Give up your crumbs

It was just another tiring Monday at work. All the emloyees at our company (that’s three people in all), were hitting roadblocks in our work and so the boss decided that we’d all go out for some samosas and chai.

One would have to be a fool to say no to that suggestion and so, off we went, heading for this little chai joint that was hardly a hundred meters away from the office.

While walking towards the place, we noticed there were three little girls in rags, huddled up in a circle.  They seemed to be hitting something that they held in their hands, tapping it constantly, seemingly trying to clean the object that they held. On closer inspection, we saw that it was a piece of a glazed doughnut that was covered with ants. The girls had found this little piece under a car and were trying to clean it up just enough so they could get a bite of this sugar coated bread-like-food.

We stared at them for a while, looking in pity; but even as we stared, we did not stop walking – we continued towards the shop – we knew there were chai and samosas waiting for us.

The boss, however, took a small detour, and as we continued to watch the girls, he walked into a doughnut store, picked up a box of sugar glazed doughnuts, and headed back outside, towards the girls.

“Stop that”, he said, looking at them sternly.

The girls turned around to see this man, almost ready to argue with him, but stopped as soon as they saw the huge box of doughnuts in his hand. They ran to him in glee, with their hands raised up –

“Brother, give us brother, please..,” they cried out.

He handed it to them, gladly, on the condition that they would give up the old doughnut – the one that was covered in ants – to which the girls happily agreed.

I mean, why wouldn’t they? Why would they not agree to give up something they found on the street, something that was a messy, icky, tiny piece of a whole, covered in dirt and ants? Why would they not want to give it up for the whole – for what they were really after?

They would’ve been fools to refuse the offer, wouldn’t they?

But I wonder – would they still have listened to him if they hadn’t seen the box of doughnuts in his hands? Would they still have given up chasing after the spoilt one? Would they still have obeyed this strange man who was asking them to let go what they were after in that moment?

Or…what if he had given them only a promise – a promise of better doughnuts on the condition that they’ll give up the old one? Would they have listened to him?

Our heart’s natural desire is towards comfort and ease and instant glorification, towards our stomach desires regardless of whether or not it’s going to make us sick- sick enough to die. It’s never been towards submission, obedience and sacrifice of the temporary.

We are not a generation who waits patiently, who realises that in the waiting and giving up of mouldy food, a feast like we can never have fathomed is being prepared for us. That we never ever have to settle for scraps. All of our soul searching and feasting is a downward spiral of fumbling across our sin and our needs, when our eyes should be higher; remembering the promises that have been made towards us, remembering the nature of God who has made these promises.

When we forget God and his promises, He still remains faithful.

I wonder what our lives would look like if if we realigned our ways to be in tune with His plan, how our lives would flourish if we said, “Yes, Lord,” instead of, “But I want all of it now”

When we step into His will and the things He’s called us to that we’d otherwise turn down, it breeds opportunities of joy, of fulfilment, of rewards far beyond our eyes and hearts can see.

Lose the messy, tiny, ant – filled doughnut.  Make room for the glorious feast.

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“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Business Analytics & Big Data – The Skill Gap

Recent research shows that there is a huge gap between the demand of Business Analytics & Big Data experts and the skillset available among professionals today.

A Times of India article on May 4th 2017 highlights this fact, also mentioning that the number of candidates present for these roles is less than half the demand and that these positions are highly popular among industries. “All these jobs fetch a premium of 25 – 35% over what a regular software developer earns,” says Ronesh Puri, MD of search firm Executive Access.

Here’s the TOI article

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Considering this huge skill gap and the fact that professionals are looking for new career prospects, NITTE School of Management, Bangalore is organizing a seminar on Analytics & Big Data to discuss on the growth of this industry, the career prospects available, and what one needs to do to excel in this field.

Mr. N M Sharma, an expert in the industry with over 30 years of experience, who lead the analytics team at one of India’s largest consultancy firms, will be speaking and taking questions at the seminar.

This is a huge opportunity and a ‘must-attend’ event for all you folks out there who are looking for new opportunities, or who are simply looking to understand more about the analytics & big data industry.

You can get more details about the event here.

Did I mention you can get a discount on the registration? Because you definitely can!

AND you will be issued a certificate.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, register! Or if you’re still not sure, give us a call (9916633577)

See you at the seminar!

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”

Ephesians 5:15-16

 

The blunt knife

A hot day, a long ride in Bangalore traffic, a full stomach! All these things combined made me crave a full glass of cool lemonade today.

It’s Easter weekend – one of those days when my cleanliness obsessed mother goes on a dusting spree. Normally, she makes the best lemonade, but obviously, it wouldn’t have been fair of me to ask her to make it when she had so much to do, so I thought I’d prepare some for everyone.

“Ma, is there any lemon at home?”, I asked her.

“For what?”, came the suspicious reply. I couldn’t blame her really – I’ve caused enough accidents to get myself banned from the kitchen for life.

“For some lemonade Ma”, I said.

“Lemonade? Now? No!” she said, sternly.

“But why?”

“Because I have to clean the house and I don’t have time”

“Mother, I’ll make the lemonade”, I replied.

She was startled! I swear I could almost see a tear rolling down her cheek. It’s almost like her face was saying – “My son? Doing something good at home? I never thought I’d live to see this day.”

Ah, but she did! And so, off I went to the kitchen. I pulled out the one lemon I could find from the refrigerator. Placing three glasses on the kitchen counter, I filled them up with water and put the right amount of sugar and salt in them, following the perfect lemonade recipe.

I then proceeded to something far more dangerous – cutting the lemon. Taking the knife in one hand and the lemon in the other, I placed the yellow fruit down and brought the blade down on it to split it in two…

…but it didn’t work. Nothing happened! The lemon sat there on the kitchen counter, almost seemingly laughing at me.

So I tried again. I hit it again, but still, nothing. So I tried a different approach. I violently began to slide the blade over the thick skin of the lemon. Still, it refused to let the blade pass through it.

After over five minutes of futile struggle, I walked up to my mother in disappointment.

“Ma”, I said with my face down, “is there a sharper knife? This one is too blunt.”

She looked at me, almost feeling sorry for me. She took the knife from my hand, went up to the lemon, and in a split second, she brought the knife down, leaving the fruit in two exact equal halves.

She looked back, while I stood there with my mouth wide open. With the most disappointed face, she showed me the edge of the knife that she used – the sharp edge – the one I didn’t, and said –

“My son, the knife is not what’s blunt here.”

Lemonadeblog

The Fishy Gospel

The Fishy Gospel

Awe & Wonder

“I learnt about incarnation when I kept a salt-water aquarium. Management of a marine aquarium, I discovered, is no easy task. I had to run a portable chemical laboratory to monitor the nitrate levels and the ammonia content. I pumped in vitamins and antibiotics and sulfa drugs and enough enzymes to make a rock grow. I filtered the water through glass fibers and charcoal, and exposed it to ultraviolet light. You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow loomed above the tank, they dove for cover into the nearest shell. They showed me one “emotion” only : fear. Although I opened the lid and dropped in food on a regular schedule, three times a day, they responded to each visit as a sure sign of my designs to torture them. I…

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Give yourself grace

“The last week has been quite painful and unsettling for me. If all that could go wrong could, it did. From losing my phone to writing a paper I didn’t prep well enough for to doing work where I felt I wasn’t giving my best. I started telling myself the same lies that always seem to show up when failure happens, “You messed up. Not good enough. You’ve let people down.”

However, it’s also been a week of learning a lot more about failure and discipline. Discipline has caused me to become a more grace-filled human. I never thought discipline would be the thing to teach me about grace but it has.

Habits don’t form without failure. Relationships don’t grow without failure. We don’t become who we were made to be without failure. It’s necessary. Failure will either be a catalyst that propels you forward in the direction you need to head or a roadblock that keeps you standing in one place. No one starts something new and gets it right the first week. Discipline doesn’t evolve overnight and that’s because building discipline coincides with building character. Neither are quick and instant.

You need to give yourself grace to fail. Give yourself grace to be in process. You need to be able to fall down or mess up if you ever want to be a stronger person.  The strong isn’t one who never messed up. The strong person messes up and keeps going anyway. The strong person never quits.

Think about the amount of small things we mess up on a daily basis and how hard we knock ourselves down because of them? You ate the cake. You missed the workout. You forgot about the meeting. You didn’t prepare enough for the test. It’s all a lot of small stuff but we kill ourselves with criticism to make ourselves feel just as small as the issue.

Failure is inevitable. It happens to all of us.  What matters more is how you speak to yourself when the failure happens. Are you kind? Do you give yourself grace? Are you the only one in your world who doesn’t extend grace when you mess up?

Be careful with how you speak to yourself this week. Note the small talk happening in your head when you get it right and when you get it wrong. You might fail six or seven times before something finally sticks and you see a change in yourself. That’s okay. It matters that you keep getting up and showing up. It matters that you learn to speak to yourself with more grace and kindness. Don’t underrate kindness. The notion “be kind” doesn’t just invite you to be kind to your neighbor or friends. Be kind is a statement for yourself. Be kind is something you need to practice when the small talk turns on in your brain. Be kind to yourself and be good to others.”

– The Pearlfriend

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“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things” – Philippians 4:8

Pizzas and strange tastes

After a whole year of constant teasing and nagging, the men of the Glorious Choir finally achieved the impossible – we got Joby and Allan to treat us to dinner. As soon as they relented, we headed off to an all you can eat pizza place, known for its delectable pizzas.

Twelve boys and forty-five pizzas may not make any sense, but it was worth it.

Towards the end of our feasting, Joel, who had said he’d be late, walked in. It was almost closing time and his was the last order before the kitchens closed. He flipped through the menu quickly and chose.

Ten minutes later, his pizzas began arriving one at a time.

“Sir, three cheese pizza”, said one waiter.

“Bacon and prawns, Sir”, said another.

“Sir, pepperoni”

“Sir, Caesar’s salad pizza”

“Barbeque chicken pizza, Sir?”

“Sir, chocolate banana pizza”

Everyone froze!

“Whoa, hold on a minute. You ordered a pizza with chocolate and bananas?” one of us said, looking at him with disgust.

“Bro, trust me, it’s delicious”, said Joel.

We laughed, ridiculing his strange tastes.

When the pizza actually came, we laughed even more. It looked hilarious. Just some chocolate sauce spread across the base with four slices of banana placed on top – it was so strange.

“What’s wrong with you, man?” someone asked, still laughing.

Joel just sat there, smiling, the pizza in front of him- “How about you try a slice?”

Immanuel, who was right next to Joel, took a piece, and very reluctantly, took a tiny bite. His eyes closed, and as he chewed, a smile slowly spread across his face. He leaned back in his chair and heaved a deep sigh. His face said it all: Divine!

We jumped up, every last one of us, rushing towards the chocolate-banana pizza trying to get a bite. The laughter stopped; it was serious now, the need to grab a piece before it ran out outweighing friendships. Scratching and pushing each other, some of us were fortunate to get a bite of what I can only describe as pure bliss. The others watched as we ate and lost ourselves in the deliciousness of that little bite we managed to get.

“One more chocolate – banana pizza”, one of us screamed, looking at the waiter.

“For me too”

“Make that three”

“But sir, the kitchen is closed.”

“Please! Only one?? Can’t anything be done?”

“No sir, we’re sorry”

Joel smiled at us with a benign ‘I told you so’ expression, and finished his meal.

We were so wrong about the chocolate-banana pizza. We had laughed, so unnecessarily, and had judged because it sounded strange. We thought Joel was stupid to order it. We laughed at how silly it looked. We judged preemptively, even though we’d never tasted it before. But now that we had, we realised how good it was, and we wanted more. We laughed at something we didn’t understand, and at someone who did, but now we were the ones who wanted it.

Why?

It was simple.

We had tasted, and had seen that it was good.

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Psalm 34:8

‘Philip found Nathaneal and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, the One whom the prophets foretold – Jesus of Nazereth, the son of Joseph.”

Can anything good come from Nazereth?” Nathaneal asked.

Come and see“, said Philip’

 – John 1:45-46

 

Soumya Indian Style – Biriyani and fried chicken

Soumya Indian Style – Biriyani and fried chicken

It’s been around a year since I last met people from college. After graduation, everyone  got busy with their jobs and studies, that plans to meet up became quite rare.

So you can only imagine my joy and surprise when Nikhil Reddy called, saying it’s been a while and that he would love to meet up.
And so, I decided to make a dinner plan. I texted whoever I thought would be free. Somebody suggested meeting in Indiranagar, and no one really objected to it, so that’s where we decided to meet.

The only question now was where in Indiranagar. The one place I’m quite familiar with is Glen’s Bake House and so, I texted everyone –

“Glen’s Bake House?”

The replies came soon enough.

“Sure”

“< thumbs up emoticon >”

“Cool”

“K”

Only Nikhil Reddy’s reply was not so enthusiastic. Maybe the place I suggested didn’t have food that was spicy enough for him, or maybe he just isn’t a fan, I don’t really know.

“Soumya Indian Style .. rice batting beda? Meals and chicken fry?” was the reply.

As comfortable I am with Glen’s, the idea of chicken fry spoke to my heart. I wasn’t eating lunch that day and the thought of some fried kababs made my mouth water. Eating at Soumya Indian Style sounded like a good idea.

“Let me check with the others”,I said.

So I texted one of the others asking her if she’d want to have meals and chicken fry at Soumya Indian Style instead.

“In Indiranagar? I don’t mind. Sounds better.”

The decision was made. Meals and chicken fry at Soumya Indian Style; or atleast I hoped the decision was made. I hoped that no one would really have a problem with it. I knew I had to let everyone know that we’re going to meet there and just keep my fingers crossed, hoping no one will say, “no, that’s not what I want.”

So I began to type out the text, telling everyone where we were meeting and at what time. The only problem was I didn’t know where Soumya Indian Style was in Indiranagar. Apparently, nobody did.

I looked on Google maps and I couldn’t find it either.

So I texted the one person who knew, the one who had suggested going there in the first place.

I texted Nikhil – “Soumya Indian Style it is. Where is it?”

And then came the quick reply –

“Lol. Sorry, autocorrect. I meant ‘some'”

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