Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - make it worth.

Writing a new post is a process that I enjoy the most. Deciding the topic, concoction and more importantly effortlessly maintaining a flow throughout to make a readable and enjoyable post with which my friends, readers connect very easily. I am always on a look out for what can be a potential new post and this one now has emerged out of nowhere. Definitely a movie title ZNMD is linked with 'making your life worth'. A movie script will now be connected to a 'real' story of a 21st century girl Poonam Rajput. An engineer who won her degree with a distinction & has secured a job at TCS, a bright student throughout her school. No big deal you would say! There are many who achieve this. Let me introduce you all to an Engineer Poonam Rajput but a bit differently.

There are very few movies which I feel like watching a second time. Be it Bolly or Holly. One such Bolly movie is ZNMD. All Bolly lovers very well know this abbreviation so I need not explain. It is hard to find one, who hasn't liked this blockbuster and I am no exception. Realistic story to whom each of us can relate, memorable characters, lovely music, fun, humor at its best and not to forget infectiously picturesque, gorgeous Spain! Why is it that you relate to a movie? Either a part of the story scripted has happened with you or you desire something like that to happen to you. This movie very clearly meant and explained that 'you live once and make sure that you thoroughly live it'. Do whatever you want to, materialism is not life, find some time to spend your money, deal with some bitter truths of life, take unknown challenges, overcome your fears and limitations and so on. The characters made sure that they thoroughly do all of this during this rendezvous. Best scene in the movie for me was when the horses are running with their shiny hair flaowing with the wind, not bothered about much happening around, not bothered that they are being watched by a bunch of youngsters paralleling them. Aren't we like those horses? Chasing our dreams, ambitions and many times not knowing what we are chasing and while this chasing we tend to be quite immune to our surrounding, problems and sufferings of others. Some of us do manage to take a note of these but have no time to react, or some react but not act, or some act but not effectively and a very few of us do that effectively.

A normal day at office. Was waiting for the nutrient medium to cool down before some inoculations. Casually surfing the net and pops a ping 'Hi', it's Poonam! A fresh graduate who has secured a first class with distinction thorughout her engineering and now with a secure job in TCS. I congratulate Poonam and her Mummy on her success. A very cheerful, bubbly and lively girl Poonam is. She sends me a lot of cartoon cute pics for Aadhya. Poonam has seen Aadhya in pics and finds her very adorable. Our chat went like this:

 Me: Poonam, Congratulations. I am proud of you. You have made your Mum proud

Poonam: Thanks Didi. You and all others have always supported me to get here.

Me: We all are with you.

Me: What are you up these days? What about your job?

Poonam: I have got one in TCS but yet not joined

Poonam: There is still some time before I join. I have joined  'Sapling  School' and work with Mummy . I work there during day time, help the staff, teach the children and after the school hours I teach the underprivileged kids. I love to teach them . They are so affectionate.

Me: I am really very proud of you Poonam. Keep it up!

Poonam is only 21 year old. She lost her father when she was little, perhaps too little to understand what father means and how his loss will affect her life. Poonam's mother Ms Meena Rajput toiled hard, ran a mess at Naitonal Chemical Laboratory premises. She sacrificed her life, feelings, curbed her emotions and only lived for her daughter. Earned a living by cooking, making lunch & dinner tiffins and all of this with dignity. A very brave woman indeed who fought against many odds. Family for Poonam meant only her Mummy. Meena Aunty one day decided to stop cooking and joined a school. She had collected enough money for Poonam's education. All her efforts, hard work, suffering as a widow/single mum has been worth in the form of Poonam. I am not only impressed with her academic achievements but this sensitive side of hers. A very young girl who chose to deal with educating underprivileged kids over living in dreams and having a life of her own. Doesn't this convey something? She might not be able to pursue her dream of continuing with this social event after she joins her lucrative job at TCS but at least she initiated doing in what she believed. With a free time after studies and new job she could have chosen to do anything, for her ownself but she chose this. Does she feel for them because she too has had a tough life seeing her mother toil for her? Generally, do we feel for sufferings and problems of others only when we have gone through it?

I still wish to do something valuable for the upliftment of the society and I try to do it whenever possible in any form. It is so enchanting to see a fresh young breed too wants to do good for the society in this era where any youngster can get carried away. We live once and why not make it worth? I would do this not because I want generations to remember me as a social reformer or someone great but for my soul, soul-peace and soul-happiness. If you have something good/better/best in you, why not pass it on? If you have the potential of making a difference then why not use it in a right way?

In a true sense 'Zinadagi Na Milegi Dobara - make it worth, how you make it worth is your choice!'

Friday, July 25, 2014


A lot of effort goes in tucking your bed neat and tidy with no creases, just plain. After a good night's sleep, I spend at least 5 minutes to make the bed. I can stand a messy house, sink with flooded utensils, but not an unclean gas hob and undone bed. So every morning Aadhya helps me doing the bed, you know what I mean...she just makes it difficult:)

That morning I felt that the sheet needs to be changed. Very quickly I took a washed, clean white sheet with pretty pink flowers boldly printed. The sheet was smelling sweet due to the conditioner, but it felt as though the bold pink flowers did! During my act of actually spreading the sheet Aadhya gets very excited. She likes sitting on the bed and under the sheet which is flowing over her head, sometimes tickling her cheeks and covering her eyes for a fraction of seconds; it's like the peek-a-boo moment for her and then when she sees me in front of her that lovely giggle is to die for and melts my heart. I don't care if I am getting late, it's worth a moment to be lived.

This one incident always reminds me of my childhood. Our maid dried up all the washed laundary on a metal string in our small porch. The clothes merrily swayed and flowed with the breeze and the favorites was to tangle ourselves in Aai's Saree. Chiffon, cotton, polyester every type of fabric used to smell Aai. Tangling and untangling were so fun and relaxing. My brother loved hiding under these sun dried/baked clothes once off the string. He buried himself under the heap and I used to dig him out.

I so miss those days where these letting things lit up a smile on our face. Nothing expensive really, but the joy was invaluable. Do you remember those puddles of muddy rain water in which tapping your feet and jumping was an Olympic sport? With all guilt on your way back home because the shiny, sparkly shoes were no longer the same. How would you face your Mom? When was the last time you sat your feet soaked in water and then suddenly splashing all over finding yourself drenched? Sharing a chocolate with your sibling? I always saved my chocolate and would share it with him. Well, don't think that I was always a caring and protective elder sister, I never left a chance to tarnish his image by gossiping about him to Aai and then he too reverted leaking all our secrets that we had promised to keep. Some crazy incidences were how fast does one finish eating food, reach home, wake early.. endless!!! In our school we weren't allowed to wear a watch until we entered standard VII. I and Raju(brother) used to walk to school. To know the time we always peeped in a shop with a wall clock having a pendulum, an old styled but bold enough. It was legible from the opposite side of the road. We actually had to turn to peep in the shop from the opposite side. Can you believe we had a rota system! isn't that funny, weird, but yet thoughtful for that age? It was a trend in our colony to train your sibling(s) to ride a cycle and I did that for him a couple of times. The huge lovely Mango, Jamun trees were loaded in summers, leaving us feel so greedy. I yet cannot forget that chase when the security found us performing the act of hailing stones at those gorgeous mangoes. Those mangoes and Jamun won from the chase tasted sweetest. A bite of raw tangy sour mango smeared with salt-chilli powder , the sourness leaving your eyes shut and unknowingly the tongue touching the pallet, it was fun indeed! 

Life was fairly simple. There was no stopping to meet your colony friends after the school. There was so much I was living at that one moment due to Aadhya. I lifted her, gave a tight hug and kissed her. Her one such innocent act transported me in the past without any time machine. I really pray that Aadhya too has such fantastic memories which will make her feel insane but brings a smile on her face even after years. Flashbacks rejuvenate your soul...don't they? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pretty Woman or Stepmom?

My love for Julia Roberts is mainly because of my mother. Not a very fluent English speaker but a voracious reader, she always read various articles on Science, food, fiction, movie reviews. She has watched very few English movies that can be literally counted, amongst these are her 2 favourites Pretty Woman & Stepmom. Are these her favourites due to her love for Julia or these being simply classics. Whatever it is hard to decide if Julia makes you fall in love or the script. Recently I re-watched Pretty Woman and Stepmom. It just striker me, they don't make such classics anymore. Categorised as 'rom-com' but it makes you feel so real. This could happen with anyone and the ease with which the story unfolds can be compared to water flowing in the springs, finding its own way, nothing can force it to change its path.

Julia is so addictive, seductive and lovably simple as a 'hooker'. She made me realise the fact that hooker are human beings with obvious emotions and principles. I loved when Julia says to Richard that 'nobody dreams of being a hooker'. I couldn't agree more with this. It is nonetheless a modern day fairytale where a 'hooker' struggles hard to make a living and ends up meeting her prince charming who is a 'multi-millionare'. She boasts that she earns 100$ a day but uses a safety pin to bind her boots, runs away when she realises that she doesn't have enough money to pay the rent. She gracefully transforms herself from a hooker to a fashionista learning to match the likes of Richard and she succeeds leaving everyone surprised including herself. The costumes are so classic, elegant and rich which Julia carries with such poise and grace leaving a desire in your heart for them. That dark cherry Red lipstick, aahh she doesn't look cheap or vulgar in that. An honest souled hooker who doesn't practice lip to lip kiss has her own rules and boundaries defining true love. Too gracious, honest, elegant and lively to be a hooker,there would have been no other choice than Julia for portraying this role. She etched a place in many hearts. That straight from heart smile, those tears out of true love, that change realising herself was marvellously played by her. I want to tell her some day that not only Richard but the whole world fell in love with you Pretty Woman!

Are you interested to know how this Pretty Woman proved herself being a 'Stepmom'? She was terrific, brilliant, ravishing and again very honest. Honestly honesty brings the best out of you and kudos to Julia for standing up against Susan Sarandon, A sensible and touching movie with great performances. I was completely floored by Susan as Jackie, a loving, caring & protective mother who is always doubtful about a career oriented new girlfriend (Isabelle) of her ex-husband. This is complicated but the flow of the story is brilliant and persuades you that this ain't impossible. Here Julia pours in her heart to be the best Stepmom or rather a cool, friendly Stepmom to Anna and Ben. She is amazing but always is overlooked by Susan. I must say no one better than Susan could have done this role. The touching Daughter Mom moment where they decide not to say Never-Never but say Always-Always and its a promise-promise under the white moon, over the white horse with white snow everywhere. Beautifully shot! The scene where Susan sees Julia singing a song for Ben depicts a mixture of emotions with tears in her eyes. Confused whether she is happy Julia taking away her kids, Jealous because Julia was getting closer and closer, Unhappy because very soon she would die and her kids won't miss her. Susan leaves you surprised with her calmness when she discloses the news about Lymphoma to her family, the way she answers Ben about death. She says that though physically absent, he could carry her everywhere. The rug and magicians cloak as Christmas gifts made me cry! Finally on a Christmas eve the whole family is together..including Julia. It is all about Susan but Julia brilliantly plays a modern, fashion photographer who is uber cool chick and does everything with great elan. She loves her boyfriend,  a father of two kids and is ready to commit her life to them. She walks out of her job, its all about standing by your decision. It also about being a 'Mom'...about being a beautiful woman.
Julia certainly redefines and justifies 'Stepmom'

I highly reckon everyone to watch these classics, most of them must have and if not then hurry up!!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Idli, Dosa and Filter Coffee in Paris...

 Did you dream of having authentic soft, porous mini Idlis merrily swimming in that tangy, spicy but delicious Sambar with a generous amount of ghee floating in that typical steel elliptical plate followed by a crispy, brownish, to die for masala dosa with a rich, frothy and falvoury 'filter caafee'? Given the fact that Indians are ardent food lovers, dreaming is not an amusement but did you dream eating all this in Paris? If you ask me..certainly not! In all my French classes it was only about Champs-Elyssee. Our French teacher never mentioned about Sarvanna Bhavan. For me France was about Baguettes, Croissants, Cheese and Wine but to be frank I fancy none of these. Thanks to our friends SA and KR for this info about Sarvanna Bhavan. Besides Eiffel, Louvre and many other beautiful places I was secretly looking forward to our visit to Sarvanna Bhavan. Nothing could budge me now...even a severe throat infection leading to swelling of vocal cords and temporary loss of voice. I was to travel but voiceless! Quiet and harrumphing the journey begins.

We landed in Paris - city of great history, city of sculptures and paintings and probably the most romantic city on the planet on 18th of June. Took a tram to reach the hotel and collected our room key and by the time we were actually settled, it was dinner time and so it had to be Sarvanna Bhavan. I had almost started visualizing Idli, Dosa etc etc but was hiding that from KS. Since we came to UK, one the most missed moments (as long as a decade but seems like moments) were our stay in 'Pune'. Everything in Pune was just so perfect and our never fading love for 'Wadeshwar'. There are loyalists who would get into an argument over food served at different food joints. Some belonged to 'Vaishali', some to 'Rupali' and some to 'Wadeshwar'. I never argued but 'Wadeshwar' was absolute for my taste buds. I was missing those Ghee Idlis, Set Dosas, Masala Dosa, Pesarattu and my all time fav. Walnut brownie with a slab of vanilla seved with hot chocolate in a cute little beaker.

As I was thinking about all of this, KS saw SB (Sarvanna Bhavan) on the opposite side of the road. A few minutes before I was missing Wadeshwar and now I couldn't wait to enter SB. By the looks it didn't appear as a very high class, fancy restautant but then who cares - food is what matters! A step in and the aroma of Dosa, Sambar and everything delicious mesmerized me. I squeezed KS's arms, harrumphed and whispered, "Can't wait for Masala Dosa" and he gave a smile to me and replied "Patience". The interiors weren't very great, minimal spent rather nothing spent. I was expecting something very classy with Indian art (elephants) but nothing of that sort. A bistro in UK has to meet the taste of customers and there is a decent effort put up to make it welcoming which was lacking here but it was packed with French, English and Indians. No one bothered about anything but food and this is how it has to be. After all I was here only for 'food'. It took us almost 10 minutes to find a place. Happily now I was looking out for the waiter to come. At last probably out of sympathy and pity a waiter was walking towards our table.

Waiter:  Vannakam 'Amma'? 
Me: Whispered 'Hello' and smiled
Waiter: with a strange look on his face (bends down)...Order ready?
Me (clearing my throat): Mini Idlis and Masala Dosa...
Waiter: With a sign language index finger on his ear and then with a thumbs up, moved his thumb which meant 'I can't hear you'
KS helped me and repeated my order.
Waiter noted down and grinned at his versatility of being able to converse with a 'dumb' customer.

It is very hard to be patient, calm when people on the table besides yours are happily hogging and you are waiting impatiently for your order to arrive. Finally the waiter came with my order and my heart was racing like a comet. Control Control and Control was what I was reminding myself! As soon as he kept it on our table I rubbed my palms and was ready. The Dosa was absolutely a delight. Idlis dipped in Sambar were amazing and I was satiated. To end it all filter coffee was a must...leaving a South Indian Resto without a Filter Coffee is a crime! I looked at the waiter and this time I pointed to 'filter coffee' printed in the menu card. He grinned and moved his hands on his throat and then made a zero by touching index finger and thumb while other three fingers spiked out which meant 'it's good for throat'. So now he knew that I had a throat problem. Before I could say something, he asked KS if I was dumb by birth or have recently lost my voice. I was shocked and KS couldn't stop laughing. He said to the waiter that it is an infection and I am on antibiotics. He smiled again which showed his appreciation that I was fine and left to get some coffee.

Finally our affair with the South Indian food was about to get over as it was time to leave. A lovely time spent, peaceful time for KS as I couldn't speak, delicious food and very Indian hospitability with satiated hearts, stomachs and taste buds we left 'Sarvanna Bhavan' which was a good omen for out further trip...promised to myself that I will visit again for sure!

Do you fancy dreaming about having your favourite food on the Eiffel? Then dare dreaming....everything is possible...Cheers!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Human touch

'Pregnancy' has been the most enjoyable time in my life till date. Receiving lots of love, care, attention just adds to it. I almost wanted to be pregnant forever for selfish reasons, knew that this love, care and attention will then be for the 'baby'. I was in the UK when I conceived and those 9 months were/are very special in my life. After my first trimester I flew to India for my PhD defense - one big milestone in every researcher's life. Pregnancy has been dear to me probably as I achieved my degree for which I had toiled and slogged, it still is my most precious, invaluable achievement - a dream come true! Well coming back to my India journey, family was super happy to have me around. They were meeting me after the 'good news' broken over the phone. My Aai and Papa just wanted to see me and as every Mum feels, Aai wanted to make sure that I eat right and yes 'only right' during my stay in India. I too was looking forward to my journey and as every pregnant woman craves, I didn't have any specific cravings but craving for 'good food' and after all you don't have to be pregnant to crave for food. How can you take 'the love for food' out of an Indian? The first thing I wanted to have when I reach home was food cooked by Aai (Maa ke haath ka khana). 

As a kid I remember assisting her to shop 'green-groceries' at the 'bhaaji market'. There weren't any air conditioned, fancy malls then and such market which still persist that are air conditioned with natural air, the air which smells soupy tomatoes, fresh coriander, refreshing mint and so on, very earthy people - son and daughter's of the soil who get their freshly cut, tender leaves, fruits to the market. The love for these fresh green-groceries was inculcated in us due to my Aai. I and my brother were never fussy eaters and we loved eating Methi, Dill, Bitter gourd or any local stuff cooked by her. So when I reached home and settled, I declared that I want to go to the 'bhaaji market' and wanted Aai to cook all my favourite delicacies. there is an unwritten Indian rule that how a Mother really works hard to fulfil her pregger daughter's every wish and my Aai was on the board. It was generally in the evenings when we went to the market, as in temperate regions evenings are a bit cooler than the day time. As we stepped out of the house and walked a few steps we met a few more ladies who also were on their way to the market. We all greeted each other, Aai introduced me to all of them and shortly started walking together. It went like this

Lady A to my Aai: Is she your daughter who has recently arrived?
Aai: Yes, she just arrived 3 days ago.
Lady B: I heard that you live in London, do you?
Me: I live near London about 2.5 hours away from London.
Lady C: Do you like it there?
Me: Yeah..kind of but I miss India
Lady A: Of course, nothing like being in India. (Lady B and Lady C agreed to her in unison by nodding their heads)

All of them congratulated me when Aai said that I was carrying. 

Lady C to Aai: Make her eat Shepu (Dill) sabzi, it is good for digestion
Lady A to me: Soak a few almonds every night and have it the first thing in the morning.
Lady B to Lady A: My daughter had these soaked almonds in worked wonders. (Lady A agreed)

Then they all spoke about everything under the sun, maids didn't turn up, no water and the hike in prices of onions and so on...

My Aai is very versatile as she is a voracious reader and I admire her for that. She just gets along with anyone and everyone. Finally we reached the market. To my right were welcoming farm fresh coriander bundles with tender green leaves were grouped. The aroma aroused my desire to have the green coriander-mint chutney. At the same time I could smell some rotten tomatoes and when I moved my neck around, in one corner I could see a few punctured, rotten tomatoes which is a usual sight in such markets. The vendors shouting or attracting the customers with their calls which almost feels like a lyrical song and very much portraying the competition amongst each other for selling their groceries. Then as we were moving ahead I stopped at the stall where fresh and purple brinjals were sold. It was a huge heap and we had to sort it out in a 'metal tokri' (basket). Aai cooks amazing peanut crush stuffed brinjal and that was my first choice. 

Aai to the vendor: what's the price/
Vendor ( a guy in his early teens) : 8 Rs/250 gms
Aai: I want 500 grams and I will pay 10 
Vendor: No Mavshi (Aunty) I can't..these are fresh and you won't find them anywhere here
Aai: I just saw them at the other stall and he was ready for the deal
Vendor: Looked at me and then and there and said 'OK' adding that this deal was only for us (which was untrue)

We happily picked up nice, fresh, purple brinjals (almost visualizing them in the form of stuffed brinjals), paid and moved ahead. Aai is so good at bargaining and I am not. It definitely is an art, I just give up feeling that the person at the other is only making a living out of this and I can't be unfair to him/her. Many a times this feeling of honesty has not been reciprocated and I felt cheated. Anyways we moved on and bought more greens. 

As we were passing by the stalls of Methi, Okra, Potatoes someone called 'Bai...Bai' (Madam..Madam) and we turned back. She was a woman in 50's, thin and medium height, big black eyes and with a big kum kum bindi on her forehead. Her green cotton saree with a maroon border (famous Maharashtrian-Karnataka Irkal) and her dusky complexion made her very attractive. She was the same lady who had been selling these groceries since I was a kid. I used to call her 'Bhaajiwali Mavshi'. To me name never mattered. Mavshi felt warm and there was an instant connection with any lady when you call her Mavshi. Well, we walked towards her and as we neared to her stall we all couldn't stop smiling and that showed how happy we were seeing each other.

Mavshi to Aai: How are you Bai? 
Aai: I am good and how are you? I don't see you often these days? 
Mavshi to Aai: I am not keeping well these days. My son or grandson come on behalf of me. I have worked hard since childhood and now can't shout and sell anymore
Aai: Good for you and I am happy that your son is helping you out.
Mavshi looking at me: How are you doing Bai? I don't remember when I saw you last but I think you were in college.
Me: Yes I remember when I met you last. I am good and I am good to see a known face in this new market
Mavshi: You are glowing..any good news? Where do you live these days?
Me (Surprised): I blushed and said Yes (with hardly visible bump she guessed it right) I live near London.
Mavshi (picked up some fruits and handed it to me) : I don't know where London is but I am happy for you...good. These are for the little one from me. They are sweeter than the one's you get in London. Eat healthy fruits and nutritious food. Don't sleep more or else the baby will be a lazy one. Enjoy your stay at your Aai's house.
Me (touched and speechless): Yes. Thank you Mavshi for these fruits. I remember you always gave me one when I was a kid and came along with Aai. 
Mavshi: I am glad that you still remember and after all, it is not about money but these small human selfless gestures keep life going.

With some more talks we bid Mavshi an adieu and left the market. I was really touched and happy to meet her. Her kind gesture though in the form of fruits for the little one made me think about the difference between shopping in the malls and at such local vendors. Does anyone care about you, your life at the malls? It's easy, pick a pack and pay at the counter. Nobody to speak, it's fast but boring. I realised that I missed this human touch. Mavshi took me back to my childhood days where as a kid I always got these little perks in the form of fruits, corns and more than this love and affection.

I wanted to tell Mavshi that the fruits indeed are sweet but people like her are sweeter than anything else. People like her make a point that not all relations are due to some vested interest and this human touch makes it special. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

How can we help Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji?

With a brand new Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi ji, marks the beginning of a new era for India. He recently completed a month on being sworn as a PM of the world’s largest democracy. This era could be constructive and ‘hope’ is what a human has that is enough to survive and we all are full of hopes from our Mr PM. I have been reading so many articles about NaMo (fondly known as) and it almost feels like he has a ‘magical wand’ which will wipe out poverty, corruption and many such problems that developing India is facing at the moment. Does NaMo have a ‘magical wand’? Can he wipe out every problem by snapping his fingers like ‘chutkiyon mein’? Is only a one man army enough to handle millions of problems of the world’s largest democracy? I am sure all my readers have their answer ready by now and it is a big ‘NO’. He is a PM with all the power…a powerful PM but after all he is a human being. He needs his time to settle in though by now he definitely has all his strategies ready, an agenda ready to act and he is acting on many key issues but we should also remember the fact that things aren’t easy in a country like ‘India’ with diverse cultures and people with heterogeneous thinking. We all unanimously realized that country was in a desperate need of a strong leader and very importantly ‘a vision’ for our motherland. I haven’t met NaMo but his personality reflects that he has the right attitude, aptitude and confidence assures me that he will set everything right but over a period of time. 

How can we play a significant role in helping our PM?

I am a person who believes that the government should not be blamed for every small thing. Living in UK has made me understand one fact that sensible people with discipline, self-realization add to the progress of a country. Look at England, nothing is grown in this country nor manufactured. The country heavily relies on China, India, Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh for everything (almost). The climatic conditions are not very pleasant but yet this country is the 'best' to live in.  People here are polite, abide by the laws and this is in the best interest of the country. 

What as Indians do we need to learn?

a)      Civic Sense: The utmost important sense which can be linked to common sense according to me. Do we Indians lack common sense? No but we like to ignore it for sure. It not only deals about cleanliness of public places but beyond that. Abiding by the laws, respect for the fellow beings which help in making a system more effective. I bet civic sense in the only panacea to the chaos we are facing in India. Why not teach our kids to thank the bus driver, auto driver, sweeper, garbage picker. Aren’t these people doing a job which needs to be applauded? I know they are being paid but would you or I do such a job if we were paid? Respect to labour rather any form of labour, dignity of labour is what Indians have to learn.

b)      Traffic Sense: The Indian traffic is world famous and the honking horns add to it. No wonder why people banter about the way we drive because it just doesn’t follow any health and safety laws. While driving, crossing road one must think the impact of his/her action on others. How many of the Indians stop at the Zebra crossing and allow the pedestrians to walk first? I never did when I drove and I detest being so inconsiderate. We expect good roads from the government but clearly the government is not responsible for the traffic chaos. Every single driver on the road seems to be super busy and is in a hurry to get his way through leaving an impression of being a VIP who is getting late for the meeting. With a poor traffic sense that we all have, we must have a certified course on traffic sense included.

c)       Respect for Women: For good or bad but the media has done the damage to India’s image as an unsafe country for Women. With high percentage of female foeticide, gang rapes, domestic violence we aren’t adding any glory to our country. Dignity and equality is what Women expect. It is just so unacceptable to offer prayers to Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi but torture Women. Isn’t every Woman a very tiny bit of all these Goddesses’? As a society we should campaign for Women’s education, social emancipation and equality.

d)      Celebrate diversity: Only country in the world which has so much of diversity – be it language, food, colour, lifestyles and festivals. We should learn to celebrate our diversity rather fighting on petty issues. An old saying ‘Together we stand and divided we fall’ is just so apt for India. Be Indian at heart ‘first’ always!

So much more to add but I will limit myself. We need to remind ourselves that our fore fathers have earned this freedom at the cost of lots of precious lives and gallons of blood loss. We definitely have to take this country to the higher level and put it at a respectable position on the ‘globe’. Let people know that beyond curries, food and spices there exists a modern, progressive India with a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Tiny contributions are important and it is never too late. Remember the squirrel that helped Lord Rama build the bridge? Why not help Mr Modi ji build up a ‘strong, developed and progressive Nation – India’ and Ache Din Jaroor Aayenge.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Can 'Women' have it all?

Can 'Women' have it all? - A very interesting question without a definite answer. Some may say ‘YES’ and most of them may say ‘NO’. I am trying to figure out to which side of the answer I belong. I am now hooked to a book ‘Power Play’ by Danielle Steel. A nice read and a beautiful comparison between 2 CEO’s, Ms Fiona Carson and Mr Marshall Weston. These two powerful CEO’s of leading companies lead different lives as a human being. They play a double role - Tough, subtle, crisp, sharp as CEO’s but tender, emotive, humans after all at home. Not revealing more about the book but would like to emphasise more on Fiona’s life as a loving caring, sensitive, career oriented single mother. Was married to David for almost seventeen years and then divorced...she just finds this as a perfect life! I really got an insight of her strength, determination and the balance she tries to set in her work-home life when she is about to attend a board meeting to discuss a serious matter – leaking of news which could have proven to be a potential harm to the reputation of the company directly affecting the stock market and her phone rings. It’s her daughter Alyssa who declares that she would like to borrow her skirt for going on a date. It just took me a few minutes to realize that it does take a strong mind to tackle these two different issues…act like a CEO when needed and be a Mother to your kids. For Alyssa- a young bubbly girl, it is all about a ‘skirt’ who only is concerned about her date but for Fiona it is beyond this – a dual act and she has to come out with an appropriate solution in both the situations.

The author Danielle Steel has tried to convey that Women at higher positions or 'Power' try very hard to prove themselves as an ideal Mum, Employee, Entrepreneur and don't go Crazy rather with a firm head on shoulders progress with dignity.

Interestingly, I read an article about Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO. For me Fiona is just a fictional character for a story and lives a life which has been created by the author but Ms Nooyi is a living, real Mother and a CEO. A mother to 2 daughters, she shared her thoughts about the ‘guilt’ when she never made it for the coffee mornings at her daughter’s school. How she was sent to get some milk by her Mother at that night when the board decided to appoint her as the CEO.  She even confessed that she wasn’t sure if their daughters might regard her as a ‘Best Mother’. She owes her success to her extended family which actually consists of her office staff, friends and family. She beautifully framed a difficult feeling into words – ‘Biological clock and career clock are just complete conflicts!’ When you have to raise your career then you also have to raise your kids. I couldn’t agree more to this. She engaged her staff for instance; her secretary was provided a questionnaire for her daughter. Whenever her daughter rang up to speak to Mummy for her permission to play a game, the secretary would check if she completed her homework and few other questions. If the answers were appropriate as decided by her CEO Mum then she got the permission to play the game. To the question if ‘Can you have it all?’ she spontaneously answers ‘No’! The reason is every moment, every decision puts you in a situation where you are bound to think that you are a Mother, Wife, Daughter, Daughter-in Law and at last CEO…so you can never have it all.
While I am still hooked to ‘Power Play’ and totally impressed by Fiona but I can’t stop adoring Ms Nooyi for her role as a CEO and Mum. Women like her are a role model for many and such honest confessions from such a strong ‘Woman’ only boosts our spirits and inspires us to achieve our dreams and aims but with a BALANCE without a guilt. Millions of Women worldwide, sole bread earners or working for their dreams, highly paid or less paid, high profile jobs or low profile jobs, for that matter a home-maker too deserve a lot of appreciation and support to bring out the best in them. Though we can’t have it all but a positive approach towards it is the key to success.

There is a role model in every Woman
Finally, a bit of Fiona and Indra Nooyi does exist in every Woman!