The Middle Seat

PROMPT: It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?


Its hard to remember what I usually do. But, I am an introvert and living 23 years on this planet with this deficiency or quality, whatever anyone wants to call it. It does not mean I am scared of strangers. Neither, I am a closed person.

The situation arises a lot of times. Its strange and interesting at the same time as to how I have acted differently at different times but across the same kind of situation. At times, I just look away from the person as if I am not hearing him. At other times, I try to relate to his words and respond to him in a soft manner slowly. However, I don’t remember a time when I made a stranger my best friend. People can call me a closed person in that respect. 

To be honest, I am not someone so much qualified that I initiate a conversation and carry it well for the coming 15-30 minutes. I can make up small talks. I realise this as a deficiency and would welcome help or advice from anyone who has something with them to share in this regard.

Views of some other people in this matter:


Seat Guru

Daily prompt:

You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?

First of all, its hard to decide who all would be there for the dinner. Not only the evening should be fun but also worth a lifetime memory. My first guest would then be Deepika Padukone as I admire her a lot and she is my favourite actress in the film industry. 

I would then invite my favourite singer Kailash Kher. I have always wanted to meet him in reality. I want to know if his voice is so good in reality or is it just those machines working behind his face.I would also like to invite him for singing a song.

Third, would be Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He is former prime minister of India and notably one of my favourite poets. Speaking of poets, I would want to invite Ramdhari Singh Dinkar as well as he is another favourite poet of mine. I would want them to sit together so that they are better able to get the best poem of their wisdom on the meal.

I think that would be enough. Or may be not!! I would also like to invite Anu Malik, a musician not much liked by well versed singers. I would like him to sit next to Kailash Kher and let him prove or disprove his talent to Kailash Sir. That would be funny though!!

 Last but not the least, I would invite Lara Datta, Miss Universe of some late nineties. I would seat both the ladies on both sides of me and let the other great personalities have dinner and argue and discuss about their genres on the table.

I think that would be the most memorable evening, don’t know about the fun stuff tohugh!!

What if- No Fear?

One of the feelings that freezes me in sleep is fear. However, its foolish to claim that anything but sleep freezes me in my sleep. But there are dreams, where situations arise that brings to us fear and also the sense of captivity. Whenever I have such dreams, I pray to god the next morning not to give me such dreams anymore.

But, fear is something that comes out of dreams in real world as well. In every day life fear hops here and there. What if I fail in the exam tomorrow? What if my girlfriend dumps me? What if I that body builder trashes me in a corner? I can assure my readers if I go with such what ifs I would surely go on infinitely. 

But here what I am to discuss in this post is a different what if. What if I have no fear? So, does it mean that the poem of William Shakespeare about fear is really to come true? Now, that is a weird thing to happen. 

It means no more hiding from that creepy girl trying to hit on me. It means no more stammering on stages. It means performance amplified. It means better marks in exam papers. It means no more running away from that BIG boy. It means no more fear of death as idealised by Shakespeare. It means fearlessly going to that beautiful girl and asking her out. It means playing in rains without the fear of getting ill. It means living life as it comes. Oh wow! what a world would that be!! Thanks daily prompt for giving me this feeling.

As I fantasized this fearless world over and over again, I thought may be all this is in mind. May be, I can overcome fear all over. My mom called me from the other room and ideally I used to go to her right then. I didn’t respond to her in my new fearless world. She came and hit me with her broom. Here crashes my fantasy island!!

Click here to see the earlier version of what if.

Body Language for Interviews

The non-verbal communication during an interview is almost as important as what you say. Panellists also look at what your body tells them and will notice if your tone doesn’t match the expression on your face. Here’s what to watch out for:

  1. MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT: Eye contact is crucial and should be as natural as possible. If you don’t look at the interviewer in the eye, it implies that you are a shy person, who is unsure of himself. On the other hand, staring at a person without a break can be intimidating. Hold eye contact for about 10 seconds before looking at other members of the panel. Make random eye contact with others before returning to the person who asks the question.

  2. MIND YOUR HEAD: Keeping your head straight shows you are neutral to what is being said. Tilting it slightly to one side indicates a positive attitude as you are telling the interviewer that you are ready to listen. However, don’t face the panel with your head pointing downwards. It signals a negative and judgemental attitude. Also, don’t nod too much-it denotes nervousness and a desperate attempt to agree.
  3. CONTROL YOUR ARMS AND HANDS: Never cross your arms. It is a sign of a closed mind, implying that you disagree with the interviewer. Keep your hands in your lap or on your knees, but don’t grip them tightly, which indicates you are tense. If you lie, your body can give you away. Covering your mouth with the thumb pressed against the cheek, is a sure sign of lying. Rubbing lightly below the nose or eyes, touching your ears or scratching your neck are also indication that the person is lying.

  4. SIT STRAIGHT, FEET ON GROUND: Do not take a seat until you are offered one. Sit in a way that you occupy as much space in the chair as possible. Leaning back indicates boredom or arrogance. However, leaning forward can be a sign of aggression, even nervousness. Experts advise that you should sit straight, but not in a stiff posture. Keep both feet on the ground and do not cross your legs, since you could be seen as being unsure of yourself.

Laugh Medicine

The last time I laughed was on seeing a video. Some friend of mine had forwarded it to me through watsapp. I don’t know if the video has some copyrights so I am not gonna share it.

It was a baby video that made me laugh. He was may be, 6-12 months old. Someone from behind the camera brought a cut lemon to him and let him taste it. The child tasted it. And then started the show. He was making all kinds of funny faces he could have made, from curving his lips to shrinking his eyes and then laughing as if he had drunk too much. A little later, he started shaking his face sidewards very fast till the end of the video.

I think the video lasted less than a minute but it made me laugh my heart out. Its kind of funny, that there are some shows specifically meant to make you laugh, run for almost an hour but they fail in doing so. And then, comes this 1 minute video which compensates everything.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt.

Generous Genie

Being a genie is not something I ever wanted to be. Not that I don’t want to fulfill other people’s wishes but I definitely don’t want to be confined in a bottle or something. But, I believe myself to be a genie for a while. After all, it is all hypothetical.

I have to give three wishes to someone. May be someone who is in need. Or may be someone, whom I love. But, how would genie love someone. They live so long. I have never seen a female genie or heard about her. If they don’t have their female counterparts, then they don’t have sons, unless of course, there is some sort of artificial methods involved. So, they can’t love their sons as even they don’t exist. Since, they don’t have sons, they don’t have their mother. With no mother, there is not even a father. They don’t have any sort of relation whom they can love.

Then, there has to be someone who is in need and also one who deserves it. However, it is not very encouraging to think of being a genie. I would rather be someone who meets a genie. Asking him with loads of worldly gifts and another set of three such wishes every time I used my third wish. 

But, given the circumstances, I have nothing to become but a genie. So, there has got to be someone whom I would grant these wishes. First, I think of someone who is very much needful, like, may be a beggar. Or, may be a student who cannot afford to pay for his studies. Or, may be a woman who has lost her love and is in a great pain. I might bring her lost love back. 

But then, I would fulfill the wishes of only one such person and its difficult to choose and pick one. I choose to fulfill the wishes of someone who himself chooses to fulfill the wishes of others all his life and also enable him to transfer that power to another person, when time is deemed to be fit for that. Of course, fulfilling wishes like bring someone’s lost love is something not possible, perhaps. But, it is quite possible to fulfill worldly needs and desires.

I think that would be the person, whom I would choose to grant wishes.

Birthday Party!!!

I am not much of a party lover. Neither I throw parties nor I attend them. I may have to throw a party or attend one sometime or the other, but I try my best to avoid them.

The last time I threw a party on my birthday was when I turned 6. Now, I am 23.No claps, please 😛 . There were so many children here and there shouting and howling so much that I pleaded mom on my next birthday not to throw such parties. This is no genuine reason for my introversion I do realize this, but hey, I don’t make good excuses. I just make excuses and throw them here and there randomly.

I think birthdays are more of a discreet celebrations. A time when you want only your very dear ones to be with you. A time when you want to recompose yourself, take account of what you have been in the past, compare them with your expectations and take note of how you will be going forward with your life.

But anyways, birthdays are birthdays. A mark that you have grown a bit more experienced from the past year. It is an accomplishment. So, it is worth celebration. It is worth partying. People may want to booze all night and there is nothing wrong in it. Its good to let loose oneself for once a while. 

However, birthdays are also a time to thank god for the life, good or not that good, he has showered on us. We can always find people in conditions worse than us. I think that is also a way of partying. 

Let’s see what are other’s version of celebrating their birthdays:

When you see dirt under someone’s fingernails …

Sisfur Zoe’s Birthday and a Gift for You!

Daily Prompt: It’s Your Party – I do not do parties.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt.

Intrument I Chose

I never played an instrument. But I see people playing them. Some of them sound good. Some don’t. Some are really monotonous. Some won’t leave your ears and heart for a very long time. I can’t say I never wanted to play an instrument but I never got time to learn one. Being a mathematics student doesn’t help with time management for such extra curricula. 

But, I have tried my hands on a few of them. The first one was Tabla. I was 9 when I first started learning tabla and I was 9 when I stopped learning tabla. Tabla is percussion instrument with 2 components: tabla and duggi. Tabla looks lean and thin and duggi looks like his fat brother. They sound terrific when played by a professional. Ustad Zakir Hussain is a living maestro who plays tabla. I won’t go into details why I stopped learning tabla.

The second instrument was a harmonium. My sister used to play harmonium. So, my dad brought one in home for her practice. I tried my hands on it for quite some time. A harmonium is a keyboard instrument like an organ and all you do is striking the keys with one hand and pumping air in the instrument with the other hand. When played properly, I provides a very good base for a song.

Recently, I tried my hands on guitar. In my university hostel, I had friends who played guitar very well. So, one of them, Ralte, who played the best among all tried teaching me. I learnt to strike chords for a couple of songs and then forgot. May be, I was not that good with the instruments.

But there is one instrument whose sound is very pleasing to me. That is flute. My classmate played that.  He performed on stages and also for us in our leisure time between lectures. A flute is a wind instrument and I guess, the most difficult to play. But the sounds that come from it, is worth everything. 

Wrong Turns

The last time I got lost was with friends in the alleys of Varanasi or was it not? Actually, I am not sure about when was the last time that I took a wrong turn. But then, lets share this story of Varanasi.

The year was 2013 and the date I don’t remember. However, the day was celebrated as Dev Deepawali. It was an evening in the month of November and it seems the whole Varanasi had stood up and came to the ghats. Do take a look at the picture just to get a clue how crowded the place could be.

Assi ghat in Varanasi in dev peepawaliYou can see the priests performing aarti and the crowd that surrounds them. This crowd continues for more than 2 kilometers along the banks of river Ganga.

Varanasi is famous for its narrow, curvy alleys. A person is bound to get lost in these alleys. “Banaras ki galiyon me aap ko khona hi padega”, people say.

So, with a group of 5 friends, I went to see the aarti at the Dashashwamedh ghat. We started at around 6 in the evening just to see the unavailability of local transport due to the huge crowd that blocked the roads. We had no option but to walk 5 kilometeres to the ghat from our hostel.

Everyone in my group cursed everyone as we felt the heat of the unavailability of a single public transport vehicle. But anyways, we moved ahead. After walking 4 kilometers there was a police official at the four-way just before the ghats to stop us from entering further. With the tiredness hovering over us we felt disappointed that wee would not be able to see the celebration. But, my friends were great!

One of them guided us to one of the narrow alleys some  distance before the four-way. He said he knew the way. So, we went into the dark alley. It looked horrible, just like a scene in some horror story. Monkeys were there fighting among themselves and falling near us making faces that would make anyone scared.

But we went ahead as my friend guided us. Then, in the middle of the nowhere, that wise friend accepted his defeat and declared that we were lost.

Now, being lost has a very peculiar characteristic. You don’t panic until you actually know that you are lost and you can’t help yourself but panic as soon as you realize you are lost.

Surely, now was the panic time. We beat him for sometime and then everyone cursed everyone again. However, we decided to move forward till the end of the alley just to make sure if it got us somewhere. We moved further into that dark alley with people giving us strange looks.

One of the monkeys then fell over me and was almost ready to bite me when he saw a person carrying some fruits in his transparent bag. He stole it and jumped back to the terrace of the hoses that surrounded the dark alley from both sides. Seems god had just spared my life.

However, the narrow alley did not lead us down. It got us to somewhere. It got us to the ghats. A big stage was constructed with bamboo sticks on the river and the audience was made to sit on the stairs of the ghats. Kailash Kher was the main star performer there and the ultimate reward for our courage and risk that night. Yes, that evening had turned into night by then.

Of course, that wrong turn in the alley of Varanasi was stressful, in fact, a lot stressful. But, it was enjoyable with a lifetime experience with monkeys, dark alleys and what not. And above all, that wrong turn in Varanasi was quite rewarding too.

IT and Pharma: Top Sectors to Invest


With global growth reviving, the prospects of the Indian IT sector remain robust. Both US and European corporates are increasing their IT spends, which they had reduced in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Currently US companies are sitting on record profits. They are also more confident about future demand and want to tap IT for efficiency and productivity gains to benefit from an improving economic outlook.

Technology shifts offer another opportunity area to Indian IT companies. Organisations are spending a considerable portion of their IT spends on making their IT infrastructure more mobile, more cloud-based and more geared towards exploiting big-data.

In Europe, where the outsourcing trend is now catching on, Indian IT companies have begun to gain market share. Faced with the imperative to cut costs, European governments and companies are willing to outsource. They are replacing high-cost vendors with more cost-effective ones.

The major threat to the sector comes from the US Immigration Bill which calls for the substitution of Indian workers with Americans. If passed in its current form, the Bill will translate into higher labour costs for Indian IT. Valuations of most IT stocks are high compared to historical levels. Besides large-caps, even mid- and small-caps have run up. Watch out for valuation risk.