Technology & me


women-and-technology

How does technology impact your daily life & how do you use it to achieve work-life balance?

Here comes….A girl who radiates determination, intelligence, and confidence all at once in a calm, unspoken way. She is well-equipped with knowledge in abundance, talented and is tech-savvy. As an IT professional having travelled the world, she welcomes the challenges and with the power of technology makes the very best use of her time, efficiently utilizes the resources and maintains work-life balance. Inadvertently, making the best use of technology in her professional life she is able to accomplish tasks at a quicker pace and boost productivity. In all other spheres of life, be it hobbies, writing, cooking, reading, blogging, technology plays a key role as she stays connected with different people in different parts of the world. Living in the age of Facetime, Sametime, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a million other applications, how smartly she traverses between her work and life, be updated, passionately pursue her hobbies, bond with family and celebrate being a woman in every moment???

“Technology and Me”

I start my day – jogging in the park listening to music on my iPod. Meanwhile, the Nike-iPod sensor embedded in my shoes is on its way tracking the calories burnt, calculating the heart rate and miles covered, and displays instant iPodreport making me smile.

After my morning rituals, listening to devotional songs playing on my iPod on a dock, I complete cooking, and pack lunch. With the help of soft phone on my laptop I talk to my offshore team and get the updates. I make quick notes on my ipad, draft emails and get ready for the commute to office.

On the way to work, I ponder how much technology has occupied every aspect of our busy lives. It is an integral part in this information age which intertwines work and home. I am so fortunate to be living at this time, wherein I can fly from one corner of the Earth to another, seamlessly integrate multitudes of lives, contribute, enhance creativity, reach out to people and stay connected. The possibilities of making use of technological advancements are innumerable and beyond words.

I drive my Corolla Sport car with automatic transmission, speaker phone, radio, Bluetooth etc. I take teleconference calls. I dictate the meeting minutes to Siri and is captured on my iPad, all I need to do is attach it to an email and click send. Making use of the Good application on my Android phone I respond quickly to my Sametime messages and customers are happy. I don’t need to wait to get to my cubicle to accomplish all the many tasks that I do en route, thereby saving time and multitasking which is competency by default. In the course of the day, I attend meetings, record live meetings, share presentations and documents, co-edit them on Jive with multiple teams from different territories, use many applications on my laptop which enable me to work and deliver quality output at a quick pace. I firmly believe in the famous words of Francis Bacon – “Knowledge is Power”. Adding to this, having the right access to knowledge at the right time with the help of technology can work wonders to your profession and personal life.

Technology enables me to work faster and more efficiently, and it facilitates flexible and remote working (fitting in with childcare or avoiding a distasteful commute).I am connected to the corporate world and a number of groups on LinkedIn, share experiences, answer questions, subscribe to RSS feeds that gives me updates on technological advancements, IT world, provides access to the wise mentors etc. Social networking enables me to keep in touch with friends. Using a cool feature, within a few moments I can link my blog site or photo galleries to Facebook, instantly deliver to LinkedIn and Twitter status boxes.

On the weekend, I go out to explore. Once inside my car, insulated from the noise of the city, I turn on the music and allow myself to be surrounded by pure audio pleasure. GPS navigates me to the places of interest, giving me an avenue to relax, recreate and also giving me a taste of the various cultures and cuisines. I nurture and enhance my knowledge, feeding my soul with adventures, concerts, movies. I play Wii games with the kids, fix their electronic flying machines and controller devices. Those moments are incredible when I appreciate how technology impacts every walk of life. Tasks become relatively easy. I can fix a quick meal with the aid of microwave oven. I am able to take care of my parents and the advances in medical technology enables me to get reports from the doctors and lab. I am able to spend quality time with my dear ones, have dinner table chats, play scrabble and Sudoku and organize parties.

At night I type my journal on iPad, read an ibook and call it a day. I hear the air conditioner humming in the background, feeling comfy and grateful to a beautiful day and technology I drift off to sleep. Mission: Work-life balance is an important element, the interconnection of quality of working life and productive workplace – Accomplished. – Vimala Paran

Fall from the sky…………….


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The ultimate moment: Beyond words….tremendous amount of fear grips me tightly…I have to jump off the perfectly fine airplane. What am I doing? It is all good. I have to look forward to the thrill, adrenaline rush…..air gushing in to my face, the speed with which I fall off towards the earth…1..2…3…Go…I go for it. Awesome experience.

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The gliding moments… Slow paced, it is a little journey in itself. As if in a fantasy, dream, gliding in the sky, looking at random things below, laughing at the teeny weeny houses and cars, amazed at the vast expanse of land, manicured sprawling lawns and lines and lines of roads.

Sky Dive

The landing…again fear takes over for a short time. I overcome it, and bravely land gripping the suit and skidding on to the ground safely like a pro.Great Day. Sky dive – Done. Check on one item in my bucket list.

When I lost someone I loved beyond words……


When I lost someone I loved beyond words……
who was an integral part of my childhood……
A kindred soul in who I saw compassion, love and affection….

A rainy evening, I am busy watching a hindi comedy movie “golmaal” on Television. Ajji, my dearest grandmother was leaving to go to my uncle’s house. I reluctantly left the living room and went to the gate, said bye to her and came back. After a few hours, it is around 10 PM in the night I heard someone knocking at the door. Mom rushes to the door and find my panic stricken uncle at the door blabbering in a hurry that granny is not well and is unable to speak anything. Dad and mom immediately leave in the scooter and I am left in the house to look after my younger brother and little sister. After an hour they return back with tear filled eyes and my grandmother lying in the back of my uncle’s jeep. No one had to reveal the news to me…I understood that she is gone, she is no more. I ran out in my night dress on my barefoot and went to the back to see inside the jeep. She looks so peaceful as if she is asleep and any moment she is going to open her eyes, get up and hug me. I could not believe just a few hours ago I spoke to her and now she is no more. That moment my life changed forever. I couldn’t get any tears in my eyes. My mind was flooded with memories of listening to her hundreds of stories, lying on her lap, watching the stars, falling asleep listening to the lullabies. She was an important piece of my childhood. With her death my beautiful childhood came to an end. The seriousness took charge of me, responsibilities seized me…..I realized how intensely sensitive being I am. How fragile life is…how easily I was robbed of my adorable granny who always made me happy. Then began the journey of questions….unanswered, terrifying, unbelievable. After that fateful night, Life is so different and I feel the void in my life which remains unfilled and will never be filled.

I remember vividly her uncanny ability to weave stories for me…my imagination took shapes and I would be transported in to fantasy lands, with her words…I could easily make movies in my mind…plenty of them. The sweets she prepared for me, the small balls of spicy yummy rice she would place in my palm and make me eat, the varieties of snacks she would fry for me, the butter she would get for me as I loved eating butter, the jasmine flowers she tied with a string and decorated my lengthy plaited hair, the beautiful colored bangles, ribbons and anklets she picked for me, games she taught me, sweets she taught me to cook, the swing in which she would make me sit and the rocking chair in which we both used to sit…….I think of all these and my eyes are filled with tears, but I dare not cry…she would never want to see my tears. She was very brave and had overcome a lot of misfortunes in her life with smile. Her captivating smile …..empathy, caring nature, unconditional, exceptional love for me will live forever as part of me in the depths of my heart. Though I lost someone I adore when I was in school,I live with her memories, I close my eyes and imagine her face, her smile, I feel her warmth and affection. I miss her hugs though. The moments spent on her lap are the incredible moments I miss even today.The long walks we went together, shopping for knick knacks, trinkets, flowers we picked carefully for worshipping God are all not mere memories but important bits in the tapestry of my little world.

I would go with her and watch her, nurture the crops, water the plants, feed the animals. Just being with her, clinging on to her filled me with immense joy which I can not express in words.
She treasured me as if I was the most precious thing ever….and no one ever made me feel that way after she went away to another world. She is the one who showed me goodness, pleasantness, what it means to give unconditional love and genuinely care, how to treat with kindness etc. In my mind she remains synonymous to “goodness in the world”. There is no better way of describing her in a few words.

Whatever the mood I am in, however bad the day was, whichever state I was in, I would run to my granny and hug her and I would feel safe, relieved of all the stress, I would feel so free and light as if everything in the world is good. The love that poured out of her eyes, kind face,her sweet smile, caring touch and the bond between me and her is something that I feel even now, after decades. I still feel her presence and her absence in many ways. It is untrue when I hear phrases like – with time memories fade away, we move on in life and distract ourselves from the loss of loved ones. The feeling remains deep within, it is accessible any moment throughout our life time and the missing part is irreplaceable, invincible and will remain so. We just have to live with the loss and accept it gracefully for there are somethings we do not understand in life neither through science nor otherwise.

A musical evening


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Musical instruments have always fascinated me. The universal language – music that emanates from these musical instruments create a wonderful ambience. Far away from home (my country, India), studying and working here in the Sunshine state of US, I happened to see an advertisement about a concert at Straz performing arts center in downtown, Tampa. I had to make it to the event. Throughout the day, between loads of work, I dreamt of few moments of musical trance and wished that I would be there in the evening in front of Panditji and Ustadji whom I have adored since childhood.

I grew up in a home where there was lot of encouragement for art, culture, music and dance. There were many days when the whole family, my parents, brother, sister and me sat glued to the television watching musical programs. I remember going to Hari Prasad Chaurasia concert in Bangalore at Chowdaiah memorial hall (building – in the shape of a violin) being enthralled with the flute and the melody originated by it.

As a child, I learnt Carnatic vocal for many years and sang in morning AIR Radio programs. I learnt songs of different languages and gave many programmes in India and UK. I wrote songs and composed music during my leisure time. I enjoyed the moments in the studio, singing songs, rehearsing with other musicians etc.

From the memory lane, I am quickly back to the present. I intently watch as the Santoor (Kashmiri musical instrument used for folk music) strings are being plucked elegantly by Panditji and Ustadji matching the rhythm with precise beats and taps on the tabla. The elegance, harmony, years of practice, aura that is created is beyond words. It is inspiring….as if frozen in time, transported to a world of music. I am enthralled feels like every cell in my body is reverberating with music, my mind is experiencing pure joy and abundance and my soul is content with the awesome experience. The huge applause brings me back to the present world. Amidst claps, standing ovation and whistles I could see the humility of the great artists bowing down to the audience seated in front of them, in the balcony and mezzanine floors, Ustad Zakir Hussain touching Panditji’s feet and taking blessings. Both leave the stage with smiles and satisfaction about their performance. A beautiful evening, spent in the musical world and I am happy. 🙂

Soaring high in the air


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Lovely morning……woke up to the rays of Sun streaming in through the blinds of the window. Called the flight school to ensure the airplane is ready and the weather condition is good. A long drive to the air park….enjoyed the drive on the bridge viewing the water and the formation of the clouds up above. Reached the airpark right on time, met the flight instructor and went ahead prepping for the flight. After all the preflight procedures, I was all set to fly a Cessna 172-R, a 1999 model small airplane. Checked all the controls, turned on the ignition, communicated on the radio to the ground station and started taxiing. Then turned the plane on to the runway and I took off smoothly…flew towards the west and maintained the altitude for some distance looking up at the horizon and flying without a care in the world. Felt so natural and free….fed my soul with contentment and peace.  It is amazing…each time I fly, a chopper or a small aircraft. I thank the creation, innovation, technology, human brain behind it all and the beautiful nature I get to see from up above…flying higher, soaring in the air, controlling the airplane, speed, altitude, fuel-sir mix, throttle, flaps, rudder and moving in different directions. Suddenly I felt a slight turbulence and a few tiny rain drops ……It was so much fun to fly in the rain. Flew on..further high ….watching the bay, bridges, beaches, houses and trees below…..It is a different feeling when you see the same things sitting in a domestic or international air plane with a whole lot of passengers and the flight controlled by a pilot in the cockpit..When you are in control of the airplane and then you are multitasking and also enjoying the view from above…is incredible…It is a feeling that has to be experienced to know what it feels like. Brought the plane back to air park,.the moment the tires touch the ground… landing was thrilling…parked and then had an apple, spoke to other people out there at the airpark, pilots and students.

Got in to my car, drove for a while looking for a coffee shop, took an unexpected turn and stopped at an Italian restaurant. It was like a treat to myself for showing bravery during all the tough times of life and having an inbuilt courage device that propels me and for learning new things, exploring the unknown and move ahead, daring to do difficult things. The ambience was scintillating and fascinating. Brings out the passionate writer in me…. The slow music, appetite, aroma of Tag picchi pacchui with crushed tomato and basil leaves, signature red sangria – all added up to a good meal experience.

On to the next adventure of the day….Felt like exploring the place a bit and in search of a calm place, drove to Cliff Stephens park. Walked in the midst nature – huge trees, different kinds of birds, following the flowing river beside the trail path and stopped by at the alligator creek for a while. So peaceful and serene…other than the rustling of leaves, blowing wind, chirping and squawking sounds of birds. I sit on a wooden bench, beneath a huge tree, some of its branches leaning over on to the river. “Life couldn’t have been better”. I finally bow down gracefully to all the twists and turns in life and accept life as is. There is as much mystery to life as there is beauty. Graceful acceptance of both makes it all the more incredible. I love every bit of it, every moment of it. Fascination, child like enthusiasm, wonder, excitement and a lot of passion to know, explore, learn more….keep me going ….on and on.

 

 

 

 

Lifelong learning


 Being a learner is no longer a matter of choice or preference, it is a necessity in order to survive and thrive in the information age…….

“Oh! This learning, what a thing it is.”These famous words from Shakespeare compel us to learn as long as we live. John C Lavatar’s famous words, “Learning is a wealth to the poor, an honour to the rich, an aid to the young, and support and comfort to the aged.” bring out the true essence of learning. Learning is a continuous and never-ending process. It’s not an exaggeration to state that living is for the most part learning, and in practicing what we have learned. We begin to learn as soon as we begin to live. There is a probability that the learning process commences sometime before birth. We learn till the minute we die.

To learn means to gain knowledge of a subject or skill. F L Ruch rightly defines learning as a process which brings about changes in the individual’s way of responding as a result of contact with aspects of the environment. According to G J Dudycha, learning is the retention of behaviour that has been modified through experience. To learn is certainly of great importance to us as individuals or as members of society. Unfortunately, many of us reach a certain stage of learning and go through the remainder of our lives gliding on the knowledge acquired till then. Why are we directed this way? Is there any need to go on learning? Yes, a big yes indeed, there is certainly a need for lifelong learning. The simplest reason is that none of us know-it-all or ever will.

The famous Talmud saying aptly recognises the necessity of learning in the following words: He who adds not to his learning diminishes it. These golden words tell us that we should learn throughout our life. Solon, the Athenian law giver said: “I grow old always learning new things”.                                           

Some people may wonder why we should keep on learning even at old age. Aún aprendo, meaning I am still learning, in Spanish, was one of the famous mottoes of Aldous Huxley, and his way of life. Huxley in one of his commencement address said: “Age is no limit on the process of learning; not only for masters such as Goya and Stravinsky, but for us all. The process of learning goes on from the cradle to the grave and beyond.”

It is quite possible that lifelong learning now outranks motherhood, apple pie and the flag as a universal good. Almost everyone is in favour of lifelong learning. Any concept of education based on the view that initial education can provide all the learning needed for life is inadequate. Throughout our lives we face situations at work, in our domestic settings and in our wider relationships that we didn’t conceive of at an earlier stage of our life. Such continual learning is an informal, natural process, acquired as we

Enter new roles;
Take on new responsibilities;
Develop new interests
We learn as we enter new social roles — as wage earner, householder, as spouse, parent, grandparent, as voter and member of a local political community. Society is constantly revising its interpretation of these roles. The stance that today’s parents adopt towards their children or the rest of society may be very different from the stance adopted by their parents. How we relate to other people is an area that calls for constant learning.

There are some senior posts (being part of the government or church or commerce) for which there is no form of initial education. Some jobs make constant calls for readjustment and new learning, while others require considerably fewer changes. Even those who are unemployed may find themselves occupied in a series of tasks that demand learning.

As we grow older, there are corresponding changes, transformations in our personal interests, ambitions and desires and our opportunities for learning change. We learn from new experiences and perceptions; for example, from advertisements, new items, chance meetings and accidents. All of these provide us with learning opportunities that are incidental, which we may seize upon or pass over as we feel inclined. All of these leave impressions on us.

We may learn new skills or develop existing skills further. These skills need not be just physical ability to do certain things, but thinking processes, coping and survival strategies. We may learn new things as we collect information. We need to learn to relate our new material in ways and manners that lead to new understanding.

Acquiring new skills and knowledge without changing our attitude may not be beneficial; change in attitude is an essential part of learning. It is impossible to incorporate these changes without making alterations in our way of life and behaviour. It is therefore necessary to learn to apply our learnings to what we do and how we live.

Learning is not merely the satisfaction of a series of urges or seeking a state of rest and harmony or the diminishing of a sense of anxiety or relief from tension. Life-long learning is an active engagement with our environment and ourselves, a struggle that may actually increase tension, a dialectic in which we seek to alter both our environment and ourselves in the constant search for something better.

Learning is seen as the process by which our sense of discontent with the new and search for transcendence can express itself in a quest for perfection. You can enhance your physical and mental skills by learning throughout life. An iIndividual is an active participiant in a struggle for living within the modern world. Learning takes place in three main areas of life:

Self-fulfillment;
Social roles;
Our assigned roles and vocations.
Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” Charge your life with a continual process of acquiring knowledge, with will, endurance, strong determination and perseverance. Curiosity, enthusiasm, intent, concentration, problem solving, memory and imagination are all necessary ingredients for learning. Knowledge is an ocean, its vastness, depths and abundance is amazing.

The adage, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, is false. Age is no barrier as was thought earlier. No one is ever too old to learn, the example of Kelvin justifies this. He made his first scientific discovery when he was 18 and he improved his marine compass when he was 83.

The knowledge explosion: Did you know that the rate of new information is doubling every six months? Did you know that most of what you learn today will be obsolete in two years? Are you worried about how to keep up? Are you bewildered, overwhelmed by the information explosion at school or at work or at home? The knowledge explosion is taking place and there is a need to constantly update. Thus we see the necessity of learning.

Being a successful learner is no longer a matter of choice or mere preference, it is a necessity in order to survive and thrive in the information age. The media constantly reminds us that we are living in a time of rapid change. This pace is changing faster than it has at any other time in human history. Every year, 20-30 per cent of what we learned and understood about our world is obsolete.

Thus, when we combine the astonishing rate of knowledge obsolescence with the fact that knowledge is now the most commercial commodity on earth, we understood the values, necessity and relevance of learning. To be successful in a world where knowledge is the key, you must be skilled and fluent in acquiring knowledge and making it a part of you. This process of learning goes on and on ……..
 
 Vimala Paran

Cirque Italia


            

It was truly an amazing and stunning performance. The act XII included aerial acts, hula hoops, hand balancing acts, twisting and circling with the toes, juggling, incredible swinging postures etc. It was a wonderful performance by professional artists from different nationalities which kept the audience hooked on to their seats, enthralled. There was also a clown who went round the tent talking to the audience and engaging them in little shows. The choreography of the dance and effortless grace with which the talented artists performed were applauded.  I had the immense pleasure in watching the acts and marvelling at the magical aura created by the show. It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon well spent. Aquatic spectacular – a part of the show was splendid with the water fountains and the performers displaying their acts in the middle of the platform surrounded by colourful dancing water fountains and thin steams of water pouring all around the disc. I am glad to have had the opportunity to view such a spectacular show.

 Cirque Italia is an Italian entertainment company that brings a European style to its performances. It has been described as a “vivid, dramatic, and moving experience under a customized travelling tent.” Cirque Italia brings the appreciation of production and circus arts together to create a show audiences will remember.