Monday, March 31, 2008

Divorce and other things!


Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Friday, March 28, 2008

When money does not count.


This morning splashed across the pages of one of the National papers was the picture of a multi millionaire and his flamboyant lifestyle. The article mentioned how he had a fleet of mighty machines that included names like Triumph Rocket III, Harley Davidson, MV Augusta, A Carrera Porsche, Audi and Ferrari 612 Scaglietti apart from a few BMWs. The Media always highlights the lives of the ‘Rich and famous’, there being shows on television entirely devoted to prying into their lives.

It sets me thinking. Why are we wealth obsessed as a Society? Does more money equal more happiness? Right from our childhood we are brainwashed into believing that success is equal to wealth. When the management graduates finish their courses at the IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) the media screams about starting salaries that run into crores of rupees. The ultimate Indian middle class dream for their children, seems to be to get into an IIT—IIM that will ensure that ‘their lives are made’. The competition is intense (Each year more than 3 lakh of students compete with each other for about 3980 seats for the IIT Joint entrance exam and kids are pushed into preparing for it right from 9th grade.) Those who make it into these Institutes are the ‘Elite’ and the others are ‘Lesser mortals’.

Fast forward 20 years. Most of the young trainees are now ‘successful’ head honchos in large corporate houses, or have set up their own ventures and doing really well.(Doing well again being judged by the money that you make) Most of their lives revolve around work. Most of them have kids but no time to watch them grow. Travel is a part of the job, and most of the executives spend at least 15-20 days away from home, attending meetings in different countries. If the wives too are working, then the children are sent to crèches (really good crèches that provide a ‘homely atmosphere’ they proclaim.) or an army of maids take care of them. The parents justify it saying they are spending ‘quality time’ on weekends. (Personally I think ‘Quality time’ is a myth. The child when spotting a butterfly sipping nectar or a rainbow wants to share the moment right then. Later, when the parents are available, it is not important anymore.)

Most of the people in the high positions are lost without their work identity. Their work defines them. “I am Verma. I head Finance at XYZ Bank.” is how most introduce themselves. They forget who they really are. They have forgotten their hobbies long back. (If they play a sport, it is usually Golf or Squash—upwardly mobile, you see) They lead busy lives, network are seen at the right places at the right times and are ‘successful’.

At least 6 couples I know lead the above mentioned life and I know for a fact that out of the six, four of their wives cheat on them.(Who knows what the husbands must be doing—I only know about the wives and luckily none of them read my blog.) It is sad to see the way they have drifted apart—two people who were once in love, and dreamt of happily ever after, now living as strangers under the same roof, in the guise of being husband and wife. I had recently written an article for a National magazine and had interviewed a family counselor and a life skills coach who has more than 15 years of experience in the field. What he said left an impact on my mind—“There is only one main reason why families break down and that is lack of communication.” And then again when he said “In the 21st century the biggest epidemic is going to be loneliness and the only vaccination is a strong family bond.”

No matter how much money you make, nothing can replace the loving relationship you share with your spouse. Your children (and your spouse) will love you far more and you will have a meaningful relationship only if you spend that all important commodity—TIME WITH THEM. What is the use of all the fancy vacations and designer labels if you cannot connect with your family?

A good friend (who incidentally happens to be an IIT-IIM product) sent me this video that he really liked---and I loved it too.

Watch it—and tell me what you feel.( and hope you have a GREAT weekend--spending time with the ones you love!)

NOTE: This post DOES NOT draw any corelation between educational qualification and cheating.The point I am trying to make is that in pursuit of Wealth, we are spending less and less time with our families which lead to unhappy homes.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Age Miracle!

aging age old birthday
Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

When virtual became real--Pune Blog meet

There was a blog meet in my city on Saturday, 15th March organised by Indiblogger and Vineet Rajan.(I was meeting him and the Indiblogger team for the first time),sponsored by Microsoft.

There were some bloggers who had travelled all the way from Mumbai just for the meet. (I was so surprised to know that!)

There was a nice little skit about blogging ,getting comments and losing your readers. There was also a '1 minute of fame' and a 'jig' (where if a comment was read out from your blog, you had to do a jig) There were Pizzas too and a lot of conversation, bonhomie and laughter. For pictures and a better write up about it click here (and no--I havent just linked him because he said nice things about me!) and here :-) [ But hey--thanks Roshan.]

I was really impressed by this welcome video which was played. I think it managed to capture the essence of blogging---I'm sure you will like it too.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guppy love

Something wonderful happened last evening. The children and I witnessed a live birthing session. Now before you jump to conclusions and tick me off for exposing my children to too much too soon, let me hasten and clarify that it was our guppy that gave birth. For the ignoramuses guppies are beautiful fishes and one of the few fishes that are ‘live bearers’ which means that they do not lay eggs—but give birth to baby fish.

The excitement was palpable. After all the last time it had happened was more than two years ago and everyone knows what short term memories children have—two days are like twenty years in the life of a child! For a child there is no tomorrow—it is now and this very instant.

It was fascinating to watch her as she lay her babies. (I have posted an video here that I found on you tube. This is exactly how it happened) The process continued for more than 4 hours, by which time S too had come home and joined the fun. I had set up the aquarium only a few days back, just before S left for UK. Animals and any form of life has always fascinated me and I think having pets are really healthy for a child’s emotional development and also for developing values like responsibility, empathy, kindness, understanding, love and acceptance of loss. I have grown up with animals and have wanted the same for my children. (Just before we moved to this place we had hamsters and I have blogged about it here. We’ve also had kittens, rescued doves, puppies and even a bat! Any place I move to, I always find out the phone numbers of the animal shelters after the essentials have been taken care of. )

Anyway, to come back to my story, the babies have to be separated to prevent the adult fishes from eating them up. The Males seem to be more heartless than the females. Three of the babies got eaten up. Three we managed to transfer into another container. There are at least four more and they are hiding in the java moss. (A water plant that I have in my aquarium) They seem to be quick and agile and are managing to hide well, and also evading the net when I try to catch them. So I’m sure they will take care of themselves.

Many parents want pets for their children—but practical considerations like space, taking care of them and other pressures of modern living make them postpone it. If you are thinking of setting up an aquarium(Even if you don’t have kids and are living by yourself.)keeping fishes can be a great hobby. It is not too difficult to set up one and it is not very expensive either. Despite what the sites say, all you need is a good water filter cum aerator, a net, water, a few water plants, a few fishes (I am partial to guppies and mollies) and an inclination and some time to care for them.

The rewards are many. The Joy is endless. What most people say is right-- watching fishes does relive your stress levels.

And when they have babies it gets even better! It convinces you that life truly is beautiful.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's not about the bike!

Finally, long at last, the self imposed exile is over, and I have emerged, determined now, to post at least twice a week.(Thrice is what I have in mind—but I am commitment-phobic –and as it is I am getting the jeebies committing to twice a week---so ‘twice a week’ shall stand!) Anything over and above is the cherry on the cake.

Last week was crazy. I am glad it is over. Nothing earth shattering—just the pressures of daily living, catching up. The good news is that I’m writing regularly for local newspapers and national magazines and it is very fulfilling to be read by many.(Though I suspect most might not even glance at something that does not interest them and the newspaper with my precious article ends up in the junk pile at the end of the day!) Still, it feels good to know that what I have to say is considered worthy of publication. (and also when someone calls up telling me they liked what I wrote)

My last article published was on city-bikers. (I clicked the photos that are appearing in the article too —and am happy with the way they turned out. That is a picture of the published article. In case you want to read--I have put two separate close ups.You can click and enlarge.) On this particular assignment, I had taken my kids along because it was a chance for them to see these bikes closely and also meet the bikers. They behaved so well and I was proud of them. They also liked their mom’s work and said it was ‘cool’. (I reminded them that for one of my assignments I had trudged three hours into slums, narrow lanes and tiny alleys to do a piece on the children from the poorest section of the society—and so it is not always about glamour and it isn’t always ‘cool’ stuff)

It was great to talk to and interact with the bikers. What really astounded me was their humility and simplicity. They are so down to earth, with feet firmly on the ground. They don’t boast or show off and when I asked them about the ‘coolness’ factor in wowing women with their super-bikes, they simply said “Women are so much smarter than to be impressed by just a guy on a bike who goes vroom vroom.” I couldn’t stop smiling.

Especially because in a few years, my son will be old enough to go vroom vroom. (And secretly I am hoping that he turns out to be as sensible as these guys I spoke to.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Stressed is desserts spelled backwards!

Right now I am having such a difficult time (add to that, S is travelling and i'm missing him like crazy) that I just had to remind myself of this piece I wrote some time back: It helps me to remember that this too shall pass.
(And right now, things are so horrible that I'll do anything to have a BAD day! Not kidding!)

Have a nice day!

On a good day, there are more things ( like story books, parts of toys, bits of craft material, colouring books, crayons, markers with caps off and caps with markers off) scattered across my bed room floor, than landmines in a battlefield in world war two. On a bad day, let’s just say I have an intense longing to have powers like Moses, who parted the sea.

On a good day, I organize a ‘Lets-see-who-collects-the-maximum-things- in- one- minute’ contest with enthusiastic participation, from husband and two kids, the prize being that the winner gets to sleep with me. (Husband wins on most good days-- He says the prize is irresistible!)

On a bad day, I organize my vocal chords and yell. Real loud. It always works, the fringe benefit being that, since I am grumpy and in a bad mood, I get to sleep by myself, in the six by six bed. I simply love fringe benefits!

On a good day I drag myself out of bed, after hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock, at least thrice trying ineptly to keep my eyes open, light the stove and make coffee all at the same time. On a bad day, the kids drag me out of bed with rhythmic chants of “Wake up Ma—we will be late- Wake up Ma----It’s already eight.”

On a good day, the kids have at least three serious fights in a span of forty five minutes, before getting ready for school, punctuated liberally with yells of “MOM—HE is killing me—Come quick” to “MOM—SHE started it—She bit me first. If you don’t do something I’ll call the Police”

On a bad day, it is the husband and I who fight. We don’t yell –but the silent, cold war with hostilities cleverly disguised, gritted teeth, fake sweetness, dripping sarcasm and veiled digs cannot be missed.

On a good day, the tie and identity card which has to be worn to school, is found after a fifteen minute search expedition that involves maid, granny and a hassled dad and even more harassed mom, searching frantically in all places, especially inside the washing machine.

On a bad day, it is found after a half hour search and a forced confession extracted from one of the kids that they actually hid the other child’s tie, after a fight referred to on a bad day. (On a really bad day, we find it after we have filled up a form and paid the fine at school for losing it)

On a good day, I get to read the newspaper at 10:30 am, after everyone has left. On a bad day, I discover that the newspaper has been used to wrap a school project that has to be turned in, and I discover this after I have looked in every possible place that it could be, including under the mattress, just in case the kids remembered my yelling from the bad day.

On a good day I always remind myself that there are days which can be worse. On a bad day, I am reminded what Charlene Ann Baumbich said, “Mama said there’d be days like this—but she didn’t say how many!”

I’m thankful for the good days. I’m thankful for the bad days too. It means that I am well and healthy. I don’t have any serious ailments to worry about. I have a happy family and a cozy home. Besides, I can always have a great haircut on a bad day. My hairdresser tells me she styles it best, when it is standing up! (Didn’t I say I love fringe benefits?!)

So, you see, it is all a matter of perspective and when people tell me “Have a nice day!” I smile because I know either ways I will!

© Ps