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: - 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?
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