Joy of being slow …

Monday 23 Nov,2009 – I started using a bicycle to office.

Cycling again after 12 years was a challenge of sorts – I wasn’t sure if I would really WANT to use a bicycle after being accustomed to a bike. However I was very excited with the thrill of riding the 16 km distance between office & home. So on Monday I mustered all the energy [actually had boost in the morning :)] & started to office.

As I started I noticed that vehicular traffic had increased tremendously in last so many years – cyclists had to take extra caution for most of the 2wheeler drivers are a nuisance to easy riding.

As I peddled, I could comprehend a kind of ‘slowness’ around me. I could ‘see’ each & every shop, apartment, road, etc with all their minute details – something which helped me discover some of the stylish barber shops near my house. I could read the ads completely on the shutters of yet-to-open shops. I experienced the same odor of fish [though for a long time 🙂 ] as I passed some fish vendors on the way. Furthermore, I could also hear the chirps of birds amid all the traffic noise & honking horns – an experience missed for all these years.

I sometimes wonder why would we require going for bird watching or butterfly watching had we just restored the nature we inherited.

These days, we all are so used to fast pace that we don’t want to experience the joy of being slow. Mad rush for work has compelled us to be on our toes; Use of modern gizmos (iPod, mp3 players, iTouch) has deprived us of the pleasant sounds of nature; Use of bikes & cars has forced us to allocate special time for gym.

Are we losing something in a rush to gain something ?

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Company Cultures

People across the world believe that the economic climate is slowing improving, the layoffs have reduced, & new jobs are coming up. All the sectors are slowing picking up, stocks markets are moving northwards & ‘hopes’ of recovery are floating around. History has shown us that such environments are generally conducive to job-hoppers 🙂 They use every opportunity to ‘blackmail’ their current employer for a foreign tour or promotion or pay hike or what not …

Even I have sailed through many companies in the past – mostly out of dissatisfaction with the current quality of job & rewards there. Though I was not happy with the work I was doing, I have noticed some peculiar things of all the companies I have worked for.

For instance in my first job at a major Telecom-IT company, I always found people loitering around, spending hours at the newspaper desk, in the canteen, at the local chai-wala smoking puffs, etc. I wondered WHO worked so hard that the company managed to achieve its financial goals :-).  There was a tradition (or may be culture) in this company – every monday morning people were inquisitive to know “How was your weekend?”. This one question dominated every monday morning. During my later days, I had cultivated this habit of being ‘prepared’ to answer this ONE question. People asked as if they always had wonderful plans to spend their week ends. I am still amazed as to what NEW things one can do every weekend. Another tradition of sorts in the company was to take a customary WALK after the lunch. Every single employee was seen taking 2/3 rounds around the premises, as if their bosses will punish them for violating this tradition. Poor customers had (& still have) to bear the brunt of this long running tradition at this company !!

After this I moved to a more technical company where everybody looked geek. Most of them were from IITs, RECs, Rank 1 colleges in India. People believed in spending valuable time in front of their PCs & did some great stuff. Even if they had spare time, they learnt new technologies or preferred going home & relax. My stay at this place was marked by the conspicuous absence of the question – How was your weekend?Ahh…. what a relief that was … lol 🙂

Then I moved to 2nd largest software exporter of India. After moving here, memories of my 1st job started haunting me… same scenario !! people gathered in herds near coffee table, newspaper desk, canteens, etc etc.. for a change though – here people (fruitfully) utilized the lush greenery of the campus to blossom their love !! It wasn’t like marina beach or band stand but you could spot some cupid-struck people.  I was fortunate to be in a department of 4 who were supposed to be more technie than others.  So I rarely had the opportunity to spend time with my colleagues there. I cannot ever forget 1 tradition at this place – here in the pantries company provided many cups with company logo & all. Cups made up of clay mud. Now, whenever a cup was broken, the ENTIRE floor starts clapping to acknowledge the incident. Every manager, group lead, engineer contributes wholeheartedly in the clap. This culture should certainly spread to other places for it does no harm to anyone & just lightens the mood!!

That’s about some of the company cultures I have come across so far.

Do you have one to share ?? I will be glad to hear one …