Excited to announce that my short story Agni’s Tattoo was released in Whose Future Is It? the first anthology published by Cellarius, a collaborative SF universe based on blockchain.
Cellarius is a collaborative science-fiction storytelling project. focused on a near-future mythology and powered by the Ethereum Blockchain. Right now, they are inviting authors to write stories within the scope of the universe (Read their Universe Guide here) however in future, it will be open to everyone, across the world.
When they approached me, after reading their Universe Guide, I decided to find out what happens when AI-powered gods come into a destroyed, dystopian Mumbai, where caste groups rule.
That’s Agni’sTattoo. I’ve kept the story open-ended as I hope once the collaborative platform develops, someone picks Agni up and talks about her. (Keep reading for excerpt).
About the Cellarius Anthology
Whose Future is It? is the first Cellarius anthology includes 13 works of short cyberpunk fiction exploring humans’ response to a superintelligent AI takeover in the year 2084. From 9 notable writers, including a New York Times bestseller, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Nebula Award winner, the Cellarius stories range from mind-bending thrillers to classic adventure tales, human-machine love stories to the formation of new religions. Decide for yourself: whose future is it? Buy online on Amazon.
Employee engagement for millennials takes constant motivation, feedback and training.
Sudakshina Ghosh, team manager at SAP India in Gurugram, is happy with her 12-year-old job. The 39-year-old has been with the company since 2006. She has worked on assignments that range from sales and customer account management to building customer relationships, sales strategies and go-to-market strategies. “To deliver my best, I have to be engaged and encouraged,” says Ghosh. She credits SAP’s numerous programmes for professional development with ensuring she grows personally and professionally.
I’m glee to announce that my short story, The Daughter That Bleeds, has been translated and published in three European languages: French, Romanian, and Dutch. (Details below)
About The Daughter That Bleeds
The Daughter That Bleeds is a tale about a market for fertile women who have become rare in a post-apocalyptic India, told with humour and empathy. The story reflects upon notions of gender, class, fertility and parental affection.
Galaxies SF is a reputed French magazine that publishes science fiction and non-fiction on authors from across the world. These are the people who organised Eurocon 2018.
I’m quite chuffed that Daughter That Bleeds was translated into #French by and was published in Galaxies magazine, the people who organised last year’s Eurocon 2018. I can read a bit of French, thanks to lessons for a few months and the title seems to be translated literally. I did interact with Mikael Cabon, the translator of this story, over email where we discussed the word ‘soorma’.
Translated in Romanian: HelionSF
It’s called Sângele Fiicei Mele in Romanian and has been published in HelionSF, the biggest SF fan magazine based in Romania. Read the story online.
When journalist and friend Darius Hupov, who interviewed me for a podcast about my work, asked me if I wanted to translate, I wasn’t sure The Daughter That Bleeds would translate well. Judge yourself by reading it online.
Bonding is essential for workplace dynamics. When Debadutta Upadhyaya joined Yahoo! India in 2004, she hit it off with her hiring manager, Neville Taraporewalla, immediately. “He had a knack for detecting issues, was caring and took me under his wing, helping me learn things that helped me grow professionally as well as personally,” says 45-year-old Upadhyaya, who credits the guidance from Taraporewalla for her rise from an account manager to sales head in the company within three years.
In 2012, Upadhyaya started her own company, Timesaverz, a home services start-up. She approached her friend and mentor for advice and guidance. “He not only encouraged my entrepreneurial dream but also helped us secure initial capital and an angel investor for Timesaverz,” says Upadhyaya. This was the reason he was the first person she thought of when forming the board for Timesaverz.
He looked at her body, naked except for the kumkum, which looked more like black smears in the moonlight. For a moment, his heart lurched. She was just a child, really. Could he go through with this? The phone rang, making him jump. He didn’t bother to check the number. He knew who it was.
It was almost twelve.
‘Jai Kolahalnath!’ he whispered, the doubt of a split second ago already forgotten. He listened for a few seconds and nodded. It had to be done. This was his destiny. His part in a greater story that would unfold. His part in recreating the world. Purifying it. They would remember his sacrifice in the new world. He placed the phone at the apex of the triangle. Its screen glowed for a second before automatically darkening. The phone crackled like a strangled deer.
They had started the mantra, so should he.
He stepped out of the yantra and picked up the small black velvet package that had been placed beside his bag. Its velvety leaves opened at the touch of his hand, one by one. His heart began to race. Even though he knew what lay inside, he gasped. The exquisite blade, not much bigger than his palm, was pure white, it glowed from within.
It was perfectly sickle-shaped, a broad arc, its middle thicker than the ends. The handle was white as well, only it wasn’t luminescent, but gleamed nevertheless like polished marble with intricate ancient motifs carved upon it. It looks so delicate. Can it be as old as they say it is? The knife quivered and shook in his hand slightly.
It wants to go inside, he thought with mild surprise.
Working abroad broadens your mind. A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions, the saying goes. It’s no wonder, then, that working abroad, in a foreign country can be an incredible career experience.
According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review in May, living abroad increases self-concept clarity (your mental picture of who you are as a person), and thereby promotes clearer career decision making.
Working abroad makes you question
“When people live in their home country, they are often surrounded by others who mostly behave in similar ways so they are not compelled to question whether their own behaviours reflect their core values or the values of the culture which they are embedded in,” says Jackson G. Lu, professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, and one of the authors of the study. This changes when you live abroad, since exposure to newer values and beliefs forces you to re-examine yours.
There’s something about some roads that change you as you walk through them, almost like they are portals to other worlds. A friend and I had been planning to create a heritage walk app and decided to explore Shivajinagar, Bengaluru, one Sunday afternoon for research.
After a satisfying ghee-filled masala dosa and coffee, we reached Shivajinagar and tumbled out on the Mariamman Temple circle. Afternoon was brisk business at the circle. Vendors called out, their carts loaded with flowers, bangles, footwear, cosmetics, and rusk. Bikes, cows and people wove around each other.
Did Plague Amma strike down Bangalore in wrath?
Legend has it that it was Plague Amma, as the goddess of this temple is colloquially known, who controlled the Great Plague, which hit Shivajinagar in the 19th Century.
We took the Shivaji Road off the circle, desirous to see Elgin Talkies, the hippest hangout in 1896 when it was turned from a theatre venue to a movie hall. Now, it’s a marriage hall, though the façade remains the same. We sneaked inside and found a caretaker who told us it used to be a ballroom before it became a cinema hall.
A midlife career switch can be a good idea—but be prepared for challenges along the way. In 2014, over a beer, childhood friends Kamal Karanth and Anil Kumar Ethanur decided to quit their high-paying jobs as managing directors of competing international staffing firms and start a business together.
“We never imagined we would start our own company,” says 45-year-old Ethanur, “but I saw entrepreneurship as the ultimate challenge and wanted to give it a shot.” Karanth felt his career was stagnating and wanted to tap into the fast-growing staffing industry, pegged to grow to a $20 billion (around ₹1.3 trillion) market in India. “We weren’t making any difference to our clients beyond filling their recruitment needs,” says 46-year-old Karanth.
Never accept the first salary you’re offered, in desperation. HR managers, and even hiring firms, are incentivised to keep hiring salaries low and negotiate hard with individuals. Which is why, the first and foremost rule for good negotiation is that you should be able to walk away if required, says Kanchan Mukherjee, professor, organizational behaviour and human resources management, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
“Desperation or your need for the job shows in your body language, how you speak, and that’s used by companies to hammer down salaries,” he explains. In India, with high competition for jobs, this desperation level is higher, giving an edge to companies.
“Our research shows that you will end up losing up to ₹2-4 lakh per annum on a base salary of ₹10 lakh if you don’t negotiate,” says Soujanya Vishwanath, co-founder, Pink Ladder, a career support company for women based in Bengaluru.
The negotiation starts with the first interview. “The interview is all about building your bargaining power,” says Mukherjee. “You need to make the company and the interviewer want you and realize the value you’ll bring. The more the company wants you, the better you will be at the salary negotiation stage.”
Listen well and you will know the truth. Over a cup of coffee in February, Akash Manohar, the director of engineering at Synup, a Bengaluru-based marketing start-up, made a suggestion to its millennial founder Ashwin Ramesh—change the work timings, because late hours don’t allow the team to pursue hobbies.
“The norm for most tech start-ups is to start late and end late,” says 26-year-old Ramesh. “However, I thought there’s no harm in implementing it and seeing how it goes.” Two days later, Ramesh changed the reporting timing for the tech teams, asking employees to come at 8am and leave by 5pm sharp. He was surprised to see a 20% increase in productivity within a few weeks.
Listening is a skill you must acquire
Ramesh is glad that he picked up the skill of listening to colleagues, and making collective decisions, early in his entrepreneurial journey. In 2016, he also implemented advice on using networks and contacts for hiring rather than advertising on job portals; the suggestion came from Raison D’Souza, also director of engineering.