Archive for June, 2010

MY TRAVELS – Indian ‘World Heritage Sites’

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

India is a culturally and historically rich country. We have a total of 27 UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

Out of these 27, I have seen Seven in totality and Two partially. Partially because though I saw these two from a distance but couldn’t check them out for some reasons!

So my list of World Heritage Sites, as of now, stands as following …

  1. Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
  2. Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh 
  3. Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 
  4. Churches and Convents of Goa, Goa
  5. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka 
  6. Red Fort, Delhi
  7. Qutub Minar and its monuments, Delhi

The following two I have seen from outside …

  1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, Maharashtra  – Couldn’t see as I was running out of time &
  2. Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra –  was unfortunately closed that day because of Guddi Padwa! 

Nevertheless, CT gave me the magnificent view of an old aristocratic building standing tall against the time and still holding its charm, strength and usage. And Elephanta caves gave me an oppurtunity to become a lone traveler, enjoy the boat ride from Gateway of India to the caves, chitchat with other tourists from Gujarat!

And following are on my wish list

  1. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
  2. Great Living Chola Temples,Tanjore/Thanjavur Tamil Nadu
  3. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
  4. Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

June 24, 2010 1 comment

Netting again, came across the list of World Heritage Sites in India … didn’t know we had more then two dozen of them in our country!

Now ‘A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties which are elected by their General Assembly for a four-year term.’ As per the wikipedia. 

India currently has 27 World Heritage Sites –  

  1. Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh (1983)
  2. Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra (1983)
  3. Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh (1986)
  4. Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh (1983)
  5. Churches and Convents of Goa, Goa (1986)
  6. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh (1989)
  7. Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh (1986)
  8. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh (2003)
  9. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat (2004)
  10. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, Maharashtra (2004)
  11. Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra (1987)
  12. Ellora Caves, Maharashtra (1983)
  13. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)
  14. Great Living Chola Temples,Tanjore/Thanjavur Tamil Nadu (1987)
  15. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu (1984)
  16. Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka (1986)
  17. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka (1987)
  18. Kaziranga National Park, Assam (1985)
  19. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam (1985)
  20. Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan (1985)
  21. Konark Sun Temple, Konark, Orissa (1984)
  22. Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodh Gaya, Bihar (2002)
  23. Mountain Railways of India, including Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Kalka-Shimla Railway, and Nilgiri Mountain Railway (1999)
  24. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttaranchal (1988)
  25. Red Fort, Delhi (2007)
  26. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal (1987)
  27. Qutub Minar and its monuments, Delhi (1993)

 Out of the 27, I have seen Seven in totality and Two partially. Partially because though I saw these two from a distance but couldn’t check them out for some reasons!

Coming back to the list, we have 27 such sites in our country! This sounds good … but for a country of our size, with our historical and cultural background … we should be topping the list. The reason I guess is that we have been very unsuccessful in identifying such sites, getting them notified and finally in preserving them. Almost every few month’s, local newspaper carries the tale of some monument which is getting dusted and busted simply because there is no one to take care of it or someone has been callous or ignorant. If only we would take care of our heritage and understand the importance of history, India can be one of the richest heritage countries, along with generating huge foreign exchange in tourism!

How to survive office politics?

June 23, 2010 2 comments
This is not exhaustive and not copied from anywhere!

This is what I have seen, heard and observed!

Only some of these have been practiced by me … rest are still open for testing! (In case you test them, request you to please report the results!)

These may or may not work for all … so in other words Conditions Apply!

These are not intended to hurt anyone in particular!

These are not to scare anyone!

Enjoy reading!

1. Give time and understand the psyche of your colleagues and seniors. It is important to understand the people you are working with – to know what motivates them, what they do outside the organisation, what do they aspire to be, their view of the organisation. Now, no one is going to give this kind of information to you on a platter so you have to be careful, tactful and above all you have to be a good listener. Everyone wants to be heard … for that is the bare minimum that a person can do for other person and the irony is that it is also the bare minimum which is needed to understand the other person. The fact that it’s not easy and not considered important! But the fact is if you can just listen to people … then within a short span of time you will develop their confidence in you and becoming a confidante is the best possible thing in any set up – personal or professional. So listen and only listen (this is more important if you are a new employee) and if there is something that you do not agree with … keep it to yourself … no need to spell it out and try and make the person change his or her opinion. This goes for all you colleagues and your seniors. Listen to them … see what drives them and then make an opinion … if you understand the people then it is easier to deal with them.

2. Be nice and cordial to all. This is more true for bigger organisations/offices – of course you should follow this in small offices also but in bigger offices it plays a major role … as you don’t know when and whom you might have to work with! Whereas in smaller offices … the groups once established doesn’t get changed often and hence less/no issues. So be nice to people around … it will help in working and also in getting information … in knowing what’s happening all around … the office politics etc. But being nice does not mean that you have to be ass licking or the ever smiling or the flattering types. Make sure that you disagree and put across your opinion/point also for otherwise you may be taken for granted. So do make a bone out of it … but not a scene … don’t be heard or seen! If you are consistent and always stand for a certain group of things … people around you would understand and start respecting it too! But there is no need to show disagreement unless it is a do or die situation which is usually an illusion, man or woman made!

3. Devise new ways of approaching issues.Out of box thinking always helps … most of all in dealing with human resources. Now in general if people are professional then they are expected to behave in a particular manner and at least do as expected and spelled out in their JD!  But the problem arises when they don’t want to do that also … and behave difficult. And usually its not just a single person but a group of persons who behave this way and all of them have the same attitude and the same alibi for not working – they have been in the system for long and know how it works! It is here that one needs to devise innovative ways to approach them and get the work done and that too without disturbing the balance or encroaching on their seniority – in terms of years/experience or snob attitude! In simple laymen terms getting work done, without getting sidelined, by interfering in the office power games.

First of all be clear, what is it that you want them to do … spell it out clearly … then figure out how much authority do you have over the person/s … if you are the boss good … but if you are not their boss don’t worry there still are ways! Once the task to get done is clear … talk to them directly … present the task in such a manner that it looks like you are asking for their help … you can even go to the extent of showing your inability in doing it on your own … but never in writing … then ask them if they could help in looking it over and giving their input. In most cases this approach works! Simply because it doesn’t look like you are bossing around … and the other person feels important, nice that you are asking them for help … that their opinion matters. It doesn’t look like you are making them work … so they are happy and your work gets done. The reason is simple – there are a large number of people who don’t want to work when asked … but will work when work is not put across as work! (Just like small children) And don’t forget that all the time you have to be nice and well meaning. At any point it should not look like you are being cunning …or selfish … which brings to the next point …

4. Be genuine as much as possible.While practicing any of the above, the one thing that you have to ensure is that you should come across as a genuine person. In fact you should not just come out as that but also be a genuine person. Now I know it’s not easy to be genuine while listening to someone’s tails of treachery/cunning ways or someone’s cribbing session! (I mean you will be genuine but in another direction!) So in that case, as have mentioned earlier also, don’t speak your mind … be silent … which is still genuine … for you neither agree nor disagree. Also be humane and more accepting of other people … try and not to judge people and the result would be a more genuine/ empathetic you. It is a quality that will help always and it is only this that will bring you closer to people in any set up. So be naturally concerned and helpful without going over board.

5. To change the system is not possible and not needed/ necessary.Please understand and realise that systems are so because they were meant to be so … and they are serving their reason and aim … one person can not change and should not aim to change the system. So rest your oars … be true to yourself and your values and leave the organisation if you find the system and its practices a burden on yourself. Easier said then done … but there is no other way.

6. Have a lower benchmark. There is a limit to everything and then there is a saturation point. So the moment the red light of your conscious starts glowing … give it up … there are other places to work. For if you continue cribbing and also continue working then the day is not far when the benchmark will cease to exist and you will join the bandwagon of people who have no self esteem and who just exist.

7. Learn to play Chess … yes … it’s a mind game … and fits in well with the office politics! If you know how to play chess you would know how to be prepared for at least the next two steps of your opponent and in your office everyone is your opponent unless you have won them over and even in that case you should be careful and never let your guard down! Chess helps in thinking and gauging what should be your next step and from where all/ who all you need to protect your assets/skills/information … who is out to hit you etc. The game of Chess teaches this and much more … take these as lessons for life and not just for the game!

8. Know when to speak, where to speak and with whom to speak. Self explanatory. If only what you speak reaches wrong ears, the repercussions could be as fatal as loosing your job. Need I say more? Well so the thing is that, choose your confidante carefully and refrain from making hard hitting comments against a colleague or organisation in front of people who may use it to their benefit. For most of the time people try to rise by pulling others down … if only they would aim at rising at their own with their own skills/competencies/knowledge!

9. Practice patience. There is no alternative. The more patient you become the less is the stress and the happier your disposition.

10. Learn tact. It’s a perquisite in all that you do … and it’s an end result of all that’s discussed in previous points. No one can teach how to be tactful but everyone needs to learn it to be successful and happy!

I love you papa

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Usually, the connect is between mom & son and dad & daughter. Considering that we are 2 sisters our parents had no option but to have no favorites and that’s how it remains till today.

Looking back and comparing with what I see around now-a-days, I think I have had a fairly balanced upbringing with fair doses of warmth, love, rewards and punishments sprinkled with exposure to outer world in moderate amount. And this probably is the sole reason to never feel scared or out of place in most of the situations. The credit largely goes to my mom – for she is a visionary in true sense and much ahead of her times … infact even today I think she is way ahead of me! So I give her the due credit … for all that she is done!

But lately another thought has been nagging me. Its true that my mom acted as the anchor and groomed both of us sisters – but she was able to do so coz my dad gave in his rights of decisions also to her  –  signed off his power of attorney in her name!

Everything that happened had his silent approval or sometimes even disapproval.

Being a silent spectator, he kept standing there … as he does even now.

As I pondered on these lines… a lot of pictures came to my mind … giving a new meaning to all that I saw & thought! And suddenly I looked at my life in a new light and all the things had my dad’s stamp!

For all those years when I thought I was bold – it was his backing and reputation that I was capitalizing on; for all the courage I had to get into unconventional activities – it was his strengths that I was drawing on; for all the acceptance that I received from people around in school and college – it was his high earned social standing that I thrived upon; for managing in all those jobless months – it was his financial support that I survived on.

And all this while I kept waiting for him to stand up and make some announcement or take my side – when the truth is that he was always on my side – with me – as he is now.

From the beginning of the time, we Indians have known how to love and care … what we lack  is the expression of the same … expression of this love, warmth and gratitude even to the closest of people. My dad belongs to that generation when expression is not necessary and not easy … but to me its important and necessary both… so here I am ….

Thanks for accepting me as I am

Thanks for being there for me

Thanks for supporting me in everything

I love you papa

This post is an entry to the BlogAdda contest – Tribute to Dad. Hoping the lucky ones pick up a great gift for their dads from and wishing all the wonderful fathers a very Happy Father’s Day!

Categories: Aligarh, Trivia Tags: , , , ,

Reverse Brainstorming

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment

If brainstorming wasn’t a big one word… came across a bigger word … reverse brainstorming!

While diving through the World Wide Web, netted another interesting topic/technique/tool… Reverse brainstorming. As per my understanding and thanks to Mind Tools for this  –

Reverse Brainstorming is a tool to be used when one has tried all the possible options and the solutions is still eluding!

If Brainstorming refers to ‘storming of brain’ and hoping to come up with some jewels and pearls and even the mythological pot of nectar as a solution for a problem then reverse brainstorming is just the opposite … brainstorming not to look for solutions but to aggravate the existing problem. To look at various ways in which the current problem can be taken to optimum heights … to the fatal possible limit!

Once some dreadful options have come out of this reverse process, there is a need to look at them and understand their importance. The next step is to reverse these options and see as to how many of them exist currently thereby leading to the problem. The final step is to start working on eliminating them and achieve successful solution.

This sounds interesting and I intend to try it out for some of my long lasting problems!

To know more about Reverse Brainstorming, please visit