Merry Christmas!

I was surprised to find that I have never written a post exclusively for or about Christmas, and actually had to do a few searches across the various blogs to be certain. Surprised because in my scheme of things, the only festival that resonates with me and makes me go mushy is this one. Partly that is because of my having spent much of my childhood at Christian missionary establishments, and part of that is because of the obvious Christian subtext of the majority of the writers I read, Dylan Thomas and Thomas Mann, Nietzsche and Russel, or Le Carre and Rand. So this year, as I bring to close a particularly instructional part of my life and launch into a more exciting phase, as I wish my readers all light and joy in the coming year, as I snuggle into the holidays with my favorite writers, artists and musicians, here’s to the spirit of Christmas, a post on The Story of Parth - A Puppy Called Hope. Have a good one!
 

Frugal Living Healthy Eating

A lot of people come to this blog from food and diet related web searches, thanks to the name of this blog! My guess is that at least a few of them do not go back disappointed - for two reasons. 1) They like the non-food related stuff they see here. 2) There are quite a few yummy food posts tucked away in the archives of this blog.



I am a foodie in every sense of the word, a gourmet and a gourmand rolled into one. One of the reservations I had in my early experiments with frugality was that I might end up having to compromise on my love for fine food. However, with time, I discovered that frugality and food share a special relationship. By choosing frugal eating options, one can build a diet that is healthier, tastier, and more ethical than most of what goes by the name of food in fine dining establishments. Ever since I read Michael Pollan's writing, I have endeavored to elevate my understanding and consumption of food. Frugality added the necessary tempering to my efforts.

Read more at my guest post at Pick The Brain on The Frugal Way to a Healthier Diet. Do let me know what you think in the comments, and feel free to share it on your networks if you like it.

Read the whole post on The Frugal Way to a Healthier Diet>>.
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The Dreaded Pink Slip Part II - How to Deal With it


How do you deal with the reality of being fired from your job? In this second part of his article Dr. Ramesh Grandhi discusses the best strategies for dealing with a pink slip once it has been handed to you.(To read the first part, Click Here.)

It is every employee’s nightmare come true and something he devoutly prays will never happen to him, but realistically speaking there is a decent chance that it might happen. For some it might happen within 2 to 3 years of employment and for others perhaps a decade or so after. The only constant is no matter when it happens most employees are psychologically ill prepared to face the brunt of an uncertain future.


I would not like to in anyway portray employers as ogres just waiting to pounce and destroy careers and lives, nothing will be farther from the truth. They too have to safeguard their own interests and keep up to their obligations and believe me in these days there are a lot of stipulations placed on them. They have to “cut” quite a lot of corners to achieve what they promised their shareholders or funding agencies. It would be na├»ve on the part of the employee to expect that employers would sacrifice their own interests to save them.

Now that we know that the pink slip is something we cannot ignore let us find the best ways of being prepared for this eventuality and coping with the aftermath.

The Dreaded Pink Slip Part I - How to Escape Its Clutches



Job losses are one of the realities of our times that many people are challenged to deal with. What steps can you take to prevent it, and how can you best deal with it once the dreaded pink slip does come your way? Dr. Ramesh Grandhi offers you some tips on how you can avoid getting fired in this first of two posts on the subject.

*****

We are facing uncertain times, our growth rate is falling precipitously, exports are drying up, the rupee is tanking and the global economic climate is nothing to write home about. As our IT and ITES sectors are heavily dependent on the US and the Euro Zone for their business, weakness in these markets is causing a lot of turmoil in these companies. The falling rupee is providing them some cushion, but if your business dries up then there will be no dollars and no rupees! In some ITES sectors, Technology is improving by leaps and bounds and this too will lead to quite some retrenchment down the line.

Quite a lot of software professionals are nervous these days and hoping against hope that they will not be guillotined; the pink slip is indeed a guillotine in more ways than one.  Company managements in India have changed, they have become more westernized, the days of empathizing with your employees have long gone, it is a dog eat dog world out there and your colleagues will not have many qualms in sacrificing your career if it will prolong their own.

So in such an environment what can any employee do to avoid the dreaded Pink Slip?

Can't You Hear Me Knocking?

By the time I was 60, and that was nearly five years ago, I was totally stuck. Not metaphor stuck, but stuck stuck. In my late 30s and early 40s, it was not this bad. Sure, If I sat, I would be stuck to the chair, and if I laid down I would be stuck to the bed, but I would be able to get up and go on to do the next thing I needed to. It started getting worse once I crossed 50, and the last few years, it has overtaken me entirely.

(I first set my tongue to freeze, and started working on the gooey bands at my shoulders and neck, and then once the corrupt slime froze and hardened, I used the VG-1 blade of my mind to stab at it like a chisel till it broke off in pieces.  I then changed the settings on my tongue to hiss and crackle to burn the remaining bits off, before switching back to freeze mode again. It would be a long night, but I had to get out.)



Now I lie in my bed, and I am no longer sure if the slimy stuff that engulfs and devours me is stuff that oozes out of the woodwork or out of me. There are days of sunshine and hope, and I get filled with a new hope, and I spend all morning trying to get one limb free. I twist on to one side and send all my positive thinking towards that one limb, watching the fingers leave the black tarry goo, and then the palm and the wrist, and then the forearm.

Are There Really no Full Stops in India?

It is my honor to host this post by Dr. Ramesh Grandhi, who is well known to many readers of this blog. A physician by training from the Sri Venkateswara University of Medical Sciences, he is best known for the inspirational leadership he provided to his team of healthcare specialists as Vice-President at a leading Healthcare BPO for the last 12 years. Thank you, Dr. Ramesh for sharing your thoughts with the readers of Subho's Jejune Diet.

*****

Just finished reading The Hindu’s write up on Mark Tully’s No Full Stops In India, and wanted to share my views on him and his book. Tully is indeed a respected name in India and his articles and books have always, even in my jaundiced view, shown a genuine love and respect for India, and more importantly Indians.


For writing this book, he traversed the length and breadth of this vast country visiting Naxal infested areas and regions riven by caste and communal conflicts. I wonder if an Indian had said the same things that Tully is saying would those views be given the same importance? I fear not, I feel that our brown skinned selves would still give more credence to a white man.

Tully also mentions the Tatas and how they have spread their wings under the liberalized regime. Like all Indians, I have long been an admirer of the Tata conglomerate, but I would be lying if I said that my respect for them has not been dented by the Nira Radia tapes and their misplaced munificence in Raja’s constituency. I know that I am going off on a tangent here, but hey what the hell, I needed to get this off my chest!

Regarding Tully’s views on where India is currently positioned, is it a superpower in the making or is it jumping headlong into becoming a failed state, I would say that we are at a rather critical juncture. We are in no way a superpower now, but can we become one in the near or even distant future? If I were to wear my realist’s hat, I would say the chances were between 20-25%.

How to Cook Like a Masterchef

This may look like it is for food bloggers, gastronomists, and closet foodies, but it is not. This one is for all who love to live, live to love, and wonder why both loving and living are so challenging. This one is for those who stop in the middle of the road and wonder what they are doing there. This one is for the ninja in each one of us that we didn’t know really existed. This one is for me. This one is for you.



Why do we study the philosophy of food, and the life and the wisdom that is sustained and transmitted through this most sacred of causes. Why do we read for that matter?

Physician, Heal Thyself - Three Questions



Alice Mitchell: Dennis?!!!!!!
Dennis Mitchell: What strawberry pie?!
(a Dennis the Menace single frame)

Q: Who is in the puja room?
A: But I didn’t eat the bananas!
(old Bengali proverb)

Over the last 24 hours, much is being made of the governments attempts to “censor” or “regulate” offensive content on the social media sites. While the official was quick to go on air and proclaim that this was out of concern for religious sentiments and national security, everyone is aware of what the real intent is. In many ways, what is happening is a good thing. It shows up people for what they are, something that has been happening with a heartening frequency over the last several months.

It was really the anticorruption movement of the civil society led by Anna Hazare that brought this into focus, as the web brought the masses together. One of the arguments offered by the ruling party politicians and officials then was that the movement really didn’t matter much, since it was an elitist movement supported by armchair intellectuals tweeting and blogging in an elitist language.  This view was endorsed by many grassroot social commentators too. But then, this was in April. By later in the year, this perception had been changed altogether by the millions across the country, across class and caste, who joined in the movement.

Watching the twitterverse and blogospheres explode with the developments, I switched on the TV. There were several white haired boys taking different sides of the debate, and I was reminded of Kurt Vonnegut’s definition of true terror as waking up one day and finding that your country is being run by your high school class. This prompted me, like the thousands of other bloggers who are right now doing the same, to put my thoughts down about this. I took three of the allegations indirectly being made against bloggers and social activists on the internet and tried to answer them as objectively as possible.

1. Are bloggers elitist?
2. Do bloggers spread hate and intolerance?
3. Are bloggers vain and self centered?

Thank You For Your Love!!

I thank all of you who have nominated and voted for this blog for the Top 50 Personal Development Blogs of 2011, along with some of the biggest names in personal development blogging. For those of you who have not yet voted, you can do so till December 12, 2011.

There are some brilliant blogs out there on the CYT list, so please do vote for your favorite by leaving a comment at the bottom of the nomination page. Thanks if you have voted for this blog or will be voting for it. You can go directly to the nominations page by clicking on the badge below, scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter a comment saying that you vote for Subho's Jejune Diet (or whoever else you wish to vote for).


Greening of our Inner Environment


Much of my forays into frugality and sustainable living were thrust upon me. While I would spout words of wisdom about simplicity and my burning desire to reduce my ecology footprint, in reality I was pursuing a life of overconsumption for years. I am grateful to the universe that those days of “consumption” are behind me. I am also grateful to all the forces that put me into the position where choosing to live simply and frugally was no longer a choice but a necessity. In the course of my journey, I have come to see that forces that appear to be devilish can sometimes lead you to enlightenment, while forces that appear angelic can often lead you straight to hell. One such lesson was with corporate sponsorship of green initiatives. Of course, green here implies the external greening, not the inner greening that I pursue as a calling.


This started with a post I wrote on saving money by driving efficiently. On a whim, I submitted that post in a contest inviting entries for green initiatives. As I went to submit the entry, I realized from the format of the entry that this was primarily for projects that were in the form of innovative products or initiatives that can be taken up by government agencies. I had no clue how one can implement a blog post on driving and fuel efficiency tips, but I submitted it all the same, more to disseminate my thinking to whoever would be reading the contest entries before deciding what they were worth.

A month or so later, I got a call asking me to come for a presentation organized by a media group, and that my entry had been selected. Having been immunized to such calls by telecallers offering everything from insurance to timeshares at holiday resorts, I dismissed it as promotional spiel. To my surprise, when I got back home and checked my email, it turned out that I was one of 10 finalists from Hyderabad from over 4000 entries. I was informed that I had just the weekend to come up with a presentation that would be judged by a panel of experts, to decide on the 6 national finalists.
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