Sunday, February 04, 2018

Food – Important Source of Energy


What are the sources of energy for our body ?
1.     Food
2.     Sleep
3.     Breath
4.     Happy / Meditative State of mind – How many of us meditate ?
How long can we survive without food ? Without water ? Without sleep ? Without breathing ?
Research shows that we can survive without food for 3 weeks, without water for 4 days and without sleep for 1 week, without breath for 7 mins.

Food is a very important source of energy. We eat food everyday, that too multiple times in a day. Which means its impact on our body and energy is very high. Special care needs to be taken to ensure that we get maximum energy from the food we eat. As said in Ayurveda, When Diet is Wrong, Medicine is of no use. When Diet is Right, Medicine is of no need. Food plays an important role in our lives and poor health can spoil all the efforts we have taken in achieving our dreams.

Food can be eaten Raw or in cooked format. For preparation of food for consumption, we follow a simple process of cleaning, cooking and then eating.
To get rid of pesticides n dirt, the food should be soaked for an hour before cooking. Water is a natural cleanser and cleans the aura of the food as well, similar to we taking bath every morning. This will also help us eat the food with the cover.

Once the food is cleaned, we go ahead and cook it. We can cook food by – various methods.
When food is deep fried complex substances called aldehydes are formed which increase risk of cancer and other diseases.
Loss of nutrients happen while Baking at very high temperatures or while pressure cooking.
Sautéing can retain essential nutrients of food similar to solar or steam cooking.

The vessel in which we cook our food should be made of material which supports or builds our body. Utensils of Aluminium, Anodized, Non Stick, material are harmful for use. During the cooking process, when the spatula rubs against the surface of these metals, minute particles rub off and enter the body with food causing ailments in the vital organs of our body. Cooking n storing in Plastic containers leech harmful chemicals into food which can lead to adverse health effects like hormones related diseases in men and women and increase the risk of cancer.

Cooking in Iron, Steel, Stone and Clay are some of the best ways to avoid the harmful effects of particle infiltration and leeching. The food can be eaten in Glass, Steel or wooden ware.

Food has life energy of its own. Any cooked food remains fresh for 3-4 hours after cooking and should be eaten within that time. If we do not get energy from food, we don’t feel full or satisfied even after eating. Re-Heating foods in microwaves destroys all energy from food and should be avoided at all cost. The temperature of the food should be at room temperature while eating.

To get the maximum nutrition and benefits from our food, before we eat, we need to embrace a sense of gratitude. We pray for the happiness of the people who grow our food, those who bring our food to us and those who cook and serve it. This ensures that we always eat food that is full of life energy thus giving us the maximum benefit from consuming it.
Please close your eyes before food and say- Anna Data Sukhi Bhava. Anna Data Sukhi Bhava. Anna Data Sukhi Bhava. Then have a blissful food experience !

A Helping Hand

I had heard from my domestic help about her neighbour, who was facing extreme issues at home. She had told me how her few months old child kept crying all day and how there were loud noises of fights coming from the neighbourhood at night. I used to wonder.
One evening, my domestic help was unwell and I was visiting her to take her to the doctor. I heard the child crying next door. The incessant crying was painful to the ears. I asked my maid as to what was the reason for this. She told me that this girl’s husband used to drink alcohol and beat her up. This guy never gave money for the household expenses and the mother and child, used to go hungry most of the times. I went to see this girl, a very timid looking girl, still recovering from the duel that had happened sometime back. She told me that she was not getting any household work to do because she had a small child with her.
I Saw Suffering.
I Saw a woman being ill treated.
I wanted to do something …
I wanted to call the police !
I was thinking why doesn’t someone do something about it ?
How can a simple person contribute to the society in the most nimble way. The thought didn’t seem to go away from my mind. My friend and I had been making few gifting items at home during Diwali. Items like Diyas and Torans, which we used for gifting to friends and family. The numbers were really small and were primarily executed as a hobby in spare times. The situation brought the idea of making more and selling, to generate revenue, eventually evolving into a micro enterprise. We spoke to the girl, offering her work to learn how to make these items and then we shall market them with all our might.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
– Chinese Proverb
She Agreed. With her three-month-old child, she initially started coming over to learn for an hour. Her child used to be fed and put to sleep and she could peacefully do her work. Slowly she became more comfortable and the time span started increasing. Once we taught her how to make something, she also had the option to take the raw material home and work at home. This brought in a lot of flexibility. She was dedicated and gave her 100% to work. Thus by Creating opportunities in an agile way, bringing in flexibility in the way of functioning, transformation of one household was happening. Earning to fend for her child gave her the lost self-respect, and she was much more confident to go out into the world.
We put up a stall in our area and she was behind the stall, seeing the impact of her efforts. Apart from the salary that she had received for her efforts, a portion of the profit was shared with her. The happiness on her face, was priceless. With the earnings she received, she fend for her family with self respect. She bought a sari for herself. Happiness to her and Satisfaction for me.
Bringing in flexibility in the way of functioning has brought smiles to those around us. Being sensitive and sensible has helped bring good to the society.
This is how Asar Initiative Started ! Giving is easy, but doing so with Sensitivity and Care is an art!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Making Women Agile - helps them achieve what they want to

A Talk at - Agile Tour Hyderabad - 2016


Women are Strong, Smart, technically competent, emotionally valiant Yet, women face several challenges at work. Most of us have lead a team with women members. We can easily recollect the typical challenges we face when we have women on the team. We have observed constrained timings, unexpected absence from work, coming late, leaving early etc. etc. Yet, equally observed the sensitivity, sincerity and commitment that they bring to work.

The typical challenges women face at work would include Work life balance, Harassment (Sexual, Security, Restroom gossip), Career Opportunities (Power play, ego clashes,), Maternity (Children and career), Lack of role models, Men Vs. Women (Gender Bias) to name a few. It is only logical to deduce who gets impacted and the impact. Organizational productivity decreases which results in unequal less diverse workforce, ultimately having an effect on the culture and work quality of the organization.

The effect of the challenges that come along as a part of having women on our teams can be judged by questioning ourselves, Do WE want to have women on our team?

What if we give some flexibility like - Flexible working hours, Work from home, allow them to take leaves, No Politics, Maintain self-esteem etc. Then will the benefits of having women on our team outgrow these challenges that we face is up to us to evaluate.
We need to think as to what can we do to address these challenges and how can we bring about a change?
Sharing a story from work, where in I experienced some of these challenges / issues and tried addressing them. We had a requirement for a resource at one of my recent assignments. A resource who could follow instructions religiously. There was an extreme resource crunch and limitation of right type of people. There were several sales guys on the team and I divided the task into regions and put the existing guys on it to do the work. These guys were not doing this job sincerely and meticulously. It was hampering business growth.

Margaret Thatcher once said,
If you want something said, ask a man;
If you want something done, ask a woman.

We all know how good we women are in following the procedures. So, I thought of hiring a woman to do the job at hand. I was searching for a relatively literate person, not very high skilled but adept in use of computers. Agencies were not able to provide a person to that description. Through a reference, I came across a woman, in need of work. We met and she came across as just right for the assignment. She had that fire, need and willingness to work.
She was approved in the interview and was expected to give confirmation on the date of joining. In spite of everything falling in place, I didnt hear from her.
So, then how did I get her IN ? When I probed further, I was told that her husband wasnt in favour of her working out of home in an office and she wanted to be home when her son comes back from school in the afternoon. A challenge worth addressing.

I understood her challenges. Bringing in Agility and flexibility in my system, I broke down the work that I wanted her to do, such that she finishes the work before leaving for the day. I renegotiated her salary in accordance to the timings that she was working. The plan was structured in such a way that the evenings pending work shall be completed early in the morning and before leaving, the reports till the time shall be submitted.

Then the Journey of her becoming an asset to the organization started. She was keen to work. I just facilitated and provided means suitable for the same. Having been obliged she was extremely enthusiastic and responsive towards work. Things started falling in place. No customer was left out and business was functioning in a more organized way. I started adding more responsibilities to her work. In order to upgrade her, I had to work very closely with her, pulling her up, step by step. She put in efforts and upgraded herself through the year, performing well, she became an indispensable asset for the organization. She seamlessly performed the responsibilities that the other more skilled members of the team were reluctant to take up.

Bringing in Agility to the system, I empowered an individual. I made a person happy. Brought smiles to a family, by making the most important member of the family smile.  Was all the effort was worth it? UNDOUBTEDLY!

My Assignment was coming to an end and when I broke the news of moving out from the assignment, she broke down. She said that it was only because of the efforts taken to make her comfortable with work, and work environment, that she was able to sustain herself!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Building Credibility


Trustworthiness, reliability, dependability, integrity, reputation - are not just BIG words. They encapsulate the whole world in them.

It is important for us as entrepreneurs to understand the importance of personal and professional credibility built at workplace. Apart from the fact that our external customers should trust us, it is very important for our internal customers to believe in us.

Let me share an interesting story about one of my bosses. I was the state head and was reporting to the zonal head in the new company. After a long stint at Amul, I had taken up the challenge of joining a cosmetics company. For me, it was a dream come true. I had an exciting day, meeting important stakeholders. I got a call at about 6.55 pm, and on the other side, was she. She asked how my first day has been so far and gave me an assignment to prepare an urgent report on distributors points for a Company sponsored Dubai trip. My first day, I barely knew about the company’s distributors, members in the team, leave alone the points accumulated by them. There was no software which would give me that kind of details at the click of a button. She asked me to sit for an extra half hour, with the team and furnish the report before I left the office. I was flabbergasted.
Sitting in my glass cabin at 8.30 pm, I was still pulling my hair out, as to what needs to be done to complete this report. I very meticulously prepared the report in a detailed fashion, finally managed to send it around 9.30 pm. I was proud of myself!

Over the period of next week, I realized that, the report wasn’t that critical and was not shared with the seniors until the beginning of the third week. I was dumb struck.
Similar request came to me in the next week as well, which took the whole team to stay around 3 extra hours in the office. That report also met a similar fate.

This reminded me of the way the boy in the shepherd and wolf story kept on shouting wolf! wolf! Without the wolf being there, and the villagers realized that he’s lying …

In the coming times, I realized that it’s the habit of the boss to pressurize for things. Not only that, she pressurized me to make people slog after work hours unnecessarily, due to which there was growing discontentment in the team. So, from then on, whenever she asked for something to be done urgently, I would prepare a rough estimated report and send to her, so that she is satisfied and eventually improvise the report in the coming times.

 Modern relevance of the shepherd and wolf story is that people have stopped honoring and respecting the request from seniors by not putting their best foot forward. How many of us are able to relate to this ?

The outcome of this was that at one instance – there was a genuine urgency for a report – but the team took it casually and didn’t put the best of their efforts. This backfired and she had to take the beating from her bosses.
So I am able to relate more to Ramu’s situation when:

Ramu could not keep the wolf off the sheep all by himself. The wolf killed many of Ramu’s sheep. Ramu went back to his home weeping.

While I was excited about this job, along with handling the atrocities of my manager, I decided to strengthen the distribution system. My prime focus was to set an example of hard work and perseverance so that the team could follow it. I walked my talk and went to the market with my distributors to sell with them. In the process I built a very good rapport of trust with them. This helped in providing consistent services to the end customers hence improving the business drastically.

The way, In the story of the turtle and hare, the perseverance of the turtle paid off, similarly, in the external world, building credibility is a sustained activity. After all Slow and steady wins the race!!

To sum it up, we need to ensure that our internal team trusts us, believes in us and so do our customers. It is only then, that long lasting enterprises are built.