Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Need to Please

One of the things that I absolutely abhor at the workplace is the "need to please" or "need to market" syndrome. It may not be relevant just to the place where one works but extends beyond to our personal lives too as far as I am concerned. But for the sake of this post I will stick to the workplace.

While my dislike for people who do everything in their power to please the boss, stems from the fact that I do not consider myself as an ambitious individual, I still am unable to fathom as to why being a "yes man" to your boss is such a "in demand" skill these days to grow in ones career. I have lost count of the number of instances where promotions are given to people who are sometimes unfit for a certain job but are nevertheless given priority because of their ability to please the boss. It is often spun as the individual having shown "leadership" qualities (another corporate word I absolutely detest).

The fault also to a certain extent lies in the folks who are in roles of a "boss". Everyone has his or her own "inner circle" or "coterie" and I guess they get a sense of I don't know what "superiority" maybe when they see a band of willing to please yes men who would do anything they want them to do? I don't know and I guess I never will.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cricket and Tree Tomatoes

Chose to write this post out of the blue after watching my daughter play cricket with her grandfather (my father in-law) earlier today. She was using one of those small plastic cricket bats and was trying to knock a rubber ball around the house. Reminded me of the first cricket bat I got back in 1985 or 1986 (don't remember the year exactly).

I was showing some kind of promise back then in cricket and although I was primarily a bowler, I somehow had greater excitement at the prospect of having my own cricket bat, one that could be used against real cricket balls and not the tennis ball variety. My father was one that never said no to anything I asked for and when he promised to get me a bat my excitement knew no bounds!

I still remember the feeling of getting my hands on my very own bat. It was a HRM brand bat made from Kashmir Willow. The feeling of joy that I had just wielding my own bat was indescribable. Something that you very rarely feel these days even with the more expensive toys we get ourselves these days. 

My first couple of hits with the new bat was with raw tree tomatoes plucked from our garden. Those things could get pretty hard and it was the memory of hitting tree tomatoes that came to my mind this morning when I saw the little one play. 

I probably used the HRM bat for 3-4 years before it broke, I guess. It was followed by a more expensive IDM cricket bat and I think that was really the last cricket bat that I owned. The IDM lasted me at least 7 or 8 years.

Ah! memories...such a precious gift for us humans!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December Memories

Nostalgia Warning!

Thanks to my in-laws, I am officially off baby sitting duties for the rest of  the year which means 10 days of real vacation without having to worry about the little one too much! The first thing I've done is actually make use of my Sonos 1 system and listen to some good music all morning long.

Being able to just listen to your kind of music without having to worry about pesky neighbours, or complaints from the missus about the volume is indeed a wonderful thing. Total bliss!

Listening to music invariably makes me feel a little nostalgic and I get to remember so much more bits and pieces of the past. Listening to Clapton singing My Fathers Eyes brought me back to the good old days at Lovedale and all the fun we used to have during the winter holidays. Lunch at the lawns, playing under the brilliant blue sky of the Nilgiri hills, night time bon fires, keeping a vessel of water waiting for it to freeze the next morning, reading comics under the shade of a tree.....memories that live with us forever perhaps.

A scream from the little one brings me back to the present and I can only sigh at the fact that she cannot possibly enjoy some of things we used to living in this concrete jungle. I make a promise though to show her much more of the world I enjoyed when she grows up a little more.

Till then I promise to enjoy the next few days of freedom!

Seasons Greetings to all and may god bless all of us with happiness and joy in 2015!

Aum tat sat!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Trip to Remember - Part 2

May 27th - Afternoon Safari

Well, I am trying to remember the sequence of events from the afternoon of the 27th to the 30th but my brain just wont cooperate. I will have to start looking at the time stamps from the photos and try and patch together what happened.

We had another shot at the Tala zone on the afternoon and this time we decided to take a different route in the hope of seeing the Kankatti tigress and her cubs. The tigress named Kankatti by the locals go her name, after a fight with another tigress left her with almost no vision in her left eye. Her last litter of cubs had grown past 1 year before being killed by a rival male tiger who hoped to propagate his genes.

Nevertheless, Kankatti has apparently given birth to a litter of 3 cubs who were about 203 months old according to the local guide. We were hoping for lady luck to be by our side as she had made a kill (or probably a bait was kept for her given her disabilities?) a few days back and most of the groups who had taken this route on earlier safaris had their share of luck in spotting her with the cubs.

We decided to stop at the location she was last seen and not take other detours like the other groups did. It was just a game of wait and watch for us. The afternoon sun was pretty merciless and the only sights I had for the first hour were of spotted deer feeding in the open meadows behind us.

I had just about given up hope of seeing anything when my friend Vallish, spotted the tigress descending from the woods to the thick grassland to the left of our jeep but a fair distance away (probably 150-200 meters). The next several minutes, are etched in my memory as she settled down in the grass and made a series of calls to her cubs. Through the 100-400 mm lens I could see the three little cubs make their way out from the thick cover of elephant grass to their mother. As a nature lover these are literally the sights you'd do anything to see and experience!

The tigress gently rolled on her back and began feeding the cubs and although I would not have close up photographs of the event to show, the experience was well and truly a magical one for me. The magic lasted for about 5 mins post which, she led her cubs back into the cover of the elephant grass and that was to be the last sighting I would have of her and the cubs during the trip. I cannot wait to get back to see the cubs next year!

Perhaps the only regret I had was not carrying my video camera with me. Lesson learned though!

We did not see much for the rest of the evening but I the sight I had witnessed was enough for me!

Photos: Kankatti and her cubs
Lens: Canon EF 100-400 USM IS

May 28th - Morning Safari

We found ourselves at the Tala gate once again at the crack of dawn on the 28th. We decided to take the same route as we did the previous evening in the hopes of seeing Kankatti and her cubs, hoping for a closer look this time. We rushed to the spot we saw her the last time around and waited for 10-15 mins when the driver received a call informing him about a sighting of a large male tiger in another part of the park. We decided to try our luck and were soon rushing to the spot which was a good 10 kms away from our present location.

The prospect of seeing a male tiger was excitement enough for me and when we reached the spot a good 20 mins later, we found several jeeps on the main road with camera shutters clicking away at a patch of grassland to the left of us. We drew up closer to the group and were blessed with the sight of the Bumera male, possibly the largest male in the park, sitting on the grass, relaxing after what appeared to be a big meal!

Sightings of Bumera were hugely popular with a lot of folks, I was told and there were photographers and film makers who who came to Bandhavgarh only to photograph him and no one else! Vallish did not like him too much as he was a "lazy" tiger who preferred to patrol the fringes of the park close to the outlying villages, in the hope of landing a easy kill in the form of a cow or a buffalo. He wasn't a real tiger in Vallish's books! 

He was also responsible for chasing away the mighty B-2 male (Charger and Sita's cubs) from his territory when he was in his prime. B-2 I gathered was Vallish's favorite tiger and this only made Bamera the villain in Vallish's books!

There were several park officials barking orders at the jeeps to go back after 5 mins and I did not understand the reason behind this. Three hundred rupee notes were passed on to the official and this meant we could linger on for however long we wanted. The magic of money works even in the deepest of jungles I wondered.

I took several shots of the big guy but could only get his face as his body was camouflaged in the grass. He finally got up several minutes later and I was able to get some full shots of him. He was certainly a pretty "fat" cat! He walked up to a bamboo thicket and made himself comfortable for the next 10-15 mins before more jeeps came into the area and the noise was annoying enough for him to finally get up and move across to the other side of the road. He almost brushed our jeep in the process and I could feel the hair in my arms just shoot up at the sight of seeing fully gown male tiger walk past you with nothing protecting you! Just 4-5 feet of space..that's all!

We saw a couple of barking deer on the way back out.

Photos: Bumera Male
Lens: Canon EF 100-400 USM IS be continued!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Fathers Day

My Facebook timeline is inundated today with all kinds of Father's Day messages. Now, I am not a big fan of all this non-sense. Children will have to be ever grateful to their parents irrespective of whether it is Fathers day, Mothers day or even your dogs day.

That, however has not prevented me from thinking about my dear father after seeing all those posts and wishes splashed over my Facebook timeline. There is not a day where I do not think about the greatest man I ever knew (I may not think of him conciously but I am sure my think of him within my sub-concious being) and looking at the messages I sometimes long for his physical presence. Sometime it makes me sad but sometimes it gets me philosophical.

So despite my dislike for all these special days, here goes.....Happy Father's day dear Appa! I will continue to be forever in your debt in this life and the lives I may take in the future for there will never be such a kind, compassionate, loving and doting human being moulded by the hands of God as far as I am concerned.