Time for Performance Appraisal

Time for Appraisal Meeting

Ya, IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR… 

When all the companies which are performing awesomely for 3 quarters, suddenly go into heavy losses.

When the star performer of 3 quarters unexpectedly becomes a below-average employee.  

When you find yourself analyzing your performance for over a year & ranking yourself while filing life-taking long analysis forms. 

When simply performing your tasks per KRA proves to be not enough for a raise. 

When you write and repeat the same sentence in long appraisal forms in 4 different ways. 

When you keep looking for that X-factor within you to present to your manager about the initiatives you can take for the upcoming year. (Your pass to make you stay with a raise.)

When you may get a happy or not-so-happy face just reading an appraisal letter/mail from HR. 

When you leap across the “company policies” and discuss HR’s appraisal mail even when strictly told not to!

When your manager reasons “You have to go the extra mile” to match the figure of your expected appraisal.😀

When you start looking for a change to cross the figure of your expected raise. 

Of course, the times when some other company extends a warm welcome to you with a package they are not offering to their existing employees for the same profile. 

And, that’s how THIS TIME OF THE YEAR proves to be the TOUGHEST TIME OF THE YEAR!

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Therapy V/S Self Talk

Therapy is costly. Healing takes time. Meditation needs daily practice.

Acceptance of things and situations takes so many good golden years of your life. The only free thing available everywhere is “stress”. 

Call it workplace stress, entrepreneurial stress, situational stress, financial strain, and the cherry on the cake – family drama. The worst part is “one-at-a-time” rule doesn’t apply here at all. You have to simultaneously handle multiple versions of it at different places while trying to balance yourself and keeping calm. 

I wonder, when stress comes for free from everywhere, why do people charge to listen to your tale? I’ve heard that they are experts. But, are they really? 

I don’t think so! If they would have known all the logic to feed the brain, wouldn’t they be completely stress-free? Won’t they stop reacting fiercely in their own lives? Won’t they be the saint who can control every emotion of theirs and teach you methods of doing the same? Also, won’t they hear you out in a row and give you some solution rather than a series of slow soaking sessions? 

I know what they are charging for. It’s their time and patience to hear you out. To listen to you and try hard not to judge you based on your experiences. To not get affected by your negative vibes. And, probably to understand a variety of human emotions based on human psychology expertise that some of them may hold.   

Opening your heart to someone takes a lot of guts and courage. That’s what most of us do in front of our best friends. The only difference is they don’t charge! Since you don’t pay, they don’t listen to you blabbering every time like the therapist and you don’t take their advice seriously. Even, you enact in exactly opposite pattern to what’s suggested. Or, probably you will end up calling a friend who happens to speak in your favour rather what’s right. It’s simple nahh you want to listen, what you really want to do and if that doesn’t fit in you change the person. 

THE TRUTH IS, NO ONE ELSE CAN HEAL YOU. IT’S ONLY YOU, WHO CAN HEAL YOURSELF. 

So, if you are paying for therapy to overcome your childhood trauma, breakup, or family challenges, or listen to your inner emojis, it’s because you don’t listen to yourself. Else the more apt thing to say, you don’t want to believe in what’s the right thing to do. 

Why do you talk to someone else about your problems when they can’t solve your problem? 

Well, as I’ve already mentioned only you can solve your problems, none else can, so why you talk about it? 

It’s pretty simple. You tell someone else to listen to the answers that you don’t want to accept. You get a second opinion when you talk to some other person or atleast you see the other side of the story. However, you will find their answers biased by their life experiences for that’s natural to happen. The psychological makeup of everyone is distinct and is solely based on one’s life experiences. You may get a different angle of the situation to think and enact, but be wise when that tone is playing inside your head. 

Whom should you talk to then?

To yourself! I’m not mentioning that you will get some expert advice, but you will listen to what’s best suitable for you. 

Here comes the role of self-talk. Take some time for yourself, be it in morning or at night, when you are on your own. You know everything about situations, challenges, hard times, achievements, what you love, and what you hate. Address the second version of you with your pet name or give yourself a unique name. Give a tight hug to yourself, meditate for some time, and talk about the issues bugging you the most. 

If you like make a spreadsheet or write the pros and cons of the solutions you find on paper. That’s the vary same thing even therapists make you do. A bundle of exercises to know your psychological wiring a little better. Though it’s never possible to understand anyone completely. When you are doing for yourself, you can possibly understand most about you. 

Be your own guide, therapist, lover, counselor, and above all “Be your best friend.” Address your concerns in the same way, you give advice to your friends and colleagues. That’s the best way to heal yourself and stay as happy soul. 

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Conversations – For the Sake Of It

जो काम करना है पूरी शिद्दत से करो, वरना मत करो। 

This is something I strongly believe in. But, gradually I also became part of this sick culture – “Do it, for the sake of it.” “Do it, coz everyone is doing it.” “Adapt it, coz it sounds cultured.”

I always heard my acquaintances and family members saying “अभी तुम्हें ही याद किया था!” “बड़े दिनों से तुमसे मिलने की इच्छा हो रही थी” “अभी तुम्हारी ही बातें चल रहीं थीं।” And, every time I heard that, I was like why are you lying? My child version start revisiting memories of last 2-7 days to remember आखिर इस इंसान का ज़िक्र कब हुआ। 

After listening to this a few times when I couldn’t recollect, I started questioning my family members, “When did that happen?” Sometimes they replied to me – don’t ask questions, sometimes they told: “after you slept, we were talking”. I was kinda ok, some other times they said, it makes the other person feel good, feel valued. Now, when I grew up, I understood- they say it, for the sake of it. 

Now, I know this was just a not-tech type of PERSONALIZATION & making others feel good. However, the feeling behind it can vary from person to person. Depending on the close and far relations you have with them. The person on the other side may feel special or maybe they also replicate the same pattern, just like how we are taught. 

For a long time, I had this habit of making the phone and speaking instantly on it, the purpose of call. I was scolded a lot many times for it. “न दुआ सलाम, न कैसे हो, न वक़्त है की नहीं पूछना — तुम सीधे शुरू क्यों हो जाती हो?” If you are from the 90s or before that, you already know that there was no Jio earlier & every minute used to cost roughly 1rs -2rs. If you keep extending conversations, then you can imagine a tentative budget for each call will be 4-5 rs or more. Isn’t it pointless to waste that much money, especially when you have a balance of 10 or 50 rs? 

Exactly, that was my point and somehow I always knew that no one would speak the right answer to “How are you?” in the first 10 minutes of a conversation. So, why ask anything for the sake of it? 

Well, except for the sophistication and good manners, that question of “How are you? How you are doing? How things are going at your end?” doesn’t make real sense to me at all, not even by now. 

Whether in meetings, talking to acquaintances or so-called friends, half of the time we are making conversations, trying to build things for the sake of it. Do we really want to know? I don’t believe it. If another person starts talking about it, we normally say they wasted a lot of time. When someone is sharing their part of the frustration, we say they are adding negative thoughts & negative vibes. When someone shares any information, you are thinking to yourself, why are they sharing even? And, when someone looking for a shoulder to lean on, you definitely don’t want to be someone’s tear-soaking pillow. So, are we really talking to each other to know or help or be there??? Or, just doing things for the sake of it, like most of the time by now!!!

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Life At Just 1% Battery

Writing this piece reminiscing 17th July 2023. The day when I with 2 of my friends, took a mini trip to Mandav and Maheshwar. It was a day-long road trip that I wanted to ditch the very time it was planned. Apparently, I am someone who hates the discomfort of traveling and once I go out start hating the arrival back home. I know, it’s weird.

I took the front seat and spent half of the way getting lost in thoughts, lush green roadway, and songs accompanying us. Though I’m a total chatterbox in most of my journeys I love to stay silent as much as possible. 

Just like every trip, it was a lot about going to places, climbing numerous staircases, clicking photos, getting exhausted, and trying to avoid the crowd. One of the best things that happened was that we went early, so we could grab a lot of crowd-less images. It was an amazing view sharing a few of the snaps I loved here. 

We initially planned for the Mandav trip, which further extended to Maheshwar and I wanted to passout instantly when that happened. It’s the thought of the Narmada River in Maheshwar that kept me a little charged. Adding flavor of a bit different kind, the driver of the cab we booked was a bit weird. By weird, I mean less talkative, more with attributes of cleaning OCD, and Indian religion. He was bowing his head to every shop even having god’s images visible outside. I am no one to judge him, but ya sort of observations what I did when having digital off to some point.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t know, but we forgot to take a power bank with us. When our mobile phones started signaling us in the awe of charging, then only we noticed that “oops” moment. 

We were still using our phones to capture some good memories of places, but it was only that warning of 1% charging of my phone that made me keep it aside completely. I instantly called my friends informing “I’m sitting near the front side at the banks of the Narmada River, find me here when you are done photographing.” In the second minute, I called home and told “Not to worry, I have 1% charge remaining in my phone, I will call back when charge it and they can connect on my friend’s number. Ciya” 

Climbing down stair by stair, I reached the banks of Narmada. I made a point of finding the spot I could get a view and experience the cold water touching my feet with every wave. I sat there and with the first touch of water to my feet, all my exhaustion went away magically. “यात्रा सफल हो गई” were instant words came to my mind. As much as I could see, the farther my eyes have explored, it was water, water, and just water. I was so engrossed in the place in that vary moment that I can still re-live it, every time I think about it. 

The background scene was typically that of a place of pilgrimage. There were some pandits doing chants, some small pandits taking thali and doing tilak of people for dakshina, some decorated bicycles where people were getting photographed, small jeeps for which kids were trying to pursue their parents for a ride, lot of families coming there to take dip in holy water of Narmada, and some vendors selling “Diya in paper plates” for “दीप दान” ritual of worshipping holy rivers in India. 

There was a conversation going on inside me, between the rational and the logical version of me to the irrational and illogical me. Yeah, it happens to me often and I believe anyone of Indian origin could relate here. Our upbringing in religious families makes us go Shh.. and just do the practices that we were told to without any explanation of the reasoning behind them. But, the logical and marketing person inside jumps instantly and argues that it’s all practices led to maintain the commercial intent or even as a practice raises questions to find the answers behind everything. I listened to both of my minds and partially both were right and wrong. I was smiling amused by what all goes inside your head as you grow up and witness the same things from different lenses. 

And, my all thoughts were taken away by the family who came to take a dip in Narmada sitting near me. There was an elder sister and younger brother with their parents where younger brother almost dipped the mobile phone in water. The parents were trying to make him go Shhh after that incident. It reminded me of how we used to go to river Kshipra in Ujjain and how my elder brother slipped on the first stair while doing some water test. (I’ll share more about it in “Ek Tha Bachpan” stories where I talk about my childhood life incidents which are now sweet/bitter memories.)

Like this family, there was another family there, where a newly married couple came with her siblings to take a bath in River Narmada. Here this guy was entho and went straight to river and his wife was afraid of water. Somehow he managed to make his wife agree to come inside and though this lady was some 6 feet tall, she drowned a bit. The reason was simple she wasn’t putting her feet to the bottom, which gave me a light bulb moment of thought “You can’t cross any hurdle in life unless you put your confidence in the thing. Also, you need to trust yourself and the people supporting you in the process.” Thankfully, that man saved his wife. Then, he was trying to get her sister-in-law to come inside. She was adamant till some point but it’s her sister who made her agree that the path is flat till the place she is standing. Her sister agreed to come but just to sit in the banks, she too drowned a bit when they tried pulling her in, gave me another thought “You can’t be ready for anything unless you are ready. Also, be prepared for circumstances that can follow next. How you can miss the details like the path is flat till here.” I wondered what a huge role an individual’s will play in anything that you do. My chain of thoughts was again broken by the people shouting from behind warning that man to not perform any more stunts now. 

There was a smile on my face all this while for no reason and that’s when my friends found me and came to sit along. We sat there and talked at length about some life experiences, beliefs, changes of thoughts as you grow up, urge to stay near river and in natural vegetation. None of us took our phones out till we had to make up our minds to get up. It was a hard decision for us, but sun was setting down and we had a journey of 3 hours left to go back. I spent more than 2 hours on the banks of Narmada that day and found answers to lot many questions of my life situations just being there. We got up we did “दीप दान” and only when climbed the stairs again to get the cab I’ve checked my phone. It was still at 1% battery. My friend asked if “She could put her on charging first” and I just agreed instantly. I couldn’t be much more thankful for 1% battery for the biggest lesson of life “Live in The Moment.” 

It was a beautiful day and it was a refreshing feeling to capture so much in a real camera god gifted me with – my eyes. Concluding life is at its best when you live in reality, not in reels. 

My First Airbnb Experience

My First Airbnb Experience: Privileged to be the Guest cum Host

When I go back to the memories of my last on-site job as a Content Marketer, I can’t forget the wonderful experiences I gained during that tenure. One such unforgettable experience was that of my first Airbnb stay. Before this time, I’d heard of Airbnb from a few of my friends, checked their content marketing strategies, and listened to a TED talk by Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb while working on a project. Frankly, I considered it a luxury from the listings I’ve viewed on the primary landing page of the site. Also, it was a bit weird for me to feel what it’s like to live in someone’s else home. 

Well, as we are aware of the different styles of new-normal in the post-COVID era, hybrid WFO, and quarterly meetups are some of the distinct ideas corporates implemented. So, in the last year, my workplace was also following a similar culture. My first office visit was said to be for a week. And, since I was visiting for the first time after I joined, I was happy. It was a lavish journey for me, I booked my first flight and spent a week in the hotel. But, in the second journey, I got my reality check for it was a WFO for 15 days. That’s when I started searching for other options for staying. 

Since my office was in HSR layout, I thought to explore stay options in the vicinity, else I could sense the rising budget. I’ve checked for the place and luckily got one room somewhat in the vicinity on Airbnb. After exploring a few options, I finally booked it. After that, I got busy in the usual humdrum of the office.  

Guest Turned Out To Be A Friend 

Since it was a quarterly meetup, I made up my mind to have 1 side train and 1 side flight given that it was 36 hours of journey from my hometown. So, this time I planned to go by train. Only when I boarded the train I remembered to ping my host for the address. Now, once again the worries of sharing the place with someone else started circling in my head. As I checked the contact of my host and saved it on my phone, opened my WhatsApp message, I realized I knew her in person. Strange that we worked together earlier in our internship days. I was happy and relaxed now that I was going to meet and stay with someone I sort of knew earlier. 

AirBNB nahhhhhh… My New Home For a Few Days 

I reached the place, and my friend cum host Anu & Ankit welcomed me. I settled in their cozy place and as I entered the room I fell in love with it. It was the compact room with all the essentials I imagined multiple times in my room since childhood. Bed with charging board near me, cool wooden wardrobe, attached let-bath with hot-shower, washing machine, few plants, a big functional window that brings natural sunlight and air, and a table you can ask for. Just after talking for an hour, I started feeling like I visited some long-lost friends and the vibes were exactly like that living in my home. 

Transformation From Guest To Host 

We spent around 3 hours talking when gradually in conversations I realized I spent more than a day journey on the train and should relax for some time. We retired to our chores and sat for another round of discussion at lunch. I had delicious kheer that Anu served and I was going Woowww about my Sunday. We were talking about each other’s weekend plans and that’s the time when my friends realized they had a friend going abroad in the midweek and they had to plan a surprise treat for her. Coincidentally, they had booking via Airbnb at their nearby property and they will be arriving in the evening for the same day. Finding all the ways they can try to manage they thought to run an experiment which was the original idea of Airbnb – host the guests and share the place. This implies even guests can host other guests because it’s like co-sharing the space/other properties. So, I being guest of the day was to host another guest. I was instantly happy and ready with all my zeal to have this new experience. We all went to the place, and they showed me everything, the basics to be answered while greeting hosts, and told me to ping them instantly if I needed any help. Around evening the new guests came. I welcomed them with my 24-inch smile, showed them a place, gave information about all the details, had a little chit-chat, and then retired to my place. They gotta know that I’m also a guest here and they were so happy to meet me. It was such an interesting incident where I became a guest from the host just in a matter of a few hours. And, that circumstance made me more curious about the platform and how this all exactly works! 

I spent my week & weekend just like I live in my home. I got up a bit early to have some time to myself for bootup, read a book in the corridor with the breeze, get ready, and leave for the office and short talks whenever we had time. On the following weekend, we went shopping together at KLM sarees to shop, had a pizza party, and I tried to learn UNO (Yeah, tried coz I forgot again 😀). All in all, I couldn’t forget that stay, my hosts, and the time I spent with them. 

Concluding my first Airbnb experience with the note that if you are visiting Bangalore and have your meetings/workspace near HSR Layout, do check the space of my host-guest-friend. They have beautiful properties in different locations in Bangalore, so the Bangalorites can check more details here

Hosting @ My Place – Tribhuvan Homestay 

Now, some good news for tourists and travelers to Ujjain or nearby pilgrimages. I’ve registered my place at Airbnb. While I was staying in Bangalore, I had lengthy discussions with Anu & Ankit about how this home hosting works, what to remember, and things to take into account. I took that learning with me and after planning it for a few months I joined the Airbnb community in Ujjain for travelers and tourists a week ago. If you are planning to come to Ujjain to explore Mahakal Lok, offer prayers in Mahakaleshwar temple, Harsiddhi Temple, take a dip in Holy River Kshipra, or enjoy workation while traveling, you are most welcome at our place. For your convenience, I have made distinct listings per guest holding capacity of the room. Take a quick look here:

So, if you are planning to take a trip to Ujjain or Omkareshwar, you will have a decent place to yourself at affordable rates. Book yours earlier to not miss out on the dates and I’ll be here to welcome you. 🙂