Category Archives: Uncategorized

Shifted blog from WordPress

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Hi All!

Thanks a ton for following my blog and sharing some wonderful comments on each post! 🙂

I’ve shifted my blogging platform from WordPress to Medium, where I write short stories often. If you would like to get continued updates about my posts, please follow me there.

The link is: https://medium.com/@Madhumita

Thanks!

Past, forward

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In the past few years, there have been several occasions when I’ve visited children’s’ homes (as a patron), and spent a few hours with children of varied age groups. Almost everywhere, there was a certain experience I was habituated to. One, the children yearn for attention. So, when we visited them, though we were absolute strangers, all it took them was a few minutes of observation to warm up to us. And two, at most times, they showed unconditional affection, interest, and curiosity. Often, they’d ask a multitude of questions; where are you from? Have you finished school? (They’d be awestruck when you say you’ve finished school AND college, almost as though you’ve shown a ray of hope to them). What work do you do? Are you going to join as a teacher here? And then, the conversations would drift towards their interests; their favourite actors, colours, their best friends, their favourite subject and what not. As the hours pass by in peals of laughter and amusement, and the time comes to bid goodbye, all of them would have just one question to ask; will you come back next week? And, when we see the eagerness and innocence with which they ask, to not disappoint them and on the spur of the moment, we’d blurt, ‘Yes, I will come and visit you next week too!’ only to never turn back, at least, for an extended period of time.

Yes, at times I’d feel guilty for not keeping up my word, and I’d wonder if the children really did look forward to seeing us next week. But amidst the daily routine, that thought would remain a passing cloud, until one day, when it turned into something more.  

A couple of months ago, I’d joined an NGO to teach for small children during weekends. When I signed up, I was looking forward to finishing my intermediary training and visiting the school.

And, that day did come. As I walked into school on the first day, tall and short, young and old, skinny and healthy, outgoing and shy children ran to me at different times, introducing themselves and asking me for my name. And, just as I did earlier, (as a patron) I struck chirpy conversations with them, and spent the next two hours organising learning activities for them, with my co-volunteers.  Then, as I was packing my bag and leaving for the day, a girl I’d met earlier came and asked me, ‘Will you remember me the next time you come?’

Of course I will, I said unflinchingly.

‘Do you remember my name?’ she asked.

I fumbled and tried to remember from the many names I’d heard that day, just to realise that she was already crestfallen.

‘Can you tell me once more? I promise I will remember this time,’ I said.

‘Kiruba,’ she said bluntly. Then, I tried to make up to her by telling her how she shared her name with a popular blogger, eventually, bringing that smile back on her face.

Reeling off to the present

Though it was a small incident, that first experience set sail to a series of learnings. Today, it’s been well over a month since I’ve started teaching at the school and during every visit, I learn something new; about how to teach better, how to hold a child’s interest in the subject, about where to draw the line in upholding a relationship with them, and so on.

But, amidst all this, there’s one lesson that remains entrenched in my mind; for a child, an expectation (that you set) is not a mere gesture, but is a promise that you’ll live up to it. 

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurs are not born. They are made.

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6.43 P.M, Wednesday, July 17, 2013 (IST)

It was rush hour at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport.  Almost all the seats at the lounge and at the Café Coffee Day outlet were occupied, at least, that’s what it seemed like, as 20-something Tara glanced around for a few minutes. She wasn’t disappointed though, because the day’s events kept her in high spirits and standing for a few minutes for her boarding call didn’t seem like such an ordeal. A promotion with a sizeable bonus, an alluring red Burberry handbag gifted by her parents and of course, a sense of achievement, all of which she was planning to carry along, to her much awaited trip to Thailand.

Two hours later                       

“Do you have any information?” asked Tara frantically, as Airport Authority spoke to a security personnel at the other end of the receiver. She had lost her handbag. Stolen? Maybe.

How often do we come across circumstances where we have lost our wallet, mobile or credit cards during travel, even if it was just travelling a few kilometres? What do we typically do when we are faced with such a circumstance? Call the bank and block the card? Report at a nearby police station about the theft? How about just making one phone call for significant damage control?

That’s right. Just one call, to OneAssist, a company that provides cash assistance and data security in the event of loss or theft of mobile or wallet, when in any part of the world. The company immediately blocks all your bank cards, provides a cash buffer for paying hotel bills, booking travel tickets or buying a new phone, erases data on your mobile and install backup data on new phone (provided you backup your data in their systems), organises for copies of vital documents such as Pan card and Passport et all. Of course, the servicescape depends on which membership plan you register for.

On another note, PickMe eSolutions, a company founded by three young entrepreneurs, offers a doorstep concierge service for servicing gadgets such as mobiles, laptops and watches. When I say doorstep, I literally mean, they knock on your door, pick up your gadget, deliver it at the service centre, share the complaint number with you, and allow you to track the service status online, and have the gadget dropped back home once it is serviced. All this, for an annual membership fee of less than Rs. 200.

What’s peculiar about these business ideas is that they have emerged out of smallest of gaps between two existing services or a product and service that we use every day. And that is the beauty of entrepreneurship. It is born out of simple needs (or should I say wants?).

Let’s take the story of how Ben & Jerry’s came into being. Turns out, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were the slowest and fattest kids in class. Later in life, when Ben failed to crack a med school seat and Jerry’s pottery business went downhill, they decided to turn entrepreneurs, and do what they love most. To start an ice cream joint, given their love for food. Following several hiccups with respect to choice of location, sale fluctuations during winter and size of scoops in their ice cream (yes you read that right!), today, the company (which is a part of the refreshment arm of Unilever) contributes to an overall revenue of $ 9.75 billion. You can read more about their whacky story here.

Meanwhile I would also recommend you to go through this interesting article, which talks about how famous entrepreneurs got started.

After reading all these stories, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a social media evangelist recently and the business idea that emerged out of it. He said, no matter how much we market our products or services, none of us have figured out yet if that hoarding on the busy highway led to a sale, did the witty TV advertisement do the magic or did the one-to-one interaction with customers on Twitter ring the cash register. And that’s precisely what he is working towards; taking companies closer to the sales funnel through social and online media activities and analytics tools. As for me, I’m thinking of writing my next post about how far marketers have gone, to identify where the sale came from. Maybe, as I research for my post, I’ll even ponder further about my business idea.

You Should Fall For Someone Who Doesn’t Love You

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Thought Catalog

It occurred to me the other day that there might be people in this world who have never known unrequited love, have never fallen for someone who didn’t fall too.

I know it’s rarer than a solar eclipse, but it seems likely that some have managed it; people who married their high school sweetheart, who got it right on the first try, who were seemingly born with enough innate confidence to walk right up to the object of their affection and say, “I think you’re great, would you like to go on a date sometime” and whose confidence was rewarded with a resolute, “Absolutely, I’d love to” and a Happily Ever After. The rest of us would be inclined to murder a couple like this if we ever came across them, but I maintain that they are the ones who are missing out. Everyone should fall for someone who doesn’t…

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