Friday, June 24, 2016

Rise of the "Individual"

These days, whenever I meet parents of age group  3 to 12, I hear the same complaints as MINE! My child watches too much TV, won't listen to me! My little boy insists to eat out every time we go out! My daughter constantly wants new toy every week. My little boy doesn't go down and play at all! My son cries whenever his school teacher gives star to his friend and nothing to him! . These repetitive words I hear all the time and I repeat them as well. Why are we facing this problem? I wonder. Thought about it for some time and I feel the problem starts with US.
All the above situations the child faces are quite normal. We all have gone thru them at one time or the other. We as children have wished for toys secretly, wanted to travel in aeroplanes, wanted to have lavish birthday parties "just" like our friend. Have cried for not getting first rank. So what is the difference now? The only difference I see is that the way we as parents react to these situations was completely different from how our parents reacted.   
Our parents downplayed most of the situations with a "Bah"   or  by simply refusing our outrageous wishes. We want gulab jamun? Mom will say there is no flour,sorry. That is it. If some friend is always making us "den" in hide and seek , Papa will only half listen to our problem. We needed to figure out how to make sure we equal chances in a game.Essentially, after their initial(feeble) reaction, we were left to ourselves to overcome these "uncomfortable feelings"  . To face the difficult situation on our own. To let us fight our own "battles"  . Mama , Papa stepped in , only in case of a "war". And magically with every "uncomfortable problem"  we grew up a bit. We learnt to take baby steps and made our heart stronger and stronger with every problem. Readied ourselves to the "Big Bad World".  We grew up to be a Individual  thru our childhood experiences.
But what is happening now?  Your baby girl  is unable to get a chance on the swing? Mamma will run and fight it out with other kids(yea , other kids) and get a place for your child on the swing. The child feels enormous pride , of able to get the swing from others. But also "learns" another thing that " I will not go thru these uncomfortable situations and even if there are such, I need not solve them. Somebody else will" .  Child does not get star in the class  and comes home upset. What we do ? We tell him , how special he is , that what if Mam has not given a star, we will give them one ourselves.  We want to quickly douse off that  difficult feeling the child is facing and bring a smile to his face. Before the child even understands , we ensure that he forgets the whole thing quickly. He never learns that he needs to do something to "earn" a star.

Basically what we are doing now is , we are constantly ensuring our child  that he is special, he is unique , that he will get anything he wants , he is the best , his achievements  are the best. We are not helping the child to grow UP to be an individual instead we are helping a child to grow up to be a egoistic, socially unfriendly  person living in a protective shell with the shell as hard as a walnut's.
The irony is only this , by giving importance to the individual  , we are killing the child's individuality.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Caught In the middle

India is now going through a huge revolution of sorts. Everybody is talking about freedom of speech, freedom of religion , caste inequality. What does this mean for a layman (or layperson for gender equality  revolutionaries) like me?   As of now NOTHING.

I see a huge hullabaloo  everywhere , in media , in campuses . All I want to ask each every person , do you even what it is to live like a normal middle class Indian? Their aspirations are very small. They want to study well in college , get a decent job , get married , have kids, travel all around the world , buy a house , get a good car , take care of parents , ensure their family is safe, keep themselves healthy. I simply am not able to connect with anybody on any topic which is going around right now.

Who is "student" who has become OUR voice? I am sorry , but in this world where everybody is an individual , he has no right to pull US around him and talk as if he is representing us. At the same time I do not want any minister from the govt make controversial comments all over and then create another big headache for US public. For God's sake you were voted with majority to do some good work , not give speeches in every street.

Now that we have come to speeches, we must all remember that only actions can speak louder than words. Moving speeches are like 3 hour Karan Johar movies , which can give us a emotional high but not move us from our couches, although I know that speeches have created history in the past all over the world. We must remember that speeches should be preceded or followed by action. An concrete action , till then speeches are just words and nothing else.

And coming to the media, I feel they are the main reason for screwing our lives. I know , we will be told that remote is in our hands and we can switch off  the TV if we want. But when we hear that police is taking action because of so-called  TV channel's evidence, we must be really worried. This media monster will eat us up and then they force us to speak their language. We must stop this immediately. We must do something about this.  Media instigates fights, provokes people , spreads rumours, tries to sow a seed of hatred and finally wash their hands off us to go on to the next juicy piece of news. We have seen this many times.

I know that there should be opposition parties to keep check of the govt's activities . But if I were the opposition party  I would attack govt on policies and bills being passed not on what Aamir Khan's views are on intolerance.  Why give him special mention in the parliament?

Everyday women die  for dowry harassment, mental and physical abuse. Nobody will talk about that. It is because we are USED to that piece of news. News channel will not even report them.

News channels fight among themselves on Twitter, TV , newspaper. They are not setting good example for peace or unity. Why should we FOLLOW them? They are worst role models for our children .The next worst role models are politicians.

And WE are Caught In The Middle.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Polarised world

What we are witnessing today is a our constant movement towards polarisation. The whole world is forming its own groups and fighting with the other group. There is "your religion" vs " my religion group" , there is "liberals" vs "conservative" group , there "straight" vs "LGBT" group , there is "Humans" vs "Nature supporter" group , there is "Humans" vs" Animals supporter" group , there is "East" vs "West" group , there "White" vs"Black,Brown etc.." group . In our country we have something like this:
"Your caste" vs "My caste"
"Northies" vs "Southeis"
"North-East" vs  " Rest of India"
"Modi" vs "Anti-Modi"
"Bollywood stars" vs "Social-media group"

The list is never -ending. What is the surprising part is that everybody will belong to every group! Even if we don't people around you will make sure that you take sides. If we draw a venn diagram of the above then we will find something like this :

How do you feel seeing this diagram?  Confused? Frustrated?   Well this is how I am feeling right now? 
What have we all turned to?  Everyday we are all pushing ourselves away from few good virtues which can save this humanity right now.  The moral stories we learnt through Panchatantra, Jataka tales seem stupid right now but they are what we need . We need our moral virtues back. We need  virtues like helping others in need, treating others with humility and being good.
The need of the hour is that we all STOP expressing ourselves and START LISTENING to others.  Start treating others with compassion, show empathy , try to do some good. If the other person is not willing to take your compassion then it his bad luck. Dont get polarised with that. Stick to your virtues always. Be persistent like Gandhi , who stuck to his non-violent vision for almost 50 years!  Dont get carried away by "instant-high" gratifications . Dont get swayed by polarised world and most importantly dont lose hope! If nothing works , just keep doing your duty and fulfill everything that is required for your loved ones. This is enough. There is no need to change the society. At least you wont be tarnishing it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Eternal Fight for woman

Woman had always to fight and she is continuing to do so. Unfortunately ,  I feel , the fight in olden days was with the society. Now the conflict is with herself! In olden times , the pattern was set. Man worked, woman stayed at home and took care of the house and the kids. Please note these works cannot be avoided. They have to be done , if we want a family.  So till our mother's generation , it was natural that it was our own moms who opened the door when we came home. Nothing seemed wrong with that.  The thought that a mother should work never crossed her mind. She already thought her life was meaningful because she was taking care of the ENTIRE house. Not a easy task , right?

Then the trend changed , Western ideas made us realise that woman also should work like men . Our generation , did everything possible to study well and get placed into a good company. It all worked out till we got married and had children.

The one thing which never changed was , taking care of a kid is something ,STILL needs to be done. Even if we are earning lakhs per month.  A strong family support , who would offer to take care of the kid is a welcome decision. Even day care centres are there to help you with that option . A live in maid is another option we can consider. All these are there so that the needs of the child /baby can be taken care of , when both husband and wife can work peacefully at work without any tension . 

But there is another option as well. The option is that , either of the parent decides to QUIT his/her job, stay back home and decide to take care of the baby. Is something wrong with this option? The parents choose to be next to their child, whom they gave birth to and watch her grow. Give the child environment where values and outlook towards life is what they think of(after all the child is theirs) . Is something wrong with this option? The answer is no . 

BUT , why do people ask if they are "working" ? How do we define work anyway? What I can make of the question is , does your job pay?  Taking care of the house and kids doesn't pay. You are right. But is getting paid the only thing which can make a person independent? We never asked out mothers. But why now?  

Also I never ask anybody what they are upto in life in a judgmental way.  I wish everyone else also stopped. Each person in this world has different priorities in life, different aspirations, different ideologies, different idea about how to lead their lives.  And today , I may not go for a paid job, but tomorrow I may change my mind. It is going to be a decision , which my family will take and nobody else.If the family as a whole is able to do that symbiotically  then it is good for that family. Why should any outsider, article writers, woman empowerment ladies  tell me what I should do.

What the world needs desperately at the moment is PEACE. And that is what we all should work for. Whatever it takes. A peaceful family will automatically have a cumulative effect on the country and generate peace.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Five standouts from Hampi

Hampi is one place ,which has fascinated me for a long long time. I always wanted to visit it. Mainly because of my interest in historical places. But Hampi being the World Heritage site (UNESCO) made me feel even more inclined to visit it. After the visiting the place I can only say that I was stumped,bowled ,awestruck and enriched. What a PLACE!  The travel story of Hampi I would like to  write it in a separate piece. Here I would mention some standouts from the place which I found quiet unusual considering its rich history and monuments. 

1. The place is absolutely isolated and virginal : Yes, the world heritage site is isolated. The place is 4 km from Hospete , the main town nearest to Hampi. The civilization is quiet sparse and even the Hampi village is very small. And all this is a plus point! You will find yourself in between huge boulders of rocks and hillocks , with thousands of monuments scattered . You would be confused to figure out , where to start first. The ASI does make our life easier with the Hampi map(found everywhere!) . Using the map , you can navigate through Hampi like a treasure hunt in Amazing race contest.  But it is not so easy as you think. We need a guide to help us through the map and places.

2. The place is STILL NOT commercial: Yes , this I found shocking. Because in India , anything "touristy" is definitely a place for business.There are so many monuments in Hampi and yet there are no shops (not many at least) , apart from the cucumber  seller and ice-cream seller near them. The shopping street is not even 100 meters and the souvenirs are not remotely connected to Hampi. There are lots of dresses(which we can find all over India), jute bags(found everywhere)  and brass items. The only souvenir to take home were the Vijayanagara Empire's coins , which are collected from the basin of Tungabhadra river (when the water recedes during summer). No fridge magnets shaped like the chariots, no Virupaksha temple picture, no three headed Nandi statue. Nothing. Hampi could earn so much more but for some unknown reason it is not the case.
3. Food : Hampi is  visited by many foreign tourists as well as Indian tourists and yet the food options available is quiet meager.  We ate at a place called Mango Tree , where the meal was decent enough but nothing great to talk about. The eateries  are also very small. That's why I saw many families actually get their own food and eat on the lawns of Lotus Mahal or Queen's Bath! 

4.  The main transport is a auto or cycle !: In Hampi, the best transport used is cycle or auto. You can see whole of Hampi by hopping onto an auto and asking the driver to take you to places. You can easily get an auto driver's number at the Hospete bus stand.  There will be many touts eager to share their number. You choose one of them and call him wherever you are! The other way is by cycling. This is a favorite option for the foreign tourists(considering their fitness levels) . A map in hand, water and a cycle  and you are ready to conquer Hampi with two wheels and a pedal! The best part about cycling is , you can stop anywhere you want and take how much even time you want , to see the place. 

5.  You need a lifetime to understand and visit whole of Hampi: Yes , this is correct. Hampi is a civilization on its own. It is like exploring a city with thousands of landmarks. Every monument has its own story and its own identity.  You will not feel like leaving any one of them.  The monuments are so many that even ASI have given up. There are some monuments lying in neglect , hidden in some corner(like the Achuytaraya temple , Varaha temple)  and ASI has not done anything to highlight it. I don't blame them. They are simply too many. You will know what I mean when you visit Hampi. 

There are so many more , but whatever is the case, Hampi is one place I will always cherish. The guide told us one interesting thing. He told us that he always thanks the Vijayanagar empire because their foundation in stone in Hampi is still feeding the current generation's stomachs. What a profound truth indeed.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Unit 4: Journal Writing

 Module 1 : Writing Activity

I live in Bangalore , which is known as silicon valley of India, situated in South India's state of Karnataka. My husband , who is a software developer, moved to Bangalore around 1999. Because of its weather, it is also called as post retirement haven. The city , which is ideally situated on a higher plane,  has pleasant weather  throughout the year, making it a people friendly place. The place is full  of gardens , which are usually lush green , and parks. Although the river Cauvery is situated at a some distance , it still is used to supply water to whole of Bangalore. Because of these reasons , Bangalore is one of the best cities of India.

Module 2 : Writing activity .

My place , a beautiful garden city, does have its own disadvantages. My home , down south next to a highway,  is particularly prone to pollution and noise from traffic. Fully armored with mask , I have to leave my home to avoid the pollution .My eyes constantly looking out for errant traffic, tread carefully on the road.  My apartment facing the other side of the road, thankfully escapes the pollution to a large extent. Crossing the highway is another headache. To cross the road, I have to wait almost ten minutes. Exhausted by this entire process, I sometimes avoid going out entirely. Going at this rate, I may soon start suffering from Vitamin D deficiency :).

Monday, June 29, 2015

Unit 3 Journal writing

Module 1 : Writing Subjects
1. Gayatri went to the shopping mall today.

2. Shopping is one activity she enjoys.

3.  To walk in a shopping mall is a therapeutic activity for most of them.

4. Louis Vutton store is also  part of the mall.

5. Children love playing in  a mall.

1. . She shopped for handbag in a shop.

2..  Everyone  especially woman love shopping.

3.  Who doesn't want to buy new clothes?

Module 2 : Writing action verbs

1. I shopped to hear's content.

2. The kids ran here and there in the mall.

3. The shops glittered with lights.

4. The escalator rode  quite fast.