September 2014

Travel and Culture

Devi -Manifestations of the Divine Mother

By Somali K Chakrabarti Autumn (Sharad) or Fall is the season when you feel the first crispness in air, the summer is gone, monsoon has infused new life into trees and fall is in the air. As nature turns the world into its big canvas, people in most parts of India prepare to worship the Divine Mother. An exhibition ‘Devi – Manifestations of the Divine Mother‘, organized at the beautiful Chatrapati Shivaji Musuem in Mumbai gives a historical perspective on the worship of Mother Goddess, and reveals the spiritual significance of the festival. Presenting here some excerpts:   Worship of the Divine Mother is one of the oldest forms of worship known to humanity. In prehistoric times, God was worshipped as the Divine Mother all over the world.  Evidences for Mother Worship have been recovered in different places in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. ~ Durga Puja, Belur Math.org  

Mixed Bag

What makes PM Modi’s speech stand out

 By Somali K Chakrabarti Nobody can question the talent of our people…especially after yesterday  said PM Narendra Modi in his speech, at the launch of Make in India campaign. What could have been a better timing to kick start the Make In India campaign, than the day after India got a big shot in the arm, with the success of ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), as Mangalyan entered the Mars orbit on 24rth Oct! The PM’s speech at Make In India campaign was certainly much more than a business pitch, with all ingredients of a powerful speech made by a leader aiming for holistic development. A general observation is that mostly in all his speeches, PM Modi manages to get the attention of the listeners, to get his message across. Here are some elements that make his speech stand out:

Personal Effectiveness

4 Ways in which Music Improves State of Mind and Performance At Work

 By Somali K Chakrabarti  Music and rhythm find their secret way into our soul. ~Plato We all listen to music, often being oblivious of the mysterious way in which it affects our mind. So profound is the effect of music on human emotions that it can energize you, recharge you, freeze you in the moment, make you nostalgic or boost your mood on a day when you are feeling low. Here are 4 ways in which music helps us to improve our state of mind and performance at work. Music energizes  The effect of listening to good music is the same as the effect of seeing a beautiful painting or work of art. It releases endorphins in the brain and recharges us. Mental stimulation can improve brain function and enhance work performance.

Social Issues

Mumbai – A Green City Turning Grey

By Somali K Chakrabarti Standing by the open window railing on my room, as I sip my morning tea looking at the coconuts swinging from the tree at a stone’s throw, I struggle each day to reconcile with how the view has changed over the last two years. The open space on both sides, where there used to be a nursery and a school playground is now covered up with high-rise flats that are in the last stage of construction. In place of the variety of plants and flowers in the nursery, stands a burly concrete mixer humming throughout the day. Scaffoldings along the walls of buildings and reinforcement rods jutting out of the columns from the roof of an under-construction parking lot make an unseemly sight. I feel let down and so do the other residents of the building. But do we complain? Not much! Financial wisdom tells us that with the land prices having appreciated more than 5 times, we should not be complaining. Likewise, constructing high rise buildings on a prime property makes more commercial sense for builder; so what if the land was initially earmarked for a school playground and a park. Besides enjoying the facility of…

Mixed Bag

Why some companies in India are still on a 6 day work week

By Somali K Chakrabarti Working for 6 days a week is never a particularly appealing idea. Most people would agree that a single Sunday is not enough to wash away the fatigue of working throughout the week. Till recently when my spouse had a 6 day work week, life outside of work was dreary, almost non-existent as the weekends were generally spent on routine household chores, stocking stuff for weekly consumption or for occasionally watching a movie. Others with a 6 day work week would admit to having a similar lackluster schedule. Surprisingly, now close to 100 years after the 5 day, ’40 hours’ work week was first instituted by Henry Ford, to boost productivity among workers, many Indian companies are still hesitant about adopting a 5 day culture. It is interesting to note that from time to time, number of studies have indicated that working for long hours over a period of time does not increase productivity. Quite the reverse, productivity is supposed to drop beyond 40 hours of work per week (as per a research paper published in 2011, by the International Labour Organization). Working for long hours over prolonged periods are known to cause strain, fatigue and burn out among…

Personal Effectiveness

8 Powerful Ways To Build Resilience

By Somali K Chakrabarti At an altitude of 5,000 metres in the Siachen Glacier, the levels of oxygen in the blood of a healthy solider is similar to that of a patient with severe lung disorder at sea level. Prolonged stay at these high altitudes presents a completely different set of medical challenges. In addition to the constant threat of enemy action, life in the glacier is all about combating long periods of isolation, making do with tinned food, struggling for clean drinking water, living in cramped temporary shelters without electricity and the absence of a host of things taken for granted by civilized society. —Beyond NJ 9842: The Siachen Saga |The book captures stories of stories of courage and resilience of Indian soldiers posted at Siachen Glacier, the Highest Battlefield on Earth   Resilience is not a one off event Resilience is your ability to sustain under difficult circumstances for prolonged periods of time, while maintaining your resolute, energy, hope and self belief.

Personal Effectiveness

Decoding the Power of Emotions on Decisions

By Somali K Chakrabarti Emotions exert an alluring power over us! More often than not, our emotions drive our thoughts and behavior, and come into play when we make decisions. While most of us love to believe that we work on reason and deliberation, the truth is that our behavior is highly influenced by sentiments, intuitions and emotions. A person who is inspired or motivated by a purpose can do things beyond the ordinary. On the other hand, a person who finds himself in a hopeless situation, may dive into the depths of despair. Recognizing the power of emotions is of paramount importance for perceiving the implications of emotions on your behavior and for developing the ability to make Emotionally Intelligent decisions. ‘When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.’ – Dale Carnegie  

Inspirational

8 Inspirational Quotes on Teachers

By Somali K Chakrabarti If it is true that the future of a country lies in the hands of its youth, then it is equally true that the future of the youth is shaped by their teachers. 5th September is the day dedicated to the teachers. A great teacher is like a great artist, who ignites the minds, makes a subject interesting and engrossing, and inspires students to explore the subject and its application in greater details. Like a potter shapes the clay, good teachers have the ability to mould students and shape up their personality by influencing their thinking. Here are 8 inspirational quotes on teachers. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein

Mixed Bag

How Modi set cultural context for improving business relations between India and Japan

By Somali K Chakrabarti   Globalization means we have to re-examine some of our ideas, and look at ideas from other countries, from other cultures, and open ourselves to them. And that’s not comfortable for the average person. ~ Herbie Hancock Culture, invariably, has an immense influence on the global business environment. Customs, values, attitude towards work and what people consider as ethical in business vary from country to country. Besides the differences in policy or regulatory environment, differences that stem from different cultural backgrounds have often been known to create hurdles in the international business. Cultural barriers can stymie or delay business deals. On a number of occasions, business negotiations between multinationals have failed due to cultural differences. So, it makes a lot of sense to set the cultural context for minimizing or dissolving the cultural barriers before talking business. “Cultural barriers can be overcome relatively swiftly where there is the political will to do so.” ~ Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide This is primarily what India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established during his trip to Japan, thus setting a brilliant example of how political leaders can create the required cultural context…

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