63 Anything Under the Sun: November 2007 Anything Under the Sun: November 2007 Archive

Anything Under the Sun

Sunday, November 25, 2007

First Impresssions

The other day, while waiting for my doctors appointment, I read a magazine for Teens. Though I'm no longer a teen, (But I'm always young at heart), my eldest son is 13 and his younger sister is 11. I thought I should prepare myself to the inevitable changes that will occur as my kids go through the teenage phrase.

I came accross an article on Making a Great First Impression. What's great about this article is that the advice is relevant to everyone not necessarily limited to teenagers. The article from 'Seventeen' mentions 10 points. the other points that I list below are my own. Do you have any other suggestions or tips about making great first immpressions. Do feel free to add to comments so that I can add a link to your site.

1. Be Early - Arrive 10 minutes ahead of time for job interviews. It will show the boss you take this oppotunity seriously. (Do plan ahead and give yourself extra time for unexpected traffic jams etc, especially if the destination is new to you.)

2. Record clearly - Have a simple outgoing voice-mail message. You don't know when a college rep or employer will call! (Avoid having heavy music or rap music for your mobile phone on hold or message as these types of music would be appriciated by your friends but not necessarily by others.)

3. Shake hands - Firmly grasp hands, make eye contact, and smile. This will tell new people you're confident and friendly.

4. Think before you order - On a first date a pricey meal looks greedy; a measly one makes him feel cheap. Go midprice instead. (I feel that this is a great suggestion!)

5. Press "Silent" - When your're with new people and you don't take a million calls, they'll know they are your priority. ( Do remember to turn to silent when you're at the theatre or Lecture hall or other public places where the shrill of your phone will cause others inconvinence)

6. Be self - sufficient - Keep pens, tissues, and cash on hand. Borrowing from people you barely know makes you look irresponsible.

7. Mingle - Walk around at parties. If you stick to one group, it will seem like you don't want to meet new people.

8. Stay Upbeat - Talk about fun stuff, like movies or friends, when you first meet someone. It shows you're fun to be with.

9. Give compliments - Comment on people's clothes or jewelry, but never ask how much they paid for them - that's intrusive.

10. Do dishes - After eating at a new friend's house, offer to clean up - her family will know that you're appreciative.

11. Dress appropriately - Dress smartly by knowing what to where for the occasion. For eg. Don't turn up with T-shirt and shorts when it is a formal party.

12 Be informed - learn about the other person's or organization's culture. When you take the time and effort to learn about others it will be greatly appriciated.( There's also less chance of making a mess or slip up in front of your new friend.)

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posted by Bubbles at 7:05 PM 1 comments

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fashionable Fridays - Henna Designs

I believe that temporary tattoos could have come about after someone saw how Indian women wore henna designs on their hands and legs. {Just my view, not necessarily the truth:)}

Having henna designs applied onto ones palm and hands is getting more and more fashionable. When I got married,(about 14 years back) intricate henna designs were not available, the person to draw those designs were not readily available nor was it fashionable or even well known at that time. All that I had on my palms were a large red circle in the centre with lots of red polka dots to fill up.(I'll try to dig up my wedding Photos and upload later if possible)

Nowadays, you need not be a blushing bride, just be willing to spend about $5 per palm for striking designs to be applied onto your palm or hand.

Initially, my Chinese friends and colleagues were put off to see some kind of "weird" painting on my hands. But over time, Henna drawings has become a Fashion Statement just like temporary tattoos.

For those who want to give a try at drawing on palm (that is, if you have a ready guinea pig, as trying to apply on your own hand is a difficult task for newbies), they could buy a cone of henna and buy a book on henna design (or check out some of the design on the pictures above). It is recommended that you make photocopies of the design that you would like to draw, make some practice round by drawing onto the photocopied designs before trying it on your guinea pig.

Henna doesn't even have to be all red or orange, now they have come up with some kind of enhancement to make them shiny gold, silver etc.

For those who do not want to go through the hassle of learning how to draw intricate designs, or cough up $5 per palm, there is another solution. Temporary tattoos - rather Shinny Temporary Henna Designs which can be very easily applied. This is the ideal solution if you want to dress up your hands for your Indian friends Wedding or during Deepavalli visits etc., where you can easily wash them off after the occasion (unlike real henna designs, which may take about 1-2 weeks to completely disappear)

I hope you have fun trying out some of the design. There are many sites all dedicated to henna designs.

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posted by Bubbles at 11:22 PM 3 comments

Monday, November 12, 2007

To Remarry or Not to Remarry - that is the Question.

What would you do, if you were 30 years old, mother of two young children when your husband dies of cancer?

I watched a short film in Tamil (only 30 minutes long) from the series Silla Nerangal which means "Sometimes". (Another story that touched my heart was about a crossed - eyed boy - which you can read about from my earlier post, The Perspective of an Outcast)

What I liked about the story is the direction and the way the story was relayed.

In a hall about 30 people are gathered together. An young man in mid 20s (I can't remember his name, so for convenience sake we'll call him Siva), is speaking in the mike to those who are present. He thanks his mom and explain to the others the hardship she has suffered. Thanks his younger sister for helping in the marriage arrangement, and his wife for her support.

Siva then mentions that his mother was unsatisfied with some arrangement in this marriage.

There is a flash back where the Mom is having dinner with a man ( I assume, the Father) and says "The kids have not consulted us regarding the wedding and have gone about doing as they please".

My first impression is that this was Siva's wedding and that he is not giving due respect to his parents. (Indians are very conservative as well as expect to be respected and consulted when it comes to wedding).

Another scene shows Siva and his girlfriend/wife ( I was not sure about the relationship at that time) choosing the wedding Invitations. Only 30 people are to be invited and some scenes of the parents inviting their close friends/employer are shown.

Next Siva's Sister is inviting her grandfather to the wedding. The mother is quietly sitting back as the grandfather speaks harsh words to show his disagreement to this wedding. "You are the eldest in this family and you should give your blessing" Siva's sister tells her grandfather and puts the invitation on the table, then she leaves off with her Mom.

Now for the true beginning of this story - "Why are you late Mom, Where have you been?" Siva asked his Mom.

"I've been out with a close friend" she replies.

"We have heard rumours - you are been seen going out with..." he stops.

"Well, go on. I've been seen going out with whom?" she asked him.

The mother than reveals that she now has a boyfriend. The children are upset and Siva accuses his mother of not being true to the memory of his dead father.

Only now is it revealed that the mom was widowed when she was only 30 years old and had worked very hard to support her 2 children for 14 long years. The son is now happily married and the daughter in a good position.

As with most family, especially a conservative family, this news (of the Mom having a boyfriend and wanting to remarry) is indigestible.

First her family members give her the silent treatment, next they threatened to move out. ( The sister too wants to move out) leaving her mother to choose between her family or boyfriend.

Of course, she chooses her family over her boyfriend and explains the situation to him.

When Siva threatens to move out - the Mom explains that she will not marry without their blessing and would not give up her children.

She then takes out a letter written by her late husband and hands it over to Siva, saying that this letter will explain that she is not disloyal to his late father. (Although I do not like such a pat answer with a ready letter that helps to change the children's mind, I can understand that the director has only 30 minutes to finish up this story).

In the letter, Siva's father explains that he had always loved his wife, and though she had not shown any interest in marrying him, but had only agreed because the marriage was arranged by her father, she had been the best wife any man would be lucky to have for the past 10 years.

He then stated that he trusts her to bring up their kids well. But his only concern is that she should not wallow in memories and suffer a lonely life. He hoped that she would find a man to love and be happy with.

True love means that you should be unselfish and rejoice that your loved one has found happiness again.

When Siva rounds up his speech and ask the bride and groom to the stage, the grandfather at last joins in to give his blessing.

This story has touched my heart because being a single mother could not have been easy. Her willingness to give up her lover for her children shows us how unselfish a mother is.

The scene that I really like ( A typical Indian scene) - The grandfather will mention that what her daughter wishes to do (Remarry) is disgraceful, since she has a daughter of marriageable age and that his grand daughter's life would be spoiled (meaning, they will not be able to find a groom for her) and that he will be the laughing stock among his friends and relatives.

Although, this is the 21st century, remarriage is still a taboo, when it comes to women and especially, older women.

The "Society" still has double standards when it comes to man and woman.

I remember, when one of my cousin's wife passed away, on the 40th day ( when there were some prayers held) they were already talking about getting him remarried. (The reason suggested was that he had 3 kids, the youngest being only 8 years old as such a mother's care was needed). After a few years, this cousin did remarry, although the stepmother has in no way helped to take care of the children.

However, when the husband of my relative passed away leaving 2 young children aged 2 and 4, not a whisper of remarriage was spoken. In fact, I remember that her mother in law told her that if she were to remarry, then she had to hand over her 2 children to her in laws. Till today, she is still a single mother struggling to bring up her daughters on her own.

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posted by Bubbles at 10:26 AM 2 comments

Friday, November 9, 2007

Fashionable Fridays - The Saree, an exqusite piece of Artwork

Its been quite a while since I last put in a post for this blog. Have been busy with the Deepavalli visiting (my friends) and shopping (Indian Sweetmeats and Lovely Sarees and Punjabi suits).

I have thought of starting a weekly post on Fashion on Fridays. Not surprising my first blog is about SAREES.

I'm being biased as I am an Indian, but I believe that the saree is one piece of clothing that makes a women look sexy (of course, if you have the figure of Aishwaria Rai, it will be even better.)

Saree - its something that you can wear that's evergreen. There are so many varieties available to suit the different ocassion, from formal to casual. For those who feel, Hey, What am I gonna do with this 6 yards of materials (Scratch head). Now, there's 3 piece available. So you get a blouse, a long skirt with the pleats in the right place and a long scarf to drape it on to look like you're wearing Saree. (See there's a cheat code available - not only for PC games anymore)

Every year, new designs are available. Lots of them are based on what the screen heroine of the latest Bollywood or Tamil film etc wear during shooting. A few years back, when the film "Autograph" was screened, the latest Saree for that year was one with the Tamil alphabets printed on the Saree (Just like what was worn by the heroine during the famous song scene in Kerala).

About Sarees
The saree is an extremely versatile garment. It simply consists of a single, rectangular piece of material, five to six yards in length, accommodating any size. The style, color, and texture of this material vary according to region and caste. Different draping styles convey the status, age, occupation, region, and/or religion of the wearer.

Buying a Saree :
Women on heavier side should buy sarees in Georgette, Chiffon or Chignon. Heavy Mysore Silk saree looks beautiful and one tends to look slimmer.
Shorter women should buy sarees with small borders or no borders. They should definitely avoid big borders as big borders make one look shorter.
Thin woman should buy Organza, Cotton, Tissue and Tussar Saree. These Sarees gives a fuller effect.
In printed Saree, avoid big prints, as it gives a gaudy and a huge look.
Delicate print on a Saree, gives a delicate look. Dark skin color women should generally buy dark colours like maroon, green, dark pink etc.

Draping a Saree :
In office Pinup your Saree, this looks smart and is manageable too.
For an outing or a function, just pinup the tip of the saree and let the rest fall on your hand. This gives a very graceful look. But of course the Saree should have a good fall.
Cotton, Tissue or any starched Saree should be ironed properly and at the time of draping, the pleats should be done with your hands pressing and shaping it properly.
Put the pin on the back shoulder as this keeps the saree intact and does not show the pin too.
Don't wear a very flared petticoat inside.

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posted by Bubbles at 4:21 PM 0 comments

Friday, November 2, 2007

Customer Service - Going the Extra Mile (NOT)

The other day, I read a joke about the customer of a bank who was frustrated by the red tape and inflexibility of the bank and the counter measures he proposed to get even.

I personally believe that the Banking Industry is one that has too many red tape and thus its staff are inflexible. When a customer request for forms to be emailed or posted to them - the standard reply is - Please download the forms from our website.

Its more convenient to fill up a form when it is in front of you instead of needing to go to their site, looking for the necessary form, then downloading it, etc. One is automatically put off by the need to do extra actions. In this sense, the banks are loosing out on potential customers.

No matter how busy the staff is, the customer should be dealt with quickly. At least, email or phone to inform him how long it will take him to respond to the customer's queries.

I hate having to chase someone to do their job. Incompetency will always be remembered.(NOT FAVOURABLY) - We had bought a foreign property for investment purposes. The officer in charge of arranging the loan for us was always full of excuses. (We definitely will not go back to this agency should we decide to buy more properties.)

How would you like to end up paying fines because of the inefficiencies of a property management officer. At long last, we managed to finalise the loan. Only to find that we had many bills to be paid to the foreign government agencies. After a lot of dawdling and incurring fines (for us), the bills were paid up.

After 6 months, the cycle started again. More bills to pay!
Since we're overseas, we expected the property management officer to handle it for us. After all, they did deduct management fees from the rental every month.

Once I received another bill in mid September, I emailed and called the property management officer instructing her to pay on our behalf before the 30th of September.(Which was the due date)

After calling them numerous times (O Boy is my long distance phone bill going to escalate for October!), I was told on Tuesday October 9, that as my funds from my rental have already been banked in, they will only be able to pay my bill next month.

Enough is enough, I screamed my head off (NO more Nice Girl) and at last got a confirmation on the payment of the bill on October 19.

What I can't understand is that the request was such a simple one - Pay my bill - use my money - So why was there such a big hassle.

I'm not saying everyone is incompetent or inefficient, but when it comes to customer service - lets not talk about the extra mile, at least to your duty PLEASE!

p.s.I've learned a lesson, I'm paying my own bills from now on.(Thank God for Internet Banking)
posted by Bubbles at 2:11 PM 1 comments