Matter of Opinion

A blog about thoughts, fear, happiness, regret, ambition, anger and all the emotions you could think of.

The Fat and Fed-Up

I realise and may be you too, that I write too many posts around this subject. Not that it is a taboo but it is talked about a lot and not many do anything about it. I am talking about being fat and what we are doing to not be fat. Our media too has not been very motivating lately. From sharing tips on diet and exercise, we are moving towards ‘How it is okay to be fat’ OR ‘Fat is beautiful’. I am not contesting that. I think there should be no connection between the two. Whether fat or not, whether smiling or not, whether dressed up or not, being beautiful should not be subjected to any other thing.

While I dread being on the heavier side I realise I haven’t done much about it. Not that I have not tried, but I have given up too soon. I don’t want to let go the other side of me, that is the foodie side. Few seconds on lips and it is forever on hips. I hate the fact that I have to do so much extra to lose a kg or that I have to be guilty about every bite I take of a delicious cake. I do not remember the last time I ate guilt free.

Being a mother of a 9 month old is tough as it ever was, with a full time day job, life is pretty hectic and very dull at times. I find solace in food and then I wish I had made better choices with my meals. Why is that? Because I am fat. My google searches are full of foods that burn fat, 15 minutes work-out, then 10 minutes work out, then 5 minute work-out?? Sounds ridiculous to not have 5 minutes to myself to burn some fat.

I am genuinely fed-up. There is no discipline. There is a serious trade-off between good food (tasty food) and good health. I give a lot of importance to tasty food. I admire my little one who has a taste for bland food. I can’t get back to that but something needs to be done now. I am though, totally fed-up.

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Do you love the person or just the idea of that person?

Love is simple. Said no one.

We give love, a lot of undue consideration for being all celestial and heavenly. It is in fact formed in our minds. We love some, we hate some. No cupid has any role to play here.

Have you ever come across a situation where you loved a person dearly and suddenly one day don’t feel the same about him/her? Could be a dear friend, a close relative or your life partner. People keep falling in and out of love and that is fine. We only forget that our minds perceive certain things and make us love or hate somethings or someone. If this was not the case then why some people you hate, have a friend circle?

There is a reality and there are things we think makes us happy, how certain people make us feel, how we see the world, and how we make ourselves feel. Everything is intertwined with the worldly truth. In all this, we will allow external forces to change our minds according to our needs and wants. We let our emotions affect by people and events, and let them influence our thought process.

Are we all not guilty of making decisions the way we are feeling currently? We do regret later because the decision had nothing to do with what you have been feeling. We do this to ourselves and most likely we do this to others.

Have you wondered why two different, perfectly good people fall apart? Being right or good doesn’t seem to be enough for people to fall and stay in love for long. Could it be because you did not love the person, you loved the idea of him or her? As humans we all need to feel secure, loved, pampered and handled with care. As long as the person does this for you, you love him. The moment he is a little aloof you start to not love him. Is it that simple? Well, no one wants to be alone so we stick around people and not keep changing the way we think about someone. It is not that simple. Loneliness can be very cruel. So we do stick around for a while whether we are in or not in love. Our mind tricks us to adjust our ways and do all we can to stick around. But for how long?

Change is only permanent. Things change. People change all the time. This is one fact everyone knows but when the time comes our mind plays with us and refuse to believe. We love the idea of this person and we do not want him or her to change. We loved the way he treated us, behaved with us. Change is a shrewd cousin of life. People change significant parts about themselves but the soul remains the same. There are little things about that person that will never change. And we fail to see it. Not our fault. Just a fact. Maybe, the person changes the way he or she approaches a problem. Maybe he was a real problem solver and now he is not or vice versa.

Am I being the devil’s advocate? No. You can’t avoid the change. The question here is till when will you love the person if he or she has changed. Because you are in love with the idea of him more than just him, it will be difficult to hang on. Therefore, first few months or years of a relationship is always good. It only becomes an effort in the later phases. It becomes a battle between your heart and brain and you fight hard to hang on no matter what the change in this person is. The time after the honeymoon phase is most challenging. Like I said before, it is okay to fall in and out of love. It is very natural. We make our decisions based on our perceptions and we also somehow impose it on the person who might not have a clue what you are going through.

There are two things here; change and our interpretation of the change. We cannot control the change but we can definitely work on our interpretation. No one is asking you to bend but make sure your current emotions are not affecting your perception. Best is to let things be. Nothing is permanent. Good or bad. Maybe, if you let it be, situation will change again and this time you will find it favourable. Thus, you will be able to love the person and not just the idea of him.

Just a last thought. We don’t know what the other person is thinking. Maybe you have changed too. Give him and yourself a benefit of doubt and don’t over – work it. You might then be able to stay in love forever.

 

 

Why do we need feminism?

Let me first clear the concept of feminism before I tell you why we need it. Lately, feminism has received bad press because most of us are misinformed regarding the very concept of feminism. Feminism is not about the women who hate men. Feminism does not even believe that women are superior to men. They also do not believe that they are victims of societal beliefs. In fact, feminism fights for equality more than any movement that fights for equality.  It doesn’t matter what standards are set for females and males. Feminists never wanted to be treated differently but they wanted to be treated equally; as humans.

People have started talking about feminism in negative light. The general belief is that feminism is for females who want to live separately, raise their children on their own and wishes that men never exist. How misinformed or uninformed are we really? We have the most negative media on the face of earth. Denzel Washington once said, “If you don not read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you read the news papers you are misinformed.” In countries like Japan, USA, etc., no matter what the country is going through, on the first page of news paper, you’ll always find some good news. It could be a research, an innovation, a new relationship with some country or some kind of an achievement. Unlike them, our media finds the most depressing news and prints it on the very first page. Thanks to them, we have the most extreme version of feminism existing in this country.

I am not surprised that people are running anti-feminism campaigns. Women take extra effort so they are not called feminists. When we talk about empowering women, one automatically assumes that we need to take something away from men to give it to women. All that the feminists want to do is establish an ideology or practice where an individual is treated according to their strengths and not by their gender. FEMINISM is a bad word that no one wants to associate with. I don’t need feminism, women would say. Women are also empathetic about the gender biases against men. You’ll be surprised! So are feminists. You are demonizing the wrong group. Do we need feminism? I know the answer. But why?

Are you one of the people who think feminism is a matter of past and is not relevant in this era? Are we above all the discrimination that happens based on gender alone? Do we truly believe that we have eliminated the existence of patriarchal society? Even in MNCs today, I see a large number of women working and they are there because they are able. Still, the top chairs are filled by men. Why? Are we extremely able to handle work but not power? Look at politics. Is it not still dominated by men? Not just because they are able; just because they are men.

Growing up in a city and coming from a good family it is easy to take it granted that we have equal opportunities as our male counter parts. Parents, relatives, friends, in-laws, husbands are more than supportive of your talent, achievements and efforts. Also, thanks to all the feminists of the past, this has become possible. Doesn’t it become our responsibility to fight it out for women of next generation or women of this generation from some other parts of the world?

Have we eradicated the belief that a woman will obviously take husband’s name after marriage? Are we comfortable around a professionally successful 35 years old single woman living in the city alone? Are we comfortable with the fact that women like sex as much as men do? We still think women dress up for men. Also, women are made to feel ashamed if they are molested by some random stranger or even their family members. Do we still hear rape cases of 4 year olds, 6 year olds, even few months old baby? Do we still not hear that the woman demanded for divorce because the in-laws tortured her for dowry? It is a shame that many countries still do not have any laws against marital rape.

People are still killing girl child within 1 year of birth. And we thought infanticide was a social evil of the past against which a lot of revolutionaries fought. Thanks to people who killed generations of girl child, men do not have women to marry. It is not only India, a lot of other developing and third world countries are facing male female ratio imbalance. Because of this, crime against women is ever increasing.

These women did not have the voice to speak up.  We are lucky that we do. Hence, feminism is still important. People who can, should speak against these evils and get rid of these practices forever. Many women from current generation and future generation need our voice. Some people do not feel that voicing their opinion will be useful and that is okay. As long as you know what is right and can help when needed, you do not have to be a part of ongoing campaign. In fact, if everyone knows what is right and do the right thing we do not need a movement. By right thing, I mean follow and understand the true essence of feminism. We will not have issue with any other human if we follow this.

If you are still asking me why do we need feminism, there’s your answer. The very fact that we are still asking this question, is why we need it!

 

Truth about deception

Is someone you know a compulsive liar? Or a pathological one?

You may find the difference on the internet about compulsive vs pathological liar. Either ways, how do you feel when you are lied to? Finding out the difference between the two doesn’t seem to be the first thought in your mind.

There are people who lie about everything for their own interest. It could be to gain sympathy, hide their mistakes or simply to hide the truth about themselves. These people have less or no regard about anyone else. They do not think how it will affect someone when the truth is out. Long term practice of such kind of lying makes it their second nature.

Come to think of it, there is marginal difference between compulsive and a pathological liar. Both lie to serve their own interest and then it just becomes a habit. They are manipulative and more often than not self-centered. Let us keep you in focus at the moment. How do you feel when you come to know that you have been lied to? Some people feel foolish to have trusted the person. Some might feel taken advantage of and will not only lose faith in that person, but will hesitate to trust anyone. The victim of this constant lying develops a second nature as well. A nature to constantly doubt. Trust issues.

Well, some also feel the urge to get justice and all that one has lost while he/she was being lied to. Some go into inward thinking. How can I let someone fool me like this? Am I that dumb? Can I be deceived so easily? Who else has taken advantage of me? Don’t you lose faith in yourself because you let off your guard for someone and got stabbed royally?

Is it safe to say that even in this case, a victim of the lie is more affected than the liar himself? If this keeps happening over a period of time you lose a sense of security and it makes you weaker and obsessive about whether or not to trust people. A lot of negative thoughts creep into your head. You always live in a fear but you promise yourself that you will never fall for it again.

What do you do to find the culprit next time?

  1. Always share with someone when you are lied too. They will become your advocates when you have to prove something.
  2. If it is your loved one who has lied to you then you will always need / want them around despite the fact that they have lied to you. When you find out about their deception, talk to them and hope that things will be better.
  3. If you can’t handle the liar then talk to someone who can guide you. It never hurts to ask. It will save you a lot of hurt. They will help you deal with it.
  4. Always give behaviour more importance than appearance. Appearances are deceptive, behaviour is natural.

What should you avoid doing?

  1. If you see someone lying or stealing from someone else then chances are they will do the same to you some day. Report it to the person and leave the decision to them on what they want to do. You be alert about this person.
  2. Do not change yourself because someone has been bad to you. You do not get rid of your good habits. Remember, what goes around, comes around.
  3. If you have developed trust issues, try to phase it out by trusting people on small, insignificant things. One should get rid of trust issues for maintaining healthy relationships with people.
  4. New person? Go slow on them. Do not get into big commitments with such people. Take your time and know more before you take a major step.

In the end, one should accept that they will be lied to at some point of time in life; by their own people or a stranger. A lot depends on how you deal with it. Like I said, the victim is more affected by the lie. Trust yourself first because a lie spreads like a wild fire while truth takes time to even generate a spark.

Who’s your fat friend?

I was barely 11, I realized that ‘Fat’ is a bad word. I have been on the heavier side forever. Still am. Unfortunately, teenage started pretty early for me. Apart from boys, a lot of things became off limits. On one such regular annual school sports day, I had to sit on the bench because I was feeling low. A bunch of misbehaving boys passed by and said something I remember vaguely but I remember it was the most hurtful thing I heard. They thought I was not participating because I was ‘Fat’.

Did I not know I was fat? I was smart enough to compare myself to other kids and realize that I was different. Not that it made any difference because nobody treated me any differently. I was a teacher’s pet. It was true for my class teacher, art teacher and even the physical trainer. So why did it hurt so much?

Body image has ruined little girls’ confidence in themselves, for years. Not only does your doctor but also your parents, relatives, friends, friends of parents’ tell you, “You need to exercise!” Well I understand it is all in good interest but does anyone think how an 11 year old must be taking it? With so much hormonal changes and an age where we are most impressionable it is likely that things which happen at this age will stick with us for life.

Not to forget all the pretty little slender girls who always exceled in sprinting and relay runs and all that. And me? I have been asked to leave a racing track mid-way because all other contestants were already at the end line and others were waiting at start line.

Coming years were more painful because I just gained weight. At home we had the simplest staples for all three meals. Mum’s an excellent cook and she made simple stuff taste great. During our childhood, a pizza was a luxury; more like a thing you get on your birthday only. People who are otherwise so supportive of me gave me advice on what I should eat and what I should avoid. More and more turn in to tell you what is good and what is not, for you. With that you feel more ashamed, more terrified and more wrong about your body. You never grow up to be comfortable with what you are and consider it to be an obstacle for doing so many things. You start giving weight as an excuse to skip a sport. What if nobody planted this seed of doubt in you? Would you at least attempt that high jump? You would.

As much as I want to become thin and slender, a part of me, the 11 year old me, asks me to not lose myself in the process. Health is very important. For that you need to eat right but no one can stop you from running that 4k marathon if you have decided to do so. Don’t stop to dance because it might look odd. A 27 year old me, is far more confident and can give anyone a tough time. But this aggressive confidence didn’t come overnight. My entire teenage was sacrificed in making myself strong.

I urge you guys, whoever is reading. Please never pick on fat people. They have their own struggles and beneath all that fat are wonderful people who will surprise you if you give them a chance. Teach your kids not to tease a fat friend. It all starts at home. Well, in all fairness fat people are not the only ones under the large microscope of the society. We have so many stereotypes. Learn to be a little sensitive. It is a sweet world and it is up to us to maintain the sweetness.

Own up the size up

Few days back I bought a bigger shirt.

Since, the time I have gained back the few pounds I had lost, I refused to look at myself in the mirror. I have been putting it off for a while but I realised that you have to learn and accept who you are, or more importantly, who you have become. When you brush you hair in the morning you have to have a one on one with yourself. You can’t avoid. Even in that dim yellow light you do recognise yourself. I consider it a blessing that I have to get ready for the office in that dim light. The lesser I see of myself the better.

The bra-strap bites me. Every time it does, it reminds me that maybe it is because I am a couple of centimeter fatter today as compared to the day I bought the bra. Honestly, no one likes to be fat. Like no one wants to be short. As if it is some kind of flaw. It has taken me a lot to realise that these are only ways to describe us and no one is pointing out our flaws. If the entire world would have been fat, being thin would have been a flaw. It is not necessary for everyone to be tall and slender. Not everyone is supposed be same.

People who matter really see beyond your size. They see the person you are and not your appearance. In which case, it works as a mechanism that tells us who really care for us and who are not biased just because of the appearance. You be a good person, chances are you’ll always be a good person. But a thin person can become fat and vice versa. Every time I want to be thin, I tell myself that I am, in no way an obstacle, a disgrace or burden in anyway.  I am smart, multi-talented and independent woman. And  I want to do everything else right so that all that people have left to say about me in a negative light is that, ‘I am fat’.

 

The Myth and Funny of Balance

I wonder why and how I decide on diet. If you ask me I start off really well. After few days it is so bad that I cry out for help. I do not want to do anything that jeopardizes my effort of full 3 days! Believe me, it gets pretty bad.

I keep falling off the wagon and get back on with a few scratches here and couple of bruises there. I learn my lesson and go back to where I started. I want to give up and be like a normal person. I don’t know why I climb on this diet wagon again.

Well, honestly it feels grand to be there. It makes you feel good about yourself. Even though you do not see real results in a couple of days, it makes you feel good about trying to do something for yourself. A friend says, ‘The key to diet is balance. Don’t starve yourself.’ I think, maybe she is right. The very next moment I get a tempting invitation from her to have a samosa or so. Yeah right babes! Balance is the key.

Sometimes you find a fellow soldier fighting the same war. Both of you are fighting the same damn battle, perennially. You know you are not alone. All the diet restrictions don’t make you feel all that left out. As enthusiastic as you sound at first, you know this is meant to be. Until, one day one of the soldiers wants to have biryani. And the other soldier is forced to surrender. Before you know you have submitted to one gulab jamun, one rasgulla, one pav bhaji, one pani puri, one egg curry, one jalebi ; you get the drift right? Your best mate becomes your worst enemy and you want to defeat him or her in a cross fire.

The biggest problem is, you exchange your most loved food with worst hated fruits and vegetables. My inner goddess, who is a foodie, starves for that one morsel of heavenly food meat. I apologize to her again and again, and tell her it is for my own good. That she will benefit from it someday, is my guarantee.  I don’t think she is ever on my side. She sulks and says, ‘C’mon babes. One piece of chocolate won’t hurt’. I give in because I don’t like seeing anyone sulk so badly for food. Then one piece leads to another and before I know I have conquered the entire damned chocolate bar!

I feel pretty bad to get a head start at things and then back off with double the speed and vigor. What is that you say; consistency? I have heard about it. I think that is a myth too. One can’t think about being consistent about food. You eat when you are hungry. You eat when you feel like. Playing cricket well consistently, now that is a real thing. Consistency in matters of food is a sham! I would rather eat constantly than monitor every morsel consistently. No can do.

 

At times, I feel I am trying to get away from who I really am. Like they say, you are what you eat. Of course, I am not a fruit or vegetable. I am flesh and blood and meat. I am sweet and spicy. I am fatty and full of energy.  My blood is not fruit juice and my skin is not cabbage peel. Thanks Instagram and Pinterest for telling me that banana smoothies are great detox. Thanks for showing me pictures of people who changed one eating habit and lost 50 pounds. Thanks but no thanks. If I am to follow these fads I will have to flush myself out of my own body.

I think my body has found a default setting for myself. I was never a thin kid anyway. I mean people feel uncomfortable around me if I lose any weight. As if it is the most unnatural thing they have seen; more unnatural than a dog opening the door by the door knob to enter the house. ‘Tu aise hi acchi lagti hai’ (Means, You look good the way you are). I kind of not like it too much when people say that, but in a way it is beyond just comforting. So, thank you people for saving me from having a low self-esteem.

Coming back to balance, I really don’t know what it is. Mom makes amazing masala dosas. I can’t say I will have 40 ounces or 200 calories worth of Masala dosa and a cup of green tea. No you don’t do that. It is outright rude and stupid. You hog till you can eat no more and drop on the bed and thank god and mom for feeding you. Food is a mix of physical and emotional need. You are satisfied only when you over eat one extra morsel.

And you know what? That is all.

I thought once upon a time, that I will learn to balance things, in terms of food.  If anyone has already done that, I respect you guys. But it is exhausting to keep track of everything you eat. Even if you do, what is the point of it anyway? You are not a vehicle in which fuel is fed and it runs accordingly. You are humans. We have learned to appreciate good food by over eating it. We have also learned to spit out bad/stale food. It is as simple as that. The output of this fuel called good food is appreciation.

Oh what do I do about my weight now, you ask? There certainly will be a way to lose the extra kilos but I will never love myself the way I am if I try to do what I don’t believe. Even if I have fruit, I will do it because I enjoy an apple, an orange or a banana. Not eat melons because they are mostly water and helps you lose weight. No!

Balance for me is about knowing myself. I will do what makes me happy but not so much that it hurts me. I have never even once felt closer to being a ‘size 4 person’. I can’t relate to that. I will rather be a size 10 someday. Now that would be just amazing. I would rather have a larger than life attitude than have salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So bite me! In celebration of this happy realization, I would throw the past away, far far away. I wish to have more liberating moments for me and for all my loved ones. You guys are a swell. I am at a happy place and soon, you’ll be too.

 

 

Note: All pictures are courtesy of Google images. None used in this blog is originally by me.

Feminism or Click-bait?

I follow Facebook trends all the time. Not because I like it, well it is kind of my job. When you start working in the field of social media you sign an unsaid pact that requires you to follow social media trends. I have been noticing something from past few weeks or rather a month or so. There is a certain pattern in the kind of content that is doing rounds on Facebook these days? Have you noticed? For someone who has been into social media for a while do not take long to realize what kind of content has been working lately. If you have not noticed, you will when I tell you this. Women. Feminism. Anything to do with Females.

What are content makers doing these days? There seems to be a formula here. Pick a girl. Pick a situation. In the situation the girl was either very brave, or was molested, or was very sad or was sharing some experience from her life. Voila! The story is viral. I think I should get paid for giving this away but never mind.

Same thing has been happening from a past few days. I open Facebook and there are dozens of such articles. While I write this blog, I am going to pick examples LIVE!

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You get the point right? Do you think these stories do better than articles about the Policemen who died saving some people, or the Army who always live in terror of dying on the border? Maybe if the Army is connected to women or a woman soldier they will get more attention.

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See what I mean? Moreover, dead people will not do any good for your feel good content that your manager has asked you to make. We want more eyeballs and clicks and likes than genuine consideration. For that we need women doing something or the other. She could be the accused or the victim.

Nana Patekar has declared that he will pay poor farmer’s loans and that they should call him instead of committing suicide.

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I would urge you to look at the likes on this post and posts mentioned earlier in this blog. There is news that Rupee will be first emerging market currency to bounce back from the slowdown. We have serious health concerns amongst the youth in India but no one wants to talk about that.

Sexual harassment has always been a problem in India. Ironically and sadly, media is more obsessed with this issue than the police and authorities dealing with crime. Media should be more sympathetic and responsible about what they put in public. Talking about a sexual harassment incident about a person (woman, man or child) in public can hurt their sentiments as much as the act itself. It is a different story if they want to take the help of media to ask for justice. Here, no justice is happening. Every kind of media, even social media is obsessed with such stories and the details. Do not get me wrong. I feel bad for women who have to face some of the most heinous crimes by strangers and known people. #Hashtaging will never give justice. It might humiliate the victim further. It is just another Click-bait.

So where are we headed with Social activism? Online petitions, Hashtags, Facebook pages, you name it. Our generation just want to make a difference and that too quick. We want to contribute no matter whose problem it is. But is all of this helping? I know a few infrastructure related problems that were solved by signing online petition but we are talking about human life. How many rapists have been severely punished till date? Compared to kind of candle rallies and social media campaigns, the result has been nothing. All this is great but should we not face the reality already? Our assertiveness is considered as joke by people who actually have the power of making all the difference.

Have you watched the movie ‘Nayak’? Do you remember what Amrish Puri as a politician says about a mob of people that creates a riot in the city? He says, ‘Let people fight, let the buses burn. They will make noise, fight and will calm down on their own’. Don’t you think this is exactly what happens to all our online effort that we put? The defeat of this medium is that no one takes it seriously. There was a time when no one knew what social media was. So they did not take it seriously. Now they know what the crowd talks about and how we react to each and everything. Now, they take us granted.

The tragedy of Social Media today is that we easily forget people who have died. We easily forget people who have actually made a difference in the society. A like, a share is all we have to give to these people. What we remember is how a woman was ill-treated, how a girl was not allowed to go to school, how a woman was looked down upon because of her clothes. Evidence of the fact that people are interested in these topics is that, such articles keep circulating and appearing on your Newsfeed, repeatedly.

For once, give more importance to real news. How many articles do you see on ‘filing your taxes’ on social media? The last date is 31st August. Do you know what forms are for what purpose? I had no clue whatsoever. No one seems to be writing or reading content based on that. People in this business of helping file returns have to take help of ‘Ads’ to reach out to people and educate them. Don’t fall prey to such feminist, racist, eye-ball grabbing content. Their intention is just that. There is a content manager / social media manager asking them to make such content. It doesn’t mean it is more important than news of someone’s achievement or death or important instructions.

Handy list – How to start / write / reply professional emails

I have been working for past 5 years.  During this tenure, I have worked in different offices. One thing is common everywhere. Emails! Although in some places we were encouraged to talk face to face or over the phone, in some places it was mandatory to keep everything on record. In some places we have to use emails because your colleagues are not in the same office, city or country. You also share different kinds of relations with different people across offices. You have a very different relation with your client altogether. So far, do you guys agree with me?

Emails are the most important and necessary means of communication in offices these days. Yet, we sometimes are either out of words or ideas. We are on emails all the time and still we do not have the confidence to reply to a certain few. How ironic! I have faced situations where the person sending the email has written it so well that I became unsure of how I should reply. How much is too much? How less is too less? How much is just right?

Whether you are writing to your immediate supervisor, your colleague, or your ultimate boss, your mail goal is to send the message in a way that the recipient will understand it the way you want them to. Incorrect grammar or language or tone of message can ruin your impression. To avoid such mistakes you may want to do a spell check and grammar check on your email before you send it.

In this article, I am attempting to collate different kinds of emails that you may get on a day to day basis and how you can correctly reply to them. This is not about whether you should be replying formally or informally. Take a call depending on how your relationship with the person is. I will not confuse you with distinct options. These are professional emails and might help you get out of ‘How do I reply to this?’ or ‘How do I start this email?’ situation. If you find it helpful, bookmark it and use it when you find the need to.

 

Why are you writing this email?

  • With reference to our previous conversation, I would like to let you know that……
  • With reference to our telephonic conversation, I would like to inform you / let you know that….
  • Thank you for your email regarding the changes in… / modification in the scope of work. Here are some points I think we should look at before we start the job.
  • I am writing to make a reservation/ make an appointment/ to confirm my booking / to confirm our meeting today/ to apply for the position of… / to enquire about the recent developments.
  • Just a quick note. I wish to invite you to this seminar….
  • This an invite to join us in the team building activity
  • Hope you are doing well today. I just want to let you know..
  • I heard you are not keeping well and have not come to office. I just wanted to inform you about the latest changes in the scope of work….. Hope you feel better soon. Shall get in touch with you when you are back.

Emailing a person who is not in constant touch with you

  1. Hope this email finds you well
  2. Hope this email finds you in good health
  3. Hope you had a great weekend
  4. Heard you gave a lecture at ABC recently. Hope that went well
  5. I hope you are enjoying the season
  6. I hope you are enjoying your stay at ABC
  7. I trust you all are doing fine
  8. I trust you are doing well

 

Ask for some information or making a request

  • Could you please let me know if you are attending the conference today?
  • Could you please let me know if you will be available tomorrow for a short meeting?
  • Could you possibly fix a meeting with the finance team?
  • Could you possibly help me arrange a meeting with your Manager?
  • I would appreciate if you could please reply before 23rd August
  • Please let me know how much the whole arrangement is going to cost us
  • This sounds great. Do let me know what I am supposed to inform the dealers
  • That is not what I hoped for. What should I tell my manager?
  • I would also like to know if you will provide transport facility to and from the venue for the conference.
  • I read your email. I was wondering if you could come and see me next week.
  • There is a slight change in the schedule. Would you mind coming a little early to help us rearrange the presentation?
  • Do you think you can connect me with John?
  • Get back to me as soon as possible

A simple letter of acknowledgement

  • Thank you for your inquiry about the new tools we are using to do the analysis. One of us will contact you tomorrow and give you a full detail on how we are using this tool.

Thank you again for writing to us.

  • Thank you for checking in. I am glad that you are curious about the information on the report. Could you possibly let me know a good time to call you?

Looking forward to hear from you.

What is a good way to remind someone to reply to your email?

This could be a little tricky. Sometimes, some people are very busy and your email or your work is not a priority for them. Constant reminders or a rude tone can tick people off. Sometimes we are unaware that the recipient was not in town for a few days while we were waiting for their reply. When they come back and see rude emails they might not feel good about working on what you have sent. In some cases, it could be a genuine mistake that he/she missed your email.

We should always use a tone that suggests that you know how busy they are. Yet, you need to grab their attention.

  • Hope this mail finds you in good health. I had sent you an email regarding…… a few days back. Have you had a chance to look at it yet?
  • I was wondering if you have had a chance to look at the email attached below. (Mention why it is important. For eg: I would like to send Mr. X an update on this one today. OR Mr. X inquired about it today OR Mr. X needs it tomorrow for a meeting)
  • Hope you had a good weekend. I had sent you an email on Saturday. Please let me know about this when you get the chance.
  • We had sent you an invoice earlier this week. Please let us know about it when you get a chance. I understand you are busy with the new launch campaign. Hope it is going as per your expectations.

Sending some information or offering to help

  1. No problem. We are willing to arrange another meeting with the dealers.
  2. That won’t be necessary. We would be glad to send you another copy of the invoice if need be.
  3. I regret to inform that I won’t be able to attend your seminar tomorrow.
  4. I regret to inform you that I won’t be able to help you with this. You will have to speak with ……. I can connect you with him/her.
  5. I will surely be able to help you with that. Would you mind sending the file to me?
  6. Please do let me know if I can be of further assistance.
  7. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our team, should you need further information/ assistance.

Complaints

Here is another tricky ‘How do I put this across?’ situation. Remember, even though you are complaining, you should use a tone that will no intimidate the recipient. You need them to acknowledge your dissatisfaction and work better towards fulfilling your wish. At the same time, you cannot be too soft; they need to know you are upset.

  1. I am writing to express my dissatisfaction regarding your service….
  2. I would like to know how you or your company can compensate for the loss we have incurred due to your negligence.
  3. I wish to receive a full refund and compensation for the damages done.
  4. I regret to inform you that I was not satisfied with your product.
  5. I regret to inform you that your product was defective when we received it today from the delivery boy. Please arrange for a replacement as soon as possible.
  6. I regret to inform you that your performance on this project was not satisfactory. Let us discuss on how you can improve upon you skills.
  7. I am sorry to say that you’re late with the project delivery. By when can we expect it?
  8. I hope you don’t mind me saying that the candidate you had recommended was not at all suitable for the job.

How to apologize without sounding desperate for forgiveness?

  1. We will make sure that this will not happen again in the future.
  2. I promise it won’t happen again
  3. I am afraid I will not be able to join you for this meeting. Please fill me in later.
  4. I am sorry, but I can’t make it to the meeting. Fill me in later? Thanks!
  5. Please let us know how we can compensate for your losses.
  6. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay.
  7. I am really sorry for the delay

Attaching files – An alternative to boring PFA or ‘Attached with the mail’

  1. I am attaching my CV for your consideration
  2. I am attaching the time table for your perusal
  3. Could you send me the file in PDF, Word, Excel, PNG, JPEG……etc., format?
  4. I am afraid I am not able to open the attachment you sent me. Could you please send it again?
  5. Please find attached the file you requested
  6. I am sending you the art work as an attachment
  7. I can’t seem to open the attachment in my computer. May be you can send me the file in ______ format.

Respond to a critical email from your Boss

Ideally, it is best to not reply to a critical email by an email. It is difficult to gauge a person’s emotion via email. The matter might not be as severe as it seems while reading the email. It is easy to get into a trap of replying to the email too emotionally. Try and have a one-to-one conversation with your boss. You can also respond in a phone call. Do ask questions to clarify what he/she really meant and what he/she wants you to do about it. And if you can’t do both then what choice do we have left?

  1. I will get on with it right away.
  2. I have wanted to discuss the same with you for some time now. Can we have a meeting in an hour?
  3. I am sorry. It won’t happen again.
  4. I am sorry. I will get on with it as soon as I get the data from …..
  5. I have not been able to solve this on my own. I might need your help with this. I should have come to you earlier.
  6. I have not been able to focus on X project because of X2 project. I will get on with it asap.
  7. I understand your concern but I had mentioned earlier that I have been pulled into another project. Please do not worry. I will look into this matter as soon as possible.

Reply to an appreciation email

Some of us are experts in handing grievances and complaint emails but it can become a little awkward to respond to praise at work. It is even more difficult if you are not used to genuine appreciation from your boss.

  1. Thank you very much
  2. Thanks!
  3. Thank you for recognizing my efforts
  4. Many thanks!
  5. Really grateful for the opportunity
  6. Really grateful for the support, guidance and encouragement
  7. Your appreciation means a lot to me.
  8. Thank you for your kind words
  9. Thank you very much. Rest assured that I will continue to do my best at work and support our team
  10. I received your email yesterday and I would like to sincerely thank you for your appreciation.

I hope you all find this handy. If you have any more suggestion or want to cover a situation that I have not covered already please do write in.

Child-like Curiosity

Do you remember the time when life was simple? Do you remember the time when you thought anything in the world is possible? A rainy day was a perfectly good day to play outside and jump in the puddle; knowing you are going to get it from your mother. You were not afraid your clothes will get dirty. You were not afraid that you will fall sick.

When something as simple as Rs 5. worth chocolate from a visitor would make your day. Did you care about the cavity in your tooth? You cared more that you will have to share it with your sibling. Yet, you used to end up sharing it with them. Were you ever worried about scrapped elbow, bruised knee, bleeding teeth?

One little thing would light up your day. One close friend was all you needed to be happy and feel important. If dad got you a toy (not necessarily your favourite), it was the best day of your life; no matter what had happened before or after that. It was the best day ever, every time! You used to be so enthusiastic about an activity that you never cared about the consequences.

Don’t you just wish to collect all these memories, the enthusiasm in a bottle, shake it up and drink it all up, so that you may be like that again? So that you can cheer your adult, responsible life for once, with all the innocence and purity? We often try to take a vacation, go out of town to de-stress ourselves and mostly stress ourselves more to decide where to go, how to go and the other details. Instead, in our daily life if we can have a child-like curiosity, won’t it be great? Can’t we be innovative in what we do in our daily lives? At least, dare to dream and ask questions, no one can think of. Does it strike a chord? Do you know someone who fits the description? I bet it would be a 5 – 6 yrs old kid.

How ridiculous? I am 40 yrs old, how can think like a 5 year old? Choose a number, your age. It is your choice. I started at 21. You can start whenever you want. I have compiled a list of (silly) ideas. I am not saying I have done them all. But I wish to!

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Don’t be satisfied before you get an answer – If there is something you are curious about, find the answer. Do not settle for ‘because it is so’, or ‘because it is like that’ for an answer. Be persistent, not irritating though, till you are satisfied with the answer.

Ignore people who say, “You can’t do it” – They simply don’t know. They have never tried it themselves. So how can they tell you that you can’t? Even if they have tried and succeeded what makes you limit your chances to try the same thing? If you can do it, so can I.

Each day is new and brings endless possibilities – Look at each day as today you can make some thing possible.

Be flexible – Remember how kids change their minds easily? It can be irritating sometimes but it is irritating for you, not the kid. He is happy with his change of mind.

If past was tough, forget about it – Yes, we fail all the time and every time you have failed, it seems tougher. But everyday is a new start. Could be a lot easier today than yesterday because you already know the monster you are facing.

Cry – I cry all the time. I cry when I am too happy, I cry when I am angry and I cry when I am heartbroken. I get the best sleep once I have cried it all out. Some days are more difficult than others and the constant need to put up a strong face can get on you. It is okay to cry. Yes, even for men.

Do nothing– If sometimes you have nothing to do, do not stress over it. Doing nothing is the most difficult thing to do. How many times have you purposely switched your music off and looked out of the window of a bus? Or just sit in a room on a sofa with no phone in hand, TV switched off, no newspaper; just sit.

Assume you will do great at a new task – Half the war is won when you are not scared of new challenges. Playing a musical instrument, take up a course, dance, sing, it could be anything.

Get yourself a piggy bank – Remember the joy when the jar starts to become heavy over a period of time? Save small. Put the coins in. Once it is full, buy yourself an ice cream. It is the same money you had, just out of a piggy bank. So much better!

Surround yourself with colours – Didn’t you have a favourite colour as a kid? You used to end up buying something just because it was that colour. Surround yourself with your favourite colour. It lifts your mood up.

Sit on the floor and eat – Most Indian families still do that because it is a custom or some families do not have the furniture. What I am talking about is sitting cross-legged and enjoying your meal. You can sit cross legged on a chair as well. I am short. So, at times, I sit cross legged on a chair, in office as well. It gives you a different kind of comfort.

Make a mess in kitchen – Most of us women aspire to be wonderful cooks. With cooking what is more important is the cleanliness of the kitchen after you have cooked a delicious meal. Sometimes, just don’t bother. As long as you have enough space in the kitchen, let it mess up.

Tell your parents that you love them – They are the two people in the world you have whom you take granted for, the most. Of course, you love your parents! Won’t they love to hear it from you once?

Share a meal – Do you remember sharing your lunch with your classmates? Mom used to pack 1 dish. You used to have 7-8 different kinds of food for lunch. Every friend’s tiffin was famous for that one dish! Mine was idli chutney. No one can beat my mom at that.

Make friends with work people – You spend most of your time at work. It will be great to know more about them than what project they are on. They are people, after all.

Lastly….happy thoughts! Think of a lot of happy thoughts. Spot a bird, pretend you can understand a puppy’s expression, look at the wide blue sky, get drenched in the rain, drink a cup of hot cocoa, share, do a good deed, play with a baby, help a friend/stranger, listen to someone, talk silly, dance, and laugh. These things are my happy thoughts. I am glad to share them with you!

And if you have more to add to my list you are most welcome. I can use a longer list before I run out of ideas!

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