Breaking the ‘age myth’ on Women’s Day!

 

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[image courtesy: https://www.pinterest.com ]

Having recently stepped into the ‘unwelcome thirties’, I consider myself qualified enough to write about the most tabooed topic of discussion when it comes to women~ their AGE! Even though I did not feel any different on the inside, I did all the customary ‘whining and pining’ that comes along with a 30th birthday celebration (‘like really? THAT’s what we are celebrating?’). Well, being thirty might not be a big deal for women in the West but somehow in India, our society does not seem to grow up to the fact that women above thirty can and DO have the right to experiment with their lives.

The moment you declare you are thirty, you will hear the generic neighbourhood aunty (why but WHY is it almost always an ‘aunty’?) spew all kinds of atrocious statements that have nothing to do with your life and everything to do with how they lived theirs! No wonder most of us are still more freaked out by our next-door aunties than even our own parents. Actually, even your parents are probably as scared facing these self-proclaimed ‘flag-bearers of traditions’ as you.

Turning a deaf ear works as long as you are not stuck alone with them in your drawing room while your mom is in the kitchen or something. That’s when these moral-police-disguised-as-aunties rip you apart with their questions-aka-bullets!

Let us take a look at the most popular bullets, err, questions you get to hear after thirty:

  • ‘Beti puri zindagi PHD karogi ke shaadi ka koi plan hai?’  –> To which you should simply put on a caustic smile and tell them that you are just not getting a family who can handle your educational qualifications without hurting their inflated ego. Or better still, if they have a son who’s married, ask her how he has helped increase India’s population of late.
  • ‘Facebook mein travel updates hi deti rahogi ke koi good news bhi share karogi?’ –> This one is for the married ones who have no intention of having a baby now (or in some cases, EVER!). Just tell them that the only ‘good news’ is that you and your husband have decided to travel the world for the next five years and ask her if she’s interested in joining you as your personal social media manager (since she seems to be spending more time stalking your profile than her own children’s!).
  • ‘Career toh theek hai beti, ab thoda settle ho jaanaa chaiye, hai naa?’ –> This is a hot favourite with most ‘concerned relatives’. Again, keep that caustic smile intact and tell them that you will settle as soon as you earn enough to buy your own Audi or Merc and let them know once and for all that ‘pati ka paisa’ is not your ‘paisa’.

Of course, silence is the best policy when you face age-shaming in any form but a little wit never harmed anybody, right? Yes, it’s true that you have entered another decade altogether and won’t ever be in your ‘twenties’ again. However, age-shaming those who want to live life their way is something that our society should grow out of.

Being a successful thirty year old may not necessarily include marriage and kids and ‘settling down’ the conventional way. It may be a new beginning for the single mother, the recently separated or the ambitious workaholic woman. It can be many things but certainly not the ‘end of life as we know it’. Happy Women’s Day to all the gorgeous women out there, of every size, age and colour. Here’s to breaking more myths and ruffling more ‘traditional’ feathers with every passing decade!

Sugar Buddies ~ A Short Story!

guest_book_guest_book_guestbookEver since Michael Patterson shifted to his new apartment in San Francisco, he’d been bugged incessantly by his neighbor, a black, wrinkly old woman who came knocking on his door at the oddest of hours for a spoonful of sugar! Michael, who was a reputed children’s author, had initially obliged the old lady with a big bowl and a warm smile, but as the frequency of visits increased, he got irked at the very sight of her.

“Yes Ms.  Robinson? Sugar isn’t it?” He asked the old woman bluntly that day, as his half-Korean half-Brit elfin girlfriend, Samantha Kim, poked him in the spine from behind.

“Sorry to disturb you son… I haven’t been keeping well. I baked some cake with the sugar you gave me the other day…here, I got some for you… and so…umm…sugar’s over again!” The hunchbacked woman handed him a foil-wrapped chunk of cake and smiled toothlessly, her face brightening for a moment before shifting back to being forlorn.

“Well, you were very rude to her, Mike…why don’t you just tell her if you are not interested in helping her?” a gentle-hearted Sam asked.

“I wish I could. She spooks me out when I am alone here, knocking at the oddest hours. And then she goes on about how her cockatoo has developed a skin rash. That bird of hers keeps babbling eerily all day! It’s just plain creepy! ”

“Aah, don’t blame the poor cockatoo for being able to talk! Have you forgotten that the animals in your books can talk as well?” Sam laughed and planted a kiss on her boyfriend’s stubbled cheek.

Mike wondered for a few seconds if the old woman had a family before deciding that it was none of his business. He starts writing the next chapter, shutting his unusually long-lashed, bespectacled eyes for a moment to bring his scattered thoughts together.

“So what book are you currently working on Mr. Patterson?” Sam asked, playfully pretending to be a journalist.

“It’s a Christmas edition Sam…it’ll end with a ‘happily ever after’! Anything else you want to know?” Mike snapped back. He was getting tired of fairytales, and he had a feeling, so were his publishers.

Sam left early that night, minus her customary good-night kiss. Mike knew he’d hurt his girlfriend but he was too depressed to attempt a reconciliation that night.

Mike had topped the best-sellers’ list for four consecutive years after his second book “The Boy Who Lived On a Rainbow” became an international hit with children. Now, it appeared as if magic didn’t appeal to kids anymore, nor did a boy who was silly enough to live on a rainbow!

It was Christmas Eve and the city couldn’t be more picturesque, with fairy lights and snow-covered conifers dotting the streets. Every household was buzzing with happy anticipation, except two particularly silent homes on 22nd Street.  Mike was perched on his window sill with a cup of coffee, trying his best to appreciate the festivities outside. His girlfriend had unceremoniously broken up with him the day before and the publishers wanted his manuscript within a week.

There was one more itching worry on Mike’s mind, much as it was uncalled for. It was the old lady’s sudden disappearance and her cockatoo’s silence.

That wretched old hag has cast a spell on me. How can I possibly be thinking of her instead of my girlfriend?’ Mike wondered, trying to concentrate on his story. It was 1:30 AM. He could hardly keep his eyes open, but his fingers went on typing till the wee hours of dawn. Finally when he was done for the day, Mike realized he had sat through the night and it was Christmas!

“So much for good cheer!” he mumbled as he stretched himself and took in the fresh morning breeze.

Mike decided to take a walk.

While returning, he noticed that there was an enormous wreath hanging on his annoying neighbor’s front door. Much to his dismay, Mike realized that he had developed a soft corner for the old lady. He wanted to know if she was fine. Walking over, he rang the bell.

“Yes? What is it?”  The door opened and Mike almost jumped at the sight.

Instead of the ugly old lady, there stood a brown-skinned, gorgeous woman, fist-rubbing her eyes, evidently just out of bed.

“Oh, Mamma Ellie’s my maternal aunt ya’know. This is ‘er house, n’ in spite of our attempts to hire a nanny, she was adamant ‘bout stayin’ alone. She’d never married, didn’t have nobody to call family per say, but she did have ‘er crazy cockatoo to keep ‘er company! We think it was the Alzheimer’s that turned ‘er screws.  And then there was that horrible diabetes …”

“Last week we came over to decorate the place for Christmas n’ what do we find? She’d peed on the bed n’ the sugar level’s shot through the roof…cakes n’ muffins on ‘er bedside table ya’know!! God forbid if we’d been a day late…we’ve decided to keep her at the elderly care now since she refuses to stay with us. She’ll have her own room ‘n all of that, costs a bomb but Mamma Ellie made quite an empire for ‘erself with those books she wrote during ‘er youth. Sad that she quit the pen early, what with the Alzheimer’s ‘n all…!”

Mike stood there staring at the woman incredulously. The fact that he’d supplied a diabetic patient with heaps of sugar, even if unknowingly, somehow made him feel outlawed. There was one more thing that struck him. Ms.  Robinson was an erstwhile author herself, driven to near madness by the loneliness of her profession. His heart went out to her more than ever.

“Umm, you said she was a writer? I’m a writer myself but I haven’t heard of any Ellie Robinson in our field…. ”

“Uhuh… You wouldn’t have, would you? ‘Cuz that ain’t Mamma Ellie’s real name, mister…she was known to many as Stacy Cooper, ‘er…whaddyacallit… pseudonym, which she adopted at a time when apartheid was at an all-time high, and blacks like us weren’t allowed to live equally amongst ya’all. Getting a book well-received was easier with a white name, ya’see…” The girl said, shaking her head, as if dumping a bit of the blame on his white shoulders!

Mike was flabbergasted by then.  This was THE Stacy Cooper, the one who had penned many a spine-chilling mysteries and had been amongst his favorite authors of all time! And all this while, he’d been living next door to his childhood idol and cursing her for nothing! He felt like one of his own protagonists, foolishly unaware of the surreal stuff going on around him.

“She wrote mysteries, didn’t she?” Mike asked.

“Uhuh, that’s right. D’ya r’member ‘er books? I loved them as a child too! Hey why don’t ya come in? ” The woman smiled, warming up to Mike finally.

“No, thank you, I need to go. Where’s this elderly care centre?’

The girl handed him a visiting card and Mike sprinted off to his apartment. When he checked for voice-mails after breakfast, there was one from his girlfriend.  “Hi Mike, It’s me Sam. Can we meet up?”

‘Yes, we can honey, but I have another important meeting right now!’ Mike thought happily as he ran around getting ready.

Mamma Ellie was lying there on the bed at the Elderly Care, with a resigned expression on her weathered face. Her cockatoo was marching around in his cage, trying to adjust to his new surroundings, occasionally shrieking “Oh for the love of God!”

Mike smiled at the pseudo-Stacy Cooper, admiring his long-lost icon in awe.

“’Allo there, do I know you?” Ellie asked him, her memory failing her.

“I guess so Mamma Ellie, I’m your…err… sugar buddy. I helped you with a lot of illegal sugar remember?’  Mike had tears in his eyes, much to his own surprise.

“Sugar buddy!! Oh yes, my dear boy, you live across the hallway. So how’ve you been?”

To this, Mike held up a book that he had got along. Faded silver lettering read ‘The Serial Killings of Brookesville’ with ‘Stacy Cooper’ printed in bold at the bottom.

“I’ve been reading up on some of my old favorites, Mamma. Do you recognize this book?”

Mamma Ellie stared at the book for a long time. Looking away, she shook her head, muttering almost to herself, “Never knew any Stacy Cooper!”

“Is it a good book though?” There was a hint of anticipation in Mamma Ellie’s voice, Mike observed with great pleasure.

“Yes, it’s one of the best novels ever but I want you to write something for me on it so I can remember our friendship forever. Can you do that for me, Mamma?” He held out the book to her.

Later that day, as Mike ran a finger over Ellie’s slightly tilted, cursive handwriting that read ‘To my sugar buddy, With love’, he knew he could believe in his own fairytales again.

10 reasons why women talk more than men!

  • Women like organizing the chaos in their heads!

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          As with almost everything else, women probably feel the need to organize all that mess within their neural networks by ‘voicing’ their thoughts. One friend of mine told me that stringing sentences together was as satisfying to her as cleaning up her cupboard after it had been neglected for weeks! It’s like a verbal OCD, only it involves abstract thoughts that need to be folded ‘just right’ and neatly placed into your girl-friend’s brain!!

  • Balancing equations!

If you look at it from a mathematician’s perspective, it will come as no surprise why women are seen blabbering all over the place and are known to talk more than men! Remember ‘balanced equations’? Let’s write down one for the two genders of Homo Sapiens here:

W*x  =  M*y

where, W–> Women who talk

M–> Men who DON’T

x–>The amount women talk

y–> The amount men talk

Now, like my good old Mathematics teacher in school (who was a man BTW and also had a problem pronouncing ‘s’ the right way), let me just ‘shay’ that ‘shinsh ‘x’ is indirectly proportional to ‘y’, a decrease in the value of ‘y’ will lead to an automatic ‘increash’ in the value of ‘x’!!  Anyway, you get the drift right? 😉

  • Women have a ‘history’ that ‘supports’ conversation!

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By ‘history’ I also mean evolution! You know how men used to be out hunting while women sat back in the caves taking care of children? Well, there was no TV back then, or phones for that matter…the only form of entertainment? You got it! TALK TILL YOU DROP (which later became ‘shop till you drop‘ with the emergence of fancy clothes and malls!!) No wonder then that even now women talk way more than their male counterparts. It’s  called EVOLUTION babies!

  • A lot to handle and not much support!

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You enter a typical home, you will see the women bustling around, trying to manage work phone calls as well as calls from the ‘dhobi wala’, ‘istri wala’, ‘doodh wala’, ‘paper wala’ et al! The list of tasks for women are endless. Can they be blamed for talking about all of that to whoever they can lay their tired hands on?

  • Because..Biology!

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It has been scientifically proven now that the average woman talks about 13000 words more than men! This much science HAS to be backed up by some sort of biological evidence right? Right! The culprit seems to be the Foxp2 protein in women’s brains. This language protein has been found to be responsible for the incessant chatter that women are known for!

  • That insatiable thirst for unnecessary knowledge!

Which girl doesn’t relish her little gossip right? In fact, this insatiable thirst sometimes reaches crazy heights…like the other day when I was chatting over Whatsapp and I witnessed the formation of what I now call a ‘nested group’ (programmers will know the immense significance of the nested loop..well this is no different!). Like with a nested loop, our ‘nested’ group was a group within a group, with the exception of just one particular member of the parent group! No prizes for guessing who the gossip is going to be about in this new group of temporarily poison-spewing women!! Some examples are ‘OMG what did she just say?’ , ‘Did you hear who she’s secretly engaged to?!’, ‘Do you know from where she got that new bag? It’s dreadful!’

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But to be fair, nested groups have also been made to plan surprise parties for the absent group member… and this kind of planning is only possible by a determined gang of women! Balancing equations again, aren’t we?

  • And also..that ‘need’ to vent!

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Everyone knows how men deal with their issues! They drink, they brawl, they make up…end of story. Boring! Now women have more..err..elaborate ways of dealing with any personal or professional crisis. They rant about it to their Bestie, then cry buckets into their favorite pillow, rant some more to their 2nd, 3rd and 4th Besties and finally when they’ve spoken enough vicious things about the concerned person, they have ‘dealt’ with it. Life is wonderful again!

  • Women DO have more issues, it’s just the blatant truth!

Men can blame their wives for talking more than them but they HAVE to admit that women really do deal with double the emotional drama of everyday life, which not only includes an angry boss or colleague, but also an upset mom-in-law or an absent maid! When life is this crazy, you don’t drink and brawl people! You TALK it out or SHOP it out. Period.

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  • It’s how women bond..with literally ANYBODY!

Again, this must have something to do with evolution because talking is the only way a woman will ever bond with another woman, man or even animal! Observe how a man greets your pet dog (if you don’t have one, get one today!) and how a random woman greets them on the road.

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The men will just pat them on the head and talk to YOU. One the other hand, the women will do most of their talking with your dog! ‘Hellllllloooooo youuuuu…oh you are a cutie pie aren’t you? Yes you ARE! Oh you are adorable aren’t you? Yes you ARE!’ By this point, you will just be left counting the number of questions about your dog she has already answered without you having to utter a word!

  • The eternal need to be appreciated in a male-dominated world!

    a-vector-illustration-of-happy-cartoon-man-standing-on-top-of-a-globe-413956       And last, but far from being the least, women have this eternal need to be loved and appreciated for being themselves in a world that has ignored them for too long. There are societies out there that do not even allow women to have a voice, forget about talking more than men!

    So, are the ladies really wrong in speaking ten to the dozen in such a skewed world? After all, somebody’s got to balance the equation right? 😉

 

[Image & info credits: ]

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http://www.gettyimages.com
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

5 lies fairy-tales taught us as kids!

1.Finding a ‘charming prince’ is essential to a ‘happy ending’

What? Really? Like that would solve my existential crisis or give me the space I so badly crave! Oh, and what if I swing the other way huh? What if I have eyes on another pretty ‘princess’? How’s that for a bummer? Nah, a charming prince is no longer a necessity for a real HAPPY ending! Of course, we need that shoulder to cry on sometimes, and then there’s the pampering(a huge bouquet of red roses on your b’day morning?! Definitely the work of your Prince charming!) But other than that, there’s not much truth in that genre of ending! Whether you’re a scared little Cinderella or a sleepy-headed Snow White, you CAN & WILL find happiness in things that have zilch to do with a charming Prince(an occasional date doesn’t hurt though!). Go get a job, Cinderella. That way you’ll have all the glass slippers you ever wanted and you won’t even need a crazy old fairy godmother to turn pumpkins into chariots for you!

 

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2. A princess MUST be the ‘fairest of ’em all’!

As per all the fairy tales we’ve ever read, even if you aren’t born a ‘fair maiden‘, you still require magic to turn you into one before you start your hunt for that elusive Prince Charming! How degrading is that? No wonder body-shaming is all the rage among school kids these days! ‘She does have gorgeous hair but she’s too fat you know, she’ll never get to be Rapunzel in the annual skit!’ or ‘She’s too dark to be a Snow White!” , these are just a few of the innocently uttered body-shaming accounts we get in school. I say ‘innocent‘ because these kids are not to blame for their brain-blocks! It’s the stories, man! I mean ‘Snow White’ was named so because she WAS fair to start with. Okay, fair enough! But what about Cinderella huh? That young lady was supposed to resemble ‘cinders’ (if her step-mom & sisters are to be believed), but she was magically transformed into a ‘Snow White’ too by the end of the book! Seriously! Have you ever seen a black woman playing any of these princesses? Duh uh??!!

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3. If you can’t dance well, you ain’t ‘soulmate’ material!

Now REALLY!? That’s just taking it to another level altogether! To be a real princess, you must not only look like you’ve been white-washed and made to wear a blonde wig, BUT you apparently also need to get dancing lessons! What happens to the rest of us with two left feet huh? Do we ever get a shot at this Prince or what? Nope, we are disqualified folks!

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4.Stepmothers are just ‘born evil’.Period.

In all these years, I’ve probably come across a couple of step-moms who’ve graciously taken up the huge responsibility of bringing up somebody else’s kid as their own. And guess what? They were the kindest, most beautiful souls you could find! But what do their kids learn from all those fairy tales they read as kids? Step-mom equals pure-unadulterated-evil! Think wicked smiles, secret conspiracies to kill you, poisonous apples offered as breakfast!!! What a harmful lie this one eh?

QueenSnowWhite

5. Pretty women have teeny-weeny feet!

Now we know from where the Japanese women get their obsession with small feet (so much so that they actually wrap their feet with tight bandages till they’re ‘of age’!). How freakishly insane is that? Yes, I do understand that having ‘washer-woman’s feet’ like mine are not much of a desirous asset when you want to wear stilettos and stuff, but cm’on, cut the other averagely endowed women out there some slack will you? Your feet have absolutely nothing to do with your beauty, for that matter neither does your face, OR your body. Wow, did that just shatter the glass-ceilings of the ‘fairy-tale’ palace? (Hah! Like I care! That’s the whole point of this post anyways). Glass slippers can and DO come in a variety of sizes ladies! Believe you me!

Cinderella4

Having said all that, I wouldn’t mind admitting that I have always loved getting transported into a world where everything is so pretty and..well..unreal. Nothing like life! But amazing till the last page. We all have secretly wished to be a Disney princess sometime or the other haven’t we? However, the feminist in me is revolted by the skewed standards of ‘beauty’ set by these stories. Maybe someday when I have kids of my own, I will tweak some of these in places and get them printed for my kids. Then they can read about a ‘Snow Brown‘ for a change or maybe a Cinderella with a kind step-mother and big feet! Not a bad idea right?
However, some of the more recent Disney movies have been much more up my alley if you know what I mean (‘Frozen’, ‘Brave’ and ‘The Croods’ to name the best ones!) These movies have broken tradition and gone to the extent of not even having the all-important ‘Prince‘ in the story-line ( like the ‘frost-melting’ sister-love in Frozen or the Irish mother-daughter duo of Brave!) Looks like Disney’s finally coming of age!

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Now THAT’S what I call true empowerment of fairy-tale princesses! 😉

The Manicured Manager!

Devil-in-disguise ?

Just how many of us have heard ourselves or others around us whine about a dreaded female manager in our respective offices or workplace at some point of time?? Probably quite a few! She’s your typical snob, with a fast-paced trot (albeit in expensive heels!) , she has one eye on her Swiss watch & the other mascara-lashed eye on you ! Being a woman, she’s neither easily approachable to the minion-like men around her, nor is she liked by the jealous women beneath her! She commands respect but generates fear mostly! She’s your Indian version of Sandra Bullock in ‘The Proposal’ or maybe an older Meryl Streep in ‘The devil wears Prada‘! You can hate her , idolize her , gossip about her, but you just can’t ignore her! When she comes by your cubicle her Body Mist lingers on long after she’s gone, leaving behind a trail of new controversies and grudges! ‘Kamini aurat, zindagi jhand kar di hai!’ is how one male colleague might describe his manager to his friend, even though he probably dreamt about her the last night! ‘Dekho aa gayi Jhansi ki Raani, oh teri, Gucci ka bag laayi hai aaj!’ says one jealous woman to another as they eye their manager strutting past them with a tight lipped smile!

The-Devil-Wears-Prada-2006-Download-Free-Movies

(image courtesy: www.kickasstoo.com)

Making of the ‘Myth’:

So why exactly is it so difficult being a woman manager? And as one of my friends asked me when I was taking a casual survey over Whatsapp, why at all should we even ask such a question? Isn’t that being sexist? Sets you thinking doesn’t it? Let me make it clear that the women I spoke about in the beginning were a very narrowly perceived caricature of the woman in power. There are many women CEOs out there who don’t bother about their appearance at all and will always have a ready, ‘almost warm’ smile for her employees. So WHY indeed this huge myth (if I may safely call it that) about the Satanic lady Boss with invisible horns and secret powers?! Is it just an aged notion that was created at a time when women were still taking baby steps into a male-dominated corporate world? When a woman CEO was unheard of? When the ladies would take an indefinite maternal leave and never join office again? Well, it probably is….or there probably are more Sandra Bullockish managers out there than the matronly ones! Whatever the root cause is, one can’t help but wonder at the prejudices surrounding a woman in a commanding post, even in today’s progressive society.
Women need to overcome hurdles not only at office but even in their personal lives, with marriage and kids taking their toll on her career and will power. Those who make it to the top seldom discuss the struggles they have left behind in their race to the top and hence the general opinion is that they’re snobbish and tough-nuts! Well consider the scenario of being given the responsibility of handling a husband, two kids who only eat when their mommy feeds them , in- laws who are skeptical about anything they do and parents who are perennially in need of their attention… just WHO would be able to manage a genuine smile through all of this? And when you are also in charge of hundreds of employees at work whose performance rating depends on you, I think that would turn a Mother Teresa into a Meryl Streep any day!!

Women who walked their talk:

Here’s a sneak peek into the minds of the top 4 successful women in the Indian corporate scene today:
Kirthiga Reddy (Head of Office, Facebook India)  :

krthiga_reddy31-621x414

(image courtesy: yourstory.com)
When her second daughter, Ariya, was born and Kirthiga worried whether she would have to make a choice about excelling at work which involved travel or excelling as a mom and wanting to tend to her for the first year, “I decided I could do both. While a lot of travel was delegated, for the must-travel times, I travelled with her, and I found local day care wherever I went. When you decide something is important, it is amazing how nature conspires to make things happen for you. The message here is to create your own choices. To not accept the tyranny of the ‘or’ but embrace the power of the ‘and’,” she says.

Neelam Dhawan(MD , Hp India) :

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(image courtesy: http://matpal.com/)
When asked about the challenges women face in their workplace she says ‘ The challenges which I see women face today are more internal to them, and also from the families rather than the business ecosystem. I’ll tell you what I mean:  Women keep doubting their own capabilities…they lack confidence or they think they are not as good as the other person…that is an inherent trait. You have to ensure that doesn’t enter your thinking because you are equally as good as other women and men.’
Vanitha Narayanan (MD, IBM India Pvt Ltd):

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(image courtesy: forbesindia.com)
The 54-year-old IBM India chief has risen from the ranks. She began her career at the company as a trainee, servicing telecom customer Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in Missouri in the US. She spent 10 years working with this client. “It has defined my IBM career. It helped me lay a foundation – you respect the industry of your client and sometimes, the client is your best teacher,” says Narayanan, a management graduate specialising in management information systems.

Kumud Srinivasan (President, Intel India):

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(image courtesy: www.livemint.com)
When asked about balancing work and family , she had this to say , ‘ Things are tougher in the earlier years because parenting tends to be a more involved activity then. At TechSparks I said, “Guilt is the curse of womanhood”. I have had my fair share of working through that over years and slowly learning to let go. But, three things helped me a lot. Persistence is one. It seems to me that there are times when life feels overwhelming and you just have to tell yourself to hang in there. The second is to be clear about one’s priorities and accept the trade-offs and I think that’s true for both men and women. It’s just that women agonize more over the trade-offs and this is where the guilt comes in. The third thing is to seek help with a support structure, both at home and work.’
All these women have one thing in common, they have worked their way up the ladder by their own hard work. None of them have famous lineage that might have acted as a propeller. They’re no different from ten other men who were in line for their positions. They were just smarter individuals and as each of them would assure you, it has absolutely nothing to do with their gender. Some might say that women are inherently good with people (hence the surge in lady HRs!) but being good with people is taught to everyone in schools irrespective of their sex, how does that make it a woman’s domain ?

Survey Monkey!

To get a broader picture on the issue , I asked some friends of mine over Whatsapp what they thought of women managers. I received some very interesting replies(read hilarious!;)) from both women and men in different professions! Lets take a look at the best ones:
Male friend 1(Entrepreneur) –> ‘ Doesn’t matter if she is going through menopause or not , she always acts like she’s suffering from PMS!’
Male friend 2(IT Employee) –> ‘ If they’re hot they are good. And I like women. I have a woman manager at my home(my wife!!!).Both men and women bosses will torture you anyway.. might as well get bashed up by a hot woman!’
Female friend 1(Manager)–> ‘ They are born with the managerial qualities and a proper education makes them perfect for the job!’
Female friend 2(Business analyst)–> ‘ I guess being a good or bad manager doesn’t depend on gender. It depends on the maturity level,
Pros: compassionate, empathetic,unbiased
Cons:Let emotions come in the way, mood swings.’
Female friend 3(Team Lead)–> ‘ I am a woman manager. It is f***ing tough. The problem is that every time you are promoted, it seems you have slept with a level above. Beyond me, why caliber alone cannot propel a woman forward. Seriously. I am bypassing you in an interview, because I am better. Not. Because I am a woman!!’
[I am not sharing names to maintain confidentiality & to avoid getting my butt kicked by them!😉 Also you will notice that the ratio of male to female friends is a biased 2:3! 😛]
SO THERE YOU GO GUYZ…. it’s out in the open…. Whether you like it or not, women will take every opportunity they get to beat the hell outta their male counterparts and YES, that’s the crazy feminist in me speaking now. Before I lose it completely let me bid goodbye till the next post! 😉
Happy Weekend folks! :*

[Reference :
http://her.yourstory.com/5-powerful-women-ceos-tech-india-1120
http://m.indiatoday.in/story/kirthiga-reddy-facebook-india-education-women-leaders/1/159488.html
http://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-IRTB-21033
http://m.businesstoday.in/story/most-powerful-businesswomen-in-india-vanitha-narayanan/1/198086.html
http://her.yourstory.com/kumud-srinivasan-1217%5D

 

 

WanderLust for the Indian woman!

Main-image

(image courtesy: travel.india.com)

Women & the elusive wanderlust

Wanderlust is broadly defined as the ‘n. ~desire or craving to travel to distant and unknown places’ in your average dictionary! However when it comes to the ‘average Indian woman’ this definition needs to be tweaked quite a bit…. Reading somewhat like this -‘n. ~a desire or craving to travel to distant and unknown places WITH any male friend or spouse capable of taking good care of you and keeping you in posh hotels’…..that’s Wanderlust for you, my dear single & proudly independent Indian lady in your mid-twenties! 😉 Or that’s what our parents would have us believe!

Mr.’Khaki-shorts-wearing-firangi’ & me!

One time I was traveling from Kolkata to Bangalore (alone, I must admit, but when it’s for work and you have lived for many years in a city, your parents let you have that extended leash of freedom!) and in the airport I ran into this very tall,very English looking man with a khaki shorts & travel-hat in place…. To my naive eyes, it was as if Harrison Ford had landed there incognito and right out of an episode of Indiana Jones… Nevertheless, I pretended to stand nonchalant in the boarding queue, hoping I looked suddenly like some sultry Indian actress on her way to a shoot (yah, that’s how naive I was!)
So, Mr.’Ford’ had a book in his hand and was quietly standing behind me in the queue when all of a sudden I felt a tug at my luggage and decided to look behind to find his suitcase clashing against mine… ‘Whoops, sorry Ma’am!’ Oh the SMILE…What wouldn’t I give to have that smile bestowed on me again… ‘That’s okay! Happens!’ I smiled with equal enthusiasm fervently hoping there was nothing stuck in my teeth…
‘So, you traveling alone?’He tipped his handsome head to one side and smiled again. ‘Yep, actually I am a system administrator, working for IBM right now! What about you? Here on work?’ I regretted instantly every damn word that came out of my over-excited mouth (did he ASK for your job profile,moron?! & does he LOOK like he’s going to a business meet in that shorts and the hat??!) I was relieved when he looked impressed apparently, ‘Oh you don’t look like you work at all, at such a young age, LOVELY!’ I was on my toes again, wanting to be stranded there at the airport with him for the rest of the day, wait, make that LIFE! ‘And no, I am actually traveling around India at the moment, just visited the Taj Mahal, going to meet a friend in Bangalore who will be taking me to Kerala next!’
I asked him how he liked India till now, not expecting anything but kind words of course ( he couldn’t possibly tell me just how horrible the trains and toilets were, nah, he would keep all that for when he went back to his own country and sat down to give reviews on TripAdvisor probably!;) ) . ‘Oh it’s just amazing out here, wonderful people like you all around, so much warmth and the history is mind-blowing! ‘ We were separated at that instant for security checks and I hurried out of the cubicle hoping he wouldn’t disappear. I was happy to see him walking towards me after sometime.
We spoke for some more time and I told him which places to visit in Kerala, feeling grateful to God for the trip I’d taken with some friends in college! He thanked me with a handshake and a polite nod of the head and asked me ‘So are you a traveler?’ I really don’t remember what I replied to that because I felt a pang of self-pity that reverberates to this day in my soul. Mr.’Ford’ never told me his name but he gave me something to think about for a long time after.

‘Traveler’ at heart?

So, am I a traveler at heart? I would like to think I am… I know which places I would love to visit, I know the best seasons to visit them and I sometimes imagine the kind of clothes I would wear when I visit all the places I love…. A flowery dress in Paris, a denim shorts on the African Safari, a long overcoat in Ireland or maybe a sarong clad bikini in Seychelles! And these are just the very few of the very basic destinations from across shores…. I have a longer list within Indian borders ! Over the years however, I got bored with my job, married within my hometown to a nice man who also loves travelling and we even spent a romantic honeymoon in Rajasthan recently. But my question is , ‘Can we girls just pack our bags ALONE one sunny morning and leave for unexplored horizons?’
Theoretically speaking, it’s not that difficult when you earn your own moolah and can get a one week leave from work but the fact of the matter is that we Indian women have just too many strings attached to us. We would like to believe that we can just get going with a backpack informing our parents the day before but the truth is that stepping out of our comfort zone or more aptly the ‘comfort zone of our parents’ when we are traveling ‘emni emni‘ or ‘just like that for the sake of traveling’, everyone we know has only tragic tales of single women travellers who were kidnapped,killed,raped,molested (et al,my friends,ET AL!) to throw at our direction, and the typical ‘Maa‘ will probably feign an illness just so you don’t actually end up boarding that flight you booked to Goa or Andaman or even Digha (the nearest beach from Kolkata!) So, what triggers these wild reactions? Why do people have the notion ‘akele ladki ko dekhenge toh chedenge hi na!’? As if it’s the most natural thing in the world to molest a single girl. When will men grow up or educate their private parts to behave themselves around helpless women?? I mean, what’s the point of being a civilized human being if you are still treated like a bitch on the road who is hounded by ten dogs at the same time?!
Well, for now, I limit my ‘wanderlust’ to my conversations with my best friend and make unsuccessful plans with my married girl friends to visit Goa when in reality that would mean facing not one but two sets of Indian parents….which is almost an insurmountable hurdle for the bravest of us Bong girls!
You are welcome to leave your comments below about why you think Indian women are still far behind in the travel scene (a staggering 94% women have officially denied that they would want to travel alone!!)
So long , girls! Have a happy Sunday! 🙂

What’s The Hurry,Your Highness?

” Ruupam Dehi Jayam Dehi Yasho Dehi Dvisso Jahi

Taarinni Durga-Samsaara-Saagarasya-Akaloya-udbhave..

Ruupam Dehi Jayam Dehi Yasho Dehi Dissho Jahi 

Namas thasyai namas thasyai namas thasyai namo namah..”


The madness begins:

I woke up with a start,as the last few lines of the ‘chandi path’ was being chanted in Mr.Bhadra’s powerful vocals.My husband’s parents had given stiff competition to the sun that day,and were awake since 4:30 am to drown themselves in the “pujo fever”.My father-in-law actually owns a Murphy radio(remember the movie “Barfi”?) and plays it at the highest volume possible every year on the day of Mahalaya. To those who are not aware of what it is, “Mahalaya” heralds the beginning of Durga pujo,the single most important festival of all Bengalis,including me! However,the incorrigible sloth that I am,I can never bring myself to wake up at the right time to hear the airing of the ‘Mahishashur Mardini’ chants that reverberate throughout the Bengali household on this auspicious day.However,even a sleepy-head like me can’t keep the excitement from seeping through,and I got up from bed with a big smile on my usually grumpy ‘morning face’.
With Mahalaya over,there was an amazing shift in the general mood of everybody in my vicinity…starting from the servants to the strangers on the roads,everyone appeared happier than usual,a sing-song tone pervading all conversation that hinted on Goddess Durga’s arrival.The pandals were almost ready,the “kumar-tuli’s” were crowded with grey & white idols,still in the making,the “kaash” flowers were swaying in open fields, & most significantly, FACEBOOK was crowded with a million updates & photos of Durga Pujo.If you are a Bengali,you will know the strange mixture of emotions that a picture of those pristine “kaash” flowers or a close-up of the Durga Maa’s face can evoke.I can safely declare that this feeling is absolutely universal,no matter whichever country you happen to be in ( my best friends are currently in the US & UK ,& they were actually more excited than me over the whole thing!)
So,we Bongs began the countdown to ‘shaptami’,the day which sees the first outpouring of bedazzled beauties in ethnic wear & dressed up men in shiny kurta-pajamas,everybody too conscious about their own looks to actually notice anybody else,but nevertheless,it is quite the sight to behold in an otherwise lacklustre Bengal.What made this particular pujo different was the tragic fact that our beloved Goddess seemed to be in a hurry to return back to her heavenly abode.There didn’t seem to be one person who could stay without cribbing about this unusual phenomenon. “aare yaar is baar toh bas do din milenge” ,said the random friend on facebook. “isshh ebaar maayer dekhaai pawaa jaabe naa” ,exclaimed my mother , “Dhurr etaa ki dhoroner pujo..aashte naa aashtei chole jaabe”, cribbed my sister…which left me wondering about the reasons why the Goddess seemed to be in such haste this year…’shoshti’ & ‘shoptomi’ were supposedly on one day,and ‘nobomi’ & ‘doshomi’ were again on the very same day!!!! It was just too much of a spoiler for the ‘celebration-thirsty’ bengali soul.

Unraveling the mystery:

Thus,in an effort to analyse the real reasons behind why our eternal mother left us confounded & wanting more,I have come up with a few pointers.Since,none of us can actually get an answer from the Lady herself (communication issues,you see..when on earth,all Gods are immobile & mute,the reasons for which we can analyse on another post! ),so,I would request the readers to resort to a temporary suspension of disbelief & judgement while reading further.
1)  What with the ‘hokkolorob’ cries of mutiny spreading throughout our land against a certain ‘Didi’ & her ‘shaakreds'(or loyalists,as the sophisticated would call them)….Maa Durga’s four kids wanted to join the student community on the streets of Kolkata,instead of just standing like..errr..idols in the pujo pandals!However,their Dad called up from the Himalayas and furiously told them to stop nagging their mom about it,since getting down on the streets would break their Godly ‘code of conduct’ (the ‘cant move’ & ‘cant speak’ part!).Now,you know kids nowadays,they are pretty stubborn..Durga,unable to control the battalion,thought it better to make a hasty retreat,instead of convincing her kids to stay put.So,there you go,looks like the ‘hokkolorob’ rallies had quite a far-reaching effect…strangely enough,the ones against whom the rallies were brought out,seem to be unperturbed by all the ‘kolorob’…we sure wish that Ganesh,Kartik,Lakshmi & Saraswati join us on facebook to continue our protests!!
2) Being a Goddess has it’s perks,as we know too well by now,going by the great haul that was unearthed from the Tamil Goddess,Jayalalitha’s house & account..Now,being a Goddess,Devi Durga is already staying in a place where there are no malls & outlets,to speak of,and the few days that she is on earth,she has to make do with whatever we make her wear,whether she likes it or not..must be tough on the poor Lady!! Obviously,then..the  moment Maa Durga heard of jayalalitha’s fortune of more than 6000 sarees & 20 kgs of Gold jewellery,she was even more flabbergasted than us & decided to take off early to run home & do some online shopping to match upto her ‘goddess standards’… 😛
3) The last reason is the MOST credible one, folks…Now,we know how the latest model from the ‘apple bandwagon’ has not lived upto people’s expectations,albeit, by bending like the moral-quotient of Bengal’s current politicians. 😉 What happened was, Durga had ordered the i-phone 6 just a few days before her scheduled flight to earth,and Lord Shiva received it when Durga was here.When She heard the news about the ‘bending’,Durga freaked out & took off to see if her phone was bent,after all the freaking money she had spent (that rhymed pretty well! )

So,if you have read through till here,and you think that I am funny…just switch on the news channel and read about the latest public comments made by our ‘respected’ leaders of Bengal,who think rape,molestation & political murders are ‘normal’ & advice their followers to ‘rape & murder  the wives of the opposition’….then you will truly know what’s funny and what’s NOT!!
P.S. — Any reference to any political leader is purely coincidental…it’s just a sign of us.’bongo-baashi’s’ becoming totally mental with all the crime & corruption… HOKKOLOROBLET THERE BE NOISE,LET THERE BE MUTINY… before it’s too late,or else,over the coming years,we might find that even the Gods are scared to alight on earth,specially Bengal!