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Thursday, January 22, 2015

My 5 Mantras For A Better Life!

Before I took a sabbatical I had been working for ten years; I have enjoyed every bit of it and I am proud of my achievements. But between all this there was also a sense of never having time for myself. Isn’t it amazing we all get 24 hours but some people manage to get so much out of the same number of hours? I have personally struggled to try and to do more things that I enjoy and have an identity and existence beyond the mandatory office & home routine. Here are some tips to work towards a more enriching life: 1. Prioritize We all have a long list of things to do every day, and in the rush of things may forget some. Make a list in order of priority; you will be surprised how easier and more manageable everything seems and nothing gives me more satisfaction than striking off the things done. 2. Read Yes read! A book can be a great stress buster at the end of the day, and it’s been already proven scientifically that watching TV before you fall asleep is bad for your health. In a world of gadgets and gizmos, an old fashioned book still goes a long way. 3. Go For A Walk I have solved more problems than I can remember while walking. Sometimes being little far away from the daily hustle and bustle gives you more perspective than you can imagine. And while you are at it, burn some calories and those pheromones released just adds to the joy. 4. Meet New People It’s amazing how many new people outside our school and college friends and work colleagues we can potentially meet in our daily life, if we just made an effort. All it takes is some initiative, and a big smile. We meet a lot of people in gyms, while commuting, at various functions and seminars. You will be surprised how much we can learn and be enriched from such interactions. 5. Volunteer Sometimes being there is far more fulfilling then just writing a cheque, the cause can be anything close to your heart. The time and effort will give you a satisfaction and a high better than the most happening party you ever attended. And of course a chance to meet more like minded people. I hope the above steps give you as much happiness as they have given me. More joy to you all!! First published here

What Happened To The News And The Newsroom Panel Discussions?

You have to read the newspaper. As a child, growing up, my father emphasized the importance of the news – being well aware about the world around us. Reading the newspaper and watching the news on television hence has always been a part of my daily schedule. Those days of course news wasn’t what it is today. My earliest memory of News programs is the staid politically correct version as aired on Doordarshan, India’s only news broadcast at the time. With time there were alternatives like “The World This Week” started by Prannoy Roy and Newstrack video magazine. With the arrival of satellite television channels in the nineties slowly and steadily the content and the choice available also improved. Today there are 392 news and current affairs channels in India. That’s a lot by any standards, and I guess it means we Indians are definitely watching a lot of news!! But is it really news that we are watching? Every piece of news today is breaking news, and channels fight over each other in their claim to who broke the news first. What happened to presentation and in depth reporting and analyzing the real issue in hand? Today’s news is just about reporting the events, first and in the loudest voice. This brings me to the favorite bit of news programs, the panel discussions! The art of organizing a successful panel discussion is easy, get four panelists whose only claim to fame is that some other news channel would have called them once for a panel discussion, and let them have a free for all screaming match. Add to that a news anchor who loves his voice, and voila you have high TRPs. Of course the result is total chaos with nobody managing a single coherent sentence in; and god forbid as a panelist if you don’t agree with anchor’s world view, you will be yelled at till you decide to shut up! The result is comedy of errors and makes for good entertainment on some days, which is if that’s what you were in looking for in the first place! When I switch on the television for news, what am looking for is real news not just eye catching headlines, the real issues behind the controversies, in depth investigation and a deeper understanding of the deeper malaises of corruption and social inequality that plagues our nation. Discussion and debate is important in a democracy but so are patience and the ability to listen and respect other people’s views. The world today perceives us to be a young, growing and also an impatient nation. Is that impatience arising from what we watch, that we can out scream competition; that we can browbeat the voice of reason, and whoever speaks louder but not necessarily the right thing; reserves the right to be heard? A good debate is entertaining when both the parties can present their views and the audience decides based on the content and not chaos. I enjoy a good debate any day, but let’s have a healthy debate, understand the issues in hand, and may the best speaker win. What’s your opinion? First published here.