Saturday, December 31, 2011

Real easy solutions for habitual Resolution-Breakers

Few more hours to go before the New Year and many of us should be busy finalizing the resolution list. Except that there is a problem with my resolutions every year – I find it extremely difficult to keep them beyond 7th of January.

Determined to get it right this time, I have been trawling the net for those secret ingredients to keep resolutions real and lasting (more like 7 months). I have also taken time to reflect on my slip-ups (my walking challenge) and occasional successes (this blog) with resolutions.

I was on a quest to find out if there is a secret formula to make the resolutions successful. Though what I found during my research, kind of surprised me.  Whilst there is no precise formula, it looks like there are a number of simple steps you could follow to improve your chances of winning. Most of them are common sense stuff, though there are few odd counter-intuitive tips as well.

1.      Start – Surely this is the easiest thing to do. Make sure you do it
2.      Keep it real – Overnight success are stuff of movies, be true to yourself
3.      Keep it a secret – Do not publicize your goals before you even start – apparently your brain  interprets it as an achievement of the goal and affects your motivation to actually achieving the goal
4.      Celebrate Success – Positive reinforcement works like magic, make sure you celebrate every milestone
5.      Buddy-Up – Look around you and identify a source of encouragement and feedback – for that occasional push and to pull you out of the drenches when required
6.      Start Again – Expect to go off-track every so often, but important thing is to re-start
7.      Mix-it-Up – Variety, they say is the spice of life and indeed is at the heart of keeping your resolution routine interesting.

My resolution for this year then – well, that’s a secret. 

Image courtesy:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gifting tips for the Rational types – A note to my husband

Right, so Christmas and New Years Eve are around the corner. And I have feeling that even this year, I will have to ask my husband for a gift. No, it is not a reminder, dropping an occasional hint or subtle cues - he expects an explicit description of what is on my mind. He can manage with some basic info - product, brand, size, color, type etc - but he would be really pleased if you include the bar-code details.

Put it simply, he isn’t very good when it comes to gifts, especially surprise gifts. He thinks the tradition of gifting was invented by the trader-class as a ploy to increase their business and profits. He says "There are multiple problems with the concept of gifts. Forced reciprocity, false expectations and inefficient exchange are the main issues with the tradition"  

Pleased at the prospect of having found a bemused listener, he goes on to explain "When you give a gift, you are putting the receiver in debt and forcing the other person to spend a similar amount of money. More often than not, people either buy gifts that they would like to have themselves or they buy things that are cheap and unimaginative when the gift is anonymous”.  

I wanted to say I can see the point now but instead said "You are unbelievable! God, how do you argue with such people?”

I kept thinking about my anniversary gift, an iPad 2 - it was first of its kind gift from my husband and I was pleased about it, until now. Reflecting on his latest thoughts, I wonder if it was really a gift, especially since he uses it more than I do! Just kidding, I am being really nasty now...

Back to the plot, I think emotional creatures like us who love gifts, a little surprise and a bit of irrationality in our life has the duty to teach the dry rationalist types a thing or two. So with just less the 7 days to the Christmas Eve, I would like to give you 5 clues (sorry, it does not get any clearer than this!) to help you solve the mystery to buying gifts.

1. Never believe when someone says “I don’t want a gift; I have everything that I want”
2. Do not fall for “you can get me anything” bait. (This line is usually a test - think hard)
3. Don't get carried away. It does not have to be expensive!
4. Wrapping paper and a thoughtful note goes a long way in making it personal
5. Keep the receipt - just in case.....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Matter of tooth

I have a confession to make. I have two false teeth. They have been so meticulously crafted, that you need X-ray eyes to spot them. I’ve been ‘wearing’ them for about 4 years and the fact that I have not received a single comment on it is a testament to the dental craftsmanship.

I am not surprised at this result though, as they were fixed by one of the best dentists around. Her name is Sheby Annie Paulose. She works at Al Wassan Specialty Dental Clinic in Muscat. Okay, it will now be a good time to provide full disclosure – she also happens to be my sister-in-law.

Let me tell you another story. Plot is almost the same – another dentist but a case of root canal surgery. Oh, and in the lead role is my brother-in-law who is also a dentist. He once did a root canal. A few months later, the patient had to go to another dentist for an emergency procedure on another tooth. This time he ended up going to one of the most experienced dentists in Oman.

Reviewing the X-ray, the new dentist popped a question “Who did your root-canal surgery?” Unsure about what to make of the question, the patient replied “Dr. Siju George, of the Al Wassan Dental Clinic in Al Khuwair, Muscat; Why?” The doctor retorted with a lump in his throat “I have been practising dentistry for over 40 years and this is the best root canal procedure I have ever seen” Not only that, the doctor send a handwritten note congratulating my brother-in-law on such a good work.

This is what happens when people do what they are really passionate about.

The reason why I mentioned this story is because we were in Muscat over the weekend. We were taking part at the soft-launch of my b-i-l & s-i-l’s new clinic. With 6 state-of-the-art treatment rooms, 3D imaging, a brushing station and kids play area – it is definitely the best dental clinic that I have been to.

Now, you may think I am writing this to get myself in their good books and another free ceramic crown should an opportunity arise, God forbid.

Don’t take my word for it; do drop-in and check it out for yourself if you live in Muscat, Oman

For appointments contact- - 24489469 or 24475008

Image courtesy:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Words at work

Did you know that 1000 words cover 70% of all written text in English? Take that to 2000 and you get 80% coverage. It’s quite impressive isn’t it? I am suddenly feeling the task of teaching English to my daughter got a little lighter.

So, which are the words that we commonly use? Spoken words are easy to spot – especially if you are at the receiving end of a boring lecture. That used to be one of my favourite pass-time during college days and I remember counting 84 'do-you-get-what-I-am-saying's during a history lecture.

Word-spotting as it turns out, is lot easier and more scientific now a days. I recently stumbled up on this amazing tool called Wordle that generates “word clouds” for any text that you feed the engine. You could point it to a webpage or just copy and paste any text and it transforms what appears to be a random set of words into a work of art. The size of each word represents how prominently they are featured in the original text.

The image above is one such wordle based on all the blogs that I have written so far. As you can see, lot of what I write is about Smera, my one year old and her antics. I also seem to have some kind of fascination towards the word “back”, that feature very prominently  – back from, way back, back home, years back, set-back, step-back, turn back and a lot more.

Time to look ahead, I guess.

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