A ode to my beloved yoga mat

A Lost Gaiam

“Relax, breathe, you are in a safe place.”
“You will not hurt me, will you?.. Will you take me to my buddy? I can’t find her, I am not home, this is not home. I am .. I am lost.

Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What’s your name?
I am Gaiam. I am a yoga mat. I live with my buddy and now I don’t seem to find her anywhere. I remember it was a chilly day in the winter of 2015, she walked into the Earthbound store at Broughton Street in Savannah, Georgia. I had just arrived a few hours back, barely breathing after getting that plastic off my body, my journey was long. I heard them say they will wrap me again if they don’t have a home for me.
I saw her walk around, she looked so poised. I knew then that I wanted her to take me home. She walked past me, turned back and touched me. We had our first touch. I was the happiest that night, my cheeks flushing red. The blocks, the belt and the blanket, they all teased me and were envious of my future. She looked through a couple of my fellow travelers until she finally picked me. And here I am now, why am I here? Where is my buddy? Could you please find her for me?

Why did take you home? What’s your use to her?
I remember her telling her friend how much she is attached to me. Her mother had called her one day, worried as she was, she wanted buddy to take some time off for herself. She wanted her to start yoga, they are Indians you know. I am an accessory to her, she keeps me rolled inside her cupboard when she isn’t using me for yoga. I like it when it’s cold and I am bundled up but I tend to get really warm in summers. She makes sure she keeps me cool. I usually don’t travel with her when she has school but I go to her studio at least twice a week. I love it! I get to meet Jade, Manduka and other Gaiams. We have the best conversations. We all love our buddies a lot.
She is very possessive of me. This one day someone asked her if they could borrow me and she said no. I like that about her. She keeps me clean and in shape. In return, I make sure she doesn’t slip when she doing her asanas (poses). I supported her in her first headstand and she still owes me that.

What is so special about you?
Unlike her earlier purchases, I am a long-term friend to her. I have never judged how she looks. I always support her in all circumstances and make sure I am there for her when she is having mood swings. I have always been there for her, in her highs and lows. I have always given her positive vibes. She says I make her feel closer to the earth, closer to reality and closer to her inner self. I have never let her know when I am feeling depressed, she doesn’t need to know that. This one time I fell in her room, hit my head on the floor and I was lying there all day till she got back home. I even got into a fight with the blue Gaiam at SCAD Studio last week. She had taken my spot and was in my way, laying around at a wrong angle, blocking my view of the instructor.

What is the one thing you want to tell her which you never could?
I want to tell her that she has changed my life. My life was all about traveling in boxes from one place to another. I spent most of my life in warehouses, wrapped, hugging five other strangers in the box. She gave me a life, an identity and made me feel like I was a part of her life. She valued me like no one else did. I remember being thrown around when no one had a place for me. They sold me to different buyers until that lucky day when she found me. I love to be owned by her.

We are trying to find her for you. Do you remember the last place you saw her?
It’s a faded memory. I don’t remember exactly where I was. I remember she was wiping me, harder than usual. I had a ton of scars but she was bent on trying to fix me, unknown to the fact that my scars were permanent. She spoke on the phone for long hours, I think she was arguing with her mother. She carried me from room to room. I did get an awkward feeling, I just didn’t think it would be the last time I would see that house. We drove to some place which did not look like her usual studio. She touched me while driving, caressing me from time to time. It felt like a short journey but I believe it wasn’t one, only because I enjoyed her company, her being there, for me, only for me. I had all her attention. We got out of the car. I do not remember anything after that. Do you know where I could possibly be? Maybe she just forgot to take me with her.

*After a few minutes, another stranger walks in and whispers something in his ear*

Gaiam, are you here with me?
Yes, I am here. What did that man say to you? Did you find her for me?

I want you to come here and hold my hand. I know this is tough but it’s okay. It’s a part of life.
What is it? Why don’t you tell me clearly?

Gaiam, you are not lost. You were donated*

The End.

Giga mapping a yoga mat

Giga mapping a yoga mat

Five things I learnt this Fall

a. There is much more to Service Design than just tools and frameworks. We’re in a world where we Servies are trying to devise an understanding of Service Design to the world and hence our contribution is really valuable.

b. The more you read, the more you want to read. Reading is addictive and it makes you hungry for more knowledge unless you’re just a useless idiot wanting to lay down all day watching Netflix.

c. It is important to share knowledge. Trust me, it’s the best feeling. Sharing what you know of and getting extra perspectives is always a plus point.

d. Never complain. There are things that will happen even though you might try your level best to stop them so don’t complain. Take the hurricane for instance.

e. Have fun in your projects and get the most of them. Ask and argue. Argue till you are convinced that it’s time to let go of the argument.

Hoping for another year filled with learnings and excitement. Stay healthy and stay happy. 

Happy Holidays!

*Click* Open in a New Tab

Let’s accept it, we’ve all done it. I have been frustrated for the 71243423524th time today to click and open the page in new tab, always wondering why these websites cannot be configured to ALWAYS open in a new tab. The only reason I could think of all this while - if each page opened into a new one, our screens would get really cluttered up. 

In any case, browsing through n number of websites each day for research, it gets utterly annoying to lose the information on the previous page. No, I don’t want to manually open everything in a new tab (my fingers get tricked on the Mac’s trackpad). What they don’t realize is that they lose a lot of traffic because of the user losing track of their positioning and flow while navigating. I hate losing an important page when they keep directing me to new pages each time. It gets harder to get back to where I was, sometimes the back button’s mood adding to the misery.
Usually, before closing all the tabs, I would check for what is important to keep and what isn’t. That would make me revisit the information on that page, read it and hopefully find it more useful the second time I glance through it (badly designed websites don’t inspire you to read through). If I like what I see, I would bookmark the website for future reference even though the design was bad. It’s a struggle won by content over design, only because i stumbled upon it again. 

Moral : There is always a way to turn your shortcomings into wins. Just think it through. The right strategy for the right situation, at the right time to things as simple as these - that’s all it takes to design great experiences and gain audiences.