The World as I see it

My Life. My Views

Satyamev Jayate – A candid review — May 7, 2012

Satyamev Jayate – A candid review

When I first saw Aamir’s casual look and approach in the ads of Satyamev Jayate, I told my husband “This is going to be a flop. Aamir is trying too hard to be casual. This is going to fall flat on his face” In fact, the ad where he claims that this show will change your life and comparing his show to stalwarts like Mughal-e-azam saying,”If a film like Mughal-e-Azam can beat all norms and barriers, why cant our show!” That ad was too much for me to take. I felt it reeked of desperation – a last resort to make people watch the show!

As you can say, I wasnt too positive about the show. So, when I switched on my TV to watch the first episode, I was ready and willing to confirm my initial prophecy.

I was wrong.

So wrong.

I watched the show last night. And totally loved it. Also, because I feel very strongly about Female Foeticide and Infanticide situation in India. What Aamir said about the issue did not come as a surprise to me since I had already read about Mitu Khurana’s case and even blogged about it, but I am certain it was a definite eye-opener for the whole of India. Female foeticide is a gruesome fact which is a big dark blot on the canvas of modern India. The fact that the educated and well-to-do are so heavily involved in this crime is a testimony to the fact that this is not just an affliction of the less privileged! In fact, Bharati who lives in the slum of Vastrapur area is a shining example of that! I am determined to look her up in my next trip to Ahmedabad and tell her to keep going strong!

Some of my famous lines from the show:

Atyachar karna jitna paap hota hai utna sehna bhi paap hai (It is as much of a crime to put up with torture as it is to commit one) – Parveen Khan

Zindagi hamein bahut kuch sikhati hai, kabhi hasati hai to kabhi rulati hai… par jo har haal me khush rehte hain, zindagi unke saamne sar jhukati hai (Life teaches us a lot, it makes us laugh sometimes, it makes us cry. But those who remain happy in all circumstances, life bows down in front of them) – Parveen Khan

I would like to reach out to all of you and implore you to watch the episode. You will not be disappointed.

You can watch it here:

If you really think needs to stop, do not waste one more second. Go right away and cast your vote here.

The Year 2010: What worked and what did not! — December 29, 2010

The Year 2010: What worked and what did not!

Hellooo people 🙂

That time of the year when you gather your thoughts on what went by.. I like to do that by making a list of things that happened around the world – what worked for me and what did not.

 What worked:

  1. Indian audience started reacting to and appreciating low-budget movies made with nothing to promote except brilliant script and some great piece of acting – Letting movies talk for themselves – That seemed to have been the flavour of 2010. (A shining eg: Udaan)
  2. The financial world that was crumbling in 2008 and 2009, became a little more stable in 2010.
  3. Thirty-three miners near Copiapó, Chile, trapped 700 metres underground in a mining accident in San José Mine, are brought back to the surface after surviving for a record 69 days – Brilliant use of modern age technology
  4. Researchers at CERN trap 38 antihydrogen atoms for a sixth of a second, marking the first time in history that humans have trapped antimatter

***************************************************************

What did not:

  1. Natural calamities continued to hit the world: Massive earthqukes in Chile (Largest ever), Haiti (Deadliest ever), China
  2. Deepwater Horizon oil spill led to one of the largest in history – causing lot of harm to the aquatic flora and fauna
  3. Numerous air-flights all over the world crashed, killing hundreds of travellers:
    1. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 crashes into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after take-off from Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, killing all 90 people on-board.
    2. The President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, is among 96 killed when their airplane crashes in western Russia
    3. Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashes at runway at Tripoli International Airport in Libya, killing 103 of the 104 people on board
    4. Air India Express Flight 812 overshoots the runway at Mangalore International Airport in India, killing 158 and leaving 8 survivors
    5. Aero Caribbean Flight 883 crashes in central Cuba, killing all 68 people on board
  4. Indian Hindi film industry saw a series of flops, some really big budget movies with some big stars sinking at the box office: Kites, Raavan, Guzaarish, Action Replayy, including the latest Tees Maar Khan
  5. Protests in Bangkok, Thailand ends with a bloody military crackdown, killing 91 and more than 2,100 injured
  6. WikiLeaks releases a collection of more than 250,000 American diplomatic cables, including 100,000 marked “secret” or “confidential” – The world just isn’t safe anymore. I would not be surprised, if this alone leads to World War III
  7. Volcanic ash from one of several eruptions beneath Eyjafjallajökull, an ice cap in Iceland, began to disrupt air traffic across northern and western Europe

I just noticed that the downs outweigh the ups! 😦 Here is hoping when I make this list one year from today, there are far more ups than downs!

Let us welcome the year of new hopes, new desires and new mountains to be climbed!

Here’s wishing you all a fantastic 2011 🙂

[PS: Did I miss out anything? Let me know if I did :)]

CWG 2010 – Perspective by an Indian — October 1, 2010

CWG 2010 – Perspective by an Indian

I was born and brought up in India – I studied, built myself a career, got married in India – It was only recently that work took me to different parts of the world, but as they say you can take an Indian away from India but you can not take India away from an Indian. I have and will always be unabashedly, undoubtedly, a true blue Indian!!

You speak a word out of the line, and I will not sit down and listen. I will stand up and fight – defend the honor of the Nation that made me who I am!

So, when media all over the world (Especially Indian media) was thrashing the country black and blue over its underpreparedness to host the Common Wealth Games, it was a surprise (and sometimes a shock) just observing fellow countrymen’s reactions! Ah, not to mention pretty amusing at times! Now, these are some of the things that happen if you are staying outside India.

  1. You desperately try to fit into the new culture/society. Suddenly skirts become shorter and holding hands/PDAs become more acceptable.
  2. Cooking your own meals is as rare and uncommon as clean and traffic-free Indian roads – Fridges are stacked with frozen food of all sorts. Who has the time to cook these days?
  3. You start alienating/dis-associating yourself from anything “Indian”.

Having said that, m glad not all go through these transitions 🙂 while, some very seriously do!

So, coming to CWG, it was pretty interesting to note everyone’s reactions. To put it mildly, “ashamed” and “embarrassed” were the most commonly used words… the others words pretty much dont matter. The message was clear: People were ashamed of being identified as belonging to a Nation where the toilets werent clean and dogs soiled the mattresses meant for the athletes. Oh how tacky! How would they face their firang team mates the next day at work? Oh! India had really put them down!! Oh, how shameful!!

The pictures released by bbc were discussed – Shameful – Corruption was blamed for everything and anything that went wrong – Disgusting – Kalmadi should be hanged – India unprepared to host such a big event – Shameful – Where has the tax-payer’s money gone? – Disgusting – All athletes backing out – Shameful – Not just reading but forwarding lewd insensitive remarks on the situation – Disgusting

At the same, I found many who had complete belief. And this is all they had to say:

Yes, we screwed up. We went disastrously wrong with a lot of things. But, let us stand united, and put on a great show! This is not just my country’s reputation, but “My” reputation at stake now. If I can not actively help in the process, I can do my bit by not bad-mouthing those who are putting in an effort

I have only one question for all of you who felt let down: If you have a grih-pravesh or a house-warming party at your new house, and I come in a few days early, uninivited, click the pictures of a house still being readied for the big show and put it all over the place for people to laugh at. Would you want your family members standing by your side and condemning the act or joining in the ridicule, pelting stones at you?

Am I just being a romantic or does that make sense?

Infidelity: What’s the fuss all about?? — March 18, 2010

Infidelity: What’s the fuss all about??

Tell me if I am wrong… please do… but I just cant seem to fathom behavior of common junta over a couple of things that have come up in the past…

When Monica Lewinsky came forward with an allegation that Bill Clinton, the then President of the United States of America had had an affair with her, people all over America went berserk – right from demanding a public apology to the death of his political career caused by his impeachment.

I somehow dont get it… What exactly was his fault? Did he commit a murder or force himself upon another woman? Did he embezzle millions of dollars of tax-payer’s money? Did his affairs in any way make him any less efficient as a President? What he did was definitely not acceptable – cheating on his/her partner is an unpardonable crime… But did it deserve the kind of National importance it got? Probably not… What transpired between him and his mistresses was actually no one else’s business.. It was between him and his family… They were the only ones he was answerable to… no one else! But, seems like suddenly the whole of US was full of morality preaching pundits. I would really like to know that out of all those people, how many had never cheated on their partner??… I am pretty sure that percent would be minimal… and yet, when it came to their President, every one conveniently forgot all that he had done for the nation… All that mattered was his infidelity.

Just the other day I was watching a Golf program… All they did was talk about Tiger Woods infidelity. Oh come on! Why cant people separate a celebrity’s professional and personal lives? Tiger Woods is an excellent Golfer. Period. What he does in his personal life should not hamper his image as a Golfer… but sadly, it does! I really appreciated Obama’s statement yesterday, where he admitted that Woods was still a terrific Golfer… Suddenly, people do not remember him for all his victories – the only thing they remember about him are his affairs! A very sad state of affairs, if you ask me! Why do we have to elevate all these famous people onto a pedestal and then throw them onto the ground if they even show signs of being “human”!?

People have, in the past, committed several heinous crimes much more gruesome than an extra-marital affair. Do we see people reacting wildly to that? Well… maybe yes, but not as much as they react to a moral crime!

Whats your take on this? Am I completely wrong in thinking this way? Go on… tell me…

Has CAT lost its credibility? — March 3, 2010

Has CAT lost its credibility?

I have been observing the whole CAT 2009 drama with supreme interest. The more and more I hear about it, the more I doubt the credibility of CAT (Common Aptitude Test) conducted by the top B-schools of our country. CAT is one of the most sought after examinations and studies have proven that IIMA is the most difficult institute to get through in the world – with the ratio being 1:1000.

With such high stakes, can CAT afford to be slandered?

Listing down some objectionable/flawed instances that marred the most-sought-after Exam in India.

  • Most exam centers had technical issues with candidates not having their centers as mentioned in the Admit Card.
  • Technical hazards like Server issues/Computers rebooting on their own
  • The difficulty levels of the exam on any given day was not comparable – Hence, it is not surprising that most of the candidates receiving IIM calls are from the first 3 days of the exam, when the CAT paper was the easiest of the lot.
  • Some candidates who did not appear for the test on the initial slot, gave the re-test! No one to question them…
  • Some candidates who had a test of more than 140 mins were asked to report the same to the concerned authorities and give a re-test – barring which, their scores would be considered null and void. Nothing of that sort happened. I personally know a few candidates whose exam was for more than 150 mins – they did not bother with the re-test and duly received their scores. This means that some candidates took more time than allocated, thus having an undue advantage over others!

Gazillion such facts and stories are out there where people have got away with doing just about anything during CAT ’09, thus making it a joke and a major fiasco! Not surprising then that the credibility built over the past 50 years has been lost, with a lot of colleges refusing to accept CAT scores as admission criteria!

Whats your take on this? Did you appear for CAT last year? Or did you know someone dear going through the tortures?

Please share your thoughts.

Tips to anyone traveling to Sydney/Melbourne — February 25, 2010

Tips to anyone traveling to Sydney/Melbourne

Sydney Opera House

Tips to all traveling to the Aussie lands (specifically to Sydney and Melbourne)

  • Make sure you call and confirm your hotel bookings before you take off. We suffered a goof-up and its not a good idea to be stranded in a foreign land. I would suggest to go a step further and keep a plan B ready. It would be a good idea to keep the address and phone numbers of your second choice of the hotel
  • It is a good idea to buy a sim card, while you are there. It can be as cheap as $2 and will come handy if you have urgent calls to make. Phone booths are quite abundant, but making calls from them very very expensive ($0.50 for 1 min of local calls and 2 secs of International call)
  • Most museums/palaces close by 4PM or 5PM. So plan your day accordingly.
  • Have a list of restaurants, etc handy in case you have preferences like Gluten-free food or Veggie options. In both places, we had enough veggie options available… but mostly in the CBD area! Rest if you venture into suburbs, it may get difficult finding a decent place to eat! Most restaurants close pretty early too (by 9 PM), so make sure you know the timings beforehand!
  • Public transport in Sydney and Melbourne is crazy expensive, so it is probably a good idea to buy weekly/daily travel passes if you are planning to move around a lot on your own!
  • It is always advisable to stay in the city area so that you can experience the city life of both the places.

Will keep updating this with any ideas from you guys 🙂 So, let me know what you think 🙂

Valentine Week in the Land Down Under!! — February 24, 2010

Valentine Week in the Land Down Under!!

Guys, apologies galore for taking off without a warning! Noobie and I just got back from a 9-day trip to Australia – We covered only the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Here goes my account of the same.

Day 1 – Sydney

Sydney Airport Sydney Airport Darling Harbour We arrived in Sydney on Day 1. First impression of the city: Very rude people right from the air hostess of the flight to the lady at the information counter. A very unfriendly kind of airport, with internet browsing, phones etc not easily available. And then we took off from the airport and reached a suburb of Sydney. The area was right out of a dream – lush green surroundings, beautiful hut shaped houses, chirping of the birds and tweeting of the crickets… The calmness and the serenity was stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city area! We roamed the Darling harbour that night, to check out the night life of sydney.. it was good fun seeing the all-sober aussies go completely nuts on Saturday night 🙂

Day 2 – Sydney

Lunch at a Thai restaurant and a walk down the CBD area of Sydney was good fun thanks to the lovely weather…! It had rained for most part that morning and threatened to do so during the evening!  Dozens and dozens of prettily clad women flaunting roses in their hands reminded me that it was Valentine’s Day! 🙂 The Capitol - Broadway musical Mohabbatein Leaf

Witnessed a gorgeous Aussie wedding 🙂 The best part was these lovely ladies dressed as mini-brides 🙂

Beautiful little angels

Day 3 – Sydney

A visit to the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge… The landmarks are as majestic as they appear in pics… In fact the history of the Harbour bridge is equally fascinating…

What followed soon after was a visit to the Manly Beach… We took the ferry to the beach and the view of Sydney skyline from there was simply breath-taking 🙂

Lovely

The Manly beach reminded me of the beautiful gigantic waves in the Beaches of Goa… 🙂 Had a lovely lovely time there with self-learning how to surf – not to mention falling heads down… thanks to the water for cushioning my fall! 😛

Manly Beach

After coming back from the beach, we headed directly to a friend’s place… cooked pasta for every one… it was superrrrrrr fun!! 🙂

Day 4 – Sydney

On the fourth day, we travelled to the museum, the casino and the Bondi Beach. Bondi Beach was the most ferocious beach I have ever seen… Bondi Beach There was so much wind, the sand was hitting us!!! The majesty of the ocean was in its full glory – it was intimidating yet magnificent!! 🙂

Day 5 – Sydney

This day was meant to just laze around the area… indulge in a bit of shopping… visit museumss, then visit nearby casinos… !! We called it a day by meeting up for dinner with all friends 🙂 Had awesome Lebanese food there… A super end to a super nice visit 🙂

Day 6 – Melbourne

The trip to Melbourne started on a sour note with the air hostesses being the rudest I have ever seen! The terms “polite” do not exist in their dictionary! I was pissed to the core!! Anyways, I let that pass… so we reach Melbourne airport and take the skybus to the city. What was mentioned as a 10 min walk to the hotel turned out to be a 40-min struggle! We finally reached the place and it was super dingy with the hotel manager being super rude! We checked out instantly and were on the road again looking for a place to stay! After a struggle of around 3 hours and some incredibly helpful desis and Aussies on the way, we managed to find a super hotel, right in the middle of the CBD area!! 🙂

[I wrote a TripAdvisor review for the hotel. You can find it here. Thanks Apu for bringing this to my notice.]

We ended the day by going to a casino, where we lost everything we bet. The only silver lining was Noobie meeting up Chris Gayle, captain of West Indies cricket team. I had to stifle a laughter when Noobie walked up to him and asked “Dude, what time is the match tomorrow?” 😛 Chris, being the uber cool guy he is, looked at him and smiled “230 man! U coming?” 😛

Day 7 – Melbourne

Day 7 was marked by visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This was my 5th or 6th visit to a cricket ground and the experience was like nothing I had seen before! The vastness of the place was intimidating… it is one of the 7 wonders of the sporting world and rightly so!

MCG - 1

MCG - 2

What made the experience all the more unforgettable was the crowd – the super enthu and lively crowd – Aussies not only love their game but also know it well and that could be seen from the reactions on every ball…!!

MCG - 3

MCG - 4

The crowd’s reaction to Bollinger fielding at the boundary was an interesting sight too!! The crowd would start singing jingles with his name and the fielder would do a little jig to please them, getting a tremendous response in return… so much so that, he actually forgot to be “inside the field” once when the ball was bowled 😛

Bollinger - 1

Bollinger amongst his fans

The entire stadium would reverberate with “Dougy… Dougy… Dougy…” 🙂 🙂 Day 8 – Melbourne After a super fun filled second day in Mel, we set out on what was soon to be the most beautiful drive of our lives 🙂 The Great Ocean Drive. The entire place reminds you of… well.. nothing… I had not seen anything like it, ever! Mountains on one side, ocean on the other, lush green farms on one side, mountaineous terrain on the other… it was like the best of both worlds… it was like a paradise, a union not easily found! Check out the pics to see what I mean… We hired a car… because both of us love driving… took a map and drove away… While in the city, we took a few wrong turns and had no idea where we were… so, we decided to ask this one guy in the car next to ours… he looked back with a kind face and asked us where we were going, we told him we were looking for the West Gate Freeway… He said… “Follow me” and the guy drove us right to the start of the Freeway… Bless him! And only once he started driving, did we realise that he was a policeman!! A very noble one at that 🙂 Also, we noticed a lot of people come to us and ask us if we were lost or something… I guess, we looked pretty touristy with backpacks and a map in our hands! 😛 But, yes, we did get a chance to meet the softer side of Melbourne – Exceedingly helpful people 🙂

Day 9 – Back to good ol’ Sing

On the 9th day and after an awesome trip, we headed back home. Looking back, it was an interesting trip where we got to see a totally different culture and meet various kinds of people – some outrageously rude, but most amazingly sweet 🙂 If you came this far, thanks for bearing with the lonnnnngggggggg post 🙂 My next one is going to be some tips to any one and everyone planning a trip to Sydney/Melbourne.

Movie Review: Blind Side – Fantastic!! — January 21, 2010

Movie Review: Blind Side – Fantastic!!

There are all kinds of movies one watches in their life time… I would define them in 2 categories: some make it to your blog, some dont 😛

And dont get me wrong here… Those who make it to my blog have certainly impacted me a deep way! Either I want my readers to run at the mere mention of their name, or I would like them to push these up in their To-watch-movies list.

I am proud to announce the latest introduction to the latter category: Blind Side! I am serious when I say leave all that you are doing and go watch this movie! You wont regret it!

It is also important to mention that this movie review fits in perfectly with my theme of the month – as it is touches the beautiful relationship of a son with his birth and foster mother! This movie also reiterates the fact that feeling of being a mother does not arise only by giving birth, it is that instinct which makes you want to fiercely protect the ones you love.

Even before we start with the review, let us honour the author, Michael Lewis, of the original book (The blind side: Evolution of a game) from which the movie is adapted. Cant wait to read it! And I admit I just found out (courtesy: wiki) that this book and the movie is based on the real life story of Mike Oher! I mean all the characters in the movie are real, actual people! Wow!

Ok enough of the digressing, lets get down to business!

Strengths

  • Excellent story – When I saw the movie yesterday and I had no idea that it was based on a real-life story, I thought the storyline was fantastic. Now that I know it happened for real, I am dumb-founded and stunned! I have no adjectives left!! (Doesnt speak very well of me as a blogger, I know!) But seriously, *Hats Off!*
  • Brilliant performances – Sandra Bullock, in the role of a strong, super confident woman, Leigh Ann Tuohy, is mesmerising. Her screen presence is so extraordinary, it is hard to take your eyes off this miraculous woman! Not to mention, Quinton Aaron‘s intense portrayal of Michael Oher is fantabulous! He hardly has any dialogues in the movie – this man talks with his expressions and his eyes! Super!
  • Awesome direction by John Lee Hancock. His sensitive portrayal of a desolate, lost child regaining confidence in himself and the world around him and the journey he undertakes, is exceptional!

Weaknesses

  • None!

My review would be incomplete without a special mention to Sandra Bullock’s character in the movie: Leigh Ann Tuohy! According to me, she is an epitome of the perfect woman – she has her career in place, is a doting and loving (albeit strict) mother and wife, a humanitarian with her heart in the right place and not to mention, a super tough woman who can kick anyone’s a** if they even as much as think of hurting her family and yet a super-sensitive mom, who doesnt take long to well up!! She is, in all sense of the word, my idea of an ideal woman! You will know what I mean once you watch this movie!

I would like to end this review with a small personal letter to this woman who has made it to my list of top-10 most influential women of the decade.

Dear Ms Tuohy,

If you ever come across this article, I would like you to know that if you are, in real life, even 10% of what was portrayed in the movie, I bow down to you!

You are an inspiration to millions of women all over the world.

Thank you!

Love, Nova

As far as my husband is concerned, he fell in love with the youngest son of the Tuohys, SJ!

Please leave everything that you are doing to go watch this movie. Trust me, you wont regret your decision 🙂

Chromosome Y to get extinct in a million years!! — October 26, 2009

Chromosome Y to get extinct in a million years!!

Was reading an article today which made my ears go “toing”!!!

Apparently, studies have shown that Male population of the planet have chances of becoming extinct.

To give readers a background, women have XX chromosome, and men have XY chromosome. When human beings reproduce, the following permutation and combination of chromosomes are possible

X <-> X => XX (Girl)
X <-> Y => XY (Boy)

To cut a long story short… women have only X Chromosome to contribute, while men have either X or Y chromosome to contribute to the foetus. Hence, men are the ones who actually decide the sex of the child.

Now, Y Chromosome travels faster than X, but it also has a shorter lifespan. Hence, it is a matter of great medical concern that Y chromosomes will eventually cease to exist… What will happen then? Will there be an another chromosome adopting the role of Y chromosome?

Well.. all that remains to be seen. For now, a few things are of paramount importance:

Let us not try and go against Nature. Nature has a way of coming back and with much more power than imagined. By going against Nature, I do not entirely mean climactic nature, I also mean Physiological nature of human body.

Our body is built in such a way that it needs 8-10 hours of sleep. It needs constant nutrition and care. And what do we do with it?

Sleep late. Wake up late. Eat unhealthy. Sometimes not eat at all. Sit in front of the laptops the whole day and do not breathe fresh air. Nor do we exercise regularly.

Is it surprising then that most people in the age group of 20-45 are succumbing to fatal and terminal diseases at such a young age? Whatever happened to an average lifespan of 100 years? With all our advanced medical sciences, infertility is increasing at an alarming rate and so are miscarriages.

It is time to now sit back and take notice. It is never too late to change the habits which are pushing us towards self-destruction. It is now time to go back to our roots and do what sages used to do – Eat right, think right and live right 🙂

Barack Obama and India-born American Dr Venky win Nobel prize — October 11, 2009

Barack Obama and India-born American Dr Venky win Nobel prize

Barack Obama has been given the Nobel Prize for peace!! Ahem! Now, I would REALLY want to know why!???

On a similar note, did you guys know Hitler and Stalin have been nominated for Nobel “Peace” prize before!! 😕

Found this link on Hitchy’s blog.

Unlike most of the responses I saw, this fact made me sad. Indians are brilliant and Nobel prize is just one small proof of that! But, what saddens me is that, we as a country are unable to keep the creamiest of the lot from seeking better opportunities elsewhere.

Most of my friends who went abroad for MS did so because inspite of having brilliant undergrad colleges like IITs, we in India have a dearth of good research-oriented post-grad colleges! Specially in the field of Engineering! Some of them came back after their course got completed, while a lot have no plans of doing so. The reason: The enormous sum that you pay to complete your education can quite easily be repaid by working there for a few years. And then, you get so used to the life there, you dont want to come back!

I hope… I just hope… that some day, all our brilliant students will want to stay back and serve their own country! And then a true blue Indian will win a Nobel prize 🙂

Yeh jo des hai tera… Swades hai tera…
Tujhe hai pukaara…

Dussehra and my favorite character in Ramayana — September 28, 2009

Dussehra and my favorite character in Ramayana

Dussehra (or Vijayadashami) is a festival popularly celebrated all over India.

The story behind the festival goes like this. On this very day, Lord Rama killed Ravana to re-claim his wife Sita, who had been abducted by Ravana. This festival marks the victory of Goodness over Evil. On this day, people from all over India burn effigies of Ravana and conduct plays, popularly known as Raam Leela, which depict the entire story of how Rama fought the battle with Ravana and came back to his kingdom as a victorious king. Such plays are organised all over India. It is a must watch, if you havent seen any yet.

Speaking of Ramayana, it will be sacrilege if I do not mention my favorite character in the entire book: Devi Sita

Continue reading

The Glass Ceiling: How far have we got and what plans do we have of dealing with it? — September 16, 2009

The Glass Ceiling: How far have we got and what plans do we have of dealing with it?

A friend called up yesterday. She wanted to talk about something important. (Just for the info, she is a fresher and works for a highly reputed IT company with a sprawling campus in Pune). She started talking about how her team of 15 had just two women and how the entire team was biased towards men. So much so that, the team (the men folk) would do all the generally office time pass activities like planning for a lunch out or a tea session without so much as asking the two girls. What was even more surprising was that the Manager of the team was also party to all of this. If this was not enough, one guy in the team abused my friend over some silly issue, asking her to “Get out” of the cubicle. When this matter was taken to the manager, he laughed it off as a joke gone bad! 

This is not a one off incident of the kind of bias women folk have to go through in their companies.  I have worked in IT companies before and I could sense this all the time. Usually, the bias depends on the number of women in your team. If it is equally balanced, then in all probabilities, you will not have to face the brunt directly. But, if it is not, you will face this… either in subtle forms (like not being invited to team gatherings) or in more crude ones (like the one with my friend) or worse, cases of exploitation and sexual harrassment by office colleagues.

Now, I am sure while reading this, a lot of you will be nodding your heads – Gender bias is soo common in companies (I will be talking about companies in India here) that if you have not faced this on your own, you would have definitely known someone who did.

While, the number of women passing out of Engineering colleges is increasing at a good rate, the gender ratio is still around 80:20 in favour of men. Thus, the number of women who get into companies is another 60% of that. The remaining either settle down into marital bliss or go for higher studies. The number is 14% as opposed to 1% in 1970. So, things have obviously improved and with women like Lalita Gupte, Kalpana Morparia, Anu Aga, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Simone Tata paving the way, the future definitely looks brighter!

Despite all this, the sad reality is that… Even though we have come all this way, the road ahead is not easy! We have come a long way, but we have a longer way to go. The time to sit and listen to these stories, as if they were fables, is long gone. We now need to sit back and take charge of the situation in hand. The question we need to ask here is that

What is it that we can do to make things better?

  • Make sure that your company has a policy against “Sexual Harrassment”. If they do not, you should bring it to the notice of the HR and explain to them the importance of having a law abiding policy, which in turn, makes this a criminal offense.
  • Before joining a company, try to understand their take on women in the corporate world. If their thoughts do not match yours, there is no point working for them anyway!
  • If you happen to work in a team dominated by men, make sure your manager knows your take on gender bias. If, however, you get a feeling that he does not appreciate it, you can always take this up with his manager or the HR. Make sure, they know that you cant be messed with. (On a lighter note, the girls in the team can get together and invite themselves to whatever little gathering the guys may be having. They may find it awkward a few times, but then will slowly get used it :))
  • Apart from the things you can do in your office area, you can create awareness amongst the people you meet every day – like friends and family. Try and personally take up the onus of educating a destitute girl child. There is nothing more satisfying than playing a small part in shaping the career of someone.

These are the few things that I could come up with. What is your take on this? Have you faced the glass-ceiling before? If you have, what did you do to overcome it?

To end this on a positive note, I would sincerely urge all my readers to take this up as a personal thing – Please do not let any kind of injustice happen in front of your eyes. If you see someone being victimised or someone being the bully, make sure you make it known to the concerned authorities. If you dont do it, nobody else will. After all, it is only with a small step that we can hope to build a better world!

I would also like you to put down your own ideas on What can be done? At the end of this, I will make a consolidated list of all the points and put them up here for people to read. That ways everyone can benefit out of our collective knowledge.

Some good articles on the topic:

Breaking through the glass ceiling: Women in Management
Breaking the glass ceiling
Breaking the Glass Ceiling – Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools
Women still struggle to break through the glass ceiling

Turning Virtuality into Reality — September 14, 2009

Turning Virtuality into Reality

This is a topic that has been on my mind ever since I started blogging. But, it somehow always took a back seat. Uma’s post today truly made me want to write this piece.

The reasons internet became a sudden rage were very obvious: Information was no longer a rare commodity. It was available a click away. It appealed to all the masses because of the variety of things it had on offer.. There was a little some thing for every one. It was as if, internet had become a world of its own! People started calling it the virtual world. The virtual proximity people enjoyed was infectious.

You could chat with anyone in the world, without having to reveal your true identity or even show your real face/name. A certain amount of anonymity was associated with whatever you did on the internet. You could visit any site, do anything on the internet and no one would every know! (At least that is how it was back then when Internet was an infant)

All of this gave a certain sense of freedom to all and sundry. The introverted types could remain on the background and still make friends in the plethora of chat rooms! People started developing mixed personalities – people that they were in “real” life and what they wanted to be/were in the “virtual” world. It gave wings to the birds dying to fly out and explore the world. Something within them or around them prevented them from doing so in the real life… but in the virtual life, there was no stopping… no inhibitions whatsoever…

Continue reading

Who is beautiful? — July 15, 2008

Who is beautiful?

Did you know that 4 out of 5 American women say that they are dissatisfied with the way they look?

Beautiful is a term perenially associated with women! Women are “supposed” to be beautiful or else they feel incomplete and inadequate! No woman can ever be satisfied if she does not manage to garner enough male attention and well, to be able to do that, you have to look good! 😕

Cosmetics industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The reason? Very simple. They play with emotions. Emotions of women who already feel bad about the way they look. They would do just anything, ANYTHING to look good. Maybe its a need to be admired, to feel respected. Something tells these women that if they do not look good, they will neither be admired nor be respected. Which is so NOT TRUE!

My concern here is: Who decides what is beautiful? Is white skin beautiful or black? Is round face beautiful or square? Is a skinny body beautiful or curvy? Each woman has a different body type. And lets face it. Some women are just not meant to look skinny. But, this does not mean that they are not beautiful.

Someone once said

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder!

This doesnt seem to be true anymore. The eyes of the beholder have been smudged by the images of beauty as defined by the mass media and women’s magazines.

Not just women

To make matters worse, its not just women who are a victim of fashion and cosmetics. Men are beginning to become as vain as women when it comes to that perfect look, that perfect hair! The need to look good is no longer specific to women. Men are not behind. It wont be too long, before men start carrying men-purses (just to make it sound better) carrying their toners, cleansers and moisturisers! 😀 I was not too surprised to find many websites dedicated to skin care and hair care for men! 🙂

It may sound cliche, but its high time we start focussing on inner beauty more than outer beauty. Frankly, anyone can be painted and made to look good. It may need working on, but is definitely attainable. But, a good heart?? Well, that is something that is not so easy to get! 🙂

And you know whats funny? It is as easy to lose physical beauty as it is to gain one. But a good heart is there to last!

To conclude, it is extremely important to feel good about yourself. Do not get bogged down by the pressure the world builds on you. It is very important that you smile every time you look at yourself in the mirror 🙂 

So, just be happy and remain stress-free. That will give the kind of glow to your face that will put a thousand cosmetic creams to shame! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Book Review: A thousand splendid suns — May 4, 2008

Book Review: A thousand splendid suns

A thousand Splendid suns

A thousand splendid suns is the second novel of Khaled Hosseini. Two women, Laila and Mariam, with lives very different from each other are striving to survive in the soviet ruled Afghanistan. After the soviets are ousted, the Mujahideens start war amongst themselves, and the bad state of Afghanistan turns worse. There are firings killing innocent people. Its utter chaos all over.

Both these women have endured their share of misfortune in the dying state of Afghanistan. Its only when things seem to have gotten bad, they realise that there is more to happen yet. And thats when their paths cross in the most unusual of ways.

Mariam is a woman who has always been deprived of parental love and does not have children also. Her husband, Rasheed, is 30 yrs older to her and a tyrant. He doesnt let her do anything. Continue reading