Sep 20, 2010

Snack it up!

Long meetings/Working sessions/Workshops/Day long brainstorming- All essentially meant the same. The 'Participants' would take turns to rattle out all the management jargons they have picked, along with their synonyms as well as those verbose phrases which usually have better one word equivalents that would serve the purpose. And of course, the workshop hall would have swanky furnishings, the projectors,digital boards, flip charts to write down the synonyms/phrases that can be reused, the speaker phones to accommodate the 'synonym generators' who could not make it to the session 'in person'.  

However, the part that I like the most (may be i don't have a choice!) are the tea breaks and lunch breaks along with those 'munch as u speak' snacks!

For one,it supplies all the energy in the world to sustain through the day long whatever.Oh well, do we need a reason to love food?! Sure I don't! Despite this, I am always caught up in two minds when the snacks are placed right in front of me. Obviously I get distracted by those plates of biscuits and chips. However, the actual dilemma is - Should I be the one to open it and set the ball errr..biscuits rolling? 

Usually, I have this feeling of 'all eyes in the room on you' when I reach out to open the pack. Perhaps its the fear of failure! What if the pack wouldn't open? What if the biscuits would break into pieces on its way from the plate to my mouth?! Even worse, what if I spill the glass of water which is dangerously close to both my neighbours and the biscuits?!!  And I end up waiting for the rest of the world to take a chance!

It was all the other way on that day! For starters, the day long workshop made a lot of sense! and I had to miss the lunch that was organized, blame it on the strategically set up meeting during the lunch break....Phew....Utlization management it seems!

Empty stomach didn't help me a bit to keep myself focussed on the discussions which unusually made sense that day! Was it coz I was hungry or was it one of those days!? I didn't have a clue. All I knew was I wanted food. Right away!  As I made up my mind to quit the session halfway through and head straight to the food court, the pantry guy made an entry with plates of stuff! I was relieved only to be reminded of the self imposed 'No first strike' policy. As expected, the pantry guy placed one foil wrapped plate full of 'good day' biscuits right in front of me. I waited for him to exit the room.

Now, should I wait for some one to open, the chances of which seemed very bleak as everyone seemed focussed on what was being talked about. I started getting restless! I looked around all the faces. No one damn cared about those biscuit plates! Sure the lunch would have been fantastic and filling!

I had to make a choice! Either I storm out of the room and head to the food court,that being my original plan Or shed all inhibitions and tear apart the wrap around the biscuit plates and salvage my hunger. And that I did! and in the process realized that I did it pretty smoothly with minimal disturbance to the rest of the world! The first biscuit got rid of my hunger as well as my fears of being the first one to open the snacks plate. I carried on the confidence, munched a couple of more biscuits and yeah I didn't notice if I was being noticed by others! I went to on to offer a couple of biscuits to my neighbours as well! 

Adversities brings the best in you,I was told. Sure it did That day!

Sep 12, 2010

Simply Complex!

I am not a 'taller than six and a half foot' giant that I should complain about people/things around me being short/small. However, a six footer does face most of those,especially if there is a 'discrepancy'  in the torso to limbs ratio.

Sleeper berths in Indian railways are ideal for those who fit into the boundaries of the berth. Once you cross one of those, more often than not, you are in for action!

It can be anything from those unknown Co-passengers on the walkway, touching your feet with their heads to weird 'S' shapes on the berth while sleeping. My friend describes the 'S' shape dilemma here. Given an option, I always prefer upper berth where a protruding feet is not a problem for the walkway passengers. Indian railways don't give an option every time you travel, do they?!!

My amma and I were traveling back to madras in train after a good 4 day vacation at friend's and this time I had to deal with the 'Side Upper' berth which actually gives an isolated feel and hence minimal disturbance to other passengers in the bay. However, they are a bit shorter than the other berths (or i feel that way!). I try negating the length by choosing a diagonal position which works most of the time(Refer Pic 1!). 

                                    Picture 1: Top View of the Sleeper berth (And that is me!)

My amma though had other plans. She chose to make my problems a bit more complex by giving me two hand baggage to be kept besides me as they had 'valuable' contents. Keeping them under the seats would be risky! Apparently!

So now, My problem statement was simple. Sleep on a berth that would not fit me in and also safeguard the 'valuable' contents! I was trying to stay awake by sitting on the berth, leaning on one of the baggage and holding the other on the inner side of the berth like in Picture 2

Picture 2: Side view of the Berth (Chose the side view so that the baggage positions can be clearly shown. Again, Thats me!)

Obviously,I knew that was not the way I can sleep a whole night.I was just delaying my sleep as I could not come up with any solution,so to say!

An 'S' shape facing outwards would create two slots on the inner side where the two bags can be placed. This is how it looked

Picture 3: Back to top View of the berth to show the 'S' shape. Though I have shown the bags to fit into the slot, they actually didn't! 

However, the baggages wouldn't fit into those slots (Damn! will enything ever fit In!!??) More than that, IT WAS painful to be in that position for more than 30 mins! 

Whatever it was, One thing was pretty clear that I was not going to get a comfortable sleep that night.So I had to settle down for a less painful option. One that will ensure the safety of those bags and accommodate me on the berth...well almost accommodate me! And the solution looked something like this

Picture 4: Side view of the berth. I was in that position for 5 Hours with my eyes closed and trying to sleep! 

The inclination on the bag helped in reducing the body length to be accommodated in the berth by a few inches. Owing to a poor torso to limbs proportion, it wasn't a major reduction! So I had to take the diagonal position as well! This position was not comforting, but less painful. One which I could take for 5 hours and not more than that! 

And It was 6 in the morning. I stepped down from my berth and found my mom awake. She asked 2 questions

"Good morning! Did u sleep well last night? And are the bags safe??"  

She wished me Good morning! So I chose not to talk the details of it, just smiled and  said "Yes"!!