What to do in Bangalore on a weekend.

I came to Bangalore on August 2015 and will be leaving for good on 31st March 2017 (Hyderabad calling). Those who know me know to what extent I adore this beautiful city. I understand the woes of traffic but Bangalore has everything else that suit my taste and temperament and I must mention that I would be leaving this city with a heavy heart.

I decided to write this post long ago but finally completing when I have left Bangalore for good.

Cutting it short, this post is intended to give an idea to Bangaloreans who feel that they are wasting their time during weekends. The activities suggested in this article will not only help you to build your profile (resume) but will also help you in personality development and skill building. Let’s have a look :-

Languages

Bangalore has some amazing centers to learn languages and all of them have weekend courses. Here are the best of the lots :-

French- Alliance Francaise de Bangalore 

Spanish- Institute of Foreign Language & Culture

Japanese- Sakura Nihongo Resource Center 

German- Max Mueller Bhavan

Fitness

Bangalore has no dearth of gyms & fitness centers but the one which has really stood out is CULT. They provide a holistic power packed fitness training which includes Zumba, Boxing, MMA, Yoga etc. They have centers in HSR, Kormangala, Sarjapur, Bellandur, JP Nagar & Indiranagar.

What more? You can even become a Certified Zumba trainer at Bangalore. Click here to know more about it.

NGO/Volunteering/Social Work

There are a lot of NGOs in Bangalore where you can volunteer. I would like to recommend two of them because I have been closely following their social media posts and though I couldn’t get a chance to join either of them, I am pretty much sure that they both are doing commendable work and also have a very organized volunteering opportunities. They are U&I  and The Nudge Foundation. You can contact them to find more about the nature of their work

Books & Reading

For nerds and bookworms, we have the legendary Church Street! On this street, you can find four major bookshops and take my words, all four will make you fall in love with them. They are- The Bookworm, The New Blossom, The Old Blossom & Goebe’s Book Republic.

Bibliophiles at Bangalore also have a group named Books & Brews and they organize Bookshop hopping, book reading party and similar interesting ‘bookish’ activities.

Certifications

6-Sigma Certification at KPMG, Business Analytics Certification by IMS Proschool, Big Data Certification by IBM are some of the certifications that you might be interested in. Most of these conduct classes on weekends.

Apart from all these, there are several activities that you can take up in Bangalore- Dance classes, Horse Riding & Golf classes at Palace grounds, Cookery Classes at Foodhall and so on.

Bangalore is a vibrant cosmopolitan city and I would urge everyone to go out on weekends and explore the multiple opportunities that the city beautiful has to offer.

Cheers!

-KA

 

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My stint with Japanese

It was the month of May 2016. I was back from home (went to celebrate Holi after 6 years) and an uncanny ennui had surrounded me. I had an year to myself (finally joining B-school in April 2017) and no matter how cliched the word “productivity” sounds, I am a sucker for it! Languages have always been my passion and after studying Spanish for 1 year in 2013 (loved a lot, retained a lot) and French for 2-3 months (hated it and as expected, retained nothing except “Fils de pute”), I firmly believe in being “Jack of all trades, master of none” as far as languages are concerned and hence I wanted to pick up a new language this time.

On one random dull day at office, something randomly hit my mind- when I had started taking Spanish classes back in 2013, an acquaintance had commented “French, spanish to sab seekhte hain, Japanese/Chinese seekho tab to thodi aag lage”. I don’t remember if I had smoked some pot the last night, but I googled “Japanese classes in Bangalore” and dialed the number of the 1st institute that came in the search results! They said that a new batch is starting the next day and asked if I would like to join. Next day was Saturday and by 12 PM, I had paid the fee and was already sitting in the classroom (the first one to do that) waiting for my Sensei (teacher). Yes, it started that randomly!

Within one hour in the class, I had realized that joining (and paying the fee too) without doing ANY homework about the language was the most stupid decision I have ever taken in my life! We were introduced to Hiragana (Japanese script) which had 46 characters. After struggling to write it while simultaneously blurting out its sound, we were given the next shock- This script can’t be used for foreign derived words, for those words we have another script called “Katakana”. Which means another set of 46 characters needed to be memorized for the same set of sounds!

By the time the class ended, I was exhausted and my head was cluttered with those characters. Next saturday came pretty soon and I was again in class silently hating myself for being spontaneous and stupid but I was not ready for another shock so soon. We were introduced to Kanjis- the chinese characters used in Japanese language which can be inserted anywhere and can be read in two (or in some cases, three or even four) different ways depending on the word and context. Whatever motivation I had to continue with this language training had vanished and I was completely clueless about what to do next (I had paid the fee afterall)

Saturdays started coming back more frequently and our textbook classes begin. I had not memorized any of the scripts and used “Romaji” (Japanese written with Roman Alphabets) to my rescue. After around 2 months (where I was a silent follower in the class most of the times) something dawned over me- I was actually able to see something written in Hiragana and Katakana script and could read it in my mind correctly! And this happened when I had not practiced writing and reading aloud (the way our Sensei asked us to do) even a single time. Immediately I understood that my “learning curve”, that was gladly enjoying itself resting on a plateau till now,had started its steep climb uphill and I would be foolish to give up at this stage and not push it forward.

I started taking more interest and part in discussion in the class and our Whatsapp group. I was travelling for around 5 hours daily for work (Hebbal-HSR on Ring road) and I started using that time to do the assignments (with everyone around staring at me) and practice the listening scripts on my phone. There were times when I used to text Sensei at wee hours of late night and she was always helpful enough to reply with the explanation first thing in the morning. Also I must point out that my batchmates at the Japanese classes were one of the most helpful and jovial people I have ever met. Right from sharing “translated notes of listening exercises” downloaded from unknown sources on internet to motivating each other when someone was falling behind, we had a ball of a time on those saturdays.

Japanese (or for that matter any Oriental language) becomes difficult to learn because of the script. The last time we learnt a script and conditioned our mind to make a particular sound while reading a particular character, was when we were kids. As an adult, it is a challenging task to train your brain and force it to recognize a new character and relate it with a particular sound.

I had many bottlenecks during the training that gave me sleepless nights- “e” and “na” adjectives, “counters” (those who have learnt Japanese will agree that memorizing counters can make you weep), “informal forms” and so on. But a little bit of perseverance and  a lot of help from my batchmates kept my ship sailing somehow.

My JLPT N5 exam was on 4th December and attempting it was another experience. By this time I had learnt 800 words, 120 Kanji characters and numerous grammar structures and now it was time to test all these in limited time. Reading & Listening parts were difficult, the time limit was harsh but I had an unexplained thrill while attempting the exam- the feeling of reading a paragraph in a script which is unfamiliar to most of the other people, making sense of it and then answering the questions asked on it, all of these acts gave me an absurd “happy high”

I don’t remember being this happy even after my 10th Board results, when I got my JLPT N5 results  on 24th Jan 2017 and I passed it. I don’t know if I will continue learning this language or if I will attempt the next level exams but one thing of which I am sure is that these six months gave me perspective, improved my intuitive and cognitive abilities and made me believe that I can pick up something completely new and unrelated to anything I have done before and still ace it with a bit of effort, and can force to work that area of my brain that was shut years ago. At the end I would like to quote one of my favorite authors Jhumpa Lahiri whose book “In Other Words” is a must read for anyone who is even mildly interested in languages-

“A foreign language can signify a total separation. It can represent, even today, the ferocity of our ignorance. To write in a new language, to penetrate its heart, no technology helps. You can’t accelerate the process, you can’t abbreviate it. The pace is slow, hesitant, there are no shortcuts. The better I understand the language, the more confusing it is. The closer I get, the farther away I am”

–  KA

Time Management Hacks by KA

TIME MAn

First thing first, I do not consider myself pro in Time Management neither I think I have achieved great things in my life by managing my time. But since many people have asked in the past and present, I think there is no harm in jotting down a few points about it.

DISCLAIMER : This post is strictly objective and not preachy, which means, I am writing how I manage my time, it is not necessary that these points will help the one too who is reading this post.

About myself: I am a Dentist-turned-Manager, currently working as a Marketing Manager at Oliveboard. I also have my own venture- I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of International Dental Journal of Students’ Research. I also work for The Bootcamp, where we help students to prepare for GMAT to get through ISB Admission process. I am an Early Entry Admit to Indian School of Business and I will be joining the batch of 2017-18. I am an avid reader and you can find my book reviews on my page The Booktrack. I love learning new languages and have cleared basic proficiency level exams in Spanish and French and currently I am learning Italian (Online) and Japanese (Weekend Classroom Course) simultaneously. Also I go food/drinks hunting every weekend and I also love to cook and. For more details, please visit my LinkedIn Profile.

I have been a multi-tasker since my college days and have been able to manage different things decently enough so far. I would like to share a few pointers that, I feel, help me to manage time and get stuff done.

  1. I do not drive, I strictly use public transport to go to the office or anywhere. Apart from saving money, this gives me a lot of time to read.
  2. I am NEVER without a book in my bag, no matter even if I am going to a party. You never know when you have to wait or sit idle and there is no harm in flipping through the pages of a book in that spare time.
  3. I use the ‘Hidden time’ to read- Time when you are waiting for the lunch to be served, time when you are waiting for the bus to arrive or even while you are in the washroom attending to your morning tasks *wink*
  4. I do not plan and mostly an ‘impulsive indulgent’. I feel planning kills a lot of time. If I feel like checking out a new pub in the town, I do not start making plans with friends. I try to call one or two people, and regardless of the fact that they are willing or not, I go out.
  5. Coming to my language training, I save a lot of time by immediately revising the lessons once the class is over- This is a great trick as you will be able to absorb more in less time when the lessons are still fresh in your mind and will save the time later. This goes true for any skill that you are learning- Revise as soon as the class is over and see how much time you will be able to save in the long run!
  6. I do not go for movies (once in a few months) and I strictly do not watch any sports (maybe Cricket World Cup matches when India is playing) or TV Series. The last TV Series that I watched was Mahabharata Star Plus.
  7. I tried to join a Gym/Fitness Center but realized that it was taking too much of my time. Now I get down at one or two earlier bus stop and walk home daily from there so that I get my daily dose of physical activity
  8. I prefer Whatsapp over Phone call- this generally allows you to multi task.
  9. I always try to meet new people- I think this is a great way of learning and picking up some good traits from others and it also improves your communication and interpersonal skills in less time.
  10. I do not sleep for more than 5 hours, no matter what (But I won’t advise it to everyone, do it only if it doesn’t affect your day-to-day activities).

    I don’t know how much this post will help you but if you appreciate this post, kindly do me a favor- FOLLOW this blog (Green colored button on the left side of the screen if you are reading this on your laptop, or on the end of this article if you are reading on your smartphone).

~ KA

How do you know how stressed you are?

stress.png“Stress” has become just another word in our day-to-day life. In fact, the modern urban man is becoming accustomed to use the word “stress” for even a minor discomfort or inconvenience. I always used to wonder how to actually define and quantify this term (a few of my close friends know how much stressed I have been in last few years) that had become a invidious bedfellow of mine.

Last night, I was reading this book called Committed (Sequel of Eat Pray Love) by Elizabeth Gilbert) . Committed takes the story ahead from the point where Eat Pray Love had ended- Liz and Felipe are in love and now due to some unforeseeable circumstances, they must marry. This makes Liz to ponder and research on the entire idea and institution of marriage and the book begins with an extremely interesting account of the history and evolution of matrimony. While reading this book I came to know about the  Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), commonly known as Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, named after two psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe who formulated this scale.

To measure stress according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, the number of “Life Change Units” that apply to events in the past year of an individual’s life are added and the final score will give a rough estimate of how stress affects health.

Life event Life change units
Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Dismissal from work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain a new family member 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Change in frequency of arguments 35
Major mortgage 32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Child leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse starts or stops work 26
Beginning or end school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in working hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 20
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 18
Minor mortgage or loan 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family reunions 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Major Holiday 12
Minor violation of law 11

You can add all the points and the final score can be interpreted as follows:-

11-149-You have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future.

150-299-You have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future.

300-600-You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.

Did you notice something weird? Because I did. I have no idea how authentic is this scale, or how accurately it can measure your stress level but a few points did amuse me :-

  1. Divorce comes in the second place, next only to death of your spouse. It means even if you are in a failed marriage and it is in best of your interests to end it, the entire legal and emotional wreckage involved with the procedure called ‘Divorce’ can stress you out to the level of actually falling sick.
  2. Marriage itself has a whooping 50 points to contribute to your stress level. Interesting, isn’t it?
  3. Marital reconciliation is also among the toppers! Ofcourse! Don’t we all know that nothing can be as stressful as going back to the same person to live with, whom you have already considered unbearable for once. *grin*

Calculate your level of stress and have fun!

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