Labor love

Let’s just say…..mid week offs are a surprise that we wait for. Labor day. Wednesday. Hump day. Weekends: we all know what adults are fond of doing. Rather want to do but mostly get stuck with running errands. Sundays are for getting mad and try to believe that it’s Monday the next day. Mid week offs are a little

different. Especially for the on schedule people who’s life revolves around the company laptop.

First of all, even though we know it’s an off day, we have to constantly try and remind ourselves that it’s an off day. Everytime we do that there’s a little spark in the eyes. It’s a planned deja vu!

Second of all, we think of all the favourite things that we like to do. We picture ourselves doing that. Like I pictured myself writing this blog. But if you are a person who’s quite aware of this satisfying thought, you know you’ll end up being lazy (the reason why I chose to write before going to bed); staring at the ceiling, sinking into the feeling that it’s an off day in the middle of the week.

By the time, the rejoice session is done it’s late in the afternoon. Now you wanna get ready for a dinner at your favorite restaurant or watch a movie. Suddenly it dawns on you that the bank is closed. The labors want to rest. It’s not pay day!

It’s such a hard truth of life. The feeling of not getting paid on the first day of the month. Like you have got no option but live your life in denial that it’s yet to be the pay day of the month. What becomes harder is even when you have a decent money left in your account, you’re mentally struck by forced poverty. Sometimes, we become impulsive and decide to spend the rest of the money in the account by buying things we absolutely start regretting the very moment we decide to purchase it.

In this entire time we forget to process that it is a day to celebrate work without working. The other days you build up an organization from desk to desk. So take some time out and feel precious. Be content! Overcome the feeling of hard luck with hard work in mind. Who knows may be you actually end up enjoying the day without doing anything and you find it productive!

Have a blessed day.

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I used butt twice here but issa fact!

It is never about “I see it, I like it, I want it, I get it.” Life aint Grande enough and money doesn’t come with an insurance!

You do not have to always end up with assholes. You just have to wait for the moment when they get exhausted. Once they are tired of travelling around, they gotta park the car! Till then practice the art of doing the right things for yourself instead of looking for The Right One.

Get your facts correct about feminism. It is not cool to be one of those rebels on social media who posts a selfie with a long empowering caption while you slurp on a popsicle in that picture!

Do not follow the reality TV crowd. It is better and totally ok to find out your strength at 25. Live in your self-made reality. Your butt ain’t a Kard!

Do not explain parents about your lifestyle choices. You give them culture shock. Understand their share of discomfort when they see you applying a highlighter. They  know it’s a stationery item. They just want to be heard. From a millenial to another, there is something called traditions. Like it or not, you eventually fall for it and you become like your parents even when you are not one.

It is ok to show off your boyfriend/girlfriend as long as you know its worth showing off. Plus, you gotta have an escape plan if he/she is unpredictable. Sulking makes you sore with offensive sarcasm.

Make up one’s mind. If you think getting cheated is bound to happen to you, stay out of it. Do not play safe and try to demean the other person’s lifestyle choices, most importantly, family and friends. In due course you become what you are scared of.

Have some gratitude over grievances please! I mean, imagine a life without butt. You cannot stand all your life! Feel thankful for every little unsung thing around you that helps you experience emotions everyday.

There will always be one creep at work. Be it a sub-ordinate or a supervisor. They will always play with words. They will always play the victim card and be shameless at the same time. It does not matter if you are being diplomatic. When you feel trapped and wanna talk about it people will only recall that  you did smile or did not show any discomfort when the creep was around. That job is not the end of the world and you do not need to be privileged enough to think like that. Most importantly, if your diplomacy or silence is because you do not want a bad appraisal, then do not judge a gold digger!

It is perfect to be a wannabe. I mean you gotta be something or someone right? You only discover yourself through absorbing whatever that comes your way.

Namaste!

 

 

Inner voice of a not-so-old ESL teacher trainer!

“Here’s to another day of training a mixed group. Let me give them the benefit of doubt until they can no longer benefit from it.”

“Shut up, ABBA songs have more common nouns to play with than any of your favourite Cardi B song; abort mission. It’s Happy New Year everyday!”

“I should speak fluent Baby Boomer lingo. That way training is experiential and Gen X will be under control.”

“Classroom management or conflict management? If only ego was a talking parrot.”

“The projector screen is the gateway to my off duty personality. I hope I changed my laptop wallpaper to some mature philosophical jazz about winning.”

“You are not here to hangout with Gen Z. Or may be after the training is over. OK, stop being so partial.”

“Remember, never say “this is cute“. These are just flashcards!”

“Trainees want to know more about you. Sometimes these are just clever distractions. Mystery than memoir is the key, sweetie.”

“Wow! This is a great group photo. I need to caption and post it on Instagram……can’t wait till the class is over….aarrghhh!!”

“Be pragmatic and idealistic. This is real life and not Romedy.”

“Is my outfit of the day trainer enough?”

“1/4th prep and 3/4th theater. Do not switch the training fractions.”

“If only the Great Vowel Shift was sensible enough, the orthography would have made more sense.”

“It is /ju:/ not EWW!”

“You thought you know it all? Dear trainees, let’s take a modal verbs pop quiz!”

“For Freaking Vowel‘s sake, yes you have to know what are labiodental fricatives.”

“Yes, NO is a diphthong.”

“Suggestopedia, do not suggest. EVER!”

“I love my job.”

 

 

Kochi-ll!!

It was my millionth time to Kochi last month. It is a thriving port city of Kerala, one of the less exploited yet very tourist-ey state of India. The beauty of this place lies in the fact that it has a perfect blend of city and countryside. The people here makes it even easier. With the huge number of travellers visiting the place every year, the people are always welcoming. From the local auto-rickshaw drivers to the local people around: they are always ready to help a stranger. I was there to conduct a TEFL/TESOL batch. It is a 3-weeks teacher training program. I checked-in my company sponsored accomodation near the Kaloor neighbourhood. It was not near to the institute. That meant I had to travel local. I availed the metro train and oh my my! The metro trains that I have availed in other major cities vs. what I experienced here seemed way different. On the good side of course! It is faster, cleaner and efficient as compared to the metro system of other cities. The ride was wonderful everyday. When the locals could understand that I am not one of them, they would have this inquisitive stare which was quite natural. when the stares used to get too obvious to ignore, it was quite charming to see how a smile from the either ends will always cover for the awkwardness. The universal language always comes handy it seems!

The classes were during the weekdays. So I had a chance to explore the place over the weekends. This time I thought I would explore Fort Kochi. It is a water-bound region towards the south of Kochi. Now if you want to be a tourist you can always hire an Uber. But if you wanna be a traveller and stay local, you have to take the ferry from Ernakulam to Fort Kochi. The ticket is sweet cheap and it is 4 rupees only. There is another stop in between, Vypeen. The smell of the ocean water, witnessing big vessels anchored or sailing along with your ferry makes the ride worthwhile.

I went with 2 of my trainees, Nivedhana from Tamil Nadu and Konika from Arunachal Pradesh. Once we got down at the Fort Kochi ferry point, it was time to hang around and explore. We cracked quite a cheap deal with an auto-rickshaw driver. He agreed to show us around just for 200 rupees for 2 hours. We went almost at lunch hours. So we added a waiting time for him with an extra 50 rupees. We started off by visiting 2 churches back to back- Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica and Saint Francis Church. It was quite interesting to see how the churches operated were so strikingly different. The first one had this commercial touch to make it a mainstream tourist spot while reserving the religious terms. With its elaborate structure and huge open area it is a great spot for social media freaks to get their double taps and followers soaring! Since photography was allowed we did take our fair share of advantage of clicking the structure for our group photo background.

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Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Saint Francis, on the other hand, had a very orthodox outlook. Photography sadly was not allowed. The architecture was very gothic and it had a strong vibes of stringent religious atmosphere. The draconian structure also has its historical significance. The famous Portuguese traveller, Vasco da Gama was buried here before his body was claimed by his son and took permission from the church to take it to the homeland.

It was almost lunchtime when we went to our next stop; Fort Kochi beach. We thought of taking a break and grabbed lunch meanwhile. The food prices are quite high, if you intend to eat lunch there compared to transport which is relatively way too less. However, the quantity, taste and the atmosphere are beyond expectations. The shacks mostly serve freshly cooked items. However, this comes with long waiting time before they serve your food.

After we had our quite a royal seafood meal, we planned to visit the couple of other places before we end our sightseeing trip. While we went to the next point, Mattancherry Palace Museum, we checked out the streets where they mostly sold souvenirs. There were spice shops, essesntial oils and perfume shops. The mixture of exotic fragrances and flavours captivated the entire stretch of souk. They sold chestnuts for 50 rupees which you can dip into any oil and massage on your body. Well, it did relieve me from the 80 year old body pain trapped in a late 20’s body. AirBrush_20190216230157 After buying a few souvenirs, we headed to the Mattancherry Palace. The entrance had steep stairs that took us to the ticket booth. Photography was not allowed here as well. So we were left with any option to take home all the memories with us. We just had to sink into the momentary experience. The palace is turned into a museum now where we learnt about the royal family of Kerala, the water route for early trades and international allies. They also had the real-time palanquins and royal household items and costumes preserved for the visitors to see. It was quite surprising to see that how awesomely rich the economy and culture used to be in early days; however, we were never educated about any of  this.

Finally, we asked the auto-rickshaw driver to drop us at the beach where we thought to enjoy the sunset before we left Fort Kochi. And let me tell you, I have lived most of my life by coastlines, very less places defined sunset. Fort Kochi beach is one of those rare shore to boast of a perfect romantic sunset. It was way picturesque. Funnily, we got so carried away and this time when we had a chance to click pictures, it went out of our minds. Guess, that’s what beautiful things around does that to all of us. You forget to freeze time and become a part of it!AirBrush_20190218191702

The gift

It has been one eventful 2018 that I have still not finished to look back. I know it is already February 2019. To me it was a year of revelations and realizations. A lot of old and bad decisions finally made their way out of my life. New ones completely settled for the longest haul. Things really worked miraculously well, professionally. Working as an instructor was never a plan. Turned out the work really gets me. You know what they say that just because you like something, it does not mean it is meant for you. It was really unexpected for me to come out of the illusion that being an educator is something that is not my cup of chai. And just so you know, I am talking about training adult trainers.

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when I landed the job as a TEFL/TESOL instructor last year. After instructing for sometime in my city, Kolkata, I have been on a serious travel and teach spree. It has been one eye opening journey. With every passing batch of aspiring teachers and experienced ones, I got to learn so much while I trained them at the same time. It is just so amazing to understand that there is so many different people doing such wonderful things in their lives and they are not influenced or proud. Working with the aspiring bunch of teachers is so much exciting. They have this enormous enthusiasm towards the program and are ready to take up any activity with so much curiosity. On the other hand, it is a treat for me as a trainer to work with the experienced lot. They have so many stories to share. So many little tricks and tips to absorb. At times, few topics seem so easy around them to discuss. Once I lay out the objectives for that day, they seem to come up with their humble share of real-time classroom stories and that kinda keeps the class wonderfully engaged.

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With time, I did realize that I am actually confident in being an educator and that I manage it better than any other previous jobs that I did. Batch after batch I only felt more satisfied and excited to do the job right and work even harder. Initially, it felt so different because I never felt so passionate about any job that I happily spent a huge chunk of my everyday brainstorming and finding creative training and facilitation ideas. Never a single day goes that I do not think about ways to try to present a concept with a little difference from the previous batch. To my surprise I am not even exhausted.

As I write this blog I feel so happy to pour out my feelings here. It has really given my life a sensible dimension. I literally have been more on a learning ride to be honest rather than cherishing my job profile. I think that’s what kept me going and stay excited for meeting these great trainees in every batch. The journey has been quite an exchange. IMG-20190125-WA0016Culturally speaking I get overwhelmed to see how many different cultures I get to interact with everyday. And in return it has only made me a more welcoming person. Professionally, as a modern day facilitator I think it is quite important to have an open mind and to respect trainee voices. Personally, all these enriched my approach towards life in a positive direction more than anything. The good or the bad, when I look back and reflect, it only made me a person with the qualities I never thought I can achieve.
This job is a gift and I am so grateful.

I think this is the thing about life. We often fail to make the right choices and blame it on our bad luck. At times, it also happens that we forget to be grateful enough for tIMG_20180817_124547_190he opportunities that we get and never value the reality of it. I found my opportunity last year and never missed a day to look back at that moment and feel satisfied for my present. I hope you do too!

For the 9 to 5 clan!

We play so many different roles everyday. In addition to the the usual gender roles of being a daughter-son, father-mother, sister-brother, wife-husband and so on, we play a very challenging role; being ourselves. Now you might think it is another blog  on self-empowerment. Like seriously, I am not that enlightened. No way!

Often we talk about how busy we are in our lives that we do not have time for ourselves. We also say that we are never busy, it is all about priority. So now you see how we do not give importance to ourselves. Or rather, we think like that. If we carefully look at our daily schedule, most of our time in the day is spent at the office. Be it a corporate job or your own business or may be a start-up. We are likely to spend more time chasing our targets and building our performance skills each day. In the process, we get exhausted. That zeal you have when you start a new thing fades and you resort to just doing it for the sake of it. We start to forget why in the first place we were looking forward to this new job. The excitement is lost somewhere. Our perspective gets limited and we start to think that life sucks. We start to compare our lives to our college/school friends and think they are living the awesome life. Au contraire, who knows the other party might think the same!

Because we create the exhaustion for ourselves, we tend to stay less happy and somewhere we start faking it. If we had a good day or rather a productive day remains a question. Now there is a strong bond that we make with the exhaustion. Eventually, we give explanations to ourselves that we cannot take out time for ourselves to unwind. The fact is it is your life. It is your time. Nobody has taken it away from you. Its non-negotiable that we all have bills to pay. But do not make it a point to reason out why we go to work in the first place. There was a reason why you took up that work. At it is the solution to that reason. So keep uplifting your thoughts by loving your job. Once you do that, there will be a time that you will realize how wrong you were when you thought that you have no excitement in life. At one point you will stop faking and actually start to love life. You will start being that positive yourself that you used to be. Treat your work days like your first day at the job. Rejoice every moment that you dedicate for it. You won’t have to create a make believe world of “I love my job” anymore.

Mystic and old

One alley. One story. All I could do was not to spare a chance to walk through the ones that caught my eyes.Walking along with Gau Mata like passer by. Pausing to catch the glimpse of the local Brahmins pass while chanting age old mantras. Witnessed Hinduism by the ghats and Islam in the hood. Meanwhile sightseeing took me to Sarnath among other places. The whole experience vibrated peace. That is how Varanasi treated me for a 3-day trip. Ideally, it is week long trip if you want to really have the much talked about mystic experience of the city. But my ESL life could only squeeze this much break for leisure travel off the work travel schedule!

The aura of the Ganga aarti kept the entire stretch of the ghats lit with a hypnotizing belief that time is always under construction and life is building upon it. Hundreds of people gathered everyday to witness the one-hour long ceremony of showing gratitude to the Ganga. The exciting part is when you realize how all the priests are in sync with each other while performing the rituals. It was so beautiful to watch how so much of effort is invested in empowering human beliefs.

Just when I started to sink in that feeling, it was the moment when I came face to face to the only reality that makes us live the entire life in denial- Death. Manikarnika ghat; it is believed that people who are cremated here receive Moksha or salvation. This riverfront is always seen with fire burning the Hindu dead bodies at all hours of the day. It was one of those mind numbing moments when you are so close to an absolution that you don’t know what to feel. It all seemed too real to be true. Like I landed in a period drama movie set!

Tasting the local food is always a delight of any place. However, as I explored more, I discovered it is a city which is a home away from home for people across the globe. Besides gorging on the heavenly Kachori subzi, cruncy jalebi or scooping rabdi from the cute little pots, I could also spot cafes that served international cuisines with authentic arrangements. Be it a German bakery, an Italian bistro or Oriental food, it took me by surprise! The best however, was the lassi. After a heavy rush of strange numbness from the Manikarnika encounter, I went to this much recommended lassi shop, The Blue Lassi. I have no idea how it got the name, but they sure churn the best ones. Their selection of flavors and styles of preparation left me in awe and definitely pulled me out from the strange feeling to vacation vibes once again!

Spotting Aghoris on and off were confusing moments. I was not sure whether to feel scared and look away or stay fascinated and stare at them. With their creepy sense of fashion, Aghoris drew attention no matter what. Being almost naked in public or covering the body with human ashes felt plain normal for them. Using a human femur bone as a walking stick or wearing human skulls around their necks seemed perfectly fine. Their calm attitude made them seem even more mysterious. It is a different world!

I was always fascinated to hear different travel stories from the people who ever visited this old city. What I feel now is it’s even more fulfilling to see what you hear about a place is so mysteriously true. It was one vacation that I would love to repeat yet again. Such was Varanasi through my eyes!