Monday, 24 July 2017

DEALING WITH LAYOFF SURVIVOR SICKNESS

It has lately become common to hear news of layoffs, especially in the IT, Telecom and BFSI sectors. The reasons range from a general slowdown in the economy, lower consumer spending, a sharp contraction in exports, and artificial intelligence/automation taking over jobs that were otherwise done by humans.

Needless to say, losing a job is a gut-wrenching experience for those who have been let go. Indeed, people who lose their jobs are left to struggle with tremendous amounts of stress, anger, hurt, grief and fear about what the future holds for them. Interestingly though, some (if not all) of those left on the job after a layoff also tend to find themselves mentally and emotionally drained after surviving the ordeal. These survivors go through what is known as ‘layoff survivor sickness’ (LSS), which is a complex concoction of emotions.

Losing a job is not just hard for those who have been let go...it is also mentally and emotionally draining for survivors

Layoffs are used as a measure to “get rid of the deadwood”, reduce costs and improve efficiencies. However, they create a sense of personal violation and can severely impact personal and organisational performance at a time when the organisation needs a concerted effort to bring about a change for the better. There are at least five survivors for every laid-off employee, and therefore, organisations can not afford to ignore the impact of LSS. Unfortunately, not enough has been written on this subject.

The feelings and emotions that employees going through LSS encounter are:-

1) Fear, uncertainty and insecurity
Employees that have survived a layoff might find themselves in shock, and although they will initially feel relieved that their jobs are intact, they might eventually begin to feel anxious. The fear and insecurity will stem from the perception that their jobs have been retained only for the short term and that there are more cuts to come in the near future.

What employees should do: The most human and instinctive reaction to layoffs is panic. This can hamper an employee’s general well-being, peace of mind, and performance at the workplace. The ideal thing for an employee to do is to maintain his/her composure and have a back-up plan in place for contingencies. Discussing possibilities of cutting household budgets with dear ones, evaluating and enhancing skill sets, and regularly monitoring opportunities are some activities that could make employees feel more in control.

What employers should do: It would not be wise for companies to create fear and panic among employees by bluntly revealing their layoff plans to employees. This would make it practically impossible to get employees to sustain their focus on their tasks. However, the right thing to do would be creating and maintaining lines of communication to keep employees regularly updated about the state of the business and to seek advice. Some effective channels of communication are information meetings, informal chats, emails, and even one-on-ones. This approach helps foster trust in the management and better understanding among employees.

2) Anger, resentment, frustration, betrayal and distrust
It might be argued that employees who have survived ought to be grateful for having been allowed to keep their jobs. However, it is sometimes possible for survivor employees to feel anger, resentment, betrayal and distrust towards the organisation and their bosses after a layoff, especially if it came as a complete surprise.

What employees should do: Contrary to popular belief, keeping grief and frustration bottled up is not the right way to go. Venting feelings should not be construed as a sign of weakness, albeit in a professional and civil manner. Layoff survivors ought to surround themselves with positive and supportive people. However, engaging in gossip and loose talk with excessively negative colleagues could be unproductive and exacerbate the negativity.

What employers should do: Companies should desist from misleading employees about their downsizing plans. For instance, stating early-on that jobs will not be affected, only to eventually bring the axe down will certainly lead to a great degree of anger and mistrust among survivors. It can cause a major dent in motivation and even lead to high performers considering leaving. After the layoff, employers must actively listen and respond to survivors in an empathetic manner.

3) Guilt, sadness and depression
It is normal for employees who have survived a layoff to feel a heavy sense of guilt. They begin to retrospect about their careers and the reasons for their survival. Survivors who witness their valued colleagues or work buddies being fired are overcome with grief, which could develop into depression if left ignored.

What employees should do: It helps to recognise that these feelings are normal. Denying or bottling up these feelings will not help. In fact, taking time off to grieve can be of immense help. Talking it out with someone who is a good and sensible listener can also help alleviate the pain.

What employers should do: Providing counselling to survivors can be highly beneficial to help employees acknowledge and vent their feelings and to attain some sort of closure.

4) Feelings of disillusionment and worthlessness
Survivors might feel disillusioned with the work life and culture in the organisation and might begin to look at themselves as mere numbers/resources and statistics in the eyes of the management. They might begin to feel that the organisation doesn’t really care about them or their co-workers and are only concerned with revenues and profits.

Layoffs aren't easy for the management either

What employees should do: Employees must recognise the fact that layoffs are not easy for the management either – these are decisions that require a great degree of courage and objectivity. Layoff survivors invariably tend to end up with heavier workloads, and therefore, it would be helpful for them to openly communicate with their bosses the fact that it would be possible to make a few mistakes while coping with the workload. Survivors should also consider attributing a sense of value and purpose in their own profession rather than in the organisation.

What employers should do: Employers should ensure that their layoff processes are respectful and afford a dignified exit to those being asked to leave. Layoff survivors should be able to see that dismissed employees are being treated well. For instance, if the employees who were asked to leave suddenly find it hard to get in touch with the HR department to get their paperwork or compensation settled, it will put the company in bad light, even in the eyes of survivors. Companies must also explore the possibility of extending a few work-linked benefits like insurance, healthcare, etc., to retrenched employees after layoffs, maybe for a few months. The organisation must also share with survivors their plans for improvement, and results.

Monday, 3 July 2017

SHE KNOWS TOO MUCH


She Spies With Her Green Enchanting Eyes
An Unpleasant Surprise
Sullen, Murky Skies
Ungodly Merchandise

She Spies With Her Green Enchanting Eyes
Treacherous Allies
Ingenious Alibis
A Sinful Compromise

She Spies With Her Green Enchanting Eyes
Indecent Lullabies
A Hundred Lustful Sighs
The Devil In Disguise

She Knows Too Much...

Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

A big thank you to Azeema Ilyas aka Zeemee for permitting me to use one of her clicks. As you can see, the image is world class. You might find this hard to believe, but the model happens to be Azeema's University batchmate, Sahar Khan. A loud shoutout to Sahar as well. Azeema, 23, lives in the Peshawar district of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and is a student of Defense and Diplomatic Studies. She is also passionate about photography (she takes up photography assignments) and travelling. In her words, she loves her beauty sleep and prefers to laze around doing nothing when she's not clicking stuff. Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/_zeemee

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Z - ZERO


Zero stood on the shore, nonchalant, unassuming, looking out over the sea and gazing at the horizon. He didn't seem to have a care in the world.

Unknown to Zero, One had been watching him closely for quite some time. He sneaked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. As soon as Zero turned to look back, One shoved him aside and stood right in front of him.

One: "There...we're a perfect 10 now. I'm sorry to have surprised you like this. But as you can see, it's in our best interests that I am allowed to take the lead. As for you, I'm afraid you're going to have to stay out of the limelight." (*winks at Zero).

Zero: (*nodding in agreement) "You're right...you're in charge."

One: (*beaming with pride) "You had no choice here anyway, mate!"

Zero: (*raises his eyebrows) "What do you mean?"

One: (*grinning) "Well, you zeros have no value by yourselves. Clearly, it only makes sense for you guys to join forces with the rest of the numbers. It adds value to your existence, no? Admit it then, without the rest of us, you are absolutely nothing!"

Zero: (*closing his eyes and smiling) "Hmm...you're right again...we zeros are nothing by ourselves."

One: (*nodding) "Exactly...Nothing!"

Zero: (*now grinning) "Let's think about this...what happens when more than one of us rally behind you, with you guys in the lead? What happens then?"

One: "We're BIG, of course!"

Zero: (*now grinning) "Let's think about this...what happens when more than one of us rally behind you, with you guys in the lead? What happens then?"

One: "We're BIG, of course!"

Zero: "Absolutely...you guys gain a great deal of value when my kind rallies behind you. So let's say me and five other of my kind had to come together and let you lead, we'd be a million. Isn't that right now?"

One: "Hmm..."

Zero: "But now, imagine if one day we would suddenly decide to pick up our stuff and walk away...where, my friend, would that leave you?"

One: "Huh...?"



Zero: "You heard me...where would that leave you?"

One: (*feeling a lump in his throat) "At...square one?..."

Zero: "Perfect...we have no value and we have nothing to lose. But hey! We are the ones who make you look good. Without us, you guys are hardly anything yourselves. Don’t ever forget that!

And saying so,  Zero left One standing dazed on the shore, and walked away.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

With this, my friends, we have come to the end of an extremely long, yet extremely satisfying A to Z Challenge 2017. It was supposed to be completed by 30th April, and although I tried my best to finish it in time, deadlines at the workplace and lack of sufficient time during the weekends due to family commitments played spoilsport.

Nevertheless, I have no regrets. In fact, this time around I had a plethora of positives - both on the creative as well as personal front. I managed to surprise myself (pleasantly) this time around, in terms of my ability to think quickly and to come up with some write-ups that I would definitely count among my best posts till date. I also managed to make some wonderful friends and collaborations on Instagram. Looking forward to working with them in the future as well.

See you next year then...hopefully.

Amen to that!

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)
S - Standing In The Midst Of Clouds (Short Story)
T - Tiptoe (Poem)
U - Unguarded (Poem / Sentimental / Philosophical)
V - Voila Gypsy Girl (Poem)
W - What If.. (Musings / Poem / Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
X - X-treme Encounter (Short Story / Weird Story)
Y - Your Stare (Poem)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

10 YEARS IN SANITY


My Blog - Scripted In Sanity completed 10 years today.

I cannot believe that a decade passed by so fast.

These 10 years have been special. In these 10 years, I broke my heart a million times, experienced a million moments of bliss, witnessed a number of life-changing events unfold, underwent twists & turns and peaks & troughs in a life that otherwise used to be quite uneventful.

The result of these events? 219 posts in all!

What has changed in these 10 years? There were many bloggers and readers who joined in the (In)Sanity, and motivated me (directly and indirectly) to keep going. Some of them are still around, some of them got lost along the way, while some have chosen new paths and trails. But they've all left footprints in special places somewhere.

What hasn't changed? My resolve to keep writing!

I would like to thank many people.

Nidhi Bagur (SSNAB) for being the blogger and friend who first introduced me to the world of Blogging and helped me create my blog (it was then known as Dreams Arena). She's among the ones who unfortunately stopped blogging herself.

Pranay Sethi who helped me with my very first blog banner. Pranay's blog has been long-dormant as well.

Ninitha Koya who was among the first to help me build the Bloggeratti bloggers' community way back in 2008, during the Orkut days. She was not around when I recreated Bloggeratti on FB. She seems to have quit blogging around 2013.

Pooja Kale for being the first blogger to collaborate with me for a contest. She last updated her blog in 2012.

The Nothingman / Pallav for being a master of the Weird / Twisted Short Stories genre of writing, and being a great influence. Thankfully, he not only blogs, but has also authored 2 books.

Alisha Das for influencing me with her versatility - short stories, poetry (English and Hindi), random musings, et al. I knew her since she was a teenager, and what a talented teenager she was! She sang like a dream as well. Sadly (for me), she got into film-making and seems to have stopped writing in 2015.

Red Handed for being a great influence in the Humour genre. I kid you not, not many people have ever gotten to know her true identity. Unfortunately, she seems to have vanished around 2016. Boy, how I miss her writing!

Purba Ray for being another big influence in the humour genre. I had the privilege of meeting her at an IndiBlogger event in 2015, where she was one of the Key Speakers; and she called me out by my name during her session. That definitely was an honourable and humbling experience for me, and I thank her immensely. Her blog is going strong and is one of the most popular blogs in India.

Kriti Sharma for being a long-time and long-distance friend and continuing to encourage me. I got a chance to meet her on one of my visits to Delhi in 2016. She got married early this month, and I wish her a happy married life. Kriti, by the way, last updated her blog in 2013, and deserves a rap on her knuckles for neglecting her blog ;)

Rohini Dutta helped me cope with my pre-MBA jitters and on the personal front, way back in 2008. She would take great pains to mail me soft copies of Management books and reference material...I must admit I only downloaded them and didn't bother reading. We would spend hours chatting and doodling crappy stuff on Yahoo Messenger's IMVironment (that was such a wonderful feature). She was like this overprotective elder sister, who wanted her kid brother to succeed by all means. Sadly though, we lost touch after she got a job and I started my MBA course, sometime around 2009. Although she is now married and settled in Mumbai, we have never met. She stopped blogging in 2010.

Last, but not the least, my wife Cheryl, for allowing me to sit on my big hairy ass for hours on end and to shirk domestic chores to come up with write-ups, sometimes not worth the effort. She is my gentlest critic, and thinks I am the best writer in the whole wide world. What more can a writer ask for?

Of course there are many more bloggers I have met along the way, and who are responsible for what I am today (not just as a blogger). However, it is impossible to name them all. I would, therefore, simply wish them all the very best. You guys know who you are.

Here's looking forward to the coming 10 years. Also hoping that I start influencing people for a change.

Cheers,
CRD

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Y - YOUR STARE


You Stare Vacantly Into The Distance
Hiding Memories Sprawled
Wide Across The Vast Expanse Of Your Thoughts
Concealing Promises Scrawled
Deep Into The Abyss Of Your Soul

You Stare Vacantly Into The Distance
As Your Mind Ignites
Doubts, Dilemmas, Apprehensions And Qualms
But Sullenly Fights
Slays And Buries Them In Recesses Dark And Obscure

You Stare Vacantly Into The Distance
As Your Lips Quiver
Trying Hard Not To Betray Secret Pacts Made With Your Heart
And Your Eyes Moisten
Fighting Back A Barrage Of Emotions, A Wave Of Anxiety, And An Ocean.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Heartfelt gratitude to Jyotsna 'Moonlight' Gandhi for allowing me to use her image with this poem. Jyotsna is a Faridabad-based poet and author. She has written a motivational book titled 'You Step One He Steps Thousands'. Jyotsna has graduated with a degree in Philosophy and a Masters Degree in Sociology. She is also involved in social service and is the mother of a 7-year old boy. Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/moonjyolight/

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)
S - Standing In The Midst Of Clouds (Short Story)
T - Tiptoe (Poem)
U - Unguarded (Poem / Sentimental / Philosophical)
V - Voila Gypsy Girl (Poem)
W - What If.. (Musings / Poem / Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
X - X-treme Encounter (Short Story / Weird Story)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

X - X-TREME ENCOUNTER


It had been a long journey, and the Assassin was X-hausted. He parked his ATV (all-terrain vehicle) close to the entrance of the watch-tower and stood next to it, taking time off to stare into the X-pansive horizon of the desert. After having soaked up the barren sights, he hauled up the bag of X-plosives and slung it over his shoulder. Although the weight of the bag was overwhelming, not once did he grimace; perhaps because he had never been very X-pressive. As he walked up the staircase of the watch-tower, he reminisced about the events and X-periences that had shaped up the journey thus far.

Today was going to be day all the X-periments of the past were going to reach their final logical conclusion. Indeed, today was going to the day when he would finally justify his very X-istence.

The Assassin continued his walk up the decrepit staircase; it made unnerving noises and a part of him was X-pecting something to give way anytime. The Chief had told him that there was a bigger cache of weapons which needed to be X-humed from a spot on the floor atop the watch-tower. The weapons had probably been left there by loyalists of the X-iled Master.

After he had traversed the last step on the narrow staircase, he stepped out into a fairly X-pansive courtyard. Strangely though, there was already someone up there, and as their eyes met, it became clear that neither of them were X-cited to see the other.

The Assassin slowly dropped his bag on the floor, and took X-tremely measured steps towards the unwelcome guest. He hadn't had a one-on-one duel in months now - he licked his lips in anticipation of a bright opportunity to X-ercise his demons. The trespasser, in turn, bared his X-traordinarily sharp fangs at the Assassin, bracing himself for a long and hard-drawn battle.

This was just about to become an X-cruciating fight to the finish.

P.S. - Did you know monkeys could be very dangerous, especially when frightened?



Hope you weren't put off by my excessive use of X's.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

There are two images in today's post - The first one has been clicked by Yours Truly at the Karnala Fort in Panvel, Maharashtra. The other image is that of a Bonnet Macaque, clicked at the Chitradurga Fort in the state of Karnataka, India. A big thank you to 27-year old Tayyab Hassan from Bangalore, India for allowing me to use his click. Tayyab has a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication. He also holds a Dilpoma in Creative Writing. He has previously worked as a multimedia journalist with various Bangalore-based newspapers, and is currently working as a Cinematographer/Photographer with a Bangalore-based production house. He loves wildlife photography. Tayyab's Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/tayyabhassanphotography


Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)
S - Standing In The Midst Of Clouds (Short Story)
T - Tiptoe (Poem)
U - Unguarded (Poem / Sentimental / Philosophical)
V - Voila Gypsy Girl (Poem)
W - What If.. (Musings / Poem / Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)

Saturday, 6 May 2017

W - WHAT IF...


What If Our Eyes Could See Through And Lay Bare Every Soul They Came Across?
Would We Then Ever Be Able To Trust Each Other Again?

What If There Existed At Least One Word To Express Every Single Emotion That Ever Existed?
Would We Then Begin To Understand Each Other Better?

What If Every Single One Of Us Looked Alike, Talked Alike And Thought Alike?
Would That Then Help Us Love Each Other Like We Love Ourselves?

What If We All Were Handed The Scripts To Our Lives As Soon As We Began Our Journeys?
Would That Help Us Make Life Better For Ourselves, And For People Around Us?

What If We Could Get Everything We Ever Wanted Simply Through Our Thoughts?
Would That Make Our Lives Happier And More Satisfying?

What If There Were No Religions, No Rules, No Laws, And No Restrictions?
Would 'Survival Of The Fittest' Be Fair And Just To The Weak And The Meek?

What If Everything Was Provided For; What If Everything Was Perfect?
Would Such A Flawless Life, Without Its Aspirations, Hopes And Struggles Be Worth Living?


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's image of the Titled Buddha in the lawns of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (previously known as the Prince of Wales Musuem) is courtesy Juhi Kachhap. Juhi is originally from the city of Ranchi, the capital of the State of Jharkhand, India. She is a Marketing professional, currently based in Mumbai. She loves exploring places and learning about their people, their culture, history and heritage. Her areas of interest include photography, running, doodling, music, art, architecture, travelling and history. She sums up her love for photography by saying that photography helps preserve memories for a lifetime - whether good or bad. Juhi's Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/twist_ed_myind

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)
S - Standing In The Midst Of Clouds (Short Story)
T - Tiptoe (Poem)
U - Unguarded (Poem / Sentimental / Philosophical)
V - Voila Gypsy Girl (Poem)

Thursday, 4 May 2017

V - VOILA GYPSY GIRL


Charmed
Bedazzled
Enchanted By You
Smitten
Besotted
Enamoured With You

Oh Gypsy Girl, Your Smoky Eyes Have Bewitched Me!

Beguiled
Hypnotised
Enraptured By You
Spellbound
Gripped
Befuddled By You

Sweet Gypsy Girl, Your Luscious Lips Have Entranced Me!

Swayed
Persuaded
Defeated By You
Fleeced
Swindled
Defrauded By You

Cruel Gypsy Girl, Your Flattery Has Stupefied Me!

Should've Known Better...


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

A big thank you to the stunningly pretty Subna Islam for allowing me to use her image for tonight's post. Twenty year old Subna lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She's a Computer Science and Engineering student. She is also a fashion blogger, with a great following on Instagram. She loves singing, and she she describes herself as someone who loves to do as her heart pleases. Way to go girl! Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/cadberry_subna

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)
S - Standing In The Midst Of Clouds (Short Story)
T - Tiptoe (Poem)
U - Unguarded (Poem / Sentimental / Philosophical)

Monday, 1 May 2017

U - UNGUARDED


When You're Broken And Desolate - Both Outside And Within

When Both 'Loyal' Friends And 'Faithful' Foes Have Decided To Move On

When Memories From The Glorious Past Are Labelled As 'Folklore'
And 'Incredible Figments Of Dope-Induced Imagination'

When Wood, Steel, Hinges And Bolts Are All Taken Apart
And Even The Varnish Has Been Scraped Out From The Skeletal Facade

When Urine And Spittle Are The Only Tribute You Are Now Afforded

When You Are Conspicuous Only Because Of The Stench Of Rotting Remnants Of What Used To Be

When You Are Reduced To Naught And Now Have Nothing More To Lose...

...Perhaps It Is Worthwhile To Let Your Guard Down.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's superb image is courtesy Talha Hashmi from Lahore, Pakistan. Talha has earned an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) certification, and is an Oracle Functional Consultant by profession. He considers photography to be his passion and loves using his talent to spread positive vibes about Pakistan's rich culture, traditions and values. During the course of our small collaboration, he expressed his love and respect for India, which he considers his 'second home'. It is heartwarming to witness such love and camaraderie amid a scenario where our respective political leaders are only busy adding salt (and acid) to wounds on the other side. Talha is an amazing photographer, you should see his work. His Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/super_talha

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)
S - Standing In The Midst Of Clouds (Short Story)
T - Tiptoe (Poem)

Sunday, 30 April 2017

T - TIPTOE


She Tiptoed Into My Life...

Like A Billow Of Fresh Air
Like An Answer To A Prayer
Like Music In A Lair

She Tiptoed Into My Heart...

Like A Gemstone That Is Rare
Like A Square That Fits A Square
Like A Clandestine Affair

She Tiptoed Into My Soul...

Like A Promise In Despair
Like A Mystery Laid Bare
She Was Simply Everywhere...

...And Then She Tiptoed Out.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's post took a long time coming. I had this idea for a long time, and finally I managed to put it into words. A big thank you to Swati Nain for making an effort to understand the context of my poem before clicking the picture. Swati lives in the city of Sonipat in Haryana, India. She has a degree in History and is keenly interested in Indian colonial history and the European Renaissance. Swati also loves reading and multidisciplinary learning. A poet and blogger herself, she describes herself as someone who is both caged and free, and who is broken and building herself with the same scars that tore her apart. She maintains two distinct blogs. You can find her blog posts on www.justthoughtsnotpoetry.blogspot.in and www.mystictotheroot.blogspot.in. Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/swatinain

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)
S - Standing In The Midst Of Clouds (Short Story) 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

S - STANDING IN THE MIDST OF CLOUDS

Midnight was long gone; 'it was probably 02:00 a.m. now' Subodh thought to himself, too tired to bother using his flashlight to illuminate his wristwatch. Besides, he had to make sure the batteries were fully charged for the rest of the journey. As expected, this had been a cold winter night; not the kind ordinary citizens would encounter in the comfort of their homes. The location and terrain was very different here, somewhere high up the Western Ghats in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Up here, winters usually mean layers of thermal wear, monkey-caps and gloves to beat the bone-chilling winds blowing across the landscape, and very often, even these don't yield satisfactory results.

But the cold was the last thing on Subodh's mind. After all, a long-cherished dream was about to come true in a few hours from now. And he had everything he needed to make this dream happen - his camera, and his knack of getting the perfect shot.

Subodh had heard about Harishchandragad many many years ago, probably when he was still a college going teenager. He hadn't given it much thought then. But then, one day, about five years ago, his friend Tej had shown him a photograph that had suddenly given him a new-found passion...nay...an obsession. It was the photograph of a grassy cliff, engulfed in what looked like a mile-wide carpet of white and fluffy clouds. "Taramati Peak", Tej had said excitedly, "Isn't it amazing? It's the third highest peak in Maharashtra. I was there last week". Subodh remembered he had gone completely mute for almost a minute then, lost in amazement.

And ever since then, Subodh had wanted to be there and capture the surreal scene for eternity...on his camera. In the past five years, he had gone on various trips across the 'countless' forts dotting the state of Maharashtra. With every successive trek, he had built up both his climbing skills as well as his collection of amazing clicks. He become so good that his friends and family swore by he had made plans a number of times to make this trip, but somehow, work and the pressures of daily life always played spoilsport.

Today, however, nothing was going to stop him.

It had been a tiring 5 hour climb for Subodh and his friends Mandar and Reuben to get to Konkan Kada. Konkan Kada itself had been a marvel to watch and experience for the group -  the overhang cliff is concave and almost looks like the hood of a cobra. You could also imagine a slab of icecream that has been scooped at the longer edge with a round spoon - that's how the cliff would look like from a distance. The sights from the cliff were both enthralling and scary at the same time. After soaking in the visuals and daring to go closer to the edge of the cliff to get pictures of the topography below, the group moved a little ahead to set up camp for the night. This was necessary so that they would be able to get to the Taramati peak at the right time - just before sun rise. So they had pitched their tents at a decent spot around 7 pm, and decided to wake up around 4 a.m. to resume the final 1.5 hour trek towards the summit. As planned, Mandar and Reuben were making best use of the time to rest their weary bodies and wake up refreshed for the final lap.

Subodh, however, found himself unable to sleep. 'Perhaps that's what accomplishments that are just around the corner do to us', he thought to himself.

At 3:45 am, he woke his friends up. It was finally time to begin the final phase of their trip.

Here's a thing about the Taramati peak though. If you check out the distance between Konkan Kada and Taramati Peak on Google Maps, you will see that it is a 2.6 kilometre stretch that would take around 45 minutes to traverse. The images will also tell you that the terrain is tricky and requires you to walk through rocky and inclined terrain, and also through thick forest cover. What the map will not tell you is that since the place is more than 4,600 feet above sea level, there is thick fog and cloud cover, and therefore it is very easy to get diverted from the path. Also, certain stretches of the path comprise nothing but a 10-foot wide rock-laden paths, with only the wind and free falls to offer cover on either side.


Walking in such tough terrain would be a great challenge, especially in the wee hours. Nevertheless, Subodh and his friends were aware of the risks and had done a lot of research about the route. Confident and armed with their flashlights, and assured that they had the luxury of 2 hours to sun rise, set out slowly and steadily on their sojourn.

The first half of the journey was pretty simple, thanks to tracks (and trash) left behind by trekkers over the years. The latter half, however, was extremely difficult. One a couple of occasions, the sight of the seemingly endless forest cover made them think they were on the wrong path. Fortunately, however, they encountered another group of hikers who guided them. They decided to be wise and hang around the senior-looking group.

As luck would have it, about an hour and many tricky climbs later, they reached the final rocky patch before the peak. The challenge at this juncture was that the patch was steeply inclined - 50 or 60 degrees, they couldn't tell. The patch had a few crevices and grooves that could serve as footholds, Subodh and his friends had read that this stretch was only 600 metres long, but would take at least 45 minutes to traverse. Although the strong winds made the weather beautiful, they also made the climb even more difficult. True to their expectations, the trio took about 55 minutes to complete this final stretch. The sun had by now just begun to rise in the cloud-filled sky.

And when the patch was traversed, the trio stood on the expansive plateau that formed part of the peak. The sun was now high enough to illuminate the entire landscape. It was time.

Mandar had almost immediately forgotten that he was in a group and had gone into selfie mode. Subodh took his back-pack off of his back and yanked out his Sony A7M2 DSLR camera. Then he turned towards Reuben and handed the camera to him. Both of them exchanged a knowing nod and Subodh dashed off towards the farthest point of the cliff, while Reuben stood his ground.

A blanket of clouds floated along the hemline of the cliff, looking like waves of snow lashing against a shoreline. Although the sun was now shining bright, the cloud cover made it impossible to see the valleys below the cliff.

Subodh looked down at the clouds with tears in his eyes. This was a dream come true.

He didn't even need to ask Reuben to click. Reuben took just one shot.

And it was PERFECT.



Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's image is almost surreal. It is the pic of the Taramati peak, which is the third highest point in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It happens to be one of the two peaks in the area surrounding the Harshchandragad fort in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, at around 4,695 feet above sea level. The sheer beauty of the place offers a great trekking experience for amateurs and experts alike. A big thank you to Subodh Panchal for the amazing pics. Subodh is a professional photographer based in Mumbai. He and a friend of his came together to start a photography studio named 'Life on Pics'. You can have a look at their amazing work on www.lifeonpics.com. Subodh's Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/subodh_panchal

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)
R - Ramparts (Poem)

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

R - RAMPARTS


Stone By Stone...Rock By Rock
Boulder By Humongous Boulder
The Fortress Was Built On Hills Up High
To Challenge The Audacity Of Every Invader

Under The Watchful Eye
Of Clear And Open, Desolate Skies
The Fort, Flanked By Strong And Gusty Winds
Takes Invaders And Their Horses By Surprise

O'er Time Many Raiders Tried in Vain
To Tear Down And Ruin Its Ramparts
But They Knew Not That The Strength Of These Rocky Walls
Really Lay In The Valour Of Brave-hearts...


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's image is that of the Visapur Fort in the Pune district of Maharashtra, India. The fort was built by circa 1713 - 1720, by the first Peshwa of the Maratha empire, Balaji Vishwanath. I thank Gaurang Kelkar immensely for allowing me to use this image. Mumbai-based Gaurang is a twenty-something Software Developer by vocation, and a biker, trekker, nature-lover and photographer by passion. Every now and then, he hops onto his bike (with friends) and embarks on adventures to scale some fort among the many that are scattered across Maharashtra, His Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/imgaurangkelkar

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)

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