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PeAcE WiTh GuNs

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Slog it out

This is an article that I wrote for my office magazine. Its meant to be preachy so read it only if you want to. Its preachy because I hate this typical attitude that we software engineers (and also other professionals) develop when we start working. This article is like a kick in the butt for such people.
“People are crazy and times are strange, I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range”. Bob Dylan’s words ring out loud when we see the life of an IT professional these days. Working 8 hours a day, 8 stretching to 12 sometimes – we all have lost out on the experience that was the original meaning of the phrase “slog it out”.

Slogging originally meant hitting something hard. The term might have been most popularly used in cricket where slogging was trying to hit the ball as hard as possible, sometimes without caring to follow proper technique. Generalizing the term, “slogging it out“ meant a hard day in the outfield playing some sport in our youth - maybe a round of cricket, football, a lap around the ground, a swimming session in the hot sun. Maybe a tough round of bench presses at the gym.

These days though, slogging has acquired an entirely new, if not an antonymic form – sitting at the desk, working!

Times have changed surely, but is there a need for a drastic change in our definitions this way? We see reports everywhere of people having heart attacks at ages that were considered immune from such maladies. People leading unhealthy lifestyles are a common story now. Every evening, we go home tired. Are we manual labourers? No. Then why are we tired? Mental stress they say. Maybe. Why do we feel out of breath within minutes when we take that run down the beach on our annual vacation to the sea? Much as we hate to admit it, we are unfit. Even those who think they can do a 10-mile jog every morning, think in relative terms to a few years ago before we started working.

If we go back in time and look at our mindset, we notice that one thing missing now - the enthusiasm for sport. Five years ago (or maybe ten) it wouldn’t be tiring to slog it out playing cricket in the blazing sun for 4 hours. Now when we have inter-IT cricket matches half the team never turns up for the second match because they deem it too draining. It was draining back then too. Even if you’ve managed to keep up your health, the difference is probably just the motivation.

It is common knowledge that sport helps people concentrate better. It helps your reflexes. It improves your blood circulation. It strengthens your muscles. In short, it improves your physical and mental health. I’ve myself never felt more relaxed and more enthusiastic than after a draining game of football. There have been times when I’ve come back with aching knees, ankles, calves, tarsals and a back that was killing me and still felt at a mental peak. Times when a session at the gym at 6:00 a.m. has helped me concentrate better at work 9:30 onwards were proof of that argument.

The question that pops up in mind is “How do I manage to be actively involved in any sport with the schedule that I have?” The answers aren’t easy. The very first thing you will need to ask yourself is how much you value your health. The answer to that should provide you with enough motivation to at least get started. Enroll for badminton in the evenings. Badminton courts are often open till late nights. I have a lot of friends who go out to play badminton after dinner at 9:30. The age old court near my home is full of people pushing 50 competing at a very high level of expertise at these hours too. It’s just about making a firm decision.

Once you get started, often you lose the motivation and drop off after a few weeks when the enthusiasm dies down. I’ve found that the best motivator in such circumstances is a great training partner. In fact, if you have a dedicated bunch of friends that pushes you to come to the playing arena every day, rain, wind or storm, you know you will be leading an active life. As a part of the group, you will play your own role of pushing someone else when that person is lacking motivation. It sure beats watching T.V. at home and making sure your thumb gets more exercise than the rest of your body!! Sorry guys, but having a thumb that’s build like Shchwarzenegger’s doesn’t quite qualify as a hot bod for the ladies.
Next time your HR announces a sporting event, make sure you are the first to make a dash for it.

So friends, slog it out…the right way.


  • Hey...

    That was a good one...
    Been thinking on the same lines since the day I joined this industry..

    btw, If you in Mumbai, which place are you referring to when you talk about having a badminton court near your home?


    By Blogger HP, at 9:22 am  

  • HP :Hey mate ! Thanks for dropping in. How did you come to know about my blog btw? I'm just curious.

    Anyhow, I am in Pune, not in Mumbai. The court is a very old one but its still in great condition and last year it hosted a district level badminton tournament.

    Incidentally, we've started playing badminton since last week ourselves. We go in the 9:00-10:00 p.m. batch after coming back from office. So, no one can blame me for not practising what I preach now [:-P].

    Do keep checking back on my blog when you get time.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 9:49 am  

  • Yes yes. You are right. I used be so enthusiastic. I even ran a marathon once! We don't have a TT table here in our new office, that is one sport I am good at. You know the problem with preachy posts? They are preachy. I wam just going to ponder over it and forget abt it. But maybe I will resume my morning walks. I need to lose weight, also theres another marathon coming up in december ;)

    By Blogger Shradha, at 10:33 am  

  • Good to see your post - I showed to some of the lazy bones in my office...well I am not at all typically sporty ( more of a born spectator...)- even on school level no one use to be too happy if I use to join that team :-( - zimply too pathetic & slow...!
    These days stick to Trekking and Yoga...n dancing!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 am  

  • arre the only sport i love is badminton aur kahi badminton court nahi hain paas mein.. :(...

    but im pretty restless tho idhar udhar bhagthi rehti hu..i guess that too counts for exercise na.. ;)

    By Blogger Di, at 12:57 pm  

  • Shradha :Marathon ke liye tayyari abhi se shuru kar do. Before everything else, shop for a new track suit [:-P] !

    Anonymous :LOL, did anyone think positive about the post? [:-P]Am sure most people you showed it to would have dismissed it saying - time nahi hai mere paas in sab ke liye. BTW, can I atleast know your NAME? Why all the secrecy?

    Di :Oh wow ! You like badminton? Shift to Pune. Send me your resume. I will refer you in my company and then you can join us every evening. Are you SURE there arent any courts? Most company colonies, large housing societies would have one. Ask if you can use it.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 2:08 pm  

  • Sport is a must I agree! I have started playing tennis from past 2 months and I can feel the difference myself..:) Forget about weight loss and stuff.. I feel so energetic and nice :)
    But as of now can play only over the weekends.. lets see if I can make it more regular!

    By Blogger shark, at 4:08 pm  

  • hmmm...well I agree with u...I absolutely totally completely LOVE badminton and dancing!!!..and I c u've written after qyt smtm...newez gud that u've started agen;-)

    By Blogger Dreamy Eyed Gal, at 5:06 pm  

  • desk-jobs slows the body.

    So tennis, badminton, swimming, dancing etc is a must...I dance alot so that keeps me fit n happy :)


    By Blogger Keshi, at 4:25 am  

  • ummm i wud be the wrong person to comment on such a post as i have always maintained a hand's distance from sports, but of late i've started to feel that i m gettin tired too fast, i tend to find excuses not to walk and prefer a sedantary weekend! too bad! so ur post came along at a time, wen it kinda reverberates my thoughts! n btw i dint know u are an engineer. and u still have such a good taste in literature! way to go!(I know all the engg wanna kill me now!):)

    By Anonymous soulitary reaper, at 7:19 am  

  • Shark :Hey super !! Tennis is awesome. I only tried in once in my life and immediately realized that I have no future as a tennis star! Weekends is good. Since the last two years, we only played football on weekends. It was still great. Even if we had a bad week, there was always SOMETHING to look forward to... Its a lovely feeling, you know - being assured that not everything in life is not enjoyable.

    Make sure you dont miss even ONE weekend coz often missing one starts a chain.

    Dreamy eyed gal :I have written after some time yes. In fact, I wasnt finding anything to write even now. So I just control see-veed this from the word file I had submitted to the office magazine editor.

    Keshi :Dance as in? You dance professionally besides dancing at clubs and parties? Wow...you are SOMETHING, Keshi.

    Reaper :LOL, I dont have an ENGINEERING degree, I am a post grad in computer science. I work as a software engineer which is pretty much what everyone does these days.

    I've always loved reading stuff. This job isnt really what I had in mind when I selected computers as a career option but anyhow will do it only as long as I need to.

    Maybe trekking on weekends is something you can do. That was what I did when we stopped playing football and there was this large void in my weekends. Maybe we'll do a trek one of these coming weeks. Join us !


    By Blogger GuNs, at 8:17 am  

  • You are right- time to kisike paas nahin hai. Our office started Yoga classes and they had to discontinue as flow just thinned out to 2 people. Me n my colleague were so bummed...!
    BTW - no secrecy - and many "muaphis" for breaching the etiquette' of blogging..eeks...!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:57 am  

  • Anon :[:-P] No need for any "muaphis". I tried to build a football team here and the same thing happened. The first match saw 25 participants, the second saw 11 and the third never happened. I was so pissed at these people. I hope some or many of them read this article in the magazine and would be more enthu now.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 9:36 am  

  • Hi Guns,
    All i can say is 'Wonderful Article' worth reading. Keep up the good work write more such article whenever you are free. As far as sports concerned, yar hardly i get chance to play any games (other then juggling with my work :)), i have few more suggestions such as joining a dance class, and other such hobbies (which will help), isn't it?. Nice post dude.

    By Blogger Prashanth CM, at 10:12 am  

  • Hey, I just started with Badminton this morning!!!

    And I play cricket on Saturday. Gym on weekdays (okay....not so regular...) and sometimes yoga too.

    I think we software engineers must be made to walk for 20 min everyday. Otherwise the way we work, we'll lucky to cross 60. Seen colleagues of 27 yrs getting backaches, I dont want to end up like that.

    By Blogger Harsha, at 1:15 pm  

  • Thanks guns, ure post hs pushed me one step closer from planning to get some excercise to actually doing it. I think a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Not having any sort of excercise now incorporated with unhealthy food, alcohol and cigarettes have begun to take its toll on me. Hopefully I'll reach a saturation point soon. Soon = Next week!

    By Blogger ScarS, at 1:47 pm  

  • Oooh lots of health conscious people here! Nice :)

    Psssst....trying to publicize my blog, lets see if it works. hehehe!

    By Blogger Shradha, at 2:58 pm  

  • Prashanth :Maybe you can START something as I wrote here. See how it goes for the first few days. If you start enhoying it, you will do it everyday. IF you dont, well..you'll lose a few bills or money but you can atleast say you tried.

    Harsha :Baap re baap. Tu toh haum sab kaa baap hai re. Well done !! Write it again in BOLD so everyone can see. BTW, me standing and clapping for you. Keep it up.

    Scars :Oh good. I am glad it has pushed you a step closer. Maybe you can read it again. LOL, that might push you even closer. BTW, 2 days to go for the next week !! You ready with the workout/sport gear/clothes?

    Shradha :Come let me help you. Hey guys, this is my blog guru, my inspiration behind starting bloggind, Shradha...Do check out her blog. Needless to say, she mostly writes more intersting stuff than I do. He he....that ok? Now how about my payment?


    By Blogger GuNs, at 3:21 pm  

  • Gee thanks! But payment? Don't you remember this http://shradharev.blogspot.com/2006/01/i-have-blues.html

    You however get this ---> [>:D<]

    By Blogger Shradha, at 5:32 pm  

  • Since you are not finding anything to write about... I will tag you ;-) wait for it :P

    By Blogger shark, at 12:33 am  

  • abbe saale! not a word about mumbaikars and their will to help! what you experienced were busy frustrated people!

    take left from churchgate stn till u go reach fountain then take right!buhh!

    By Blogger Zii, at 2:50 pm  

  • nope I dun dance professionally altho I used to attend FUNK and HIP-HOP classes a while back :)


    By Blogger Keshi, at 7:09 am  

  • I know, I know. I am putting on weight and still keep feeling tired. But well, the jogging schedule is back, and hopefully I will be in shape by December :D

    By Blogger Casablanca, at 7:13 am  

  • Shradha : [>:D<] to you too !

    Shark : Tag?? Nooooooooooo. Ok, I'll do it on one precondition. You pick up the tag (incidentally the only one ever) that I did. [:-P]

    Zii :Look on your post for the reply. Aur abhi maalum hai re kaise jaaneka karke.

    Keshi :funk & Hiphop? Woohoo. Did you wear those loose "baniyaan" thingies that those hiphoppers wear all the time? Can we see a photo of you in your hip-hop gear? LOL...or would that be asking for too much?

    Casa :Seeing you on my blog after a long time ! Very nice to hear you have your jogging schedule back. But why December? Something coming up in December?


    By Blogger GuNs, at 7:41 am  

  • maybe its all in the mind :p

    By Blogger kanags, at 9:36 am  

  • "How do I manage to be actively involved in any sport with the schedule that I have?” The answers aren’t easy. The very first thing you will need to ask yourself is how much you value your health."

    -- So true! Thats precisely what I ask myself so many times.

    By Blogger Supremus, at 2:40 pm  

  • @Guns,

    I have been reading your blog on and off for quite a while but was always lazy to comment :-)

    Had Bookmarked you too so I regularly check for updates.

    So, you in Pune. Good for ya. To engage in any sporting activity in Mumbai really is very difficulty...Oh Gosh! One more excuse from my side :-)


    By Blogger HP, at 2:55 pm  

  • Kanags : Surely, its all in the mind.

    Soooyog :So what answer do you get from yourself? Are you playing anything these days?

    HP :Thanks a lot. Glad you like to read what I write. Do keep checking back. I might write inane stuff once in a while but hey...I'm only human. LOL.

    Your excuse isnt an empty one. My friends who lived in the old city in Pune didnt have any grounds to play in. So I know a few people who've NEVER played any sport in their life. That is why - I'm talking about NOW. Now that we are working, we can afford to join a club or buy a monthly/annual membership to some sporting arena like a badminton court etc. Its never too late to start.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 9:42 am  

  • Good one! :) And yes, can I have your mail address? :)

    ps - before u think i am a stalker, kindly go to my blog, and you will hopefully get who I am! :)

    By Blogger Basanti, at 11:14 am  

  • Interesting and a very sound advice.
    I asked an It professional the other day why he was headed to the pubs on weekends and he replied it was to meet up with people and chill out and in any case there was nothing else to do - I am sending him this link!

    By Blogger Usha, at 5:08 am  

  • Basanti a.k.a. Nirwa Mehta : ROTFL, you have got such a beautiful name, why do you have to use a lame ghost-id as BASANTI ?? He he...anyhow. Dropped my email ID on your BASANTI blog. Find it.

    Usha :Oh please do that. If he is inspired by what I wrote, that will be another feather in my cap. I am so distressed to see all the playgrounds in my area bare. There is thick undergrowth all over them. When I was in school 6-8 years ago, people fought to play on those grounds. Sadly now, even young children are home all day either studying, going to tuitions, playing video games, bugging the computer etc. That is another large issue that needs to be brought to the table.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 5:41 am  

  • this is good....and it reminds me that i need to start working out again...thanks man...

    and i feel awful...coz i've been slogging the wrong way frm last few months...

    By Blogger alice, at 9:41 am  

  • hey thats true...
    companies have to orgaine such kind of events and now a days they hae felt the importance of it and you will find that many companies are doing something creative for enlighting the enthusiasm of their employees...

    By Blogger shruti, at 1:26 pm  

  • hey there guns... long time no post... we're missin u here:(

    By Anonymous soulitary reaper, at 4:12 pm  

  • Alice : Hey, great to know that. So when do you start? [:-P]Hope you've set a deadline for that coz without deadlines, all this hardly works out.

    Shruti :Spot on ! All we can say to these companies is "Der aaye, par durust aaye".

    Reaper :Thy wish, is my command ! New post is up though it technically isnt a post at all [:-P].


    By Blogger GuNs, at 6:49 pm  

  • Hey !

    Thanks for visiting ! I love your space and have blog rolled ! Will keep coming back !

    By Blogger Kavi, at 8:01 pm  

  • Kavi :Thanks a ton mate. Look forward to reading a lot more from you on your blog and mine !


    By Blogger GuNs, at 5:16 am  

  • Hi I am YC. I am from pune. I use to play badminton till few years back but discontinued it as many of my frinds left pune for job or further education. I would like to start playing again but none of frinds for "it" are intrested due "lack of time"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:52 pm  

  • YC :Comment from Pune ! Yay...

    Do you have a blog?

    By Blogger GuNs, at 12:30 pm  

  • Lot of truth in what you say. S darn difficult to motivate oneself in this age of fast results.
    Health needs to be our top priority but sadly, and more so for Indians, it seems to be at the bottom of the list. I should hardly preach here I guess, I'm no better.


    By Anonymous jedi, at 5:09 am  

  • Jedi :Good to see you back, mate.
    Motivation !! Isnt that ALWAYS the word that comes up as a wall between you and your dreams? All the famous people have had that ONE thing with them which has made them BETTER people than rest of the world in some respect or the other.

    Wish there was a machine for motivation. Since there isn't, maybe we can use SPORT as a motivation for other things.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 11:29 am  

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