The First Impression

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Let me tell you at first that I am not writing this for the purpose of job interview guide – NO. When I first saw today’s word prompt, I thought of discussing my experiences and views on the importance of the first impression we make to the people we interact (Note – I am not a pro!!). This is true for an interview panel, meeting a new colleague (classmate in college), a relative and even a stranger.

The way we react for the first time matters a lot. It takes just one-tenth of a second to judge someone and make a first impression. So these are the things I feel the most important to make a note –

1. Be yourself

This is what I have seen many of my friends not following and facing problems. Be it a job interview or any common meeting with any person, being yourself is the most necessary part. Don’t ever try to pretend something you are not. It’s your personality that tells what you are – no matter how big talks you do.

2. Self Confidence

One of the most necessary things in your life is confidence. No matter in what situation you are, this is a miracle booster. Always be confident from inside.

Well I am not glorifying myself but many of my friends always ask me – “How are you so confident and cool always?” My theory is simple – don’t take unnecessary stress and don’t let expectations burden you. Being worried is nothing wrong – everyone gets worried. But what you have to do is – if you are worried deep inside, take a deep breath and shake it off from your head. Showing low confidence always sends a wrong impression about you. But always remember – there is a thin line between confidence and over confidence – DO NOT cross this line.

3. Body Language Matters

Pretty tricky one right? But this is highly important. Small things – greeting with a friendly smile, shaking hands with a firm grip etc. matters a lot. A friendly, confident body language is a great advantage in building a fantastic first impression.

4. Listen

We all love to talk, right (well, at least most)? But the problem with most of us is, we don’t want to listen. This creates a hurdle in the path of building a proper communication and lack of communication leads to a poor impression. Do listen to the other person with attention, nod in appreciation – if you disagree, hold on and wait for your turn to speak. Being a good listener increases your patience and you can communicate on full understanding – not just forming an opinion of your own on half information.

5. Control Your Emotions

This is where we need to put a caution note. Normally we all get irritated when someone criticizes us. This is what exactly we need to avoid. Always remember you are not above mistakes. So if it’s a constructive criticism, listen. If you disagree, politely state that. Now if you ask me what to do with a person who just belittles you without reason? Well, just leave the place – no point arguing with an ignorant person and demeaning yourself.

These are some major things I find useful for our day to day communication and interaction with people. What else do you think are important? Do share in comments !!

Impression

And Then…. ( Part – I )

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“Hello Mr. Becker. Please take seat.”, said Dr Kaufmann in a cordial voice. “What happened?”. “It’s the same thing again doc.”, answered Mr. Becker, with a terror in his voice. Dr. Norman Kaufmann was now surprised. Despite his knowledge and 25 years of experience in handling number of weird and difficult cases of psychology, this was something which left him clueless. “This is really strange. Though I already know the issues, there’s no harm in telling your whole experience again. You know, there may be some minute details, which I may have missed.”.

Mr. Becker took a deep breath, cleared his throat and began his story, ” Doc, you know that I am facing a strange problem. I am seeing a dream – repeating everyday. This is what I saw yesterday. I am trying to express every detail I recall.

I felt at first I was floating adrift. The only thing I could see was the clear sky above. I was moving randomly without any destination, just like a lost ship. It seemed peaceful, relaxing. All of a sudden a series of waves seemed to emerge right beside me. They were huge and came down roaring towards me. I couldn’t understand what or why it was happening. Suddenly a voice instructed me out of nowhere, “Run Andrew run!!”. I started running wildly and voice continued to guide me. I didn’t recognize the voice but it seemed, very strangely, the voice knew me!! The instructions led me to a house. It was a two storied house, worn out due to it’s age and seemingly abandoned. I was about to enter through the gate – just then, a person came out of the house to take me inside. And just at that moment I heard a sound from behind. I turned around and saw a stranger with a gun in his hand, guarding the main gate. Just in front of the house, two graves were dug. The person who came out of the house, tried to save me but a blasting shot from the stranger’s gun took him out. I shrieked in fear and tried to run away, but something kept me still by force. I couldn’t move. Then I saw the man shooting at me. I saw a splash of blood coming out of my heart and everything went black.

I woke up in my be, panting hard. After I felt it was a dream, I went to sleep again. But no it was not!! The same sequences repeated again exactly in the same manner!! I was desperately trying to wake up thinking it as a dream, but all efforts were in vain. I was shot again and and everything went blank again. This time, I woke up in my bed again. I pinched myself to understand the I was not dreaming, and finally I was sure that I was not dreaming anymore. For the rest of the night, I just couldn’t sleep. Do something doc – I beg you.”.

The last sentence of Andrew sounded like a heart wrenching plea, begging to stay alive. Dr. Kaufmann was pretty anxious. He had been treating Andrew for a month, but it seemed that the dreams are getting more and more detailed. It was a queer case. This was not an usual case of stress, hallucinations, depression etc. It seemed more serious, intense, deep. It seemed that the roots of this case lay in Andrew’s personal life. He placed his comforting hand on Andrew’s shoulder. “Mr. Becker, don’t get upset. I am here with you. We will definitely solve it. But tell me one thing, I think the second part you said was new, right?”. Andrew nodded, “Yes, it is. I never had this experience of experiencing a dream twice. I am pretty scared now.”. “Don’t be scared. It is only a dream. What we want to find is why you are experiencing this. Stay calm and call me anytime you need. Okay?”

Andrew was somewhat relieved to get Dr. Kaufmann in his side. He told about this dream to his wife and she reacted as if Andrew was drunk. He visited numerous psychologists to get rid of this, but none actually did took the problem seriously until Dr. Kaufmann. So he got up, shook Dr. Kaufmann’s hand cordially and left for home.

After Andrew left, Dr. Kaufmann reclined back in his chair and closed his eyes. He knew no traditional way could solve this. He sensed there were some threads in his dream that needed to be picked up. But what were these threads and how to identify which are useful? He thought and thought and finally decided to call his most ingenious and most reliable school friend, Norby.

To be continued………

Adrift

Mystery Blogger Award

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First of all, let me thank Mark for nominating me for this great award. I apologize for replying pretty late, because I was pretty busy and also trying to complete my first attempt to write a thriller in my blog – which I finished yesterday.

Mark Jacobs is one of my favourite writers here and his stories displays his versatility in writing. Do visit Mark – you will be amazed.

Questions for me :

What does writing do you for you, as far as your day-to-day mood?

It gives me avenue to express myself, my thoughts, my imaginations. I believe it’s pretty necessary for an introvert person like myself, who is always somewhat alone, even if laughing with the crowd.

Do you believe that one does not need to read, in order to write?

No, I don’t believe it. Writing something is not very easy. Your thoughts can’t always be processed into words without reading a lot. Furthermore, your own outlook, your knowledge get more and more enhanced when you read more and more. Reading is essential to write something worthy.

Do you have a personal favourite blog post you have read in the past month?

Personally, persons I follow and also my followers – all have great blog content. But a few days back I read a poem of chaos-xd which I really felt to be “dangerously beautiful”.

Questions to my nominees :

  • Write four things which define you.
  • Have you ever experienced critical comment (justified or unjustified) on your posts or comments? How did you you deal with it?
  • Do you love reading? Name the favourite book and tell the reason.
  • If you are given an option to live the rest of the life in Mars – what is the one thing you will essentially take with you? (Of course not water, food etc. like that 🙂  )

My Nominees :

And all my followers, please consider yourselves to be nominated !!

Awesome Blogger Award

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First of all, I would say I feel extremely honoured to be nominated for this award by two very special bloggers – Avid Observer and silencespeaks12. “Avid Observer” writes from the heart and the writings are amazing. As evident from the name, “silencespeaks12” is an amazing blogger who expresses the feelings buried deep inside us vividly, I would recommend visiting them for sure.

This award was created by miss Maggie over at dreaming of Guatemala! And she says :

“This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

RULES OF THIS AWARD:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.Include the reason behind the award. Include the banner in your post.
  • Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.
  • Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.
  • Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated!

Questions for me :

One thing you do make your morning a good morning?

Smile and laugh a lot.

If you were an animal then which animal you would have been and why?

Lion – because somehow I have a desire of being the ruler and saviour of the world. ( I know I sound weird, but that doesn’t stop me imagining 🙂  )

A bad habit that you have and is difficult for you to change it?

Getting angry in a flash.

If you got a chance to switch your life with someone for two days who will be that someone and why?

I would like to be an army officer, because I believe I am a warrior at heart and in that way I can serve my people.

What kind of music you mostly prefer?

Classical compositions – but don’t ask my favourite composer, because I have a never ending list.

A life hack that you learned and love it.

Ah…. I always love to learn new, weird stuffs. I always try to repair my PC and laptop on my own for some minor problems and while doing that I have how to check whether SMPS is working, how to find out problems in your motherboard, how to fix OS related issues (not all of course) etc. And yes, I am a car-lover so I am into learning those tricks as well… 🙂

Whom do you admire the most?

My mother.

What is your favourite book?

“War and Peace” – Leo Tolstoy

What kind of places do you like to visit?

Places of natural beauty and of historical interest. I love travelling a lot and I guess my readers already know this.. 🙂

Which one post of your blog is really special to you?

Lost and Found – I can’t explain why, but somehow after completing the writing, I was pleased from inside, which I am normally not with my other posts.

Questions for my nominees :

  • Why do you write?
  • Have you ever experienced critical comment (justified or unjustified) on your posts or comments? How did you you deal with it?
  • Do you believe in chance or luck? Or everything is based on logic?
  • Do you believe you have got to read a lot to write?
  • One thing you dislike about my blog ( I know it’s weird, but I need to rectify myself as well 🙂  )
  • Have you ever tried hypnosis or self-hypnosis?
  • If you are given two choices – death for denying to accept a lie as a truth, life for accepting a truth as a lie, what would you choose?
  • Do you prefer working alone in your own way or always prefer to get someone as your partner?
  • How do you define yourself in one sentence?
  • Tag your own favourite post you posted here.

My Nominees :

And all my followers please consider yourselves nominated as well !!

 

The Last Job (Part – III – Finale)

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It was evening already when he reached the final destination. It seemed that Eddington street was not a very populous place and it was easy to find 71/C. The house was situated at one of the remotest places along the road, marking the far end of the road itself. It was a two-storied building, seemingly pretty old but decently maintained. As the house was situated at a corner, it could not be viewed easily, which made the house a decent place for hiding. The few neighboring houses seemed either empty or lights out and the scarcity of street lights made the place enough desolated. Grieg hid behind the long shadow of a building and kept waiting for the clock to strike twelve.

He waited and waited. The bustling noise of traffic from distance became fainter and fainter. It was deafening silence. Suddenly he saw a shadow moving. It was approaching towards the house. Grieg kept watching. The shadow stopped in front of the door, tried to find something from his pocket, probably the key. From the faint light coming from distance, the shadow seemed somewhat familiar to him, but he couldn’t be sure. Then the shadow disappeared inside.

Grieg came out of his hiding and stealthily approached the house. The door was locked from inside. He took out the key he got from the briefcase and entered quietly – like a cat approaching with it’s velvet paws to grab it’s prey. No sound was heard inside – just a dim ray of light seemed to be coming from a room, presumably the master bedroom. Grieg climbed up the wooden staircase, removing his boots to avoid noise. The door seemed to be left ajar. Peeking inside, Grieg saw a tall man sitting on a couch with some papers in hand. He couldn’t see the man’s face as he was facing backwards. Grieg pushed the door to go inside and just then the man spoke from his couch – “Welcome Sergei. So we meet again.”

Grieg was so stunned that he just dropped the gun. He knew this voice. It was his unknown employer sitting in front of him!! But how did he know this?! Grieg was sure he wiped out every traces of his previous life before he came in here. But this name “Sergei”?? The man spoke again – “Take a seat Sergei. You don’t recognize me, do you? Now you will.”. Grieg walked up like a robot and sat down on a couch in front of the mystery man. Once he saw the face, everything came back in his mind like a flash.

“Nikolai !! You are alive !!”.

“Yes I am Sergei – and it seems you are not very happy to see me.”

“Why have you come back? Why did you played with me like this? You are trying to make me a criminal again. Why?”

“I am not trying to make you a criminal – you ARE a criminal Sergei. Just one thing I had to do, just like old times, offer you an amount you can’t refuse. And I succeeded !! I achieved what all I wanted. Now, I guess you know why I tempted you to be here tonight.”

Grieg knew he was in a trap. The arrival of Nikolai unraveled a dirty, notorious past life he had once – which he thought he buried long ago. Sergei, originally from Mexico, was Grieg’s parental name, though he lost both his parents in a car crash in Mexico. At a very young age Sergei was thrown into the rough, illegal world of drug trafficking – for earning the money to stay alive. Nikolai happened to be one of his partner and worked as a messenger. Sergei happened to be a quick learner and became a master handler withing a few years. He with his three partners Nikolai, Jose and Antonio formed a gang to deal with big drug dealers and collecting ransoms from the clients. This gang was a terror to all and was known as “Black Gang” in police records and all of them were most wanted. But for 20 years, nobody could even touch them.

One day, while collecting payment from a drug dealer, a heated argument broke out regarding payment and in a fit of rage, Sergei shot him in head from point blank range. After that accident, all of them decided to rob the dealer’s house and flee away forever. It was decided the looted booty would be kept by Nikolai and afterwards, four of them would be dividing it. But when they fled from Mexico, none of them could find Nikolai. He vanished. Jose and Antonio parted ways and went under cover. Sergei got himself a new identity, became Grieg and started afresh.

“You found Jose and Antonio, right?”

“Yes I did. In fact, you set the killer traps for Jose a day before. Remember?”, Nikolai gave an evil smile.

“Joey.. It was Jose?? YOU ******* !!! After taking all the money you have come back now to kill all of us you dirty ******* ? You think you can escape this? I left a goodbye note at home. I don’t return and you will be hunted down by the police.”

“I worked with you Sergei. You always told, “Never leave a trace”. That’s exactly what I am doing now Sergei. I am sorry. I have a family too. But you know, you need to clear your path always so that no thorn is left to make you bleed – even by mistake.”

Saying this, Nikolai took out Grieg’s Beretta, put a silencer and said in a cold voice, “You know Sergei, relax. It will look like a suicide only. Believe me, I am a professional.” Grieg jumped upon Nikolai with full force to resist him. Nikolai tried to throw him off and in this scuffle, the gun was fired clumsily and a 9mm. bullet pierced Grieg’s right lung. As Grieg staggered back, Nikolai put another bullet aiming the heart. Grieg collapsed on his knees knowing it was the end. He heard the footsteps of Nikolai, descending the stairs hurriedly and suddenly a fierce explosion rocked the whole house.

Grieg was laughing for the last time. He knew his plan worked. Sensing danger, he had set a booby trap under one of the stairs – which Nikolai missed in his hurry. All Grieg tried to think was of Jane and Alan at the last moments of his life and finally everything went dark before his eyes as his heart stopped beating.

**************** The End ****************

Notorious

Re-living History

India is the land of one of the oldest known civilizations of the world with her history dating around 5000 years back. It’s no wonder that the whole country is full of very old heritage sites, many of them being categorized in the UNESCO world heritage list. One of such places is Mahabalipuram, a coastal city situated at the coast of Bay of Bengal.

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Location – Mahabalipuram

Situated at a distance of around 60 km. from Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, India, this coastal city served as a bustling port in India from 1st CE and became one of the major ports during the rule of Pallava kingdom (7th – 9th CE). The city is also known as Mamallapuram, named after the great Pallava king, Narasimhavarman I – popularly known as “Mamalla” (the great wrestler) because of his huge military might.

Pallavas are known for producing one of the finest architectural specimens of ancient India and Mahabalipuram has got some of the finest specimens of Pallava art. One of the unique features of these architectures is, all these are monolithic, free standing, rock – cut sculptures. The “Group of Monuments” present here are UNESCO world heritage site. Apart from this there are other exquisite pieces of carvings as well, all being rock cut. All these architectures are found within 1 km. radius, spaced out distinctively.

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“Descent of the Ganges”

This is one of the most famous, most exquisitely carved monument known as “Descent of the Ganges”. The story goes like – the river Ganges, the most important river in northern India, descended from heaven to the Earth after extreme penance of Bhagiratha, the king of Koshala, a kingdom in ancient India.

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“Reclining Vishnu”

Another exquisite carving inside a cave situated here – showing God Vishnu in a reclining posture, sleeping on the serpent, “Ananta”, thus the name “Anantashayan Vishnu”.

There are numerous caves here, each of them an example of wonderful architectural and historical value. I am only showing very few pictures here.

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Group of Monuments – “Pancha Rathas ( Five Chariots )” 

These five most famous rock cut monolithic monuments are in UNESCO heritage list. Though commonly named upon the characters of the Indian epic, “Mahabharata”, practically there is no such resemblance. Sometimes these are referred as ancient temples, but it’s not true as well. These were built just for the sake of art. These buildings show the examples of typical “thatched roof” style of Bengal and multi-storied structures.

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“The Shore Temple”

Situated just a few paces away from the group of monuments, this temple is situated just beside the Bay of Bengal. It is presumed that there were seven temples in total once – six of them now submerged in the sea. This temple now contains a broken “Shiva Linga” and a “reclining Vishnu” idol. The whole complex overlooking the sea is a beauty to watch.

I visited Mahabalipuram when I was a child – some 20 years back. The place was very desolated at that time and the solitude had a different beauty. Recently I visited there last year. Tourists have increased a lot and that calmness and deep quietness is missing now. But still, these architectures, more than 1500 years old, are standing just like they were – bearing the wrath of time but standing tall, glorifying the ancient heritage of India.

Read More :

Heritage

The Last Job (Part – II)

Previous -  The Last Job (Part - I)

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Grieg was dumbstruck. He knew it would be an unusual task, but a murder!! Good God!! He was indeed a lawbreaker but to be identified as a murderer? That too at the whim of a mad man? Grieg just couldn’t accept it. But he knew, his employer won’t like to hear “no”. So he just stayed silent, sweat passing over his forehead even in that chilly wind. The man asked after a short pause, ” Are you scared?”. Grieg gathered some courage to say, “Sir….. I…. I never committed any murder. You are asking too much of me. I am just a petty criminal.” The man stood there, silent. That silence shattered Grieg’s nerves and he started trembling. The voice then talked, ” You promised me, you will do any work for me – no questions asked. Now you deny. You break promise. You know the outcome, don’t you?”. Grieg wiped out the trail of sweats from his eyebrows and replied in a trembling voice, ” Sir, please understand….. I have a family…”. The voice now became cold and stern like steel, ” I don’t honor someone who don’t keep promises. Decide for yourself, for your family. And if you think of running away – well, I will find you, and then we both know what’s going to happen.” Grieg knew he was out of options. There was no possibility of mercy. With a long sigh, he replied, “Yes master, I will do whatever you say.” The man seemed to be pleased. He replied, “You will get the address and your payment tomorrow morning. Remember, tomorrow midnight.”. Saying this, the mystery man turned back and disappeared into the darkness again.

Grieg collapsed on his knees, still trying to grasp the reality. It seemed to him that he was swerving towards the edge of the precipice. He cursed himself for his greed and tried to think a way out, but all his efforts were in vain. He stood up and started walking towards his home, drenched in the rain – like a worn out machine, torn into pieces, to be scrapped in a few hours. Jane, his wife, was shocked to see Grieg at the door in such a shape.

“You look terrible honey!! What happened?”

“Nothing.. Just got caught in the rain. I am super tired. Where’s Alan?”

“You are very late today. He fell asleep while waiting for you. What happened? It seems that there is something you are not telling me.”

“No… Nothing.. I just… need rest… Please don’t mind honey, I have a job to get done tomorrow.”

“I don’t like the amount of stress you are handling these days. We were so happy just a couple of months back – playing games, going movies. This new job of yours seems to break you completely. Why do you do such work?”

“I get more money Jane. I am doing this for you, for Alan.”

“I don’t know what your job is Grieg. But whatever it is, it is not good. Leave it. I don’t want to lose you.”

Saying this, Jane went away towards the kitchen. Grieg’s heart was wrenching in pain. All he wanted was to go away, to somewhere safe – for Jane and Alan. But where could be the safe place? He had no idea. He peeked through the bedroom door of Alan, left ajar. His only son was sleeping so calmly, without knowing about the incoming storm. Grieg heaved a long sigh and went away towards his bedroom.

Next morning, when he woke up, he found an envelope slipped under the door. He opened the envelope to find two pieces of paper. One contained a rough sketch of the plan of a house and a red “X” mark on the other side, but no address. The other note said – “128/A, 8th Cross Street, 2nd Floor – Store Room, Grey Briefcase, Combination – 3-1-4”. Grieg knew it was time for him to get going. He decided to leave immediately and rushed off hurriedly, leaving a goodbye note for Jane and Alan.

The journey to the address took over three hours. Upon reaching the address, Grieg found a medium size gray briefcase. Following the instruction, he opened it and found a hundred thousand dollars in cash and and a small note with a key. The note mentioned – “71/C, Eddington Street. 1st Floor, Master bedroom.” . Grieg knew this was it. For some reason this address seemed familiar to him, but he was not sure. “No point thinking anymore, this is another job only.”. He shrugged off, closed his eyes, took a deep breath to get a grip, took out his Beretta 92 F, which one of his friends gave to him and went out to find the address of his last job.

To be continued…..  (and next part will be the finale…)

Precipice