Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lord Ganesha : The Lifestyle God inspires to be a Leader

Disclaimer: This article has nothing to do with religion. Lord Ganesha, the Hindu God is immensely popular in Asia and widely respected by Hindus and non-Hindus around the world.

I don't remember much but in my childhood days itself I chose Ganesha among all the Gods. Probably because he is different, the elephant head, big ears, one teeth and a big belly. He is cute and adorable. And his stories of coolness, wit and fun quickly connects a child with him.Over a period time I realized that Ganesha, the 'Lord of the Beginning' has several attributes which inspire an individual to be a leader.Whether I am travelling, at office desk, home or in the car, I keep a Ganesha Idol with me or near to me. It gives me lot of strength.
Large head of Lord Ganesha signifies to Think Big'Look at the bigger picture.' It is easier said than done.In our day to day lives no matter who we are, where we are; we all get stuck in small things and issues. And there is a temptation to lose focus, hunker down and get involved. Be it a small task, argument or situation.And while facing such issues when I suddenly look at him, his big head reminds me to use brain and be wise.
The Vision & the Decision
Remember the story in which Gods were asked to circumambulate the World thrice? It was to decide who should be worshiped first. All the Gods started on their vehicles and wanted  to prove their superiority. But Ganesha realized that his World is his parents. So he goes around them thrice and won. And by the way his vehicle is mouse. So if he would have thought on the same lines as of other Gods, he would have never won.
What made him win? His simple vision of not just to win the race but adhere to values, no false ego or superiority which lead to an effective decision.Today's World is highly competitive. This story gives a simple moral of how one can win even with less resources and presence of mind."Make the most of what you have."
Enjoy Small Things
We all know that Ganesha loves Laddoos or Modak (Indian sweet). And it is also said that offering Laddoos to Vinayak makes him happy and he fulfils all your wishes. (Vinayak is another name of Ganesha which means leader of its own).All such traditions or sayings hold a special significance if we pay attention to them. Big things are important in life but so are small. I feel his love for laddoo symbolically means that we as humans should also enjoy small things and moments in life.
Quick to Forgive
Ganesha is known for his friendly nature and easy going attitude. Be it with his fellow Gods or the followers.Once Moon laughed at Ganesha when he couldn't walk properly and fell down after eating many laddoos in the night. Ganesha became angry on moon and cursed that he would never be visible to anyone but when Moon apologized, he quickly forgave him and reduced the curse only to a single day.
Be Approachable
Ganesha's big ears signify that you should listen more.A leader must have listening skills. Listening someone's woes, worries or thoughts help you understand about him. It also helps in connecting to the person emotionally and building trust.People of all castes and religion adores Ganesha because of his friendly personality. Similarly a leader should be empathetic and approachable by all.
No Gain without Pain
It is said that Sage Vyas chose Ganesha to write Mahabharat (the longest Epic in the World). Vyas narrated and he wrote it. But there was a condition put by Sage Vyas that it had to be written non-stop.
While writing Ganesha's pen broke and since he couldn't stop he broke his tusk and started writing with it.
This is symbolic to the message that knowledge comes with sacrifices.

Final Words:
Lord Ganesha is bestowed with a very special body and appearance. Similarly we all are born with some special qualities.
Like my mentor says, Leaders are either born with such qualities or imbibe the qualities.
Important is to understand our own self and work accordingly.

Note: This is a guest post written for

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cracking the Rose Code: Short of words to express? Understand the language of flowers !

I commute around 3 hours to & fro from work every day. And I like to spend these hours by reading light & random things. Most of the reading happens through my customized Facebook feed.
As I opened Facebook today in the morning, a numerology article predicting the future caught my attention. Numerologist predicted the day based on numbers and recommended colors to wear.
I kept gazing the article and then turned to Google to find out messages based on color of flowers. This was a conscious search, a result of working in the Marketing team of a flower delivery portal. :)
I already knew some common interpretations like red rose signifies love while yellow signifies friendship. But suddenly I was wanting to know more on this.

Well, Google helped me in discovering many new and interesting things. I found that not just color but there is a beautiful concept coined as "language of flowers" based on color, type and number of flowers.
Did you know who introduced the language associated with flowers..
In 17th century, there was an Englishwoman named Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu (1689-1762) who was a wife of British Ambassador posted in Constantinople.
She once discovered that Turkish women play a game in harems called 'Selam'. Selam was a language which could only be decoded by attaching rhyming words with flowers and other objects. Apparently the delivery of roses to a lady in the harem was like a secretly coded letter.
She was an intelligent woman and an incredible writer.
In correspondence to her friends in Europe, she once wrote
“...I can assure you there is as much fancy shown in the choice of [flowers] as in the most studied expressions of our letters...” “There is no color, no flower, no weed, no fruit, herb, pebble or feather that has not a verse belonging to it; and you may quarrel, reproach, or send letters of passion, friendship, or even news, without ever inking your fingers.”
Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu is credited to have introduced and popularized the concept of flowers.
However the earliest record of the phrase "the language of flowers" is found in Christopher Smart's line in Jubilate Agno, 1759 to 1763 (Listen to the poem here):
"For the flowers have their angels...
For there is a language of flowers.
For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers.
For elegant phrases are nothing but flowers."

Roses : the color, the number even the variety of Rose conveys a special meaning
That's true. By giving roses you convey a message much more deep without writing anything. I researched and here is the curated list of symbolic meanings & messages conveyed through different colors, numbers and varieties of Roses.
Symbolic Meaning Based on Color of Rose
Red rose symbolizes the expression of love. Red rose is often gifted to express deepest affection for someone very special.
In Greek and Roman iconography, Red roses are symbolically tied to Venus, the Goddess of love. Red color is also a color of heart & blood. Poets have immortalized red roses as the flower of romance & passionate love.
Pink Roses have been depicted in some of the earlier known art pieces. When roses first began to be cultivated, the majority of them existed in various shades of pink, from the palest pink to the deepest crimson. Pink roses signify love and appreciation but impart a gentler meaning than red roses.
Blue Roses don't occur naturally as roses lack the pigment that produces blue color. So blue roses were traditionally created by dyeing white roses. Later on first blue rose (blue moon) was produced using hybridization techniques. Though it was also not much of blue. Due t its absence in nature, blue rose represents mystery or attaining the impossible. Isn't that interesting?
White Roses are the symbol of innocence, purity, sincerity, spirituality, new start etc if you go by their appearance. It is also associated with new start or marriage.  In 1840 when Queen Victoria got married, the tradition of white rose bouquet started. In the language of flowers white roses means “I am worthy of you”.
Orange Roses were discovered in 20th century when the rose cultivators experimented and crossbreed the red and yellow roses to create orange rose, which later on depicted its meaning as love emerging from friendship. Orange roses signify enthusiasm, passion & gratitude.
Yellow Roses are the best roses to be given to anyone. You can never go wrong with the yellow roses as they are the traditional & universal symbol of friendship. Yellow roses symbolize friendship, joy gladness. In many cultures yellow color represents joy, wisdom and power. It has been related to the sunlight and warmth.
Black Roses have a variety of symbolic meanings like darker aspects of the universe, death, evil, witchcraft and revenge. Black roses do not exist, they are actually dark red colored roses and they appear black or they are created artificially.

Symbolic Meaning Based on Number of Rose
Single Rose symbolizes deepest affection and utmost devotion. It says “I love you” or “I still love you”.
Two Roses indicates two people joined as one. It says “marry me”. Two roses with their stem wired together signify a coming engagement or marriage.
Three Roses are considered as a traditional one month anniversary gift.
Six Roses symbolizes infatuation. It stood for the “need to be loved or cherished” or “I want to be yours”.
Twelve Roses says “be mine”. You can convey your message or propose your love by a perfect dozen of roses.
Fifty Roses are like sending a bouquet with so many roses to express a love with no bounds.
Hundred Roses represents an undying love. It signifies the long term love for hundred years or love until the death.
Three Sixty five Roses signifies constant and true love in terms of one rose for every day of the year. It says “I love you every single day” or “can’t stop thinking about you”.
Roses with different color and numbers have some meaning and it varies with the color and numbers. Using flowers to convey messages has been a tradition in many civilizations. Different number of roses represents different message of love.
Final Words..
Language of flowers is a wonderful concept. I kept the scope of this article limited only to Roses. However as already mentioned in Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu letter, there is no flower which doesn't have a verse associated with it. So I will keep researching more on language of flowers.And next time I plan to gift flowers, I will try to convey my message well with the right color and number of roses. :)
Note: I might be missing on few things. Would love to know more about your understanding on language of flowers. Do share in comments :)
The article is originally published by Neha Agarwal on LinkedIn

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How frequent job switches helped me fast-track my career

I started my career from a very small organization running in 3 BHK in my home town. They were 7 people working 6 days a week to deliver web projects outsourced from UK. I was hired as intern and was supposed to help all of them in their to-dos. I assisted them in web designing, development, writing, marketing as well as calling at the same time.

Within few months as intern the challenges got over due to limited projects and I resigned. I moved to Delhi & here also switched jobs frequently. One reason of my instability was I always need new things in my platter. And at that time nothing was satiating my soul for long. Though overall I was loving what I was doing.

One funny thing about India is that people of any age group or field
  • know which are the top IT companies (T,I,S) where Engineers get placed.
  • also know that job stability is very important
I was an Engineer which was neither placed in either of these top companies nor was stable in job.
During that period growth aspects in online marketing in India were limited. So for people around me, I was wasting time. And then e-commerce hit India. Things changed and so were thoughts.

I happened to be stable only in Jabong where I worked for longer than three years. Probably because my seniors were able to understand & engage me with new activities and challenges.
Later when I met my current CEO, I decided on the next gig.

Here is why I think frequent job switches helped me fast-track my career:

Building a strong skill set
Jobs in various companies helped me get involved in several kind of projects from different business niches and countries. Whenever I felt my learning curve started flattening out, I decided to move on.
This helped me build the expertise faster.

Interviews for Networking & Knowledge Acquisition
In the initial years of my career, I used to give at least two interviews a month. My idea to go for interviews was to understand what's going on in the market. Also I am a very public facing kind of person and like to interact.
Thus giving Interviews helped me gain knowledge and build a network.

Today if I sit back and count, on an average I have worked with number of bosses almost be equal to an average employee's total team mates in his entire career. No kidding.
This means I got a working experience with n types of boss personalities and teams which usually takes more than a decade to build up.

No Comfort Zone
Change is the only constant in life. I am used to of transitions and have taught myself to deal with frequent change. Today nothing bothers me, at least a change doesn't at all.

Leader, Manager or both
I got to work with leaders and managers. I realized I need to imbibe personality traits of both. Only a visionary or only a team-extractor isn't enough to build a successful team.
And every day I work to develop myself as both  i.e. A Leader-Manager.

Understanding Business Models & Operations
As a frequent job hopper I worked for both agencies and in-house businesses. Besides I started working from ground level in small & medium companies which helped me understand how these businesses operate and scale.
This developed my entrepreneur mindset.

Final Thoughts
Money was never the primary focus while switching jobs. Of course it's needed and I do negotiate on it but always considered it as a bi-product.
If job hops happen because your jobs aren't meeting your learning expectations, it's cool. Get your basics right and just be informed that Indian market and hiring practices are changing rapidly.

Don't take advise from people about how job hopping is a career suicide when it is actually a successful career recipe if done with the right motives.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Here are some Insights from #LearnWithGoogle Event in Gurgaon

I attended #LearnWithGoogle Event day before yesterday (08 Sep 2015) at Google's Gurgaon Office.
The event was organized for Business Owners, Advertisers and Publishers. Session was very useful and I want to share some non-technical insights for the benefit of all.

Internet Trends

Global Internet User Growth : 2.8B, +8% in 2014
New User Addition
  • China : +7%
  • USA : +2%
  • India : +33%
  • Brazil: +4%
Global Smartphone Subscription Growth : 2.1B, +23% in 2014
New Additions
  • China : +21%
  • India : +55%
  • USA : +9%
  • Japan: +5%
India vs. China

By the end of 2014
Total Internet Users
629 Million
232 Million
New Additions
31 Million
63 Million
  • China is largest Internet Market in the world 2014.
  • India topped New User Additions 2014

Internet Mobile Traffic India
  • Mobile accounts for 65% of India’s Internet traffic, a percentage only exceeded by Nigeria (76%).
  • ​Mobile also accounts for 41% of our ecommerce, ahead of every other country.​
(​Sunita Mohanty from Google Hyderebad shared these insights and told us the Reference which is Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2015 report)

Inferences for Digital Marketing based on Internet Trends 2015
  • In India, 65% of Internet traffic is from Mobile which means if you care for your business, you just can't ignore targeting Mobile Platform.
  • Current average time a site takes to open on Mobile is 7 seconds but the ideal open time is 1 second. Speed is very important for your users happiness.
  • Check your mobile/desktop site speed using Google Page Speed Insights Tool
  • Search Console by Google has a very useful tool to check if your site is Mobile-Friendly. Take Mobile-Friendly Test
  • If your Mobile Site has technical issues or bugs, you can check using Google's Mobile Usability Tool . Get the details from Search Console and fix.
Do you need SEO? (For Business Owners)

SEO is user experience. If you feel you can provide a good user-experience, Don't hire one.
If you plan to hire a SEO, do check on the sites or projects he/she has worked on, prior achievements etc.  
Don't simply outsource your SEO and sit back. Keep asking, understanding what SEO Team does.
Ensure you are aware of quality guidelines by Google so that you are aware of illicit practices and don't let that happen for your online business.
Adwords Quality Guidelines (For Business Owners / Advertisers)
  • How to fix a disapproved ad :
  • How to fix a site level violation :
  • Feedback about AdWords Policies :
Adsense Quality Guidelines (For Publishers)

When creating content for your site, a general rule is to ensure that the content is family-­safe and legal. For more details visit:
My Personal Observation on Life at Google

It wasn't the first time that I visited Google Office. One thing I love about Google's culture is that their employees willingly does the tasks themselves. They don't even think once if it's a menial job. 
This time I reached one hour before the event registration. And what did I observe? Lots of things. One special thing was host didn't even hesitate in picking up a dustbin and putting it somewhere else while bringing the white board in front. 
Is this a small thing? Do you do this in your office or need a help to set everything before your presentation starts? Think about it.

Note: I am reading "How Google Works" gifted by my CEO these days. And it's such a wonderful read for all professionals.

Final Words:
In case you are a search professional, can join this webmasters community Moderators (Ashish Kalsi & Syed Malik from Search Team at Google) to stay updated.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Here is why I don't advise my younger brother #MySiblingRocks

Sibling stories by Bloggers for Rakhi Activity at IGP inspired me to share my sibling story too. Also I feel today is the best time to write this post as it's his birthday! 

To give a context, I and my younger brother are opposite to each other. We have different outlook towards life, career and success. Our definitions of happiness and satisfaction are also contradictory.

My favorite teacher in school always used to say that all I need is fame. Probably because he had seen me going an extra mile to earn trophies in interschool debate competitions. Why interschool? Because winning interschool competitions used to bag me a chance of getting into local newspapers. Why debate? I don't know but winning debates used to give me immense happiness.

At the same time, my brother is famous in the whole district as he by-hearted Hanuman Chalisa at the age of 3. And he used to visit churches, mosques with the same excitement as that of visiting the temple. Later he read Bhagwad Gita, Quran, Bible etc.

With the time we channelized our energies according to our likes and happiness. Today I am highly passionate about work while he is for Yoga. And even though we are totally different from each other, we share a very close bond.

Due to long distance whenever we get time we talk for hours, understand and support each other through thick and thin.

No matter what, we know we're family. Yeah!

He is younger to me but has a good maturity level, very affectionate and understanding. He is doing good in his life and constantly growing in a way he wants to. I am proud to see his intellect, maturity and spiritualism.

There are times when people advise me to advise him. They want me to advise him on success and life.
And I don't know what to say to them. Because I understand they are well-wishers.

Do you know what is that one thing which can spoil any relationship or can leave someone disheartened forever?

Comparison. People compare siblings, friends, spouses, relatives and even neighbors. I am a Bollywood Movie Buff. So please bear with me as I am going to be a little philosophical here.

We unknowingly compare Shamita Shetty with Shilpa Shetty, Abhishek Bachchan with Amitabh Bachchan or Aishwarya Rai, Tushar Kapoor with Ekta Kapoor, Tanisha with Kajol etc. Because we feel later one is more successful.  

Well, that's not right. Everyone has a different meaning for success. We are no one to judge others and their decisions.

Here is why I don't need to advise my brother

My brother is highly talented. He shined like a star during his school and college. Apart from his regular IT job, he does poetry, performs Yoga Asanas, loves to travel and reads a lot. He is a free soul. First of all I don't think someone like me is capable enough to advise him.
Secondly even if I can advise him, I won't. Because I trust his abilities and I am sure he will do something good with his life for sure.
Ups & downs are a part of everyone's life. And I know my brother will come out with flying colors, much stronger than he is today.

Wrapping up this post with lots of love & good wishes for you dear brother. Have a very happy birthday & Rakshabandhan. May God Bless You Forever!

Monday, August 3, 2015

3 Trusted Indian News Publications which are still referring APJ Abdul Kalam as Azad

It's been a long hoopla on Internet after actors like Anushka Sharma & Farhan Akhtar goofed up with the name of People's President Late APJ Abdul Kalam on Twitter.
After all the drama and news coverage that happened on how Anushka Sharma was able to post the correct name of India's most honored President Late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam only after deleting her tweets twice, I never imagined our journalists and editors could still repeat it.
And the unexpected part, one newspaper is repeatedly doing it. It's high time when Indian Publishing Houses start reporting responsibly.
1) The Hindu

On 31st July, an article published here

2) DNA (
On 30th July, an article published here

3) IndiaToday did it twice
Check here and here.

About Author:
Neha Agarwal is a digital marketing enthusiast and an ardent follower of People's President APJ Abdul Kalam. In her childhood when Dr. Kalam was the President of India, she used to exchange her thoughts & ideas with him through letters. Apart from writing blogs, she is currently heading the search marketing team of one of the largest Indian Gifts Portal. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Don't limit yourself to LinkedIn for showcasing your Professional side

When I left my last job and posted about it on Facebook, I received two job offers (not interview calls) only through connections at Facebook. No kidding!

This is how it started:

Though I had already decided about What Next by then!

Why am I sharing this?
Because when people say, I keep my professional connections out of Facebook; all I do is smile. And I want to say if you do so you are missing a huge opportunity to showcase the personal brand YOU.

Suppose you meet someone during your holiday who shows interest in your professional life, what will you say? That I don't talk about my professional life during holidays? I talk about work only in office or office hours. Of course not. Because by doing this, you may lose an opportunity to showcase yourself  rather showcase the Brand YOU and may miss an opportunity coming to your way.

Casual conversations sometimes shows the doors to big opportunities. And that's what happens on social media too.

Be it Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you know how to use social media wisely you can create an awesome personal brand YOU.

Will be sharing more about Personal Brand & Online Pehchaan in next set of articles. Till then stay connected and keep watching this space for more.