Thoughts on a random workday – the importance of knowing what to do when bored

“Your relationship with work has always been turbulent” was my husband’s observation a few days back, and that is absolutely true. I have had a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship when it comes to work, and I figured now is as good a time as any to think back on why.

The crux of it would be lack of patience – with people/ processes/ products situations. I wanted things to happen today/ no now. Including my promotions – they had to happen at the pace of the best performer in office while I would be actually performing at half that person’s. The real problem now that I think about it is – I wanted something to be happenning around me (or to me) all the time. Which is why I changed 4 jobs in the last ten years I guess.

The problem with this attitude is that things don’t happen around you all the time. At work, as at life in general, there will be happenning times and there will be dreadfully boring times.

How to keep yourself occupied during those awfully boring times is actually what will determine your mental health (and those of your loved ones!).

Keeping yourself mentally challenged/ occupied/ engaged when there are no external stimuli (some bit of creativity needed here) is a very very important life skill. If someone does not have the natural inclination for that he or she needs to be taught how to. If you, like me, were trained for the first 20 years of your life to do what you were told, you would be in an awful lot of trouble later on in life when there would not be anybody telling you what to do.

So start practicing being with yourself more and being satisfied with that!


Physical Literacy among children

Reading a paper(government circular rather) by the AP government to promote physical literacy among children.

Key thought: Physical literacy is not an extra-curricular activity, it should be part of the curriculum.

Goals: To make Physical Literacy an integral part of the Curriculum at School
level for multi-faceted development of all the children.
2. To provide opportunities to school children to experience physical activity
in a positive and supportive environment so as to promote lifelong
engagement in physical activity.
3. To create an inclusive environment in schools for promoting balanced
lifestyle, exercise, sleep and nutrition among all teachers and students.
4. To make aware and motivate the Head Masters, Teachers and other
stakeholders in the School eco-system to appreciate and implement
Physical Literacy programs in schools.
5. To collaborate with experts in the field, other Government Departments
in achieving the Physical Literacy goals and objectives.

Impressed by Naidu and his government!

GPS Sheikpet School visit – some observations

I went to meet the Headmaster of the Sheikpet GPS today – one of the 25 schools in the Sheikpet Mandal. We are planning to support the school through the Kriti Educational Program – the immediate need is of four teachers who can communicate in English.

Some interesting things we learnt/heard/discussed:

There are 350 schools in the Sheikpet Mandal, of which 25 are government schools. Look at the need and look at how much the government is meeting the need currently!

Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has reached out to this school. Our Sports Program teachers are selecting kids for the trials this weekend.

Anganwadi/ pre-schooling is much needed to a) reduce the burden on the Class 1 teachers b) start early motor skills for the children c) provide some temporary day care for working parents.

Peak District – a ramble in the English countryside photo story

Chatsworth House – the Duke of Devonshires country house   

The well maintained gardens of the house.

The imposing grandeur  

A play at the village of Eyam, the villagers enacting the story of the bubonic plague in the village.

Churches around the countryside have cemeteries within their boundaries. Local residents final resting place.


Pretty house front at a village in Peak District.

Village pubs with locals and tourists dining side by side.  

Crossing a stream during a hike near the farmhouse where we stayed.

Yes the wildflowers are pretty as can be.


Stone walls separating sheep farms with stinging nettles growing by the side.

A view of the rolling hills and typical gray skies.


A long hike to the hill top.

Sheep grazing in the meadows.  


A lonely path by a ruined Norman castle.

A just reward at the end of a day’s hike. 


Tourism of a different kind in Belfast

Tripadvisor rated the black cab tour as one of the top things to do while in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Rightly so.

To say that we were totally unaware of the strife in Belfast would be incorrect as we had,  like most tourists who are first time visitors to the country, vaguely heard of the IRA and the bombings during the 80s. 

What we did not know until we did the tour was how strong the divide still was between the Catholics, who identified themselves as Irish, and the Protestants who identify themselves as part of Britain. We saw concrete walls metres thick that divide Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. There were gates  that closed after seven in the evening making it impossible to cross over to the next neighbourhood. There were murals on houses idolising men who have pulled the trigger for one side or the other. 

Here are some images that say more than I can put in words. The first photograph is of a mural celebrating Stevie Top Gun – the poppies around him show the number of people he had killed during his lifetime, starting with his first murder at the age of 17.

The huge bonfire in the next photograph is to celebrate July 12th, the day William the conqueror landed in Ireland. This day is celebrated as orange day by the Protestants.

Below that is a photograph of the peace wall that British soldiers made to prevent violence. Or so they hoped. It lay a permanent mark of division among the communities.

And finally, houses close to the walls fencing their balconies to prevent stones and debris from the other side hitting them. A clear indication of the hatred that still brews.


A week in Paris: Life on Montmartre hill

A block down the Montmartre hill from the cute place in Paris we had booked was a little bakery. Every morning the owner was ready with a delightful assortment of goods. Buttery fluffy croissants, some of them chocolate-filled, quiches with mushroom and cheese and meat, fresh baguettes and lovely fruity tarts called out from the tiny window. This bakery was our first stop as we stepped out of the warmth of the house into the shades cast by the tall houses on either side of the Rue Lepic.

Montmartre hill in Paris was the centre of the artistic scene in the last century with artists and writers living on what was then part village. Right opposite our bed and breakfast was a well preserved wind-mill, now part of a private property. A couple of houses downhill was the house when Van Gogh worked. As we took one of the small cobbled streets during a long morning walk, we passed by posters describing the life of this passionate artist, who was  keen on continuously developing an improving his personal style, and so keen to have experiences that would refine that style. On top of the hill, close to the Sacre Couer, were the gardens dedicated to Renoir (he had lived and painted here). Nearby is the museum de Montmartre, which houses paintings by most of the painters that have lived and worked in the area.

The most famous place in Montmartre is of course at the bottom of the hill, near the Anvers station – The Moulin Rouge, with a red windmill at its entrance. Home of the cabaret and the French Can-Can the Moulin Rouge is the perfect place for an extravagant night out.

In the midst of all this hectic activity though the Hill still manages to have pockets of silence and quiet. Beyond the crowds that gather to watch the sunset from the Sacre Couer, away from the main stations of Anvers, Blanche and Barbes Rochecourt, are the small gardens and bylanes that criss-cross the hill. These tranquil spots are the places where artists, rich with muses from the interesting life around them, sat and painted.

Sit at one of the outdoor cafes in Montmartre, order a coffee and croissant, and watch the Bohemian Parisian life unfold before you.. there is no better place.

Why do I travel

I have asked myself many times,

Why do we travel? Why can we not stay still?

Are our wishes like those of the birds,

Those that travel across wide seas and beyond borders?

Do we  travel with our wishes, beating our wings and flying away in search of something?

The birds are looking for food and shelter.

What do we need?

Are we curious to know.

Do others live like us? Do they eat what we eat?

Do they live and love like we do?

Curious creatures we are, but beyond that too.

We are something more.

Because when we get up in the morning,

Don’t we open the door and look up first,

At the open sky outside?

And fly even if for a flitting second?

Translated from the original Assamese text as published by Shri Dinesh Sarma in his travelogue, The London Eye.

(with changes and thoughts of my own, similar yet different from the original author, my Dad).


The London Eye, travelogue by Dinesh Sarma


Dinesh Sarma and Bily Devi at a museum in London, 2013