Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bygone Words

Here's a nice article on words that are no longer used, words that were in vogue before, but now forgotten...


Do read it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm Changing

I know I'm changing.

Earlier, things affected me in a different way. Now too they affect me. But my reactions are different.

Earlier, I used to get very, very angry. Now too, I do get angry. But I do not explode as much as I did before.

Earlier, I used to feel each and every small thing was wrong. Now too I feel that. But I have stopped worrying too much about it.

Earlier, I used to be sad about people's wrong behaviour towards me. Now, I know people behave wrongly towards me. But I have stopped caring. I just say...whatever, shrug my shoulders and move on. Now I say, whatever you want, you can do. I don't care. I know what I am doing is right.

Earlier, it was difficult for me to keep quiet when people behaved wrongly, took disadvantage of me, spoke wrong things about me, never cared for me. Now I know people do all those things. But now I have stopped caring. I ignore them. I just don't say out all things. I keep quiet to avoid controversies.

It's been difficult. Damn difficult. I still get those bouts of extreme anger, unhappiness, frustration, loneliness. But I have started learning to handle it.

I guess, I am really growing up.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Things Won't Change

How much ever I try, how much ever I myself change, things won't change.

People won't change. They'll expect the same things over and over from me. They'll expect that I do whatever they feel is correct. Yet, they won't see my point of view. Moreover, in spite of me doing things that are supposed to be done, I am blamed for not doing them. Forgive the ambiguity, but I cannot be clearer than this in this post.

When it's time to work, time for efforts, I am remembered. But when it is time for fun, for exchanging information, I am conveniently forgotten. I am accused of not interacting well with others. I am accused of not consulting others when taking decisions! Ohh thank you very much! It's as if I do not have an existence of my own and that I should be asking permissions forever about each and every small thing. Am I a kid?

I am never consulted when things are decided directly! Then why now? Ohhh...of course! I don't do my duty towards them. When you expect me to do something, do you realise that I do not get the opportunity to do that? I won't be able to do anything if people don't want me to. What's the point in blaming me then?

Self-centered, hypocrites all are. Double-standard folks. They'll behave in one way when it's convenient, and another way when that's convenient. Then of course, blame me for every thing wrong in the world.

It's so easy to just dishonour me before everyone. Really good for their image. It helps to show how good they are, and how useless and inconsiderate I am.

I am really tired of exerting myself to make things better. Things will never be better because others will never take the efforts, nor will they appreciate my efforts.

What's the solution to this? Nothing that I have found. Just keep on saying Fine! Life is absolutely fine!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Typing An Ode

Here's a wonderful article that I read about typewriters: Typewriter lives on in India.

As I read it, I was transported back to my days, not too long ago, when I was learning typing. I was just out of school and my mom wanted me to learn typing. Even then it was considered one of the things that girls ought to know. I had readily signed up for the typing class, not because it was a girl's thing. But because it was something exciting, something new, something that connected me to the outside "office" world.

For so long, typewriters, typewriting, and the typewritten word have been associated with the "official" world. A world that included so many memos, proposals, calculation sheets, orders, accounts, receipts, and bills. It also included legal notices, affidavits, lawyers, laws, and bureaucratic work. It was a representation of governmental procedures, and rules and regulations.

I remember going to the class early morning to start hammering away on the typewriter. It was only then did I realise the importance of the little finger on my left hand that's used to type the "A." And it pained so much! I started with the middle line on the keyboard. A, S, D, E, F, G had to be typed with the left hand using the little finger, ring finger, middle finger, index finger, and index finger again respectively. And then, ',  ;, L, K, J, H had to be typed with the right hand using the little finger, ring finger, middle finger, index finger, and index finger again respectively. It was so damn hard.

Once I had fairly grasped typing the much-harder-than-computer keys, I proceeded to learn the upper and lower lines. Till then all my fingers had gained the power and strength to type all those keys. As I continued individual letters, I was waiting to move on to the next level of typing words, then sentences, paragraphs, followed by those letters, memos, notices, and what not.

I progressed on to type smaller 3-letter, 4-letter words. In between, there were those dreaded how-many-words-can-you-do-per-minute exams. I never fared well in those exams. Perhaps it was the teacher. She looked so sinister, and so old-worldly. So much like those typewriters whose prime time was gone. Or I think it was the machine, it was so old, it took time to print the word on the paper after I had typed it.

Whatever it was, once I had grasped the complete keyboard, I didn't take too many efforts to attend the class regularly. I ended up using my typing knowledge to type less harder keys: the computer keys.

Today we talk about the QWERTY keyboard for mobile phones. But we must remember that it was the typewriter that gave us that keyboard and made life easier for us.

In its own time, the typewriter had its glory. It was a status symbol to have a typewriter. A status symbol to let your neighbours hear you hammering it on those keys, and showing off the immense important work that you were doing. And rightly so. It was one of those machines that made life easier, creating multiple copies of your writing using a carbon paper, providing a standard of fonts, types, and stationery that made your work look so very "official."

Typerwriters have had their claim to fame in Bollywood movies too. Movies of the 1960s and 1970s showed the film heroines as typists for a multi-millionaire, whose spoilt sons would ultimately win the heroines. Or it would be an office romance, where the girl is a typist and the boy working on some post in the office.

One such movie of office romance is Choti Si Baat. It is a wonderful light, heart-warming comedy. The opening credentials are actually shown as being typewritten. The story talks about large financial firms in Mumbai in which the girl and boy work. And as the narrator talks, we can hear the background of hundreds of typists typing away gaily on their machines.

But not all the times were typewriters used for love (letters). There were incidences when typewriters were used to obscure the identity of the perpetrators of crimes. Notes of abductions, ransom, murders, unnamed posts, all were typed rather than hand-written. Of course, people from the investigative departments also were specialised to recognise the make of the typewriter, and find out the individual characteristics of each typewriter. The method of obscuring the identity is in fact now easier. You just need to create a fake e-mail address and send out terror e-mails out to the world. Power in the wrong hammering hands!

Typewriters are now replaced with computers. Life moves on. But in between, things do remind us of our glorious past, making us nostalgic, happy, and content.

Salaam to the typerwriters!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Letting Go Is Difficult

Of many things that I find difficult, letting go contends for the top three positions. For me, it has always been hard to forget and even harder to forgive. I have always been proud of taking care of others' feelings, not hurting them. I always think, how would I feel if I behave in a certain (incorrect) way with others. That guides me to not do something that might be hurtful for the other.

I haven't always been successful in this. But whenever I have gone wrong, I have been quick to accept my mistakes and learn from them. Learn, not to repeat them. And accept my mistakes before the person against whom I committed it. That's probably when a catharsis occurs. Helps me purge myself of the guilt. Helps me become a better person.

But when such mistakes, such callous behaviour occurs from the other side towards me, I cannot vouch for my scorpionic anger. It flares up and starts lashing out in whatever way possible, be it through speech or action. When I am hurt because of no fault of mine, I cannot comprehend the fact that I need to be balanced in my reaction. It's more because most of the times, I wouldn't have done such a thing myself. I would have taken care to behave appropriately in that situation.

I don't have double standards of behaviour. I hardly ever behave in one way with a person and in another with a person of the same level. But when I get such an imbalanced treatment, when I am considered a mere midget even when I have taken all efforts, I get doubly angry.

I hardly forget such episodes and they get etched in my memory. I perhaps give them air by revisiting them and chaffing them.

That's where I am changing. I have slowly started ignoring such things. I have started letting go of the feeling of misuse, abuse, or whatever you call it, the feeling of being left out, the feeling of no importance. It has been hard, very hard indeed. It has required tremendous self-restrain and patience. But I am learning it surely.

It's helped me overcome some of the anger in me. It has helped me calm down. It has helped me realise the futility of it all. And most important of all, it has helped me regain my righteousness. Others may behave in whatever way they want. I won't stoop to that low. But yes, don't expect me to come back to you and be friends with you.

I won't forget, I won't forgive. But I won't let such things disturb me too.

Lessons from Life!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Information Mapping

This is the new mantra in my workplace. We all are currently moving towards creating documentation that is not only easy to understand, up-to-date, and useful, but also that is info-mapped.

What is Information Mapping?

Information Mapping is a research-based approach for creating structured documents that are clear, concise, and user-specific.

Complex information is broken down into information blocks. These blocks put forth a single idea or point, making it easy to understand.

Each block is an information chunk that is labeled. Labeling and chunking are the two main aspects of information mapping.

Who Started it All?

It was a technique developed by Robert E. Horn.

Information Types

In this method, Robert Horn uses six information types: Procedure, Process, Principle, Concept, Fact, and Structure. These types are used to segregate your content to make it easier for users to use, reuse, and understand the content.

How Have We Implemented it?

We are overhauling our existing documents to adhere to the Information Mapping principles.

Following are the tasks we are doing to implement Information Mapping:

  • Remove information that is no longer required or redundant.
  • Remove information from one chunk and place it into another chunk making it more relevant and useful.
  • Give labels to each chunk.
    Labels help in understanding the crux of the chunk. Labels allow for a quick glance through the document to understand the main points.
  • Segregate information into the different information types.
    So, conceptual information is documented as Concepts. Actual procedures that list steps to perform tasks are documented as Procedures.

How Has it Helped Me?

Information Mapping has given me a new perspective to writing. It has given me an opening and understanding to write concisely. As I write new features, new procedures, create new graphics, I have started thinking from the user's perspective. I try to understand how the user would like to know about the new feature. What labels should be given to the chunks to make them useful for the end users. I am taking efforts to sort out information into the different info types so that while reading, one single point is dealt with in a chunk of information. It has helped me ask the how, why, what questions that are essential to creating information that is relevant, complete, accurate, and to-the-point.

I am glad that we have started using Information Mapping for documentation. I know I can improve my writing using this technique.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Know...

That's what I learnt from The Everywhereist.

And that's what I want to say to all those things that bother me at times, to those people that irritate me, but who still love me the way I am, seeing the good in me, helping me, loving me, being with me, supporting me, and most importantly, overlooking my flaws.

Those things and those people might have their flaws. I know. But I still love them! Thanks Almighty for each of them!


Has This Happened To You...

...that at a wedding lunch, you looked up from your food and saw a man sitting opposite you drop food on his shirt, and the man realises it and looks up to see if anyone noticed it only to look at you watching him, making him feel totally embarrassed?

...that you are in a meeting room waiting for someone, and you withdraw the curtain of the glass window to look at what the man sitting just outside the room is doing, only to look straight in his eyes as he too looks up at you at the same time?

...that you mistakenly spoke an incorrect word during a conversation, hoping that no one would have heard it, and hear someone silently telling you in your ear that they heard what you actually said?

...that you are riding on you are pillion riding a bike and see another biker's cap go flying away, and just as you start laughing at the funny episode, you feel your cap too blown away by the wind?

...that when you are out in your best clothes, or hurrying to an important appointment, that's when birds from above are at their most giving attitude and target you for their charity?