Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Go Blue for Autism!

April is Autism Awareness month. 2nd April'15 is being celebrated world over as WAAD (World Autism Awareness Day). Personally, I would prefer calling it both Awareness & Acceptance Day. It is a fact that we do not know much about Autism as a disorder. And because there is lack of awareness about it there is lack of acceptance to it. 

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them (Definition from

The reason it is called a spectrum disorder because its symptoms range from a mild learning and social disability to a severe one.

This post is about my experience with autistic children  and my understanding on what some of them taught me to value in life

The other day, I noticed a small kid sitting in the same metro coach that I was travelling in. What got my attention to this kid was that he was continuously swiping his phone and after every swipe putting it to his ear. It seemed as if he was listening to some music /tune that he gets every time he swiped his phone. He did not stop in between even for a fraction of a second ( he wasn't tired or bored of it at all) I was a bit surprised while I observed him. He was least interested in the commotion around him. Outside view, people around, noise inside the metro! nothing interested him. All he was interested doing was swiping the phone and then immediately putting it to his ear. I thought about what all funny stuff kids do to keep themselves occupied and I got down at my station next and forgot about it. 

A week later I met 'P' again, the same kid whom I noticed in the metro coach.'P' is very bright and smart kid who comes for his learning classes with his mom to his special school daily. Today, we all were travelling together in the same metro coach back home. I noticed that as soon as the metro started 'P' also started with his game of swiping and putting the mobile phone to his ear. I was informed by his mom that he likes listening to music on her phone but these days he doesn't listen to one song completely. By swiping he starts a song,listens to it a bit and then again swipes it to change and goes to the next one. Since, I was sitting next to him today I noticed that he enjoyed what he was doing. It was his way of creating variation in the music that he listens to. After a few minutes 'P' very gently tapped his phone,closing the app and meticulously putting it on standby mode (he did it like an elderly person would use his/her phone). Then he very gently gave the phone to his mom and sat quietly as if waiting for something. His mom looked at me smiling and said " he always gets to know that we are about to get down at our station. I wonder how!" To my surprise when I heard the announcement the next station was their's.

I don't know if it is the sixth sense that 'P' has or it is just a time bound routine that he does.

Interacting with his mother and family members of a few more autistic children I realized something! Something, that we all forget while trying to manage a 'perfect life'-

Some very basic normal comprehensible human behaviors that we all tend to lose at some point in our lives as we try to achieve perfection:-

Always keep a smile - 'A' with his exceptional sense of directions and routes, always keeps a smile on his face. Whether he is in a mood to interact with you or not but that smile on his handsome face tells you not to lose yours. Inspite of all the difficulty that  he has to go through related to his disorder that smile gently sits on his face. It's as if he is telling his family not to worry so much about him and he will manage just fine in life.

Love for Music - 'S' is at a very young age and gets attracted / reacts to rhythm and music very quickly. Like a Rockstar he keeps himself occupied with humming and sometimes singing loudly "EOEIO" or some other rhyme. It's as if he is working on a new composition while he is learning to be able to lead an independent life at class.

Honesty & Inquisitiveness - Sometime back I had the opportunity to spend time with a few grown up kids who were on different spectrums of autism. Like any non-autistic kid I saw their strength in numbers, art and craft, music and also brilliant photographic memory. They were smart in asking questions about acts and behaviors that were being taught to them to be 'right or wrong' and that why were they 'right or wrong'. It was then I realized that outward appearance doesn't always define the magic inside the person. We all have some or the other area of opportunity in life to develop on and they are all different from each other.

Introspection and content - 'M' the youngest of all the kids, keeps a calm and content composure.(It's only when he wants to stay in the class and wants to follow his mom's instructions:)) While maintaining the same he looks as if like a monk he is concentrating on inner self. Giving himself the unconditional attention, least bothered about what is happening around him. He gives a completely innocent expression of Introspection.

Understanding on the concepts of simplicity, structure, routine - Well ! the concept of visual aid, structure and routine may sound just a few words to non-autistic person. They may not hold much importance in their day to day life. But these concepts are very important for a person on the spectrum of Autism. Routine plays a critical role in helping an autistic child to be independent. And it is very important that s/he is taught with it responsibly and the right way.  The use of such tools may vary depending upon what spectrum the person is on. From what I have understood of it, ROUTINE & SCHEDULE connect an autistic child well to lead an independent life. I realized it well that I should fully respect and adhere to these concepts when I am interacting with someone who is on the spectrum.

Many people still misunderstand Autism as mental retardation in India. It’s still a social stigma which makes it difficult for parents and caregivers of children being treated with ASD to socialize in the society. The fact of the matter is that people suffering from ASD are simply different. Their learning needs and behavior are different (but no less) from a non-Autistic person. Coming from personal experience, there is a lot that neither do I know nor do people around me know much about it. But I am learning and doing my bit to spread its awareness.

Whosoever coined "Always Unique Totally Interesting Sometimes Mysterious" for autism,has coined it aptly!

Image courtesy: Google Images

Friday, 6 February 2015


Well, No it's not a fancy restaurant name but a phrase-"Thank God It's Monday"! Very commonly used in western world in relation to workplace. That's what I was told while I was interacting with someone recently. Since then this phrase has anchored in my mind.

In respect to working style in India, from both employee and employer's point of view, I ponder how well this phrase holds value. Work place/office is a place where your growth is measured more in terms of how smart you work rather than how hard you work. 'Smart work' also includes being able to dodge as well as playback the moves of omnipresent politics at work.

From an Employer's perspective TGIM is a vision that HR in every company strives to create.

From an Employee's perspective TGIM is a vision which is yet to be realized.Most of us get up half heartedly and muster courage to start our week on a Monday, eagerly waiting for Friday to come and finish it off.  Honestly, how many times have you not said " how I wish it was friday today".

Jokes apart, joy of TGIM can be realized if :
  • Employees understand the 'meaningfulness' of the work that they do.They understand their KRAs well. Because once they have an understanding of the work that they are supposed to do, they would be able to contribute better to the organizational goal. Then, it will not just be about salary and benefits,it will be more about their work contributing to the greater good of the company.

  • Employers concentrate on The 3Ps in the order of People-Product-Profit. Company policies, culture, leadership, system etc are designed such that they are more people centric. These components -culture and good values etc can further define both workers and employees as 'one company'. Resulting into an ongoing commitment to improve customer journey and well defined product strategy. And believe me if the first two Ps are aligned such, third P will automatically follow.

  • Employees feel a sense of accountability towards their work.They carry a sense of responsibility to the job and company as a whole.

  • Employers don't just outline the work, jobs and roles for the employees but also make it measurable for them.

  • Employees understand the principle behind Team-work, Comradery rather than concentrating on working in silos.

  • Employers create a system of Reward and Recognition for completing a job well done.Showing a genuine appreciation for their contribution.

  • Employers provide their workers with training and developmental opportunities. Foster an environment of innovation and creativity. 

  • Employees are able to identify their training needs to perform a particular task which further helps them carry their meaningful responsibilities within the organization.

A Magnetic way about it!

Some are of the view that engagement games/activities just alone make or create a TGIM factor in an organisation. But my experience & understanding say that they may constitute or be a part of the wholistic approach but alone they are not the sole driving factor. It's a fact that companies like Zappos, South West airlines, Sysco,Cisco(& many more like them) have created a smart organization with smart people by 'focusing on' and 'nurturing' a culture that is unique. A culture of helping and promoting co-workers, free and transparent exchange of ideas, making people feel involved and special. A culture where work becomes more than just a job.

This was just my effort on understanding the phrase. I'll be glad if you could add more to it !

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Few Basics To Employee Engagement!

When we talk of employee engagement we talk about all kinds of engagement tools like- flexible working conditions, wellness programs, involvement in CSR activities, awards, recognition, mentoring and providing various other opportunities for career advancement within an organization. But we forget to think about the basics that may be instrumental in establishing that relationship between the employee and the organization called- Employee Engagement.
Image courtesy-Google Images

How to keep employees engaged? As an HR professional we all tend to dive into this question many a times, whether we are trying to retain an employee or tackle a situation in hand or studying the results of e-sat surveys. Most of us think of cracking this nut either at the time when an employee resigns (time when s/he has already made up the mind to leave)or in the statistics of surveys that were held earlier. So where does it begin? Does engagement start when someone raises an alarm by resigning or does it start when the survey statistics show a typical trend? I believe it starts the day an employee joins an organization. For that matter, may be even prior to that! It's how s/he was treated during the entire process of job interview...simple gestures of acknowledging his/her presence and thought process, making them comfortable when they speak and conduct themselves. All these factors, although small,go a long way in establishing that connect and liking for the organization. Right from the day s/he is inducted in the system(organization), their initial interaction with the people around, with co-workers,their comprehension of the job description and polices etc. help develop a certain degree of enthusiasm in them. This level of enthusiasm makes or mars the relationship between the employee and the organization in the later years. 

A Two-way process

I feel that to maintain the engagement factor it's important that s/he understand their JD and the role as well as the important company policies.When I say this, I mean that the employee engagement could also be called a two way process culminating into a relationship between the employee and the organization. If it is for the organization to create conditions and tools for Engagement, it is also equally for the employee to look for opportunities(those conditions and tools) within the organization which may empower them and in return empower the organization. So when TCS considers it important to strengthen the bond between 'TCS employees' and families through 'Maitree' or Mercer plans on reimbursing the cost involved in the 'Industrial certification' that it's employee does, it becomes imperative on the part of employee to reciprocate by using these tools and in return contribute to the organizational goals & growth.

Connect Factor

Coming back to gestures: Everytime I think of engaging the workforce, I feel that the use of simple gestures shown by the HR team become the key to that connect factor with the employees. It could be a small gesture of trying to address employees with their names and a smile, listening to their problems, guiding them whenever needed or lending that HR ear.Ensuring that the issue with which they walked up to you is resolved and communicated. It is this connect factor that binds the employees with the organization.This bond further fuels the degree of enthusiasm in the employees resulting into a positive reciprocal relationship between the two. It's basically about understanding and taking the employee as Human Capital and not just as Human Resource.
Once the workforce becomes an asset for the organization then all the monetary and non-monetary engagement tools become effective. Then there is no limit for the organization in experimenting with these above said tools so as to make the relationship a positive one. 

Image courtesy-Google Images

Friday, 11 July 2014

The ASUS Zen Effect

When I held it in my hand and began using it, I realized that this vibrant and colourful gadget is truly Zen like on smoothness and touch. The screen was large, bright enough for me to read my e-books on the go. Camera had features that were unique to itself. So much so that I could see what others can't see in the dark. To add on (to the booty) all this on the Intel trust! Yes, this one has an Intel processor. 

So when I got the chance to use it, I used it thoroughly. Which meant as much as I could and as long as I wanted to! in the live demo area at the venue the other day. I was impressed! by the awesome work done by the product and design team of ASUS.  Plenty of features to explore and use at a very reasonable price in India.

I recently attended the launch event of Zenfone 5 in India by ASUS and used the opportunity to probe on the features, usage and design of the phone.
Launch of Zen fone 5 by ASUS -Yes, it was an invite by my favourite team! I am glad that I attended the launch. I am not much of a techie though but I love to explore and fiddle with gadgets 

The Intel TRUST 
Fitted with Corning Gorilla glass, special modes like Reading mode and Glove mode,the three ASUS phones Zen 4, 5 and 6 have the Intel Atom processor. Intel has used its 'Hyper -Threading Technology' that helps user execute two instructions at a time, thus making the experience excellent for a faster usage. So the usage satisfies user on Power and Performance efficiency.
Anoop & Nihal at their wits best :) Wisecracking and playing '1 to 10' with the audience. Oh! to know what that is you will have to attend one of these meets ;)Love the verve of all the IB team members. 
Arjun Kapoor- A leading Bollywood actor.Yes, he was the celebrity guest for the launch of the Zenfone. He was at his candid self and shared his experience with the audience on the phone usage    

Product Manager ASUS explaining about the Pixel Master feature of the Zenfone. A feature that is very helpful for bloggers like me

What I liked about the phone personally-

ZenUI : Kudos and a pat on the back of the design team for giving that 'Personal Attitude' to the experience of user interface. Apps like What's Next (helps you keep track and  manage your schedule),Do It Later(a later to-do-list)Zen Links( a sharing link),Power Saver app (gives user three options to tweak and save power) makes the otherwise complex usage more simpler.

Great look: Has modern style and a body perfectly built. Has a curved rear, so that it sits well on hand.

Ever trustful Intel processor. It's this Intel trust factor that got my attention to the phone first.

Modes: A Reading mode that is helpful for people like me who sometimes prefer reading on the go. Another interesting feature of Glove mode increases the touch sensitivity and you can use it while  wearing gloves. I tried it and it just is perfect!!

Pixel Master: It is the camera feature. I am using a phone from a very popular and expensive brand so when I compared the pictures taken from both the phones, I found that the Zenfone pics were more rich, clear and without any noise. Asus's Pixel Master technology is an interesting tool that gives you the freedom to play with pictures on your Zenfone. One of the Asus's team member David Wu explained most of the camera modes and its features viz; low light,.gif animation, time rewind, selfie, beautification, depth of field etc, to me in detail. 
Me with fellow bloggers (Saurabh & Kanav) and David Wu. This is the selfie that we took from the Zenfone. Thanks to David  for being instrumental in igniting my curiosity in the phone and also for explaining various modes

Price: This is a phone below 10K category and worth the money and recommendation!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Binding Hearts Sarhad Paar

View of the venue- from the metro station 
These visits to the blogger meets are always a pleasure to attend. Not because one gets free goodies and fabulous choice of food to eat from But because of the opportunity of participating in something new every time .Also, the idea of meeting other like minded blogger friends there.

Did I forget about the 'ever courteous and attentive' welcoming by IndiBlogger team. Right from giving the confirmation calls to the culmination of the event you guys do a great job. Thanks for the hospitality.

Zee's new channel Zindagi

Yesterday's meet was about the launch of Zee's new channel 'Zindagi' in India on Monday, June 23rd. Initially, I wasn't interested on attending it as I do not watch television episodes & dramas except for one or two comedy ones on Star world. But hey! this was a l'll different. It has stories from "sarhad paar". A different country! yet the story-lines were conceived on concepts and impressions very similar to our part of society. 

Zindagi is the new channel that is being launched here with the intention of showing a lot of stories that have been picked up from Pakistan. 

This meet happened in Mumbai and Delhi simultaneously. Technology and the amazing technical team at IndiBlogger ensured that the bloggers in both the cities stay connected through out the event.
Imran Abbas(Actor) and Shailja Kejriwal (Content Head-Zee) interacting with the bloggers. Sultana Siddiqui (Director of many famous Pakistani serials) 

People connected well with guests ( Imran Abbas,Sultana Siddiqui, Shailja Kejriwal, Priyanka Dutta & others) Admirers came forward and expressed their love for old Pakistani serials- Tanhaiyaan, Dhoop -Kinare, Ankahee etc. One person had come all the way from Agra and thanked 'Zindagi' from her father's side. It is his generation and the generation before him that yearns for the Mitti, it's people, houses and lanes that they grew up in, on both sides of the border. They still talk about life 'sarhad paar' with a lot of nostalgia and affection. They miss their celebrations, their neighbours and friends they grew up with. So much so that, almost all of them long to visit their partitioned land on both the sides.

This channel intends to bring real and progressive stories from sarhad paar. I wish them luck in their endeavor because I feel that Art (like breath of life) knows no boundaries and as curators of art we should not bind it with boundaries. We should let it flow like a breeze, let it touch as many hearts as it can. If it is good it will automatically make it's place in the souls of its followers.

Zindagi also intends to bring shows from Latin America, Turkey and Egypt in future.

*Note*- This is my post about the Zindagi IndiBlogger meet that I attended at Taj Mansingh,New Delhi on 21st Jun, 2014.  

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Art from utensils

This gigantic steel sculpture glistening in the afternoon sun stands tall at National Gallery of Modern Art here. It is the art work of a famous Indian artist Subodh Gupta, who has been using steel in his art for a very long time.What caught my fancy here is that it is made of steel utensils that you will find in almost every Indian household.If not as much but people still use them :)  

to see more beautiful sky click here-skywatch

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Fort of Jinns!

My interest in 'Baolis of Delhi'(step-wells of Delhi) instigated my visit to the ruins at Firozshah Kotla. So when my friends suggested on taking a trip on HOHO route, I said yes to the idea and hopped on :)
Palace of 'Fifth city of Delhi', Firoz Shah's 'Firozabad' by the river Yamuna. Most of the citadel is in ruins today.Successive rulers plundered and dismantled many of the beautiful structures here.

The palace was built by Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq (AD-1351-88)
Firozshah Kotla fort, famous for it's value and place in history is a huge fort with large garden and lawns in it's vicinity. What remains today to be seen here is a 14th century roofless mosque called 'Jami Masjid', a cellular pyramidal structure with Ashokan Pillar on top of it and a circular Baoli(step-well).

Once I entered through the gate, all I saw was ruins of fallen walls,half remaining towers and chambers around.This place like all other forts and ruins of Delhi has, on itself, the mark of changing times!

The mosque is still functional, people still come and pray here.The entrance to Baoli and the pyramidal building is closed. 
'Circular Baoli'. Unfortunately it was closed for visitors. This Baoli was an essential source of water for the citadel. Unlike the other step-wells, this one doesn't have steps leading down to the water level.  
Standing tall and shiny on the northern side of the Mosque is the Ashokan Pillar. It is 13 mtr tall pillar built in third century BC, was brought in from Ambala by Firoz Shah and re-installed on a three storeyed pyramidal structure.   

While we were taking our walk around the ruins we couldn't help but notice diyas(earthen lamps) and aggarbattis(incense sticks) kept at a few places. It was as if someone had come and prayed there. yes, these ruins are supposed to be housing Jinns as well. People from many faiths come here every thursday and pray to them. They ask/pray for their wishes to be granted. Some write letters, they write their wishes on papers and leave it there. Some offer milk,aggarbattis and diyas to please the Jinns and some simply pray in the quiet. 
The garden area 

To see more of beautiful 'sky' click here skywatch 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

When I saw Dancing Dots!!

A constant headache and the super power to see those Dancing Dots finally drove me to visit an eye surgeon nearby. Once in the clinic,I sat, unwantingly, on the chair that had all his sophisticated gadgets (all big & small ones). After listening about my newly acquired super power and other details he offered to check my eyes. 
Then came 'reading those alphabets test'  Big deal! I  told my self I can do it....and I started reading.

          First line...Big, Bold letters...Perfect! *wink*
           Second line...a little smaller letters...piece of cake! *Grin*
               Third line...a weeebit more smaller...wait! I got to lean a bit forward, strain my  eyes..Voila! I can read that *yippy*
          Fourth line...why does this one has to be this small!..*Grrrr* Never mind! I can manage..yeah yeah! I am trying to read here! and with some hesitation I read it..*finallyyy*

This means -my eyes are fine and are as beautiful as they were. But this exercise demanded that I read those alphabets again.*phew* So, here we go again...

First line...Second line...Third line andddd
Fourth line...wait a minute ! *surprised* how come one or two alphabets are different this time. I mean how could I not identify a 'G' from an 'O' here.

*Zapped* I gave a mean look to the Doctor, asking as if how dare he change those alphabets on that board this time.

 The doctor smiled and said "do not worry it will be fine". He scribbled the details on the prescription and gave a little friendly chat on how our vision works and how glasses will help. Not to Worry!!! *blah* worrying I was...

Big Deal- Yeah! may be for a while it is- for someone who is not in the habit of wearing even sunglasses for a short duration, will have to wear glasses every time...The fact that there is some metal/whateverstuff sitting on my nose and helping me read and see clearly is a big adjustment, atleast for sometime. 

I know most of you reading this may not consider it a big deal, as once on, these glasses are a part of life. As my cousin puts it- she has them since childhood and one gets used to it :) So, while I try and adjust to it/get used to it and choose a smart frame to sit on my nose. I want you to share your experience on how you felt when you had glasses on or any other necessity that became a part of life like this.

On the thought of choosing a smart frame.*wink wink* the optician cheerfully displayed the ones with professional look, writer's look, sporty look, funky & colourful look and what not look. Eh! I didn't know I could have a choice of these many frames sit on my nose one by one and decide on any of these looks.

On a lighter note..I will not see those dancing dots again and my eyes would still be beautiful as there were earlier.

Image courtesy- Google Images

Monday, 30 December 2013


This photograph was taken on a wintry morning at Jim Corbett National Park buffer zone area.What caught my attention here was this pair (I think its red-vented bulbul) that hopped from branch to branch together, not leaving each other even for a small fraction. 

Let me take this opportunity to wish all a cozy, happy & prosperous new year together!! Have a happy 2014 :)

Sharing with SWF & OWT family 

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunset at Old Fort

I was lucky to catch this setting sun in camera the other day when I visited 'Old Fort'. Also known as Purana Quila, it is the oldest fort in Delhi and tells the history of Delhi in detail. 

Linking it to skywatch friday

Monday, 16 December 2013

Peace & hope

I sometimes visit this famous gurudwara for its peaceful sarovar (holy water tank/pond).Looking at the temple from this side of the sarovar gives me a sense of composure and peace.While standing & admiring like always, I noticed the reflection in the water and I took this picture. 

To see more beautiful sky click here.

Go Blue for Autism!

April is Autism Awareness month . 2nd April'15 is being celebrated world over as WAAD (World Autism Awareness Day). Personally, ...