Elevator Summary

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

March 25th 2010

If you have never heard of what this stands for, here is the definition given in the Urban Dictionary:

"An extremely short summary. The kind of summary that can be used when you're going up or down in an elevator, and can explain the matter during those few seconds"

I am referring to it esp. in the context of work and workplace. The answer to the questions "So what are you upto these days?", "Howz work going?", " What do you work in again?" and the like. How many times have you been in the situation when you are in an elevator and one of these questions pops up and you either respond in one word saying "good", "great", "yah the usual stuff" or go into geek talk where you say " Actually..we are dealing with this, basically to solve this problem while acidically I should just die!" while mentally thinking " Darn, is that the best I can do?" Or you are warming up food in the microwave and as luck would have it Paul Otellini walks in to warm his Michelangelo's Pasta and he says, " Hi, how are you doing? What do you do here?" And you just gape at the chapattis that are warming up and are tongue tied and there goes the one opportunity to make an impression and the chance of your lifetime.

Lesson Learnt: Have an elevator summary ready, you never know when you will need it.

P.S. It does not also hurt to wear good and clean underwear. You never know when, where and how you will die.


Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

March 1st 2010

I have already written about this emotion earlier. But this post is focused on a different meaning of passion. It is focused on 'a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything'. I talk about the passion that Rancho lives by in the movie '3 idiots'

After V, watching movies is a luxury and we allowed ourselves that when we watched 3 movies back to back on 3 nights a couple of weekends ago in the wee hours of the morning as he slept. The only noteworthy one was this . A totally feel good movie that made me want some more. I fell in love despite trying not to with Rancho and his passion and zeal for what he did. I could empathize with the characters of Raju and Farhan because much as we would all like to be Ranchos the reality is that we live in the shoes of Raju and Farhan with a dash of Rancho if we are lucky :P And that is where this  post is headed.

If we really think about where we are in our careers and in our lives in general, it would be a place reached with a path taken that was based on a lot of planning, analysis and practicality. The trick is in understanding how much of an ingredient 'passion' was in that mix. If it was not, then have you learnt to be passionate about what you have ended up with? If the answer to both part a) and b) is a clear NO then I am willing to bet that you are unhappy many times and are constantly searching for ways to enrich your life. Do I sound a bit like Dr. Phil, believe me I am not trying to.

At one of the workshops at work, I came across this session I took where they asked us to take the Passion Test. It involved writing down things that you are passionate about and would do in an ideal situation and things you are doing with your current life or situation. And wonder of wonders those who were happy were those who were doing what they were passionate about at least to some extent.  If you end up with 2 different lists totally and there is no mesh between what you would ideally be doing and what you are doing everyday, how can you be happy?

In another instance, in a career development workshop, there was a discussion about how trying to be in a place where your talents, passions and work match is key to a person being successful in his/her job. Same deal, there too.

And I sat there thinking..how come no one ever taught this day 1 in school or in college even for that matter. Well, if your passion is to be a snake charmer then that might need some revisiting, but even then you could try to pursue it as a hobby, right?

Anyway, in my own personal experience I have found that I work well when I do things I am passionate about.  Even if I have to do something I don't like, I try to offset it by doing other things that I care about. So end result is that one is still happy.

Life is too short to waste, so go on and discover your passions and try to make it happen.

My First Half Marathon - Halfway there

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

The fact that I have always craved an athletic body is no surprise, we all want to look like supermodels and fit into size 4 clothing [I don't like size 0]. If you deny, you lie! Watching Athletics and Olympics always brings an adrenaline rush like no other though that is about the maximum I watch as far as sports go barring tennis. All around me everyone was running marathons and halfs and I just kept plodding along my usual life. When the first time I got the desire to train for a half, we wanted to have a baby, and so V happened. And now that he is there I wanted to do something to feel better about my body and my activity level, something to give me a focus. And so this is the first time I am training seriously for a half. Whether I ran in the end or not, I wanted to train for one. And so it started. I want to maybe do a marathon by the time I am 30, well lets not count the chickens before they hatch.

Race planned: Race for the Roses
Gear: a supportive husband, 2 old nike shoes, ipod, water bottle, variety of t-shirts and tracks :)

Week 1
  • I succesfully completed my first week. The first run is very memorable and I have recorded the experience here
  • Since this is the first week starting out, the motivation is very high and I look forward to each run.However I worry that I should follow through and sleep and wake up thinking of the runs.
  • I have found in this week that I run better on the road than in the gym. 
  • The first ten minutes are the hardest, and then there is a plateau and then I just plod again.
  • I have run more this week than in my entire life.
  • Villu rocks!
  • I am looking forward to week 2.
  • Week's tally:  14 miles
Week 2
  • My shoes suck and I need to get new ones.
  • I ran lesser distance in the same time on the treadmill than on the road but burnt more calories and felt more tired- go figure!
  • I have a playlist for running and like it.
  • I missed one run this week because we were in Seattle but made up by running more on  Thursday.
  • I ran 4.6 miles on Thursday, and that was really really long for me :(
  • If I check the weather a day or a few hours before when I plan a run, there is lesser chance of me skipping it
  • Made myself a playlist of 60 fast tracks so I feel more motivated to run
  • Week's tally:  10.6 miles
Week 3
  • Motivation level is still high, am doing my upper and lower body workouts too every day (3 times a week for each) and abs everyday
  • My shoes really really really suck
  • The Mr got me gloves from his cleanroom to use when I run, so my hands don't feel cold.
  • Started teaching Aerobics again this week (after close to 3 years) and it felt absolutely absolutely wonderful , but this means I am able to run only 3 times..and am still figuring out my schedule
  • Week's tally: 7.15 miles
Week 4
  • Motivation level is kind of ok, this week and last was able to run only 3 times. 
  • And it rained and rained and rained all week, so all my runs were on the treadmill which were harder and so boring.
  • I was not able to do my long runs the past two weeks due to different reasons so I was dreading the 6m this Sat, but sucked up and did it, and it was so so hard. The weather was wonderful though
  • I walked maybe 0.1 m a couple of times in between but I finished it and that felt gooddd
  • It sucked that I had to leave V to go run so next Sat am gonna be up early so I don't miss out being with him.
  • Week's tally: 15.01 miles
Week 5
  • I can't believe I am close to halfway there and stuck with this plan
  • Annoyingly my weight has not budged, zero, zilch..arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  • Did only 2 good runs this week, the other two were a combination of walk/run but got to spend some time with my boys, so that counts
  • My runs during the week were hard as it rained all day and how much fun can you have on the treadmill, really?
  •  The 8m on Saturday was killing, killing, killing. But I loved my new water bottle pouch (thanks to the Mr) and the weather was beautiful. I was sore the whole day
  • Going to run earlier next week so I don't miss out on too much time with V, that will make me feel tons better
  • Week's tally: 18 miles

Foie Gras

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

March 1st 2010

I had not heard of this until last Thursday when I received a forwarded e-mail with some information about the same. This translates into 'fat liver' and is a delicacy that is produced by force-feeding a goose and then purposefully fattening its liver. Maybe does not sound too bad in words but made me puke my breakfast almost when I saw the picture of the poor bird with the metal tube shoved down its throat and corn fed in. I cannot erase its eyes looking into mine ever I think, so helpless and as if making a plea. You can read more here . 

To clarify, I am not trying to advocate vegetarianism as I am not qualified and commit many crimes of my own. This e-mail only made me look a little bit deeper into how even though I am educated, I tend to take the easy way out and ignore many things as long as I am not exposed to it head on! For example, have I ever wondered how the cows whose milk I drink and the hens who eggs I eat are treated in their farms. I don't think any cow was made to be machine milked. Just mere internet browsing enlightened me that the male calves are killed or disposed off as soon as they are born and in general calves are separated from their mother as soon as they are born because the mother has to be milked. I cannot imagine that I am a consumer of this product.  You can read more here .

Where am I going with this, I don't know. I am thinking and need to think some more. For starters-the killer whales in Sea World used for entertainment, the animals in the circus, the granites in our homes, the diamonds on our hands, the crackers at Diwali - all gotten subjecting another to misery to bring a smile on our faces.  Is it worth it? How demeaning it is to see the king of the jungle jump to the tune of the ringmaster's whip? Why blame the whale for doing what comes to it naturally - it is not called a killer whale  so it can eat small pieces of tuna, is it?

I had to vent because I don't have answers but I hope my body follows my mind as I need to make some lifestyle changes. Easier said than done. Some things are easy to give up while some others not so much but maybe I can atone for some of the sins I commit by exploring alternatives and  giving back in other ways. I hope and pray.