Thursday, January 29, 2015

Corporate Survival Guide for Dummies

This write-up was written for seeups.com and can be found here.

The first job for freshers is tricky and at the same time a very important milestone. It marks your ingress into the big bad world of manners and etiquette’s. The way you conduct yourself, the choices you make at the initial stages will affect your future tenure in the corporate world. Not everyone is lucky to get guidance on the perfect corporate behavior but fret not Seeups is here to help you out. Read on to transform yourself into corporate savvy.

1. Be Professional
You have to be prepared for this. This is no college so don’t come here expecting to make friends and have a blast. Just out of college with no professional exposure the first few weeks were very strange for me. Addressing people double your age with their first names, working 9 hours continuously at a stretch, attending trainings and having a polite smile plastered across your face. It was not an easy transformation for the erstwhile class-bunking me. But I survived although not before gaining quite a reputation for falling asleep in trainings.
Mostly all corporate offices have an induction for freshers where they tell you all the mandatory attributes. But I suggest before all that, just Google some professional etiquette s so that you are atleast mentally prepared and know what to expect.

2. Learn, Learn & learn more
Once you are assigned to work on a project. Just treat your office like an unlimited buffet, where all you have to do it just eat and eat. Here the food is knowledge and you have grasp as much as you can. Whatever technologies and processes are being used should be understood and implemented by you. In corporate world knowledge is power. Even the small talk you have with random people is seldom about weather & movies. It’s about the latest strategies of Vishal Sikka and whether JP Morgan is really going bankrupt. So starting to read the newspaper is also a good decision.

3. Be a Smart Worker

Hard worker and Smart worker. Little difference in theory but huge difference in impact. Importance of what you do is less than that of how you present it. Learn to present your work in an effective way. Taking cue from the Pareto principle we can infer that 80% planning and
20 % implementation is the success mantra. Plan your work, do a thorough breakup and assignation of tasks, automate as much as you can and most importantly review your work in-depth before presenting it. Do proof reading, check for attachments, don’t miss the subject lines and remember spell check does not always work correctly. Avoid these petty mistakes at cost, managers are programed to base their judgement on the much overrated first impression.
4. Know when to say NO
It’s a general practice in corporates to dump all work on freshers. So it is very important to know when to say NO. While learning is critical at initial stages of your career, you should judge smartly when you feel people are taking you for a ride. Saying No is important because if you don’t even when you are old enough in the company, people will always remember you as the guy who does all the work. And by then it will be too late to say NO.

5. Beware of pesky co-workers
Team members form an integral part of your journey in corporate world. You are going to meet all kinds of people here. The good, the bad and the ones that fall somewhere in between. Don’t come here expecting to become best friends with people. At the same time, be cordial and polite with all. Have fun with your team on outings and picnic, bond over food at lunch, discuss sports and movies at coffee but that’s where it ends. Don’t get on being too personal (especially in the start) once you have a grown familiarity and develop a good understanding you can go ahead and be friends. Stay away from people who gossip – because today they are talking about others with you, tomorrow they will be talking with other about you. Also smartly tackle people who have a knack for taking credit for everything. And the ones who sweet talk to get all their work done from you.

6. Right & Wrong
Once you join a company, the first thing you should do is read all the policy documents available in repositories. Be clear about medical benefits, release/transfer policies, increments, promotion criteria etc. Have a one on one session with your HR to understand the functioning of your organization. Be aware of your rights and don’t let anyone take you for granted. Whenever required fight for your rights. If you feel you are eligible for promotion just discuss it with your manager. Don’t wait for him to initiate any discussion. Here you are not going to get served on a silver platter. It’s the survival of the fittest and the fastest.

7. Effective time management
Sometimes we need to stretch beyond our working hours to meet deadlines. While this is perfectly okay once in a while, make sure not to make a habit out of it. Life is not just about your job. Make sure to prioritize stuff and make equal time of yourself, family and friends. Take leaves, go for a vacation. Do a reunion with your buddies, take that road trip you have been planning forever. We all know, all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.

8. Health is wealth
Corporate life can take a toll on your health. Irregular food habits, too much coffee, sitting posture can lead to myriad of problems ranging from gastritis to spondylitis. Not to mention that quintessential tummy that IT world gives you within 2 years. An early precaution will help. Take breaks in between and do some workstation stretches. Look away from your screen to give your eyes a break. As far as possible eat healthy, carry fruits and dry fruits with you which you can have in case you have no time for lunch. Don’t take your health for granted.

9. Use social media wisely

Social media is addictive. Period. We love to tag and check-in all the awesome places we visit. But social media backfires when you call in sick for work with your party night pictures plastered all across Facebook. Be cautious of information you share on social media. Always remember “Excess of everything is bad.”

10. Personal Grooming
You may have spent your entire college life strutting around in distressed denims. But once you enter the business world, the entire wardrobe would need a major intervention. Invest in some good business formals and casuals. Clean and ironed shirts & trousers. Nicely polished shoes preferably matching your belt. Clean and dark coloured socks, white socks are a big NO in corporate offices. Please use a lightly scented deodorant or perfume. No one expects you to look red carpet ready but a clean, well groomed look goes a long way.

Love:
Sepo

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Featured - CALMARE

This post was original written for seeups.com.

Over the last 5 years, the world has been drastically changed by the phenomena of online shopping. Though initially not that popular, it is now a majorly thriving business. The surge in the number of websites dedicated to online shopping just proves that point. From movie tickets to pen drives, mobile phones to lingerie, clothes to jewellery everything is at your doorstep with just a click of few buttons. Hell, even fresh fruits and vegetables can be ordered online! One can easily assume that amongst the urban population online shopping is hugely popular. And the big offers the websites keep announcing just keeps the customers glued.

Browsing through various shopping websites is one of my favorite pastimes and that’s exactly how I stumbled across CALMARE – our featured start-up for today. Calmare offers a wide variety of options for all you fashionista’s out there – Ethnic wear, western wear, winter wear, jewellery and accessories. Some of the merchandize is specially designed and some is purchased directly from factories. It will take you less than 5 minutes to get hooked to the fantastic yet affordable collection they offer. It’s been almost a year since then and in this tenure, I have had the pleasure of doing business with Team Calmare multiple times. The product quality, delivery, follow-up and everything is conducted in a well arranged and professional manner.


We had a chat with Alisha Resutra, the brain behind the whole idea. Beautiful and charming Alisha is from Jammu, J&K. She holds a masters’ degree, works in IT sector and simultaneously nurtures her dream of being a creative entrepreneur. Read on to know more about her dream.



Conceptualization of Idea
Calmare was a dream for a very long time. It is a result of desire to design and sell. I had been working on the idea for years and then it just took a moment to finalize. It was easy because it was my father’s birthday and that’s when I decided to launch it. It was just all about bringing out the latest in fashion around your body and it hit a chord with women around the world.

Personal Style & 5 top picks from her wardrobe
I am someone who would not run for brands and just go with what suits me. My all-time favorites are sheath silhouette, a blend of contemporary and traditional. I also particularly like to work with shades of gold and oranges.
The 5 things she absolutely loves in her wardrobe are:
1. Red stilettos
2. Blue and silver mesh A-line gown
3. Gold stitched saree with gota work
4. Mauve sweater
5. Gold danglers

Envision for future
Well, we have grown in the last two years. I still remember there was a time when we would get one order in ten days. Yes, that was a time too. And today we’re doing much better. We don’t even get to know how the day ends with us taking new demands for customers, taking their orders and sending them. The big catalyst for us was that we were bringing really unique designs. Facebook helped us have a free and global opportunity to find a tribe, to find a community of women that’s niche. We also started the hash tagging system. Essentially, hash tagging a product on Instagram or Facebook, and then we’d pull it in and populate it underneath the product.
5 years from now, Calmare would be a dream come true. I see it growing at a good pace. Certainly, we would be happy seeing ourselves do good things for our customers. Calmare would be in about every 10th woman’s wardrobe in times to come.


Do check out Calmare’s official page on facebook.

Love:
Sepo

Friday, January 16, 2015

Memories


In my previous post I spoke at length about getting old. Noticing changes in lifestyle and preferences. Of being only a segment of who you once used to be. All the thoughts I had put into the post plus the reactions and comments the post garnered, made me want to revisit the person I was. Back in college – the carefree me! And getting unexpected phones calls from old college friends only strengthened by resolve to open up the Pandora box full of college memories. Every semester, event and celebration carefully saved alphabetically.

It was a difficult task selecting a few from a huge collection. But sharing a few special ones:



One of my favourite picture of the three of us, taken at our favourite eatery – Smokin Joe’s. L-R Eku, Vandy,Me
  
In the college canteen, while making assignments. L-R Eku, Me, Pooja, Ekta, Reeti, Shivani
We were pretty big on hairbands, which I still wear. I guess somethings don’t change. I now agree with my roommate when she says “Adults are just kids, with money!”

We were also big on buying identical clothes. Notice the same green ganji 

That’s taken at one of the most famous garden of our college. Popularly known as the…wait for it –LOVERS Garden. I say one-of-the because our college was full of gardens. Lots of places to hang out at after bunking classes.

A picnic of sorts

With seniors, after an event – Eccentronics. I really don’t understand the cause of our super excitement in the pic. The Guys, L-R Harminder, Anupam, Rajesh, Sourav

Newly opened Dominoes was frequently visited in the last two years of engineering. The guys, L-R Sushil, Sumit, Sanjeev, Govind, Aman

Group Discussion I had participated in. The picture was clicked at the only time I opened by mouth and that too to blabber something totally unrelated to the topic.I am first one from right.

Me under my favourite tree in the college:-)

Nope not on a trek here. Believe it or not this was actually a shortcut for going to our canteen.

Oh decorating my assignments. This was a running joke in my class – That Sneha applies lipstick and nail polish on her assignments as well ;)

Again with the same tshirts.

This was an industrial visit. All I remember from this is the different poses we made for the shutterbugs. Standing, L-R – Yogeshwar, Cheena, Manan, Prerna, vandy, me, Reeti, Ankush. Siting, L-R – Shafali, Pooja, Himanshu.

One of my most loved picture. I just love the way I am holding Vandy’s arm.

With Blog-Dost Geetanjali. BTW I was shocked to see the number of pictures taken in Dominoes. No wonder I can’t stand domino’s pizza anymore.

Yep. Haircuts were immaculately captured as well. And that Man is the best hair dresser. Ever. Enough said.


No words for this one. I am just gonna stare and express utter shock and disbelief at my frame

Poser Girls. Eku and Me were colour coordinated on most days and it was never coincidence. Every morning we used to call each other and decide what to wear. Yes that’s the truth.


The fake happiness is so visible on my face. The guys – Raghav and Nakul.

Another one I love. Taken at our bus stop.

Circle of hands.

Love the burst of colours in this one!

Rameez & Adarsh. Courtesy these two, I have had my one and only free meal in a restaurant. No there was no offer. We just left the place without paying the bill and no one caught us. Thank heavens.

The one with my favourite shoes. Silver ballerinas. Love! The Girls – Suchika, Vandy and Pallavi

Of accessories and more!

This was/is/will always remain my favourite place for Momos. It was called Momo hut and was pretty much our home for the 4 years. The mutton momos here were out of this world…so yum.

When we bunked sessional exam to go to a movie – Housefull. The girl and guy in the left are married. To each other. How cool is that!

I have worn this white shirt way too much back then!

Working on the project. Circuits, Etching, drilling, soldering …



Our college was in outskirts so spotting them was pretty common. Lovely no?

At Vaishno Devi. Jai Mata Di


The one with identical bracelets

This was science day or something. There was a dress-code of black and white to be followed. That explains the monotone of colours in the picture,.

Last working day of college.

This picture is extremely special because its taken with the guys who graced us with their presence only one or twice per semester.

This is vikhram bhaiya ka dhabba our chill out place in front of the college. Best nan with rajma and chatni have been had here

This was taken on the day of campus drive for capgemini and both of failed to clear it :)
Does the post remind you of your own college days? If yes do share your memories....

Love:
Sepo

Saturday, January 10, 2015

10 Signs You Are Getting Old

1. When you ditch street shopping for shoes & clothes because of the sheer amount of energy involved in travel, search, bargaining and dodging off noisy college girls. Plus buying cheap stuff (like shoes) which would later involve huge repairing costs just does not seem to be a great plan anymore. You would rather spend your time peacefully shopping at a branded shop in a mall (once you have managed to get rid of the sales-people, that is!). This marks as your transformation from the street-smart-bohemian to what my roommate calls the Brand-Bitch.

2. When instead of checking out dudes on bike, you critique their reckless driving and comment on how they have no regards for their own or other people’s lives. Then you continue to speak on how these days’ parents are spoiling their kids with excessive indulgences. And then you gulp because you realize that you sound just like your Mom.

3. When your prefer to spend your New Year dining at a cosy, intimate, elegant and highly overpriced eatery rather than in the crowded, hip, loud-music-playing, beer tower serving lounges. The loud music noise they play gives you jitters and the frequenters of such places – the racoon eyed, crop top wearing tweens make you highly uncomfortable.

4. When you give-up exciting night-outs “experimenting” with stuff and prefer to have an all-night-long date with your beloved collection of movies, TV series and various sitcoms.

5. When various takeaway boxes in your house give way to healthy food like dry fruits, oats and fresh fruits.

6. When you start to wash your clothes daily instead of waiting for the weekend. The days of no-underpants-to-wear-because-all-are-in-laundry-bag are ancient history now.

7. When you live right opposite to a flat full of bachelor boys and yet there is no flirting happening.

8. When getting crushes on debutante celebrities is a passé because most of them are now almost your age or younger. Similarly unlike before now you just don’t go about watching every movie that sees light of the day. You catch up on the ones that garner rave reviews at multiple film festivals. Also
latest songs are rarely on your playlist unless really popular.

9. When you choose comfort over style by ditching the pair of your sexy stilettos for block or kitten heel pumps.

10. When terms like recurring deposit, mutual funds, LIC, PPF start to make sense.

There is no defined threshold after which you can confidently say that – yes, I am grown up now. It is always with some instance or memories that you suddenly realize that there is a part of you which have been left behind….

Love:
Sepo


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Faith & Patience

Religion is a complex feeling (if you can call it that). Especially in India, a lot of importance is given to caste, the god you believe in, the rituals you follow and stuff. Religion, worship and God form a very important part of the upbringing for us Indians. And there are so many Gods and Goddesses in our Hindu mythology. Even though we adore and worship each one with equal reverence, there is bound to be a favorite. The one to whom you pray to when in trouble and thank when happy. The one you make promises with in order to get what you want. As I kid I always adored Krishna. The mischievous, flirtatious and handsome cowboy. In fact I also went through the Meera bai phase wherein I wanted to marry no one but Krishna. Every Janamastmi I used to dress up like Radha in lehanga choli, kumkum bindi’s, flowers in hair, bangles and anklets in order to woo Krishna into marrying me.
Picture Courtesy - www.99share.in
As I matured into the smart young lady I am today (:D), I felt a heart-felt inclination and connection towards Shirdi Sai Baba. Though everyone in my family is a firm devotee and I too held reverence for baba in heart but it was only when I was around 16, I had a spiritual awakening which drew me like a magnet towards baba. I prayed regularly, read books and savored his name. Now for any baba lover, Shirdi is like the ultimate destination. I first went to Shirdi in the year 1994 when I was 5 years old. I do have some hazy memories from the trip like living in the Sansthan, the common washrooms, having dosa for the first time. But the one thing that I vividly remember till date is that we visited some place there (probably khandoba temple) where there was a big statue of baba in red kafni. The 5 year old me was not so keen on respectfully bowing to the statue so when no one was looking, I gave a big hug to the statue.

I always had this wish to see that statue again and redo the hug. But studies, college and myriad of other things made it difficult for my parents to plan another trip to Shirdi. Even after spending almost around 4 years in Mumbai, it was only recently in July’2014 that I again got a chance to visit. We had the good fortune of getting darshan on gurupoornima but I had no luck of seeing that red dress statue. I thought it was in the nearby khandoba temple but sadly it wasn’t. I happened to discuss this with the cool hall girl S (previously mentioned here) who is also Sai baba devotee. She made me happy by saying that there is a big murti in the prasadalaya and that just might be the thing I was looking for. Restless and excited I requested forced cool hall girl S for a trip to shirdi. So off we went with our last minute planning, last seats on bus, turning all hither and thither all the way to shirdi. After a nice darshan and aarti, we went off to prasadalaya to hug the red statue. It was mid-afternoon and sunny, under normal circumstances I would have played the Barbie doll complaining about the heat and demanding an auto ride (overtly high prices be dammed). But I kept walking, the thought of hugging and reuniting with my 20 year old friend kept giving me surges of energy.

My hopes were dashed when we entered the premises because there was no red statue but instead a huge one which was by no means huggable because it started right where by 5 feet 4 inch frame ended. Disheartened we went back to our bus stop in the high priced auto. All the way back I got to thinking that having covered almost the entire town of shirdi how can it be that red murti is so difficult to find. It really made me doubt that maybe I just dreamed the entire thing up. However deep in my heart I still do believe that it is there somewhere waiting to be hugged with love and devotion. Till then I am keeping Sharada (faith) & Saburi (patience)! BTW the murti looks somewhat like the picture below.
Picture Courtesy - www.shirdisaibabaexperiences.org
While we are on the topic of Shirdi, I do have a bone to pick about a few things I noticed in my last two visits. I agree that the huge throngs of pilgrims has brought a lot of boon in terms of business for the people of shirdi. But to misuse that in the name of religion is extremely wrong. Just outside the temple all the Prasad shops are looking for ways to make a fool out of us. They give you big thali's with coconuts although they are fully aware that coconuts are not allowed inside the temple. They will adamantly push saraswati yantra, flowers, shawls and clothes into your hands. And most often than not they do succeed in persuading the poor confused visitors. Everyone wants to do their best to please god so the Prasad business is the thriving one. Even when you are back from temple to collect your shoes they won’t stop. They will showcase incense sticks, sandalwood powder, oils, keychains and various other stuffs – all with beautiful pictures of Sai baba which makes it all the more difficult to say no. Its fine to sell all these things but let the buyer decide what he wants, the pushing-the-stuff-in-our-face is what I have an issue with. Then there was a group of eunuchs holding a piece of cloth with baba’s picture on it and collecting money. I have never read or heard any story about eunuchs and baba. They have apparently found an easy way to earn money which again is very wrong. Then there are beggars dressed like baba, obviously to attract more money from visitors. But the thing that literally made my blood boil was the rickshawala’s. They are soo ill-mannered, rude and topping the charts for extorting unnecessary money.

The peculiar thing is that once you have Sai Baba’s darshan, you forget all these things and attain that peaceful-awesome-happy feeling. I had wanted to write this angry post back in July and I was formulating it in my mind whilst in the queue for darshan. But as soon as I saw Sai baba decked in beautiful floral print I forgot all complains and grumbles of mine. And instead enjoyed the yummy salt smeared fresh guavas and blood red pearly pomegranates.

Om Sai Ram

Love
Sepo

Thursday, January 1, 2015

And We Are 5!


Picture Courtesy - startribune.com

2014 was like a blur. Really. One moment we were celebrating its entrance and just like that we are celebrating the closure. It just seems like yesterday I was composing a 4 year post and now here we are – Rejoicing 5th birthday of Rendezvous. Last year I had big plans setup for the blogging arena and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I did succeed in accomplishing most of them. Guest blogging – check! New template – Check! Freelance writing – check! And most importantly Google AdSense – Check!

Though I still have to figure out how the AdSense thing works but I just can’t explain how happy I feel looking at those advertisements popping on the right hand side. Moving on, I also got an amazing opportunity to showcase some of my work at Seeups – a one stop point for all information you need for startups, technology and business. We also feature new startups and ventures on our portal. Do visit, like us and contact in case you would like to get featured. Though it’s been roughly just around a month, the amount of learning and the experience of working with an awesome team is unmatched! Conducting interviews, taking to clients gives such a journalist-kind-of-vibe. Plus spotting my photo in the team description gives me butterflies in stomach and a big smile. Every single time!

Keeping aside the giddiness, wish you all a very Happy New Year. Stay healthy, happy and blessed.

Love:
Sepo