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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Women??Assets or Liabilities?? Or Human beings??

Latest discretion by Supreme Court Judge Gyan Sudha Mishra to list her daughter’s marriage under liabilities section in the assets-liabilities declaration raises yet another question to support my non-conformity to such social obligations.
We are in the 21st century and claim to be a modern nation with a growing economy. But isn’t it shocking that there is only one woman judge in the country’s highest court and even she has discriminated her own sect? With the kind of education Justice Mishra would have got, we would expect her to be progressive, if education is meant to enlighten of course. But why, would she take such a decision? Knowing that this is surely going to attract comments? Or is it that her case just makes us broach this ancient issue once again. Yes we can take this as an opportunity to look to the current situation of our lives and delve deep about how, we women are placed in society.
I have grown up in a very modern and highly educated family and so for me it becomes impossible to conform to social ideas which make an unnecessary and unreasonable discretion to women. I have seen people, till today, paying huge sums of money to bridegroom, although that is not to be called as dowry, rather gifts of love!! And how many woman managers do we find in the higher management?Saddeningly this absence of woman managers is always mapped to “inherent inability” or “lack of that thing” but never realized that given all the expectations a woman has to fulfill, professional limitations would be just natural to her. And then, for women who are independent and confident to make it to the top are always faced with a lot of difficulties .Surprisingly these difficulties are posed by her own people, her closest people. I don’t deny that responsibility of children and family is on the lady, but how can it be just a one-sided affair? The responsibility is also vested upon the man. Most men think that they are done with their responsibility by earning a hefty amount.But when it comes to their wives, they extend, classify, change those responsibilities. The history of power has always been like this. So it is men who decide what women should do!!And that is obviously based on their convenience. We cannot blame men for taking decisions where outcome is convenient for them as every human being is exposed to bias for himself or herself. So it is not that we can urge men to take “equal” decisions but what is required is there should be equal opportunity to take decisions. I have faced this question, followed by disgust, surprise, gyan and what not from so many people on the topic of whether girls after marrying should go to stay with her in-laws or it can be the other way round. My take on it…it should be completely based on logical thinking,
1.On the requirements of each side i.e. how much my parents need me or my in-laws need their son, are their any other people who can take quality care of them,how much physically fit they are ,how much we need them
2. On our future plans, if any, and how we can converge those to our present
3. Convenience, comfort and ease of living of all parties
4. Finally, the priorities we give to each of the above factors.
Thus I can never conform to the “demeaning” attitude our social structure shows towards “ghar jamais”.I have seen ample instances of son-in-laws living happily and respectfully in their in-laws place. And why should we make our self respect so fragile as to get hurt in non-existent barriers?
It is people who can think neutrally, who could come up with social reforms. Widow Remarriage and Sati were also accepted social procedures, isn’t it?
One interesting thing my friend related was that when one of his friends didn’t change her surname after getting married, the couple was not offered a house on rent even after showing marriage registration certificate. These are all small difficulties and surely the satisfaction which the girl would have got living with her “own” name deserves much more.
Justice Mishras case has also brought up another topic of whether girls are assets (mostly non performing or toxic) or liabilities!!! And this reminds me of the diminishing value of girls...if at all they are assets!!So if you are past 30 or past 40 you become a non-value add entity in the field of marriage.Apart from the biological clock which is valid, surpirsingly there are "other" inexplicable reasons too.Strangely by social perception, single men of 40 can still get married to below 30s!!So no depreciation for men. May be the example of Crystal Harris and Huge Hefner will only prove this. But don’t we realize that there may be an economic angle to it also? Otherwise why most such cases occur between an old man who is very rich and the young girl who is very beautiful? Marriage is totally on the two people who want to get married, and unnecessary comments by third parties totally unwelcome, so why not let them derive their own value additions from each other? So the bottom-line is we cannot define the utility of human beings by age, beauty, money on a generic scale. Each person will have a different perspective and if we are thinking otherwise ,such attitude will only prove our confined perspective.
Hence let’s make this a point that we respect individual existences and not go on and on age old perceptions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Art of Not Living

Well, our parents have always intended to teach us the art of living. This means, the passion to love others, help others and share with others. I remember in school my mother always loaded me with a heavy lunch box just to make sure that my friends can share it too. Even while in engineering I remember those excess French Toasts or Soya Cutlets, sometimes customized for my friends. We are always taught to "do" things. We have to respond to requirements that arise. Be it a phone call, or an e-mail or a household need. We were supposed to study during exams, always encouraged to do our homework ahead of time or listen to elders. And this we call the art of living.
In past few years my experience makes me think something else though. We have always been "taught" how to live correctly. Is it because that the art of not living is so much ingrained in us? By our natural instincts do we always tend "not to do"things?I have seen people who would painlessly avoid "doing" anything for assignments while in a group, or who would "just like that" not respond when you need the person the most. Be it office, college or home, be it personal or official, responding always doesn’t make sense. You have to prioritize whom to respond, what to respond, when to respond. So if contributing nothing to an assignment can get the job done for you why not avail that opportunity? Yes it’s an opportunity too! Sometime or the other we are free-riders, be it on the emotional wheels or on academic or professional.
And my strong recommendation is we should learn it. This is one of those innumerable areas where I find myself so much deficient. Once one of my friends told me a very valuable thing .That you cannot satisfy everyone. And I tend to do that, always.I feel bad when I cannot reach up to the mark of someone’s expectations. I struggle to get the unachievable. I over strain myself .So this brings me to the inevitable question that am I different? Generally things which are not inherent have to be taught and honed. And since the “art of living” has been taught so intensely from our childhood, “art of not living” must be the inherent one. And now that I see I cannot “undo” things, am I a great pupil or follower to take up the childhood teachings seriously or I have different inherent properties? Too many questions! Anyone to answer? Anyone who can respond given that this doesn’t figure out in their priority list?
Perhaps I find it’s time for me to unlearn certain things and try out the “art of not living”...at least in some instances!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Made Bakri Again

Confusion is a part of life, sometimes hilarious too. However I don’t know why it has always been a part of my professional career!
Let me start from beginning. When I joined Engineering to one of the premier institutes in the country, a popular joke that made rounds when people heard that I study Instrumentation was "What instrument do you play?”While I am not at all demeaning all those who know how to "play" instruments, yet I would not like to be credited for anything which I don’t do at all. Henceforth, I made it a point that I should always tell the full name of the curriculum.Yes, its Instrumentation and Electronics Engineering. Electronics still sounds familiar.
Even the problem continued when I became Software Engineer in a Mobile Phone MNC.So do I make mobile? Would I be knowing what happens when your mobile gets dipped in water? Yes I know...it doesn’t work and I know it from commonsense. Software is not something soft.
Again come to the fact that I did my MBA in Operations...still understandable from the basic meaning of the word yet confusing because of the term used in medical domain.
And now that I am working in consultancy!!So what do consultants do? They consult...simple. But every human being likes to give advice to others...isn't it? My locality's old granny consults on how to make perfect mango pickle, my married friends consult about 101 advantages of getting married, my maid consults about how to keep my bathroom floor perfectly dry and clean, and so on. Countless consultaions.Where do I stand? What do I do? And why I do get paid at all? Yes I do get paid, paid well, enough to make me grow some interest in this domain.
But still I can't wait to say that finally I have been "Made Bakri Again"

Friday, December 10, 2010

It Rains in December

I am back home,this time,this year,
Thoughtful and taken aback,
Because it's raining in December,
Someone welcoming my coming back?

The earthy fragrance spreads in me,
I wish it goes on and on,
If gusty winds follow,let it be,
I will still be there,till they are gone.

I wish for the warm jacket,
Or someone within it?
I wish to dance, to laugh at,
With new passions in my heart lit.

Oh rain! It comes again and again,
Elated with its unexpected arrival,
I drench myself in the solitary lane,
This time,this year,I welcome myself to the joy carnival.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Techi-Talk

I have always thought of writing this post. This is somewhere voicing my concern over the issue.

When I was in my BE Final Year, studying in one of the premier institutes in India, I was still a novice in matters of computer. I remember the first time my friend gave me a CD of songs to copy from .As I started copying I could see envelopes “flying” from one end to other(I was laughed at a lot for this observation :)). And that was the beginning.

500 million active users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. And this is just Facebook. If we put together Facebook and others, more than a Trillion minutes are spent on social networking sites every month.Not only have computers changed the computing and software world, have been a core part of our profession but they have changed our relationships also. And this happens mainly because of the networking we do. Each day the way we peek into the facebook or twitter sites and wait for some jazzy comments to make our day. We want people to “like” our status, we want birthdays to flash on facebook, and we want comments on everything. Whether be it “I have travelled by a cab today” or “I have cough and cold”. It feels to me as if we are starved to get information and dying to give information, given the fact that this is an age of information burst. And as soon as even a lesser known friend “Likes” our comments we are pleased. Is this because we want listeners to our stories, struggles, triumphs ?But is it worthwhile to broadcast every single news ,however trivial it may be to a bunch of 500-1000 people of whom merely a few know us well!! This makes me feel that somehow we are losing sensitivities to divulge right information to right person at right time. When we want to tell others that we have travelled to a foreign land (which till date remains a great pat on the back!!!) we simply change our country. When we want to broadcast how happy we are, we upload our photographs. Excerpts from a research conducted by the New York University show:" hundred students, 50 male and 50 female, between the ages of 18 and 25 participated in the study. One of the biggest findings, according to the study, is that Facebook users who update their profiles frequently are more likely to be narcissistic. On the other hand, those who check the site often throughout the day are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem. Furthermore, researchers determined that women to carefully select “self-promoting” images when it came to profile photos, but men tended to brag more about themselves throughout their profiles". And I am not surely being sadistic to oppose all these. All these are good, but what my concern is, isn’t all this taking us far apart from our friends? We are becoming too much web dependant and losing the human touch. One of my friends would always ping me in Gtalk, be it I am ill, depressed, broken, happy, ecstatic or whatever. Sometimes I would be waiting just to hear her voice but alas...again those Gtalk messages!!!I felt like talking to some ghostly entity, after all, none of us are Shakespeares to be able to put down in writing every single nuance of human behavior! Yes I want to hear people, I want to meet people. Web, networking sites are only a tool to me to get in touch and not to “Stay” in touch.

Or is it a broadened phenomenon? That we are becoming more sensitive and receptive to far away, not so tangible entities than our immediate environment? While in hostel I found people talking incessantly over phone, so engrossed in those relentless encounters that they become completely unaware of even taking timely food, or knowing someone in their surroundings might get disturbed too .And I have also gone through these things, talked over phone for hours simply because I found the people on the other side of phone more close to me than people in my immediate vicinity. Guess this is the reason applicable to all. I used to try not to slip myself to that mode where I don’t care for others nearby or I don’t disturb others while in calls. And yes calls are certainly richer in humane flavor than gtalk messages. Now a days every time while I commute to office or while coming back from office I see people engrossed with their mobile phones paying no attention to crossing roads. Recent incidents of “mobile” deaths in Kolkata and other places can only second my opinion.

Yes we feel insecure without our mobile or our laptop. Once I lost my mobile and with that all the numbers. It was a matter of hardly one night when I had to be out of touch with my family and friends. And I panicked. I felt as if I was forced to live with aliens. And surely it was not because I thought I will stay with strangers because actually I would have stayed with friends, but just the inability to connect gave me hiccups. And the question still pops up. Where are we heading towards? In future will there be nothing called personal touch? No “remembering” of birthdays? Don’t we want to jam our little brains with such useless information anymore?

Will hope that my apprehensions prove to be wrong and still we can find solace in enjoying little things with friends rather than becoming web-friends.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Changing Distances

Well...we do not notice so many things and so much is around us!!!This is perhaps so much clich├ęd dialogue .One of my friends who knew me very well, used to tell that almost all the times I am in an almost lost state and that I should see the different colours around when I walk through. And this I realized so much few months back, while taking a tour in Pune. Why I am writing this post now, after so many months, bears a special significance. The fact that post my surgery, I am not able to commute on my own by public transport like bus or rickshaw and the fact that I was almost in house arrest for about 3 months, this journey becomes so important to me.

Pune is the city where I had stayed for the last two years, made new friends, lost some newly made friends and gained some lifetime friends .So about this city, I should have known every detail. That day I decided that instead of taking an auto, I should walk. Not only I had this vested interest of regaining some of my lost gyming activities but also I didn’t have any proper company, so had to think of some healthy way of spending more time. So FC Road, JM road, SB Road...I walked for almost four hours. Surprisingly the roads appeared much broader....my perception or reality??I could see every small thing- the TOI office, the various big and small restaurants, the old beggar sitting by the corner, the middle aged barber, I could see all. Attention, is something which only if you want to pay, you pay. The same reason I can never pay attention in any of my classes (of course with the exception of few intellectual ones).So I never paid attention to all these things...may be they appeared too trivial for me or because I had visited these places always with a bunch of friends who were enough to drag my "bechari" mind into more chit-chat .But that particular day I was not into all these. I could leverage on my loneliness perhaps!!But this was not all...I had more take aways...the most important being..as I travelled the roads..I could feel the effort that went into it..my legs paining..and as I reached my destination, with every small milestone achieved...the satisfaction of achievement was perhaps much more..the satisfaction of getting something by my own...and then I realized that where our life takes us..that’s why every work that I do by myself makes me feel important, my existence reasonable.

The last few months I have not been doing much of physical work because of health limitations and that really hurts. Every instant when I have to ask for help to lift my laptop or get a bucket of water or pick up something from the ground, I want time to pass more quickly. It is true that now I don’t have that excruciating pain which I used to have because of my illness nor do I have that much of weakness and I am recovering. But I always tend to ask to some unknown entity that how much more time to get back to my own self? I know 5-6 months in life is not much of dependence, but it gives you lifetime perspective. So may be in next 2-3 months I will be again able to venture in the streets of Kolkata, enjoy the mouth watering Phuchkas and as I walk through, bargain with each bangle and ear rings shop.