Tuesday, October 9, 2012

0 Finance with your fiance

Making accounts have never been easy. To keep track of every paisa spent even as an individual is tiresome. So how do you manage as a couple?

Finance is quoted as one of the topmost reasons for differences and utimate causes of divorce. When you utter the words and take the promise to be there for each other in sickness or health, in good and bad times, to share your life forever, have you also mentally signed up on sharing of your finances?

I cannot say that our relationship did not have some 'dicontent issues' over finance. One would spend spontaneously and the other wants to always save. One would continuously invest all money and the other would just let it lie in the bank.
But fortunately, the trust factor helped us share details and manage our finances better. After all in the end, in the partnership it is "our" money - even in a legal partnership!

Here are a few curious cases overheard - some wierd ideas on how not to split your money
Couple A: Wife's condition is that the husband spend for all house-related expenses - the rent, food, maid, electricity, water - All. She will use her money for any personal expenses and sometimes while eating out. Catch them at an ATM and there will be seperate pocket money withdrawals.
Question to the husband: Why will you agree to this??? Is it some desperation to get married?

Couple B: Now it is the husband's turn for conditions - he will live only on his money and not take a paisa from his wife. So their entire lifestyle is constrained by his earnings. They live in a small house in a not-so-great locality, travel by office bus because they cant afford a vehicle and avoid going out. Obviously, one person's income is serving two people's needs. This case can be named as "The dutyful husband providing for the wife always". The concept of providing livelihood and man being THE breadwinner.
Question to wife: Are you nuts to marry this fellow?

Both cases have stemmed from insecurity and ownership towards money.
Trust or lack of it here will spill to other areas too - and a marraige is closed without trust.

Some ideas to share finances in a practical manner
- Once married, never compare who earns more. The marriage requires both partners to perform their role. A wife staying at home to take care of the kids is helping the husband earn and providing for the family. A patner sacrificing a pomotion (hence a raise), to save the family from happazard shifting, is securing your mental comfort - these are priceless. Dont always look at only the numbers.

- Have a common expenses account: This is purely for a budget purpose. Withdraw cash and pay bills from this account. Save the rest. How much to put in this comes from your monthly budget.

- Have a monthly budget and spend according to that: The budget can outline your fixed and variable expenses each month. Try to spend based on that - the advantage is that at the beginning of every month you know you cash outflow, investments, spend and hence what you can save (to buy any of your favourite items)

If the insecurity is because you dont understand your partner, his habits and feel he will scoot off with "your" money - think about it - you should have never entered this marriage.
But if its just the initial insecure feeling, this can again be solved with a common expenses account under both names but keeping your individual accounts private. Over time, things going good, you will not bother about your partner swiping your card.

How do you manage your finance - any quick tips?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

0 The idea of planning nothing

I have been hearing these conversations quite often nowadays.
"I have an overall plan for the next 20 years and till retirement. As long as things go according to that I will not try to change my job or worry too much. What matters is that things fit in the context of my plan."

There is also a eleventh-grader who supposedly believes that his life will be head in a particular direction. He has decided to get into the IITs and then do an MBA immediately. His plan is simple. Slog for 6 months for the IT-JEE, manage to get a top slot admission seat, relax for the firt 3 years, and again slog 6 months in the fourth year to appear for CAT. Your MBA seat is guarenteed. Then you get into IIM-A (B, C) enjoy your time, slog again for the internship of 2 months and get into the same organisation with a PPO (Pre-placement offer).. Hah and life is set.. So the funda is he slogs for 1 1/2 years out of 7 years.. a very good ratio to set your life right.

When I was in school, I was totally confused about what course to take up after school - the only parental guidance (order?) was it has to be professional - translates into engineering/medical. I chose engineering because I dint like dissecting animals- so that is the pathway to my decision.
Courtesy: Dilbert

Have I lost because I have not been clear? Sometimes I wonder whether Al & Me should sit together and put a plan for ourselves. But I feel suffocated when I have to tell someone that in another year we are planning to go abroad, stay there for 4 years and come back with a pot of money.

Aren't Plans also Constraints?

For me most them seem to control my days. And I fell that somethings are just beyond your control - when and why they will happen. I like to deal with it as it comes rather than say they will not occur becuase my Boxed plan protects me from them.

What do I plan for?

We plan for some trips.. and defn fix on date when we have to travel on train/plane.. otherwise the dates are quite flexible.. which route we take, where we stop on the way for a break, the road on which we take diversion and end up reching else where - all are impulse decisions. There is a archaic joy associated with these sudden decisions.

The monthly finance quotient: How much goes for investment, savings, spending. Even here the spending components are not too rigid.. There are friends who keep track of even 20 rs spent for water/food everyday. That kind of accounts will leave me crazy

We have planned not to have a child for another year. This is important decision too - unless both are mentally/financially prepared I see no point in having the child.

But when you see this list, you will realise all of these are short-term events - max another 1 -2 years. As of now, I am experiencing life according to its wishes - it is more exciting, unpredictable and not disappointing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

4 defining Our god and prayers

Al and me have finally started setting up a home. Our weddings had gone smooth with the families coming together in ways that we could have only dreamt about.

The journey to set up an inter-faith family and act as an unit has just started. I know that there are so many aspects - some that we talked about, some unforeseen circumstances, and others that we could have never imagined - are going to take their share of our time.

My mom had initially come to clear the house and do the rirualistic paal-pooja (New milk is boiled and served to all) on the first day. With her, she had brought a host of hindu gods:). They were neatly arranged on the kitchen shelf and only when we were back from our vacation did Al spot them. There was some hesitation and when prodded he replied "none of my gods are there".
I dint like the statement - beleive me, he is much more open that me and in praying to all etc.
"And what are these strange looking white symbol on the floor? This looks like a hindu house" - That was the kolam and he was setting it up for a perfect huge fight.
It was an auspicious time for lighting lamps and here was this guy questioning all that was good. But the angel in me was active that day (thankfully).
I said ok, what is it that makes you uncomfortable here?.
"I am not used to seeing all this in my house and I feel I am not in my own place"
"Hmmm...Lets get a picture of Jesus too and place him here. Lets get candles too- you can probably light them". But him being him was very happy with lighting the agarbathis:)
I recited some Sanskrit prayers and then a morning prayer in english just thanking god and asking for goodies:). That set it, he liked the prayer and its become a ritual now.

Personally, for me it was easy to see Jesus as another god, probably as a holy saint. And visting temples was completely ok with him too. Some conceps of God and spirituality have made the acceptance easier. I see each of the idols as a symbol for something greater, as a window to a focussed thought. This idea sruck me grom Gori girl's site and some other readings. It is easier to imagine Ganesha as a symbol to remove all obstacles in life, Jesus for peace, charity and patience, Saraswathy for respecting knowledge etc. Poojas as simple goods thoughts and positive energy to carry us through.
Easy for us we thought.

But the real thing was the form of worship. I hate doing anything weekly especially something on a sunday morning - I dont visit temples so regularly. Additionally I dont know whether it is good or bad that I can understand what is being said in the church - the only problem I have is being constantly bombarded with the thought that Jesus is the only God. Ofcourse I am mature enough to filter words, replace the word Jesus with God, respect another's beleif. But we have decided that we want to do this together, to give support and company to one another. Still we had a huge discussion and decided to do the mass thing once in a month but visit the church and temple weekly. Lets see when the kids arrive.

Some of my most common practices made him feel alienated. Both of us try to imagine eachother in the other spot, understand what makes us feel uncomfortable and avoid arguments. I feel its better to communicate directly and immediately about that sickly feeling in the stomach when your beliefs seem trampled - they never are if you can really set the communication in place. Yup, its very easy to say choose your outbound words carefully, but when in anger or hurt the innermost thoughts come out. In a setting like ours, it is better to deal with these unsaid things quickly.

Satisfied till now with the routine, we decided to get our brand new second hand car blessed both ways. It is mandatory to have the gothra (ancestral clan) and nakshatra (astrological moon sign at birth) for the pooja. The car carried us to both places and is adorned currently with holy water and chandan. Now Al belongs to the bride's gothra ;-).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

1 To weave cultural religions

This blog was started when I was in a middle of a turmoil - in the head and heart. I always believe that we are in a situation because we are required to learn from it.

When Al and me started seeing each other, it was a dream come true. But from the start we dint fool each other into believing that its going to be easy - to either convince the parents or for ourselves. But he told me that he always knew that it will be beautiful - enough to take the effort of three and half years to persuade people to celebrate our love.

Love. Parents.Friends. Disappointment. Beaches. Frustration. Coffee shops. Hibernation. Office. Bikes - All the essential masalas of a successful script are part of ours too.
In the process we have grown as individuals - as a daughter and son, a partner, a friend, a believer. Each of my roles have become more connected to what I am rather than the hollow individual I was.

Countless arguments, endless tears - nothing to stand against religion. I abhored the concept, abused god men, tried explaning the similarities, the nice qualities - nothing worked.

It was our constant support to each other, patience and time that won the deal. It took our days but gifted us with moments. Moments of clandestine meeting, that quick hug, the side glance and the phone calls where I could only tap for a reply in silence. There have been the other moments too - those tense and difficult ones which are better forgotten.We have lost some things on the way too.

We searched for resources to help us understand our differences - to tell us how to proceed, whether we are in the right direction. There were some but there was a dearth of online material or physical friends who are in the same boat - even a record of similar feelings, and sentiments would make you feel accepted. How they handled the parents, the children, the food, the festivals, culture, relatives and the list goes on.... 
The relief in meeting someone who has done the same thing, talking about the experience and difficulty cannot be had from reading bits and pieces here and there.

I am starting to record how we went about it - the convincing part, the parents meeting, the relatives talks, the home visits. I know that there is no one way common to all and everything might not work in the same manner. 

And yes, the title says it correctly - Culture comes before religion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2 Making a stitch on time

As we move on to different stages of life there are changes in people, places and priority. But the common factor in all these is how we relate to people, how we keep in touch, how we interact and how this fills our life.

I read that "Time is nothing but a series of significant incidents that you remember" - hopefully they are worthy - it is not in seconds, or in the minute hand of the watch that you smuggle a look at during a boring class, neither the 4:00 clock appointment. It is that fun ride in the roller-coaster, that basket ball game, that wedding, that tea shop or those flowers at the airport - and all these come out of relationships.

I have looked at what relationships matter to me and frankly not all of them are in a great shape. Atleast for me, I am person who cannot let go of friends that easily. It takes time - you invest a lot, pray things will improve, dont expect anything back but your own peace of mind - the fact that you are doing things right irrespective of the other's reaction.

But there are some relationships in which you are better off not being there - that always cribbing person, the negative comments, the "I" person, the superficial ones who drain your energy - it is better to cut them out and relax.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Mumma's holiday homework

In school I used to look forward to the summer holidays. Two months of unlimited time to do anything we want.
- to cycle around the streets aimlessly, to play with choppu with friends (miniature toys made out of wood, stone or plastic), play shuttle cock on the ruggedy road and stare at people crossing the play area because the game has to stop in between, to read mystery novels (Agastha Christie, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Enid Blyton), and go to Delhi to stay with grand-mom for around three weeks.

But there was one constant reminder that the fun time is limited. That at the end of it I (mainly my mom) have to portray that something useful has been learnt while enjoying the break - a concept similar to an extended working lunch I guess - the "Holiday Homework"

During this December holidays I noticed that the tradition continues, with my cousin bringing ten assignment sheets home, one for each subject. She deftly segregated the sheets and handed some to my aunt.

"Amma, you need to get a drawing note for this and like last time mam has specified ten sceneries. Just draw what you want. And look at the history assignment - buy those picture sheets and paste them like a scrap book". I knew my mami was good artist - her home is decorated with some of her paintings. So I asked my cousin, "Does that mean mami draws better and you will get excellent grades?". Not at all. Seems the drawing teacher would just browse through the pages and decorate it with a customary tick mark. All that effort and what you get is a tick mark with some random grade.

The other subjects had some problems to be solved and essays to be written - to some extent acceptable.

But why Holiday homework - what is the need? Are the teachers scared the the child will lose its interest in studies in 2 months or forget something like school ( and teachers) existed?

What does a child learn by drawing 10 pictures? What impression is formed of the system and the teachers when the evaluation is a mockery and children realize this?

Moms out there - Let your experience speak.

Friday, February 17, 2012

3 I vouch for a Wednesday off

Here is the Friday most of us look forward to. To relax, eat, sleep, meet, or do nothing. Just be at home and bask in laziness. Five days at a stretch seem to be extended like a rubber-band about to break - that too for a thing we do primarily so as to enjoy the remaining two days.

Before I get into the ideas about work is worship, make your passion your work and blah blah.. lets look at one question.
Provided we have money and superb appreciation for doing whatever we chose to do, wont we be doing just that in an enjoyable manner? (can be painting, social work, watching movies, not making any visible contribution, IT programming, having a sun bath next to your cat - any of these being passions).
Wow Sam, you are just looking great in the sun. what a perfect thing to do!
I watch movies and paint all the time.. nice.It is my passion. (and I dont bother about the exhibiting the painitings or selling or writing reviews.. things I need to do for money)

Given that we have to do work that is outside the enjoyable part, the ratio seems unfair - 5:2. Why can't it be the reverse- 2:5? Ok, that seems tilted too far given the present rate. But the best balanced rate would be 4:3. Now when should we have this extra day off - which should be that passion day? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday - assuming we already are gifted with Sat and Sunday.

Each Monday would make it a 3-day weekend.. It would be great for travel, extended vacations and having Sunday nights out. But Tuesday morning blues would be terrible after three whole days of leisure.

Friday also gets the same reasons but lets not declare a pseudo-leisure day a holiday and miss out on an extra day. 50% of employees are already on the week-end mood and there are a lot of conversations like this on Friday morning ' Happy weekend Ladies', 'We are leaving to Coorg.. am already in the holiday mood', 'Its a Friday..lets go out for an extended lunch at the restaurant'. You can deduce that this day is marked as a celebration for the birth of the weekend. Lets not target this beautiful day.

That leaves us with Tuesday to Thursday. Tuesdays and Thursdays would offer similar benefits. But they will not give any time for the human brain to settle and take a break from our passions. And companies (to be fair to organizations who agree for 4 work days pattern) would find it unjustified. Because, employees will prefer to fall sick or have personal work on Mondays and Fridays so as to have a 4 day weekend.

Balance is our Wednesday. It is the mid-week and a perfect day to take your mid-break and refresh for the remaining 2 work days. We are being empathetic to employees and the employers here. It might even make the other 4 days highly productive similar to a power nap.

What do you think - which day makes most sense for the day off? Vote for your favorite day.

Which day is best for the extra day off?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2 Expressions - mushy mushy

It can be that pasta
That card made out of a wedding card
Just a letter saying sorry with a knot and flower from my garden
That small colourful butterfly made out of thermocol

The lunch that you pack for me
while dad opens the elevator ready to pack me off
followed by the call from that bus saying I have boarded
the specifics of horlicks and the temperature of milk every night

To continuosly tell that she is the most irritating person in this world
to say I love someone much more than her
to fight when her partner calls in the midst of our coversation
for her to get angry and concerned when I am not right

To just lie around, to pounce and light up when you bite the toes
the softness of that fur and that indifferent nature when I meet you outside

The calmness that takes out everything on the mind to leave just peace
The deep blue green colour that makes me want to sit there eternally
Crowned in the evening with a golden glow
Just the experience that you are

 Lovely people, cuddly pets, different times but in my heart right now all together.. Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 Is it ok to watch porn ouside the assembly?

The recent furore over the Karnataka minsters watching porn during assembly has led to the resignation of the three minsters. One of them(CC Pati) had recently commented on how girls should dress up to prevent themselves from getting raped. Does the resignation solve any of the underlying issues?

What is considered wrong in this scenario -
Watching porn during the assembly or watching porn when there was discussion?

Shouldn't the issue be 'not playing an active role in the live discussion in the house' (irrespective of what they did when should have been paying attention)? 
OR 'Watching porn'.

How long will our so-called public servants have no laws applicable to them?
As students and employees we have regulating guidelines and testing mechanisms that ensure that we do our work correctly. Why is there no such mechanism in place for politicians? If we take the law and courts to be this regulating authority, there is no argument against the fact that they have failed miserably in this matter. They don't seem to be accountable to any random statements they make in the name of Indian culture or to any disgraceful acts that are against women. These men cant even perform their tasks in the right manner.
Unless the judicial system is completely de-coupled from the government there can be no solace. According to theory, that is what a republic is meant to achieve.

The second issue of porn - as a women I am quite uncomfortable and against such actions. It is an animal-instinct that these videos propose to serve and that is what some men are admittedly becoming. There are too many justifications given on why men need the porn piece in their life.
"It is natural. Most guys and many girls watch it regularly. It does not cause any immediate harm to anyone - in fact it helps in releasing the pent up sexual energy."
But isn't it a fact too that it arouses sexual feelings and imagination? That it can make humans imagine things and want things with their partner which they might not be capable of? That the women on such strips are treated much like the dirt on their shoes?  One moment of deriving pleasure from this women and the next moment deriding her.

A prostitute deserves respect because her body is her business and if she uses it to earn money it is her choice. But what rights do men have to use them but slander the industry they help in growing? It is an impossible task to wipe this industry because it is impossible to wipe out lust and power from men's minds. Shifting the blame for existence of the industry from these men to these helpless women is a useless task. 

CC Patil's next statement - "The women in the video provoked me to watch their bodies. What do they think poor men can do when women purposefully entice them during assembly? If they were adorned with sarees maybe I would not have watched it" 
"I think it was a female virus that attacked my computer and switched on that video clip"
and you can hear the Andhra DGP second him with "Aye! Aye sir!"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

11 The Vegan pull

As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” ~Genius Mathematician, Pythagoras, over two thousand years ago in ancient Greece.

I have discovered this website called Vegan India and love it. It provides information about Vegan food and accessories. Even though I am still a vegetarian, I really appreciate people who have gone Vegan.

Their logic/empathy is kind of pulling me towards it but I feel it might be difficult to follow. I feel guilty every time I have milk after I read this interview and watched some related videos.
This is a great page to look for non-leather accesories.

I already advocate no leather usage, minimal wastage and being green etc. I also feel silk amounts to pure torture. I try to buy products that are least environment damaging and against animal testing. But to be completely vegan is to stop having milk and milk products, silk, pearls et all - anything that causes harm/pain to another being. It seems only human that we follow this.

But there are practical difficulties.
If I tell my mom I dont need Silk sarees for my marriage it would be a huge commotion.
I am getting married into a family of non-vegetarians. It is enough culture-shock to them to see me hogging with my existing food habits:). Reaction if I say 'No' to even milk might not be welcome.

I don't take non-veg food not because of community-affiliation but because I feel for the animals. When I try to reason with someone I can easily pull the empathy string. The same is happening here.Ultimately my decision will not be dependent on how difficult it is follow it or what others think.

I know these are just lame reasons and assurances for continuing the status-quo. As of now, I am sticking to non-leather, against-animal testing products. Ushering in the future, lets see what changes I make.

**Edited to add **
Related Links:
http://ahimsasilks.com/ - Silk made without killing the silk worms. They take around 3 months to deliver and provide a variety of designs and colours.

Friday, February 3, 2012

2 Work that becomes "I"

Years back when I was still a child, I remember dad being a little rude on the phone when there was a call from the office on the weekends. I tried telling him that it might just be a 5 to 10 minutes work and he can definitely spare that much time. Luckily for him, he had set rigid boundaries - must be out of experience. After reaching home, no one was allowed to interrupt his personal life specifically during weekends.He had been an exceptional employee, proud of his work and respected by his co-workers. He has helped foreign multi nationals setup their base in India - nothing simple.

Forward to today, I run around with my laptop and phone assuring connectivity to one and all, anytime and everywhere. I must be an important person doing some high-quality work that makes a difference and my absence is so critical that a doggy sniff always follows me - this way of thinking makes life so much better! I speak while eating, walking, watching TV, and when tying to go to sleep - sometimes get up in the middle of the night to attend a call.

When you ask for a vacation or leave, you are made to feel guilty even though you are eligible for it - you should have informed us earlier; there is too much work pending; the appraisal is round the corner; With the new term of 'networking', all meetings and conferences can be masked under this title. "Oh,, you got to attend this party.. Its a huge networking opportunity since Mr. Blah and Mrs. Blah are coming". Does not matter if its late into the night or the travel distance is two hours. Its business baby.

For newly married couples who bring back work home, the sense of togetherness is difficult to build. You cannot say no to your boss who wants to meet on Saturday at Cuppa to discuss a presentation. Leaving at 6 from office is looked down upon. Working half-day on Saturday usually means being there till 6 - after all that is 12 hours - learn your maths right sir. And then there are bosses who probably don't want to go back home. For whatever reasons - either they are divorcees, don't get along with their partners, or simply workaholics! The comments about such bosses and their personal lives are rude. But that is exactly what happens when they intrude into their junior's personal space.

And for a women with kids, the entire upbringing of the child becomes her responsibility. The husband leaves early, come back late - where is the time to drop kids at school, pick them up, cook anything or spend some time with the spouse. In our society, this is a totally acceptable scenario too. The wife cribs, the husband gets money, kids go to school, go on a vacation two times an year - everything appears great from outside except there is no bonding.

In some countries there are strict labor laws. Work does not last more than 8 to 8 1/2 hours. You come on dot time and expected to leave on dot time. Staying back late is considered a bad aspect of your capability to complete a task on time. A company is liable to pay for the extra work done during these extra hours. Personal time is valued. After all, you work so that your personal life is smooth. Not the other way round. You work because you want the required finance to fund education, to buy a house or to go on a vacation. Mainly the money translates into a good time with family and friends.

Work becomes meaningless when all you do is only work.

What do you do to ensure that your personal time is guaranteed?
How do set the boundaries between the work and family space?
How often do you hang out with office colleagues and how do you avoid?

Friday, January 27, 2012

2 The wait for the real Republic day

Baiyion aur Behnon,

Happy Republic Day. Let us all pay respect by standing still when singing Jana gana mana, hoisting the flag and distributing sweets. Let us remember that our constitution came alive on this very day in 1950 with the notion of equality, liberty and fairness to all Indian citizens.

The rules are 61 years old and we still follow them. We are the generation that sings 'hum hain naye andaaz kyon ho purana?". Shame that they are outdated and need to change. Here are the reasons.

No one seems to remember what each of those words stand for - Equality, Liberty and Fairness? In the survey conducted across India with our un-filtered population these were the top-of-the-mind recall for these words.
Equality - Kwality icecreams.
Fairness - Fair & Lovely
Liberty - Statue of Liberty. Liberty shoes.

Second, where are the Indian citizens?
Born on the Indian land, women have aped and have fallen in the clutches of the western culture. Women going to pubs, attending parties, not being a 'cultured' bahu (cultured in a lab similar to rats and amoeba) should be left out. Men who speak for these insipid women and tagged as 'joru-ka-ghulam' are not eligible because they no longer dis-respect their wives - another criteria for Indian-ness. These men are confused about equality. You are supposed to act like the king and 'let' your wife go to work, 'let' her watch TV and go out. It is 'let' and not help or support.There goes 50% of the population.

Sophisticated and rich are those who allow their DILs, daughters, wives to be independent. Rebellious are women who live alone and have a mind of their own. Non-adjusting is that neighbor's wife on whom there is incessant complain from her MIL. Again, none of them behave like Indians. Another 10% reduction.

We are a rapidly dwindling race.. Gulp! Be alert that we might become extinct soon unless there are modifications and stringent conditions laid down for our survival.

A ray of hope comes from  the honor killings and their uphold of Indian values by killing your own kin. A noble deed done exactly for glorification of the constitutional principles. To eliminate fake and calamine-masked faces disguised as Indians but not fitting in that mold. After all its fair, isn't it, to protect our race.

Our census data must be entirely wrong. We should make another caste;sub-caste census.This will accumulate only 20% of the existing citizens who have stood up to their Indianness - the filtered elite lot. Laws and rules can be better drafted keeping this niche group's interest's in mind - promoting Indian culture; respect for elders without dwelling on capable/incapable decisions ; forceful continuation of all rules set by politicians and khap panchayats. And the satisfaction will be borne out of the fact that the constitution is finally serving its purpose. Drive the non-deserving lot out of India and live in peace.

Our constitution has hardly served all of our population - people who have experienced real equality, liberty and fairness. For it to be applicable and useful widely we need to first define what we mean by equality and fairness in the Indian context. We are still not free but held captive by our own minds.

Quote from John Start Mill thoughts on Philosophy and society.
 "No society in which these liberties are not, on the whole, respected, is free, whatever may be its form of government; and none is completely free in which they do not exist absolute and unqualified. The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest"

Please note: All percentages are a hypothetical figure which emanated from my mind at that precise moment. You got it right - they portray the dwindling intelligence in every person who reads this;-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

9 Blood, Sweat & Tears

Economic times carried an article on an entrepreneur who has invented a machine for producing sanitary napkins. His pain, that propelled this invention, came out of abject poverty and unhygienic methods used by his lady family members during periods. Only 12% of Indian women use sanitary napkins and the market is dominated only by two players - J&J and P&G. And corporates are motivated towards profits (almost 1000% from each napkin) and a part of the profit dollars converts to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

It is refreshing to see a man talking on the subject in an uninhibited manner - a guy belonging to the below-the-poverty line(he calls himself that) trying to understand the complexities and the taboo around the subject.
He observes that napkins are covered in black plastics at shops as if we are smugglers. The fact that even his wife is averse to broach this topic with him made it more difficult for his research methods to succeed. He had to use medical-college women and himself as specimens to test out his techniques.

Where is the need for education and money to be empathetic towards women and understand unfair social norms and customs that are against women? 

Watch him in this video - a truly inspiring one. To quote him - "No one dies because of poverty. It happens because of ignorance"

How many of us educated individuals are still living in ignorance? In fact, many men choose to live in ignorance on menstrual issues. Men choose not to learn or be empathetic towards women. 

Related Posts: Being untouchable during periods

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2 To belief and belonging

I have avoided writing on some topics because they are too close to the heart and also unclear. They are groping in a state of confusion.

I know that I dont believe in organized religion - making you go to places of worship on a regular basis, praying without understanding, performing rituals because you are asked to.

When you step out, there are all sorts of people who will create chaos - when their core, which has blindly tottered, is made to stop and think. People who actually understand so little about their own choice. People who would not have been in a such a situation. People who cannot understand because they have followed it in their own manner and not against their beliefs.People who think their belief is prescribed in books. People who have never looked within themselves. People who think children are a branch of the parent. People who followed the path and are scared that your thinking challenges their notion of life. Their notion of success, happiness and stability.

I have come to believe in this. Anything that you follow by rote is not what you believe. You cannot defend it because you actually do not know if you beleive in it.

Accusers say I am deserting my religion. My public act is definitely a powerful statement to say that if God exists, then he is one. But in the process, I have explored and tried to understand what it is that I want from religion. Or whether I want one at all. In the process, I have discovered convincing arguments for certain rituals and symbols.The problem is why cloak practices under something called a "Religion"? I want to say that I have adopted certain ways after experimenting with them. Even if the ways were initially propagated by some group, they dont belong there. Neither do I belong there because I chose to beleive in them -  not because it is advocated by that group but since I beleive in it as an individual.

Do the accusers know me - do they know what I believe in or not? What meets the eye are the public events that take place ten days a year. The other 355 days I live with my belief and the practices that I truly stand for. It is an impounding reality that my beliefs will be challenged. But I am willing to defend them because I know that my brain has logical chemicals to solve this equation. As an outcome, if logical conclusion was negative my belief would need to change.

It is not a comfortable place to be. Sometimes you wish you had followed that crowd. But I guess I have a brain that believes more in myself than others. Whoever or whatever this other is.

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Polka-dotted Cup - 1

This is my first blog Cup and I guess this deserves a separate post :). Thanks IHM.
The name of the post indicates that I hope to win many more cups in the future.

I remembered the peaks because before the journey I casually mentioned to a friend that I am visiting Loan-vala. And everybody had a good laugh at my expense.

I won this cup gracefully (with grace marks) and, as usual, an obsessively proud owner now.

It resembles my real Office coffee cup except this one has red polka dots ;-).

And in the background you can actually see a pink-covered book!

My Coffee Mug

Visit blogadda.com to discover Indian blogs