Category Archives: family

Observations from my daughter’s spring break

Now that I am done with my MBA, I have weekends for myself. More than anything else, I am happy to spend time with my family and learn many things that I missed in these 2.5 years. In the last couple of weeks I observed many kids playing in my neighborhood and parks which helped me develop a perspective on their behavior.

I have observed enough kids to categorize the sample as below.

Leaders: These kids wants other kids to follow them. They don’t care what other kids think. Unconsciously they show direction, they lead and there are “some” who follow them. These kids often are very assertive and they do stuff no matter what others think.

Followers: Clear…! These kids follow the leaders. Not because they like them because they need someone to show the path. They want someone else to entertain them. So, the leaders take this opportunity and take the followers for a ride. Followers simply can’t decide or they need some assurance from others. So, they fall pray.

Observers: Observers pretty much sit beside the Leaders and Followers and jsut relax. They are not very dynamic in nature and they like watching the action from outside. They have the most fun because they do not get involved in any action directly or indirectly. If a kid falls down, they laugh; If couple of kids are fighting, they still laugh; Pretty annoying to see such kids.

Discoverers: These kids are explorers trying to understand themselves and others. They want to try, understand what they like and what they don’t like. They lead based on the situation but not necessarily a leader personality. They usually don’t get into fight, because they want to learn and experiment. They don’t care about the cool kids.

Haters: No matter how kind and gentle a kid is there is always a kid who hates him/her. These kids usually try to be a leader, fail and then start blaming the other kids for unsuccessful attempt. They induce poison to other kids and instigate some wrongdoings. The hate in the minds of these kids so sophisticated that these kids are pretty hard to identify for the first time.

Now, think about these kids and fast-forward their lives for 20 years. Do these kids remain the same with their traits? What re-shapes them when they are growing? Does parenting influence a LOT? or is it just a personal trait that does not change over time?

While it is easy to push everything that a child behavior on individual traits and parents, there seems to be lot more factors that influences what they turnout to be as an adult. Did we not hear parents saying that my son/daughter is “very intelligent” at young age and then they turn out to be real “hope less human beings” as adults? It would be pretty interesting to study some of these factors that drives a child’s future. I will write more on what i find and when i find.

Can Skype change your life?

Well.. not exactly. Till now, video calling has been a luxury and expensive act that remained with in the corporate walls or riches. What Skype did is to bring this luxury to common man and small businesses. Yeah… you may say, this is not a big deal. Yes, i agree! But the recent Skype move to provide Video calling on iPhone 3G and Wifi is phenomenal.  Combined with the iPhone 4 face time feature it is just a great feature for the “globalized” families and businesses.

I have a iPhone 3GS model and this feature works as you expect with the back facing camera. You can just innovate the usage scenarios…

  • When i am on the move, or at restaurants or at grocery stores, i could just Video call from iPhone+Skype and ask my wife which specific flower bouquet she wants?
  • If i see a wonderful scenery, i could just call my daughter and show it to her.
  • It works great with Skype users in India too. I called my family in India to show them the nice misty and cloudy scenic I-680 route to Pleasanton.
  • You are walking along the Golden Gate Bridge and at a perfect sunset, call your parents in India (or anywhere in the world as long as they are a Skype user) and share the joy.

Thanks to 3G data speeds, Internet and Apple (iPhone) for making this possible. Thank you Skype. This is an amazing job!

Thanks for those invisible researchers/scientists who made this video compression techniques possible to travel across world.

Note : My AT&T signal sucks on iPhone (even on freeways). Good luck Verizon users.

A person is much more than what we see and feel

In the recent days, many incidents have been reported where either wife kills Husband or Husband (or others) kills (or tortures) Wife and all the other combinations of relationships. In most of the incidents, neighbors and friends are surprised about the fact that “this” person could not have don’t that. Or the person whom we know could not do this “bad” thing. In other times, some parents are heart broken to say that, “We never thought our son-in-law could torture our daughter. He seemed to be nice.”. Readers can very well get the context in which one would be surprised to see what other person did to them or others.

The recent Tiger Woods story is flying around the media for a few months now. Tiger Woods is an American professional golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. Currently the World No. 1, he was the highest-paid professional athlete in 2008, having earned an estimated $110 million from winnings and endorsements. Woods has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any male player, and 71 PGA Tour events, third all time. With the recent setback on his career where he was exposed with a Sex scandal with his wife and (many more) mistress. Millions of people worldwide were devastated that their favorite “Tiger Woods” was exposed to the media. They are never to believe that Tiger Woods could do such “bad” things. All the earnest he earned with hard work of few years was lost in few days.

SPS Rathore and Ruchika case is also one of the most popular and saddening news in 2009. SPS Rathore is the Inspector General of police who was the top law enforcer of the state of Haryana. Ruchika was a budding tennis player. The 14-year-girl was so traumatized by the experience and intimidation from authorities to silence her that she committed suicide in 1993. Probably this is not the right forum to discuss, if the 6 month jail and Rs.1000/- fine is what one should get for this inexcusable mistake. However, people were shocked to see that a IPS officer and an ex-DGP could do such a “bad” thing to a little girl (same age as his grand-daughter may be).

Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja were two cricket icons who many many Indians and other cricket fans adored and respected. In the year 2000, when  all these cricketers were hit by the Match-fixing scandal, many where angry and surprised how these seasoned cricketers are able to do such stupid actions.

The Monica Lewinsky scandal was a political sex scandal emerging from a sexual relationship between United States President Bill Clinton and a 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal on all impeachment charges (of perjury and obstruction of justice) in a 21-day Senate trial. President of a lead nation falling pray to such practices made the entire US and world look at this guy with shame. He is one president who has great charm, had influenced many nations on nuclear treaties, strengthened relations with India and many more. A person of such magnitude was/is never expected to commit a mistake which would play with people’s feelings.

Bollywood’s hero Salman Khan is/was respected and adored by many Indians and people abroad. On 28 September 2002, Salman was arrested for rash and negligent driving. His car had run into a bakery in Mumbai; one person who was sleeping on the pavement outside the bakery died and three others were injured in the mishap. On 17 February 2006, Khan was sentenced to one year in prison for hunting an endangered species, the Chinkara. The sentence was stayed by a higher court during appeal. His turbulent relationship with actress Aishwarya Rai was a well publicized topic in the Indian media, and had constantly filled gossip columns. After their break-up in March 2002, Rai accused him of harassing her.

In the above examples, you could see that variety of people in various walks of life have committed what we generally perceive as “wrong” doings. This brings to discuss an interesting idea of “A person is much more than what we see and feel”. There will be many instances in life where we are surprised by some “action” that our close friend or relative did. You would be shattered to know that a person that you KNEW was totally different to what they were in ACTUALITY.

That said, it is interesting to see some components of what makes a person what he is today. Following are some important components that we all believe that a person is made up of and perceived.

  • Childhood
    • Parents treatment
    • Teachers treatment
    • Neighbors treatment
    • Relatives treatment
    • Friends Influence
    • Learning from Hobbies
  • Adulthood
    • College Environment
    • Friend Influence
    • Delta of Parent Influence
    • Delta of Faculty Influence
    • Learning from Hobbies
    • Learning from Travel
    • Experiences @ Work
    • Learning from Boss
    • Leanings from Co-worker

Also, it is very important to understand that a person plays multiple roles in his life time. And Responsibility for each role is UNIQUE.

A person is a combination of his upbringing stimulants.

A person is a combination of experiences from his birth time till death.

A person is a combination of positives traits

A person is a combination of negative traits

Very often, people don’t understand this fact and mix up the facts and assume the following…

  • He is a good Son. So, He will be good Husband.
  • She is a good Daughter; So, She will be good Mother.
  • She is a good Daughter; So, She will be good Wife.
  • He is a great Person at Work; So, He will become good Husband.
  • He talks very nicely with people; So, He will LOVE his wife.
  • She is a nice person; So, She should be loving her Husband.
  • He has done his Ph.D; He will take care of his Wife and Kids nicely.
  • He is nice person to talk to; He may be loving his family a lot.
  • He takes care of his Wife; He he must be taking care of his Parents too.
  • She talks nicely with her In-laws. She much be taking good care of them.
  • and many more you could think of…
Clearly, such statements tend to prove wrong (in most cases) and we are either surprised or disappointed when something goes wrong. It is necessary to know and understand a person in various aspects of like rather than based on what we perceive. A simple analysis of a person is rather depicted by the Johari window that talks about the multiple aspects of a person. Of course, this is in no way a complete analysis of a person. However, this gives us a frame of reference to KNOWN and UNKNOWN aspects of a person.
A Johari window is a cognitive psychological tool created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 in the United States, used to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships. It is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise.
There are definitely several other analysis tools. But Johari window is a simple tool to understand and analyze a person. This took helps us in two different ways. This tool is helpful when the person and his family/friends contribute what they about the person.
Room 1 : This is the part that most of us see in one person. This room contains all the traits of a person that he knows and others also know. e.g. A person is full of energy and jovial all the time. These traits are known to him and others too.
This room makes it possible that a person is known to other people and is open to suggestions on his personality improvement. The idea is when a person knows he is “impatient”, he is more open to accept when other suggest him to be “patient”. When you know, it is easy to accept.

Room 2 : The aspect of some personal traits known to others and not to you, prevails in this room. It some times leads to pain, as others may know that you are not trust-worthy and sway away from you and you have no clue why you cant make friends. No one even tells you and you don’t know about it.

Room 3 : This is the dangerous space of all the rooms as these traits are not known to you or others. This might lead to a scenario, where an action of yours may cause pain to you and also others. Because, you are worrying about that fact that “I am not that kind of person” and others are worrying that “He is not that kind of person”. No one knows about these traits and as the number of these traits in this room increases, there would be more and more embarrassing and shocking instances for you and everyone.

Room 4 : This is a private scenario where one is aware of a particular personal trait and they don’t reveal it to others. One can be “violent”, “vulgar” or “unethical” and not let others know about this. They always try to cover these traits with some other personal traits. If the number of items in this room increases, then a person becomes more and more secretive and its very difficult to gauge a person depending on what you know. Because, you don’t know the root of his action could be his innate trait that you are not aware of.

A gentle urge is to consciously understand a person and not judge based on what you see and hear about that person. For all that you know, he is very good socially but he is a highly unethical or vulgar personality. There are many many aspects of a person to be closely seen.

Why Calcium for your body?

A real quick reference of why you need calcium ?

You need Calcium because…

  • It maintains normal heart beat
  • regulates blood pressure
  • helps nervous system function correctly
  • MAY reduce colon cancer chances
  • … its not only about the stronger bones…

Calcium rich foods…

  • low-fat milk
  • butter milk
  • regular yogurt
  • tofu
  • other misc items like milk-shakes, coffee drinks, etc…

Calcium requirement / day…

  • elementary through high school kids – 1300mg X 4 servings
  • adult and middle aged – 1000mg X 3 servings
  • older people after 50 – 1200mg X 4 servings

Exercises that helps you…

  • walking
  • jogging
  • dancing
  • tennis
  • yoga

In between…. Why Vitamin D ?

  • helps your body to absorb Calcium
  • prevents rickets (soft bones)
  • sunlight triggers to produce more Vitamin D

Being a good HOST…is an Art!

Yes… you heard it right. Being a good host is an aArt. Some people are good at it and some really suck. Not that they don’t know how to be a good host, they just don’t have that Art in them and they don’t seem to understand it.

You go someone’s home as a guest and you feel great about those few hours you spend. You want to spend more time at their home and you feel “like home“. These hosts make you feel great about yourself and gives all the comfort that you need.  There is this other category of people who you want to “avoid“. Even if by chance you go, you feel choked and want to come out of their home as soon as possible. You are there more as a “viewer” and not as a “contributor” and “enjoyer”.  You would go to their home “late” and want to leave their home “early“.

Over the years I have the privilege of being a Guest and Host aswell. When I consciously observe more and more… following are some factors that influence the “perception” of being a good “HOST”.

Invitation/Planning : Of course, this seems to be very simple and straight forward thing to do. Everyone in life is busy (as you are). Allow people to plan their visit to your place and give them enough choices on dates. It is not difficult to do this, if you plan. Calling people on the day of the “Get-to-gather” is a BAD idea (unless they have some idea of the invitation).

Don’t send a simple e-mail and expect people to turn up. It is extremely impolite to invite people by emails (this perhaps is OK when you have a 100s of guests to call). When you are having a private-family gathering, it is nice to call each family and invite. If you are calling 4 families, you are not excused to say that you don’t have (4 * 5 minutes) 20 minutes of time.

Homogeneous Group : As a host you want to take a special precaution and consideration on the nature of people you are inviting. When you celebrate some parties which are typically 2-3 hours, people don’t care what kind of group they are mixing with. But when you call people home to spend an afternoon or evening, they are expecting to talk/discuss/ jokes, etc…

You may want to invite groups where they share much “common” interests and not having “contrast” interests. e.g. some people are “Culturally” inclined, some have strong “Political” views, some talk more about “Kids”, etc…  Considering different interests, you need to make a “sensible” judgment as to see who will blend and who will not.  Few think that “diversity” is good but not to a point where people go into “shells”.

Lively Hosts : You see a smiley face in the morning, you feel great about the day. You see a dull/boring face in the morning, you feel the same. Our moods, enthusiasm and psychology is influenced by the people around us and the company we are.

You can’t have a straight fave and invite people home and expect them to enjoy. Hosts should be lively and friendly to have a great atmosphere. People would not want to be guests at your home and become sad after seeing you. If that’s the case, they would have stayed back as well. Very clearly guests would want to go and meet these (lively) hosts all the time.

Openness : Oh boy, this is so important to understand and implement. Create an environment where everyone if the guests can contribute and share their thoughts. Don’t steal the discussions and jokes. Guests may not say anything at that time but they leave a bad taste on them. e.g. when a guest is talking about “Slum dog millionaire” movie, don’t ridicule by saying that “oh god, don’t even talk about that movie”. In short, don’t interrupt, don’t ridicule and don’t steal the show. Give equal importance to each and everyone.

Some people seem to know “everything” in this word (at least that’s what they think). Dont worry about these people, these are the “real-poor-moron-souls on this earth”.

Cleanliness : Is this even a topic to discuss ??? Who on this world does not know that the house needs to be clean when you invite guests. Sadly, some people dont get it. Really…!

When you invite, it is your responsibility to CLEAR and CLEAN the stuff around. Understand that “CLEAR and CLEAN” both are important. You don’t want your guests to make way into the home thorough all the things lying on th ground. “I don’t have time”, is not excuse. If you don’t have time, dont Invite guests.

Guests can’t tolerate the wet floor, blurry/stained glass in bathroom, stained water tumblers, stained tea/coffee cups and stained bowls and plates. Yes… it is important to CLEAN at least the things that you give to guests.

Food : (mostly in Indian context) Food is the most important part of any invitation of Guests. We love to cook variety of traditional and modern food at home and enjoy with guests. Please do take some precautions when you are cooking.

Don’t Experiment : Your Guests are not guinea pigs. Please do not ever experiment on the day of get-together. You really want the food to be tasty and eatable. If you experiment and you get it wrong, you are not give a very bad impression about your self to that guest.

Make it fresh : This may not seem to be a point of discussion. But many high-tech people cook 1/2/3 days before they invite people. They think that, because i eat “the same junk”, my guests will also eat the same. If you can’t cook fresh, please do not invite. It’s not worth to have a bad memory about you.

Remember : You make nine(9) SUPERB dishes and make one(1) “SUCKY” dish; the chances are that people (like me) are going to remember that “SUCKY” dish for the life long. If you know something is wrong, you better don’t serve. It is better to have 5 average food items rather than 3-Superb and 2-Sucky items. You get that… ?

Send Off : You did everything well and screw up in the end is of no use. When your guests are leaving be considerate and thankful to them that they accepted your invitation and made it home. You need to be kind and thankful, even if they aren’t. When they are leaving, please don’t be watching TV and say “Bye” from your couch.

Clearly, one needs to be more conscious about what they do and they dont when they invite Guests. Inviting Guests and being Hosts is Responsibility and Fun too. Dont let your over enthusiasm or over boredom kill your guests. You may not lose your guests forever; but they will hate to come back again.

Be conscious and have a great fun!