Work at Home Income Stream

writing-for-work-at-home-momMore and more people are considering work at home jobs quite seriously. The reason for this is that people know that a side income stream is always helpful due to the cost of living rising everyday. There are many different kinds of work from home jobs and businesses. You can take this option seriously because it has its own benefits. Here are a few benefits that work at home job serves:

You can spend time with your family. When you do work from home, you can concentrate on the activities and studies of your children. You can also take up domestic chores with convenience.

You are your own boss and you don’t have to work for anyone. This is the best thing. You will face least tensions and stress because you will decide your on deadlines and work pattern.

Now, since there is less cost involved, there will be better profit margin. You can earn unlimited because, there is no fixed salary or any fixed schedule. If you want you can start your work at night and finish till day or anything you want. Earn unlimited with work at home opportunities and see where you will reach. Many people are successfully doing this.

Fun-filled parenting

mom childFUN FILLED PARENTING

Flowers, butterflies, birds, puppies, there are so many things in nature that give us joy in various forms. The beauty of all these together are rolled into one amazing creation of God – the child. They are bundles of joy, innocence, cuteness, chirpiness, curiosity …the list can go on. Their innocent laughter, their playfulness are all simply   intoxicating. The more we bond with the children, the more we fall in love with their world.

Surprisingly, even a five-six year old can be like a friend. In our years of planning and pursuing our careers, our childhood instincts retreat backwards and backwards, till it gets fully covered by adult complexities. It gets forgotten, but it’s not lost. With the birth of children, followed by their childish acts, we are once again reminded of our childhood days. Bringing up kids is certainly a big responsibility, but a fun filled one.

Generally kids up to the age of four years do not develop camaraderie to play and share with children of their own age group. We may keep telling them, ‘share your things’, ‘play with others’, etc. Even if they oblige, it is difficult for them to give their valuable possessions to others. Two to four years age is the time when children want all attention to themselves. Therefore they enjoy playing with elders, rather than someone of their age.

So, if in the evening our child wants to go cycling, but we want him to play with other children so that we can have our routine evening walk, there is a very good option. We can both go together. Let the child cycle, while we walk. To catch up with his cycling speed we will have to walk fast or even run. Isn’t it a good exercise? It is fun for the kids too, as he races with the parent on his cycle. With such walking-cycling routine, instinctively we tend to teach them traffic rules. Don’t speed, keep to your left, slow down at speed breakers, do not stop on the middle of the road, look both sides before crossing, etc. By the time he grows and wants to cycle independently, he already knows what is safe for him.

If the child wants to play badminton or football or cricket……., fine! We cannot expect other children of 4-5 years age to have the patience of taking 99% faulty bowling or service. So why not play ourselves? Not only are we teaching them a new game this way (lots of patience required), but our own body gets exercised too. With the ball\shuttlecock going in every direction except yours, you have to run, jump, bend forward, backward, and on all possible sides. No part of the body remains un-exercised. Is there then any need of a separate exercise regime?

Often parents complain about the holiday projects, charts, models, etc. Okay, a K.G. class student cannot make a Janmashtami chart! But if we are collecting, cutting, pasting and decorating the chart, with the child observing everything, he is bound to ask questions about the pictures on the chart. There’s a huge difference between, simply putting a ready-made chart in front of him and making one with the child’s participation. Young children cannot make the model, but they enjoy the procedure of making it. Gradually there interest develops, due to the interest shown by parents and they begin trying themselves. When they observe parents build a model by trial and error method, following certain procedures, analyzing the whys and hows, their own analytical skills too develop.

It is very natural for kids to want to do what we are doing. If we are sowing seeds or weeding, they will demand the ‘khurpi’. Give them a spare khurpi and some seeds. Its not that he will learn only about germination. He will actually sow only one or two seeds and then run after a butterfly or a ladybug. So while we are gardening (of course, with the little gardener’s help), the child is learning to appreciate nature with all the varieties of flowers, leaves, birds, butterflies and insects.

There are many such fun ways to teach and learn. They know that their favorite cartoon programme is at 7:00 P.M. When they ask the time, tell them, “when the short hand of the clock is on 7 and the longer one on 12, it will be 7 o’clock. And when the short hand is on 7 and the longer hand on 6, it is 7:30.”When you need to talk to your spouse on phone, ask the child to dial and talk from your phone, before you talk. This way he will learn his parent’s phone numbers. When it’s raining and you cannot go out and play, sit with the child in the balcony and observe the clouds and rain. Show her the different shapes of clouds. While looking for shapes, she will also observe the direction of the movement of the clouds, the various types, rain bearing black clouds, lighter white clouds, etc. Let the children splash, have a paper boat race, observe snails and frogs.

No extra effort is required to bond with a child. We just have to laugh and play with him. At times we ourselves will be surprised at the way we laughed and shouted like children, without any inhibitions, when playing with them. Parenting is funny and relaxing at the same time. So go ahead, enjoy your moment with your little buddy!

Kedarnath

uttranchal-gangotriKedarnath and Jaisalmer are my favorites. One is all green and the other golden yellow. In this post I’ll write about my Kedarnath visit’s experiences.

Even if you are not a very religious type of person, do visit places like Amarnath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Jamunetri. The tougher the mountain the more beautiful it is.

I am myself not a very religious person, but I do believe in God. And a visit to Kedarnath reaffirmed my belief in His presence. It’s a totally different world from what it is where we live. It’s simply heaven up there.  Kedarnath is a 14 km. climb, which can be done either by foot or pony. The beauty of nature begins unraveling right from Rishikesh, from where the drive starts till Joshimath. As you drive through the mountains and green valleys, if you are lucky you can also spot herds of elephants in their natural habitat. There is divine silence and peace all around. The calmness and the beauty appear to seep through every pore of our body and soul. As we drove towards Kedarnath, Alaknanda and other rivers were flowing with us. The place where three rivers meet, flowing (rather dancing I would say) through the mountains is simply breathtaking. As we go higher there are mountains on all sides and gradually the snow clad peaks appear shining with an orange tint under the sun. Half mountain is dark and the other half is shining. It felt as if I was surrounded by humble, strong giants. They are so huge & great, yet they are so peaceful. Huge mountains on all sides, is truly a very humbling experience. More so when you witness the remains of some avalanche which might have occurred just a few days ago. The trail that it leaves on the otherwise green mountain and the rocks lying on the road reveals the fury of the calm, silent mountains. Often the chilling roar of an avalanche happening on some other mountain is also heard. We also witnessed houses destructed by a recent earthquake in Rudraprayag.

We halted at a place to spend a night (the place, where according to fables, Shiv-Parvati got married. The Agni kund (for the pheras) is always kept lit.). I have forgotten the name of the place, but I’ll never forget the hospitality we received from the caretaker of the simple two room lodge we stayed in. You know why? Actually we ordered dinner and thought, the caretaker would bring it to our room. But instead he offered to host us at his own one room home. The reason? It’s so cold outside; the food will get cold as soon as he steps out. Avery simple dinner it was, just rice, chapatti, dal and aaloo ki sabzi (no other vegetable is available at that altitude). We ate sitting on the floor in the warmth of the stove. The caretaker offered chapattis direct from the flame and chatted with us. Never before have had I felt so much warmth and comfort in a stranger’s house. Later as we proceeded on our journey, I found that the Garhwalis are all a very simple-hearted community. Maybe the mountain life of beauty, peace and danger & hardships, all together make them humble. They are closer to nature and life. Whereas we have lost track of our true nature & have become strangers to ourselves in the lap of luxury.

Through all these we reached Joshimath. From here we started climbing on pony, crossing waterfalls passing through our path. The weather is most unpredictable on high mountains. One moment the sun shines brightly and the next moment it’s raining. So we had to be in our waterproofs all the time. The best thing is, there are no food stalls on the way except when we reached half the total distance. Nature is untouched there. The actual temple is certainly there but I found many Shivalinga shaped peaks. As if the almighty was all around me, appearing in many beautiful forms. I really felt His presence everywhere.

After Kedarnath we went to a less traveled mountain, Tunganath. Although distance wise Tunganath peak is only 6 km., but because it is very steep, the climb is almost equal to the 14 km of Kedarnath. Because of the steepness the climb is difficult, therefore our parents didn’t climb. This place is a bit out of the way and difficult. Therefore less people go there. As a result the natural beauty is in its original form, untouched by human greed and carelessness. There were wild flowers and vast green natural lawns. As we reached higher, a view I’ll never forget was that of a white eagle flying in circles  in the valley below, with mountain peaks all around. Our ears were aching as we climbed higher and we were getting so tired, every single step was becoming an effort. Although we had almost reached the peak and even the temple was now visible, we were totally exhausted. We decided to rest for a while. Just then a sanyasi standing by the temple shouted- Bum Bhole! I don’t know what happened, we looked up, smiled and on climbing again till we reached the temple. The sanyasi must have guessed we were too tired to climb anymore.

When we were climbing down and almost covered halfway it started raining. As it is the risk of slipping was there when going down, rain made the path more dangerous. We sped up very cautiously. The thunder and lightning up there was frightening. Our parents were worried. So were we. Praying to God and shivering in the cold we did manage to reach down on time, before the rain became heavy. That was a real experience of the mountains. Beautiful, dangerous, awe-inspiring!

Lastly, an advice. Don’t wait for old age, as most people do for pilgrimage. Climbing needs stamina. The younger you are, the more you can enjoy. But visit you must!

Know about Paid Surveys

paid surveysPaid surveys have become an important way of earning some pennies side by side your job. But, many people have had bad experiences too. Paid survey must be done but only after you are assured that the website hosing this paid survey program is genuine and will pay you. Some websites pay money while some give gifts and vouchers. Whatever it is, it’s a good thing that just for giving your views and opinions you will get something. Many work from home moms take advantage of this reward system of paid surveys.

Paid surveys are basically for the purpose of research. Whenever a company wants top launch a new product or wants to know the market available for any particular product, it wants to take up research. Only then the product will be floated in the market. With survey the company will be able to find out the customer’s expectations, demands and needs. That’s the reason why paid surveys are genuine if it comes from a market research company.

Of course, you can’t expect lots of money, but this mode of work can definitely ensure some side income or some pennies. Paid surveys can be done by anyone who wants to earn some side income.

Pepper Spray Point

Crowded-Bus-1A ride in the public bus, thickly packed, made me find 2-3 prospective rapists and eve-teasers. Comfortably perched on my back seat, I could make out what’s going on at a distance towards the front of the bus and also towards my side at the back. It’s strange the sort of people you share your journey with.

A journey is almost always associated with destination and change, well in today’s times for a woman, a journey is of self preservation, preserving and protecting her body. So as I saw a potential rapist doing what he does best, I couldn’t help but notice the victim doing what is worse, cringing in fear. Now, fear is a very potent emotion, victims fight back when cornered.  So by the intensity of fear and disgust coursing through the victim’s face, she had to break at least a few of his bones. But all she did was cringe and try to dissolve in the fat crowd around her. For some reason my sympathies evaporated into disgust.

Well, I didn’t expect her to fly in the air and kick the life out of that culprit; the least she could have done is shout. Most of the time that would have done the trick. Or better yet, she could have used pepper spray, something every woman ought to have along with her wallet and mobile phone. Hailing from a small town, I relied on my very popular ‘freeze’ look for self protection. But somehow, I always walked off like I had to do something other than just retorting. So when my friend gifted me pepper spray, just for the fun of it, I immediately made it into my funky accessory. My handbag was more than happy to have it. Walking around with it was like walking around with a loaded machine gun that no one could see. The security and confidence that it bought is indescribable.

Our roads have become pepper spray points, perhaps many won’t agree with me. But that’s ok. The very fact that today the outside world is no longer secure for women is all that I mean. Its time we stopped merely retorting verbally, a stinging retort will go all the way down in the memory line to never be forgotten. Hence we need to stack such self protection technique that would do the talking by itself. We must also educate the young girls of having such measures observed since we don’t know, whom we might run into and what might happen.

Autobiography of an ex-Nun: A book-review

Jesme book

The title of the book is deceptive; it’s ‘AMEN’, and it sounds nice and pious. Then you notice from the first line of the title that this book, which is from the Penguin stables, is ‘The Autobiography of a Nun’, but of someone who is no longer a Nun.

I guess I have your interest now. Then let me hook you further; this autobiography is a ‘taboo-breaking nun’s story, devastatingly honest, grippingly direct, and a remarkable read’ opines a famous writer..

Amen is the autobiography of Sister Jesme, who was not your door-mat ordinary type of nun; she was not a mere member of the Catholic Church who had opted to serve humanity, but a respected teacher as well and later on the Principal of a prominent college in Kerala. She remained in the holy garb for thirty-three years, but finally left the congregation when she found that the authorities were trying to declare her insane. The result was this book which tries to compress 33 years of convent-life into 180 pages of explosive material.

The content of the book is certainly volatile, and refers to the corruption and sexual excesses of some of the ordained dignitaries within the church. But the teacher claims her aim is only the reformation of the church by exposing these nefarious activities which should not be present in any holy place. She has opted to live outside the four walls of the convent now, but continues to live like a Nun.

The book has predictably created a lot of rumpus. It has been read with a range of emotions from anxiety, earnestness, curiosity, and appall. Consequently, the unusual autobiography has gone on to sell several editions, and become a best seller in the first language it was written, which is Malayalam.

Penguin then took on the English version, which is by Sister Jesme herself. I cannot vouch for the literary value of the book; the expectations that were raised have not been certainly fulfilled. In spite of the hype, the tone used by Sister Jesme is true to her training, and she is being quite restrained in her revelations. Penguin has not bothered too much with the edits either, the book is quite raw in its presentation. I was slightly put off by the tense used in the narration; it is present tense throughout. Perhaps Penguin hopes to bank on the shock-value for the sales.

Nevertheless, Sister Jesme’s odyssey through life is well-paced, and reads smooth. The book is priced at Rs.225/.

I am a Student of my students

teacher-students“Having a child does not make one a parent”. In such a way,  “having a pupil or a student does not make one a teacher” a dedicated educator should say. It does not follow that you are called to be a” teacher”  because you handle students. You may wonder why. Well, becoming a teacher does not end of getting a bachelor degree in education and having been passed the licensure exam. The crucial tasks begin when you start teaching and coming in to each classroom.

When I was a new teacher, I taught high school students. All I knew about teaching then was to prepare lesson plans and give a student a passing or a failing mark. I didn’t realize that teaching does not end only there. My administrator always reminded me that teaching is shaping the holistic being of a child. You may have realized your objectives for that day but the very striking questions that she would throw me,……..Did your students learn from you? Did they become better persons every time you were there as a teacher? Though I did not understand what she was talking about, yet those questions continuously engulfing into my conscience that little by little it made me opened my eyes as I went on my teaching.

It was until I had given a chance to teach in the primary or elementary grade that I realized how important it is to be a teacher. Especially that I am teaching grade one students. Your values as a teacher are really crucial in the lives of every student. I am so watchful of my behavior in such a way I must show the good points and values in order for these little pupils to emulate. The way you behave as a teacher may play a great role in making or breaking the values of the students. Many would say it is easy to handle them because they are still young. But, nothing is more dangerous than leading these young students to a breaking situation that they may grow into a person with less sensitivity and values for others and for themselves. That is one thing I must not allow to happen because if I would be the cause of their breaking and influencing them to be an undesirable citizen then I should leave the most delicate profession in life- TEACHING.

Moreover, it is such a joy to be with them. Teaching them not only the basic academics but most importantly molding them to become  better persons. One of my principles as a teacher and educator is that no matter how intelligent you are, you may have achieved the best education in life, you may have gathered all the honors of this world yet you have less values as a person, everything is a scrap. On the other hand, I learned so much from my students. Their little voices, their being innocently straight forward in expressing themselves, their little happiness are just gift everyday that I collect from them. Making me understand them better and inspired me to put  more my effort in developing them not only to be bright individuals but most of all to be valuable students.  They never knew I am also their student. They never knew that my students also mould me everyday.

I hope to give inspiration to all teachers in all corners of this world that they may start teaching and touching lives rather than complying only what is required by the daily academic lessons being prepared. Academics is really important because it hones their skills yet good values and virtues should not be sacrificed.

Are you a teacher? You should realize that having only students do not make you a teacher.

Time , the future currency ?

CB033838Many of us have often said how time flies . “ Time is money” is an old phrase and  time management, spending quality time with kids  have been cliche  phases of the past few decades.   Is concept of time changing  in our everyday life?

We are surrounded by numerous clocks day and night. From body clock to each of our gadgets like cell phone, Black berry, TV,  CD players, cars, radios, to  wall clocks, wrist watches.  Our endeavor with help of  so many clocks each day is to manage our 24 hours.  Distance between Bombay to Frankfurt is now measured as 8 hours flight not so many kilometres.   Kids school bags contain pack of chips or cookies that lasts for his journey time from school back home of 45 minutes.  Do it in a Jiffy (1/100’th of the second)  is a common term in many advertisements today.  Gyms talk about workout of 45 minutes and not 500 calories. If you read one of the popular books don’t lose your mind , loose weight, she recommends eating at intervals of each 2 to 2.5 hours.  Maggie 2 minutes is still  favorites of mothers /kids

Time has always been an important dimension, but I think it has  become  as important as  currency.   Most consumers are willing to spend money to save time.

Bonus and penalties in IT services contract (which is money) talks about meeting slas, that is ability to turn around a request in defined minutes.  They talk of 5 9’s uptime, which again means computers have to be up almost all the time.  ATM network that allows convenience of drawing money anytime / any where and  mobile network connecting the remote villages  (which is actually reducing distance between markets and products or cities and villages) have been two most amazing and impactful changes in India of this decade. It is not a  co-incidence that both of them are about saving time to get convenience……………..

I think soon time will no more be  source of stress  and pressure, but it will be a  currency at our hands.

Like cloud computing or grid  computing  which talks about using all available computer resources conveniently, there may be time machine, or barter system which will allow us give some of our time and get some thing 🙂

Does ‘Work Life Balance’ really exist?

work-life-balanceMost of us often end up treating our work life as the core of our existence, till the time we get married and have to shoulder extra responsibilities; besides just work. Work can often get so stressful, time consuming and it hardly leaves any time for us to take care of our family life. Often in the tryst to balance our work and family we end up mixing the two. You would be shocked to know that there are many ways in which you can get the best of both worlds.

If you have to conduct a survey and assess what is the most common problem people face while working; 90% of these if not more would say that they find it tough to maintain a work-life balance. You might have to take care of a sick child at home or have to pick up your parents from the station; hence you would end up leaving work. One person missing from work; would mean the others would have to compensate for the person. Being a responsible member of a family; you might want to leave work behind and attend to your urgent family matters. This though shouldn’t always be the case.

If both your spouse and you are working; then the best way to attend to things is by dividing work. You should also designate some important task to an important person; besides the two of you. This person can be your friend, relative, or even a paid help. Whoever you select; you should be sure that this individual doesn’t has a lot on their platter.

You wouldn’t realise that giving the required attention at work wouldn’t be as difficult as you might think it is. People have to face lots of long work hours, deadlines, work stress and they end up getting their work home. Work somehow ends up reaching home, whether you want or not. Even if you don’t bring work home; your work is so stressful that you end up getting work related stress home. You should try and take your mind off from work when you reach home; which of course isn’t as difficult as it seems.

The continuous and stressful hours you spend at work; might make it a little difficult for you to take out quality time for your family. To ensure there is enough communication flow among your family members; you should keep specific tasks for different weeknights. You might have family dinner, movie, and game night; this way you would end up spending quality time with your family. Try and keep your dinner time as family time and you shouldn’t eat while playing a game, or watching a movie.

You would be successful in your family and work life when you dedicate your weekdays for work and your weekends and nights for your family.

Health Club & Women

health club womenWeight loss has become a huge priority in today’s times. For both women and men, it is a day starter and weighing ourselves has become like a weekly examination. We keep ourselves at gun point on the weighing scales. In reality though women are more health as well as body conscious than men, they keep themselves aside from their knowledge and put it in for the better care of their family. No wonder, we have specific health drinks for women alone available in the market. The logo of one popular brand also says that women have to take care of themselves if they need to keep up on their multitasking. The markets are evolving to target female health alone and this strategy further validates how far actually women are from taking care of their health.

Women in cities have a more easy way out though their priorities and problems are no different than those women from a small town. But the difference is in the availability of facilities. A city provides health care facilities far more superior than those in a small town. My town’s primary health resort is a park which people have transformed into a jogger’s park. The availability of health clubs are indeed scarce in small towns. Further more,women subscribing to health clubs are indeed very low since there is also something called social taboo associated with it.  So the health clubs in small towns are primarily for males and if at all they accommodate women it is  in spare time. There won’t be any fitness trainer or any prescribed modules for the females to follow. Can’t actually blame the club also, compared to the male customers, the females are very very small in number and hence appointing a female instructor for only a few females is not profitable. The question, why only a few females can only be best answered by the society.

My small town health club runs because of the male customers and the management has been kind enough to let a few females use it in the spare time. There are only about 10 females and there is a strange sort of companionship amidst these 10. Most of them are overweight housewives, desperate and looking up to the few young working single women. Each of these women have taken up the role of fitness instructor, encouraging advising and consoling their friends. The club provides a whole new world for the housewives and they who have lost touch with their own beautiful selves have started to reconnect and realize what beauty and body means. Most of them saw their body as an equipment alone to serve their family and that is what has led them into obesity. But with the help of the youngsters and then again they themselves shouldering each other, they are on the road to better care. The youngsters are provided with care and concern by  these wonderful females. They teach the need to love one’s body, a lesson they themselves are learning the hard way. Who else can give a better lesson on love than women who do it everyday?

Thus, health clubs work as a moral boost for females when it comes to fitness. It is akin to girls working out together, friends always pull each other up, by a kick in the butt or pat on the back. Small town females are in dire need for such establishments, a place where they can unwind in front of perfect strangers.

Tensions-No No

try on lifeYou have one life,

You have one birth.

For the first and the last time,

You are on this earth.

So, be cheerful!

Live life to the fullest.

Don’t be angry on small things,

Try to be the coolest.

Every moment is important,

How can you be so extravagant?

And spend your time uselessly,

By looking at others angrily.

Try to change yourself,

Don’t expect others to change,

Because only you are of your type.

People are of different range!

Why does future bother you?

Only the present is true,

Be happy today, be happy today,

Can’t be happy after this moment has flown.

Thank You All !!!

helping_handDuring my spare time, it is my favourite activity to search the web for inspiring stories. Many of the stories are not the work of fiction, but have seen the day as a result of heart rending experiences of the concerned individuals. Many a time these stories also act as an eye opener. The other day one such story titled “Don’t we all!” caught my attention.
One person was waiting for his wife to finish her shopping. He was tenderly wiping his big, shining sports car with a cloth. A man in ragged clothes came there and said,” Beautiful car!” The man was flattered. But at the same time, he also felt very superior to that other man.
He kept on wiping his car. The person in the ragged clothes sat there on a stone watching the man and his car. The man with the car expected the other man to ask for alms. Nothing of the sort happened. After a while, the man with car asked the other one,” Do you need any help?” The man in the ragged clothes replied, ”DON’T WE ALL!”
What an answer! Most of us think ourselves very superior by virtue of our birth, social standing, riches and many more such things. We also take pride in the fact that we do not seek help of any one. People very proudly boast that they are self made. Is it entirely true?
Self made or otherwise we all seek help continuously from someone or other. Our survival depends on so many factors beyond our control. Knowingly or unknowingly we seek and get help from infinite number of animate as well inanimate objects.
In my childhood I was told one story. A little boy is asked to run errands for his mother. He submits a bill for doing that work. His mother just smiles and gives him one chit of paper. On that piece of paper various items are written like, feeding the boy, washing his clothes, nursing him through illness and many more such duties performed by the mother. For all the items the fee charged is nothing and at the end the mother had written – repaid with love!
The problem of the modern era is translating everything in terms of material objects. Help is also looked from the angle of money. But, there is certain type of help which can never be translated into matter. We walk on a road. The road is the culmination of hard work and toil of many workers whose sweat got translated into a smooth and shining street. It is a truth that they got paid for that, but is the price of their sweat only a few bucks?
What about the shadow we get under a tree? The tree is planted by someone who expected nothing in exchange of that gesture. Are we not seeking help from that tree to enjoy the cool and soothing atmosphere?
Our ancestors had realized this aspect very well. That is why we have so many festivals which are a sort of thanksgiving to many beings in the nature. It is a different matter that we have modified these festivals to suit our lifestyles and forgotten the real meaning behind it. The festival of holi is a typical example of this. The festival which was meant for eradicating the bad things, burning the useless items is in turn used for creation of many evil customs. The story “Don’t we all!” made me think about many such things and then I realized one thing – the most…. Needing help from another human being is that which makes him or her realize her inner self. And the most important aspect in the whole process is realization of the help received by us. The biggest help in our lives – each breath – breathed by the courtesy of the Almighty!!

A Poem To Ponder For Every Family In This World

I was mesmerized with the poem “If I Had To Raise My Child All Over Again”  that really appealed to my heart and mind. I am not a parent, yet I wish that every family in this world  read this beautifully-crafted poem and realize how crucial and essential it is to raise a child and become the person that he should be. As I have noticed, values pertaining to my country have also been deteriorating. Most people are busy concentrating on the material gain. Hearts are full of dishonesty. I believe that parents have a great role in leading and bringing up each child to become  the best that they can be. That parents need to think of  spending more time to lay down a strong foundation of values to each heart and mind of the child. If I may share this poem with you…………. Heartily and humbly it is not mine, yet how I wish to share it with everyone, especially the parents of this world.

parenting

If I Had To Raise A Child All Over Again

by Dianne Loomans

If I had my child to raise all over again,

I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.

I would do less correcting and more connecting.

I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less and and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.

I’d stop playing serious and seriously play.

I would run through my fields and gaze at more stars.

I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.

I would be firm less often, and affirm much more,

I’d teach less about the love of power,

And more about the power of love.

I hope to inspire every mother and father whose purpose is to make every family a blessing by molding a child to be better person.

This little voice of mine may reach soundly and loudly to every heart of a person.

Happy reading to all of you.

Peace in the Valley

Behind those shattered window panes

Amidst those dingy; sullen lanes

Though smiles still dwell on helpless faces

Hearts have a different story to tell….

As they speak, voices quiver,

The cold winters these days don’t make them shiver

What echoes in their heart-

Are the painful memories of hatred and war.

kashmir1The once illuminated house boats

Sway by the lakeside; broke

Roots of the tall fir trees

Are shaken

Hopes in twinkling eyes

Are broken

In this rich land of Orchards

and Saffron.

Too many trespassers

Too many false promises

Today they are asked

To exercise their choices.

“Where do you all want to go” they ask.

Is this a question to ask?

Of course they won’t go anywhere-

It is about roots; it is about life

It is about freedom

And it is about “Waiting”…..

They smile as they wait with open arms

For that one bright day—-

They long to hear the sound of flowing streams

Far from the devastating nightmares

They long for peace to surround the Valley

And for peace to prevail in their hearts.

But till then—-

It is everything but peace…..

The dark side of Social Networking !!

friendsSocial networking has become an integral part of our everyday lives.  With the enormously increasing number of children & youth being exposed to the internet off late, social networking sites like orkut, facebook & myspace have become profoundly popular. Though these sites need people to be more than 18 years to sign up, it’s just a trivial norm which fails to work practically. Young children are getting addicted to these social networking sites which isn’t a good sign. Children as young as 10 yrs are hooked to the computer screen f0r hrs. Internet can be extremely useful to children as it opens up a huge realm of information and connects the entire world but if not used in the right way, it proves to be a curse exposing children to illicit and disturbing content. Social networking is like entering into a virtual world where one is completely a diff person.

Unlike the real world, one is judged not by appearance or character but by his profile picture, his friends and other personal details. This attracts many and they build a pseudo world of friends, acquaintances and relatives. Social networking sites can be useful when utilized in the appropriate way.  People with similar interests can interact with each other and share ideas which greatly helps both the interacting parties. And there are several communities which unite old schoolmates or long lost friends. The good things end here. And the list of bad things is endless. According to me, spending hours and hours of time in social networking sites is not what today’s youth should be doing. The youth of today should go out, mingle with people, share views, discuss ideas, work together and make the world a better place to live.
Sticking your nose to a computer screen for hours showing off your latest party pics or your new gucci bag will gain you nothing more than a few ah’s and wow’s. This will take you nowhere.

Cups full of nostalgia

chai in kulladThe steam, the aroma, the taste—all summon. Remember all those hot cups of tea we enjoyed during our nostalgic college days? As if an era just passed by stealthily, but it left behind that mesmerizing taste, lingering around some corner of our irresistible taste buds, along with some refreshing memories, just like that hot cup of tea we all savored during those mystical youthful days.

The nukkad on the road had some really visitable restaurants, but feet used to drag knowingly or unknowingly to just that one Tea Stall located in some insignificant corner, canopied by some shaded trees, where the whole college used to be buzzing during their lecture break.

Even today, if I’m given a choice whether I would like to have an expensive cup of Mint tea or Green tea in some peppy cafe, or creep around that one tea stall, you bet I’d opt for the latter. Tea is going to be Tea after all, but the enriching experience is what stays on.

Come monsoons and winters– the tea stall owner used to generously mix a dash of ginger in the tea and serve…….And voila! Every sip used to do its magical bit to beat away all the stress associated with college studies/ completions/ assignments/ lectures/ exams tension et al. It all used to just come on you—the taste and the experience.

Two- three cups down in your system, and you’re back to your classroom, all set to take whatever that was to follow…whatever that you were fated to receive!

A quick visit a couple of months back to that very Tea Joint was sufficient enough to bring back those fond memories—and the best part is that nothing had changed—neither the stall, nor the location, nor the sleepy headed shade of trees under which is still canopied that insignificant yet so very popular tea joint, of which, we during college days were so fascinated by.

And the most enthralling part of this nostalgic visit was when eyes saw the tea stall owner who was the same chap, an old fellow now. It was wonderful having met him after such a long time span. It would have been quite an unrealistic thing to expect that he would recognize me. But know what? He did. He obviously didn’t recollect the name, but he remembered the face, he said, and that was indeed a nice thing to say. His wrinkles had multiplied, his health had deteriorated a bit, but the taste of the tea he made, hadn’t. It was the very same magical taste, which brought back some really sweet memories.

The entire experience was so much like reliving the past, and especially splendid it all seemed because I had visited in winter, and that was when the famous Ginger Tea used to graciously be served, in the half cutting chai glass!

And the day I visited, I was overcome by the hospitality of the chai owner with his superbly enriching and ever so refreshing ginger tea.

Three cups down, I signed off the stall, having basked in the reminiscences of the charming college years. I was slightly taken aback when the fellow refused to let me pay him for the tea. He remarked only one thing, which after having said, I was helpless. He said” Mehmanose kabhi paise nahi liye jate”. I just gave my host one last look, thanked him and led myself back home after having felt utterly elated with the cups full of nostalgia.

Narcissistic Leaders

narcissusMichael Maccoby has written about larger-than-life leaders who envision the big picture and dream about future. Leaders like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jack Welch are the representatives of this breed of business leaders. Maccoby claims that all these contemporary leaders have a significantly different characters and styles from their predecessors from 1950s to 1980s. These are people who do not shy away from sharing their views on various topics other than business. Their charisma is their asset and they do not hesitate to use it to promote their vision.

When analysed, all these leaders have been shown to display many common character traits such as independent thinking, not easy to be impressed, reliance on innovation, risk taking capability and most importantly an audacity to push through the massive transformations that society periodically undertakes. As per Freud’s classification, they are the narcissists, and Maccoby believes that they are assets to the business if we can take advantage of their strengths while tempering their weaknesses.

Productive and non productive narcissistic leaders

Even though narcissism has a negative connotation, actually narcissist leaders can be good as well as bad for the society. They are gifted strategists who can see the big picture and take risks to accomplish them. They are the ones who dare to challenge the status quo and leave legacy behind. Shaw put it nicely – “some people see things, and they say ‘why?’; narcissists dream about things that never were and say, ‘why not?’”

But when their dreams become unrealistic because of lack of restraining anchors and self-knowledge, they tend to become unproductive. Their tendency towards grandiosity and distrust becomes their Achilles’ heel.  In such a situation they self destruct and lead their company to disaster. The challenge facing today’s organizations is to ensure that they prevent their narcissist leaders from becoming unproductive.

Source of strength for narcissistic leaders

Narcissist leaders have two sources of power – their great vision and their ability to attract hordes of followers who share their vision. They are, by nature, people who have tremendous foresight and the ability to transform their dreams into reality. In today’s changing and competitive environment they get ample opportunity to act on their dreams. They get the chance to change the very rules of the game. Clearly this motivates them to “want – and need – to leave behind a legacy.”

Narcissist leaders attract followers through their charisma and oratory skills. Their ability to stir enthusiasm amongst the audience is their primary weapon. In reality, these followers are their source of affirmation and adulation.

Weaknesses of the narcissistic leader

Despite their success, there are certain negative traits that narcissist leaders possess. They are extraordinarily sensitive and generally become emotionally isolated. They are not the best people to be criticized or scrutinized for their actions. They ignore or avoid anything that they feel is threatening or detrimental to their leadership. Their obsession of paying heed to only good things being said about them creates a circle of ‘yes-men’ around them. They crave for empathy and adulation from others but do not reciprocate with the same. Their ruthlessness sometimes becomes their strength but mostly it creates a repulsive aura around them. They do not change as long as they are successful. They distaste mentoring or being mentored. For them, they are the centre of their successful world and thus, on the rare occasions in which they choose to mentor someone, they want to make their protégés a pale reflection of themselves. They become so independent that they find intimacy difficult. They want results and are willing to take chances in arguing with authority. This makes them relentless and ruthless in their pursuit of victory. They make every game a test of their survival skills. Many a times this results in them finding enemies that actually are not there – even amongst their colleagues.

Avoiding the traps

Productive narcissists are the need of the hour. Every business needs them and it’s the biggest challenge for both the individual as well as the organization to ensure that they can prevent their narcissist leaders from becoming unproductive. Here are some of the suggestions offered by Maccoby after his research on narcissistic leaders.

Find a trusted sidekick – who can understand his partner’s vision, act as an anchor and keep him grounded. He should be able to point out the operational requirement of the narcissistic leader’s vision and thus keep him rooted in reality.

Indoctrinate the organization – followers should share the leader’s vision, they should be able to identify with them. If that happens they will champion the cause on the leader’s behalf. A narcissistic leader should direct his efforts in indoctrinating his vision into the entire organization.

Get into analysis – feedback and criticism keep oneself grounded to reality and this is one trait that is a necessary requirement for a successful leader. He should be aware of the reality. Only control and discipline cannot buy him power, he needs to increase his self-knowledge. Psychotherapies can also be a good source to increase this self-awareness. Once they become open minded, they will be better equipped to broaden their perspectives.

Concluding remarks

We believe that Maccoby is right to a certain extent when he brands the mentioned successful leaders as ‘narcissistic leaders.’ The negative connotation attached with the word ‘narcissist’ might make many of us believe that they are the autocrats of the business world. However, Freud’s definitions have improved over time and we hope that his words get interpreted correctly by people over a period of time.

In today’s uncertain times, filled with dramatic discontinuities, narcissistic leaders might be the only option. Innovation holds the key for businesses and clearly narcissists are the biggest champions of innovation. Leaders who can create new futures will guide us to a path of sustainable success. Organizations on their part face the greatest challenge in finding such leaders and then making sure that they remain grounded to reality.

NarcissisticLeaders

Women Porters in Bhavnagar

train in India

Ever imagined a woman porter carrying your luggage at the railway station? ‘Impossible!’ you say. That’s a natural attitude because we never get to see woman porters but such porters we do have. Yes! In India! They are at Bhavnagar in Gujarat carrying on this tradition or profession for the past 69 years! No little thing this!  For a profession dominated exclusively by men, this comes as a surprise and a courageous surprise at that. Having been branded as the weaker sex, women seem to be breaking many barriers now-a-days and when it comes from uneducated, economically backward women, it is really welcome. Many of our very own educated sophisticated urban bred women are not willing to walk that extra mile!

There is news now that the city of Allahabad will be recruiting 19 women for the posts of porters, taking the inspiration from the Gujarat women porters breaking the shackles of sex and gender. But not many know how the concept of women porters came out. Interested? Well, according to reports, Maharaja Bhavsingh of Bhavnagar had got a new railway station  constructed around the year 1940 and valiantly declared that all the porters at this new station would be women. Kudos to the Maharaja! It is from then on that women have been applying for this post and working as porters. They say that this generous declaration by the Maharaja has been keeping their fires burning at home! In fact, currently there are 22 women out of the total 26 porters in Bhavnagar railway station. Most of the women porters are above 50 years old and are grateful to this job that has been carried over generations. Mothers give the badge to their daughters or daughters-in-law and so on something like an inheritance.

But of course, there are murmurs in the air inspite of the 69 year long tradition. The present procedure of the appointment of women railway porters is raising a few eyebrows and the Union Ministry of State for Women and Child Development is stated to have demanded ‘details’ about this appointment. Though the idea of women carrying heavy loads of luggage is shocking to most people, it is a fact that many women do similar kind of work selling vegetables and fruits and, even carry heavy loads on their heads in villages. People are not very happy that another male dominated field has been barged into by women; they are also upset by the procedure test involved in recruiting the currently 19 short listed women for the posts. This test involves a 200 m run with a 25 kg sack on one’s head with a qualifying time of four minutes (it is three minutes for the men). The other reason that people cite for not allowing women to work as railway porters is the danger of pregnancy while carrying heavy loads. (Of course, the alternative for this would be using trolleys, which has been suggested by some). Apart from that is the usual reason of exploitation. But which profession is free of exploitation and misuse today?

The reality today is that another male dominated profession has been busted by women. It makes no difference what kind of job it may be. The woman can do it all. Almost! What do you say?

The Salt Pan Workers of the Rann of Kutch

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Do not be mistaken … I am not into social work, as you would expect. It is just a course requirement, which opened a small window for me into the lives of the socially trampled and marginalised. Please be assured, again, that the biased tone of the above statement hardly signals the arrival of a new crusader-against-poverty on the block, but it is just that it is the truth.

Our society has, over a period of time, defined and redefined the ‘poor’. Poor sounded hackneyed … so we decided to call them ‘needy’. But needy had a self-defeating connotation to it. How can anybody with an iota of self-respect be called needy? So, he became ‘deprived’. And then ‘underprivileged’. When underprivileged was overused, he became ‘disadvantaged’.

He may not have a single dime even today… but he has a great vocabulary.

I have no take-away from this course. The window that I had talked about had a collapsible hinge. It is shut now. The salt pans are a fading memory.

But the assortment of emotions … pride … self-belief … gratefulness … the feeling of being recognised … and a ray of hope that the video writ large on the face of a salt pan worker … I would like to carry that along with me.

[Influenced by and drawn from Feiffer, Jules’ quote]

100 Things That Make Me Happy

100 Things That Make Me Happy

Today I decided to put aside all the sadness, all the hatred and all the moments that have caused pain. And so I made a list of all the things that bring a smile to my face, the small things that make my days and my life meaningful…

happiness1. Receiving an unexpected compliment
2. Reconnecting with an old friend
3. Amusement Parks
4. Driving with the windows down and singing out loud
5. Snow
6. Being alone and still not feeling alone
7. Reading a book and immersing myself in it
8. Watching sappy romantic movies with happy endings
9. Taking long walks on the beach
10.  Cuddling
11.  Being silly
12.  Camping
13.  Dancing in the rain
14.  Flowers
15.  Hugs and Kisses
16.  Getting to know someone new
17.  Meeting and ‘clicking’
18.  Being independent
19.  Getting an unexpected gift
20.  Giving an unexpected gift
21.  Staying in bed all day
22.  Working hard and succeeding
23.  Simplifying things
24.  Waking up and finding a new text message
25.  Baking a cake for someone
26.  Giving sappy nicknames to friends
27.  Watching sitcoms
28.  Being alone at home
29.  Attending a concert
30.  Surprising someone
31.  Just sitting and watching the rain outside
32.  Wearing a new dress and getting complimented
33.  Having a really productive day
34.  Swimming in a lake
35.  Helping others and getting that satisfaction that comes from within
36.  Getting things done on time
37.  Impromptu road trips with friends
38.  Making people laugh
39.  Getting things done exactly the way I want them
40.  Smell of the ground after it has rained
41.  Lying on the grass and watching the stars twinkle
42.  Giving my mother a dozen of flowers and telling her I love her
43.  Taking pictures
44.  The night sky
45.  Being pampered for a day
46.  Being liked and appreciated
47.  Facing challenges successfully
48.  Feeling loved and desired
49.  Learning something completely new
50.  Knowing I did something right and the feeling of achievement after doing so
51.  Laughing so hard until my cheeks hurt
52.  Meditating
53.  Being able to understand others
54.  Birthdays spent with loved ones
55.  Reading fairytales
56.  Breathing the fresh mountain air
57.  Getting a massage
58.  Reading old letters
59.  Knowing that I could do everything I could
60.  Getting a good pedicure
61.  Sunshine
62.  Finding cash that I hid from myself and forgot about
63.  Deep discussions
64.  Genuine smiles from genuine people
65.  Checking things off a to-do list
66.  Gossiping over a cup of coffee
67.  Fixing and solving problems
68.  Soft pillows
69.  Jumping so high on trampolines that I feel I’m nearly flying
70.  Reminiscing the good old days
71.  Asking for a raise and getting it
72.  Reflecting on my greatest weakness and realizing how it is my greatest strength
73.  When I’m dancing and ‘he’ holds me really close and tight- like he doesn’t want to let me go.
74.  Being alone at home when it’s nice and quiet
75.  Aromatherapy and spas
76.  A nice, long, relaxing, steamy, hot shower
77.   Sitting in the dark listening to music
78.  Waking up without an alarm and feeling totally refreshed
79.  Big, wonderfully colourful balloons
80.  The expressions on kids faces
81.  The feeling of invincibility
82.  Being impulsive
83.  When my laptop battery lasts 5 hours without charging
84.  Seeing less weight on the scale
85.  Remembering a really good dream
86.  Being told I’m pretty by an unfamiliar person
87.  Playing a computer game all day
88.  Not feeling even little worry, doubt or stress
89.  Scent of a good cologne
90.  Cooking a great dish
91.  Reading exceptionally long emails from long distance friends
92.   Driving exceptionally long distances
93.  Looking back at elementary school art projects and thinking about how I had more talent and creativity back then than I do now
94.  Writing my own journal and reading it after a few years
95.  Being able to whole-heartedly confide in someone
96.  Knowing I conquered a fear
97.  Knowing the end is just a new beginning
98.  The snooze button (for the extra 10 minutes)
99.  Being an inspiration to someone
100. Being allowed to just be me…