached Pondy when the clock ticked 3:58 sharp. Yayyy!!! I was happy that the small deal between us was accomplished.

We checked in into  our hotel “Sea side guest house” in Pondicherry  and threw our bags on the couch. I opened the balcony and was awestruck at the view of the sea. Without any second thought, I pulled a chair and sat there with my head tilted. Thoughts were running mellifluously like the sea’s music. Thoughts were flowing so rapidly that a wave of change was about to happen.

Let me cut short the long array of thoughts..

“Whenever I drove in heavy traffic, I wanted to be the first person to move ahead of others.

If the signal wasn’t working, I would want to cross first.

I always became restless to reach the destination as soon as possible.

What about the people who try to cross the roads on the highways? Or on the normal roads? Who waits for them? Why shouldn’t I wait even if others don’t?”

And a lot more….

There was another deal while coming back from Pondy. This time a deal with self…

Every time I saw people struggling to cross the road, my gear shifted to neutral and I stopped rather than honking or switching on and off the headlamp and moving ahead

imagesCrossing

I still remember two very old people heaving a sigh of relief after crossing the busy GST highway

I still remember women and children pointing one of their hands towards me with palm open saying STOP plsss.. And not to forget the expression on children’s face after they crossed the road – oh so priceless.. 🙂 One jumps, another laughs, another hops.. ha ha children are awesome and their expressions – heaven 🙂

By doing this again and again, my inner self was at peace and I saw happiness surround me. The joy of giving made me feel jubilant.

The joy of giving is always beautiful. Try and you will cherish it for sure.. 🙂

Wonderful People In My Life

Friendship is such bliss.

On this friendship day, I would like to thank all the wonderful people who brought about a difference in my life..

8th StdEshwar, Deepak and Pradeep – I was left alone during the first day in my new school and these guys were starting to the cricket ground and I shouted “Hey guys. Can I join you?” With little hesitation, they said “yes” and our friendship began. The first set of friends from whom I learnt what being 18+ meant 😉 They love playing pranks and I have been a victim a number of times.

10th Std – The moments would alwayssss be cherished. The time when wrestling happened inside class; The time when teachers were teased and we were at the principal’s doorstep; The times when I laughed nonstop like a stupid and was sent out of the class; The times when we all cycled together to our home. Aah pleasure to think about it again and again – Arun, sankara Krishnan, Manoj, Gokul, Rathish, Krishnaraj, Christopher, Sakthivel, Sharad

Nishanth and Arun11th and 12th – Hardly there was a day where we weren’t together. Sleeping on top of the tank in terrace and gossiping; Times when group studies meant eating biryani, watching movies and playing cricket; is there a secret that is left unshared between us? 🙂

College UGKicha, Aravinth, Karthik, Deepak Sundararaj – Kicha from a forest (Just kidding!), Aravinth from hill station, Karthik from the city of summer (Chennai Of course!) and Deepak from the land of Kusumbu (Coimbatore). During my college days, I felt insecure about certain aspects of life and there was Kicha to listen to all that I cribbed, blabbered and what not. Thanks to his patience! Deepak has a big big big heart to help people around him and that attitude of his has touched me so much.

Friend in need is a friend indeed!! There was one phase in my life where I felt the real heat. I was protecting my friend against a womanizer and to help me out, there were two people – Rajeev Nambiar and Mahesh Selvaraj. Any help I asked for, they just came forward. I salute you guys. Thanks for being with me 🙂 I just got introduced to Mahesh 8 months back but the bond I share with him is beyond anything. Not sure why. May be a divine intervention 🙂

Through Mahesh, I got to know Karthik and Venkat. The number of breaks we took in Infosys each day would have outnumbered the number of good looking girls we looked at.. Might be the good looking girls were less in number. Just kidding. There were lots of them. 🙂

I have not experienced the love of a brother or sister. I haven’t had a brother or sister to share my feelings, express my emotions, ask anything when I wanted it, etc. But I experience all of these through them – Saravanan and Deivanai

Chidu – Never would have I joined Toastmasters (My Passion now) if he had not told me to try it out a 100 times. I feel it is important to interact with people who are positive. He is one among them. He makes me feel positive about the things I do.

Sriram RajaramanTCS – Saravana Bhavan (Vendor) literally thanked us for improving their business. Once in 3 hrs we would be there in the food court to try out the different menus the vendor had. When foodies join hands, eating becomes heaven and weight becomes a concern 🙂

Toastmasters:

My mentor Deepak Pandian – The first time I stepped into toastmasters (Public Speaking Forum), I saw a guy named Ananth Dharmasthala giving a brilliant speech. I wanted him as my mentor but Ananth said “Deepak is very talented. Take him as your mentor”. Thanks to his words. Else, I wouldn’t have got a mentor like him. Whatever I did, he motivated me and he had full confidence in me that I would pull it off with full vigor. This helped me improve my levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. Thanks a ton Deepak.

Karthickraja – Techie guy. IT companies will need him badly. I would stay in his room with access to his cooking. Awesome dishes they make (Karthick and Deepak – Roomies). He has been another source of encouragement for me. He was the very first person to whom I rehearsed a contest speech. Remember those moments….

Krishnan Chidambaram –The long talks about anything and everything (Big time mokkais – If you overheard us speak, you would have hanged yourself) and especially his cribbing that he didn’t get through a reputed MBA institute. There he is now in a very good role in cognizant post his MBA.. Prolific writer.. He has been there for me in times of joy and distress.

Ramprasad Sir – Every time he told me “Your speech was awesome, You are very talented”, I felt on top of the world. I haven’t heard these from my parents as well. I felt as if angels came down and blessed me whenever he praised me. Haaaa that gave me so much confidence. Thank you sir 🙂

Lalitha Giridhar – Fondly called as maami.. She was one of the reasons why I started loving toastmasters from liking it. I looked up to her. When you look up to someone and when that person appreciates your speeches and talks to you for your betterment, it gives you an amazing feeling. Thanks maami.. I have tried my best to incorporate each of your comments

Sabapathy – Very unique in whatever he does. His thoughts on many topics have left me thinking for a while. Best part about him is you cannot identify if he is poking fun at you or complimenting you. Aah a confusing personality 😉

My mentees Gopi and Pankaj – Gopi is out there making people laugh and Pankaj is out there in Wipro trying to figure out a figure who would fit in his life. You guys are great individuals.

Bharath Kumar, Arun Sridhar, Rohit, Yuvaraju, Divya, Karthik, the whole of wordsmiths family is so lovable for each one of them have instilled something in me to make me a better individual. 🙂

Great Lakes:

Ahalya – The first time you start something be it a business, a small club, or anything for that matter, you need someone to be with you throughout and support you once you start it. When I started a public speaking club in Great Lakes, Ahalya was the first one to come forward running with full of enthusiasm. Thanks Ahalya. Your interest and enthusiasm towards it made me feel special that day.

Sathya Anand – One person who understood me really really well during my MBA days. A friend who gives awesome company for bird watching, for trying to catch birds and for saying “Aiyooo vada pochaeeee”

Shyam – Owner of a swift who swiftly drives me home every time he comes to Chennai from college. So sweet of him 😉 He has this uncanny way of talking that makes one get addicted to him and his way of talking. To say in short about Shyam – “Machi enaku unmaela heavy image available”

Sathya Narayanan – We both don’t talk so much to each other but we trust in each of our abilities so much.

The whole of KG gang – For they are awesome, awesome, awesome (Read in Naeram Naasar’s style) in terms of fun and pun

Wifyyy:

Last but not the least – My wifyyy Ramyaa.. While reading this, my wife was searching for her name and she thought “How can he miss my name? andha pakki varatum.. vechukuraen”.. 🙂

I see her as a true friend and the society sees her as my wife,

Whatever crap they call it, all that matters is she adds life to my life!

HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY ALL!!

PS: There are so many other important people in my life. It is impossible to mention all. 🙂

Rigidity – Not a Recipe for Happy Living

How many of us are rigid in our lives? Not sure about it? Read further..

Rigidity comes because we believe that doing a thing in one particular way is right while there is ‘N’ number of ways to do things. It is just that people aren’t able to get out of their beliefs and be open to accepting certain other behaviors around. There is nothing called RIGHT and WRONG. What is right and what is wrong is relative.

Examples of rigidity:

  • This is how you should keep your house. Keep these things in this place, that place.
  • I am beautiful is also a rigid way of thinking.. Be ok with accepting when someone says you aren’t beautiful.
  • Instructing your kid to study daily and asking him/her to be more planned in life – Haven’t you seen your kid getting frustrated when you do this? (Will you study for your office related things or your business related things every day in a planned manner? Why don’t you do that? Oh might be you are tired after coming from office. Yes the kid is as well tired after going to school and playing for some time after that. Understand the kid’s expectations and strike a deal with the kid as to when it can study and help it out rather than posing a rigid constraint “you have to study daily”. You would love to read but the RIGID factor of doing it every day would make you feel irritated to do it. Anything when done in a rigid way bears no fruit. If there is flexibility and if you tell your kid “You haven’t studied today. It is ok. Have fun today but do study tomorrow..” This way kid will feel motivated to do things.)
  • Not willing to try/experience something because we THINK it wouldn’t be useful. (Here thought process is rigid because it isn’t being flexible to try out different things in life)
  • If something is said, you should do it immediately (Why so? Are your priorities and my priorities the same? Rigid beliefs/thinking will only strain relationships. This happens especially when elders say something. They are the ones to point out immediately “When elders say, you have to do it immediately”)
  • Rigidity on money aspects – you might be well planned financially and every rupee might count to you. But if your son or daughter loses some money say Rs.5000 or even Rs.5,00,000, be flexible enough to accept it. Don’t be rigid saying “you have done a sin. Money is hard earned. Money is earned out of much struggle in life”. Some situation might have triggered them to lose it. Be it their mind that was preoccupied, or be it their carelessness, or be it their memory that would have failed them at that moment. It was all unintentional. It is just because of the beliefs you have about money, you react like this.
  • ‘N’ number of societal rigidities
    • Woman expects her man to be very informative. (Knowing something is again interest based. One might be too much inclined towards technology that he will not care about politics. Other might be inclined towards something else. Other might be inclined towards knowing everything that is happening in this world.)
    • Living together is a sin (The society in which we are brought up considers it to be a sin. Hence we think that way. If in case our kids end up that way, we have two options – either to be flexible and accept or to be rigid and suffer.)
    • Caste –> Traditions –>Firm Believers or Believers in some traditions (They wouldn’t be able to accept any deviations from the norms defined in the traditions)
    • You shouldn’t sit cross legged in front of elders (It is purely ones comfort to sit that way)
    • The horoscope says this and so you must follow it. Eg: Horoscope says that you must avoid driving for next 6 months. (Many of us don’t understand that our mind is more powerful than the planetary motions. Even if the planetary motions decide certain things in life, our mind is more powerful to overcome it. By believing in the horoscope, I feel that the capabilities of our mind are restricted to a larger extent)
    • I will have to make my Kid study hard so that it can compete in today’s world. (The flaw is in the education system. Why do you really want to screw your kid’s life by doing that?)
    • Buy something while visiting a relative’s home (In many places, what you buy is directly proportional to the lasting of your good relationship)
    • Buy Horlicks while someone is in hospital irrespective of whatever their illness is. (Horlicks gives strength is what they say. Fine. It is useful when someone is dehydrated or is lacking energy. But why do you buy Horlicks when someone has a fractured hand or when someone has an asthma attack or when someone has an injured shoulder)
    • Buying/Wearing gold is a sign of prestige             

And many more societal rigidities……………………

By being rigid, you lose your flexibility and thereby your peace of mind. Rigidity in any form is not a recipe for happy living

Have we really introspected on what we are rigid about? When someone says we are rigid, we immediately say “I am not rigid”. By saying that immediately, we safeguard our image from getting spoilt and our mind from thinking deeply. Instead, when we listen when people say that we are rigid and when we tell them “I will introspect on this”, it gives us a better realization.

Steps to overcome rigidity:

1)      The first most important thing in changing ones behavioral traits is ACCEPTANCE of what you have already. Accept that you are being rigid towards certain things

2)      Have a conscious check on whenever you do your rigid activities or whenever you stress upon others to follow the activities in the same rigid way

3)      Have a small board at home or black chart or diary and note down all the things you are rigid about

4)      See that diary or board and tell yourself “It’s ok if these activities are done in a different way or if these activities are done a little later.” If you see someone doing a set of activities in a different way, just ignore them and tell yourself “What if they do it that way. It doesn’t matter”

By doing these, you are just conditioning your mind. By conditioning your mind, you can change the way you live.

Reiterating the crux of this post – Being Rigid in any form is definitely not a Recipe for Happy living

Society Suppresses our Expressions

Few years back I traveled by train from Chennai to Coimbatore. I was seated in a coupe where there were 2 families each of them with a 3yr old kid. The kids were playing so happily with their toys/dolls. When the train started, one of the families got down with their child. The child in the train started crying so badly for having taken away from him his little cute friend. His heart was heavy and he expressed his emotions right there. It didn’t matter for him if it was public or private. He tells the world the love he had for his little friend. I felt so sad for him. Children are so open and expressive.

We are so conscious to express ourselves. The environment matters more. Crying is viewed as negative in the society. Loud laughter is negative. What is this society if it even deprives a human of his basic right to cry when he is in deep sorrow or to laugh out loud when his heart is rejoicing?

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

As children we expressed our interests in everything but now we suppress it as we project ourselves to be more strong and dignified.

While looking for a bride, there are instances when we look at the right match and talk to the girls’ parents regarding our interest in her. There would be instances wherein we might not get a reply in a day or two. But we would genuinely be interested to ask their views again but we suppress it. Reason being our thought process which goes like this “We are from the boy’s side and so we shouldn’t be leaning forward so much to know their interest. Let them get back. I should maintain a strong image.”

We don’t even express our basic interests. Unlike children, we kill our intentions basing it upon the undefined, meaningless societal norms.

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

As children, we loved to watch cartoons, read comics, watch animated movies etc.

A 25yr old feels shy to read Champak or to read Tintin in a public library as people look at him/her in a bizarre way. Usual immediate response being “Those are childish books”. But who writes it? A child is it? The 25yr old wishes to express his/her interest in those books but stumbles by what others would say..

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

This society views the word “childish” as a derogatory term but by being childish, it will help us in a lot of ways to express our intentions. Follow your intentions and express your intentions as actions.

Deep down, our intentions are always true and pure but the outside world in a way influences a person to create a mismatch between intentions and actions. It is up to us to resolve the mismatch..

Miss you Grandmother..

It was 30th September 8.45pm when my loving Grandmother left this world. I really really cannot express how nice a human being she is. Her last word to me was my name “Anand” on September 29th night around 9pm and she kissed my palm. It felt like something.. I bent down to touch her feet and pray and I broke down as I knew her situation looked bad. I thought “Would this be my last worship??” and I said No No to myself. The next day when I entered my uncle’s house, people started crying. I knew what had happened and this was not I came there for. I couldn’t see her alive on September 30th 😦 Memories ran through my mind and tears rolled down my eyes. I was there with her till the moment she was burnt. Her body was sent into the electric furnace like thing. I just couldn’t see that. Hmmmmmmmmmm.. Let her soul rest in Peace..

I loved her innocence. I loved her love for everybody. I loved her attitude of “Do good things even for people who do bad things to you”, I loved her attitude of “Money is not life”. I love her so much.

But I feel bad for one thing. I repent for it. It pricks me. 😦

Even when I go to a shop nearby, she used to say “Careful Anand. Cross the road carefully. Ride the bike slowly.. I will go to the shop and come.. You take rest”.. Whenever she said this 5 or 6 times, I got little irritated and said “Please don’t keep repeating. I am not a little kid”.. Sometimes very softly. Sometimes I said a little harshly.

She loved me to that extent that made her tell multiple times. But why did I reply harshly to her?? Why couldn’t have I ignored those repeated statements? This pricks me.. It pricks me hard..

Why do I realize it now saying it is love and why did I say it was ‘loving and pampering’ me at that time? I am so so so sorry paati.. I loved u so much but at times I hurt you by being harsh whenever you repeatedly said things. I am very very sorry paati.. I request everyone to not be harsh to their loved ones whatever the reason might be that triggers you. It really pains later..

Now that I am feeling but

She is not there to repeatedly say things

She is not there to call me “KUTTY”

She is not there to call me “THANGAM”

She is not there to hold my hand and kiss my palm

She is not there to make me the dishes that I love, anytime I ask

Whenever my mother kept sweets in her plate, she broke it in half and fed me the rest or sometimes even gave me the whole sweet.

She showered so much love on me. I am able to see only her everywhere.. In the things that she used, in the place where she slept, in the pickle that she loved..

My mom, aunt and few others were serving us (Cousins and me) food yesterday morning. When we were eating, my cousin said a statement “Remember how she used to serve food for us?”. It just brought tears in my eyes. I remembered the rice rolls she gave us. I remembered the big banana leaf she placed in front of us and served with full heart. She seems to be everywhere now just like God..

You are GREAT grandmother. You are loved by so many people and that shows who you are. Please be with me all my life..

I love u so much and I will miss you very badly.