My World-My Perception at The Asia Mag!

November 29, 2010
Dear Reader,

I am truely happy to tell you that my post on Karva Chauth, Karva Chauth - A Modern View On An Ancient Ritual has been chosen by the Asia Mag ,  and has been published in their current edition. 

About The Asia Mag - is a platform  that showcases good writing about Asia from the people who live in there. Its aim is to present the continent through the diverse perspectives of those from different parts of this vast continent.

Certain changes have been made in my post to make it understandable by people who are not familiar with this Hindu ritual.  The post has been titled as "For Your Well-Being, I Forego Food Today".  Here is the link to the post. .

Dear reader, if you find some time, do visit my post there and please give your feedback there.

It is an amazing feeling when people whom you don't even know find you and appreciate your work.  I am thankful to The Asia Mag for this.  I am also thankful to my dear readers who encourage me to write better with each passing day, by writing comments on my posts.  That really motivates me!Your feedback is like support for me. Be there!

And, the readers who do not comment, you are equally important - you clicks on my blog make my day! 

take care,


Live As If You Were To Die Tomorrow - A Remembrance

November 28, 2010

26/11 is remembered by all Indians for it was day we sat with a dropped jaw in front of our TV, watching helplessly what was happening in our country, in Mumbai.  The future was uncertain, and the terror was not coming to an end, we did not know what was coming up, as we had to sleep that night, or rather two consecutive nights wondering how safe are we? How safe we think we are in the close vicinity of our house?  

It was a strange feeling on 27th evening when I returned from office, listening to FM radio, there was a sense of uncertainty and helplessness even in the tone of the radio anchor.  It was again the usual evening and same quiet dinner at home with my family, but I was feeling the weight of heavy stones on my heart.  I didn't really want my kids to know what was happening... kids are much more sensitive... so wanted to keep them unaware of the terror attack in Mumbai.

It was tough to decide to put my head on my pillow that night, because there were many who would be shaking in terror or lying in the pool of their blood, far away from their loved ones.  It was not a good thought to sleep conveniently in my bedroom, as if I was choosing ignorance.  But I did sleep, and deeply, as I was tired - may be mentally too.  Only to be woken up by the ring of my mobile phone.

I was so tired that I did not know that it was just 11 pm, and that the number flashing on my mobile phone was of my father. I was too sleepy to check the number and with shut eyes, I groggily uttered "hello".  The words that I heard rattled me..... my father spoke in a tone as if trying hard to remain calm, the words.... which still make me go numb.  He said " S (my brother-in-law)  had gone to Vaishno Devi (Shrine) with his father, he fell down, unki death ho gayi". (meaning - he died).  I still remember his words.

I felt I was made to forcefully sit on a giant wheel, which whirled and whirled in circles and then dump me hard on the ground...... I opened my eyes and I had lost the sense of direction..... I didn't know where I was.... for a few seconds..... and then I cried out to him "aap kya keh rahe ho??" (what are you saying?).  He broke down, my father - a stoic person that he is - I had never seen him express his emotions before this. I knew he could not be wrong or mistaken, surely we had lost the husband of my younger sister, S.

What followed it were diverse emotions - first denial (no, this can not happen), then acceptance.  Then I was questioning God, why did he do this? and then I grieved and grieved and cried and cried.  
About S, he was a young, energetic  guy who loved life, had so many dreams in his eyes.  He was healthy, as we understood.  He never smoked, would take a drink once in a blue moon, but did not exercise or went to gym, but was a very positive person in his attitude towards life, and I got along with him very well.  While he was walking up Vaishno Devi Shrine, which is about 13 kms walk, with his father, he had 2 or 3 heart attacks.  While he had the first attack, he understandably sweat profusely but did not realise its severity and he walked on, but the second or the third attack left him dead.

He died in the arms of his father, at a pilgrimage site which is very much respected by Hindus.  The father, i am pained to say this but was one really unlucky father, who pleaded to doctors to conduct some test, some thing, anything to see if they could revive him, but I was too late.  He had bring back his dead son by road.  My heart still goes out to Uncle, as a shattered man that he had become, he, very bravely, went on directing us what to do next.
My sister, first was shocked, but later inconsolable, she kept saying "but he had bought new sports shoes, he said, I will come back and we will begin our morning walk together, we need to streamline our life, we will begin to take care of our health and family... but he bought new sports shoes yesterday"  Something broke inside me each time I heard this.  I remembered my kid sister's face, when during our childhood,  her ice candy would fell down on the floor in summer afternoons and she would cry... so innocently.... I saw the same on her face again.  What was her fault in all this? But I did not stop her from crying. It's important to grieve.

As for me, I suddenly realised that I was the only one over there on whom everyone, everyone in the two families could have leaned on.  Suddenly I realised I was tough.  Suddenly the immediate and future course of action was in front of my eyes.  I never knew I was so strong.  I cried, but mostly I stopped my tears, collected my pain inside my chest and decided to make my sister strong again.  My sister went into a self pity.  She thought, now it's all over and she could not do anything.  She won't be able to take care of her 4 year old daughter, as the little angel was completely a daddy's girl.  She was lost, had begin to feel the pressure of the family members around her, who had begun to ask her about their bank accounts, FDs, investments etc.  It was too early for her to even think like that.  But, may be it was practical responsibilites which made them ask all that.

I had decided to visit my sister everyday till she became a bit balanced.  To my surprise, the great keepers of our society told me, I should leave her alone in her in-laws place, and let them take care of her.  Can you believe it?? Our traditions, customs are always above the sensitivity of a human being, they are mostly beyond us, and that's why I don't care for them much.   I told my mother, in no uncertain terms, that I would be visiting my sister everyday, I will dress up like her in light coloured clothes and I won't put a Bindi or any make up till I am with her, till the time she needs me.  I can not let my sister go into self pity and a deep burrow of sorrow. That was my way of showing solidarity to her, as a human being.  Of course, my mother did not like it, but I did what I had to do.

I had decided to use that pain which was churning and killing me inside.  I had decided I am going to use this pain, and this pain will take us ahead.  We settled all the documentation work in his office, financial transactions.  I am glad I could instill faith in herself as a mother.  Soon she understood that she was not helpless, her finances were sorted out and she knew she is not at the mercy of anyone.  In due course of time, we could convince her to marry again.  She has moved on now, married again.  Though, the pain does not go completely but the wound begins to heal with time and with a proper support system.

I have to mention here that the only people in front of whom I feel like bowing my head, are the parent's in law of my sister, who took care of my sister like their own daughter - not just in words but in deeds.  I am indebted to them for my life.

Today, after 2 years I have relived this pain.  I have re-lived each and every moment. yesterday and today. It is prudent to remember that death can come any moment, any time, without warning, when you won't even have the time to goodbye to your loved one's , you won't have the opportunity to hug your loved one's one last time.  You won't have the chance to tell some one how much you love them, be it your parents, your spouse, your partner or anyone.
I had always believed in living the moment to the fullest.  Because it is this very moment which is mine.  And this incident reinforced that belief in me.  Unfortunately, for my sister and S, they were planning to live, they had postponed life to a better day , when....... (differs for every person)..... that made her really sad that they had not even begun to live, even after 10 years of marriage and one kid, they were planning to live and enjoy the things that they have, while both of them kept working hard.  Today, the fruits of hard work are there, but may be the desire to taste them is not there.

Dear reader, there are two things I want to say to you.  First, take care of your health, work comes next to a fit body, so please have proper diet, rest and do exercise before it gets too late.( Know about heart attack in young men from this post.  Indian men are quite prone to heart diseases, and everyone should know this.)   Also, don't ignore any symptom which can be an indication of illness.  Our body talks to us, we just have to listen to it.

And second, live..... Life is what you have right now in front of you.  There are no tomorrows.  One must plan for years to come, but in that zeal don't forget your present, for only this moment is yours.

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." -
  --  Mahatma Gandhi

Work like you don't need the money;
dance like no one is watching;
sing like no one is listening;
love like you've never been hurt;
and live life every day as if it were your last.

-An Old Irish proverb

With love,


"Pleez ajjust"- We are Like That Only!!

November 25, 2010
Sometimes seeing the way Delhi is getting better, although not uniformly everywhere,  I wonder have we, the citizens of Delhi learnt to live with this change?  when I see the advancement made in public transport system, shopping malls and entertainment etc and then I see the still missing civic sense in the people around me, I wonder, do we even deserve this modern infrastructure? 

Again, no generalization, but yes on a whole, I feel pathetic when the educated class also behaves like some runaways from prisons, like some unruly school kids, like the people who are still living under some other power's rule.  Somewhere the sense of responsibility is absolutely missing. 

(Dear reader, I make it a point that I intend not to point a finger towards others, so I don't say 'they' do it, it's 'we' who do it. (Remember the old saying, when you point one finger towards others, four fingers point towards you).  It is a collective consciousness or the lack of it that I am talking about.  So, please do not mind, if you fall in any of the categories of people mentioned below.  Apart from old Delhi residents, nobody really belongs to Delhi, everybody migrated for some reason or the other, and I am no exception. So I hope you will understand the context in which I am writing this.)

We clean our houses and throw the garbage nicely stuffed in a polythene bag in the back lane or on the side road.  We travel in cars and don't mind throwing empty wrappers of food outside the car.  Whose road is that? Whose city is that? We think, it is the job of the Government, and we begin to crib on why the Municipal Corporation of Delhi does not function properly and why the sweepers don't clean the road......... but we never understand that it is our city, and we too have some responsibility towards it..

During Common Wealth games when I visited Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, while entering the premise, there were elaborate security check (glad for that!).  While I was standing in the queue with my family, two young boys very smartly came and stood ahead of me.  Due to their red T-shirt they looked similar to the  volunteer's uniform.  I checked up with them and found they were not volunteers.  Softly, I told them to go back to the end of the queue and that it was not expected from youngsters to behave like that.  Instead of being embarrassed, they smiled and in the haste to get inside the stadium gave me a brilliant piece of advise "please ajjust"!!

What I am to adjust with? People breaking queues, that too youngsters who will be the fathers one day and will teach the same to their children? How do I adjust to this?

Secondly, Inside the stadium, there were food stalls serving fast food. (Since, I had gone there with my kids straight from office, so was hungry and decided to have a bite.) It was pathetic to see that the huge dustbins properly lined were lying empty and the leftovers of burgers, wrappers, juice tins, tetra packs, loads of used tissue paper were strewn carelessly on the floor all over.  I was feeling nausiated to see the scene. 

 It was just so simple to dump the things in the proper place, but why should we even take that trouble? That is not our house! This is some public place and we public are supposed to be like that, isn't it?  So, all in all the interior part of the sparkling new building of the stadium was tarnished by tomato ketchup, slices of cucumber and onion,  spilled coffee and  cold drink. (Did we Delhites deserve this place?  I was thinking)

A similar thing happened during a social gathering where food was served through a buffet arrangement. Everybody - senior citizens, enthusiastic young men in their suits, women balancing their plates with clutch in hands, unruly kids - just everybody was trying to break the queue, get inside it as quickly and as smartly they could and pile up their plates with whatever is available.  (and the competition near the stall serving desserts - kulfi, jalebi, ice cream or rasmalai - oh too much!).  And you think I keep quiet there?! Nah, I never let a single guy go ahead of me, same for women, some soft corner for kids though, but not without giving a lesson in good manners!! And if someone persists the bad behaviour, a dirty look is enough then!!

Are we some hunger struck nation? I am talking about the educated urban people, where food is no issue, where at places, it is the problem of plenty.  Why can't we stop behaving like we have never seen good food? Why are we so worried about filling our plates and don't give a damn what is left for the next guy? 

Come to see our parking sense.  Delhi is overcrowded with cars now, just a few years back it was not so.  Now instead of showing some responsibility, we park our cars like a king (Sab chalta hai attitude). 

Recently, in my office parking space, I saw a senior guy parking his car just the wrong way, right in between two boxes meant for two cars.  I happened to park my car just at that time, and very politey brought this to his notice and told him that this will create a tough situation for other car owners, so a slight adjustment would help everyone. How he wished that he was deaf.... at least that is how he looked at that time... but ... no... he turned back... looked around and  pat came the reply from him.... the  gyan.... the jugaad that we are good at - "aapki car to aaram se lag gayi na?" (Meaning, Hope u have sufficient space for your car).  I clenched my teeth and muttered to myself in disgust "we are like that only, han?" (no, he didnot hear it of course! But then, while leaving the place I informed about this to the parking incharge there. Did he take any action?  I doubt)
Why are we like this ?? 

Till  when will be like this? Till when will go on using these words to justify our carelessness and lack of responsibility?  These words like - " I don't give a damn", "it's not my job", " I don't know", "why should only I care?",

Does somewhere our past is looming in our minds? Our forefathers were the people who migrated to Delhi for work or for other reasons, the poeple who left their worlds behind when they came to India after partition.  Some are well settled now, some are still struggling, but mostly living a  comfortable life now, after 2-3 generations having faced tough times.  Sorry to say that, but that mentality to collect whatever we could for our families still exists in us, when we want to collect more food in our plates, when want to encroach that every inch of road space to include it in our verandah, when we want to fool, cheat anyone to get the electricity meter budged, when we clean our house and don't give a damn to how badly we have littered the road, it shows and now it hurts.  Howsoever well-off or influencial you become, you need to tune your sensibilities with time.

Let's try not to pass these on to our next generation, let our children have a better place to live and feel proud about.

Let's get our act right, before our children ask us - "Are we like that only?"


 PS: I have grown up disagreeing with this hindi phrase - "akela chana bhaad nahin phod sakta"  (meaning - a single person cannot make a difference). Of course, we can make a difference, one person can make a difference.

What Men Want?!

November 23, 2010
You know what, when I read about this Blogadda contest (received in my mailbox), my first reaction was that I giggled! These three words "What Men Want" made me smile ear to ear and my imagination wandered around for a while!!

Hmm, so I smiled merrily for a while and then closed my eyes and said to myself softly "I know baby.......what you want. : )  I know that...... I know how much you like those mean machines.... those gadgets... and video games, online racing games..... how much you care for your car....... how much you want your newspaper and how much you like your drink.... I know baby what you want (Hey, by the way, what did you think?! naughty!)

"What men want", ask this question to that hottie, who was being driven by this smarty (boy of course!).  And our smart boy looks outside the window and says "Maaannnn, what a sexxxyyyy carrrrr!!!!!" "wow, what a building... awesome.... one day I want to own it" Huff, now think about the girl, who was just twirling her hair and checking out herself in the car mirror (well, placed for her only!) for that sweet glance of the boy!!!

Jokes apart, understanding what men want is far less complicated as to what women want. (Do I sound sexist again like  in this post?!!)

Okay, let me say this that it is not fair to generalize about any gender and since it's not a fun post, I would tread cautiously! No amount of research can circumvent all the types of people around us.  So, dear readers, don't get offended, as a woman tries to bring out the things which she thinks men, in general, would want.  You're free to add more points.

Also, when I talk about men, it's about your husband, your boy friend, your lover or your live-in partner. And a relationship means, marriage, a romantic relationship, live-in relationship.  I hear, there are lot more than that to it, but I guess, you don't any rules there, or need to understand each other there, do you?

So, here I go with my list of what I think men want or want not to deal with :

Just Let Me Be - I think, boys, men have their share of pressures from family, friends, work peers, girl friend(s), etc, and with so many expectations from them, ultimately, what they would want is to be themselves.  At the end of the day,  a man wants to be himself - no pretence, no formality, so sweet talk, he just wants to be himself.  At times, our professions don't allow us to express our feelings (like in marketing jobs and other public interaction jobs).  So, I feel this is want a man wants, especially when he is back home. So,  I want to be myself with my girl and with my family.

Be My Partner Not My Mother - Ah, girls, this might hurt you a bit, but I guess (no, I think, I am sure!) men don't want their girl to behave like his Ma! It's alright to care for your partner, but getting overtly concerned about him over his food, his clothes, his habits is not done. Be an equal partner and always remember, he is an adult and can take care of himself.

Wish she stops trying to change me (!!) - I think many of the women readers would agree (in their hearts of hearts) that we do try (i mean our level best!) to change our man.  We want to change their dressing style sometimes, or their mannerism (yawning in public - a big no no) or their habits, of say playing too much computer games, or smoking etc.  It's alright to caution your partner about the harm a habit can cause them, but being after their life is a sure shot way of losing or spoiling a relationship.  And if a guy really cares for you, you don't even have to say something in so many words, he will change himself for you.  But your suggestion has to be genuine and practical.

Wish she keeps shut when I drive ! - Men really don't like it when we guide them, (read exhibit our driving skills or worse our fears) while they are driving.  It really really irritates them.  Am sure, men want their female counterparts to keep their mouth shut, while they are driving.

Oh, something fell in my eyes - Whosoever said, big boys don't cry or "mard ko dard nahi", well, he was wrong (remember 'he'!!).  It is the familial and social conditioning that men, boys are made to believe that only girls shed tears.  Crying is like venting out your pain, frustration, anger and other negative emotions.  Sometimes, we must cry, as it cleanses us.  It makes us think clearly, as we let go of those pent-up emotions.  Crying can never be gender specific.  I wish, that men add this to thier wishlist to have a partner who can accept him, love him and respect him even when he cries.  It is a huge change I am talking about, but I think, we must begin to think this way.  It's human to cry.

Don't create fuss for that clutter- It's not really possible to demarcate traits like being organized and meticulous as per the gender.  But, as per my experience,  I have seen more women to be organized, be it home, kitchen, almirahs, office papers etc, than men.  So, it is understandable, that we create fuss when our partner refuses to be as organized as we are. So, I think men do wish that women stop telling them how to keep the bathroom clean etc and we should begin to clear the clutter and mess in the kitchen, when they leave it (ah, as if they ever enter the kitchen!)

I love you - "Oh I know it baby, but you gotta tell me again!" How many times this has happened to you that your girl wants to hear it again and again?!  Men in love and a relationship would like to say it once and for all (to be repeated... well.... at some intimate moment) but women definitely want to hear it again and again.... mushy thing ha! So, conclusion is that men wish that their girl decrease the appetite for this auditory pleasure!

After you ma'm (huh really?!!)  I guess, men are really not happy with this male chivalry thing now a days, which brings a smile on any girl's face (well mostly).  Personally, I would like it when a man shows some basic courtesies like offering a chair (not pulling a chair for me), keeping the door open (so that it does not slam on my face), cares to let me get off the lift first. That's enough and that shows what kind of educational and social background one belongs to (I talk about it in my etiquette's and body language classes).  But beyond that, it is not desirable in working environment for men to be caring for women, by showing such acts.  Men don't like to exhibit their chivalry for just any women, though to their girl, why not!

Don't be a clinger, girl - In a relationship (includes marriage) it's alright to find an emotional refuge in your partner, but being emotionally dependent on him, running back to him after any setback, expecting him to take care of your emotions all the time can really....weigh heavily on a relationship.  Men definitely admire women, who are able to handle their emotions well and balance themselves.  So, I think, men wish that their women would not an emotional clinger.

I love you but..... - Men, especially the younger lot (do men age.... at least I don't think so!), are really really crazy for their gadgets- latest phones, gaming consoles, music devices, cameras, and what not.  Not that girls are not, but girls had always been crazy about shopping and buying - only the products have changed. So men swoon over their gadgets. Even at the time of professing their love, they would say "I love you....but after my gadget"!(no pun intended). (psst....a friend of mine was seen clenching her teeth when her partner told her - "meet your saut - my BlackBerry!) ('Saut' - a hindi word, would loosely mean the man's other sweetheart)

Am bad in reading silence (or a sulk!) - Women, by nature, are more intuitive.  They can understand deeply, even when no word is uttered, they observe and sense.  So the dependence on words or clear communication is less.  Their sixth sense just tells, what is what (watch out boys!).  Men, mostly, want a clear word, a clear communication, without a hidden meaning to it, especially from his girl.  While, a girl would always want him to understand, even if she sits batting her eyelids. (But seriously, you guys must learn it, ha!).  So, the conclusion drawn is that men want their partners to speak clearly about their doubts, feelings, expectations and thoughts, before forming an opinion, before jumping to a conclusion, before assuming that they (the guys) have understood. It helps!

The three letter word - (Were you waiting for something juicy?!) Well, yes, the three letter word does excite them.  Although, the tastes gets refined, the urges get balanced out with better managed hormones, with age or with transitions in life, but it remains important for men.  Not that, I will shy away from saying that women too need their share in intimacy, but it does not generally influence them and their choices in life to a great extent (more on it later!)

I think, it was quite a list!! In fact, 19 Nov was International Men's Day, and I was tempted to write about men and their wants, which I could not do because of paucity of time, so I am happy I am able to pen down my views due to Blogadda contest. Love you Blogadda for giving out such interesting topics on write on!!

So dear reader, now let me know what do you think about it? I will be waiting to hear from you all!

Take care!


Go to and check out t shirts for men! Also visit the

pic credit :

Euthansia - Having A Right On Your Life And Death

November 22, 2010

It were two consenting adults when I or for that matter any of us were born but it would be the consent of, makers of law of the land where I live, the religion I follow and the code and ethics of the society to which I belong (seemingly) that would decide my fate, if I today choose to embrace death.  I would be looking for the consent of all these people who comprise my world if today my body, a bubble floating over the thorny bushes, collapses.  If today I am left, due to a mishap, as a mere vegetating human body, I would need the permission from others to end my sufferings, and most probably I won't be allowed to do that.

What an irony! Neither I am here by my choice, nor can I  leave the world by my choice, in a respectful dignified way.  Killing oneself still happens to be a crime, as is mercy killing or euthansia. 

Euthansia - the word with works as the spine of the hindi movie "Guzarish" (meaning a request or appeal) - for a man paralyzed for life - requests the law to give him dignity in death and permit him to end his sufferings, as a man who can only think, speak or move his head, but cannot move an inch even to shoo a fly away from his face.

What is Euthanasia:

Euthanasia is a Greek word meaning 'good death' and refers to the practices of ending life in a painless manner. It is illegal in India and most countries of the world. Only ten odd countries have legalised the practice of mercy killing

Euthanasia conducted with the consent of the patient is termed voluntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington. When the patient brings about his or her own death with the assistance of a physician, the term assisted suicide is often used instead.

My opinion:

The movie brought out the plight of the one's who don't want to live any longer due to their deteriorated medical condition.  As a matter of fact, life is more a punishment for them than death.

But, the law of our country, India and most the countries of the world have illegalized such an act.

I fail to understand, why in a world where people are burned, cut into pieces, shot at, killed, brutally injured without any one's permission - no law or religion sanctifies such actions - why does the rules, the laws, the dictates apply only and only to the one's who want to abide them?

As if saying, let's control the controllable and let go the uncontrollable.  Why laws cannot change with time?  Why does the suffering of a human being mean nothing.... why he is forced to live.... To be an example of courage?.... Why do we have to preach a terminally ill person to fight it out and give life a chance? Who are we to tell a person that? 

A person with a body with which he cannot perform normal functions of life, but has a sound mind, should be heard and respected and not given sermons to be strong. See this to read a related news article, though old.

I am not encouraging suicide nor am I suggesting that we let people die at the drop of a hat, but don't take away the right to die - in the overzealous approach to Article 21 of Indian Constitution - Right to Life.

I, as a human being have the right to live and die with dignity.

What do you feel about it?


The Ordinariness Of Life - Snapshots

November 19, 2010

Searching for the meaning of life
A little bird, alone and so quiet

Two little claws trot on the cemented ground
Don't miss that gait and that little frown

ordinariness of life peeps through a flower
as it blooms uncelebrated, no love to shower


Through the hollowness of dusty old leaves
shines the crimson smile
Where is the pain? what are the peeves?
We are glad, as we are alive

The ordinariness of life is strewn all around, and it's beautiful.


Don't Stress - Just Eustress!

November 18, 2010
I had to deliver a lecture to a group of officials, who were due to retire shortly, on "Coping With Stress".  (and hey! I came out with a wonderful and funny conclusion about family life, which i will share in my forthcoming posts!!)

But meanwhile, I got to share something very interesting and positive about stress, this word which we use so much now.

Stress - When you hear this word, what comes to your mind? Tiredness, fatigue, burnout, but actually if we did not have some stress, we  would not be doing anything.  By the way, its very interesting to know that Stress means a normal physical response to events that make us feel threatened or upset our balance in some way.  When we sense some danger - whether its real or its imagined (for some getting stuck in traffic is stress), our body's defenses kick into high gear. And that process of rapid automatic gearing up is known as "Fight-or-Flight" reaction. 

Our primitive instincts still work for us! Interestingly, the cave men, when encountered a danger, would either fight it off or run for their life, the same reaction is generated in our minds to this date.  A challenging situation puts us in this frame of mind.

In fact, its Eustress, the optimal amount of stress (differs from person to person) required to keep us focused, motivated and moving.  Sometimes, we wait for the deadline of a work and start working a few hours or a few days prior to it, and often during that working period, our attention span is longer and we can focus better and the aim is to do the job well.  That is eustress working in favour of ourselves. And I am not saying that we should delay our work and wait for the last moments to finish it!!

Anyways, we take stress as something bad, but the fact is that if this stressful situation goes on for a long time (again depends on the person how much can he take), this stress becomes Distress and affects both our mind and our body in a negative way.  Distress causes anxiety, decreases performance level,  and can lead to mental and physical problems.
So next time, you feel stressed (as a general term), ask yourself, is it Stress, Eustress or Distress ?

If the stress is too less, we rust out and don't perform, if its more, we burnout and cannot perform.  Its this optimal stress, just the right amount for you, which makes you perform.  Think about it and know what is the optimal stress for you.  Find the situation which blocks your mind and work upon it.  Find the situations which makes you more productive to use them in a purposeful way.

Let me share, I was to make a presentation, which I could not finish well before the lecture, and then on the last day, I sat for four hours, with absolute concentration and I could feel eustress working for me positively and constructively!!

So cheers to Eustress - use your stress !

Next time, don't be stressed, be eustressed!!


Why Is It So Difficult To Deal With Women?

November 17, 2010
Are you a woman, and have you ever thought like this?  Why is it so difficult to deal with women?  Have you ever experienced this?  Have you ever felt that in personal relationships too being friends with boys, while in school or college or work place, was less complicated than girls? 

I think, that on professional front, surely, it is a lot more easier to deal and communicate with men than with women. You can be to the point with them, they don't mind if don't get into a polite talk before coming to the main agenda. But, women being more sensitive, tend to feel bad if we get too officious with them.  They feel you are showing your authority, and hence get defensive.  Not that, this does not happen with men, but I have experienced it less.  Again depends on the educational background and the age group of a man, how he would respond to an independent woman. Keeping in view the    psyche of women, I have always had a softer approach towards them, especially at work place.

Also, since, I am a sensitive person, I like to be sensitive towards others.  I am careful with my selection of words with men, understanding that men have  a big ego, no matter what are they working as.  But had been extra careful with lady co-workers, juniors and seniors.  

I understand that although women and men are equal as far as professional work is concerned, but some amount of sensitive behaviour is required while dealing with women.  So, I do maintain it, always maintained it, till this day, when I am forced to question my choices, forced to question my strange thought process about dealing with women. (By the way, listening to this, my junior, a man, joked that it is men who keep these soft behaviour and courtesies for women! and that he had never heard a woman being considerate for other women co-workers. He had a point!)

Well, a situation which I faced at my work place just 2-3 days back, has made me rethink about my choice of being considerate towards the females.  

The Incident which triggered this unrest in me -

Everybody is supposed to follow certain norms, and if one person chooses to ignore it suddenly, there has to be some reason.  It pertained to my work area, so the polite talk got off the track, when I asked a point blank question to this lady, senior to me, as to why she chose to return the papers without signing them, which she was supposed to read and sign?

The only reason to be so direct was to understand the reason and I had all the right to know it.   It was no done - be it a man or a woman.  

To that question, a man, might have simply replied telling me the reason or his apprehension or his mistake or would have requested to meet me to tell his view point.  But this lady immediately made our office, the drawing room of her home and our  discussion turned into accusation with me feeling like a Bai(!!!)  She turned the official talk into some domestic maid discussion, by adding a personal attack to it (starting with "if you have a problem, then....").  From where did I come in between, I am following instructions given by my boss, and it's equal for everyone.  Nobody had a problem but her. I don't like to argue, but this time I did.  

Needless to say, it left me with a bad taste and set my mind thinking, questioning my choice to be so polite with someone just because of the gender. 

This incident left me feeling very hurt for a few hours.  But I did not share my feelings with anyone, because I wanted to do a self analysis.  I didn't want any sympathy for a senior's rude behaviour, I wanted to understand what made her say what she said.  I took it as a learning.

Understanding the communication patterns:

My conversation, a typical conversation with a male colleague would start with a greeting and I will say what I have to say. No dilly dallying, no worrying out hurting his ego or something.  I am just doing my work, so it should be fine with him, of course I will be courteous while dealing with my senior, but it's point blank, followed by a little formal smile, and off I go.

Now compare it with my conversation with a lady - colleague or a senior.  It would always start with looongish greetings, followed by a little small talk on the dress or weather or children or schools ( huff! I just hate small talk!)  And then, it will be about the work.  (As if work was only an extra activity, we are here for!) Again followed by a large ear to ear smile and a byeeee (as if we are parting for life!) And , huff, then I take a sigh and begin my work. 

You will wonder why do I have to do it, if I so dislike it?  You have a point dear!  But let me tell you, your interaction (I mean if you are a woman) with another woman depends on more factors than the work, or work place.  There are a few things, which I have observed over these few years. 

Don't mind, I am just trying to laugh, so join me  :)

How another woman would talk/interact with you depends on:

Your looks includes dress up - If you are good to look at, one, you can be treated as 'dumb', and two, you are going to deal with some insecure women around!

Overall personality, includes your smartness, your communication skills, etiquette etc- If you have these traits too, you are bound to face tougher challenges, as you fail to fall in the category of "dumb"!

Position in the organisation - Your work profile, your placement in the organisation, or your designation affects other people's interaction with you not just related to work.  But also their personal equation depends on which step of the staircase are you standing on.  Obviously, how so ever smart you look, if you have been assigned a work which does not involve much interaction with seniors, you are much less a threat!

Your rapport with your seniors and bosses - Now this one hurts the most.  If you happen to have all the above traits and then, due to your meticulous working, your positive attitude, your team work, your dedication, you happen to be amongst the well trusted persons of your boss, then lady, you've had it.  Be ready for some fumes!

Your social status - Let me admit that this also works at the background. This factor includes the occupation of your spouse also in some places.

Either be ready for a clash over petty things, or simply be a little smart, and be nice and polite and get going with that small talk.

Having said that, let me clarify, that these factors are not really gender specific.  While women would consider these factors in this order to ascertain how to interact with you, men consider these to see whether to interact with you or not, I mean given a choice!

Also, let me say that women can be real good friends, in fact, I am lucky to have a close friend, J.  The very basis of our friendship is that communication between us is straightforward and have no space for niceties and small talk, we have no qualms about being out of communication for days altogether, we don't discuss other people, and we are honest to each other, at times ruthlessly honest, and we don't mind it, but still we use the three magic words - sorry, thank you, please, in abundance.

Trying to analyse .. well this is loud thinking

I was trying to analyse this situation. (although I am tempted to rant over this!!!!) I think it is more to do with the left brain - right brain theory.  Men tend to use more of their left side of the brain, which is responsible for logical thinking, analysis, facts, etc. and women, generally, tend to use more of the right brain associated with feelings and emotions.  Of course, there are exceptions. 

Lesson Learnt -

But that day, I learnt a new lesson of interaction with women.  No matter what you do, some people don't seem to understand that they are being given this treatment by virtue of their gender.  Today, I am bound to think, was my gender specific treatment right?  Should I have been, in the first place giving ladies a preferential treatment?  The idea was only to have a good working relationship, to have a warm working environment.  

I have been proven wrong, it is not about gender.  It is about the person.  It's not that I was rude with men, but I was to the point with them, and they (I have more men as colleagues and juniors than women) had no problems with it. 

This day has changed my perception of women completely.  Not that, in the past, such things were not thrown on my face - women talking behind your back, women gossiping, arrogant women, women using emotions to get a lenient treatment at workplace, but this is the final straw for me.  When your politeness is taken as a right, you should know how to show a person his or her place!  And I am going to do that.

What do you think?  Understanding women is more difficult than men? Ah, of course I have seen those lists 'what women want' thing!  Is dealing with women bosses tougher too? Is working with women sometimes makes you scratch your head? Do let me know!


PS : Wanna know are you a left brainer or right brainer? try this! :If you cross the fingers of both your hands, forming a loose "Namaste" or the way we fold hands to pray, we tend to put one thumb over the other.  Do it quickly and see! If you have ur right thumb up, you use more of your left brain ie, analytical and the vice versa.  I don't know whether this can be scientifically proven, but I have found it to be true for many people.  It works for me too!

PPS: I am ready for the brickbats now!

PPPS: oops! corrected errors left - right (!) Thanks Vikram Karve!

image courtesy :/

Symbolic Festivities

November 15, 2010
We celebrate so many festivals throughout the year.  some don't make sense to me, and some... well make me ponder.  But this festival makes me feel sad. It's Dussehra.

I have written extensively on Raavan and why I feel we could not understand him or probably we chose not to understand him.  You can read my views on Raavan, Ram and Sita in my posts Defending Raavana and Raavana Is In My Soul.  Here is a glimpse.

"OK, alright, yes he abducted another man's wife but did not force himself.  He fought a fair war for what he thought was right in his eyes.  After all, women were used for political reasons like commodities (defeated kings offering their daughters for marriage to the winner etc).  Also, I fail to understand why Laxman is in no one's bad books for slashing the nose of a (demon) young girl, who showed interest in him?!!  When women could be won, or lost, or earned, or whatever then why, in that era, such hue and cry for stealing a woman?  From that point of view, what should be the punishment for raping one's own daughter? Should THEIR effigies not burnt then?  Raavan, still, had the courage to fight, actually fight a war for that woman (how flattering is that now !!!)"
This year too, effigies of Raavana, along with his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghnad, were burned, with loads of crackers, fun, dandiya, music, and chaat papdi stalls.  I too attended the local celebration. 

But I was pained, as always.  Seeing him stand there, at the mercy of people, common men and women, who themselves don't understand the meaning of the festival.  For them, he is the demon, but nobody will think how was Ram as a husband and as a father. Was a woman called Sita wronged somewhere? Who's bothered.  I hear some new TV serial is coming called "Ganga ki Dheej", (what does that mean?) which also talks how can a woman give proof of her purity. Uff! I have no words. All this just defies logic for me.

But, this year witnessing the effigy of Raavana go up in flames brought out some more painful thoughts in my mind.  Just a month back, I heard, there was a video clip of a young boy who got electrocuted while climbing over the top of a stationary train in Australia, and some one commented about this horrific scene as "this could be a way to get rid of Indian students from Australia" (not the exact words, but something like this) . He surely had to face the wrath of the world.  It was such a shameful thing to say.
leftovers of dussehra

But, that is what I felt like seeing the dark, slim and tall effigy of Raavan beginning to spark and burn from the top (or at least that is how it looked to me). 

Through this festival, are we not promoting the feelings of violence? Are we not saying it is OK to see some person, or his symbolic presence, to be burned and mutilated? Raavana is looked down upon, humiliated every year.  We celebrate the victory of goodness over evil.  But, have we ever questioned our choices?  What was evil in that era, is the norm of this era.  If we really see, we, the common man would be at par (or rather worst than him in many cases) with the villian of that era.  Is it not time, we change the symbols of evil?  Is it not time we understand that raping a woman is worst than abducting and then waiting for that woman to accept your love? Okay, yes, agreed Raavana had ego, which ruined his kingdom.  Do we not have ego?  Where does the modern man stand in front of Raavana?

But still, Raavana will be burned, his effigy filled with expensive big crackers will go up in flames each year.  We will be left with the wooden carcass of the evil demon lying helplessly on the ground surrounded by the paper, ash and half burnt pieces of shells, every year. 

It's time we question our choices. It's time we understand the true meaning of the festival.  It's time we win over the devil in our selves - our ego, our selfishness, our pettiness, our greed, and our lust before we dare to touch the Raavana. 


Ragging - Who Is Responsible?

November 12, 2010
Finally (?) the four boys who ragged and beat to death Aman Kachroo, a first year MBBS student at Tanda Medical College, Himachal Pradesh, India, would be behind the bars.  The Court has handed out a punishment of four years rigorous imprisonment (RI) to these four boys. 

Prof Kachroo (Aman's father), who worked as a Professor in DU, had quit his job to start this campaign against ragging in the country.  This case shook the whole nation.  Although, ragging was not a new thing, it was rampant and even such fatal incidents were also taking place.  But, the man behind the campaign put in whatever he was left with, after losing his son Aman, for this cause.  It is commendable.  Grieving for your child is one thing, and fighting to save others' is another.  I wrote about this some time back in my post "Hats Off Prof Kachroo"(Pl see in a new tab)

Prof Kachroo. (Aman's pic in background)
The Aman Movement -
It was commendable on Prof Kachroo's part not because he fought in the courts to get justice for his dead son, but because, he worked  for a bigger cause, to make everybody aware about the rampant spread of ragging in all the educational institutions of India.

The efforts of Prof Kachroo bore fruits when the State Government of Himachal Pradesh (India) passed a legislation against ragging, 'The Himachal Pradesh Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Ragging) Act, 2009' in August last year. The act states that students involved in ragging would not only be expelled and be ineligible for admission to any other institution for three years, but may also be jailed and fined Rs 50,000.

Why Ragging? 

Ragging, understandably, is done to get acquainted with the juniors.  It surely has some hint of insecurity in the seniors, who think it is justified to make the new comer look stupid in order to retain his importance in every body's eyes. Within limits, it could have been a healthy way of mixing up with college mates and making new friends, but unfortunately, it is not so in many cases.

Right now, the four boys have been pronounced a RI of four years, but I still wonder that -

Is the punishment justified?

I mean putting these young men behind bars for four years (out of which 20 months they have already put in) enough to change everything?  The roots of this cause are much deeper than they apparently seem.  Yes, it does send a signal, in fact, this case is quite a victory in many ways. It is quick justice.  Two years is all it took. The guilty put in jail, the head of the college made to retire compulsorily as a penalising measure, and a new law made in the State to counter such incidents.  Yes, it is justice in many a ways.

But, we got to look deeper.  What is causing the youth to be so insensitive, so aggressive, so violent? who is actually responsible for such reckless behaviour which results in such a suffering for many?

As parents, we tell our children to give back to whosoever hits them. We think, the scuffle he had in the school is some childish act.  We ignore our child's complaint if someone irritates him, or teases him in the class.  Same thing happens when your college going, or hosteler son tells you about the problems he is facing.  You might think these are teething troubles.

We tend to tell them to adjust. Same goes with daughters who tell their mothers about harassment faced in her marital home, she is told to adjust.  Don't you think, it is pure weakness on our part, when we choose to ignore what our child is trying to tell us?  Of course, jumping the gun each time would be foolish, but in most of the cases, the parents are aware what is happening to their child, but they choose to remain silent, as if indirectly telling the child to learn to take the hits of life. Of course, we, as parents are responsible.  We must pay heed to the words and the silence in between.

Institutions and Law - In this case, the Principal of the College is made to leave.  Now is it sufficient?  He will go and another unarmed soldier will come to fight the battle.  We are aware that carrot and stick is required to make people walk the line (which is unfortunate though).  Where is the carrot, read any negative marking for indiscipline? Where is the stick?  meaning, any rule of the university backed by the Law of the State?  In absence of these, expecting a college principal to handle young boys, raw and bubbling with energy is foolish. 

Although, while researching for this post, I saw this report "The Menance of Ragging in Educational Institutions and Measures to curb it" submitted by the Committee constituted by the country's highest Court after the various ragging cases in the country.  It was a huge report, but after reading a few relevant portions, I could understand that laws to control ragging exist in various States of the country, but still they are not enforced.  The reason could be the lack of will by the institutions. Again, it's the chalta hai (casual) attitude.

Did something go wrong in our upbringing?

When the youth, which grows on corporal punishment in school and peer pressure of the stronger or the wealthier classmates;  the youth which grows under parental insensitivity; the youth which grows up with the porn, which grows up with violent computer games and lack of a role model, he surely, begins to take pride in breaking rules, trying to set his own. 

He feels macho when he begins his first beer or talks filthy with his friends (you know what I mean?), he feels he is a man now.  It is that extended machoism, when a group of students feel it's right to exploit or harass physically, mentally  and sexually, another person, who is comparatively weaker than him.

It's time we ask, where have we gone wrong? These last 10 to 15 years specially, we saw how values were given a back seat.  It was only limited to "Value Education" book prescribed to junior classes in public schools.  Families only wanted marks and grades.  Somewhere, we are to be blamed.  We got to look within.

External Discipline Has Ruined Us-

How many times have we, as kids, finished our home-work because the teacher might scold us?  How many times we observed the discipline in our work place because our boss might get offended?  How many times have we followed the traffic rules, though grudgingly, because the traffic cop is watching us?  We do it, all the time, because we've got used to external discipline. 

We want to know what will be the penalty if we break a rule, and if it is not much, we can consider breaking rule for fun.  Until Delhi Govt didnot impose heavy fines on not wearing helmets on two wheelers and not tying seat belts in cars or on jumping red lights, we were OK with it.  We were ready to shell out that Rs 100-200 (or whatever it was), but felt the helmet was too much of a pain.  We say "Rules are for Fools".  This is where we go wrong.  And this is what the price we pay. 

The sense of discipline should be intrinsic. There is some saying which means, you are what you would do, when no one is watching! (let me know if someone knows the actual saying) so, till the time the sense of discipline is not internal, we will keep waiting for that stick to hit us. We'll keep waiting for accidents to happen to improve ourselves.  It is really very important to inculcate self-discipline in children.  Let them be self driven, let them decide their path, parents got to be the guiding lights for them.
I sincerely hope that the youth of the country would try to understand that crushing somebody weaker than you is not machoism and the parents will understand that boys also need to cry, give them your open arms, when they need you. Read your child's words and more importantly his or her silence.
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