Look like your work

•September 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

There is a compulsive obsessive disorder amongst all of us; that we expect work or a business to turn a person into something else, rather than the other way around. So three years ago, I shifted roles and started work on the premium skin-care products in Asia, specifically on a brand called SK-II, which boasts of Cate Blanchett as it’s ambassador. Now, in SK-II, being a prestige business et. al., people in general have very different views about it v/s something like Laundry, or Hair care and other businesses. Like some of my friends now expect me to look different because SK-II connotes something different to them. So when I was interning in L’Oreal back in the b-school days, they said after the internship I would come back to b-school with blond-coloured hair, large-frame sunglasses and a ramp-model-clothes-wearing wearing dude. Nothing of that sort, happened to me.Dude!

And today, someone told me, so now, with this premium skin-care business coming your way,shall we expect to see you changing your wardrobe? I find it funny. No one told me if I was going to use a lot more Vicks (or fall sick with a cold more) when I started working on it a couple of years ago. When I interned at Kellogg, the cornflakes company, no one expected me to start eating cornflakes. But now I keep hearing, oh so now we shall see you with a beautiful skin eh? A while ago I changed industries; and now I am in hospitality marketing. I am expected to be in a suit.tumblr_m7re5jiAL61rpst8co1_400

dealextreme – great gadgets, price and service. Just don’t write honest reviews.

•August 2, 2014 • 1 Comment

Online shopping, it is like paradise for those who want to shop but don’t want to tire themselves out by walking across malls. While I actually loath shopping for clothes and shoes etc., I do enjoy shopping for electronics products. So it was a couple of years ago that I came across this website; a company called DealExtreme, based out of Hong Kong. DealExtreme is a reseller (much like amazon.com or flipkart.com) who ships items for free. Sounds too good to be true? And you know what they say about this saying. But they do ship for free, yes! And the variety of products is pretty good too. So what if they’re all manufactured in China; aren’t most of the things we use anyway? So I decided to try it and I have placed six orders, the latest one being last night, usually for small electronics products.
dealextreme logo

The thing that prompted me to write this blog post is – I usually read reviews of the product I wanted to buy. They are written by verified purchasers of the product, so I feel I can trust them. I wrote some reviews myself too. Back then, I got a notification – your review will be published once it has been approved by dealextreme. Now, I didn’t give it a second thought then, but today I felt like reviewing another product I bought and looked into all the reviews I had written. I noticed that a few of my reviews were marked ‘unapproved’ and hence not published. See this photograph for the two reviews of mine that weren’t approved.dx.com my reviews

Do you notice a pattern by looking at the titles of these reviews? Reviews that aren’t flattering of the products, or talk about any defect are conveniently ‘not approved’. Granted I have only two such reviews, not a very good base size to make a proper conclusion – but I can sense a pattern here. Does this mean, dealextreme.com doesn’t want any bad reviews of products on its website? How many such reviews are not published because they are ‘not approved’, thereby misleading consumers of the true efficacy of its products? While a business, on its own website, may have the discretion to put up only favourable reviews, I felt I should write this blog post and inform its consumers of this. I am sure regular buyers have come to know about this already; and are more cautious when buying from dealextreme.com again. Buyer (or dx.com) beware!

Hiatus

•June 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Four years, that’s what it took to me to finally type out my next post. Procrastination, or simply lack of anything to write? Definitely the former.
My doctor told me I will never gain weight (I am underweight, just) unless I stop thinking at the pace I do, which is responsible for my high metabolism. (Actually, I’m not really that lucky to not be able to put on weight. This has its own problems.)

So then, a handful of people did like what I wrote in my previous posts. So I intend to continue, but also because it is good to write about things; and I intend to do a lot in the coming years worth writing about. Mountaineering did go on the backseat, but not any more. I always have tinkered with electronics and wanted to create something, which I now will. I will wipe the dust off my bucket list and accomplish the things I have wanted to – a new turn of life. So here goes …

Why we don’t do what we want to do

•December 5, 2010 • 9 Comments

Each one of us has something we like doing the most. Something that engrosses us, we lose track of time, other things seem mundane. It can be gardening, cooking, reading a nice book. But I am not talking about activities that can be done sitting on a couch, like watching movies or the book reading. That can be done in free time. How about those outdoor activities that require one to devote time and effort? In my case, that ‘something’ is mountaineering. Yes, another post on it, but these days I am hardly thinking of anything else.

As an activity, mountaineering or plain exploring the countryside takes time, weeks and even months at a time. With the majority of our time spent inside air-conditioned offices on reclining chairs, jutting in and out of countless meetings and glued to the computer screen, trying to crunch numbers to make tons of money. Now before you think I am degrading the office-job, nope – I am doing one and I know how necessary it is. But how many of us really enjoy doing it? Given a choice (i.e. money needs taken care of), would you be doing something else? I rest my case on this.

So the need to earn money prevents us from doing the thing we love the most? Earning the social standing, living up to parents’ expectations are also a few secondary things here. I’m torn between this strife too. Very few of us really do what we love and earn money out of it too. And hats off to those who found a way to achieve both. Yes, we need to pay the bills, of course. But at the cost of happiness in our lives? I’ll boldly say, not.

Image of thinking guy

it is discomforting at the least and horrifying at the worst to even comprehend leaving the cushy corporate job and the comforts that come with it to go out and do that something we love. For one, we are used to the life of comfort, the safety, the consistent, unchanging life it offers. Secondly, the very prospect of leaving it all leaves us with the question, “And then what?” Yes, it is a tough question to answer. I’d love to climb mountains all my life, but then I know I won’t likely earn as much money as I do right now. No more iPods, no more fancy motorcycles, no moreflat screen TVs, no more fancy apartments; most importantly – the steady stream of money that flows in my bank account every month will suddenly die out.  There must be a way, or is this a compromise only to be accepted and lived with?

Finally, the question is – what does it take to leave this comfort-zone and do the unthinkable? A resolve stronger than steel? A rebellious attitude? A hermit-like dispassion for all things material? Or just the irresistible urge to not do anything you don’t like? I’m on the verge of answering this question for myself; what do you think is the answer for you?

Why do I climb mountains?

•October 27, 2010 • 3 Comments

The question has been asked to almost every mountaineer and one of them has given a reply most people consider befitting. The legend George Mallory said, “Because it’s there”. That may have been true in 1924 when Mallory disappeared on Mt Everest. Personally, I think the major reason behind climbing for many current mountaineers can be summed up in one word – glory.

Trekkers on Mt Everest base camp

[Trekkers and the scene that greets them on the way to Mt Everest base camp]

If you ask me this question; that is one of the answers I will give. Yes, I belong to the Facebook generation and it feels nice when you climb and post photographs which are acclaimed by many. People have said that it is, in fact, good photography and nothing to do with mountain climbing specifically; which brings me to my next answer – the high you get out of doing stuff most people don’t (or won’t). That also explains the bungy jumping I did.

Unlike many mountaineers, I don’t feel like I belong in the mountains nor do I feel at home there. I feel it’s a desolate place, which is very tiresome to reach and exposes me to extreme cold. I hate getting cold, the aircon in my office leaves me chattering and I literally get cold feet at night without the blanket. The weeks spent without shower and shaving, the itchy head and smelly feet make me loath myself. The heavy backpack wreaks havoc to your body at high altitude and subzero temperatures. The mental anguish exacerbated by high-altitude headache is the not the last straw. The anxiety given to my family who pray I return safely constantly haunts me as I take every step uphill. So why?

I don’t have a fixed answer. It changes depending on whom I am talking to and whether I am sober or not. Wanting to be different only gets one so far; and there are many ways other than climbing to do this.

I also want to push myself just beyond my limits. And not just physical limits. If you notice, the most prominent mountaineers of our times are not images of Hercules or Adonis. Mentally, though, they are very strong. Most of them have excellent leadership skills and all the other management stuff we learn in college. Above all, they have a strong urge to perform and a will to survive. What is life if not this? I think that is what it is; climbing a peak is like an entire life condensed in a few weeks. And I want to live many lives before I die.