Sunday, September 30, 2007

Does BPO staff have health problems?

The Health and IT Ministry wants to create a health policy for the IT workplace.

I am a little confused as what does the IT workplace constitute. But before that a question. Is the health of an average BPO employee suffering too much? I really don't know the answer. But logic seems to tell that night shifts and stressful situations along with irregular eating habits surely aren't going to create the healthiest of people. So I am sure there is some truth to the concerns that the ministry has stated and NASSCOM should have a healthy discussion with the ministry on the topic with an open mind because if the IT industry suffers the entire country will suffer.

And what does the IT workplace constitute? I think the health policy should extend to outsourcing companies as well where employees have to work in shifts and for a longer stressful period of time.

Since today is World Heart Day, it should not be missed that Indians are genetically prone to heart disease and the number of youngsters who are falling prey to it is alarming. The stress and irregular eating habits with a sedentary lifestyle are just speeding up the process of a hearty disaster.

The youth of our country is progressing but at what cost. One wonders.

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Hattrick for Indian sports (Asia Cup, Twenty20 and now World Chess Champion)

First we had the Indian hockey team win the Asia Cup Hockey tournament in Chennai.
Then Indian cricket had one of it's finest moments in recent times when it won the Twenty20 world cup in South Africa.
And now another great news that Vishwanathan Anand has become the world chess champion replacing Vladimir Kramnik.

Now I must admit that like most Indians I have always been biased towards cricket than any other sport. Several factors came into play for my bias but the most important of them was that cricket is the only sport in which India seems to provide consistency in victories if considered over a longer span of time. Now I know many people will object to this remark. But as I said it comes naturally for an Indian to be brought up with a bias towards cricket.

But I am willing to share my interests with the other sports especially hockey as I had promised that I would be willing to do so if there are any positive developments in the other games that India plays. I just hope there can be more consistency achieved by our teams so that the enthusiasm does not just die away.

India is struggling to find heroes that have just got lost in time. Inspirational heroes have been missing be it in sports or politics or social reforms. So it's good that there are some potential role models on the rise.

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Review: How to live on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

I listened to the audio book "How to live on 24 hours a day" by Arnold Bennett. You can get it in text or audio form at

It is a short and sweet book about how we can make better use of our time in living our lives instead of just existing. The author indicates a lot of suggestions to help us use just a little bit of our time to actually create the lives that we would be happy with and enjoy living it. He makes it clear that there is no magic way to improve our lives but through proper use of our time which is given in the same amount i.e 24 hours whether to the king or to the beggar or to the cat by the fire.

The book consists of the following 12 chapters:

1. Preface
Here the author mentions how people value money more than time though money can be earned in more quantities but time cannot. So time is more precious than money. Also every being gets the same amount of time. No one gets it more or less. There are just 24 hours everyday and it is up to us to use them. Time does not give loans, not does it give credit. People are not punished for wasting time and their purse of time gets full everyday. They have all the time they want starting from now.

2. Precautions Before Beginning
This chapter warns that the things to be done for better utilization of time is nothing magical but sensible. There is no shortcut way and the way to improve ourself will cause us to change our regular habits for which we get uncomfortable and will have to work hard.

3. The Desire to Exceed One's Programme
This chapter states that there are people who already live their lives well whether at home or at work or both. And there are others who are suffering boredom and dissatisfaction with their time at work and due to that they also suffer in their time at home. This book intends to help people improve the quality of their lives no matter in what position they are right now.

4. The Cause of the Troubles
The author takes the case of an average working person to see how he/she spends one day of his/her life starting from morning, going to work, coming back home and sleeping.

5. Tennis and the Immortal Soul
Here is mentioned that we need to spend time not only on the activities that we enjoy like meeting friends, movies, etc but we should also spend some time on gaining knowledge to improve our lives over what it is right now.

6. Remember Human Nature
But the author also tells to keep our options open and allow for human nature. We should have strictness in our studying of our lives but we should also be open for dynamism in our lives as and where they occur for we are human.

7. Controlling the Human Mind
The starting step is to achieve mastery over concentration. For this, the author mentions that we can use our time while travelling to improve our concentration. This can be done by choosing a subject that interests us and thinking about it as much time as possible. When the mind gets distracted, bring it back on track to the subject. This will improve concentration.

8. The Reflective Mood
After improving concentration, we should spend some time on the most important part which is reflection. It means introspection about how we are living our lives as per our principles, how we can improve our lives from our current situation.

9. Interest in the Arts
This chapter mentions about people who are interested in arts like music, painting, etc. How they can improve their quality of understanding the arts.

10. Nothing in Life is Humdrum
This chapter mentions about people who believe in cause and effect. Who don't care about arts or literature but about scientific study and how they can improve their understanding.

11. Serious Reading
This chapter is for people who enjoy reading. It mentions that it is better to read more of literature than novels as novels just provide the pace but don't improve our understanding. Also mentioned is that poetry though a difficult form of literature, the understanding it gives creates a tremendous satisfaction.

12. Dangers to Avoid
Finally the author mentions that our improvement should not make us feel superior to others, that we should be concerned with our share of time and that we should not get chained to our discipline but use it to improve ourselves.

So I am trying to put some of the suggestions of this book into practice. I always have wanted to improve my concentration. Also I am interested in learning more about music, poetry and science. So I will be getting more involved in understanding those topics.

The main point that the author stresses on is that when we go about putting things into practice we should avoid over eagerness because that may result in failure for trying to do too much and discourage us. Instead we should start following those steps for a little time every week and the improvements will be there to see.

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The Parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man

I went to church today morning at 7 am. Yes, I manage to get up early even on weekends thanks to a childhood habit.

Now generally the sermons at church get pretty boring. So I usually tend to think about something else. But today's sermon was a bit interesting. It was about the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man Lazarus taken from the Bible.

Now it states there was a rich man who had lots of wealth, money, servants, etc. You name it he had it. And just outside the gate of his mansion there was a poor man who was very sick. He had wounds all over his body and the dogs licked his wounds. His name was Lazarus. Now one day both of these dudes died. The rich man found himself in hell getting tortured in fire while Lazarus was enjoying his stay in Heaven. So the rich man calls out to Abraham to tell Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in cold water and place it on his tongue as he was dying from heat. But Abraham says that there is a great divide between the two places and a person cannot go from one to another. So the rich dude begs that at least he send Lazarus to his house where he has 5 brothers so that he can warn them and they too don't land in hell like the rich man did. But Abraham refuses saying if they did not listen to wise people like Moses, how will they listen to someone who is dead.

So this is basically how the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man is stated in the Bible.

Fine, I said. This is how the parable has been mentioned in many sermons. Well, what made today's sermon interesting was the point put forth by the priest that there is no mention in the Bible that the rich man was a sinner or that he was the cause of Lazarus' misfortune. Neither did Lazarus ever ask him for help. But he went to hell. Also it's not mentioned that Lazarus was a good man or a saintly man. Still he managed to go to heaven. Why?

So the moral of the parable was that it is not just enough to not do bad deeds. We should also try and help people who are in trouble. The rich man did not do bad deeds but failed to use his blessings to help Lazarus. So by doing nothing of his talents he went to hell.

Why did Lazarus go to heaven? Well, it seems that the name Lazarus signifies "trusting in God's help" in Hebrew. So Lazarus had faith in God even when he was suffering. That is why he managed to reach heaven.

So this sermon interested me as it was different from the usual historical stuff. It related to our present lives and not just something to be heard of as a part of history. That is what separates good sermons from the average, when it shows how the sayings of the Bible relate to our present day lives and how we can use that wisdom to seek meaning in our present lives. That is the essence of what a sermon is supposed to be.

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