Work Day Blues

I have been having a severe case of Monday blues, and not just today. I feel like I have been stuck with this since a long time. You know there are days when you just feel like blah at work, but those days have been pretty regular. I am honestly a little embarrassed to share how I feel about work days (and dread if any office folks happen to read it), but I have decided to go ahead anyway:

  1. Just for context – I like the work that I do and I am happy with the profile/domain etc that I work. Throughout my working lifecycle, I have always worked in Consulting, so all my points are based on that experience only.
  2. I am not a fan of most things a typical workday, especially for consultants like me, holds:
    • I dislike the fact that we don’t have a strong sense of belonging with our team or office junta. We usually work in different teams across the organization depending on the project we are on and, therefore, its difficult to forge genuine relationships. Add to this the fact that I usually don’t look forward to the social interactions that are specifically put to make the team interact, because those seem very surface level. I then get to observe how these dynamics work in my client offices – a non-consulting or what we call, an “industry” environment – and I see that people have groups they hang out with, people they hate, office politics etc. very clearly defined. Not saying whether its a good or bad thing, but it definitely provides them with some sort of sense of belonging. Weirdly enough, I have made some genuine friends whom I know from work, something I never expected to happen but it did.
    • Thing that I hate the most is the unsustainable working style – consultants usually are not just chasing a single KPI, or business objective, but rather responsible for either delivering a particular assignment or crafting the strategy for it CLUBBED WITH any additional department level responsibilities. Its not about the actual amount of hours that it may take (although that is the bigger pain point), but about the work expectations that you are expected to meet/exceed (not these terminologies again!) to “grow up the ladder” (not again!).
    • I will obviously feel a whole lot better about all the issues I raised, if I knew that I need to do it only for a fixed number of hours at a fixed time (4 days a week instead of 5 would be a nice touch, but let’s not go there).
  3. I am seeing a lot of trendy “toxic work culture” related terms thrown around these days, and I want to call them out for the kind of BS they promote. There are literally two extremes – quiet quitting and hustle harder and I hate both of them fervently. If you don’t know what they are, you are lucky as hell, but please Google them to understand what I am saying. ๐Ÿ˜€ Well, for quiet quitting, I honestly don’t know much, except that I hate the term itself. It means people who do the bare minimum at a job to make it work. How is this “quitting” at all? Like, at all? You are doing something out of a need (for yourself as well as the org), how can this be termed as quitting? Also, this glorification BS of “you need to love your job” really needs to stop. Not everyone is privileged enough to have that, and not everyone has the capacity to hunt for what YOU think is the right want. So, f*ck this glorification really. The other term, hustle, is downright annoying and I hate the kind of popularity this term is garnering these days. This is basically people who say that unless you want to fail in life, you need to work an unhealthy and ungodly no. of hours and do all sorts of things that hamper your lifestyle to make yourself succeed. This is the most bullshit concept that I find difficult to digest. Please understand that I am not saying that working extra hours is a bad thing always. There can be two scenarios for it – 1) you are passionate about something and are putting in your blood and sweat into it, 2) you are made to work like this because of any objectives you may or may not care about. The first one is a dream many want, but if you are shoving your dream down to other people’s throats and also giving lectures about how its necessary to succeed, then you are just promoting an unhealthy working style. To some people, their job may just be a means to make money and be compensated accordingly. If somebody wanted to hustle harder, they simply would, even without all these motivational gurus, who really seem to be on crack, telling them to do so.
  4. I was quite bored and done with working when I started this post, but I think its important I call out the goods in my own job too –
    • We mostly work from client offices rather than our own, so a lot of exposure.
    • And a lot of travel opportunities
    • Best thing I like: When we are not working from the client offices, we get to work from home. This is not something just due to the pandemic, but has always been the case for consulting folks

This was quite an emotional writing for me. Therefore, it may seem a bit incoherent. If you came till hear, I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, feel free to correct me on anything you find not sitting too well. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Book 10 of 2022 | The Mountain View Murder: A Wintergreen Mystery by Patrick Kelly

Another day, another book post! Continuing with my streak of posting my views on all the books I read, here’s my 10th one from this year. You can find more of such posts from me here.

A short note on reading habit before the actual review: Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I mostly forget what I read. Hence, going forward, you will see a structure to my book opinions. I also maintain a book journal for my notes now and I love doing that. You’ll also see me writing why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I don’t read for ROI (not that that’s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and that’s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

And now, here are my thoughts on The Mountain View Murder:

Why I chose this book?

I was browsing Netgalley for the first time when I came across this book. Yes, it has been more than a year since Netgalley let me take this book. I think its fairly obvious why I chose this book, its name screams cozy, mountain murder mystery. That was it, then. That itself was the reason.

What I liked:

Everything. There, I completed the opinion before even saying anything! This book is about a retired detective Bill O’Shea who moves to Wintergreen, a mountain resort in North Carolina, to spend his life post retirement. The police chief there, Alex, is a temporary chief who doesn’t have a lot of experience with this sort of work when someone dies. So, he ropes in Bill to help him solve the case. Alex, rest of the team and almost everyone in the story believes that its an accident, but Bill wants to track every clue to figure out what it actually is – murder or accident. What then ensues is your typical whodunnit and all the characters are very enjoyable in the story. The suspects, of course, with their motives keep giving the book fun dimensions with every flashback into their lives. However, the main character, i.e., our detective Bill and his supporting characters add a lot to the experience. There’s Bill’s new love interest, Cindy, who approaches Bill right when he moves to his condo, Mitch, the young policeman who works with Bill, Krista, the policewoman who has a very fun, outgoing and charming side to her while being amazing at her job, Kim, the Wintergreen gossip journal who also adds to the whodunnit once giving it a fun twist!

To top it all, the setting of the book, i.e. a mountain resort from where multiple hiking trails pass through, make for a fun ride. I enjoyed reading this so much and after this I downloaded so many mystery books on my Kindle!

What I didn’t like:

I really don’t have anything, except I wish the book went on for longer! ๐Ÿ˜€

A huge thanks to Netgalley for giving me the chance to read this book!

Book 7 and 8 of 2022 | Two books I didn’t realise would be so related

Every year, I try to read at least one book from some literary prize shortlists and almost every time, I end up disliking the book. This year I picked the JCB 2021 winner – Delhi: A Soliloquy. I was in for a surprise. Before we get into that, something about my reading habit.

A short note on reading habit before the actual review: Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I mostly forget what I read. Hence, going forward, you will see a structure to my book opinions. I also maintain a book journal for my notes now and I love doing that. Youโ€™ll also see me writing why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I donโ€™t read for ROI (not that thatโ€™s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and thatโ€™s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

And, now, here it goes:

Book 7 of 2022:

Delhi: A Soliloquy

Why I chose this book? I pretty much mentioned the reason in the first paragraph.

What is it about? This book is a narrative on Delhi through the years from a Malayali person’s standpoint, with the backdrop of various wars that happened in modern day Delhi, starting from the war with China in 1960. Sahadevan, protagonist and also the narrator, is convinced to come for a job to Delhi by his known person from his native – Sreedharanunni, a communist person who loses his life when Delhi is attacked by China (yes, the irony). The book then has multiple characters who grow up and old in Delhi, all from Kerala and everything happens from Sahadevan’s point of view against wars like the 1965 one with Pakistan, 1970 one with Bangladesh and so on. The riots after the murder of Indira Gandhi were hair raising, and to know that this is not just a book, but rather something that actually happened, is something else.

What I liked? The book has so many characters but i found it in me to love most of them, they all held some place in my heart and i don’t even know how. Usually, books with multiple storylines get really annoying for me but, here, i waited for every character’s chapter to come up again. A lot of good work has gone into giving ample character building to each character. i think it also has to do with the fact that the narration is uniform, told from a single point of view. All the events were based on historical events (various wars in modern Delhi) but there were some that stood out for me. For example, reading about emergency riots was like watching a tragedy happening on screen. Very well written. i usually don’t enjoy the introspection kind of parts in any book, but Sahadevan’s monologues with himself were also worth looking forward to. the book is essentially a growing older of Sahadevan as Delhi grew up with him too.

What I didn’t like: I can’t think of anything honestly, because I went in with no expectations. Additionally, I have been reading a lot of war fiction these days, so it was a natural pick at the time.

Book 8 of 2022:

Prelude to a Riot

Why I chose this book? can’t say why i am going from one war book to another but I am and i am just into that right now.

What is it about? Coincidentally, this book was also based in Kerala, so the Malayali community basically. It’s about different perspectives of various characters as the Hindu Muslim divide begins to be “seen” in Kerala. primarily focusing on three friends and their respective perspectives, it also has many characters like the previous book and each one stood out. It’s a great thing that I don’t remember right now how this book ended but I do remember most of the characters. The most endearing part of the book is how the three friends one out of whom is Muslim start falling apart due to their changing perspectives and the ongoing events at that time.

What I liked: Obviously the fact that how relevant it is in current times. Also, how true to its name is the title of the book – it was really a prelude to what was to come, i.e. riots between two communities/religions. it highlighted the kind of differences or stigma that one starts associating with another community because of the propaganda. The book was scary, because it felt close to home.

What I didn’t like: Why was this book so short? I can totally see it to be intentional but can’t figure out why. It could have been so much more detailed and that would have made it all the more lovely. i hope a sequel is planned.

Monthly Favorites | February

I talked about my impulse to share about some things I am loving here & got some really good suggestions on how I can make it interesting. Hence, I started with this monthly favorites series (literally the second post in a year but that’s because I didn’t have media storage space, I’ll hopefully be regular with my favorites now!). Don’t think I remember my Feb “favorites”, its just that I had this post in the drafts.

For my previous monthly favorites, go here.

Diving right into it, I do realize there’s a lot of personal care featuring here this time around:

  1. Coconut oil by The Moksha Life: As some of you would know, it is my friend’s brand, so you are bound to think that I am biased. It may be difficult to believe but its actually one of the best coconut oils I have tried. Admittedly, I didn’t go beyond a certain price range but within my preferred price range, this one truly stands apart. Its taste is incredible for using in dishes and when i apply it on hair, the fragrance and feel is better than any that I have used.
  2. Wide tooth neem wood comb by The Moksha Life: For this, I don’t really have a comparison as this was my first time using a wooden comb. However, I was expecting a lot more issues with getting used to a wooden comb. This didn’t take me any time to adjust and the best part which led to it being in my favorites list is that it has a very mild and soothing fragrance. I don’t know if its the fragrance of the wood or what but I love it!!!
  3. Boroplus cream : Completely clichรฉ, iconic Indian moisturizing cream! I mean its a child product of the old product, Boroline. Boroline works very well for moisturizing lips and so does Boroplus cream. I should not have actually listed it as a favorite because its not, but it reminded me of Boroline, which I love, not just for what it does but also because of the iconic packaging that stood the test of time!
  4. Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia: It was my favorite scent till I tried more of Jo Malone’s scents. I have not tried many designer scents, but I think Jo Malone is always going to be my favorite. I am loving all the new ones that I am trying.
  5. Jodhpur Jaisalmer trip: I think I should do a separate post on all the travel that I have done since some time, since not everything is documented here and I hope I don’t forget!
  6. Club Iraa: My dad was posted in Raipur since more than one year, he recently got retirement. So, we had visited this one restaurant/pub there when we were visited him once. It was so good! I mean, such an amazing vibe this place had and, in India, since usually tier 2 cities don’t have space issues, it was a huge place. We loved it. I wish we had gone there again in any of our follow-up visits but we did not end up doing that.

I know these are really old favorites, but I would love to know your current ones! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Life of Srish has now moved to lifeofsrish.com!

Took advantage of the long weekend to make this move and I cannot wait to do better things with it. However, the main reason I took this plunge was because I wanted more storage space, but turns out the promised storage space was inclusive of the space I have already used on WordPress.com. ๐Ÿ˜› Oh, well. Some suggestions from all of you are welcome on this topic!

In case you are still not subscribed to my blog yet, here you go, its all the more legit now ๐Ÿ™‚ : https://lifeofsrish.com/

Update

I have been MIA from here for far too long. There was a reason for not writing because I was planning to move the blog to a custom domain and inertia took the better of me. I genuinely missed writing here but it became that deadlock situation where I had to move domains first to start posting regularly and I wasn’t taking a start on the move per se.

However, more recently, something happened which I wanted to update in this space. We lost Rahul’s dad on 24th June. He was suffering from Amyloidosis. An incurable disease that may happen in kidney transplant patients. He was diagnosed with it somewhere around Sep’20. He basically got kidney transplant done around 14 years ago and regularly used to visit his doctor from Surat to Bombay every 3-4 months since then. However, ever since the pandemic, he had stopped doing that but he started observing some things about his body which eventually led to the diagnosis. Things only went downhill from there health wise. However, he had a great zeal to live. While all the doctors we consulted had made it clear that there’s no cure, he was adamant to keep going to his Bombay doctor to get whatever best treatment he can get. His doctor finally started Chemo with the intent that it would improve his health to some extent, but after the first session itself, he got extremely weak and struggled very badly. However, he was still pretty certain that it would take him 6 months to get back at his feet (quite literally, as he was unable to walk since past few months). However, he lost consciousness on Monday, 20th June, maybe it was a cardiac arrest, cannot say for sure. He was put on ventilator and gained back consciousness. Rahul and I were back in Delhi at that time but immediately flew back. He was conscious and aware of everything when we met him in the ICU on Monday night upon reaching. He was fully aware until Tuesday. Then, multiple surgeries and cardiac arrests (yes, multiple arrests) ongoing, he started losing consciousness since Wednesday and we lost him Friday morning, 24th June, 2.45 AM.

Rahul and I used to stay outside the ICU at night for those 4 days (his mom and sister used to stay during the day). On Thursday night, Rahul had asked me to put up an alarm of 2.15 AM so that we go inside the ICU to check on Papa. I found this surprising for 2 reasons – 1) Rahul had almost stopped going inside the ICU since Wednesday as he was scared to look at Papa in that condition, 2) i don’t know why he specifically said 2.15 AM. Even before the alarm could ring, doctors came out to call Rahul inside around 2.10 AM. I was asleep at that time, but woke up due to the startling beeps from the ICU. I rushed inside to see Rahul there and the doctors were trying mandatory CPR at that time saying that we are almost sure that we have lost him. The mandatory CPR was done until 2.40 AM or so and that’s when they declared.

Those 4 nights in the hospital were such an experience that I honestly hope to God nobody has to go through. I even thought of blogging it on one of those nights but just didn’t happen. I have never stayed in a hospital for such a critical, life-altering thing and being in the ICU ward just makes it even difficult to decipher.

Also, I wanted to mention – I didn’t make a post about my tauji (father’s brother) whom we lost to COVID during the delta wave. It was a conscious decision because I didn’t feel like it but I realized it would have been good to mention proper closure since I wrote a bit about it here and here . He was an extremely innocent man, the kinds who inherently try to do good for anyone and everyone but he was never very talkative and had become very difficult to talk to ever since he lost his wife (who passed away at 62). We used to have very less one on one conversations but he was a very warm man, his oxygen actually dropped suddenly, got hospitalized and the next day he was no more. Just a day before or so, he had actually called me up to check on me and my mom since we were also suffering from COVID. I am so glad he did.

Even with Rahul’s dad, I didn’t have a huge one on one relationship, and, in fact, just the other day, I was telling my MIL that when she had asked me to try convincing him on something that he was not agreeing to, I so didn’t want to do it because it had led to a huge fight and I didn’t want to get into that with him, since I didn’t have a huge camaraderie. While its okay to occasionally fight with someone whom you talk and share a great bond with, in this case, it just hurts because even at the time of the fight, I had this in my mind that he is so ill and I shouldn’t be pursuing this.

Anyhow, I want to end this post by recalling good things about him. One is that even though he considered taking care of himself the most important thing to him, he loved having people over from all spheres of life and showing them a good time when he was not ill. The other is the fact that he was a man of science and tried to reason everything logically and if a logical need arose for a known one, he tried helping as much as he could.

I hope he rests in peace wherever he is.

I have lost some very close people in these past couple of years and I hope they are all in a better place.

Also, people most attached get the strength to deal with the loss.