Saturday, 5 March 2016

Share The Load

When I look around I find most women over worked, doesn’t matter if they have a career or they stay at home. But I hear almost everyone complain about how hectic their lives are. Some go to an extent and even say that their husbands have it easier, so much easier. Men just have to come from office and their work is over. That is what always makes me uncomfortable. Women work through the day too (either in office or at home), then why don’t they relax when they reach home? Why is it that their work is not over at day end?

I saw this advertisement on social media and instantly liked it. As parents we are empowering our daughters but are we also setting an example for them? Are we setting gender neutral examples at home? Children learn the most by observing. Are we good examples for our children?

I see so many educated women around me, trying to give good education to their daughters, teaching them equality; wishing wings for their daughters but is that enough? Is it enough to know I can be whatever I want when I will grow up; that I am no less than a man, when I am subconsciously believing that the housework is primarily mine, or even if I have a career outside my house, I will be the one taking care of everything in the house? Why? Because that’s what my mother does at home!

Is it enough if we teach our boys, girls are equal to you; there is nothing that girls can’t do; you shouldn’t judge a person’s efficiency by their gender etc , when subconsciously they are believing that when a man comes back from office, he takes a break while the woman runs around finishing all the chores! Where is the equality in this system?

Children learn more from observing! They are like sponge; everyday is a new learning for them. They take subtle clues; they pick nuisances from their parents. It is time we step back and think, are we a good example of gender equality? Do we practice it at home? If not, it is time the changes are made. It is time we lead as example, so the coming generation is free from gender bias of any kind.

It is time the household chores are divided basis availability and efficiency and not gender. Let’s start this from today. Let’s be a good example for our kids!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

The JNU debate- What Is Democracy?

In a general sense democracy is freedom, right? So If we are in a democratic country, we are free. We are free to live where we want, free to take the job we want, study what we want, follow the religion we want and we are free to speak our mind. There are no if-s and but-s in freedom. If you are free, you are free. There are no conditions apply.

Dissent is the backbone of freedom I would say. If we can’t disagree, if we can’t stand against something we find wrong, if we can’t questions laws, if we can’t shout at the system, are we truly free?

In my mind a strong democracy is based on free flowing opinions. If a democracy can’t stand opposing views, by definition does it still remain a democracy? If I stand against the system, do I become anti-national? What does my disagreeing with any system, any law or any decision has to do with my love for my country. It still remains my country. I still love it. Do we never disagree with our parents? Have we never spoken against our parents? Have we never walked out of a room following a disagreement with our parents? Or even with our friends, or anyone else? Does it mean we don’t love them? Does it mean we don’t understand what sacrifices they have made for us? Does it mean we don’t want to live in the same house? Does it mean we don’t cherish the relationship? No it doesn’t!

Then why when we express dissent against any decision by law, we automatically are labelled as anti-national? Then why if we stand merely for freedom of speech, we are told we are not patriotic enough?

I love my country. I am a concerned citizen. I know my rights and my duties (At least some part of it). I am thankful for the freedom my constitution and law provides me. And I still don’t agree with so many things happening in India. I will question it and I will fight for my right to question and as a matter of fact, I stand by anyone’s right to speak. So I stand by JNU when it comes to freedom of speech. They have the right to question and show dissent. By questioning a decision, they don’t become anti-nationals and neither do I, by simply being on their side.

But I also believe there is a line which is drawn by every individual even when exercising their democratic rights. I believe Afzal Guru was a terrorist and whatever happened was right. I don’t care if his family couldn’t meet him. I don’t care if he was made a scape goat. I just don’t care! I care about the innocent lives lost. I care about what the attacks did to my country. This is where I draw the line. If the person standing against me still calls him a martyr, I will get angry. I will be furious. BUT I will walk out of the discussion. Why? Because my opinion is based on my experiences in life and I believe anyone else’s opinion would also be based on their experiences, which will be different than mine. I don’t think opinions are driven only through religion. I will always give anyone benefit of doubt; at the least I won’t question their love for their country just because of one opinion or their religion. Why is it so difficult to understand and follow?

India is a country of Indians, not hindu, not muslim, not any religion. If we are Indian citizens, we have the same rights. We belong to the tri-color, not to saffron, not to green!

Note of caution: This is my opinion about the issue. Readers are welcome to share their opinions but I have low tolerance for rudeness. Please be polite! Thank you

Read more about the JNU controversy here

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Never Too Late!

Getting to a place of comfort can be uncomfortable who would have known, thought Rashmi. It was the same place where her life had started some 40 years back. The memory was quite vivid in her mind even after so many years. She had worn a red sari as customary even for a church wedding. She had told her mom that she hated sarees and wanted to wear a blue dress. Sarees had never been her thing. She had always been in love with long fitted dresses. How pretty her friend Cherry had looked at her wedding she had thought. But obviously who would have listened to an 18 year old then. She had worn the red saree and the heavy makeup, against her wish. She was told what to do and she had done it. Everything had gone as planned. She didn’t even remember looking at Prateek during the whole wedding ritual. It was not important. Where she was looking was important. She was told to look down, so she had looked down. When she was leaving her parents house, she was told by her mom to follow her husband’s orders like she had followed her parents’. She was told that the house she had grown up was not hers anymore. She had soaked up every word like a sponge.
That is what she had believed for next 22 years. She had a good marriage. She had followed Prateek like a shadow; hardly ever did she speak up. They had a picture perfect family, till the day of the accident. Prateek was crossing the road when the truck came from the wrong side. He had no chance. He had left behind a successful business and two kids who were living abroad. They had come and left within a few days.
Suddenly Rashmi was all alone for the first time in her life. She was 40 years old and she had never stepped out of her house alone. It was a tough fight after that. She took her time. Of course she was scared. Everything was new but everything was exciting. She took charge of the business. People around her were surprised at her business acumen. Within a few years the business was making more profits than ever before. She had wings. She was flying. And that’s how she met Raman. He was working with one of the competitors. They met during one of the pitches. She immediately liked him and had her HR poach him to her company. This was some 12 years back. They had been working together since then. She didn’t remember exactly when she fell for him, especially because he was 11 years her junior. Only thing she was sure was that they were perfect together; like two pieces of a puzzle who belonged together.
And after living together for a decade they had decided to take the leap of faith. Now she was standing at the altar, waiting for her cue. Soft breeze was blowing; it felt like heaven was singing for her. The white of orchid around her was filling her with a sense of tranquillity she had never felt before. Her fitted, long, blue dress was something she had fallen in love with at the first sight. It was just right. Everything was just right. It didn’t matter if her children were against her decision. They were living their lives and she was living hers. It didn’t matter if more people were against it than in favour of it. It didn’t matter that she was 58. Nothing mattered except what she felt in her heart. She knew this was just the first day of the rest of her life. And suddenly the church band started playing “here comes the bride....”
This was her cue. Her cue to get busy living or get busy dying!

Monday, 18 January 2016

A Homework For Every Parent

Every day of my life as a parent starts with a long list of things that my kids are supposed to do and don’t do. The thing that tops the list most of the time is homework. We can’t ignore the homework. It has to be done. Few days back my elder one who is in second grade and who likes to question everything before adhering to it, asked me “Mom, why are we supposed to do the homework? Why is it important?” I was taken aback. I had never thought about it. We were given homework and we did it. Of course, the key was that we were learning from it but that we do even in school, so why homework?

It took me some time but I realised why we must do the homework. I sat down with him and explained, “We must do our homework because it is a part of the overall learning. Learning doesn’t end in classroom, it is a continuous process. Homework prepares us for the exam. If we don’t do it, how will we revise everything that we have learnt, how will we be prepared for the final exam? “

Thankfully my son understood it and went to study, but as usual he was back with his next question. He asked, “Mom, do you also do your homework? What is your homework? When is your exam?”

By the time he had finished asking his questions, I had already lost my patience and I told him I will tell him in detail later. But his questions had gotten me to think. What is my exam? When are my exams? Am I prepared for them?

Just as I was mulling over these questions, a new campaign from Axis MF caught my attention. Some of my friends were talking about it, so I went online and checked it. It gave me the answer immediately. What can be the biggest exam of a parent? It will be when my children grow up and they step outside the comfort of our home. They will take on the world. It will be my responsibility to fulfil their aspirations, to plan a better future for them. Am I ready for that?

 I don’t know if I am, and I don’t know if I will ever be, but it is my job to make the process as smooth and as hindrance free as possible. When my kids grow up, they should have the ability and grit to choose what they want to do. Nothing should stop them. This will be my exam and I have to be prepared for it. I have to do my homework, just like my son. And one of the first subjects is financial planning. I will start by evaluating Axis MF’s campaign since they gave me the idea.

And I urge every parent to get out of their comfort zones. Start communicating with your children, understand their aspirations and start planning towards it. It is the need of the hour. You have to start preparing now, for your children’s future. You have to do your homework.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Look Who Is Cooking!

A casual discussion for a meet up with blogger friends turned into an awesome opportunity when lovely Rushina threw open her heart and the doors of her cooking studio for us. I couldn’t have been happier. I have picked up cooking as a hobby only recently and I had wanted to learn from experts. I knew Rushina as this fabulous food blogger with an awesome space to cook APB Cook Studio. So I lapped up on the opportunity. It can’t get better than this! (Or so I thought)

But it did get better; we were going to not only meet Rushina, we were going to cook Italian food with her. Italian food is my recent obsession; me and my 7 year old love to work on Italian recipes. (What we finally come up with is a different question altogether). I wanted to learn! I had to learn for the poor souls I experimented on.

So I crossed my fingers and left for APB studio with a lot of hope and zest in my heart and some emergency chocolates in my bag (We were going to eat only what we would cook and I don’t have a perfect track record you see)

As soon as I reached the place I knew I had reached the right place. The place was a perfect blend of kitchen warmth and restaurant finesse. Rushina and her team led us, taught us, tolerated us (Well, we were a group of giggly women bloggers who were high on life :P) to some really yummy food.

From the lovely Aglio Olio to focaccia, from loud chatters to loud thumps of kneading bread, from yours truly mixing up sugar for salt to some crazy selfie taking students in the middle of the session, everything was handled beautifully. Everything that we made turned out beautiful. The session ended on a beautiful sweet note with Tiramisu. What more could a girl ask for? Learn and cook her favorite food, from one of the masters, in the company of friends.

This wonderful session was courtesy of JAMMs. It is a wonderful group led by Ritu Gorai. Did you ask what the group is about? Well, wait and watch out this space for a detailed insider review of this rocking group. It’s a secret and sacred space. I will be back soon with a detailed account. Till then here’s a glimpse of all the fun we had!